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Coast clear (so far)

With no attacks before, during or after the holiday, I’m going to proceed cautiously. The blog will remain, but I’ll have to keep a close watch ….


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I’m probably gonna have to take down this blog….

First, some chump hacked into my email account — and sent me a message mocking me, saying there was nothing i could do about it.

Now he’s into my blog, posting stuff that doesn’t even make sense. It looks like he’s raided everything I’d written to this point and then did a mashup of words.

So if you’ll excuse me a moment:

When I find you, and I will, you are gonna be sorry you were ever born, wise guy. Count on it.

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Dad-in-waiting Steve Earle channels Townes Van Zandt uptown

A very pregnant Allison Moorer joined Steve Earle for a few songs during her husband’s two-hour acoustic show Friday night at the Society for Ethical Culture off Central Park West, a block from Lincoln Center.

The gig came during a brief respite back in their adoptive hometown, between legs of a tour promoting Earle’s new album of compositions by his hero, the late Townes Van Zandt, whose songs he’s now teaching to legions of new cultists.

Arguably America’s greatest living songwriter laughed as he noted that “Townes” has become one of his best sellers, “which in a way is discouraging cause I didn’t write any of the songs on it.”

The first song he recorded for the collection in his and Moorer’s downtown apartment off Houston Street was probably the greatest of Van Zandt’s mini-masterpieces, the classic “Pancho and Lefty.”

Earle equated it to his first day in prison (he spent a few months behind bars on a drug conviction), when he walked up to “the biggest guy in the yard” and knocked him out so he could keep his radio, “among other things.”

The “short list” of tunes he was ready to lay down numbered 35, but he got it down to 15 by following the advice of a prolific guitar maker who once told him he was able to produce a certain number of instruments by “throwing out anything that doesn’t look like a guitar.

“I guess it worked” he told the crowd in the church-like amphitheater, which has pews instead of seats, a large semi-circular stage and terrific acoustics in its catherdral-like atrium.

“I’ve always wanted to play here,” the Virginia-born, San Antonio-raised, anti-Nashville renegade said, looking up at the balcony.

Earle told stories of how Van Zandt at first intimidated him when he was starting out. Townes was one of only six or so people in a club in Houston one night, so he stage down front with his feet on the stage, wearing moccassins, heckling Earle — who had actually booked himself there in the hopes of meeting his hero.

They soon became fast friends. “My teacher,” Earle said, adding that he immediately bought his own pair of mocs. Their mini-cult of following eventually included Guy Clark, Lucinda Williams and others.

Zandt, an alcoholic and manic-depressive whose excesses somehow could never be severed from his art, had come all the way to Nashville from Texas unannounced one day when Earle came home one day, arms tattooed by needle tracks, to find him waiting.

His “teacher” then sang “Marie,” a song he’d written as an intervention for Earle.

It was easy for Earle to remember when he wrote one of his own, “(Can’t Remember If We Said) Goodbye.”

It was 15 years ago, when he finally kicked cheap street drugs, like Dilaudid and skanky heroin, he said. He cradled the song as he always does, a special treasure amid a chestful of lyrical brilliance that Springsteen himself will tell you no modern songwriter — not even Dylan — has been able to match. CONTINUED….

EXTRA: For photos and videos, go to CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM

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Dead to me

Hey, Victor:

You attack the paper for violating the time-held standards of journalism, yet you trample on two of the most important: Fairness and balance.

Sorry, bud. I’d really held out hope that your soul could be salvaged, that you could look at things humanely rather than ranting like a drunk clutching his leg in an alleyway.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s tried to help keep you from being sued, which would make your situation ever worse. But you don’t seem to care.

You think I wrote what I did to try and get even with anyone? Was just trying to provide you some cover.

What’s next? Standing on Squirrelwood Road, yelling at passing journalists?

You’re on your own now, bud. Just do me a big favor and leave me out of it.

November 13, 2009 5:15 PM


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Eye on Victor

Victor Sasson’s “Eye on the Record” seemed an amusing diversion at first.

It also gave some of us a vicarious thrill, as the Vicster lay bare the failings of a company that actually had the wherewithal to help itself but lacked the balls — or the brains — to respond when that passing fad, the Internet, took a sledgehammer to its monopoly.

One thing the Route 80 Rag has refused to do throughout the “downsizing crisis” is take responsibility for its own demise. Denial of the fullest, really. It also has made  a practice of stripping its institutional knowledge: Younger, after all,  is cheaper.

For you young’uns, Victor was a brilliant reporter in his day. As persnickety a copy editor as you’d ever find, he somehow thought the job description also gave him the right to exercise his opinions on stories — sometimes in the very headlines he wrote — instead of pushing commas. When the music stopped at his particular unit, he was without a chair. So after clearing out his work station, he filed his complaints, got a real nice food blog going, then apparently decided to stalk his former employer online.

Alas, the cranky fucker’s 401k didn’t include a sense of humor.

At first, “Eye on The Record” was dead-on. But pithy observations quickly turned into pissy complaints. “They suck. They suck. They suck.” I tried warning him early, but it was already too late: He’d transformed into the old guy in the window: “Hey you kids. Get away from that car!!!”

I know you’re broken and you been hurt, my friend. Show me somebody who ain’t. But at some point, dinner buddies let your calls go to voicemail if all they can expect is a retelling of what a douchebag your ex wife was. At the very least, give the paper props when deserved — it gets you some cred. And if you’re gonna redline the thing, go down to the library and read copies; don’t brag about your ex-employee’s discount and then bitch when some tired guy with a day job shortarms the morning fling and your single-bagged paper ends up in a fuckin’ puddle.

You smacked the paper for going big on the Yanks’ World Series win. Why? It’s good business, Crankopotamus. I’m a Mets fan and I think the paper nailed it.  After all, collectors’ editions don’t all have to be from the days after the Kennedy and King killings, or 911. A newspaper is not a public trust; it’s a private enterprise. If it doesn’t cover the area you live in and it doesn’t do so in the manner you wish it would, then don’t read it.  Wanna find out what’s going on out there, do what I do: TALK TO PEOPLE.

The worst, by far, is this unfair, vicious treatment of line staff who truly are trying their best to excel. Do everyone a favor, Victor Victorian: Stop pissin’ on good people, before someone ends up takin’ a Joe Ax to your Van Dusen. If I were launching my own newspaper today, they are two guys I’d fall over myself to start with (Actually, if I were launching a newspaper today, I would hope someone would dial 911 and have me involuntarily committed).

And for Christ’s sake, Victor, lay the fuck off the woman who has to create food content from scratch. Focus on the Box of Rocks lifer in the corner office — who only got HER job cause her dad worked in the print shop for, like, a thousand years — for putting the kid in that position, on her own, to begin with.

Picking on the prols serves no good purpose — especially  when you have overpaid, undereducated editors who are such easy targets.

Who didn’t tire of those Post anecdotes after the first few weeks? I swear, I’ve got more things to do in Denver when I’m dead than Andy Garcia.  If it was so great there, “Pull It, Sir” Pete, why don’tcha go back? You’ve got more years HERE now. Why not talk up the good work THESE people do, you girlie-laughin’, nubile-stalkin’ prick?

I once accompanied the skullcap-in-a-suit to a conference in Atlantic City, where someone I greatly respect and admire thought it would be a good idea to have him give a presentation to a group of prosecutors and police chiefs who gathered there essentially to get hammered, hit on chicks and ride a hard eight at the craps table. So what does Mr. Carpal Thumbs do? He shows slides of Colombine (Toward what end, I still don’t know. Neither did any of the LEOs I later spoke to). Then he shuts off the laptop and, with the big screen white behind him,  TALKS MORE ABOUT DENVER.

The grumbling actually began in the back. Like “the wave,” it made its way forward, until Sparky got the hint. Trouble was: He couldn’t get the disc out of the laptop. He asked for help, and, at one point, had the then-State Attorney General, the then-head of the FBI branch in Newark and an area prosecutor holding the laptop upside down, poking at the drawer button, quizzically looking at one another.

“You’re a computer guy, Jer,” Standthere said. “Do something.”

So I waited for them to turn their backs . Then I powered up the notebook, popped out the disc, and turned it off again. I quietly slipped the disc to Jellyfish on the side like I was handing him a bag o’ weed, then I was off like a shot for the casino bar, where I spent the rest of my night watching a bunch of cops from other parts of the state try and pick up hookers. At the end of the bar was the prosecutor of a county that shall go unnamed (let’s just say it’s south of Elizabeth). Several ladies each took a crack at him, and each time he looked up to find me still down the other end, poundin’ Crown Royal.

“You know, you’re costin’ me business,” one said to me as she fetched a roll of quarters from the bartender.

Finally, around 3 a.m., Mr. Prosecutor threw in the napkin. He walked all the way around the bar, then slapped me on the shoulder.

“Not tonight, my friend,” he says. “No story here.” Then he was gone.

See Victor? You can make your point while telling a story. You can keep readers engaged, give them a nice, soft Tootsie Roll instead of a  bucket o’ bile. Otherwise, you end up like my 3-year-old in front of the bowl — piss flyin’ everywhere (the tank, the cabinets, the floor, my leg). Little bastid thinks it a riot, but I ain’t exactly entertained, if y’know what I mean.

You can start by leavin’ the kids alone. Zero in on the unimaginative mouth breather who spends meetings wiping crumbs off the front of his shirt. Show succinctly how Chief Sitting Bullshit forgot what it means to help people (after too many years sitting inches away, I got tales that could make your head spin). And don’t forget to give the Borglings all they can handle. It is their submarine, after all.

You had the perfect anecdote when you told the story of how Corey Feldman introduced himself to most of the company employees by showing a picture of his house — only you left out the part when he said he likes to read women’s magazines cause they have lots of pictures and words he can understand.

Continue to do that and I, for one, will continue to read your blog, you crazy bastid. Find the humor in the absolute cluelessness of people paid to know what’s really going on. THEN show us how these yokels are driving that Beverly Hillbillies truck they call a newspaper right into the cee-ment pond.

Otherwise, you’re just giving everyone reason to ignore you — while granting me inside post position to tell TRUE stories of how decisions were made in the sandbox.

Trust me, my friend. I’ve got a few lulus.

Yours in unlawful termination,

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From rink to clink: Jailbirds say Nicole Bobek was cool

nikkiShe caught a major beef when cops collared her on charges of selling meth, but ice queen Nicole Bobek gave a North Jersey pokey four stars — and even made tube tops for fellow jaibirds, a published report says.

Inmates and employees at the Kearny clink described the former figure skating champ as a model prisoner in her three days there, before her momma sprung her on $100,000 bail. Keep reading….

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Family man, good friend, Mafia Wars teammate: Bye, bye, Johnny



Getting into work this morning, I did my usual routine of checking emails and Facebook messages. The last thing I expected to read was that a dear friend had passed away. I knew that he was recently ill and hospitalized; however, you always think “It can’t be so bad. He’ll be fine.”

The next thing you know…he’s gone.

“Johnny-Boy” Sposato was one of those folks who I became friends with when I was five or six years old, running around the old neighborhood in North Bergen. He was a couple of years older than me and was one of those guys that was just really damn nice.

I remember how many pre-teen girls (myself included) had major crushes on him back in those

innocent days when you didn’t even really know what it meant to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. In our teenage years, I remember Johnny-Boy not being around as much, once he began driving, leaving the younger kiddies to wait until it was our turn to become cool and independent.

As people do, I lost touch with him after the high school years. Even so, there is a certain group of friends that will always remain like family in my heart, no matter how much time or distance is between us. John S. was one of those people.

Through the magic of Facebook, I was able to reconnect with him. I quickly learned that he was still the sweet, warm-hearted person from our childhood days. I also learned what a loving husband and father he was. Anyone who spoke with him, read his profile, or looked at his pictures could immediately tell that his family was his world. No one could question that his first priority was family…good Italian Catholic boy that he was.

He won’t be remembered in a service held at a huge stadium and won’t have reporters hounding his family for a picture or an interview. That’s fine, though. He will be honored and remembered by people who genuinely gave a damn about him. He will be remembered with dignity and respect.

No one ever wants to lose a loved one, family member, or cherished friend, especially a young man of 44 years who had so much to give to those around him. I will deeply miss my childhood friend, my buddy, my Mafia Wars teammate. The tears will eventually subside, but my heart will continue to ache for the loss experienced by his family.

God bless your beautiful family that they find strength in one another.

Johnny-Boy, I’ll miss you.Mikey and Gina

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