Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat

The kids will soon be beating a path to every door in the neighborhood in an effort to grab some candy, but there is not a lot of ceremony involved. They are not fired up about their costumes, and they don't have any special designs on staying out too long - there's a baseball game to watch after all!

We don't get many visitors to our home anymore, either. I'm not sure why, but our house is often skipped. Perhaps the imposing figure of Melky is enough to halt the parents of the neighborhood children. Whatever, not to sound like an old grouchy man here, but I don't much care for the up and down and the ringing doorbell - after all there's a baseball game to watch.

Through the years I've shared in a few memorable Halloween parties and dressed up quite a few times myself. The last costume I wore was a Howard Stern get-up that itched like crazy and was basically ruined because I drank way too much tequila.

I dressed as a woman a few times too, and when I was young I was actually quite fecthing. Last time I tried it I looked like a cross between Rosie O'Donell and Rose Ann.

Not so fetching.

I never quite got the ghosts and goblins aspect of it all.

What the hell is a goblin?

And me carving a pumpkin for the kids is frankly, a little dangerous.

Trick or treat?

I hope they get a few Reese's that I can eat during the game.

Did I mention there was a game on tonight?

Happy Halloween!

Talented People

Just came across the new CD by David Gray...good stuff...love talented people!

Nemesis

'Neath an avalanche - soft as moss
I am a creeping and intangible sense of loss
I'm the memory you can't get out of your head
but if I leave you now
you'll wish you were somewhere else instead.

I'm the Manta Ray - I'm the louse
I am the photograph they found
in your burned out house.

I am the sound of money washing down the drain
I am the face of lies that keep you sane.

Gates of heaven are open wide
God Help me I'm trapped inside
Feels like I'm buried alive.

I'm the bottom line of the joke
I am ecstasy spilling like bright egg yolk.
I'm the thoughts you're too ashamed to share
and I'm the smell of it -
you're trying to wash out of your hair.

Gates of heaven are open wide
God Help me I'm trapped inside
Feels like I'm buried alive.

Possibilities limitless
just give me something
that's more than this
one shot and I'll never miss
Yes.

I'm the babe that sleeps through the bliss
I am a sudden and quite unexpected twist
I am your one true love
who sleeps with someone else

I am your nemesis

Baby I'm sweet life itself.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Changes I Got Used To

My wife often reminds me of the night when I was trying to watch a World Series Game back in '96 and the dog was jumping and Matt who was just a toddler for crying out loud, was screaming, and Joe Buck was talk, talk, talking so much that I didn't know what was going on...

"SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!" I bellowed.

A few minutes later, all was quiet as the dog curled up and Kathy and Matt left the room.

Cut to last night's game...

Bottom of the first two outs and Tex up. Buck has told me that it's 52 degrees - for the 7th freaking time - Paris is chasing Sam in a circle around the kitchen - Jake is poking me in the ribs asking me why Jeter struck out - Kathy is thinking about setting the DVR when the inning is over, Matt is growling that Burnett sucks and is going to throw three wild pitches. McCarver explains that it's a must win even though the Yankees have routinely won the series after being down two games to zip... yada, yada, bullshit, headache.

Tex swings over a curve out of the strike zone.

"He struck out too," Jake said, poking, poking, poking.

"It's 52 degreees at 8:33," Buck-hole says.

My mind does a flip.

"Would you like to see it stay scoreless?" Jake asks.

"I'd like to see," I said, pausing and looking for the right words, "Your butt in bed."

"Ewww! Mom! Dad wants to see my butt in bed!"

Yet, I did not say something had to change. Instead, calmly, I reached across and laughed with Jake. I let Sam finish his dog-dork race, and I took a deep breath, knowing that whatever I was feeling could be handled.

I hit the mute button, of course, and we watched the next inning with Buck and McCarver silenced.

Turns out - they were the only thing that was truly bugging me back in '96.

Let's say it together now:

THE YANKEES WIN! THHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHE YANKEES WIIIIIIIIN!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why Worry?


In 1978 the Dodgers took a 2-0 lead against the Yanks in New York. I remember Davey Lopes (the phils 1st base coach now) circling the bases with his right hand extended skyward. After the game he explained that they were the better team. That was the last game the Dodgers won that year.

In 1996 it was worse. Remember Larry? The Braves had a 2-zip lead leaving NY. Maddux and Glavine were unhittable. They also failed to win another game.

Not saying anything bold,Lee was good last night, but it ain't over until (what does Yogi say?), it's over.

Yet the story of the day is my buddy Michael. He is a Yankee and a Phils fan. Earlier this year we saw a game with him in Philly and asked him about the possibility of this years match up.

"I think my head might explode," he said.

During the game last night the text messages were burning. When Utley homered, I texted Utley sucks. When Tim McCarver called Derek Jeter, "Jerry Cleater," I laughed through the blackberry.

(Can someone please put McCarver out to pasture?)

The Phils had the bases loaded against CC in the first.

"What is Michael rooting for in this situation?" my boy Sam asked.

There was no easy answer. Inside his blood must have been boiling.

"He's probably just rooting for it to be a fair game," Jake said.

Fair indeed.

NOW HOW THE HELL WERE THOSE PITCHES OFF THE PLATE WHEN HUGHES WAS THROWING?

Good luck, Michael, and remember it's just a game, unless the Yankees win the series - then it was always more than that!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Going Rogue

As if having to wait another day for the Series to start isn't enough to frost my ass, tonight I stumbled upon the story that speaks of Sarah Palin and her $1.25 million dollar book advance.

Is it a pop-up book?

The book is to be released on November 17th and it is already number one on the best-sellers list.

Come on, people, really? What can she tell us? How to skin a coon?

And if that ain't enough, George W. is getting $100,000 per speech. What is the speech entitled, "How to Screw up Your Job in 10 Easy Lessons?"

Now before I get accused of being a liberal, let me explain.

It's all too soon. We have not yet gotten over the disaster of the last eight years. We are still scrambling around in caves and sand trying to save face somehow. People are still out of work. The trillion dollar debt is still threatening our future.

And we're giving these people millions to spread more fertilizer?

I must admit, I didn't read Clinton's book either, and had no interest in Hilliary's literary effort. As a matter of fact, the only book I ever read from an ex-president was a charming little story about growing up as a peanut farmer from Jimmy Carter. I didn't learn much there either.

And during this past year, I have lost all interest in what is going on in Washington. The he-said, she-said, he-said hatred of all of it wore me down, and I gave up. Palin and McCain/Obama and Biden was enough to turn my stomach every which way, and none of it mattered anyway.

So, here I sit wondering how to get my passion back for what is going on out there.

Should I read Sarah's book?

Is it a comedy?

At $1.25 million for an advance, it would almost have to be, wouldn't it?

Schlubby

I never liked that ESPN Analyst Steve Phillips. He was a General Manager for the minor league baseball team in New York (the Mets) and at ESPN he did little more than bash the Yankees and their 'gigantic payroll.'

A-Ha-A-Ha-A-Ha-A-Ha

Seems Phillips was canned the other day because of his dalliance with, as the New York Post calls her, a "Schlubby" 22-year-old woman.

There is so much of the story to comment on. First off, "Schlubby" is a horrible way to refer to anyone. Coming from a man who can be confused for Schlubby, I take offense.

I don't believe we should be referred to in such a manner, especially in a news story. Imagine seeing your name in print and the description that follows being something like .. pale and puffy, bald as a cue ball, round as a melon, pear-shaped, vertically-challenged, Mets Fan, mentally-handicapped, ...schlubby. (Oh sorry, Mets Fan and mentally-handicapped are one and the same).

Yet what galled me about the article was the statement from Phillips' agent that explained that his client had an illness, and would be treated as a sex addict.

Doesn't putting the "illness" label on it make it seem less like Stupid Steve's fault? He has four kids and a wife at home and he's out schlubbing around because he's sick?

Give me a break. Who doesn't like sex? Who when pressed wouldn't say - yeah, I could addicted to that? Who indulges in such behavior every time someone walks by with an inviting scent?

Yeah, dogs, that's who? Did you ever see your dog meet the neighbor dog? Yeah, they go right for it - schlubby or not. And as owners what do we do? We yell - "Aw, come, on, don't do that!"

We are appalled that our dog can't show the restraint to keep his nose out of the neighbor dogs ass.

Sort of how I think of Steve Phillips. Illness...A-Ha-A-Ha-A-Ha-A-Ha.

And he loves the Mets...how much better can the story get?

He's the Schlub.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Can See Number Twenty-Seven From Here

Geez, what should we talk about today?

The fact that the Bills have won two straight games and are on the charge towards the Super Bowl?

Probably not.

The horrific murders and strange crimes throughout this great land?

We can cover that on any given day.

The Fall TV Schedule and how Family Guy is still the best show on television?

My wife made me sit through a couple of episodes of the Good Wife - aaaaaaah!

Perhaps? What's going on in baseball?

Oh yeah! The freaking Yankees! I nearly forgot!

Four more games to end the long-suffering of the Yankee fans. A couple of starts by CC, a few more bombs by A-Rod, listening to Jimmy Rollins and Pedro (the Yankees are my Daddy) shoot off their mouths for a week, it's all part of the ceremony.

A couple of rain-outs, a snow-out, and if all goes according to planned, title #27 by the time the kids get off for Thanksgiving break.

We watch the Yankees so much around here that this morning my wife was getting misty-eyed as they celebrated. It's almost as if we know the multi-millionaires personally.

Whatever! It's been a good day. The haters are dropping their eyes when they see me coming. My fellow Yankee fans are basking in the glory.

Just like it should be at this time of year.

What else is there to discuss?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Life, Love, Laughter

For the past 10 months I've been doing little in the way of creating, but being a writer since I could hold the pen wrong (the nuns beat me for the way I held a pen) I did jot down a number of memories, funny stories, and things I just couldn't bear to forget when it came to my brother, Jeff.

My publisher, looking for the next book, asked me to send what I had. I was hesitant as I've never submitted anything that wasn't completely finished, but I did, and just let the chips lie where they may.

Then the week really got interesting!

The Buffalo News contacted me to say that they are going to run a feature article about my books - it will run in the November 1st Sunday edition (page 1 -I'm told) and my upcoming gig as a speaker at the Toastmasters Breakfast of November 6th at the Seneca Niagara Casino. (Come to it! I'm ready to go!).

And then...

Sterlinghouse offered a contract for Life, Love and Laughter - the story of the greatest guy in the world - Jeff Fazzolari.

And I ain't done...

But I will be.

And it gives us time.

Due to the personal tone of the book - we are all going to work together to make sure that the publisher knows that this book will have a great following.

I don't want even a single dime from this book. It will go to Johnny, Rocco & Farrah.

Yet I'm offering you the chance to pre-order it!

Send your requests to me through this blog or e-mail (cliffordfc@roadrunner.com), or wait for an order form that we will post, or send direct notices to my publisher - Sterlinghouse Publisher at 1-888-542-book or www.sterlinghouse-bookstore.com

And now the most challenging thing I ever did...

And with the Yanks one win away from the series...

I have to finish the greatest love story ever told!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Woke Up This Morning...

...The house was cold, checked the furnace, it wasn't burning. Went out and hopped in my old Ford, hit the engine, buddy she ain't turning. Giving each other some hard lessons lately, we ain't learning. It's the same sad story that's a fact. One step up and two steps back.

Not only do I love the imagery of that song, I find it sticks in my head from time-to-time when I hear stories of marital strife.

I was talking with a buddy today and he was looking for advice in a strained relationship. I had nothing for him. I thought of the Bruce song and it stuck in my head.

The story of David Letterman's problems and the difficulties of the ESPN reporter, also brought the song to mind.

I may be naïve - I thought OJ and Nicole made a cute couple, but it shouldn't be that hard to get along, but it is - and the couples who make it might actually be more lucky than good, right?

In any regard there certainly are mornings when the furnace ain't burning or the engine ain't turning.

The trick is in taking the hard lessons and then learning.

When I was first married I was so sure that there were so many things about my structured personality that might get in the way of a healthy relationship, but my wife kept to the lesson plan, and slowly but surely, I learned.

What did I learn above all else?

Mutual respect.

I should have told my buddy that.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

If I Could Change the World

A few adjustments I'd make:

1). Tim McCarver and Joe Buck wouldn't be allowed anywhere near the baseball playoffs.

For the past three weeks I've heard the same stupid stories and McCarver has told me about eleven times that when the ball leaves the pitcher's hand it is going faster than when it arrives at the plate. Uh! Duh! and if it were to make an entire trip around the stadium by the time it got back to the pitcher it'd be going even slower.

Does he honestly think that we can't recognize that when it leaves the pitcher's hand it will be going faster at any point on it's trip? Announce that one - "Sabathia throws a 95 MPH pitch that seems to be picking up speed for some reason! It's now going 103 and 104 and 105..... SHUT UP!

Speaking of which, Joe Buck never shuts up. Every inning he tells me who is going to bat for the other freaking team in the next inning and last night he told me it was nine o'clock.

Shut-up! Let me watch this inning - next inning we can talk about next inning and I have a clock on the freaking television - I know what time it is!

LET ME WATCH THE GAME!

2). People who tell a story about talking to someone on the phone while holding an imaginary phone to their ear would be fined.

I know what a freaking phone looks like - put your hand down. Not sure if a comic came up with that one, but I think of it every time someone holds the invisible phone to their ear.

3). News anchors would not tell me who is not there.

Think about it - every time there is a news anchor on vacation the one who is in their place says - "Kevin is off today." Who gives a flying crap - start telling me the news - I never asked where the hell Kevin was.

4). Morons wouldn't be allowed to be on television.

I saw the biggest loser contestant who at 450 pounds was explaining how proud he was of himself because he dropped 40 pounds since the contest started. He was crying, and thanking everyone from the Pope on down. "Dude, you're still humongous!" I yelled before flipping the channel.

And that dumb bastard who hoaxed about his kid in the balloon?

And Jon and Kate?

And Jerry Springer guests?

All right maybe I wouldn't have enough people left to fill the television schedule.

5). Sports Interviews would be different.

Yes, if I could change the world I would make the sports stars say something - anything that might be different. The Angels are down 3 games to 1 right now. Want to know how the interviews will go?

Announcer: Can you get back in the series?

Athlete: We need to take it one day at a time. One out at a time. We believe that we are good enough to compete with the Yankees and no one else believes in us, but we are going to shock the world.

First off - the world doesn't care! As Reggie Jackson once said - "There are a billion people in China who don't give a crap."

Secondly, where are you when you get eliminated? Shouldn't you be forced to re-do the interview?

Announcer: I thought you were going to win.

Athlete: F--- off.

I'm just saying...

Now close it out Yanks...and shut up Joe Buck!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Love Wins One

Just scanning the paper during the Yankees loss last night (don't get me started) when I came across a couple of death notices on the obituary page.

There's sort of a stop-and-read-me type of element to it when you see the same surname listed twice and that was the case with Robert and Gladys Lloyd of North Tonawanda. When you see the husband and wife died on back-to-back days you might think of a car accident, or worse yet, a murder-suicide type of thing.

Yet this one was about love. Robert and Gladys were married for 74 years. Robert died on October 10th at the age of 103. Gladys died the next day, in the same nursing home at 104.

"They always just did things together," their daughter said. "If my father went, my mother went with him."

I'll say, and it is a storybook type of ending for two people who worked hard to keep it all real.

The obit goes on to speak of their lives together, raising children, sharing interests, cooking and sewing and working on model trains.

The whole story would not have been complete without one special quote from their daughter.

"They thought of each other before themselves most of the time."

If there is a line that defines love between a couple that must be pretty close to how it should be.

Yet it is not often that easy, is it? Relationships seem to come and go because people don't feel they are getting everything they want out of the person they are supposed to be sharing things with.

Wouldn't it be refreshing if before we thought about the next thing we want so desperately, we consider the desires of the one we vowed to share our life with?

Our journey through life basically boils down to a solo act. We will most likely be judged on our own merits, but when one of your true strengths of character is that you loved completely for 74 years, you sort of have a leg up, huh?

To Robert and Gladys - Rest well - you earned it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Discipline

I just read an article about CC Sabathia who was raised by his mother. Of course he is the wildly successful Yankee pitcher who will most likely close out the sweep of the Angels tomorrow.

Anyway, it seems that when CC was going through high school he struck a deal with his mother that he would not have a grade lower than a B. In fact, it was a one-sided deal because his mother's end of it was that as long as he stayed B or above, he could play sports. Anything lower and he was out.

That's kind of like telling the kids you get A's and B's and I'll let you live.

Lo and behold, CC got a C - in Spanish - senior year - while his basketball team was getting ready to play for the State Championship. CC's mother suspended him from the team and the big game. CC cried. CC's coach cried, but CC's mom stuck to her guns. He didn't play, his team lost, and he brought his Spanish grade up to a B.

I told the story to Matt, who has struck similar deals with Kathy, but as of now hasn't been restricted from participating. (Let it be known - Matt gets good grades and is a decent enough fellow, but he's seen a C now and then).

"That's crap," Matt said. "His mother sucks."

Actually, it's sort of the other way around.

Lately, I've been thinking about what it is going to take to try and get going again. How will what mattered before matter to me again? What will make me write? How will I go back out there for book-signings? When will I get all fired up about doing my job again?

Well, my friends, it's in the discipline. It's all about pushing yourself a little harder to reach your goals.

I'm certain that CC never really thought his mother would yank him off that team. He probably was pretty full of himself, and thought he'd get a free pass.

Life isn't about free passes. It's work, work and more work, to get ahead of the pack. It's about being disciplined.

I've said the word to myself about a hundred times today, and I feel better. I feel more focused. I hope I have the discipline to keep charging ahead.

After CC beat the Angels on Friday night 4 to 1 - his mother called him. She congratulated him on the win, but had one simple question for him.

"Why would you throw a hanging curve ball to Morales? Why don't you throw the fastball like I told you? You have a great fastball."

CC said that he didn't even bother to explain that he had pitched pretty well and that his team had won a big game, and that he needs to mix in a curve now and then. His mother would have shot down such a weak explanation.

Perhaps it might seem harsh, but she taught the boy discipline, and is evidently still willing to dish it out.

Pretty cool.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

All You Need is Love

If you're watching the baseball playoffs, (hey aren't the Yankees in it?), you can't miss John Lennon singing in the background of one of the commercials.

In fact, we've heard it so much here, (hey the Yanks haven't lost yet in the playoffs have they?) that Sam was singing along yesterday.

"You know who sings this?" I asked.

"No, but it's good," he said.

"It's John Lennon," I said. "Do you know what band he was in?"

All You need is love, Sam sang as he shrugged me his answer.

"The Beatles."

"I heard of them," he said.

Yet the real benefit of hearing that song over and over is because it is so simple, but so true. All You need is love

My 45th birthday has been special - my wife and kids presented me with a gold chain that now holds an Italian Horn that my brother wore around his neck for a lot of years. I don't wear any jewelery whatsoever - I've never really even owned a watch, but I'm wearing a gold chain now - and for the rest of my life.

Last night as I was watching the Yankees, I twisted that chain just before the A-Bomb from A-Rod (he's pretty good, isn't he?) and it was a mere coincidence of course, but my cell phone vibrated, and Sam came on the line. (For the first time all playoffs we weren't watching the game together).

"A-Rod," he said. "It's awesome, huh?"

And you know what was better than the home run?

Right, it was all about Sam's call ringing through.

"I don't know if I can stay awake for the end of the game," Sam said. "Will you tell me all about it tomorrow?"

Try and stop me.

All You need is love

To my wife and kids and my exceptional set of family and friends - thanks for being my companion.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Up, Up and Away

Not saying those parents in Colorado are lying about their kid supposedly floating away in the balloon, but if you are certain that your six-year-old is in grave danger and you need to make that quick call that can save his life are you going to phone the local media before dialing 911?

Speaking of which there was a woman in the Niagara Falls area who allegedly called 911 400 times in an hour or so because she wanted to be arrested. Now there is some drunk-dialing, huh? I used to do that to old college friends to aggravate them.

And this weekend there is a big commotion over a swingers weekend at a local hotel. The hotel has been rented out by a club of spouse-swapping people who are really upset as they feel they are being misunderstood by a non-tolerant society. Their story has been in the paper and on the news for about a week now.

What the hell is wrong with people?

In the case of the swingers they have been extremely bitter, saying that they have rights and are being shunned like African-Americans or Gays. I'm supposed to be a great liberal, right?

Well, I think behavior like that and then searching for publicity for it is a shame. Comparing yourself to the oppressed groups because you want to do some total stranger while your spouse watches. Weird.

What it all boils down to is that there are people out there in a great search for a little attention.

In this everyone-can-be-famous-for-a-little-while-if-you-act-like-an-ass-society there are people who seem willing to give up their wives, sons, and freedom just to get a moment on the news.

"Wouldn't it be cool to be on television?" Sam asked me the other night.

"I was on television for a couple of the books," I said.

"That had to be awesome!" Sam said.

So, I told him the story.

"I was on live television and the woman talking to me said, 'Let's take a phone call.' I looked up at the screen and it said, 'Jeff is calling from Hamburg'."

"Uncle Jeff!" Sam laughed knowing that what was coming was going to be funny.

"Yeah, and the lady said, 'Do you have a question for Cliff?' and Uncle Jeff said, 'No, just tell him the Yankees are winning 4 to 2.'"

Sam was laughing and shaking his head. "He didn't really do that!"

"Yeah he did, and when I got off the stage he called me on my phone and said, 'I know the camera adds ten pounds but how many freaking cameras did they have on you?"

Sam laughed, thoroughly enjoying the story about his tragically-missed Uncle. For a few moments he was silent.

"Maybe being on television isn't great," he said. "A lot of people can make fun of you too."

It seems as if Sam has the concept down. Now if maybe he can teach it to the millions of others who are frothing at the bit for their 15 minutes of shame.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mellencamp Writes This One

Between a Laugh and a Tear, Copyright 1985 Riva Music

(I highlighted the lines that have meant a lot to me over the past 24 years)

When paradise is no longer fit for you to live in
and your adolescent dreams are gone
Through the days you feel a little used up
and you don't know where your energy's gone wrong
It's just your soul feeling a little downhearted
Sometimes life is too ridiculous to live
You count your friends all on one finger
I know it sounds crazy, it's just the way that we live

Between a laugh and a tear
Smile in the mirror as you walk by
Between a laugh and a tear
And that's as good as it can get for us
And there ain't no reason to stop trying.

When this cardboard town can no longer amuse you
you see through everything and nothing seems worthwhile
and hypocrite used to be such a big word to you
and it don't mean anything to you now
Just try and live each and every precious moment
Don't be discouraged by the future, forget the past
That's old advice but it'll be good to you
I know there's a balance, I see it when I swing past.


Between a laugh and a tear
Smile in the mirror as you walk by
Between a laugh and a tear
And that's as good as it can get for us
And there ain't no reason to stop trying.

When paradise can no longer amuse you.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Don't Know Dick

Now that might sound like an awful title for a blog, but that's your interpretation of what I'm writing about today.

My version is clean.

Here in Buffalo, in case you haven't heard, we are having a problem with our football team. Actually, it is not a new problem at all. They have not sniffed the playoffs since 1999. A long time in any fans life. Nearly suicidal for some people here in this fair city.

Yet what have we had so far this year besides four losses and one lousy win?

We've had vandalism. After the first loss some fans destroyed the lawn of one of the player's homes. After the latest loss someone stole the statue of Thurman Thomas.

We've had bruglary. After the second game someone robbed our cornerback of his $400,000 necklaces.

We've had Hit and Run. After the last game a drunken fan allegedly mowed down six people including three cops.

We've had vulgarity. A movement is afoot to place a billboard in the city to coax the semi-coherent owner to fire the less coherent head coach.

The vulgarity comes in because of a crude play on Richard Jauron's first name.

Hey, it's football. A ball, some goal posts, cleats. Not end of the world stuff.

Most of the good people of Buffalo are able to process that it is just a game and that after losing this one, they'll play another one. (And lose that one too).

A few people can't seem to get a handle on the concept. They are vicious in their attacks and I imagine they consider their all-out assualt on Jauron as comical.

Yet I don't know Dick.

I don't know his family. I don't know his kids. I don't know if it is all his fault and even if it is, I don't know if he deserves a crude billboard denouncing him as a human being.

Fire him then. Let him go off down the road and get another job.

But attacking him? Running each other down in the streets? Robbing the players? Tearing up their lawns?

Yeah, they suck. Yes, you've paid a lot of money for tickets. Sure we all deserve a better effort, but if this is your way of going about getting change - then you don't know Dick either.

(See what I did there? It took a long time to get the last sentence right).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waist Deep In a Big Muddy

As I've been prone to do, I woke up in a bit of a down mood. I decided to visit a site where there was a big Red Sux fan so I could hammer him a little bit, but it wasn't as much fun as I thought because he just conceded that the Yankees were better this year. He wasn't passing along any wishes for the rest of the playoffs, but it was hard to kick at him when he was so congratulatory.

So I moved on. I decided to visit a site where the contractor is working on putting up a pole barn for horses. It's a nice little ride and with Howard Stern along, I felt my mood picking up a little.

I did my work, met with a few people, and then seeing the foreman across the way, decided to take a short cut off the pavement.

My left leg went into the mud up to the freaking hip. Having no way to balance myself, I had to place my right leg in close proximity to the left, or I was going face first. The right leg also sunk as if I were in quicksand.

The sounds of the laughter made my skin crawl, but I actually had a bigger problem. I couldn't get free.

The foreman was along in a New York minute. I was working hard to free myself but it was becoming apparent that it wasn't going to work without his helping hand.

"Say the Yankees suck," he said.

I placed my right hand on the pavement and pushed upward. It became clear to him that I wouldn't denounce the Yankees even if I were up to my teeth in the mud, so he gripped under the left arm and helped me out.

Now how do you regain your dignity in front of a crew of men after you just went three feet down in a mud pit?

"Thanks for telling me about the mud, a--holes," I said as I slipped back towards my car.

They laughed me out of the parking lot.

Yet the best part of the story is that I wanted a photo of what I looked like so I could place it on the blog, but as luck might have it, the camera was in my front pocket and the photos for the day didn't turn out. Seems like mud retards the photo-taking operation.

So, here I sit. No worse for the wear, really, but I do know that there will be six people who watched it happen who are going to start their dinner conversation thusly:

"You should see what this idiot did on one of the sites today...

No more Red Sux bashing for me.

Until tomorrow.

A Little Off the Top

With little to do to amuse me as the baseball playoffs decided on a week off, I decided to accompany Kathy and the boys to SuperCuts. I jumped straight into the chair.

"How do you want it cut?" the perfectly nice lady asked.

"Get rid of it," I said.

"How exactly?"

"I don't care," I responded. "You can't screw it up."

"Short on top? Short on the side?"

"Just shave it," I responded. "I just don't care anymore."

Something about my jovial tone must have made her realize that she had free rein. She took out the shaver and went at it.

I could hear the boys behind me. Kathy was telling them about how thick my hair used to be.

"Now his hairstyle is made up of mostly skin," Jake said.

Oh,they all laughed, including the woman shaving my dome.

I watched the grey hair fall on the floor beside my chair.

"Do you normally shave your head like this?" the woman asked.

"What's the difference?" I asked. "We're beyond the time when I could sit in your chair and say make my hair look like his," I pointed to the male model on the wall. He looked a little feminine to me anyway.

"Yes, I suppose we are," the woman said.

In moments I was out of the chair as was Jake. The entire staff was telling my boy how good he looked.

"What about me?" I asked.

"Oh, you're hot!" Jake exclaimed, and everyone down to the floor sweeper laughed.

So there we are, I've become a walking mockery.

Well, the joke's on them - I don't need to use my brush for at least three months. There isn't a hair on my head out of place.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

That's So Retarded

I never liked that word. In fact, whenever someone says it, it smacks me like a swear word. I can't imagine having a child who may be suffering from a mental disorder and overhearing someone just casually throw out the word - "retarded".

What brings it to mind is because I saw a young kid on a job this morning. He had a stud in his eyebrow, one in his tongue, one in his upper lip and two or three in each ear. He was standing next to an old-time construction guy.

"Did it hurt when you got those rings installed?" I asked the kid.

"He didn't feel a thing," the old-timer butted in, "because he's retarded."

For the first time, hearing the word didn't bother me so much because perhaps the old-timer was on to something.

The kid lisped something about time passing us by and how his generation was into the whole ring thing.

"Come on," I pressed on, "that one in your lip must bug you when you eat."

"No," the kid said. "The only thing that bugs me about them is when old guys ask me if they hurt."

"Looks like you got dressed near a tackle box that blew up," I said.

"I've heard them all," he said. "My father thinks I'm retarded too."

The second mention of the word caused me to cringe.

"You aren't retarded," I said. "You're just a little slow."

Lip rings, nose rings, eye rings and ear rings aside the casual use of such a word must be stopped. It is tossed out there in movies, comedy acts and in every day conversation.

The word is offensive at every turn.

Unless of course you are dressed for every day life as though you were going trick-or-treating.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize Nomination

Saw that Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and listened to the voices of opposition that say that he hasn't done his time yet.

I sort of agree.

I think the Noble Peace Prize should have gone to my wife. She has an insane ability to sense when a fight is about to start, and is able to quickly put an end to it before I need to get involved.

Yesterday we were watching the Bills game, along with the Red Sux playoff loss - both games made me laugh so hard that I was nearly crippled with pain. Bye Bye Ortiz and Pukoulis, and Papelbon (hey maybe now you know why Mariano deserves to close the all-star games).

And the Bills...My God. The interviews afterwards are funny. "We feel that we're moving in the right direction."

I'd love to bungle my job that bad and tell my boss that one.

Anyway, Jake and Sam were playing an NBA Live game. Unfortunately, Sam was winning. We heard what sounded like a controller being smashed off a wall, and Kathy was up and out of her seat.

She returned a moment later. "I just walked in and he started apologizing," she said.

All due respect to Obama, but he hasn't done that yet. Imagine him with the leader of Iran - (not sure of the name - spelled something like this though abhhlllsahhatyghah).

"I just walked into the room and he decided to drop his nuclear program."

Or when there actually is a war.

Jake and Sam were actually striking one another one day. Kathy intervened and in a matter of seconds they were on the couch, glaring at one another.

"You can't get up until you give each other a hug," she said.

"And a kiss on the mouth," I added.

They actually hugged after a few moments of silence.

Imagine Obama.

"Okay Pelosi and Newt Gingrich, no one leaves here until there's a hug."

Nobel Peace Prize?

Should go to my wife.

You'll never see a Republican hugging a woman.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

45 Freaking Years Old! Really?

I was watching the start of the Red Sux game the other night when the announcer stated that Jon Lester was born in 1985.

By 1985 I couldn't drink like I used to. I was preparing to enter my senior year in college, Born in the USA was still on the charts, and Mattingly was still playing.

All of this comes to light because next Sunday I'll be sort of celebrating the fact that I'm turning 45-freaking-years old. Me? 45? Skidding towards 50? And Jon Lester still ain't 25?

The reality of it all came crashing down the other night as I had a few beers with friends and family members.

"Look around," Chucky said. "We're the oldest people in here."

And it was true. The youngsters were looking at us with disdain, and wondering why the hell someone played The Allman Brothers, and the Rolling Stones off of Some Girls.

"Do you realize this album came out in '75?" I said as Shattered obliterated the quiet. Our table was the only group singing along.

Shattered, shattered. My brain's been battered. Scattered all over Manhattan.

"35 didn't bother me. 40 didn't seem like such a big deal, but 45 was another story," said a woman in the group. "At 45 it occurred to me that I wasn't even middle-aged anymore."

And I suppose she's right. Unless I go to 90, I'm well past the halfway point. As taught this year, anything might happen.

Yet 45? Seems real old to me today. Feeling burned by the angels, and sold wings of lead, I wonder why Lester gets to be 24 when I'm this old already.

Calls to mind something one of my old college buddies told me once - "It took me so long to grow up and such a short time to grow old."

Nothing to do now but sit back and welcome the party.

And pray that Lester has already pitched his last game of '09.

45 Freaking Years Old! Really?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Top 5 Reasons to Hate the Yankees...And Rebuttal

I get it. Not everyone shares my love for the Yankees. I do understand it, but perhaps I can change your mind.

Reason #1 - Their radio announcers John Stirling and Susyan Waldman suck. Stirling says things like, "There are two outs and if the Yankees get one more out, they'll be out of the inning."

He also says, "There's an A-Bomb from A-Rod," or "Nick Swisher hits a home run. That's Swishalicious!"

Rebuttal #1- I got nothing - they suck.

Reason #2 - They have all the money. It isn't fair.

Rebuttal#2 - Quick, think of it. Do you have a neighbor who is less fortunate than you? Did you ever think of giving him your television because the one he has just doesn't measure up?

Do you like another sports team who's owner won't spend money? Don't you hate him because of that? You can't have it both ways.

And the 1.8 billion spent since the Yanks last won a World Series? How much did they make in that time? 2.2 billion?

Isn't that less than the Cubs spent since they last won theirs? Didn't the Red Sucks spend a ton of money to break the curse?

Reason#3 - Derek Jeter is held in too high of regard.

Rebuttal#3 - Ridiculous. Good man, great player, Minka Kelly. Leave my boy alone.

Reason#4 - Obnoxious Yankee fans make it impossible to like the Yankees.

Rebuttal#4 - Isn't that great? I love ending every baseball argument by chanting "Twenty-six, twenty-six, twenty-six."

Maybe next year I'll be chanting twenty-seven, twenty-seven, twenty-seven."

And we teach our kids to do it too!

Reason #5 - The Legends, the Ghosts, the Holier-than-Thou Attitude, A-Rod, Steinbrenner, Reggie, Ruth, Mantle, Kate Hudson, Spike Lee, Rudy Guiliani, and all the freaking patting themselves on the back they do.

Rebuttal#5 - Really? You want a guy like me, who writes a blog every day, who writes books for fun, who the kids call an attention-whore, to get down on the Yankees because they seek to shine the spotlight over their own heads?

It's New York, baby, everything is bigger there. The Yankees have been hated since Babe Ruth ate his first three hot dogs during the 4th inning. It will always be that way and baseball needs the hate to flourish.

So, keep hating. The Yanks will keep winning, and those of us who call ourselves fans will continue to piss you off.

Last night, AN A-BOMB FROM A-ROD runied a lot of nights.

It made a lot of people smile too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thank You, Gow School


We're going to a ceremony tomorrow to memoralize the greatest guy I ever met.

It won't be easy, but it's a hell of an honor.

The Gow School has dedicated their new facility to the memory of Jeff.

If you get a chance tomorrow, send him your thoughts.

His life deserves to be honored.

Here's to you, pal.

We're trying to fill the empty spaces with love.

The Gow School is helping us do that.

None of This Has Happened Yet

Eight years ago today I was getting prepared to head over to The Women & Children's Hospital to learn about the size and severity of the tumor inside my boy's chest. We were in full emergency mode and our world was crashing down.

Fast-forward to last night. We were all on the couch watching the Yankees game one playoff win. Jake was between Kathy and me, making fun of me as I stumbled through a veiled threat to send him to bed early. His laughter elicited laughter from his mother, and though I grabbed for him, he went low and poked me in the ribs, giggling as he broke away.

And the feeling that I've been blessed, at various times in my life - blessings almost too overwhelming to appreciate - struck me straight between the eyes. I was in full appreciation for nearly a full 60 seconds of my day.

Then Jeter homered and I was even more appreciative.

Yet in this catastrophe of life there are certainly moments, memories, and instances we can certainly do without. Yesterday a co-worker said something along the lines of, "I'm counting the minutes until I'm out of here."

I said, "Don't wish away time."

He said, "Shut the hell up."

Still:

If we could go back in time and fix a few things...If we could strip away the pain that living brings...if we could appreciate everything that we are supposed to appreciate...man, wouldn't that be wonderful.

Yes, eight years ago today was a terrible time in my life. Eight years and two weeks ago I was a completely different man. I would never have fully appreciated that wonderful moment from last night.

And no, I'm not talking about Matsui's home run a couple of innings later.

I'm talking about mother and son sharing a laugh at the expense of Dad.

We're lucky to have that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Baseball Been Berry, Berry Good to Me

Last night, while on the road, I got a telephone call from Sam who was watching the baseball play-in game between the Twins and the Tigers.

He was calling me to get on me a little bit because the Tigers had taken the lead after I had predicted early last week that it would be Twins versus Yankees in the first round.

He was calling because it was a great game, with everything on the line, and it was a game that he won't soon forget.

It called to mind the Yankees-Red Sox play-in game when Bucky Dent homered. I was 13 years old then, and I was listening to my Dad about who would win and why.

My Dad was right by calling the Yankees back then, and I stunned my son yesterday when the Twins came back to win.

And that's what really matters. Now, tonight, the Yankees start their playoff season. The air is cool. The wind is blowing. The Yankees are favored, and I'm a little nervous with anticipation.

I'll watch every pitch with the boys sitting right there beside me - with one of them even rooting against the Yankees - and thanks to his mother still being allowed to live in the house.

11 wins is all each team needs to capture the World Series.

May the best team win.

And it better freaking be the Yankees.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's Always 3 O'Clock in the Morning

We saw the neighbors taking a walk with their newborn yesterday. Kathy was chatting with the happy mother as I spoke to the father. He explained that he was going out of town the next night and that life was tough when the kids are so young.

I thought back to those days and nights when sleep-depravation was part of life, and I felt bad for the poor bastard.

"She's just beautiful," he said. "I wouldn't want it any other way."

"Of course you wouldn't, but tomorrow night when your wife is chasing the kids around and you're laying in bed watching a rerun of Friends, you'll really feel bad."

My neighbor laughed, but he sort of cautioned me with his eyes to keep my voice down as if his wife didn't know that his night out would be restful.

And I thought back to a meeting I had with a woman last week - after raising a 16-year old she found out that she was pregnant. At the age of 40 she was planning to have a second kid with her husband. She seemed happy - "After all this time, God is Blessing us again."

I almost said - "That sucks!" when she explained that it was an unplanned event. I thought of her husband - the poor bastard.

And through it all I thought back to one of the first conversations I had soon after Jake was born.

My buddy Tom said - "It's the greatest day of your life, but within a couple of months, you're going to stand in the middle of the kitchen at 3 in the morning - and it's always three in the morning - and you're going to wonder why you (screwed) up your life."

All of this was swimming around in my head as I laid down to sleep last night. I was startled awake by the sound of my dog shaking her head violently as she tried to battle the ear infection that has been driving her crazy.

I was upset to have been shaken from such a sound sleep, but I turned to the clock, wondering how much time I had left.

The digits blinked back at me: 03:00.

Right on the button.

I thought of my neighbor and all the fathers out there stuck in the middle of their kitchen rocking a baby back to sleep.

"Lay down," I said to the dog, and three minutes later I was sleeping again.

Those poor bastards.

Monday, October 5, 2009

For All You Golfers Out There

Thanks for a great season...got this e-mail today and loved it.

Dear Friends,

Many of you may not realize it, but I've been very busy over the last three years putting my thoughts and ideas together in a book.

I believe my new book on GOLF gives the reader valuable playing tips and insider information I've gained through my years of lessons, struggle and experiment.

I am very proud of the results, and to assist with marketing, I am asking friends and family to help me out. I hope you find this a useful tool to help you enjoy your game much more while you enjoy the great outdoors.

The cost is only $9.95. Don't wait until they're all gone !!!!


Table of Contents:

Chapter 1 - How to Properly Line Up Your Fourth Putt.

Chapter 2 - How to Hit a Nike from the Rough, when you Hit a Titleist from the Tee.

Chapter 3 - How to Avoid the Water When You Lie 8 in a Bunker.

Chapter 4 - How to Get More Distance off the Shank.

Chapter 5 - When to Give the Ranger the Finger.

Chapter 6 - Using Your Shadow on the Greens to Maximize Earnings.

Chapter 7 - When to Implement Handicap "Management".

Chapter 8 - Proper Excuses for Drinking Beer Before 9:00 AM.

Chapter 9 - How to Rationalize a 6-Hour Round.

Chapter 10- When Does a Divot Become Classified as Sod.

Chapter 11 - How to Find That Ball That Everyone Else Saw Go in the Water.

Chapter 12 - Why Your Spouse Doesn't Care that You Birdied the 5th Hole.

Chapter 13 - Using Curse Words Creatively to Control Ball Flight.

Chapter 14 -When to Let a Foursome Play through Your Twosome.

Chapter 15 - How to Relax When You Are Hitting Five Off the Tee.

Chapter 16 - When to Suggest Major Swing Corrections to Your Opponents.

Chapter 17 - God and the Meaning of the Birdie-to-Bogey-Three-Putt.

Chapter 18 - When to Regrip Your Ball Retriever.

Chapter 19 - Throwing Your Clubs: An Effective Stress-Reduction Technique.

Chapter 20 - Can You Purchase a Better Golf Game?

Chapter 21 - Why Male Golfers Will Pay $6 a Beer From the Cart Girl and Give Her a $4 Tip , but will Balk at $4 a Beer at the 19th Hole and then Stiff the Bartender.

Thanking you in advance for your order.

It was a great season Chuck, Pops, Jeffy Boy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Part Man-Part Monkey

Kathy and the boys left the house last night to babysit a two-year-old. Dylan is a cute kid, but I don't hang much with two-year-olds anymore. So, I hung with Melky and watched a baseball game. I also found that flipping through the stations passed a few minutes time until 48 Hours came on.

I came across Kirk Cameron the former sitcom, Growing Pains star. Since that time he has sort of given up acting and is a star of preaching about God. Good enough. He seems like a decent enough fellow, but he is currently on tour disputing the Evolution theory and Darwin as a man. He was on for just a couple of moments, but I felt bad for him. Why is he bothering?

Did man evolve from ape? Is God the master of all creation? What do you believe? What does he believe? Why doesn't everyone believe the same things?

I coaxed Melky off the couch for a trip outside and since it was quiet, I decided to just sit with her and feel the cool air.

A full moon was staring back at me above the whispering trees in the back yard. The breeze sent a shiver down my spine, but it was so quiet, with the exception of Melky shifting around. The clouds hung dark and low, as if they were pushing straight down onto my shoulders. They were moving across the sky quickly, but they were blocking every attempt I made to see a star.

Yet there was the moon, shining so brightly that I couldn't take my eyes away. 12 birds streaked across the sky directly above my head, and the dog, finishing what he needed to do, came close and huddled up close to my right knee.

I thought of Kirk Cameron and his impassioned plea to consider God in the creation of all of it. I thought of the scientists who tell us that evolution is a fact and not a theory. I considered that the dog wanted his warm blanket instead of the cool evening air, and I looked back to the moon.

What the hell is out there? I wondered.

It dawned on me that I am not smart enough to know for sure.

"But there has to be a God," I said aloud, and the dog jumped up. (He knows that God is dog spelled backwards).

"There has to be," I said.

We headed back into the house, but I threw one more glance to the moon hanging high above me.

There has to be.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One Hit to the Body

The old Rolling Stones song, One Hit to the Body, came on just as I was pulling into the driveway after a quick trip to the grocery store.

I stayed in the car and listened to the hard-rocking tune all the way to the end, and a song that I'd heard was about drug abuse took on a whole new meaning as Mick wailed and Keith strummed. If you have the old CD - catch the line where Mick yells, So help me, God. So help me G-ah,ah,ah,ahd.

Awesome.

And I thought of One Hit to the Body in context of Ted Williams' poor head where reports are saying that some lab techs took baseball swings at it with a monkey wrench. What is going on, people? Who is that guy? Ridiculous.

And I thought of it in the context in which Mick and Keith supposedly wrote the song and the pain of addiction and the lines - I can't clean you out of my veins. The protaganist in the song obviously feeling the pain of the destruction he is leaving in his wake.

As the song ended the radio host said that the Stones were preparing a compilation of their great CD Exile on Main Street and that they have found a whole batch of songs that they never remembered recording.

And I thought of it in context of how I was feeling on a cold fall morning.

One hit straight to the body and one hit straight to the heart. That's all it took, that's all it took, that's all it took, so help me G-ah,ah,ah,ahd.

The song was blasting so loud that my ears were ringing in the cool morning. I'm sure that my neighbors figured that I'd passed out behind the wheel. Melky was watching me from inside the front door, most likely wondering what had happened.

It usually doesn't take him this long to exit the car with the bag of bones.

I left the car feeling better than I had when I got in. I suppose you never know what might happen on a trip to the grocery store.

So help me G-ah,ah,ah,ahd.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Foolish Behavior

So Roman Polansky fled the country because his wife had been murdered by Charles Manson's crew and he thought that 42 days was too much jail time for the rape he committed. After all, she was 13 years old, and that was a long time ago. Besides, he's a big-time director, and we should just let him go after all this time.

Boo-hoo - face the music - loser. You should have received more than 42 days in jail.

Ran into a guy today who explained that he is facing jail time because he returned from work, found his wife in bed with a good friend of his, and beat the guy with a baseball bat, breaking both of the fellow's legs. I asked him if he was sorry he did it, and he said, "Yeah, the guy was a golf partner of mine."

And David Letterman? Come on, now. He's another guy I really admired. His quick wit was always something I admired. He didn't deserve to be shaken-down, but it's hard to be a victim of a shake-down if you are up front, right?

Whatever. Just more bad behavior, I guess.

Yet perhaps the whole man-woman dynamic should be revisited. Maybe it is impossible to make it all the way through acting like decent human beings to one another.

Then again...

You never hear about the marriages that stretch from year-to-year in something that resembles happiness. The idea that people get along okay doesn't exactly conjure up enough emotions to sell newspapers.

I was standing with a friend of mine when we heard the co-worker tell the story of breaking his former friend's legs.

"I get along with my wife," my buddy said.

"Me too," I echoed.

"Oh yeah, what's she doing right now?" the guy who swung the bat asked.

We all laughed.

My buddy picked up the cell phone. "I'm calling her," he said. "If she answers on the 5th ring and is all out of breath, I'm heading home."

We laughed again.

It's not really funny.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Big Picture

Did you ever go to a movie and then feel as if you were an actor playing a part as you were walking from the theatre?

Movies are broken down frame-by-frame so that all conflict is resolved in a short period of time. Time is controlled, emotions are controlled, and issues are confronted and defeated.

Love looks better in the movies. The sex scenes are always smoking hot. The fight scenes are always crisp. Men get shot and rub the bullet wound. Women laugh and cry all in one sound.

I think the most weirded out I ever felt after leaving a movie was the first or second Rocky when my date said: "I wish you were built like Sylvester Stallone."

I believe that my answer to that was something along the lines of: "Don't hold your breath on that one."

Yet as I begin the third last month of the most putrid of all years, I've been playing a mental game to try and stay strong. I've been reminding myself at every down-trodden moment to remember the big picture.

This is of course, the first year when the picture seems somehow way out of focus. It's difficult to walk from scene-to-scene somehow feeling more like an actor than a real player in a real live drama.

Yet the goals of life are still there to be had. There are kids to watch grow up. More Bruce concerts. A Few Yankee championships (one is coming this month).

There are real live action scenes, perfect love, and God-Help-Me smoking hot sex scenes.

All right - I got carried away.

Yet the true heart of the matter is that it isn't a play. We aren't merely characters. We are in charge of the script, and how it all plays out is ultimately up to us as long as we can suffer the things that we can't control.

I'll never walk out of a movie theatre looking like Stallone did during his Rocky hey-day, but then again, I can reach the end of the story and still stand proud- all the miss-steps and disappointments aside.

Isn't that what it's all about? Keeping the big picture in focus?

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