Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Future is Still Coming!

I pulled up at the gas pump at a rest area between Rochester and Syracuse. I was pumping my gas when a man pulled up at the pump across the way. I'm not sure why, but I pegged him at about ten years older than me. He was nearly bald and what wasn't missing was grey. He had a bit of a paunch too, and he looked road-weary.

His wife exited the passenger side of the car and offered to wash the windows while he pumped the gas. I knew it was his wife because they were speaking of their three boys and how they wished they lived a little closer.

"What're you bitching about?" he asked. "I've driven every mile."
"Cause you think I drive too slow," she said.

I sort of chuckled because I definitely have had the same conversation with my wife.

She dunked the squeegee in the water and leaned across the hood of the car to clean the windshield. The man whistled at her and said, "I have a good view from here."

His eyes were trained on her backside. She flung the water from the squeegee in his direction and laughed. "After all these years," she said.

As she cleaned the windshield, he pumped the gas, and they got back to the conversation about their children. He said something about his daughter-in-law being a pain in the ass and they both laughed.

I thought of Kathy and I making such a trip and the hopefully still playful banter going back and forth. I thought of a lot of couples who don't make it through to the end, and I found myself admiring the man and woman - total strangers - keeping it real.

He put the gas pump back and noticed me for the first time. He nodded and I returned the gesture. I wonder if he was wondering about how much I'd heard. I pretended to look away.

He returned to the front of the car and examined his wife's work.

"You smeared the dirt all over," he said.

"You do it!" she responded. She dropped the squeegee and he caught it before it hit the ground.

"I'm driving," she announced.

"We'll never get there!" he said.

As she ducked by him, he pinched her ass, and she slapped at him.

Too cool. Too scary to see the similarities.

The future is coming and that much of it looks like fun.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Buffalo Doesn't Want LeBron

All right. I will be the spokesman for the City of Buffalo. I appointed myself to the task and then seconded the nomination.

We want LeBron to stay the hell out of here! We don't want him taking up our valuable billboard space because we need to advertise for our lawyers and we need to save space for the moments when we ask Ralph Wilson to fire the entire Buffalo Bills team.

We don't have enough money for LeBron anyway. Word on the street is that he wants to be a billionaire. If we pooled all of our money we probably couldn't come up with a billion. We can't pay you.

We don't have a basketball team. We used to, and they were good, but they skipped town for some reason. Probably to save us from having to pay the King the ransom.

Our night life won't be classy enough for LeBron. Unless he likes to go bowling and drink shots in between rolls, there isn't a helluva' lot for us to do. He could go down to Chippewa and run down bar patrons with Marshawn, I suppose, but that gets old real quick.

We want to be the only city that doesn't want LeBron coming to visit.

I don't know about you but I'm sick of picking up a newspaper or listening to a sports show that asks where LeBron is going to end up. Day after day there's a new rumor. Celebrities are begging LeBron to come play in their town. Cleveland fans are suicidal with the thought of him packing up and leaving.

We don't want him.

We handed the key to the city to T.O. and he didn't do crap. We like the simple life here. No pressure. No celebrities to beg you to come visit. Just a bunch of hardworking people who don't really care where LeBron makes his billion dollars.

They took our team away. You can't come anyway, but even if the Braves were still here, we wouldn't want you.

You're too popular. Too good. Too wanted. We don't beg for anyone.

So there, LeBron, as your head swells with the offers know one thing:

BUFFALO DOESN'T WANT YOU!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dog Days

I swear to God sometimes I read things on the 'Net that simply blow my mind. Like today, for instance.

I just completed reading a story about a contested will. Seems a man about my age, Bret Carr, is contesting the will his mother left behind to distribute a pretty size able amount of cash. Bret was all set to cash in when his mother left, but he found out that there had been some changes made. As an only child, there wasn't a lot of competition for the nest egg, but he lost anyway.

Seems his Mom left a bit of the cash to others. Namely her three dogs. Three million bucks, actually. One mil for each Chihuahua, so that they can live as they are accustomed. They also get the run of the mansion until their deaths.

Bret got kibbles 'n bits in comparison.

Can you imagine?

Your mother cuts you out of the will so that she can provide for the dogs when she's gone?

And these dogs had a grand time of it while mommy was still kicking too. Conchita had a $15,000 necklace that she refused to wear as a collar. She also has a summer wardrobe that set dear old mom back $12,000.

Every article of clothing I've ever owned isn't worth 12 grand.

How does that poor bastard even show his face around town?

"Sorry about your Mom. How are the dogs doing?" Would have to send him into an absolute frenzy, right?

And it's all within the parameters of the law. You can leave money for your pets.

It begs one of my favorite lines about dogs.

"Why don't dogs have money?"

Because they don't have any pockets!

That poor guy. His Mom loved the dogs more. Talk about a bite in the ass.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What to Do? What to Do?

The 4th of July weekend is mere days aways and we are struggling with the idea of what to do. The boys want to head to New York City for the weekend with the promise of possibly meeting up with friends and a Yankee game hanging in the balance.

I'm sort of in for that, but I drive a lot during the week. Do we need to sit in the car for that long? Really?

I'm thinking a water park somewhere, with food cooked on a grill, a few beers with friends, and chasing the kids around. We used to go to a Six Flags Park each year for the 4th, but we stopped when the whole trip became too exhausting, but I'd be up for that sort of fun again.

Fun. In the words of Chevy Chase, "We're going to have so much %&*king fun we're going to be singing zippity-doo-da out of our ass---es."

No matter what happens there has to be some sort of fun had, right? Think of the 4th of July celebrations of your youth, for instance.

In the town where I grew up there used to be a festival of sorts with a parade, fireworks and lots of food and drink. It's the American way. We earned our Independence and we should celebrate it in style.

Hopefully a plan will come together. The entire weekend will be stress-free. My sides will hurt from laughing and over-eating, and the beer will be sweated out as fast as it goes in.

The party will consist of time spent with everyone I've ever loved. The free beer will be ice cold. The food will always be ready and it will have been cooked by someone else. And the kids won't even think of whining about being bored.

Don't laugh. It could happen...

... and my ass will sing...

Zippity-doo-da, zippity day, my oh my what a wonderful day!

Day After Day

...life turns grey...like the skin on a dying man. And night after night, we pretend its all right. But you have grown older....life has grown colder...

And it is so easy to get down about things... and so hard to keep treading high above the rising tide.

As a growing man I loved Pink Floyd and their music, but wondered about how down the writer was...I studied Roger Waters through the years and gained a lot of respect...but...

I spent the evening with Sam and his constant giggle. The Yanks were getting spanked but we raised an app on the droid and answered questions about music.

And Sam was giggling because I knew the answer on every single John Denver song.

"Who's John Denver?" He asked. "Was he like the Rolling Stones?"

"Not exactly," I said, but there was so much good music back then. So many different ways to hear the songs.

"And you had one radio that got three channels?"

"That was it."

And it has to be like the stone ages to him, but he laughs as I answer the question about "These Boots Are Made For Walking."

"Nancy Sinatra."

"That's when you were born."

And we laughed. And everything that is grand about being alive shown through in my boy's eyes.

"Matsui hit a grand slam tonight," Sam said.

"I saw that," I answered.

"On Rocco's birthday. Do you think Uncle Jeff had something to do with that?"

"I didn't think of that," I said.

And maybe that's because I'd seen life as growing grey and perhaps it is because life seems colder.

"This was so much fun tonight," Sam said as I headed for bed.

You ain't kidding, kid.

You ain't kidding.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Growing Up

Saw the Adam Sandler movie Grown-Ups last night for Sam's birthday, and it was a lot of fun. Smiled a lot of the time, particularly when remembering doing some of the goofy, innocent things as a child.

We most certainly swung on a grapevine in the back woods, clearing the dry creek and landing on the other side. I recall being afraid to make the swing, but doing it so I wouldn't be targeted as a wimp...or more of a wimp.

I also thought about all of the big games we played as kids, little league, backyard baseball, and on and on. I couldn't help but consider those friends from long ago, and I could also sympathize with Sandler's character who is almost begging his kids to go outside and play instead of playing video games.

And most of all, I couldn't help but think about how fast it all goes. Sam turned 10 yesterday. I clearly recall laying in my bed on my tenth birthday, in disbelief that I had already been around for a decade! I kept saying the word. Decade. Decade. Decade.

Now, in what seems like ten minutes later, I long for the innocence of a summer day that never seemed like it was going to end. Of my father just opening the window and bellowing for us to return home, his voice echoing down Shirley Road, and us racing up the big hill before he started to flick the back porch lights. Once he started flicking the lights, we were late.

And I wonder about the fact that my kids don't seem to be having such a grand time of it. It seems so much different now. The information is at their fingertips, and there's just way too much information. It seems impossible that they will discover things that will surprise them because its all around. They have all they want and need, but is it too much? Shouldn't bouncing a ball off the garage door pass as a day's entertainment?

Growing up is too fast. Growing up in this day and age seems faster.

And I think about the people who seem to get lost in the stage, sort of suspended in life as a kid, even though they are now supposed to be making adult-like decisions. And those are the people I feel most sorry for.

I left the movie missing the innocence of the formative years, but knowing that it was good to finally have arrived at grown-up status.

And it only took me 45 years.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm No VanDerSloot

Watched a truly disturbing report last night about the women who are chasing that VanDerSloot Monster around. It seems that since he's been arrested for the murder of that girl in Peru, he's been receiving 50 letters a day ranging from women who want to get to know him better, to women who are proposing marriage.

Now to hear me tell it, I was always something of a ladies man myself. I often tell Kathy and the boys that: Chicks dig me because I very rarely wear underwear and when I do it is something usually erotic.

Of course I stole the line from a college roommate who remembered it from the movie Stripes, but I use it to make a point that I was a well-sought after man.

Of course, it's a lie. I made the whole thing up. I was a very pathetic dater who was not so vigourously pursued by anyone. If Kathy hadn't of seen something very few others did, I'd be the Nicholson character from As Good As It Gets about now.

But I fail to understand the women mailing their underwear to VanDerSloot. The man murdered one woman definitely, and most likely his body count is at least two. Women. Murdered. Sexually assaulted. Dead.

And these women want him?

I couldn't even get a girl to do the slow skate with me at the roller rink. (Of course, I was wearing my cousin Carol's hand-me-down skates, but I can't blame it all on that).

What is it with the girls who like the bad guy routine? I saw it plenty in high school where the girls ignored my sweetly written notes and sucked face with the burned out druggie behind the school library.

I see it every now and then when a beautiful girl shakes her hair out of a motorcycle helmet getting off a bike driven by one of the members of Hell's Angels.

Why wasn't I ever the tough guy? How come I could never pull off the bad boy image?

"Girls think he's cute," I said to Kathy as we watched the coverage of VanDerSloot.

"Do you?"

"I'd like to strangle him," Kathy said.

See? My wife has her sensibilities. Perhaps I did okay with my aw-shucks-women are to be treated like princesses-very rarely wear underwear-image.

I do know one thing for sure. My future romance will be far better than the one that VanDerSloot is able to conjure up in prison for the rest of his life.

I just knew that my cousin Carol's long, white, very girlie looking skates would pay off.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Someone's Daughter

I don't know why I'm thinking about this today. Perhaps its the result of having gone to a stag last weekend and seeing a couple of young girls dance.

Maybe it's from years ago when on a trip to Florida I stepped into a bar with my brother by my side. A completely nude girl was working her way down the pole in the center of the room.

"Wanna' get a beer here?" My brother asked as she landed on the floor in front of us.

"Good a place as any," I said.

A couple hours later, I sat at the bar with the stripper trying to figure out why she'd do such a thing.

"Pays the bills," she said.

And perhaps that's why I don't get entirely worked up about going to those places.

(Now mind you, there has been a time or two - shut the hell up all of you that have been there with me).

But this last time, I felt a pang of sympathy for the young ladies in front of me, groping on the floor for one-dollar bills that drunken guys were tossing at them.

Of course, this has been a lifelong dialogue with my wife. She too wonders what would make someone do such a thing. There would certainly have to be a disconnect somewhere, right?

I often wonder what the girl's father might think. I don't have a daughter, but I can only imagine what I might think if that was my own flesh and blood doing the lap dance.

They say that we are pretty uptight when it comes to sex here in the USA, but doesn't it sort of make sense? Those are real people going through that abuse.

As I've said, not really sure why I chose the subject for the blog today. Perhaps its the Youtube video I had in my inbox that showed something utterly, shall we say...personal ...between a young couple.

In any regard, I shift back in time to the conversation I had with that stripper in Florida. She wasn't ashamed. She enjoyed her "job". She didn't actually take kindly to me trying to talk her out of her next show.

"I've seen everything," my brother said as we left the establishment. "Trying to talk sense into a stripper. What a moron."

Perhaps he was right.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Why? Why? Why Oh Why Try?

Decided over a couple of cold ones and good company late yesterday afternoon that I needed an outlook change yet again. Been bottoming out and pulling myself up for months and months now. So, it's nothing new.

Woke again before five, but decided not to worry about it. Go with it. Shoot up and out of bed and face the day. All good. Smiling as I wrote a note for the boys so they can do their chores around the house. No note equals no work. I've figured that much out.

Got to the first job by seven. Thankfully the crew had started early enough so they were happy to see me and I had a good jump on a productive day. Head to job number two. Still a skip in my getty-up.

That's where fate played a hand.

I'm checking out the job, still humming American Land to myself when a bulldozer operator called to me.

"Is that your silver Escape parked on the street out there?"
"Yeah," I called back.
"Truck just smashed right into it," he said.

Now I've known this operator for a while and have busted his chops at times. I smiled and waved. Then I saw a man moving around my car, checking it out. Turns out he was the truck driver.

"Dude, I'm so sorry," he said. "I cut the turn short. I'll get you my insurance info."

I grabbed a cup of coffee as I waited. Halfway through the coffee I became a tad irritated, but decided, given my new mood, to ride it out.

It wasn't the end of the world.

Figuring I was done with the coffee I headed to a 55-gallon drum being used for garbage and tossed the cup in. But the cup seemed a bit heavy for one reason or another.

That's because my new cell phone went with it!

And you know how this is going to end, right?

Yeah, the drum was filled with water. The phone went to the bottom.

The driver handed me the paperwork.

"You ain't having much of a day," he said as I wiped the water off the phone and tried to blow into the battery.

I'd love to say that the insurance guy called me right away. I'd love to tell you that the phone turned on and I was able to save myself from an hour wait at the Verizon store.

I'd love to say that my good mood was not shattered into tiny little pieces that I spent the rest of the day trying to gather.

Where the hell is my bottle of Jameson's, Gag?

I'm fresh out!

Back at it again tomorrow.

Who the Hell is Lady Gaga?

Perhaps I am too busy occupying my mind with thoughts of the oil spill, or the war in Afghanistan, or whether or not Cano can continue to hit over .350, but I have no idea who the hell Lady Gaga is.

Is she one of those women who are famous for nothing, like Paris Hilton?

Is she one of the women who've flashed me a shot of their most private parts while getting out of a limo?

(Those come through my e-mail from time-to-time and since I'm a heterosexual male I might just glance to see what's doing).

Is she a great singer? A model? A brain surgeon?

I bring this all up because she's been in the news, or on the periphery of the news lately for giving everyone the finger at a Mets game.

(If I was forced to attend a Mets game I might be in a foul mood too).

She also showed up at her sister's graduation (I don't know her sister either) in a see-through dress, or flashed her boobies, or something.

(Didn't see the video clip, would've looked if it came across my e-mail - see above).

Maybe I'm way off base here. Perhaps she is a multi-talented performer who slipped through the cracks as I remained stuck in Stones-Springsteen-Mellencamp land.

That is possible.

I'm sure that my boys could enlighten me in one way or another, or even Kathy might have some idea. I sometimes get back in my car and find that the rap station has putrefied the inside of my truck after Kathy drives it.

That's my mission for the day: not real ambitious today - I'm going to find out who the hell Lady Gaga is.

I might even look for a song...

(better yet maybe there's footage of her getting out of a limo).

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Celebrate the Day

As an adult September 23rd has become a day that has a bit of meaning to me. It's Springsteen's birthday, you see, and as we grew to adults, I would have simply let the day pass with a nod of appreciation, but my brother Jeff turned it into something more. I remember one such September 23rd just a couple of years ago.

"Did you have a beer for the boy?" He asked.

"What?" I asked missing the moment.

"Bruce's birthday," Jeff said. "I just opened one."

"Jeff, Bruce has no idea that you're having a beer for him," I said. "He is absolutely clueless that you do that for him every year."

"I don't do that for him," he said. "I do it for me. What if he hadn't been born? Do you ever think of that?"

So, reluctantly, I gave in. I'd go down, get a beer and think of Thunder Road or Promised Land, and raise a toast to someone who wasn't right there with me.

"Bruce feeds off the positive energy," Jeff reminded.

Today should have been Jeff's 40th birthday. The pain in my heart is horrific as I write that sentence, yet there is something pulling me back to areas North of the Roadside Carnival where I store my hurt and self-pity.

Because I want to raise a glass and feed a little of the positive energy and I'll do it too, later today, free of the coaxing to do something that Jeff had to talk me into doing. He was unbelievable at that...the devil on my shoulder...making me have a little fun.

As the sadness threatens to overwhelm me on a day like today, I listen for his voice in my ear, coaxing, laughing, chiding, prodding, planning, scheming, and laughing some more.

The voice rings loud and clear as he makes fun of me for being sad.

"What's wroooooong with you?" He'd ask. "Have a little fun."

So, shot and a beer and a million wish you were here's.

Avoid the carnival. Hell, raise one for Bruce as well. Jeff missed his toast this year.

There's a dark cloud rising from the desert floor. I've packed my bags and I'm heading straight into the storm. Going to be a twister that blows everything down that ain't got the faith to stand it's ground.

Happy Birthday, brother. I still have your back.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Smarten Up People!

Howard Stern has a couple of guys who walk the street and ask questions of the public. Usually, it's great radio, and worth a few laughs. Sometimes it's downright disturbing.

Today they were talking about the oil spill. They asked which body of water was affected.

Do you believe that most people didn't know? One guy mentioned the Indian Ocean.

Are you serious? How can there be a healthy debate about anything in this country? Shouldn't there be a qualification test that we all have to pass just to have the ability to walk around upright?

And there comes a time when I'm left talking to some of these people and debating the issues.

Now, I'm no freaking genius. In fact, I'm downright ignorant when it comes to a lot of things. There is more that I don't know then what I do know, but for God's sake!

"What country borders the US to the South?" Letterman once asked.

No one could come up with it so he added a hint.

---i-c-o. was the hint.

Do you know that there was more than one person who wrote TEXICO.

The country that borders us on the south is Texico? Really? That isn't even how it's spelled. Are they called Texicans?

I'm not saying that everyone needs to be a Rhodes Scholar. Some of the most intelligent, thoughtful people in the world live in grass huts in a country you've never even heard of, but walking around here in America, with an opportunity to change policy, vote, and live free isn't there a responsibility to learn a little bit?

Ah well, whatever, right?

I just think that you'd learn a little just by rolling out of bed in the morning.

"Who's the Vice-President of the United States?" The Howard team asked one middle-aged woman.

"Dan Quayle," she answered.

Dan Freaking Quayle isn't even dumb enough to answer Dan Quayle.

Human wheels spin 'round and 'round. Help the light to my face.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Some Lucky Bastard

Heading out to see my Dad on Father's Day, I passed the funeral home and saw that the curtain was closed. Of course, I thought of what he used to say when I asked, as a child, 'Who died?'

"Some lucky bastard," he would answer every time.

And I knew he never meant it, the line was just part of his routine. The millions of great lines that will reverberate in my head until the day when I'm the lucky bastard.

Yet seeing Dad at the door today was difficult because without saying anything we are all going through the same pain. The dread, the hurt, the battle...the every day battle to keep our heads above the rising waters.

Father's Day is different though because there is an underlying respect in our greeting to each other. I respect the man he is, and the man he allowed me to be, and he respects the man I did become and the fact that he did the best he could.

And I'm thankful for that even more than the wonderful sense of humor that he displayed on most days.

As we sat and chatted we spoke of Santasario's the Italian Restaurant on Niagara Street. I had just been there.

"Pasta and beans with a side of hot peppers," he said.

"That's exactly what he ordered!" Kathy said.

"Of course it is," Dad said. But I could tell that he was proud that I had mimicked his order.

We all chatted for over an hour. Mom telling a story, followed by Dad, followed by him barking at my boys. All in good fun. All with impassioned irritation that hardly masked his undying love.

Happy Father's Day!

There are so many ways to get it done, but the phrases uttered by our Father's will stay with us forever.

"Who died?" I asked as our visit was winding down.

"Some lucky bastard," Dad said with a wry smile, but then he mentioned the man's name, and we lapsed into a sense of true loss.

As I kissed him goodbye, he handed me a can of anchovy's in olive oil.

"Who's going to give you a better Father's Day present then that?" he asked.

"Absolutely nobody," I said.

Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

APESHIT!


I normally golf with a couple of guys that we call Grape Ape for their ability to hit the long ball. One of the usual Grape Apes couldn't make it today so there is only one Grape Ape pictured. (I'll let you figure out which one).

Yet the interesting thing about today's outing is that Chuck is holding something in his right hand over my right shoulder.

It's the head of my putter.

And I broke the bastard on purpose.

I went apeshit to be exact.

Let me set the scene because every hole was the same. Drive up the middle in the 180-220 range. 5-wood about 150 to put me on the green or the edge of the green, in two, every single time. Then a putt.

Then another putt.

Then another putt.

Finally pick up the last one figuring I'm close the frig enough.

"God lets you play golf on any given day and he gives you two of three things," Pops said. "On the days when you drive and chip well, he takes away the putter. When you putt well, you can't swing it past the ladies tee. It's God's little joke."

I wasn't amused. In fact, it all boiled over at the 14th hole on a par three where I placed my ball an inch from the back of the green. Long putt.

Still a long putt.

A longer putt.

Close the frig enough.

"You can't take that," Chcuk said about the three inches left.

I picked up the ball and tried to throw it with all my might into the woods. It went straight down and made it about twenty yards. I heard laughter over my shoulder.

Not good enough. I threw the putter towards the cart, I thought. It landed in the green. Not on the green, mind you, but in it.

Still not enough.

Grape Ape and pals were silent as I picked that freaking club up again. I knew what had to be done. 7 years of putting up with that damn putter. I reached the backside of the cart and swung with all my might.

I must admit. I wanted it to happen. I wasn't sad at all. I hate that freaking putter.

Yet, you may ask, what did I putt the rest of the round with?

I had a spare, and it was beautiful. I two-putted the rest of the way. "You scared the shit out of the new putter," Tom said.

I felt better having the tantrum too. "It felt good," I said.

"On the scale of tantrums, you're about a third-grader," Chuck chipped in.

I'm not sorry it happened. We fixed the green. That freaking putter should never see the side of a ball again.

"I'm going to fix it," Chuck said. "And I'm going to whip your ass with it and sell it back to you."

Never! I say. Never!

Good riddance to a lousy freaking instrument.

Today I was the ape.

Don't Need to See It

...I don't need to see footage of someone being shot by a firing squad. Call me a liberal if you want, but I don't take a lot of solace in the fact that we as a civilization can't solve our problems with violence.

Doesn't do anything for anyone to solve the problem.

--- I don't need to see Miley Cirus' legs, or breasts, or any other part of her anatomy. She's only 17. Hasen't anyone ever learned from the Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan disasters? These girls shouldn't be paraded. They are children for God's sake.

Get back to me when she's 18.

--- I don't need to see another rapist, criminal, murderer, assaulter celebrating a championship. Pat Kane beat up a cab driver for a quarter. Kobe raped that chick. Why do we celebrate these people?

Now if someone on the Yankees does something free passes are handed out.

--- I don't need to see a soccer game...ever!

And what's with those freaking horns?

--- I don't need to see another contrite BP official telling me that everything is all right.

Tell that to the grease-soaked pelicans.

--- I don't need to imagine Al Gore having sex with anyone...Tipper or Larry David's ex.

And man she must be smoking hot if she can bag Larry David and Al Gore, huh?

Off to golf.

Just had to get a few things off my chest.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17, 1994

Reading that date, I'm sure you don't have any true recollection of what was going on.

But you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing on that day. Need a hint?

The Juice is Loose.

Of course, today is the anniversary of when OJ took a slow ride down a California Highway after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Now you remember?

I was also on the highway. My brother Jeff, Pops and I were on our way home from a week-long vacation in Baltimore. The vacation started with a dip in the pool of a hotel where we didn't have a room, included three Yankee wins over the O's, encompassed around 700 beers, and enough belly laughs with Fluff and Rosie to last about 16 years.

The things that weren't happening then...

I wasn't married. I hadn't yet met my kids. I could still head out for a week with my best friends, a car full of beer, and a belief that the world was ours for the taking.

Hell, I still thought OJ was a great guy.

I didn't see the slow-speed chase down the highway, but I remember exactly how I felt. Jeff was driving, Pops was sleeping like a baby in the backseat, and the Rockets-Knicks basketball game was interrupted by Al Michaels calling the chase as if it were a sporting event of sorts.

"He's going to kill himself," I said, horrified.

"If he murdered those two, he should," Jeff answered. "It would be the prudent thing to do."

We laughed, but inside of me something was really wrong.

OJ was all of Buffalo's childhood hero. He was great as Norberg. He was in the movies, was always smiling, and had the world by the ass. He owed it to us to be a superstar all his life.

How naive and simple I was. How unstressed and uncomplicated life was then. That long, slow ride sort of signified the end of my childhood, you know?

I was 29 then, coming off a weekend of laughs. Feeling as if life was nothing but a long, fun ride.

There's been a lot of days when the sun has shined directly on my face since then, but it's a different sort of sun and it was one of the first times realizing that the sun can slip behind the clouds for long, long stretches of time. You know?

What were you doing back then?

And now OJ is a 10X10 wondering why.

He knows why.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WIN MY BOOK!

Just a little over ten years ago I walked into a bank in New Haven, Connecticut to cash a paycheck. I was dressed in filthy blue jeans, a ripped shirt, and I was wearing a construction hardhat.

The teller was unbelievably attractive to me, and it wasn't because of her wonderful smile, or long blonde hair.

What she held in her perfectly manicured hands was what really drew my attention. This woman, whom I'd never seen before that moment, was holding a copy of my book Waldorf & Juli.

Judging by where her bookmark was, I understood that she was more than halfway through.

"How's the book?" I asked.
"Oh my God," she said. "It's hysterical."

I slipped my check across the counter. "I wrote it," I said.

She looked at me, down at the check, and then to the side of the book.

"Oh my God," she shrieked. "I love it! You're so funny! You have to sign it!"

Now I was a little embarrassed because I don't normally get such a response from good-looking girls, but I took the pen from her hand and signed the book. I had even more questions for her than she had for me.

"What made her buy the book? Did she really think I was funny? Did she think I was cute?"

As it turned out, meeting me seemed like a bit of a disappointment for her so I walked out of the bank with my money and she most likely tossed the book into the back of her closet, or sold it on E-Bay.

But either way. She had made my day just be reading along.

As an author, it is all about the reader. The book is not written with the reader in mind, but once it's out there, we authors love to make the girls shriek in happiness.

This Friday, SterlingHouse is giving away an autographed copy of my book, Nobody's Home. I worked hard on the story and was thrilled when it won an award at the New England Book Festival in 2009 in the fiction catgory.

For details on this free book giveaway go to http://sterlinghouse-giveaways.blogspot.com and for a chance to win follow SterlingHouse on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SterlingHouse

Win the book - read along. Make my day!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just Wondering

How do the parents of the girl sailing around the world in a boat not get into some sort of trouble?

Think about it...if I leave my minor children home alone and go drinking or gambling (it could happen)... I would be arrested. Sending them out in a canoe to sail the ocean is okay?

I wonder why the statue of Jesus was struck by lightning in Ohio. The six-story statue was lit up by the lightning bolt. Is Dad mad for some reason? Is it a sign of things to come? Just a pitch that got away?

I'm sure someone will come up with a reason for it and some of the freaks will drop to their knees in supplication.

Don't you think that there should be a sign on the door of all strip clubs that says, "Dimwitted football players not allowed?"

Vince Young is the latest to get in trouble there. He's really, really, really sorry though...and it won't happen again.

I bet it happens again before the season starts.

And how about that dude that left his dialysis machine and headed off to Afghanistan to kill Bin Laden?

It's hard to be mad at the guy, but you have to wonder if he was fully prepared. He had a pistol, a knife, a flashlight and some hash.

Charles Bronson he was not.

Unbelievable. All pulled from today's news.

And that's not even to mention the 2.52 million gallons of oil that drifted out to sea today. All because safety items that were missed?

Poor BP...maybe we should have a benefit for them. After all they only cleared a hundred billion last year.

Clean it yourself.

Greedy bastards.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup Fever

It seems that all the rage is to see how your favorite country is doing in the World Cup competition. The USA, of course, is playing the underdog role, but received a heck of a boost when the goalie from England played a shot as if it were a cannonball.

Been there. Smaller scale, but know his pain.

You see, I've always hated soccer. I hate watching it. I hated playing it, and I really don't get the worldwide passion for it. Yet a lot of Americans have fallen into that boat. We don't treat soccer as well as we do football or baseball or even racing cars around a track. It seems a tad slow, doesn't it?

Oh well, to each his own, my pain runs much deeper.

I played basketball in school. I made the teams each year from 7th grade on and always loved participating. I didn't dominate, but I was there.

Well after one season my coach begged me to go out for soccer as well. Seems he liked having me on the team and figured I could loosen up the troops from my spot on the sidelines. I told him I'd do it under two conditions: 1). I don't run sprints and 2). He is to never put me in the game.

He agreed. He used to tell the other people on the team that I couldn't run because I was having my period, and as the year went on, I had a good time. I was sort of the Waterboy.

But the coach didn't live up to his end of the bargain...completely. We were short players one game and he informed me that I had to play.

I remember the game as if it were yesterday. I got sick of chasing the ball and was standing on the sidelines chatting with some friends.

"Fuzzy! The ball is down there!" Coach yelled.
"Don't worry, it'll come back," I replied.
"Go! Now!"

I never should have headed towards our goal. I was dead center in front of our goalie when the corner kick came roaring near. Pretending I could help, I raised my huge head and made contact with the ball. The goalie, Mike Goo, actually groaned, and the ball nestled nicely into the right corner of the goal as the other team celebrated.

I had scored an own goal.

The only goal I ever scored. Thankfully, the team won seven to one, and there were plenty of laughs at my expense.

Yet the ultimate came the following day as the announcements were read over the loudspeaker for all to hear:

"The North Collins Eagles won 7 to 1 yesterday, but the goal of the game was scored by Cliff Fazzolari who ruined the shut-out in the final minute by scoring for the other team. Nice header, Cliff."

So there. I hate soccer for good reason.

It only hurts when I laugh.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OHHHHHHHHH GAAAAAAAAAAAHD!

There's an old joke about a man who survives a plance crash that left all others dead. He is found stranded on an island suffering from broken limbs, dehyrdation, and a fractured skull. The interviewer asks him if he is hurt and he responds:

"It only really hurts when I laugh."

My legs are pulsating limbs of absolute pain. I walk like this today, step, ow, step, ow, step, ow, step %&*#, step, bitch, step, ow!

I remember lifting weights in college with my roommate who was on the wrestling team. The next day I told him, "If I could lift my arms I'd slap your face."

No Pain! No Pain!

Why do I forget that? What makes me think I can do the things I used to do? Then again, I never ran that far for anything, not even pasta. Why oh why?

Yet despite the pain I am still all aglow with what that event meant yesterday. Is it possible to be proud of every human that was there? I enjoy the sense of community and am inspired by common folk banding together to raise awareness with an issue.

Funny, but I didn't see any Bills or Sabres there lending their time.

Yeah, I'm hurting. I'm sure those of you that like to bust my chops are chuckling at that, but don't you think it's time that the true heroes of the world are really honored?

Why wasn't that race page one of the Buffalo News this morning?

Can't we go back to the oil spill, the economy, and the back-up nose tackle for the shitty Bills who haven't sniffed the playoffs in 10 years, tomorrow?

Ah well, it only hurts when I laugh.

Those of that were there are proud, but as an aside to my dear sister, it may be another five years before I lace 'em up.

Or I'll do what my brilliant wife did...finish it all in about an hour and forty minutes!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Race for the Cure




Started the day still smarting from my last visit to the roadside carnival, but there was no time to be down. This morning was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Breast Cancer Run. I had promised my sister that I'd finish the run and like it or not, I was in. So, I tried hard to limber up. Do you realize that I have absolutely no range of motion? Do you understand that I had no business believing that I could run 3.3 miles? Did you know that my morning line was that they should do the walk topless to attract more attention?

So, in other words, I had no idea what I was in for. I received a t-shirt that by way of a mix-up had me labeled as a breast cancer survivor. Walking through the crowd a television interviewer saw my shirt and asked if I'd like to be interviewed as a survivor. What could I say? That I was wearing a shirt faking being a survivor?

"I don't like to talk about it," I said.
"I understand," the man said.

And then the race began. My brother-in-law Chuck, who was honored for his work, stood beside me.

"This will be remembered as the race where Cliff ran four blocks and then crapped his pants."

We started running. I was beside my brother, brother-in-law, niece and son, Jacob. One half mile into it and I couldn't see them anymore. But I was still running. At the one mile mark, I slowed to a walk. A woman offered me a cup of water and I asked her for a piggy-back-ride. She laughed.

As I watched my son disappear in front of me, I thought about how he nearly died, could never run thirty feet without gasping for breath, and after a turn at The Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, was as good as new.

I thought of the people running beside me. 8,000 strong. All unified to do something good on a sweltering day. I started running again. My heart was swelling with pride.

At the two mile marker a volunteer dumped a glass of water over my head. I asked her if she had a stretcher. She laughed.

A man with Cerebral Palsy was running beside me. Every single motion seemed painful. I admired him for a moment, and ran again. The sweat was pouring down my face. My legs felt like tree trunks. Big-ass tree trunks.

I thought of my big sister and how dedicated she is to helping others. I thought about how much I loved my entire family. My cousin, mother, sister, friends, all touched by breast cancer. All running to survive.

I crossed the finish line in 44 minutes. Not bad. I was happy with it. I didn't pop any muscles. I didn't have to be carried away.

But man, I almost fell down in tears when Jake ran over to me. "I finished in 34 minutes," he said, proudly.

Awesome. Simply freaking incredible.

And it was a wonderful day. Friends traveled hundreds of miles to show support for my sister. The family was there in full. My sisters were brilliant once more. My mother's eyes filled with tears of laughter when I explained that I was cheered at the finish line as a breast cancer survivor due to the shirt mix-up.

In a way, I did survive a little bit. I've survived it with my sister. I've survived it with my cousin, and my mother. I even survived the run.

I sat on the grass afterwards, sipping a beer, looking around at the smiling faces of all that completed the run.

Life at its best.

The roadside carnival of hurt and self pity shutdown for a day.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Roadside Carnival

Well, I run that hard road out of heartbreak city, built a road side carnival out of hurt and self pity. It was all wrong, well, now I'm moving on.

It's kind of funny, but I remember listening to Bruce's Real World on the way to my wedding and thinking that it's a couple of really well written sentences on the way to a great song, followed by a wonderful album in an incredible career.

In the context of my marriage it has been an incredible revelation of what I needed to find...and did.

Last night I took a couple of Tylenol PM's after sleeping lousy for a couple of nights and dreamed of my brother, standing right beside me, hand outstretched, laughing...laughing...laughing...

...Always laughing.

Woke up with the lyrics on my mind...

I run that hard road out of heartbreak city, built a road side carnival out of hurt and self pity.

Hurt and self pity... it was all wrong... I can buy that.

Now I'm moving on??????

Can't buy it.

Not yet, Brucester....

Yet where does the roadside carnival lead?

And don't get me wrong, it's been a carnival of holding on, kidding myself, laughing in spite of myself, hold,hold, hold, let go, hold, hold, hold....

... so unfathomable...

Hurt and self pity...

God will see you through?

Me and God not on speaking terms yet...

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

The motto of my life thus far?

Suck what up?

Injustice? Something incomprehensible?

Step on by and watch the roadside carnival.

Hurt...hurt...hurt...self pity...self pity...self pity...

Still battling.

Tough day.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Now Here's A Great Story-Printed from USA Today


An 8-year-old New Jersey boy, recalling an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, saved his 5-year-old neighbor this weekend by jumping into a lake and bringing the drowning boy to shore, the Daily Record reports.

Andrew Gentile, 5, of Washington Township, says he can't remember much about the ordeal, except this: "I was drowning."

Andrew's mother, Shirley Gentile, tells the newspaper that she had thought the water was shallow at the edge of the lake, but it was in fact 6-feet-deep there.

At first, she tried to save him, but panicked herself in the deep water.

That's when 8-year-old Reese showed up.

"I just saw and then I just knew how to react, I jumped in," says Reese, who swam the short distance and grabbed Andrew, mimicking what he'd learned on TV.

"The hardest part was when we both went under, getting us back up to the surface," Reese tells the Record.

His elementary school has already held a Reese Ronceray Day and the local mayor is calling him a hero, but Shirley has a different description, the paper says.

She calls him "an angel."


AND HE'S WEARING A YANKEE HAT!

Thinking of Doing Something

I have a book that is three-quarters done - first draft - I'm not sure I will be able to finish it without some coaxing. I've looked at the black notebook a few times, and just shrugged it off.

It's called The Price You Pay and is centered around the many questions and the so few answers that go into a long-time marriage. At first read through it is funny, sensitive and worth finishing some day.

Here's the idea.

I run what I have through this blog on a daily basis. A couple pages at a time. Is that interesting?

Will my publisher have an objection?

I sort of want to do it. I know Stephen King tried writing a book that way and didn't get it off the ground. He was asking people to pay for the pages he was writing. I'm not thinking of that.

I'm just trying to inspire my own process.

What do you think?

Interested in the idea?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I'm Down For At Least Four of Them

Running through a few perverted texts with a buddy...I erase all texts because I don't want anyone to ever see them...I can only hope they are gone and not stored somewhere in texting land...

Anyway, we ended up talking of the seven deadly sins. Lust, pride, anger, envy, gluttony, greed and sloth.

We traded barbs back and forth and it was decided that the bar better be set low for the induction into heaven...because...

Gluttony and sloth. I have linguini and clam sauce coming up in a couple of hours. If eating that like a slob is a sin, and then vegging out in front of the Yankee game is a sloth-like move...I'm screwed. oh for two.

Anger? I can get angry over the darndest things. When the ump called a check swing on Swisher without checking with the third base ump I almost went through the television. "I'd like to choke that fat bastard!" I yelled. Jeter lined a double to score two, but if they'd have lost that game. Zero for three. I have anger covered.

Lust? I don't need to go to school to repress my sexual conquests but that's only because there aren't a line of women waiting on me. My lust is evident, but is certainly controlled by the women surrounding me that show very little interest. Still, when the mood is right, I'm nothing outta four.

Envy? Greed? I kind of lump these two together. I don't want much in the way of material things. I never needed the best car, best clothes (go figure) or best anything...I don't really envy and I'm definitely not greedy. So there - two out of six in the win column.

Pride? Now there's a tricky one, I suppose. Awful hard not to be proud when you're as wonderful as me, but I control it most of the time.

(I don't care who you are - that there is funny).

I'm going to put that one in the win column. I'm not quite sure if there is a counter but I'm not getting into heaven with only two of seven so I need to sneak pride to my side.

What do you think? Can I make it?

I know the buddy who was texting me is in about the same boat.

The hell with it, I'll ride with him. I have my bags packed to go either way.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Greatest Ever

The 17-year old kid that was drafted number one by the Washington Nationals in the baseball draft, Bryce Harper, has already rubbed me the wrong way. First off, he wears eye black like Alice Cooper, and secondly he already pronounced himself to be the greatest player that ever lived.

Honestly, he was being interviewed by ESPN and he said he'd be the greatest player ever. Hall of Fame. Better than Ruth, better than DiMaggio, better than Mays and Aaron.

Good luck, kid. As luck might have it, my kids were watching the program as well.

"What's wrong with believing in yourself?" Matt asked.

Nothing. There's not a single thing wrong with being confident. Yet something about the fact that you're dismissing 100 years of players who have already played the game is a little off-setting.

This kid has never seen a cutter from Mariano, or even Wakefield's knuckleball for that matter. Shouldn't he reserve judgement until he actually plays the game?

Of course, he's only 17 and at 17 I imagined that it would all turn out to be a bed of roses. Hell, at 17, I thought I'd be the greatest player who ever lived. I couldn't play, mind you, but I still thought it.

Yet I can't stand players that spend endless hours telling me how good they are. I recall a story about Mattingly when he was with the Yankees. The clubhouse attendant was interviewed and he explained that he'd have to get to the park early to empty the garbage before Mattingly did it for him.

"He doesn't think he's better than anyone else," the attendant said.

That's what I like. A little bit of humility. A guy who pokes fun at himself from time-to-time and doesn't scream out "Look at Me."

It's what rubs me the wrong way about A-Rod. Yeah, yeah, he's a Yankee and he was on the team that won it last year, but he will never replace Mattingly as my favorite Yankee. Jeter might. A-Rod won't. "Look at Me."

Cliff Fazzolari hates people who talk about themselves in the first-person.

Anyway, I suppose I wish the kid luck. Perhaps he will make it to Cooperstown one day and take over for Mays, Aaron, Ruth, and the rest.

Someone should mention that he also has a chance to be the box boy at his local supermarket.

Either way, he better learn to be humble.

Life certainly has a way of making you humble, doesn't it?

I guess we learn that with age.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lovely Bones

On a rainy morning, I gathered the troops for the trip to church. Of course, through my life church has been a weekly event, but through the past couple of years - through the last 18 months to be exact, the Sunday Mass has been a little different. There's a certain anger in me that holds me from signing out loud, or getting lost in the beauty of the scripture.

Common stuff, so I'm told, but disconcerting nonetheless, but I've heard enough about religion to understand that just because I don't like the way things are going, I don't have an excuse to be unjust to God.

Still...I'm human...anger...resentment...a failure to understand.

With our weekly obligation handled, we settled in for a routine day. I caught the Yankee game, of course, but like many Western New Yorkers was in the house for the day. Too wet to handle the outdoor chores.

"I got a movie," Kathy said. "Lovely Bones."

Now I'd read the book, of course, so wasn't real excited to see the movie, knowing that it was about death. Books are always better than the movies anyway, blah, blah, blah.

Well the movie began and the creepy bastard was on the screen stalking the little girl. We know he kills her because the movie starts with that line, but watching it all, I mentioned to Kathy that I'd never been so uncomfortable watching a movie.

I wanted to scream out that shit like that shouldn't happen. I wanted to voice the fact that we should live in the world free of tragedy, especially unspeakable tragedies involving grown, perverted men and little girls.

The more the movie went on the more uncomfortable I became. From the stages of grief, through the visions of heaven, and on and on to the unsatisfying conclusion, I just wanted it to be over.

End it.

Yet like life it was something that had to be watched, had to be felt, had to be finished up.

How do you put a nice Hollywood bow on it?

Can't be done.

And mercifully, the movie ended, and I didn't feel better for having watched it. I felt the same way as I did going in. Confused, a little bitter, and somewhat angry.

But...knowing that there must be some sort of divine plan that puts characters through tragic events. Men preying on children? Death in general?

It takes longer than the hour long Mass to figure it out, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Take a T.O., Baby!

The rain put a damper on the expected golf outing this morning. It allowed a bit of time to reflect, and refresh before the start of the week though, and I thought about the fact that as kids we used to take time outs all the time. There were time outs and do-overs, and arguments won and lost all in real time.

It's different as adults, right? We worry about three things at once: the troubles we've had in the past, the troubles we're having now, and the troubles we expect to have in the future.

Time out. Reflect.

So, what is there to reflect on?

Gary Coleman couldn't even get in the ground this weekend. The parents that didn't talk to him for twenty years filed a petition to stop the poor bastard's funeral. One final kick in the teeth. Big star, millionaire, falls down the stairs or something, and people are pulling at what's left of him.

Take a T.O. people - let him rest.

The oil washing up on the beaches in Florida is galling, isn't it? The idea that there is not enough blame to go around is sickening. The BP executive saying that shrimp comes from more places than Louisiana is infuriating. Chase the money around. People ignoring safety. Hiring the unemployed, not properly training them, no personal protective equipment - get out there and clean it up - doesn't seem right.

Time out.

New philosophy. I'm going to overlook the things that don't come from love.

I sound like a hippy on that one.

Yet there are so many things to concern yourself with on a daily basis, aren't there?

I listened to the rain hammering away on the street real early this morning. My vision of chasing a little white ball around a huge pasture was circling the drain. My first thought of the day was: Now what is there to do? No new writing - huge time-out on that one. Nothing planned...

...Nothing... Get a T.O., Baby.

Okay, maybe, church, pasta, family, Yankees.

All the things that shouldn't be overlooked.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Stress Factors

Returning to work was all that I thought it would be. The constant motion, the aggravation, the paperwork, the texts, cell calls, and e-mails. Fun shit.

I tried real hard to stay above the fray. I know that the major cause of my stress is an inability to manage time against the backdrop of a busy life so I struggled hard to stay happy.

"You're a little tense," my wife noticed on Thursday after I suggested to the children that perhaps, given the fact that they were approaching adulthood, they could fill the dog's water dish every three weeks or so in an effort to chip in.

I knew that the right thing to do was to consider things in a positive light. After all, positive thinking may not work, but negative thinking always does.

I got a little tired. "What's a matter?" one of my buddy texted.

"Getting all of this in motion is tiring," I said.

"Preaching to the choir," he asked.

The Yanks won five of six. No problems there. Pasta twice - the one with olives, clams, and shrimp was fine-dining quality(yeah, I cooked it). That's all good.

So, why the angst?

I'm really not sure. I suppose that we all have this inner struggle for approval. Hopefully, we will do well. Hopefully everyone will like us. Putting our best foot forward is the only option, and we expect to be appreciated for the efforts. Its all we are looking for, right?

Mowing the lawn with the I-pod took away some of the anxious feelings. One of the most moving songs that popped into my ear was My Way sung by Sinatra, written by Paul Anka. Man, those are some crazy lyrics.

Anka once said he wrote it after hearing Sinatra talk about retiring - "So now, the end is near...and now I face the final curtain."

Yet as in any great piece of writing the double meaning is dizzying in its singular context.

"Let the record show, I took the blows, and did it My WAAAAAY."

And the voice. What a freaking voice.

Ah well, why was I stressed?

Who the hell knows.

Positive thinking - it might not work.

Negative thinking - it always works.

I'm swinging for the fences today. I'm going to take the pop cans back and watch the Yankees.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just Freaking Perfect

During the summer months every evening is like a little party for me as there are baseball games on from 7 PM through two in the morning if I was so interested. Last night, I was watching the Yankees and keeping an eye on the other games when I saw that a young pitcher from the Tigers, Galaraga, was going for a perfect game. Being a baseball fan, I was intrigued.

ESPN cut into the game in the bottom of the ninth, and I'm sure everyone saw the outcome. The ump, Joyce, blew the call.

As I thought about that kid and the fact that he is just a journeyman pitcher, I considered that he lost a chance at immortality. The blown call was surely infuriating.

Back at the Yankee game they were talking about overturning the decision and awarding the kid his perfect game. That's when I remembered the only game I ever worked as an ump.

My brother Jeff's little league team was being coached by my buddy John. I decided to be sort of a second coach to mentor the players. We were all of 16 or 17 at the time.

Game 1 - the ump didn't show. I'm standing on the sidelines when John discusses the problem with the other manager. After a bit of discourse, they allow me to ump.

"You can be fair even though your brother is on John's team, right?" the other manager asked.

Uh, maybe not.

In the very first inning a guy on my brother's team hit a drive down the right field line.

Okay, to be fair: it was my brother, Jeff.

"Fair ball!" I screamed.

Jeff raced around the bases as everyone in the park started screaming at me.

Had I missed the call?

I turned to look at John. He had to bury his face to hide his laughter. The other coach ran out to scream at me. I laughed too. He went nuts. The ball was at least twenty feet foul.

"Worse call I've ever seen," John said after the game.

Until last night that is...

This morning I heard the poor ump crying. I listened to the pitcher be as graceful as a man can be when something is torn away. I heard people cry about needing instant replay, and in the middle of it all, I thought about it being a life lesson.

We all make mistakes. The ump owned up to it. The pitcher forgave him. The sun came up today. The games started new this evening. There will be more blown calls, and we'll get around it. Perfection is difficult. Isn't that ironic?

And I laughed my ass off thinking of how bad an ump I really was.

I swear I didn't make that call because it was my brother racing around the bases.

Honestly.

Wink. Wink.

Too Good Looking

Just finished reading an article about a woman who was fired from a job at a New York City bank. She claims, in her lawsuit, that she was fired for being too good looking. It seems that when she dressed a certain way, or moved in a particular manner, she was distracting the other workers and her managers.

Let me tell you, I've been there.

And it isn't pretty. Through the course of my life I've been so tired of being treated like eye candy. Hell, it's horrible to have to defer the whistling whenever I bend over to tie my shoes.

Okay, maybe that particular scenario hasn't quite happened to me. Yet I found the article interesting for a couple of reasons.

First off, how does this woman hire a lawyer and explain the situation. Does she honestly feel comfortable speaking about how she was scoffed at and ridiculed because she's so freaking hot?

Again, hard to say, never really been in that situation, but I can imagine if I sat across from my lawyer and said, "I'd like to sue my employer because my boss makes me feel uncomfortable because he can't stop ogling me."

Secondly, there was a photo of the woman accompanying the article, and let me tell you, it was hard to turn away. I almost couldn't finish reading the article. She was stunning, and I imagine, in the middle of the morning, sitting behind my partition, with the donut cart already having passed through, my mind might wander a bit when she uses the copier in my line of vision.

The woman claims she was asked to dress down. No high heels, no tight dresses, nothing showing a lot of her leg.

God, she has wonderful legs.

Her bosses never took her ideas seriously, she said. She felt victimized, brutalized and humiliated by their leering looks.

Waaaah! I'm too freaking hot!

I don't know. Perhaps there is merit to this woman's suffering. The bank vows to fight saying that is not the reason why she was let go. Can you imagine that trial.

Exhibit A is to show that the plaintiff has a zit located just below her eye. There is cellulite on each hip, and one time she showed up with a piece of spinach stuck in her teeth. And don't get me started on the skin tags.

What a life!

Thank God I've gotten old, paunchy and grey. I no longer have to put up with the women undressing me with their eyes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Favorite Quotations

From time to time I'm inspired by quotes to sort of lift me up and carry me through to the next day. After being worn out from clipping my toenails I settled in and read through a few:

For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will. - Henri Frederic Amiel

So, you see, focusing on those toenails was what needed to be done. I'm now wearing a sock without a hole in the big toe.

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.- Mother Teresa

I've been a fan of saying that love will teach you joy. Sort of a spin on that. Pretty hard to feel any joy without love. Spun the other way. Anyway you spin it the two words are certainly connected.

The quality,not the longevity, of one's life is what is important. - Martin Luther King Jr.

So true, right? There's a 100-year-old pedophile kicking around in the Buffalo jail system. Nice, long life. Why he is spared, or granted a long, long healthy life when others are lost way to freaking soon? Ironic that MLK Jr. lost his life at a relatively young age as well.

The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do,something to love and something to hope for. Joseph Addison.

This Addison guy is all over the quotation books. I often wonder if he just sat around and thought up great things to say. How does one end up in a book of great quotes? Can you think of something grand that can be written down somewhere for all to read?

How does a great sentence turn into a lasting proverb? Is this something I can do?

Let's try:

'Tis better to clip the nail than tear through the sock.

Does that work?

Nah, maybe I'll think of something clever today. There's always hope. And without hope there's little chance for joy. And without joy how can there be love.

All right now. I'm losing my freaking mind.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stay In Control

Its funny how the mind works, but early in the day, on my way to the first job site it entered my mind that I really needed to clip my toenails. I don't know how that registered, but perhaps it was because I punched a hole in my sock with the big toenail. Whatever, unless I was determined to climb trees, clipping my toenails was past the time of being due.

Yet being a tad obsessive compulsive I couldn't chase the thought. Here I was in the middle of my first day back after a tremendous vacation week, and I was driving myself crazy with the thought that my freaking nails needed to be clipped.

And so I thought a lot about control because what stresses all of us the most in life is feeling that we don't have control. We want to control the action of others. We need to control how the day plays out. Control, control, control.

And it occurred to me that there really is no such thing as having complete control. Crap is going to happen. Each and every day. And we are all separate little people struggling to control the end result.

Well, it just don't work that way. No matter how much we love someone we can't control their lives. We can't save them from getting sick, or doing something we don't want them to do.

We can't stop the bad crap from happening no matter how much it hurts our heart. There is little control.

So, what can we do? There is no surrendering here. I'm sure that I will always go down punching at the air.

But relinquishing some of the control is often times necessary.

Just work on what can be adequately managed.

Like cutting your toenails.

Does anyone have a saws-all?

"He Wants to Hang 'Em All"

Every day there's something nasty. So sick of the nasty. Sometimes the nastiness is passed off as a joke. Other times it's locke...