Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Long, Troubled Road

The calendar is a strange thing isn't it? We normally flip it from one month to another without too much thought, but man, when December is turning to January there are so many plans to be made.

It's like we get a clean slate to work with, and there aren't too many among us who believes that it will just be the same old crap.

I'm not going to swear once in 2010.

I'm going to eat right, drink less, and lose weight.

I'm going to be kind to my family, dedicated in my work, and content in the decisions of others.

I'm not going to miss mass even once this year.

I'm going to help more around the house, change the oil every three thousand miles, and clean up that damn storage room.

And then...

Three days into it, we may be doing okay. Crossing everything off the to-do-lists, still eating celery, and swearing that our stomach shrunk.

And then...

"F&*@ it!" we scream knowing that we weren't going to hold it in any longer, and with swearing already off the list we shatter the remainder of the stupid resolutions we made.

"It ain't ever going to change!"

"Life's a bitch!"

"Who cares if the storage room is clean! It's a storage room!"

And we are back to square one on our long-lost journey.

Maybe not.

Maybe this will be the year when the train comes roaring around the bend.

There's still hope, right?

We worked on getting that back yesterday.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Want Hope Back

Reading about the alleged terrorist attack and realizing that I've been standing on a slippery slope all year, I have one freaking wish for '10 - I want hope back.

That isn't too much to ask for, right?

I don't want to continue feeling that everything is crap.

I don't want to feel like I can't pray for something (a habit the nuns beat into me) because now it won't come true.

I want to be able to think about wanting to write something new that is completely filled with the daydreaming of the past. Writing the non-fiction stuff absolutely blows.

Hope - I hope this comes true or that comes to be. I hope that I can dream free of worry.

Well if dreams came true, ah wouldn't that be nice. This ain't no dream we're living through tonight.

Did you see Bruce on the Kennedy Honors? When they were singing his songs you could almost here him thinking, 'Ah, crap they're screwing it up.'

And Melissa Ethridge has been through a lot, but she looked like Grandma Rocker out there. Ewwww.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program...

It ought to be easy to breathe deep, live right, and find hope. It shouldn't be too much to ask that life doesn't continue to kick the crap out of you in the upcoming year.

I hope it doesn't.

Practice it together - deep breath, count to ten, serenity now, family, love, don't grab that 2nd sandwich, don't eat pasta like a dog, Go Yanks, laugh through the Bills draft, golf, love, golf, drink a beer, deep breath...hope, hope, hope.


Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Group of People I Hate

They say that being prejudiced is lumping together one group of people and making assumptions about them as if they were all one in the same. If that's the case, I'm prejudiced.

I hate television weathermen and weather women.

I think of this today because it took me an hour and a half to travel 18 miles this afternoon. Now, of course, blaming the snow on the weatherman is a little short-sighted, but those unfunny bastards take credit when the sun shines, don't they?

Perhaps it's their banter I hate most of all - they pretend that they were behind the sun shining bright and if it does happen to snow or rain then they say - "Well don't blame me! Ha-ha, hee-hee."

Yet they also tell me how smart they are when they are tracking a system with all of their sophisticated radar and such - and yet - not one of them saw my drive-time hell coming. Why is that oh wise one?

My hatred for weathermen also comes from my troubled youth when my grandmother absolutely had to watch the weather three or four times a day - I remember having to pick her up one time and drive her to our home in North Collins, but she couldn't leave right away because the weather was coming on - and this was in August!

Yet as I get older I find myself tuning into the weather more and more - and the greatest complaint is that they never seem to get it right. What other job can you fail 80% of the time and still get a chance to go to work the next day? Oh, yeah, you can be a Buffalo Bills team member.

(Nice shot of TO clipping his fingernails during the game - he said he noticed they were long - you didn't see that in the week leading up to the game?)

Yet the very next day, there's the witty weatherman selling us another pack of freaking lies and trying to cover their ass by giving us two or three different forecasts.

"Tomorrow should be mostly clear, unless it snows which would make it unclear, but that shouldn't hold on for too long, depending upon where you are, the sun might be shining through the snow squalls."

WTF does that mean?

Yet to be perfectly honest with you I do have one guilty pleasure and that is in watching the weekend weather people who are new to the game - they are usually so nervous and try real hard to sound as if they know what they're talking about. I love watching them stumble over words.

Yet they should just relax even the most seasoned among them sucks.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Get Comfortable


My kids have snuggies. Isn't that wonderful? Now they can sit around the house assured of their warmth. Not that I'm against them being comfortable, but it is getting a tad ridiculous now, isn't it?

You see each morning I'm out of bed nice and early. Yet I have little trouble waking the kids as they are usually camped out in front of ESPN before I even hit the stairs. The problem, of course, is that they have not done much more than stumble from their beds to the couch. The dogs are begging to go out, and be fed. The coffee cup or drink glasses are scattered all around.

"We need to get them moving," I tell Kathy.

Being that Kathy takes a bit of time to get acclimated to a new day, she sort of shrugs me off.

And now she bought them freaking snuggies - I'm fighting a losing battle here!

But they look comfortable, don't they?

It might be something that would make my nightly visits with Judge Judy more enjoyable,wouldn't it?

Yeah, yeah, Pops, I know - that would have to be an extra-large snuggie.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wide-Eyed and So Happy

A couple of my nieces on my wife's side got engaged for Christmas. They are certainly reasonable young women with a lot going for them, but it was pretty funny hearing them talk about the future as if they were entering Candyland with sweets falling from the trees.

Of course, I was there to help talk their husbands-to-be through the upcoming days.

"Do you like dish-pan hands?" I asked one groom to be. He just sort of shrugged. "All the things you used to love are soon to be memories."

"Oh no," the clueless bastard explained. "We do our own thing and we respect each other's need to break free every now and then."

I couldn't stop laughing.

"Have you considered how it will be when you're sleep-depraved, chasing kids around, and cleaning the house ten minutes before the Super Bowl is starting?"

"We've talked it all through," he said. "We have a plan to keep everything interesting. We get along great."

I decided he needed a little Jameson's to understand. I poured the shots as he got a dirty look from his fiancee.

"You shouldn't drink that," she said.

"And so it begins," I told him.

Yet I was right there with two minor pieces of advice for him. What's an uncle for?

"First off," I told him. "On the days when you can't stand the sight of her, and hopefully there won't be many, stay clear. Don't say something that will change the relationship, or make it difficult to crawl out of the hole. Just get quiet, let a couple of hours pass, and it'll go away."

He looked horrified.

"Does that happen a lot?" he asked.

"For me, hardly ever, but it's easier to apologize for beaing quiet then it is to say your sorry because you blamed her for something that you created in your own mind and let fester to the point where you misplaced your anger."

"Sounds like you're back-tracking and saying that it is your fault."

"It's always your fault!" I said. "Men are usually the one's who screw it up and start thinking crazy - the women stay level-headed and we resent them for that."

"Okay, walk away when you're absolutely fed up and deal with it when you're in love again. I got it. What's your second piece of advice?" he asked.

"If there's something that you hate doing and she asks you to do it, screw it up royally and she'll do it herself the next time, but you have to be sincere in that first attempt and pretend that you're worthless because you weren't able to pull it off. You get out of doing the job, and you get a little sympathy too because she just figures you're pathetic."

"That works?" he asked.

"I only changed about three diapers," I said. "The first one I got poop on the rug. The second one I pinned upside down, and the third one fell off the kid when he ran down the hall."

I hung my head and lamented that I was a failure and I got a kiss and a free pass for the next several years.

"That's good, I think I'm ready," he said.

Poor clueless bastard.

Friday, December 25, 2009

So Many Blessings

It's so easy to lament what is lost. It's so simple just to chase your tail, and upon catching it realize that there's nothing you wanted to do with it anyway.

A couple of years ago my Christmas post was the words - God Gave Me Everything I want - and it sort of haunted me today as the kids ripped away at their presents, hoping that the next one was the one they really wanted.

Of course, there were smiles all around, and it does my heart good to know that they're safe, secure and relatively happy. It's our solemn vow that they remain in that frame of mind, but the cloud in our hearts this year can certainly block out the sun on certain days.

So...time to count the old blessings, right?

A great family - to my beautiful wife and equally beautiful kids - so much to thank each other for - day in and day out - a prayer that its never forgotten - not even in the darkest minutes.

Brothers, sisters, mother and father - in-laws, out-laws and dogs as my nieces and nephews. We know all about love - at least that much is true - and there's a cost for love - a price to pay - it's still worth the price. Don't ever forget the heartbeat.

Good friends - I have a ton of them - from years gone by - Gag, Rosie, Larry, Fluff, Lisa, Terry, Chris and Chris, Pops, Scott, Jeffie, John, Al, and on and on and on - not meaning to skip anyone but the list is so long and I'm so thrilled to keep in touch - it made my year to see most and talk to all, and the Yanks winning it kept us closer - so hate them if you have to, but they promote friendships.

Bruce! Three times this year - just as good as the first time in '83. Keep coming around!

My publisher and all at Sterlinghouse - you pushed me into the most important book in '10 - thanks for that - perhaps saved me - always thinking one step ahead for me -appreciate it.

Co-workers - I started watching The Office this year and it reminded me that you don't have to love everyone you work with, but luckily I have no complaints.

Health - health - health - stay hungry, stay alive. I'm always hungry - praying for the strength to stay on the beam. Too much left to do, right?

And of course, #27 - I feel #28 coming around quickly - no more waiting for 9 long years, right?

Merry Christmas to everyone who helped me through - help is still needed.

God Gave Me Everything I Want and I intend to hold on for dear life.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Look Up! Cheer Up!

So Christmas '09 is upon us. A year that sucked from the first month and continued to suck all the way, at least personally. Cheetah Woods had a better year than me, my family and most of our friends.

Today is the day we Look Up and Cheer Up!

As I was writing the story of Jeff over the last few months, I was struck by a memory of a night gone by. We were drinking beer (believe it or not) at my parents home. We had made the evening interesting by betting beers on one thing or another, and there were plenty of laughs with good friends and family. I believe that the gathering was a going away party of sorts for Carrie as she left for law school.

Anyhow, the end of the clear summer night found Jeff and I outside doing what needs to be done as beer makes its way through the system. We just happened to arrive at the door at the same time.

"Hang on a minute," Jeff said.

He sort of spun me around and pointed skyward. All of the stars were out and since it was such a clear night they were shining brightly.

"Look up," Jeff said. "Isn't it awesome?"

Eight or nine or ten beers in, I was sort of stunned that he was interested in the night sky.

"People don't look up enough," he said. "Life's pretty cool, isn't it?"

That was a moment from a night about 15 years ago. I look up a lot these days, not feeling that life is so cool, but it can be.

Look up!

Cheer Up!

Be Safe!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What Life Does

Imagine for a minute how excited you might be if someone finally discovered your beauty and decided to put you in a movie, and another movie after that, and paid you millions, and voted you one of the top 100 sexy people on the planet.

You'd be thrilled, right? You'd get to go to all the cool parties, paying the electric bill would be easy, you'd live in a great house with a big pool, eat the greatest food, go to the best bars. Ah,life would be sweet, right?

Cut to the end, where you're lying on your bathroom floor at age 32, throwing up, a table full of meds spelling out your last few hours as TMZ scrambles to retrace your last steps. All that life, all that beauty gone.

We're all just running through the forest with the wolf nipping at our heels, huh?

Thinking about Brittany Murphy and her death it's easy to wonder how such a downward spiral can happen. How do you end up gone at 32 from natural causes?

Now it may have been a fluke thing, right? Lord knows that any day can bring horror, but all reports are showing that things have been hastened a bit by strange behavior.

And how the hell do you get there? What makes you go so far down into the abyss that you can't pull yourself back up?

Life

That's what does it. Life and expectations and the next big thing, and the fear of failure, and the why 'does this work this way when I want it to work that way' bullshit that gnaws at our ankle bones.

While reading about Brittany Murphy's death I find myself in the strangest of all places. It's three days before Christmas, I have the first draft of the book I never wanted to write done, and I can't consider what it might be next that could possibly be fun.

All the things I figured out I'm trying to learn again.

As 2010 stretches out before me I'm really wondering - writing another book after this one is something that makes me want to empty the contents of my stomach. I don't feel like celebrating. I don't want to be sorrowful anymore, I sure as hell don't feel like exercising, but I'm not taking any pain medications either.

I don't know - I'm going to keep kicking at the wolf as he closes in.

The shame of it all is that Brittany Murphy couldn't, and that's what life does to some people.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Are You Going to the Game?

Stopped at Wegman's this morning, just about three hours before Bills-Pats was to start. There was a young girl in line in front of me - she was in a Bills Jersey and had the logo painted on each of her cheeks.

"Going to the game?" I asked.

"Uh, no," she laughed. "I was thinking of renting a movie and sitting around in this garb."

Behind me were two young guys with a case of beer. They too wore jerseys and were all fired up.

"I can't believe I've had three beers already," one of them said.

It dawned on me that they were me about twenty years ago.

"Are you going to the game?" the girl asked me.

I had a cart filled with bread, eggs, milk, lunch meat and dog bones. I was just trying to chip in around the house.

"Nah, I'm too old," I said. "That's a young person's game."

"Yeah, but you'll watch it, right?"

I do still watch the games despite my obvious disdain with the direction of the franchise. It's impossible not to be a part of something that is such a big part of the community, and I did feel a bit of regret, remembering all of the great times I had rooting for the Bills back in the day.

"I'll probably nap," I said.

The girl looked at me as if I had a horn growing out of the center of my head.

"You are old," she said.

Maybe so, maybe so, but I was warm, and the nap was good, and the pasta was great.

Getting Antsy

This is the time of year when kids all over the world suffer through the same things that adults battle every day - waiting for their ship to come in. These five days before Christmas are like those moments when you open the paper to check your Mega Millions ticket. Of course, it usually works out better for the kids because at least they get something at the end of the day.

Is it too much to ask to get one freaking number for my five bucks? How in the hell can I get that many numbers and not match even one? There should be a prize for that.

Anyhow...

The boys were a bit antsy last night. Before long hee-hee and ha-ha were in trouble because they just wouldn't stop. Hee-hee eventually got the message, but ha-ha was still driving us both crazy. As I get older I find myself saying things like - "It's after nine o'clock, we need to settle down."

After nine o'clock on a Saturday night is time to settle down? By ten o'clock, not having heard much for a little while I decided to check in on ha-ha.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He was seated on his bed with his hands folded in his lap as though he were practicing yoga. The television was silent.

"I'll just sit here until Christmas. God knows I can't laugh."

Of course I laughed. He was pulling reverse torture on me - and it was working - I was feeling lousy.

"What do you want for Christmas?" I asked.

"Absolutely nothing," he replied.

"So we should take back the two-hundred-thousand dollars of stuff we got you?" I asked.

I saw the hint of a smile.

"Give it to the poor," he said.

(Did I tell you my kids are wise-asses?)

All at once hee-hee entered the room and jumped on my back and ha-ha started laughing again and before long the entire show was back on the air.

It's going to be a long five days, but I don't think those presents will make it to the poor.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wallowing In It

Mellencamp's Jack and Diane has a line in it that everyone has sung to some degree - Oh Yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

Great song, good lyric - my favorite part about Jack and Diane though is the follow-up song Eden is Burning where Diane and Jack get a divorce - brilliant that he changed the names around.

Anyhow, this isn't a Mellencamp discussion. Yet I used to feel sorry for the narrator singing that line - Oh, yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

It clashes with my suck it up and tough it out lyric from another Mellencamp song, but over the last few days, I've been sort of wallowing in it - sore back, out in the cold, dead tired, lousy sleep, too much to do, going through the motions, more phone calls, a publishing deadline, friggen Santa Claus is coming to town, Damon hasn't signed yet, Bruce is on a break, tired, aggravated, life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone...

And in years past, I've enjoyed wallowing in it - I've even flourished during such times, but I'm sick of it this year.

I just read a survey that said New York is the unhappiest state in the union - perhaps I'm not alone. Yet I normally wallow for just a little while.

In fact, I came in off the road where I was free to wallow alone - and the dogs greeted me with wagging tails, jumps to the mid-section, and kisses that would have gone on forever if I didn't stop them, and the kids were happy, and the wife was glad to see me.

So, it's tough to wallow too long around here. Are you happy? Do you ever get stuck in the mud too long?

Suck it up and tough it out and do the best you can.

It's a better lyric.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What A Shame

Chris Henry was a wide receiver who made millions a year. The stats are easily looked up - four arrests, a couple of suspensions, and a sad, violent death. The recaps of his life are coming in now and everyone speaks of how he had straightened up.

Yet he died after getting thrown from a moving pick-up during a domestic dispute. I ain't a judge, but I certainly feel sympathetic that a 26-year-old man went in such a manner. A crying shame.

Another day, another story about Cheetah - now the wife is gone, or so they say. That is a shame for the kids, I suppose, and I imagine Cheetah will be okay somehow, but it's a shame that it's all anyone is talking about.

I had lunch with a dozen guys today and the the most prevalent thought was that he had to do it - he had women at his disposal - who else wouldn't do it? The women in the office were a little less understanding - they used to call him the greatest golfer ever - now they call him scumbag.

I see Oral Roberts finally met his maker. According to him they had an on-going discussion for years and years. Talk about scumbags.

He built an empire on the fears of a lot of other people, and played his charade out until he was a multi-millionaire. Now that he's gone I would like to find one person who clearly benefited from one of his miracles. Touching people and curing what ails them and then cashing the checks of the poor and confused.

Like I said, I'm not supposed to judge, but it's a shame if where he's heading now isn't unbelievably hot.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just Play Judge Judy All Day

Feeling as if I'm losing touch, I put the news on tonight. Topping the news was the Cheetah Woods story - no kidding - three or so weeks after the idiot drove off the tree, he was story number one. His wife was seen without her wedding ring and his doctor was being investigated for steroids.

Who cares? Put him in jail.

Second story was the exciting news that the worst actor of all-time, Keeanu Reaves is in Buffalo making a movie. They showed him getting out of a car without a coat! What a brave man - it was cold and he wasn't wearing a coat! They showed the footage over and over and then interviewed a pack of idiots on the street.

"I was so excited to catch a glimpse of him!" squealed one particularly giddy moron. "I just love him."

Yeah - rent November whatever the hell it was, with Charlize Theron and then tell me how good he is. Or the one where he played a doctor - that was a bit of a stretch now, wasn't it? He must have studied hard to try and say 'penicillin' without screwing it up.

Yet I was waiting for the news. Is our news just all entertainment these days? Aren't we fighting a war? Health Care? The polar ice caps melting? Bankers stealing the money again? Nothing!

The third story was about TO and the 5 and 8 Bills and how uncomfortable they were in going outside to practice for 45 minutes. I'd just spent the entire day outside, freezing my considerable ass off, and TO was all smiles telling us how hard he worked to catch the freaking ball the three times it was tossed at him.

I guess that's why he makes 6 million a year - poor guy - next time they make him freeze he should call OSHA.

So - I flipped the station to Judge Judy - she made me feel better instantly.

There was finally news as she tried to divy up the property from a relationship gone bad.

"Put your hand down!" she screamed at one of the clueless bastards standing before her.

Now that's entertainment.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My God!


Who is that pretty young thing dressed up as Dorothy from Oz? I know that Mr. Renaldo is going to have a field day with this photo, but that is me dressed up for Halloween in 1982.

It's funny but I can recall the party and why I dressed up in such a manner - it was so the good-looking girls would pay attention to me - I let them apply the make-up, and do my nails. They dressed me like a girl and then didn't bother talking to me for the rest of the night.

Yvonne, of course, was nice enough to take the photo - and then hang onto it for the next twenty-seven years so that she could send it on and dare me to write a blog about it.

Yeah, that's me - I'm pretty too. Look at those wonderful lips - women would go crazy to have those lips and those long eyelashes, right?

Not to mention that small waistline.

Uh, all of those things are long gone, and I haven't worn women's clothes in over three weeks now!

Just kidding, Kathy.

Honestly.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Believe it or Not

Yesterday afternoon my sister posted a blurb about an atheists claim that there is no evidence of God. The atheist contradicted herself by acknowledging that God had let her down too many times to validate that he existed. My sister rightly pointed out that acknowledging the existence of God invalidates the argument that he doesn't exist.

And everyone I know has been all across the board on this subject - everyone has an opinion and probably rightly so. After the comment was posted there were 23 different postings related to the topic. I didn't even get that big of a response to my all-time favorite sitcoms posting.

Yet 23 different people have 23 different views, right? He believes this, She believes that, This one doesn't believe anything and no one has the right to question what you believe...

I suppose that is about it. Do you care what I believe? Should I try and change what you believe? Is what you believe something that was force-fed to you at an early age, or did you see a shot of Mary on the face of a Pringle's Chip?

Every day can start with those types of questions and hopefully some sort of healthy discussion between what's in your heart and mind and how you conduct yourself.

If there is no God as this woman believes then why not just act as poorly as one would like? (Or like Cheetah Woods?)

If God didn't care, what would stop you from going for the dirty martini mix every thirty minutes or so?

I don't know. I choose to believe. What I believe is my business and I'd never try to bring you over to my side.

My belief ultimately is that you should have your own belief - and try not to batter me over the head with it.

But believe it with everything you have, or you're just an empty shell, right?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hooray! I'm for the Other Team!

Not sure what you have planned for 1 PM today but the Bills are playing the Chiefs in Arrowhead where the crowd makes it tough to call plays and where Jim Kelly is pressured into hurrying to make decisions.

Oh, this isn't 1992?

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Yeah, this isn't a can't miss game, but perhaps it should be. For the very future of the Bills it is a game where you should pop the corn, get your favorite drink, sit in your lucky spot, and root, root, root - for the Chiefs.

Yeah, the Chiefs. The Bills need to lose this game. What good is 5 and 11 when you can go 4 and 12 and get a higher pick?

Of course outsmarting everyone and drafting a linebacker from Erie Community College probably won't work anyway, but you have to try, right?

So, if I'm the coach, I do everything wrong - 4th and 28 after nine false start penalties? We're going for it? It'll be a little like playing my boys in Madden - their favorite play is the fake punt - and for the record, they make it every single time.

As someone who has been disenfranchised with the direction of the Bills let me tell you that it is easy to switch allegiances - and it's even kind of funny. They will always let you down- even when you think they have it in the bag.

Try my philosophy - go for the Chiefs today.

And now it's time for the predicition.

Bills blow it again. They win 24-20.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Faking It

I went to the one Christmas party that I go to each year and I was a little concerned that I was going to have to fake having fun, but thankfully, my friends picked me up. I even told a rather filthy, Larry David joke to about ten people and it went over pretty well. (Great joke, by the way - not fit for the blog).

And the difficult part of this entire year is that there is a gnawing in the back of the brain - things just don't seem as fun as they used to - I visited the Jersey Shore, Philly, Florida, and New York City this year.

I saw Bruce three times in three different cities. All rousing successes.

The 27-time World Champion Yankees brought the trophy back to where it belongs.

And still...

They say that when one goes through deep grief they either stay stuck in the grief or emerge on the other side with a feeling of peace and a new-found sense of calm.

I've seen the response in others, and I've actually felt it from time-to-time - the mundane doesn't seem so critical - but there are still moments when you feel you are just plain faking it, right?

At the party last night the food was great, the few drinks I had were actually refreshing, and the company was lively, but just a couple of short weeks until we are supposed to feel the best we've felt all year, right?

And I'm wondering about having to go through the motions.

Then again, the Yankees are spending money, Bruce is on the History Channel tomorrow night, and the Bills are going to shock the world (according to my boys) make up 6 games in the four games they have left, sweep through the playoffs and win the Super Bowl!

Yeah and Cheetah Woods is going to win the Master's.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Love This? Really?


I tried snow-skiing twice - the first time I had to catch a ride down the hill on the back of my buddy Jeff's skies - I was a little bit hammered that time, so I tried it once more.

I took a freaking date - rented ski's for both of us - paid for the freaking lift tickets, bought drinks in the bar, and proceeded to fall more times than a two-legged dog in the Idiatrod race. I hated every second of the night and nearly impaled said date as she tried to teach me how to ski. That one didn't work out. It cost me about $500 and I said I'd never do it again.

So, I took up snowmobiling - I followed my brothers on the trail - they were going ninety. I was going thirty, afraid that I'd end up in the bottom of a pond. They stopped and waited for me and we shared some frozen beer that we were carrying in a mason jar.

"Isn't this great?" my brother John asked.

On the way home I drove the snowmobile - his snowmobile - off a couple of mailboxes, and I was never asked to go again. I would have said no - anyway.

This morning I was up and out by 6 AM - I let the car warm up, but I had to clear the snow off the windshield using the right arm of my coat. My hand got in the way and I was freezing as I struggled behind the wheel.

I drove like a grandmother for about ten miles and hated every second of it. I've been freezing for the last ten hours.

And on Facebook I'm reading notes from all these people saying, "I love the snow. I love the winter!

Idiots, I say. Idiots.

This sucks - where are the 27-Time World Champion Yankees? I want my golf clubs.

Check out the above photo and tell me that stepping outside in that type of weather isn't more appealing.

Don't ask me to ski, either.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Big Snowstorm

Working outside a lot I must say that I'm not a big fan of the winter. Who wants to dress up just to function? The body works harder in the cold and all that, and like my dogs, I would much rather be warm.

Yet I live in the Northeast, in a city that has a reputation for snow (even though there are a lot of places worse off then Buffalo - snow-wise, anyway). So, there is a certain element of 'putting up with it' in play.

Days like today, though, I don't mind at all. I seriously doubt if I'm going anywhere at all.

The storm came blowing through at midnight. Everyone was already snug in their beds. There was little to worry about other than the idea that the morning would bring nothing except for a full house and a lot of noise.

My out-doors work will be shut down for the day. A day of setting up schedules and preparing for work hardly even seems like work. And it got me thinking back in time...

...to the Blizzard of '77 and how we were all stuck in the big house on Shirley Road - six kids, two parents, two dogs - plenty of fighting, laughing, eating, arguing, playing monopoly, laughing some more and not even worrying if the storm never passed.

Off of school for two weeks, the cops swinging by the house asking if we needed anything and then laughing when my father asked for cigarettes and booze. Similiar to the request I would make in this day and age, and laughing even louder when the cop who knew Dad so well, actually delivered the contraband.

There's a certain security to bonding through a storm. A belief that Mom and Dad would make it all right for us was a great lesson to learn.

During that blizzard I remembered being scared that the world would end, but after all was said and done, we faced the storm, actually had a good time, and made it through to sunnier days.

That's what I like most about winter - knowing that it will eventually end - and gaining strength from toughing it out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No More Tiger, Please!

I've had enough Tiger news. I don't want to hear anything more about him. I no longer admire him, will cheer for him, or frankly even care about him.

We have breaking news from Tiger Woods mansion - Elin was really pissed.

No kidding?

And Nancy Grace has been running the same footage for a week - Tiger making the call to have his name removed from someones phone. I've heard that ten times and that's just walking by the set.

Kind of reminds you of the OJ crap, without the bloody crime scene, doesn't it?

TMZ is reporting that Tiger Woods' Mother-in-Law is also pissed.

Yet the one person we haven't heard from is Tiger. Which begs the question, how does he respond? Does he cop to every feel he got, or does he deny? Does he play the sex addict card, trying to evoke sympathy?

Jesper Parnavik, the golfer no one knew about until now is more pissed than everyone else because that was his nanny for god's sake.

Yet I don't feel like Tiger can take enough punishment - yeah it's his business, but his business was in my business and if I have to cheer for him when he does good, I have every right to jeer him when he sucks. There are a billion reasons why he has to deal with it.

The writer of this blog is also pissed.

And therefore, no more mention of a certain great golfer - he's been banned. Like my sister said in an e-mail - I will no longer call him tiger - now he's cheetah.

Cheetah Woods - it has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Do You Have Any Hand Sanitizer?

I've officially lost it - I can no longer shake any one's hand without immediately thinking about getting hand sanitizer.

Today was particularly troublesome as I saw a bunch of people and immediately had to shake hands.

There was one particularly sceevy bastard who wanted to offer his hand and I kept pretending that I didn't see it.

Finally, he thrust it right into my mid-section - so I shook it.

Don't touch your hands to your mouth, don't touch your hands to your mouth, I kept thinking.

Thankfully, there was a bathroom nearby - I cleaned my hands and headed back out to the group- don't you know someone new came up and stuck their freaking hand out -

shake, shake, shake - asshole sneezed too.

The rest of the meeting was all about not touching anyone else - but of course, I shook about three more hands.

What am I running for office? Why do these people want to touch my hand anyway?

So stupid - I'm turning into Howie Mandel.

I found a bottle of sanitizer on my way out - cleaned my hands.

Cleaned them again when I got back in my car.

Don't worry about shaking my hand - I'm clean.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Move Over, Please!

Just read an article about a married couple in Manhattan who paid $150,000 for an apartment in the greatest city in the world.

Remember that price...

The apartment is 14X11 or about 175 square feet. In two years, they will own the space.

14X11?

The dog's crate is about that size.

Yet they own the place and live in it - they say comfortably. They have a couple of twin beds in the space and enough room to turn around. They keep their clothes in the cupboards and keep extra sets at work.

There is no fridge, no appliances - how could there be? But they say they're happy.

A 27-inch tv is on the wall, and they share the space without too much of a hassle - they swear!

They dump their garbage down the hall. Use the bathrooms in the building - and love the fact that they are so close. She said this - he didn't comment.

I can't imagine - they paid almost double for the space then I did for my house, and despite the comfort of my home, I don't even share a bedroom with my wife. I need my room!

14X11 - 175 square feet. You turn around and she's there. You try to head to the tv at the same time and you end up on the floor in a heap.

Who wants to bet that couple ends up divorced?

14X11 - God Help them.

People need their space, don't they?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our Shangri-La

To Corinne - Happy Birthday - a song about appreciating the day you've been given - by Mark Knopfler

Our Shangri-la

It's the end of the day for surfer boys and girls.

The sun's dropping down in the bay and falling off the world.

There's a diamond in the sky, our evening star.

In our shangri-la.

Get that fire burning strong, right here and right now.

It's here and then it's gone, there's no secret anyhow.

We may never love again to the music of guitars

In our shangri-la.

Tonight the beauty burns into my memory.

The wheel of heaven turns, above us endlessly.

This is all the heaven we got, right here where we are.
In our shangri-la.

This is all the heaven we got, right here where we are.
In our shangri-la.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

CJF Hammer

Just goofing around with the kids this morning and we got to talking about the types of raps we would do if we were indeed inclined to become hip-hop artists.

It started with my poor wife who has to face all of the ridicule and we centered in on the condition of her room as she tries to clean it up from the Christmas-shopping rush.

My name is Kathy and I'm here to say, my room's a mess....

We all paused as the boys searched hard for the next line.

And my three sons are gay. I offered.

I was roundly booed. (Not that there's anything wrong with it).

So now the boys were on my case.

My name is Clifford and I'm here to say, I like listening to Bruce most every day. I eat so much pasta its coming out my nose, and I hardly ever change my clothes.

Of course, my kids are not exactly Dr. Dre when it comes to rapping but we had a nice little laugh over their lyrics.

Yet the real shame of it is that normal rapping is never quite so tender and funny, is it? The other night my wife had Dancing with the Stars on and Snoop Doggy Dog was on.

Every once in awhile I like to force myself to be open minded. Now I know what you're thinking there - never has there been a mind so closed.

But I tried.

Snoop's lyrics went something like this:

My name is, my name is, my name is (the background singers were saying Snoop)

He then talked into the microphone, never really moving a muscle. I couldn't make out a single word.

Then there was a chant about having a good day that was repeated over and over until I finally made it to the remote. I tried. I honestly did.

My name is Clifford and everything's okay, I'm trying real hard to be hip today. My head is spinning and my heart is a mess, and how this will finish is anyone's guess. I don't have a glock, or a bb-gun, but this rapping and rhyming sure is fun.

My name is (Clifford) my name is (Clifford) my name is (Clifford)
There you have it...

Clifford, the husky white rapper.

Think I got street cred?

Fight Nice

I've kind of stepped out of the political ring this year. A lot of people have been sending me notes about how they figure Obama is doing, Sarah-Mania still aggravates me, but I haven't heard hide-nor-hair from W - so I figure I'm way ahead of the game.

Yet being that I don't have a lot of info - too much else on my mind - I was a bit dismayed when I heard there were more troops heading for Afghanistan.

Now, perhaps, I should be happy that we are fighting the good fight, but I just don't know. I figure that less fighting is good. Maybe I'm wrong. I just thought that perhaps we'd be able to step away from it - not so simple, I suppose.

No one has ever accused me of not being simple.

Yet I love to read the newspaper before I get started on whatever I want to write about and today was no exception.

I read about the student convicted of killing her roommate in Italy.

I read about a couple in Niagara Falls who were indicted for not watching their child who died of an overdose of drugs - allegedly - after getting into mom and dad's stash. That one was rounded out by a wrestling match between the accused and his ex-father-in-law.

There was a recap of the Virginia Tech shootings.

A story about a murdered college professor in Binghamton.

Fight after fight after fight.

My Dad used to tell us to fight nice as a way of scolding us.

Being that I'm such a lover of all things peaceful - I pulled over and wept after running down a possum one day - I wonder why.

There's too much fighting.

Perhaps I need to read something other than the newspaper before I start writing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So I Lied...

... had to do another Tiger post - thanks for the material Karl...

1. Tiger's new movie is out: "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hydrant".


2. The police asked Tiger's wife how many times she hit him. She said "I don't know exactly… but put me down for a 5."


3. Tiger Woods is so rich that he owns lots of expensive cars. Now he has a hole-in-one.

4. What's the difference between an SUV and a golf ball? Tiger can drive a ball 400 yards.

5. What were Tiger Woods and his wife doing out at 2:30 in the morning? They went clubbing.

6. Tiger Woods crashed into a fire hydrant and a tree. He couldn’t decide between a wood and an iron.

7. Phil Mickelson contacted Tiger's wife to pick up some tips on how to beat Tiger.

8. Tiger was a mailbox and a telephone pole short of his first "grand slam."

9. What does Tiger Woods have in common with a baby seal? They both got clubbed by Norwegians.

10. What’s the big deal ? He’s been driving into the trees for year.

11. Finally, Tiger has found an unplayable lie !

12. Ping just offered Elin Woods an endorsement contract pushing her own set of drivers. They are said to be named "Elin Woods… clubs you can beat Tiger with.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How Much?

It blows my mind sometimes when I hear that the infidelities of others truly don't carry a lot of weight in regard to the big picture.

I recall that Clinton's dalliances were greeted with indifference by some women. My mother shocked me by saying, 'Who cares?'

Of course, Tiger is story one everywhere. I was having lunch in a small diner in the middle of a small town somewhere in New York State.

"He's a billionaire. His wife has to expect it," one old guy said. "And what's the difference? He's still the greatest golfer in the world."

But I wonder?

My wife shocked me by saying that she didn't feel sorry for Tiger's wife. "She knew what she was getting into," Kathy said.

"Yeah, but bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless, right? Even if they had an agreement in their marriage, he still is making her look bad, right?

"Boo-hoo, she's loaded."

Yet does money take away the feeling of being betrayed? What is the cut-off point? How much money do you have to be worth before you're allowed to cheat? Aren't you also cheating on the kids?

"Don't worry about it," Kathy said. "You ain't close to the cut off point."

Considering that I'm worth all of three hundred bucks, I don't believe that I'll be in the clear anytime soon, either.

Then again, not sure I'd trade a trusting relationship for a tainted one - no matter how much I'm good for.

No more Tiger tomorrow - it just blows my mind that he'd do some of the things he's been accused of doing.

Having an affair while your wife is about to deliver your child?

Billionaire or not, it seems to be a real weak move.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

And Another Thing...

...sports talk radio is now talking about Tiger and his transgressions.

The announcer was saying that Chris Rock once said that, "A man is only is as faithful as his options."

That's funny...

Yet my wife should be in good shape then.

My options have been severely limited for quite awhile.

About a month ago I was getting ready to go somewhere and I turned to my brother Jim and made the mistake of asking him if "I looked all right."

"You ain't think of attracting anything, are you?" he asked.

Perfect.

Options limited.

Poor Tiger!

Wha! I'm so famous! Wha! I'm so rich. Wha! You newspaper people won't leave me alone!

I love the statements that come out after the fall from grace. Tiger admits to his transgressions, cites his values, his wonderful wife, and the belief that God will take him to where he needs to go from here.

All right - I suppose that is the only way to handle it, but then to cry and whine about the coverage that the tabloids blast his family with?

There are a billion reasons why Tiger is left to face the music. He sold himself to the world as being one way, and turns out he wasn't. Fine, who are we to judge, but to look for sympathy because people won't leave him alone?

Whatever - the OJ murders kind of laid rest to the idol worship in my life. I like millions of others marvel at the way that Tiger swings a golf club, but in the end, he's just putting a ball into a hole.

My son Sam chirpped in the other night when the story broke and we were all talking about the tearing down of Tiger.

"He hits a ball into a hole," I said. "He's not a hero."

"I wish you could hit a ball in the hole like that," Sam said, "But no! It takes you ten swings every time."

Granted. But for the first time I feel like I'm one up on Tiger.

Perhaps it is difficult to be a billionaire in a mansion with the whole world looking at you. Maybe it is difficult to live up to the idea that you're perfect and not prone to the weaknesses of the normal guy.

I'll give Tiger the benefit of the doubt - he isn't the first to have regrettable transgressions and he does deserve privacy in making it right within the framework of his own life.

But I don't feel sorry for him because the vultures won't leave him alone. He deserves it, don't you think?

I bet his wife thinks so.

Otherwise she wouldn't have been chasing him with that club.

Oh well, we will all gather to cheer him some more when he puts the ball in a hole quicker than we possibly can.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ah Come On Buffalo!

Some people accuse me of rooting against the Buffalo teams, but my wisdom on that is you can fool me a bunch of times but after 40 or so years I catch on.

The Bills and Sabres had been stringing me along for so long that I grew weary and now it is more fun to make fun.

But I thought we had a chance at this one.

Buffalo was shooting for the longest stretch of days without snow - we were real close to passing the 2nd longest stretch - we just had to make it to Friday - and it was 65 on Saturday.

"We're going to do it!" I told the kids.

Sunday...no snow. Monday...no snow.

The big weatherman suggested it might end.

"We can do it!" I yelled at my tv.

Yet lo and behold, it was all another tease.

I woke up this morning to see the blanket of snow. My first thought was about all of the people who had worked so hard to see the record be topped and how disappointed they would be this morning.

"We gave it a-hundred-and-ten-percent," Don Paul the channel 4 guy said. "In the end we just ran into a force we couldn't handle."

"We'll get them next year," Mike Randall concluded. "It's been a valuable learning experience and we'll be ready to beat that record. We're young and with a good draft...

Yet here I am again, just so let down. It's almost like that moment when Ronnie Harmon dropped the pass, or when Norwide pushed the field goal, or when Brett Hull stood in the crease, or the Music City Miracle.

'We'll get 'em next year' sucks.

I thought we had 'em this year.

Now where is my Carhartt? I need it until May.

Heather Heyer

She was a 32-year old woman who wanted to protest the white supremacists in her town. She got killed for her stance. And it's pretty...