Sunday, February 28, 2010

Bloopers and Liars

Thought I'd check in on a news show this morning just to see what the government is up to, and it was as if I hadn't missed a thing in the year I decided not to bother with all of it.

There was a talking head, a rep from the Republican party, and a rep from the Democratic party. The subject was health care reform, but it could have been whether or not the sky is blue,or black.

Basically it went like this:

"Blah, blah, blah, blah, you're a liar," said the Republican.

"No, blah, blah, blah, you're a bigger liar," said the Democrat.

"You lie! You don't have enough votes, you liar, liar, pants on fire," answered the Republican.

"We'll do what we have to do to give the American public what it wants, you lying son-of-a-bitch," countered the Democrat.

"You both sound like you're lying," said the talking head.

"We are both lying," the two said in unison. "How else are you going to know what to believe?"

Now I'm a concerned American. Hell, I have jury duty tomorrow. I vote every chance I get, but tell me if you've grown sick of it or not? Democrat versus Republican. Liberal versus conservative. "We have more in the senate." "You will never get it through the house." "Let's have a bi-partisan effort!"

Bi-partison?

Are you freaking kidding me?

"The sky is definitely blue, you misguided, conniving, moron," said the Democrat.

"I beg to differ. It's black from where I'm looking at it."

Can't we look at it together?

I switched the channel. The baseball network was showing the top 9 bloopers of all-time.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thoughts Collected

A few thoughts collected as we mourn the passing of Boner from Growing Pains...

--- They say that the actor who played Boner was a lifelong sufferer of depression and mental illness. He had a family that loved him...too bad he couldn't sort through it all. But how in the hell can you not be depressed when you're known to the freaking world as Boner?

--- So, Paterson isn't running for Governor. His term - all three hundred days of it - was rocked by scandal, claims of incompetence, and a lot of back and forth in the press. This coming off Spitzer quitting because of those damn loudmouth hookers, and a New York State budget in the shitter. And still people are lining up for the job. I have a better idea. Just do it by lottery. Send everyone in New York State a raffle number, have a huge ceremony, and draw the winning ticket. Whoever wins is Governor. Think of the possibilities: Bob the goat farmer from Amsterdam; Billy the cattle wrestler from Watertown; Jose the hot dog vendor from the South Bronx; Cliff the loudmouth from somewhere near Buffalo.

We all might do a better job then the prostitute-john from NYC or the Blind guy from Albany. How in the hell could it be worse? No wonder Minnesota elected Jessie Ventura. Maybe we can get Hulk Hogan to give it a roll.

--- USA versus Canada for the Gold. Little secret here - I love to bust on my kids and their rooting interests - I've been singing Oh Canada whenever they enter a room and I have to tell you, it's a great song. The Star Spangled Banner is awesome too, but you'd be surprised how many verses of Oh Canada I can sing. I'm driving everyone up the wall. Should be a great game. Which begs the question - why can't the NHL be that exciting? My prediction: Canada 5 USA 2

--- I'm slated for jury duty next week. I know it's my duty and I love the chance to participate, but how in this day and age is it practical for a working man to give up all their doing to help settle a case? And God help the other people in the room if I end up sequestered with the rest of my peers - I'd be like Felix Unger in that old episode of the Odd Couple when the other jurors wanted to convict him.

--- Speaking of government - it's tax time, right? Is there a more inflating or deflating feeling in the world when you hear the actual number from the taxman? I know Kathy has a number in her head, and I have a number in my head, and it usually is disappointing to hear the number the taxman comes up with. Ah well, what the hell can you do? Is Wesley Snipes still in prison for not paying? Pay the state, pay the federal government, and go back to work to pay some more. Please bring us a decent number!

--- The back is still shot from the crash-up derby on the skyway a few weeks ago. There aren't too many other thoughts in your head when you're hurting. The possibility of booze and pills is tempting to be sure. "Suck it up and tough it out," as my freaking kids are prone to say.

Who in the hell taught them that?

Friday, February 26, 2010

It's a Joke!

I wish I had a dime for every time I got in trouble for telling a joke... I have the responsibility of speaking in front of a lot of people, and sometimes, I can be a wee-bit off-color, or politically incorrect.

My boy came home from school the other day, looking a little worried. It seems he'd told a joke that he'd heard on Two and a Half Men and being that he goes to a Catholic school...well, he wishes he had a dime.

The joke goes like this:

If girls who have big breasts work at Hooters where do girls with one leg work: I-Hop.

I don't care who you are, that there is funny.

So, my nine-year-old tells someone, who tells someone, who says it in front of the teacher.

"I'm going to get in trouble," Sam says. "Everyone else already got yelled at and I'm the one who started it."

I see that he's about to break into tears. I decide to give him some advice that will serve him throughout his life.

"When the teacher comes to you and asks you about it tell her that you, "Don't know what the hell she's talking about," I said.

Deny. Deny. Deny.

"No!" Kathy screamed from her spot behind me. "Don't tell him that!"

"Tell her you thought hooters were owls," Jake says.

That might work.

Of course, Kathy was the voice of reason, explaining why it is wrong to mix such jokes with a Catholic education.

I sort of backed her on it, but I also realized that my boy is a Fazzolari.

This won't be the last time his search for a laugh gets him in hot water.

It's just a joke.

Wish I had a dime for every time I muttered that line.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

They Call Them Killer Whales

A lot of people today are considering the shock and the horror of the trainer being pulled into the tank by Telly the 12,300# killer whale in Orlando.

Yes, it's a horrible tragedy, but come on, you put something that big into something that is basically a bath tub and they are going to get a little bored, aggravated, irritated, and aggressive.

I'm sure that the trainer loved that whale. I'm sure that the whale loved that trainer. Perhaps all he really wanted to do was play, but his play is dangerous, you see? A KILLER WHALE plays with a seal, a dolphin, a human being, and you have to sort of expect that he may KILL you.

The story goes on to say that this is the 3rd time that whale has been involved in a human death. Telly was even isolated from others because of his past performances and still that didn't work.

In my mind there is a real hazard to dealing with killer whales, sharks, tigers, lions and even chimps that rip your face off. They are not people. We can not believe that they have human emotions.

They are not to be considered as pets, or played with as equals, because, in the end, playing or not, they can end it all for you.

I suppose that Telly has come to the end of his time as an entertainer.

There are conflicting reports about how much the people in the crowd saw. God help anyone who witnessed such a horrific tragedy.

What if there were kids in the crowd? How do you explain that to them? Shamu was just playing?

I guess the best explanation might be to tell them that they are killer whales.

That poor freaking lady.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random Thoughts - At Last a Funny E-Mail

Random Thoughts of the Day:

1) Nothing sucks more than that moment during an
argument when you realize you're wrong.

2) I totally take back all those times I didn't
want to nap when I was younger.

3) There is a great need for sarcasm font.

4) How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted
sheet?

5) I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery
bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my
groceries in.

6) MapQuest really needs to start their directions
on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my
neighborhood.

7) Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if
they told you how the person died.

8) I can't remember the last time I wasn't at
least kind of tired.

9) Bad decisions make good stories

10) You never know when it will strike, but there
comes a moment at work when you've made up your
mind that you just aren't doing anything
productive for the rest of the day.

11) I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out
of Word and it asks me if I want to save any
changes to my ten page research paper that I swear
I did not make any changes to.

12) I hate when I just miss a call by the last
ring (Hello? Hello? Damnit!), but when I
immediately call back, it rings nine times and
goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't
answer? Drop the phone and run away?

13) I hate leaving my house confident and looking
good and then not seeing anyone of importance the
entire day. What a waste.

14) As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a
pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the
mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

15) I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone
just so I know not to answer when they call.

16) I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on
any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses
begin with Miller Lites than Kay.


Bonus Funnies:


I was so depressed last night thinking about the
economy, government, healthcare, real estate
prices, the stock market, the federal deficit,
Iraq, Afghanistan, global warming, my savings,
Social Security, credit card debt........I called
the Suicide Hotline. ... I got a call center in
Pakistan .....told them I was suicidal. They got
all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Going For Gold

Caught an Olympic Medalist on a sports show yesterday. She was a skiier and had won a couple of the silver medals - Mancuso, I believe. In any regard, she sounded like a 12-year old kid, but she spoke of dedicating her life to the singular goal of winning those medals.

And I kind of like that. There's something to be said for setting goals and then achieving them, right? Most people don't aspire to gold medals, but that isn't saying that you can't shoot for gold within your own life, and even if you fall short, end up with a medal of some sort.

I'm not going to ever win a real gold medal. I sort of figured that out the first time I tumbled down a ski slope, tripped on the basketball court, nearly had a heart attack rounding the bases, or in my only football game ever, fumbled after being hit and watched the guy who recovered, take it to the house as they say.

Yet there is still gold there for the taking, right?

Matt and Sam are eager to tell me about how they are going to dominate the NBA for the next 10-12 years, and Jake has dreams of being the Halo king of all-time. They are still so ready to dream big, and I have to allow them to do that. I am always so tempted to explain that life will beat you down. They don't need to know that yet.

So, what type of Olympic sports would be good for me at this time in my life?

1). We could go the eating route - linguine and clams - I can still eat a bushel. I can medal with that.

2). Pissing everyone off? I'm still real good at that - just give me a few topics and make a couple of statements - I'll do my best to debate them as loud as I can.

3). Playing brickbreaker on the blackberry. I can't beat you with the high score, but I bet I can win a medal for sitting there and trying. Put on Judge Judy and I can play and listen for an hour straight.

4). Running a marathon race as long as the marathon is the distance between the couch and the stairs. Seriously, if they shortened the races it would be a lot more fun. Can you imagine the excitement of a three yard dash? I could still compete there.

In any regard, America is leading in the medal count - that is good news, I suppose.

Perhaps there can be even more of an incentive attached - say for every medal we reach we get our state tax back a week earlier than what the NY State government is proposing.

That skiier had excitement in her voice though, and it did my heart good to hear a thoughtful, focused approach to chasing a dream.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm heading back in the direction of the gold - I'm thinking the linguine and clams contest - there's at least a silver medal there.

Monday, February 22, 2010

USA! USA! USA!

That was a nice little win in hockey over Canada, wasn't it? I watched most of the game and was actually quite surprised, I thought Canada would take it - nice effort, thanks for coming, Canada has too much talent.

Yet it didn't work out that way and there are stories out about how it is another miracle on ice. It was a nice win, and I don't want to crap all over it, but it was hardly the same.

Before the game last night they were interviewing one of the American players who said he was born seven years after the 1980 game. He'd seen the movie and read about it in books, but certainly couldn't answer many questions about what lead up to that game. I mentioned to the screen that I'd already needed rehab by 1987.

Well, I remember all of that game. We hated Russia, and it's hard to drum up the same sort of hatred for the Canadiens. What're we going to hate them for? The metric system? Their goofy money? The eh crap? Their health care?

So, right there is the fundamental difference. It's nice to beat them at their own game, but there wasn't a cold war hatred for them.

And the game has changed too. The goal that beat Russia in that game, by Eruzioni, would've never gotten through last night - four defensemen playing goalie would've stopped it before it got through to the goalie, who is also wearing more pads now.

But whatever, I know exactly which seat I was sitting in when USA played Russia back in 1980. I remember the stupid news anchor from Channel 7 announcing the final score in the middle of the tie game. I remember the goalie, Jim Craig, skating around with the flag draped over his shoulders.

If you want the same sort of feeling now we'd have to beat Iran, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, and I don't think they could field much of a team.

But a win is a win and now they have to close it out. It may not be so easy.

That damn Russian team is stacked.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Whatever Works

I love Larry David - he's a comic genius. I also love Woody Allen movies - and despite what he did with his adopted daughter, I also consider him a genius. So, of course, when their movie was one of my choices, I jumped at it.

The monologue that David does at the start is worth the investment of time. He plays a negative genius who thinks life is a colossal waste of time. I laughed my ass off.

And Whatever Works was his mantra to make it through life's ups and downs although how well it works is up for debate - he jumps out a window twice.

Yet there were disturbing aspects to his personality - the OCD, the waking up in the middle of the night. The daily rants about how everyone is wrong and he's always right.

Reminded me of someone, not sure who.

In any regard, a movie worth watching. He calls everyone he meets an imbecile, which is just a classic word and one that makes me laugh each time. How can you be so condescending?

Imbecile.

Try it today on someone who aggravates you.

It's bound to make you smile.

Just don't jump out any windows when love doesn't seem to come around for you.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Challenges Ahead

All righty then. My last post was a bit of a downer, hey?

So, I did what I normally do when I reach the edge. I clean. I've done it after finishing every single book, and Kathy seems to enjoy this more than any other part of the writing process.

I jumped out of bed with my mind on doing the bathrooms. They weren't in too rough a shape, but I got right to work on it - cleaning both, even washing out the medicine cabinets. After that, I headed for a coffee, but while getting the milk noticed that I could clean the fridge. Did it.

Dusted the computer area, cleaned my television screen, vacuumed my room, and then down the stairs, one at a time. As long as the vacuum was downstairs, I did the room the dogs hang in, and just figured the hell with it, and did the rest of the house.

Then I got it stuck in my head that I needed to stuff a few peppers. I did the work, going to the grocery store in my pajama bottoms (the young, cute cashier asked me if I were giving up, and we both laughed), secured the necessary items, and then spent the afternoon cooking side-by-side with Kathy.

Nothing like a good meal and a clean house to lift you up, right?

Mental illness is something...

At dinner we spoke of Matthew and his driver's permit. Not sure how that one is going to work out. He keeps doing the Rainman "I'm an excellent driver" speech, but this is a kid who walked into a wall to get a few stitches, and ate a seven inch piece of roast beef that got stuck in his windpipe and had to be surgically removed.

When he talked about taking the car for a spin my mind did a real trick on me and took me back to when he was about four and was reading the names of the players on the video basketball game that he was soundly whipping me in.

So fast...seems like about twenty minutes ago.

And I've learned that there are challenges ahead each and every day. There is so much more to do... and man things are sparkling around here this afternoon, and the peppers were awesome.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day By Freaking Day

I heard from one of my best friends in the world today. Fluff from college called just to say hello and ask me why I've kind of gone underground despite the fact that I've tried to write something here every day. Seeing right through things he knew that I was sort of half-assing the effort. My buddy Terry alluded to much the same thing, and Rosie checked in to see if I was still afloat.

So, how are things?

They sort of really suck, to be honest. Nearly a year later, and it hasn't been any better, truthfully. Those that say that time heals, are mentally deficient, to be frank.

I don't know if you guys ever heard of Bruce Springsteen, but in Mary's Place from the unbelievable album The Rising, he asks, "How do you live broken-hearted?" (Listen to the words) - but the answer is not real well, most of the time.

I suppose that what really needs to happen is that there needs to be little mileposts set before you. Make it to Monday...okay...make it to Wednesday...just fine...make it to Sunday...pasta - see Monday and repeat.

I've always had a real problem finishing a book. Massive depression, actually.

This time, I finished the book I never wanted to write. Try that on for size.

So, I sit here thinking about what's next...

Sleep...

Grey Goose...

Bruce have a new album out?

Yanks for #28?

And still...

It all rings hollow...

Maybe those buddies checking in will be what carries me through.

I'll get there, I promise. That's what needs to happen.

Sometimes it just takes day by freaking day to make it up the stairs, and into the fire.

Cheetah's Sorry

What else could he have done other than what he did?

After months of being laughed at, scoffed at and chased with golf clubs, Cheetah heads home from rehab claiming that he is a changed man.

He still isn't sure when he can play golf again, and now everyone feels a little sorry for him, right?

F--- him.

How are the Olympics playing out?

I haven't watched any of it - keeping a sideways glance at the hockey, but I never really ever got into it. That's not Anti-American, is it? I guess I'm really not much of a sports fan other than baseball, am I?

I appreciate the work that goes into it - hell I was on the treadmill for a half hour last night and it about ruined me today. I can't imagine training like they train for as long as they do, but it seems that if they aren't wearing a hat that has an interlocking NY on their heads, I really don't care.

What else? Another long week coming to an end...no closer to finding the ultimate truths in life than I was at the end of last week.

Seems like I get more confused.

Ah well, maybe next week.

I had a better week than Cheetah.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What is Up With Ellen?

The other night I watched a full hour of American Idol. I've always considered it a karaoke contest and have constantly whined that we could be watching an hour of real singers instead. Or we could be learning about something, or reading something, or figuring out how to vote, or even watching Judge Judy.

But I shut my mouth and tried to judge the talent. Here are a few of my observations, and perhaps a little insight into why I can't watch the show on a regular basis:

1). I'm not invested in these people. I don't care if they entered the contest because they were molested by their Uncle and are searching for validation. I especially don't care if they start crying - they start the waterworks, I head to another room. I just want to hear them sing. We all have problems.

2). When they are voted off, they vow to one day become a star and get back at Simon. I hate this too - they aren't coming back - that's it - go bag groceries.

3). Randy Jackson. I dislike Randy Jackson, dog, 100 million percent. He says the same thing every time but changes the percent he either liked or disliked something. Stupid.

4). What's that girl's name? Cara? I hate her too. She sits there and dances as if her head is completely empty - and if Randy says 100 million percent - she chimes in with 100 billion percent. Moron.

5). Ryan Seacrest. Another performer that makes me cringe. He tries to be funny and isn't. He over-pronounces every single word - where's Dick Clark? Sick or not, I'd rather hear him.

6). Finally - we get to the real star of my horror show - freaking Ellen. Tell me(s)he isn't disturbing looking. First off, I dress better than her - and I can't say that about six other people in the world.

Plus, she looks like a man, walks like a man, talks like a man, dates like a man, but she wears make-up and eye liner. What's up with that? Make up your mind, it looks out of whack.

She isn't funny, doesn't know anything about music, and looks even goofier when she nods and bobs her disturbing head. Oh yeah, I have better hair then her too - which again, isn't my strong suit. Plus when they show her profile her crooked nose makes her look like the wicked witch of the West.

Yet I don't want to be mean here. She deserves the wheelbarrow full of money they pay her to sit there and aggravate me. Someone must love her.

But being a good dude, I didn't mock the performers as I've done in years past. In fact, a couple of them could actually sing, but I wouldn't memorize their names, or God help me, call to vote for them. In fact, I most likely will not watch again.

"Wasn't there anything you liked about it?" Kathy asked.
"Simon," I said. "He's the only on with any sense on the entire show."

No wonder he's leaving.

Those other people are enough to drive you nuts.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Guy Is A Red Sucks Fan


During the course of the long baseball season bets are made and people often run their mouth, writing checks that their bodies can't cash.

Of course, I really benefited from the 27-Time World Champions win last fall, collecting a few bottles (waiting to collect one more) and a couple of cases of beer.

The poor slob shown in the above photo, however, decided to really go for it. He bet another guy in his construction company that he'd wear the woman get-up if the Yanks pulled it off. The bet had the loser dressing as a woman for the company safety course which was just held.

I had heard about the bet, but certainly pushed it out of my mind, until I stood on the stage, looked out at the group, and saw the ugliest woman I'd ever seen in my life.

That's the way to start a presentation!

I had to step back away from the microphone for a minute as I laughed, and the man, being a good sport, stood and allowed me to view the back side.

Believe me, I showed you the good side.

Too funny- I'm taking wagers for this year - stand up and be heard! I love collecting on bets.

He looks a little like Youkolis, doesn't he?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pitchers & Catchers Report!

Ah, life is starting to straighten out a bit...the Yankees have already started to filter in - Jeter was on the news taking batting practice with a couple of the new guys, and they were not dealing with having to answer questions about why they haven't won in so many years.

Because they won it just four months ago!

The 27-time World Champion Yankees are ready to report.

Girardi changed his number to 28. The pitching looks good - Rivera is still the best closer.

How can you not be thrilled!

I'm so sick of hockey. Skate up and down - shoot at the five guys standing in front of the goal, shoot it the other way. Trap, goalies with huge pads - boooooring.

Then the NBA - one guy bigger than the next - they don't seem to care about their fans - Kobe, Lebron, brutal!

The NCAA's will arrive just in time to send me to the fantasy baseball draft and then...

Back to work trying to buy #28!

To all you haters out there - just remember - everytime you talk to me in the next few hundred days I will be sure to use the words - Defending Champions!

Monday, February 15, 2010

You're Too Fat

Man, talk about being embarrassed. Kevin Smith, the movie producer, of Clerks fame was sent off a Southwest flight because he was too fat to sit in the one seat that he'd purchased.

Rumor is that he knew it too because he always purchased two seats whenever he flew, but a shift in flight plans forced him to just try and give it a go with one.

So, where do you go with this one? So many different directions possible.

First off, how'd you like to be the flight attendant who has to break the bad news?

"Excuse me, sir, we have a slight problem."

With the fear of flying built in, every one on the plane would be looking to see what the problem was.

"Oh, miss, I'm sorry, am I in the wrong seat?"

"Well, sort of, you seem to be spilling over into the guy's seat next to you. The extra skin from under your elbow is resting in his coffee."

"Oh, my bad, I'll shift my weight in the seat here so we're all comfortable."

There's a loud groan and a slight release of gas as the pounds are shifted to the other side of the aisle.

"Is that better?"

"Well, now you're cutting off half the aisle. If we served drinks anymore we wouldn't be able to get the cart by your uh, what is that a hip?"

"So what do you suggest?"

The flight attendant's face turns a couple of shades of red.

"I don't know, salad, a stairmaster, therapy to get inside the real problems causing you to gorge at every meal?"

"No, I meant right now. What do you suggest right now?"

"Oh, we aren't taking off with you on the plane. Actually, we tried it once but we couldn't get any lift."

"I see. Well, can you help me with my carry-on luggage?"

The flight attendant grabs hold of the bag and immediately drops it on her foot, screaming out in pain.

"My God! What's in here?"

"Oh,that was just my in-flight snack. Sorry."

As he waddles from the plane there is snickering from the remaining passengers. With hurt feelings, the man spins around and confronts the mocking.

"I'm big-boned, and I'm starting my diet on Monday, assholes."

He shuffles off the plane and disappears into the terminal.

He doesn't really mind because there's a steak and cheese place right near the restroom that he realizes he desperately needs all of a sudden.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Continuing with tradition my wife made the announcement in the middle of last week.

"Don't get me anything for Valentine's Day, it's stupid."

Perfect, pressure off, and besides, I agree with her. Like Halloween it is for children. It is also sort of a made-up deal for big business in the card and flower industry. Fine with me.

Yet there is that impulse to at least acknowledge that you're someones valentine, right?

I started writing at 5:30 this morning - the third straight morning of doing so, and lost in the frenzy, I lost track of the time - until my wife delivered a hot cup of coffee for me.

And still, the Valentine's wish from my mouth was non-existent. I didn't even remember it was today.

When I finally broke free from the writing trance, I headed downstairs to hear my wife chatting with my mother. The conversation was lively, animated, and sure to boost my mother's spirits.

I headed downstairs and saw that my clothes from last week's road trip were washed and folded.

Still, I didn't say anything because Valentine's Day wasn't on my mind.

As I prepared dinner, and even cleared the dishes from the table afterwards, it suddenly occurred to me that we were in the middle of Valentine's Day.

"Hey, Happy Valentine's Day," I said.

"Yeah, yeah," Kathy said.

We were courteous and respectful of each other all day.

It was a perfect Valentine's day, but no different from any other day, really, and that's the true meaning of such a day, right?

Say right!

I saved money by not buying a gift.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hunter's Hope

In keeping with the bitter and sweet discussions...today is one of my favorite days of the year - the Hunter's Hope Day of Celebration at the Bills Fieldhouse. (1 to 4 PM)

First of all, how can you not love to participate something that has hope in the title? Hope is the one word we need to hold onto, no matter where we stand, and no matter how many times our hopes are dashed.

That's why we can start every year thinking...I hope the Sabres win the cup...I hope the Bills make the playoffs...hope makes the world go around - even when it is not based on anything tangible.

And there is nothing better than hope realized, right? I hope I get my check today becomes...I got my check today, weeeeeeee!

I hope the Yankees win the World Series becomes 'Welcome, the 27-time World Champion Yankees'.

And we always need something to look forward to.

What are we without hope in our hearts that someday we'll drink from God's Blessed waters? (Listen to the words!)

When you're talking about a life - particularly the life of a sick child - hope takes on a whole 'nother meaning.

Whenever I go to the Hunter's Day of Hope I look at the photos of Hunter Kelly. I listen to the music, sign a few books (I'm not doing that today), and fall on my face trying to run the obstacle course.

I think back to when my boy was sick, and how I hoped and hoped, and hoped.

I think of some of the sick children I've met while visiting Women & Children's Hospital, and how much hope their parents hold out in often horrifying situations.

And I think about hope.

Hope that we can taste the sweet with the bitter.

See you there? Come and get a little hope.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Can You Eat Bitter?

I was listening to an author interview today as I drove.

How's that for the height of geekdom?

The guy had written a book about his life - he dropped out of Princeton in an effort to study hard to become a Buddhist Monk.

I'm sure his parents were thrilled with that decision.

He went to China for two and a half years, and went through the trials and tribulations involved.

Not that any of that caught my attention, but he did speak of an interesting concept.

Can You Eat Bitter? is the concept and it is all about enduring the suffering of life.

The study was all about rising above the bitter, and handling disappointment, and as I drove I wondered about the man becoming one with his mind in an effort to eat the bitter.

Can you eat bitter?

The more I thought about it, the more I figured out that there isn't much of an option there - now is there?

You have to eat the bitter that comes with the sweet. Sometimes it seems that there isn't enough sweet to allow you to move forward, but I suppose that for awhile, at least, you consume enough of the bitter to sustain, and then you wait.

And wait, and wait, and wait.

But you have to eat the bitter.

And hope the sweet comes around.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Palin, Paterson, Pathetic

Dining alone and reading a bunch of newspapers. So much to catch up on.

Reading about Sarah Palin is a lot like looking at a crashed car on the side of the road, and hoping its not mine. I read a couple of her stump speeches and really barely stopped from throwing up.

She can't possibly be a candidate, can she? She makes fun of Obama for being a law professor as though being a hockey mom is intellectually superior to being a lowly professor. Shouldn't our leaders be more?

Then she writes notes on her hand to give a speech. I did that in 3rd grade. But...whatever...71% of people polled said she was not a worthy candidate for president. What the hell do the other 29% see? God, help us.

Speaking of God help us...I'm not sure what the hell all of this regulation is doing for us. In the construction industry there is a real government presence that is changing everything. We can't get any bigger, or any more in debt, can we? How in the hell can we get out of this mess?

Elect Sarah Palin?

And here in New York we watched Spitzer get the boot for picking up escorts and doing them in every state he visited, and we were blessed, or so we thought, to get a blind, black man who was going to get down and do the work.

Turns out he's a bit of a hound too - he admitted to infidelity on the way into office and now there's supposed to be a bomb waiting to be set off. It is supposedly about drug use and womanizing.

How'd this guy get to be such a stud? Have you seen him? Have you watched him govern?

What a mess!

I'm not reading the papers anymore.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

May I Help You?

I'm not a patient man. I've accepted that. I no longer make telephone calls to discuss accounts because I am liable not to properly hold my tongue and I may respond in a manner that is less than helpful. Kathy has revoked this privilege.

During the course of the car accident and the subsequent issuance of the insurance check, I had little choice. The check was made out to me...and the bank. I needed a bank endorsement before I could endorse the check.

So.

I headed to the bank and was met by a true dimwitted girl who had no idea what a check even was.

"I'll get my manager."

The manager was a slightly older woman, who seemed equally confused.

"It's an insurance check signed to your bank and me. We've already satisfied the loan to your bank. We just need to have you endorse the check so we can recover what we laid out of our account."

"Oh, okay," she said.

Ten minutes later she was back.

"I'm not sure if I can endorse this," she said.

"Are you in charge?" I asked.

"Yes," she said, proudly puffing her chest out.

"Well then who else but you would be able to endorse it?" I asked.

"Let me make a call," she answered.

Another ten minutes...see above regarding patience.

"There's nothing I can do," she said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Your check hasn't cleared yet."

"My check came from the dealer," I said.

"I still don't really understand it all," she said. "Can you come back in a couple of days?"

Now mind you this bank runs out of a grocery store. It's a convenient place, I suppose to put a bank with a bunch of clueless people.

She shoved the check back in my direction and then asked the question that absolutely blew my mind.

"Is there anything else I can help you with?"

I laughed. "Is there anything else you can help me with? Tell me, how did you help me so far?"

"I'm sorry," she said. "There's nothing I can do."

"So basically as a manager, you have little power? Some might even say you are useless."

She smiled. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

She asked it again!

"Sure, I have some cans in the back of my car can you carry them into the store for me," I said.

I got the laugh I was looking for from those in the back end of the line.

Unbelievably it took me nearly two weeks and seven unbelievable conversations with slow-witted people to finally get the check endorsed.

And you wonder why I have no patience.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hot & Dusty

Back about 18 years ago I worked with a project manager who taught me to always include the weather in my recap of the days events. This was during the summer months, and before long I was getting descriptive in my accounts. I used to always write something like, "Cloudy with a drizzle of rain," or my personal favorite, "Hot & Dusty."

The project manager used to laugh at some of the strange one's I'd come up with, but I thought of it again this week when a buddy texted from Philly to let me know how much snow was coming down.

"How's the weather there?" Gag asked.
"Hot and dusty," was the quick reply.

An my oh, my isn't this refreshing - people out there in computer land are whining and crying about all of the snow and the postponed school and the treacherous driving, and here in sunny Buffalo, we wait, and laugh, and laugh and laugh.

I probably shouldn't jinx it because we deserve our rep up here, but it is kind of funny to me. Whenever I travel people believe that it snows here 10 out of 12 months. Before long it tends to get on your nerves.

It's really only 8 out of 12 months!

Yet there is grass showing in some neighborhoods. It isn't really hot and dusty, but I bet it would feel that way to those goofy people who decided to take up residence in the snow belt of Philly, NYC, Delaware, D.C...hell, even the Carolina's.

I have one simple question for all of you.

Why the hell do you live there?

We're going to the beach this weekend.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Super Bowl Holiday

In keeping with our amusing ourselves to death way of living I suggest that the day after the Super Bowl be declared a holiday, and those of us that are still working can take the whole day off.

It's amazing, actually, the Super Bowl has become such big business, and is so huge -no one can escape it's reach. I actually enjoyed it a bit this year and that is because the kids were so into it.

A few thoughts collected:

After telling anyone that would listen that I'm so smart, I completely screwed up my prediction for the game - I didn't think Indy could lose. Thank God my wife and children are so good at letting me know when I'm wrong.

The Who did all right, right? I thought so - I've always enjoyed their music and was a little frightened that they would look old - they did, but that's okay. Why dissect every note? It was good to see them.

Betty White did the best commercial, right? Who doesn't like her? She's pretty funny no matter what she appears in. Those e-trade babies are good too - you can't lose with babies.

Yet there are some commericals that shoot for funny and come away absolutely pointless. How do they get through marketing when 2.3 mil is the price. Must be a lot of unfunny people judging those before they get out there.

I also wonder why they keep doing the post-game interviews - aren't they always the same? The no-one-respected-us line is getting a bit old. I know they invest a lot of time and effort, but why do they have to feel as if the world is against them?

Hopefully New Orleans can bask in their success and forget about Katrina, finally.

The Manning boys are still going to be all right, aren't they?

Finally, congrats to Sam who had 0-0 in the pool and won the first quarter - it was a pool of friends and family so even if you didn't win, you didn't feel so bad because whoever got the lucky square was someone you know and love.

I didn't win a dime and I was all right with it.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Simple Beauties

I must admit that trumpets don't go off in my head every single time I attend the Sunday services. There are masses that have even particularly annoyed me through the years. I hate the sermon where the priest discusses the church finances, and I know he's doing it in the interest of full disclosure, but I frankly don't care what it costs to heat the church.

I had a few cocktails and some laughs with a few good friends last night, but church was on the agenda, and I headed off alone. I find that if I hit a different mass than my wife and kids I can usually concentrate a little more, and yes, even enjoy the community of the event.

There weren't any trumpets playing today as the priest spoke of the Boy Scouts of all things. I glanced around - there were scouts everywhere, cub scouts, bear scouts, weeblos, and even a couple of eagle scouts. The guy sitting right next to me was in full uniform too, and he was a big man - let's just say that John Goodman could play him in the movie - anyway, I felt annoyed.

First off, I sucked at the scout game. I couldn't tie a knot for a lot of years and even now the only one I know does up my shoes. I hated the ceremony of it, the little ribbons handed out - everything about it - actually.

But there I was stuck between John Goodman and a couple of senior citizens. A funny thing happened.

During the mass the priest began speaking about the scouts. The big man next to me was whispering to his son about the meaning of the priest's words, and how it tied into what they were doing as scouts. The man was thoughtful, intelligent, and respectful. The kid was nodding along with his Dad, and I found that I was too.

Then the offertory song began and the old couple beside me began to sing. Their voices were perfectly harmonized. She sang high, and he sang a little lower. They didn't miss a word, their tune and tone just absolutely perfect. I didn't have to strain to hear them either as they were belting it out in a melodic symphony.

When the song finished I did something that totally surprised me.

"I really enjoyed hearing you sing," I said to the woman.

She beamed and thanked me. She even turned it up a little during her next number.

And I heard the trumpets in my head. For the first time all day they chased the remnants of the few beers I drank to the opposite corner of my mind.

And I thought of the simple beauty of life. Sometimes you just never really see it coming.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

With This Ring

Seems that Gov. Mark Sanford excluded the fidelity vow from his wedding, and his wife went along with it. I watched a few moments of her being interviewed on Barbara Walters and I couldn't get over the fact that she seemed to be shocked that he cheated on her, eventually throwing her aside for that Argentinian soul mate of his.

She probably should've seen it coming, no?

Then there's Cheetah Woods and his wife. Once more, not my matter, but can Elin Norweigan-Woods really take him back? 14 mistresses? How does that go down?

"Oh Cheetah, you left the toilet seat up."
"I'm sorry, Elin. I'll try better next time."
"This is the 14th time you've done it to me."
"I'm sorry, it won't happen again."
"By the way I've called you 14 times for dinner."
"I'm on my way. What're we having?"
"I cooked 14 chicken legs, peeled 14 potatoes, and made 14 ear of corn."

I'm just saying. Perhaps I don't know enough about forgiveness. Maybe she just has a bigger heart than me. I'm just saying that if someone had such a penchant for the poor behavior, I'd be a little skeptical every time they left the house.

"She's as big an idiot as he is," my mother-in-law said as she read the story about the Cheetah-Elin reconciliation.

Perhaps. Maybe there will be a 'forgive and forget' aspect to the relationship. I'm sure there are nearly a billion reasons why Elin needs it to work out.

The PR spin will be that Cheetah was sick, and he has changed, and that the kids need their daddy.

Good luck to the Woods and Sanford families.

I need to end this post - I'm 14 minutes late for helping around the house.

Friday, February 5, 2010

I Can Almost Hear You Sigh

Digging my CD's out of the old car for the switch to the new one gave me an opportunity to sort my entire collection as I put them in alphabetical order like Jack Nicholsen did in As Good As it Gets.

As I put them in order I stumbled across two CD's with Jeff's handwritten scrawl across the front - 'The best CD's ever made', it said.

He had made me copies of his mixed tapes with the best of the best on them.

His favorite songs.

I wasn't anticipating many surprises, but man, it was going to be tought to listen to. I carried the CD's around for a couple of days, and having a long ride today, I threw them on.

Very few surprises - Knopfler led it off, followed by a solo Pete Townshend, Roger Waters from Amused to Death (a great album), Bruce doing Shake, Rattle & Roll with Jerry Lee Lewis, old Rod Stewart. Good stuff.

I decided to sing along rather than feel sad, knowing that he'd be nudging me and asking if it was the best CD I'd ever heard.

Then the Glimmer Twins with Memory Motel and Almost Hear You Sigh.

I can almost hear you sigh, I can almost hear you cry, and then What'll I do without you, they say that life goes on. I'm feeling sorry for myself - can't believe you're gone.

The singing can't get much better! The words can't get much worse!

Damn!

I sang it out loud and proud and the speakers in the new truck were shaking a little.

Jagger gave way to Paul Simon, then to Stewart again, back to Knopfler, on to Bruce, closing with old Sting.

Man, they don't make guys who appreciate good music like that anymore! I thought of my buddy Terry and my sister Carrie, and brother John.

I thought of how much they would enjoy those CD's also.

The greatest CD's ever made.

I'm taking orders here - who wants a copy of them? They're guaranteed to make you smile.

By the way there's no L'il Wayne on them. My kids asked me that as I played the Stones for them.

'You can't spell crap without rap,' as a wise man once told me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Get that Edumacation

Saw that Indianapolis schools will be starting late on Monday so that the kids can work off their Super Bowl hangovers.

Great set of priorities there - way to teach the kids that football and partying is more important. I let the boys stay up and watch the 27-Time World Champion Yankees beat the piss out of the Phillies this past October, but I went to work bright and early the next morning to show them that responsibilities are still there to be met. (I had a headache, by the way).

But then again, we are a society that is amusing ourselves to death anyway, so why send a mixed message, right?

Here in Buffalo there's a story about a Pop Warner Football coach who was arrested for dealing drugs while the boys were practicing. When cops busted him he had $120,000 on him.

Good work if you can get it, I suppose.

Which brings me to the point - sometimes we need to question those that are teaching the kids, right? Thinking back, I had every sort of teacher imaginable (other than the hot one that picked up on the geeky, skinny (yes skinny), kid that was good in English). I had one's that hit me, others that didn't care, some who mailed it in, and some who I even considered a couple bricks short of a full load.

Yet I do know that teaching is rough and therefore teachers should get the benefit of the doubt in some cases. Earlier this year Jake was having trouble with one of his teachers and it drove me nuts because some of the things I was hearing was that the guy was being less than respectful. Now it may have gotten lost in the translation, but I didn't care if Jake was struggling with the material, I just wanted him to be treated respectfully.

As it turned out, the class ended with Jake passing and my never having met the guy -Kathy intervened and worked it out calmly, but there is a point here, and that is in knowing who is in charge of helping to shape and mold your kids.

Which brings me back to the hot teacher scenario. Kathy and I were watching a report of a beautiful blond with a 13-year old and I asked the inevitable question:

"Where were the hot teachers when I was growing up?"

My wife allowed the question to stand there for a moment, and then calmly responded:

"They were sleeping with the cool kids."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Catching a Sales Pitch

We've all met the crazy salesman who tells you all kinds of crap to try and get you to buy something. They act interested in your life, coo over photos of your kids, and lie, lie, lie to make the sale.

I know a couple of guys who could sell you your own shoes, and I'm gullible and impatient, so I'm better off not even hearing the pitch. I don't exactly get the best deals when I shop, but thankfully, through the years, I've been blessed to know people who see through the crap, and fight back. My father was always great at negotiating a car deal...and now my wife has the patience to banter a little. Just try and disagree, she'll show you.

Anyway, my wife walked into a car dealership, demanded the best prices, knew of all the rebates, shopped it all around, and called me to report.

She went through a few potential deals and told me about the salesmen she met. "There's an older salesman here. He lost his son to an aneurysm when the guy was only 36."

"Buy the car from him," I said. "I don't even care what kind of car it is."

"That's what I was thinking too," my beautiful wife said.

Unfortunately, I had to go to the dealer to sign the papers, listen to a bit of a sales pitch on an extended warranty, and drink a warm water while trying not to choke on my chew. Yet I also got to shake the hand of the old guy who sold us the car.

There were reminders of his grief all over his corkboard. Photos, well-wishes, remembrances. I imagined him sitting in his chair on the quiet days, reflecting, crying, hurting, and trying so hard to maintain the excitement of a salesman.

We were nearly done with the paperwork. I took the car for a test drive, and returned to find him there.

"I decided I don't want it," I said.

He looked stunned for about one-third of a second.

"Yeah, bullshit," he said.

You can't fool a salesman.

God Bless him.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ripped Torn

Man one of the best shows ever was the Larry Sanders Show, and actor Rip Torn was my favorite reason to watch that show. And he stole the funny scenes in Dodgeball too, but this weekend may have been his greatest performance.

The story goes that Torn went to his local watering hole, watered up, and then stumbled home.

Except he mistook the bank for his home. His key wouldn't work in the door, allegedly, so he used his pistol to shatter the window to gain entrance. He then removed his shoes, and coat, and went to sleep - on the bank floor.

Can't say I've never been there.

I once entered someone's residence, pulled up at their breakfast counter and ordered a Michelob Light. But that's because the Bills were on the way to the Super Bowl and I'd just watched them win the AFC. I still say that wasn't a crime.

But Rip Torn spent three days in jail and his bail has been set at $100,000. Word is he's checking into a rehab center.

All good stuff as he recovers.

And how did I recover?

The Bills started to suck - no good reason to get so excited anymore, and I got married and had kids - the fun is essentially stripped away. (Just kidding, wifey!)

Yet Rip Torn is 78 - time to settle a bit, huh? Call Gary Shandling and start the show again.

It beats trying to sleep on a cold bank floor with your pistol as a pillow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bah!

My buddy texted me today - "How's it going, pumpkin?"

I texted back - "Sore back, work, busted-up car, sixty bucks to my name 45 years in."

His reply was: "You got $50 more than me."

And I really hate people that whine, but what I hate worse is not doing what I set out to do on any given day and I can't do that if my routine is upset.

So - Bah!

And the paperwork that needs to be filled out and total strangers calling me asking me for information, and the underlying theme that perhaps I'm lying to someone when all I need to do is get things in order.

The doctors wonder if the pain is really there. The car insurance people want to know if all the dents are part of the new accident, the questions come, the questions go, and my routine gets shattered.

Whatever - not the end of the world, right? What about those poor people in Haiti? Think they are worried about their insurance covering their blown-away home?

The paperwork for something like that has to be ridiculous.

So, this too shall pass - one of the greatest sayings ever, and not the end of the world by any means.

But it definitely deserves one big - Bah!

The Week In Review

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