Marquee Humor

February 26, 2014

I’ve been way far behind in publishing these, so this is a little catch up.


This was at the Capitol Theater in Arlington and the Fresh Pond Theater in Cambridge back in December:

Frozen Hobbit

Might be better than “Hobbit Catching Fire” but not by much. (note: “Hobbit Catching Fire” and “Hobbit Frozen” were on the same marquee down in NYC).

Then there was this one at the Venue in Lexington in January:

Nebraska Frozen

Accurate to say the least. Coincidentally it was up the same week Boston got hit with the first arctic vortex.

My favorite one right now is still up at the Fresh Pond Theater:

Ride Along  Frozen

I had no idea that movie was about motorcycle cops.



Lexington’s Venue Theater had a few more good ones in early December. At one point the whole marquee read:

Now Showing in Digital
12 Years a Slave
Enough Said

I’ll give credit for a good microphone drop. Later in the month, they had an even better one.

The Book Thief
12 Years  Enough Said

They take their book crimes seriously in Lexington.



From December through January Fresh Pond Cinema had the following (at different times) on their marquee:

Studnt discount

Senor disc Tuesdys

As well as the movie:

Labor Dau

Fresh Pond, Please buy a vowel. Seriously! It’s your job.

Finally, Lexington Venue had this up last week:

Her The Nut Job

(say it with me) You mean they finally made a film about my ex???


Home Homily

February 24, 2014

I was asked to take part in a lay-led church service on the topic of Home at the UU Church of Medford, MA. I thought the timing was perfect since it was on my 45th birthday. There were four speakers and one lay leader taking part. Below is what I said to the congregation today. It was hard to write at first–a lot of this still being so raw–but I was able to get out something I thought was meaningful and important.

“Peace. Land. Bread.” “40 acres and a mule.” Even “territorial disputes.” What these sayings have in common is the idea that a safe and livable space of one’s own is the basis for security and stability of a people or even a country. As the Armenian writer Sero Khanzadyan said, “Without the land there is no nation.” Without the physical home, the stability of a nation’s people is in danger of degradation and eventual death. I personally can attest to the decline of mental health and personal well being that a lack of stable housing provides.

After being asked to leave a home I shared with roommates for 12 years in Arlington, I moved to a boarding house in Everett. It was cheaper financially, but cost more in other ways. The boarding house didn’t allow sleepover guests, so I could not have my daughter over on weekends as usual. The small single room also made for quite an isolating experience. A few months later, I lost one of my jobs and fell behind in rent; so while it was the only choice affordable to me, I was in constant fear of losing it for lack of money. After a long process—which included housing court, borrowing money from friends and other jobs that fell through—I was evicted from the boarding house last January. While I didn’t end up on the streets, I wound up staying with Sophia’s mother who has her own host of mental illness and hostility issues. And since my being in her house was a violation of her Section 8, we were all fearful of getting into bigger trouble and again the possibility of eviction. The added constant pressure made day to day living extremely hard.

While it is possible to endure these constant challenges, the damage to one’s sanity is immense. The concepts of security, safety and stability are intertwined in a curious way. Security is an internal positive attitude and mental strength that helps people endure rough times. Safety however is more external: they are the protections we have from outside forces against us. Stability is arguably a measure of the balance between the internal and external protections. While the positive internal security can compensate for some loss of safety, if the loss to safety is large or catastrophic, the imbalance will be too great and wear down on the internal well-being to a far greater extent.

While we know of the large mentally ill population amongst the homeless, what is harder to discern is how many of them became mentally ill after becoming homeless. The same pressures of isolation and lack of safety that prisoners face daily are faced by the homeless without the same confines, and we are learning of the effects those constant pressures have on convicts; so while we know the external pressures of poverty on the homelessness exacerbates already acute mental conditions, it is no large leap to say that the those same pressures can drive normal humans to the point of mental illness. This in turn endangers the stability of the family and the population at large, whatever that size may be. While I was dealing with mental illness before losing my home, I was much worse after the events of the last couple of years. While not a total shell of my former self, I have definitely suffered a loss of personal identity that is gone forever.

The situation has gotten better at a huge price. With the death of Sophia’s mother, my housing situation was fixed by transferring her Section 8 to me so I can take care of Sophia. Her stability came in the sense of continuity: her routine hadn’t changed from before her mom passed, which has helped her manage. Most important was keeping the home she lived in. If she had lost both her mother and her home simultaneously, she would be in much more dire straights today. Whether the occurrence is quick and complete destruction or an accident slowly unfolding in front of you, the loss of a home is devastating. It is not only the loss of the physical space that hurts, but the loss of memories, peace of mind and safety that four walls and a roof provide. If those wall come tumbling down, figuratively or literally, it won’t be too long before the walls that shield us from the pressures of live soon follow.

Scheduling Life

February 1, 2014

Last night AMC showed “I Am Legend” with “Story Notes”—it’s like DVD highlights meets IMDB trivia on air. One of the things I never knew about the film was that Will Smith spoke to prisoners about what it’s like being in solitary for a long time. The most important piece of advice was the best way to deal with isolation is to adhere to a rigid schedule. It keeps you from going crazy.

I realize my daily schedule is only rigid on the days I work; and then only until after supper. I have down time, I can’t deal with it. It’s partly being alone all the time, but it’s also not knowing what to do with it. And it’s not that I don’t have things to do, I just don’t know where to start and then get overwhelmed about it, then wind up curled up on the couch watching “Blade” on cable for the 100th time (it gets REALLY stale after several viewings).

I’d never thought that I’d have to get hyper rigid in my scheduling, but it may come to that. The wall calendar my mom got me has been paying off and is a main staple to figuring out my day/week/month. I have three daily alarms on my phone to get me through and segment the day for me. I’m not sure how to arrange the minutia of the day in a way that I can visualize it and see it through. Not that I like rigidity, but I need to get my head together around my day to day activity. If anything it will keep me from losing my mind.