Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trade Deadline

The height of my geekdom begins and ends with baseball. You all know that I'm a fan of the 27-Time Defending World Champion New York Yankees and each year the deadline hits with a feeling that it is Christmas.

Teams that are in baseball to see of they can lead the league in saving money do the usual salary dump this time of year, and my boys in the front office are ready to pounce.

This year, so far, it has netted Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns. Half hour to go and still waiting to unwrap packages.

When I was a kid I'd spend hours and hours on the floor working with my baseball cards. We had cards from 1960 on, and I would read the backs, shuffle the cards, make trades in my head, and read the backs some more. I could tell you stats that would make your head spin.

Ron Guidry was 25 and 3 in 1978. He threw 9 shutouts and 15 complete games. His ERA was 1.74. Of course, he won the Cy Young.

I lost my partner in it all 16 months ago. At the deadline two years ago he left a message on my cell phone to let me know the Yanks got Pudge and the Red Sox traded Manny.

My new partner in it, Sam, is running up and down the stairs right now telling me that there are three teams in on getting Manny away from the Dodgers.

"This is so cool!" he just yelled out.

My wife, of course, is shaking her head.

Last night during the game Sam quizzed me on the number of RBI's Henry Aaron has, Derek Jeter's date of birth, the pitching stats of Jamie Moyer and the seven teams he's played for.

"How do you remember it all?" Sam asked.

I have a feeling that he will as well.

Gotta' go. Twenty minutes left!

Yanks need an 8th inning guy.

Joba has been pooping the bed.

Friday, July 30, 2010

What It Is

I never liked the song Sitting on the Dock of the Bay because the singer sounded like he was whining about the fact that he couldn't get it done and was just whiling the time away.

I've always also hated the saying that It is what it is.

I know a couple of people who say it all the time and it seems like a cop-out.

I go to Syracuse twice a month and spend time with a particular client. I've known most of their personnel for the past 13 years...which is quite some time.

One of my favorite people in their organization is an ironworker who is always upbeat. He always seems genuinely enthused to see me, and we share a laugh or two. During my last visit, he opened up a little to tell me that he was sorry about the loss of my bro.

"I lost two brothers in six months time," he said. "Car accident and then a heart attack."

Like I've said, this is a guy who is always upbeat.

I imagined his down moments.

We were awkward about the subject but he said the words.

It is what it is.

"I hate that," I said.

He waited a long time, but sort of offered a grin that was worth everything in the world. Sort of a soul-affirming type of grin.

"That's why we need to enjoy it. People always asked me if I was close to my brothers. Man, how could I not be?????? But everyone pays. Everyone pays to play."

Everyone pays to play.

"I think of my brothers every day."

It is what it is.

"I pray for their families."

Doesn't get much more profound.

"I stay happy to make them proud."

What gets more profound about it is the ability to make it work.

And whistle through the heartache.

"That's what they'd want me to do."

And still be an uplifting sort of guy.

"A day at a time," he said. "Sort of bullshit, but dedicated to them."

That's an American hero.

Right?

He's a hero to me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chelsea & Gag

Feeling a little older today. My college roommate from my freshman year is 46 freaking years old and he let me know he needed a blog for his present from me.

So, Happy Birthday pal - a bottle of Jamesons will soon be in my possession courtesy of a nitwit betting against the 27-Time Defending World Champion Yankees in last year's World Series. Next time I see you, I'll give you some.

But what really made me feel old was to catch up on the wedding planned for Chelsea Clinton this weekend. She's thirty years old!

I remember her when she was about ten, right? She's grown before our very eyes, and through the years has sort of acted the right way. No drunken photos of her hanging around a bunch of Texas clubs.

Of course, the wedding will be a stately affair. I'm sure that none among us has ever attended such a shindig. Heads of States, entertainers, world leaders...they will all be there.

Hell, I even hear that Queen Oprah will be slopping down food at the buffet.

Yet there is also a bit of controversy as Chelsea's new father-in-law may not be able to attend because of past criminal activities. Wouldn't that exclude about six or seven of the Clinton's as well?

Wouldn't he have a lot in common with some of those alleged to have committed crimes during our salad years of the 90's?

Through the years I have had some different feelings for the Clinton clan. A total lack of respect in a couple of areas. Some feelings of tremendous respect in others.

A lot of comic relief as well.

One thing was absolutely certain though. Hillary and Bill could never deny their daughter. She looks like a mixture of the two, and she never really outgrew those looks. Now, I'm not mean-spirited. Some find her attractive. I'm sure she'll make a wonderful bride. I will refrain from saying whether I find her beautiful or not.

I will say, however, that my buddy Gag looks better at 46 than Chelsea at 30.

How much could you possibly put into the envelope at a wedding like that?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Intelligence? Really?

They need to come up with another word for what they call "intelligence". I know it's a sore subject when you start talking politics, but consider these news items:

1). 8.7 Billion dollars is missing from the Iraq War deal. This money was lost sometime between 2004 and 2007. There really is no explanation for it. The Pentagon doesn't know. The former president doesn't know. The current president doesn't know.

Also consider that $8.7 billion doesn't just fall out of your pocket and into the couch cushion when you sit down. That is a missing warehouse of money. It is money that was begged for by the previous administration as essential to fighting 'them over there so we didn't have to fight them over here'.

And we lost the money?????? Doesn't that frost your ass?

2). Speaking of which about 90,000 classified documents became de-classified in regard to the Afghanistan war. Now everyone knows what was supposed to be top-secret.

Who's running the show? Maxwell Smart?

3). Haven't had enough yet? The British Prime Minister was talking about Iraq as well. He said that the "intelligence" was wrong because they were listening to Iraqi defectors and put too much stock into the "intelligence" of these low-life scumbags who wanted to start a fight anyway.

Ah, Iraq. I'd love to never hear that word again.

4). And let's not forget the geniuses that are putting the oil leak mess behind us. Thank God they aren't around here when the basement floods. We'd all be doing the doggy-paddle by now.

I know it's not a simple problem, but come on, already. Didn't someone amongst us pass science class?

The genius in my high school class would've come up with something that worked by now.

I don't mean to rant so often these days, but when you listen to a television commentator mention "intelligence" and "counter-intelligence", and the "brilliant minds", and "wartime geniuses", you just have to wonder.

$8.7 billion dollars is missing!

I may not be as bright as all the intelligent guys out there, but if you gave me that sort of cabbage, I could figure out where it went.

What a mess. And we're all sitting around watching reality shows and placing our blind faith in the hands of morons.

As my buddy Abe Lincoln once said:

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Send Me A Dollar

Apparently there is a nun who roams the New York City streets in full nun-get-up, begging passersbys for money so that she can save her church. She's been successfully doing this for the past ten years or so. Bless You, my child.

Turns out she's not a nun.

Turns out there is no church.

The state is onto her. They want the money back so they can piss it away on a non-existent budget that can't be passed.

There is so much to this story. So many bad memories for me. I can recall being driven into a doorknob by Sister Henriella back in the 5th grade. That little woman could hit like Ray Lewis. When I crumpled to the ground in pain, she screamed at me to get up. She was an angry old bat. I was surprised she didn't spit on my writhing little body.

So, I have little sympathy for the would-be nun. Although her walking around the streets dressed like a penguin deserves a dollar in change, doesn't it? Fake story or not, I might have floated a buck her way.

And I used to doll out spare change to beggers on a routine basis. That was of course before I became so much more aware of the potential for scams. I remember tossing five bucks at a man on a San Francisco street. He was out of work and begging but he was also playing Tangled Up In Blue by Dylan on a filthy harmonica. Never missed a note. Never took a lesson.

Yet I also have an idea.

I want everyone to send me a dollar.

If you do it, heaven will be yours. I have a direct pipeline to the great beyond and I can guarantee that you will find eternal salvation.

Tell your friends to send me a dollar as well.

However you want to do it: Paypal. Credit card. 100 pennies in a filthy sock.

I don't care. I need the cash.

The thing is that I won't be able to guarantee you eternal happiness unless I receive a total of one million dollars.

Come on, do it. God wants you to.

I'm not really anticipating meeting my goal, and I will probably laugh if I do, and that is exactly what those preachers are doing as well. They go on television with a scam and get people to send them their hard-earned money for a promise of eternal salvation.

The last time I went to church the priest asked for a donation of $50 so that they could pay to have the roof redone. I should have thought of that.

"I don't want five dollars or ten dollars," the priest had the gall to say. "I need all of you to contribute $50."

I'm telling you. I'm spiritually connected. Ever since that doorknob to the back, I have an in. Know how much that priest got from me for his roof? He couldn't get a fry from the dollar menu at Mickey D's with what I gave him.

But send me a dollar.

Fifty cents won't do.

Your eternal soul will thank you for your contribution.

But remember: no one gets anything unless I can raise a million.

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Want to Ride My Bicycle...

...I want to ride my bike.

The above is proof that Freddie Mercury could have sung anything and we would have listened to it.

I've been thinking about riding my bike lately because one of my true nemesis Lance Armstrong kept falling off of his during the Tour De France, and I couldn't have been happier.

Quick recap. He gets cancer. He beats cancer and immediately leaves his wife. Sheryl Crow gets cancer. He leaves her. He's accused of doping. Denies it. He dates the freaking Olsen Twins. Sells a few million bracelets. Denies doping again. Acts like a douche. FBI closing in. Falls off his bike seven times. Finishes twenty-third. Denies doping again.

When I was about 15 I had a bike. It belonged to my older sister, Corinne. I didn't care if it looked like a girl's bike, it got me to where I needed to be, and I was secure in my masculinity.

The real problem with it is that it had no brakes. None at all. And we lived on the top of a big hill. So, if I wanted to go somewhere near town, I had to ride it out down that hill, and slowly stop like Fred Flintstone used to; with my feet.

One day I left the house without shoes on. I figured I could coast down the hill and make the fast turn into the Lauber's driveway. Missed the turn. Ended up in their ditch. Their mother couldn't stop laughing. I could feel Lance's pain.

Another time I left the house late as my brother John and I were pedaling three miles to a farm where we picked freaking tomatoes all day in the hot sun. John got to the bottom of the hill well before me. He stopped sudden to turn and find me. Without brakes, I smashed right into him. We laid in the middle of the road at six AM. His words to me, as he wiped blood from his nose were:

"You do realize that I'm going to beat the piss out of you when I get up."

Lance and I are a lot alike.

I haven't rode a bike in quite some time. I think I could still do it though.

It's like riding a bike.

So, I had to say something about my buddy Lance.

Can't wait until they throw you in jail.

All-American dope.

The Last Letter

You have to figure its coming in the next few years. Perhaps it will be my ultimate claim to fame.

I went to the post office towards the end of the week just to get a few stamps. There is certainly a deflating feeling when you open the post office door and see four people standing in line in front of you. That's because you just know the line is going to move nice and s-l-o-w. Real freaking slow.

And it seems like no one really knows how to act in that line. There's no joking. Everyone stares straight ahead with their packages, wondering why there are so many people moving around and just one guy, who's moving really, really, really, really freaking slow, at the front. And he's asking one dumb question after another.

"Is there anything liquid, fragile, or explosive in your padded envelope, Ma'am?"

"Would you like any additional stamps, packaging, envelopes, or to open a PO Box?"

I used to love getting letters through the mail. In college my father used to send a note with a five dollar bill in it - he always signed the note F.U.F. (From u father). When I was homesick that freshman year a well-timed letter was awesome.

After college I moved out West for awhile and wrote letters back and forth to a couple of girls - again, standing out in front of that mailbox, wondering if a letter came - always felt like I won the lottery if there were a few kind words from Lisa or Lorraine.

The last letter ever is coming.

The guys who work in the post office must have real lives, right? Why then does it seem like they are one unkind word away from exploding into a rage of melee.

"I'd like a book of stamps and to check this letter for weight," I said.

I placed the letter on the scale and the guy looked at me as if I had tinkered with the button that sets off a nuclear explosion.

"I'll put the parcel on the scale," he said.

"Okay then!" I said with a smile. I was waiting for the question.

"Anything liquid, fragile or explosive in the envelope?"

Did he really want an answer? Should I say, yeah it's filled with freaking Anthrax that I need to mail to the cable company?

"Uh, no."

"It's a little over. Would you like it guaranteed one-day for $32.00 or special air mail for $28.00, or regular first-class for.$.60?"

"I'll stick with the sixty cents," I said. "If it really had to be there fast I could have scanned it and e-mailed it."

The man looks as if I slapped him. How dare I diminish the standing of the US Postal Service.

"Would you like any special...

I try to cut him off with a quick 'No' but he has to finish the spiel. The next guy in line audibly groans.

"Would you like any special packaging, envelopes, padding, stamps or to perhaps open a PO Box?"

I don't answer right away. I think about asking him to repeat the question, but finally shake my head in denial. I'm thinking of those standing ten deep in line now.

"Would you like your receipt?" he asks.

"No thank you."

He gives it to me anyway. I take the mile long receipt that notes the two items I purchased.

Another man enters the room, sees the line and nearly screams out.

The end is near.

I want to be the guy who mails out the very last letter ever.

"Have a nice day," the postman growls. It sounds more like a command than a wish.

"You too."

I smile back as someone dumps another bag of mail into the slot on the right.

"Have fun sorting that!"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thanks For Asking

The leg is better, thanks for asking.

A hundred and one things to think about while forcing myself back into a routine for the week.

Woke up this morning to a broken washing machine. I wanted to help, I really did.

One of the spoiled rotten dog that lives here - there are two of them - wouldn't eat her breakfast until I took her for a ride. I poured a cup of coffee, opened the paper, and she laid at my feet, crying, until I put her in the car and having nowhere to go, drove her around the block. Five minutes of looking out the window and she was in a much better place. I was able to return to the paper and she ate her breakfast.

And there's a lesson there if I think hard enough.

We are all programmed to do certain things and we do them as a course of routine. I had to disobey my doctors orders and go to work on three of the five days he told me to be off - and I'm also cutting the rehab short this week - and going about my business because that's what I'm programmed to do. And I only need five minutes here and there to re-energize and feel alive again.

It's a shame that the things that make you feel most alive are the very things that tear you down, you know?

Think of all the things we become addicted to - tobacco, sex, booze, drugs, gambling - is it a sickness or a weakness?

If addiction were an indiscriminate disease like cancer, wouldn't we be addicted to all sorts of stuff?

Like broccoli, or liver and onions, or weeding the garden, or doing the laundry?

We choose our addictions because they allows us that five minutes to breath, and regroup so that we can get back to the normal routine.

So the air cast is off. The repairman will be called for the washing machine, and all addictions have been put away for the moment.

The dog is sleeping peacefully.

Thanks for asking.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Everything I Really Do Know

Okay, in the light of day the Everything I Know post was a downer:

Everything I truly do know; take these to the bank.

1). Life is better with a breaded pork chop in your hands. Better yet with another one on the plate waiting for you to finish the first one.

2). In most cases the person who loves you most in your life will be your mother. A few of the dogs you own throughout your life will love you just as much, but it's a little different sort of love. Or is it?

3). During his lifetime, Herman Melville's Moby Dick sold only 50 copies.

4). God will not provide for you. He will give you the means to provide for yourself, but you have to make it happen.

5). The longer you live the more you'll regret the things you haven't done as opposed to regretting the things you have.

6). The best path to happiness is doing something for somebody else.

7). Ain't no one going to give you what you really need in life. This journey is a solo act, no matter how you cut it. You pull people in to share your days, but you came in and will go out alone.

8). Pepsi-Cola was originally called, "Brad's Drink."

9). 70% of life is showing up.

10). Most of the people you meet in life don't really care if you get hit by a bus. I know that's a downer, but it's true. Hang with the other people.

11). Red Pasta sauce served in restaurants generally sucks - and that's because my father ruined it for all of us by serving the best sauce week in and week out.

12). You can't protect your kids every moment of their lives, but there really isn't a lot wrong with trying to do that.

13). In New York City, every year, 1,600 people are bitten by other humans. If that doesn't tell you something about the human condition nothing will.

14). Life is beautiful if you're open to it.

15). Life sucks if you let it. Love the line: Positive thoughts don't always work, but negative thoughts do.

There are highs and lows and somewhere there is a simple balance.

I see it when I swing past.

God I want a breaded pork chop.

Everything I Know

The idea of ever writing another book again starts and ends with the most ambitious idea ever - just writing down, Everything I Know.

And in the end, it probably won't mean that much to anyone anyway, but it's an idea that keeps kicking around, and comes painfully clear when I have a couple of beers, or a glass of wine and then a couple more beers after watching the Yankees beat the Royals. Tonight.

And therein lies the problem. As a writer there is this huge ego driven ideal that whatever you write, somebody, somewhere is going to have a connection and will read along. That is a tremendous leap of faith. It is also a wonderful concept and something that always pushed me forward. I've been well read and I appreciate it.

Yet as a young man, I couldn't figure out why everyone wouldn't read my pearls of wisdom. As a young adult, I figured I'd find a niche. As an adult, I looked to find my voice, and then the world caved in for me, and I figured that no one could possibly give a shit because I had been totally wrong.

And this is where I sit. Completely humbled by the world, no longer cocksure and confident, and scrambling to find a place...any place where I might fit in.

And what do I know for sure?

Not much.

I thought I knew a whole lot.

Not anymore.

And my boys sit with me. Waiting for me to fill them with knowledge. They are anxiously awaiting me to lead them in one way or another, and God help me, I'll try with all my might, but Everything I Know?

So help me, God, there ain't much.

And I'm not all that down about it. Don't get me wrong. It's just that illusions will drive your existence if you allow them too, and all the things you know for sure, will crumble. Eventually, they'll crumble.

The foundation has been weak through the past week. The very legs I've been standing on have grown weary with the weight of what I've been carrying (insert the joke there, Pops) but through the quiet of the recuperation, I've been humbled further, knowing that we are all just renting these bodies and that when they wear out, it is the spirit that moves forward.

And where that spirit goes, who the hell knows? And where it all begins and why it all ends -for some quicker than for others - and why there is no rhyme or reason that even the most simplest of writers can understand, we'll never know....

And why Everything I Know can never truly come off the ground because...

...through it all I don't know shit about shit.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Salt

Believe it or not I don't have a particular problem with Angelina Jolie. Sure, she had a blood vial around her neck when she was with Billy Bob Thornton, and she made out with her brother once on the red carpet, but she seems to be a decent soul.

I know that I may have never seen one of her movies all the way through, started that Wanted one, but quit about seven minutes in, and I also know that she has about thirty kids with that mediocre looking actor, Brad Pitt - 'He's no Cliff Fazzolari' - as my wife says.

I also know Angelina is beautiful, but 'She's no Kathy Fazzolari' - if you can see the game the wife and I play to feed each other's egos.

But, I sort of have a particular problem with this Salt movie. Doesn't she play a character who fights her way through all sorts of bad guys to save the freaking world?

How big is this woman? Isn't she like five-four?

Now I know that movies are about suspending belief for a little while and going with the story, but I just don't get Sylvester Stallone wiping out an army of men, let alone, the beautiful Jolie.

Don't you think that In Real Life (An excellent book of mine, by the way) that there would be one guy that could kick the crap out of Jolie? I caught the previews and she's karate-chopping, head-bashing, and kick-boxing her way through the script.

Of course, someone might accuse me of being sexist here. If a man can do it, why can't a woman?

Well, because they generally are smaller, less prone to fighting, and more apt to get what they want by using cunning, manipulation, and aggravation.

All right, that was a tad sexist, wasn't it?

The truth of the matter is, Angelina Jolie is a beautiful actress, married to a man (who according to my wife) is no Cliff Fazzolari, she has a billion dollars, and she can do anything she wants anytime she wants to, and I'm wrong for criticizing the movie that I'll never see.

Besides, truth be told, female or not, she could probably pound me into Salt.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Best Laid Plans

Started yesterday as I've started most of my adult life - shot from a cannon. I decided to do the 'suck it up' thing and headed for a couple of work sites, pretending that I was walking just fine.

And I did make it through okay. A couple of twinges here and there, but no climbing, so I was not much worse for the wear. I planned a trip to the docs, and a little ice, and back at it on Thursday morning.

Except the doc put me in an air cast for a week. My stilted walking was doing damage to other areas of the foot. The plan being that he'd immobilize it for a week, and see how it responds.

Those were his plans....

...and they became mine.

And it occurred to me that therein lies the frustration in my life. Not doing things the way I wanted to do them. Not having things work out the way that I had it planned.

Which leads me to believe that it is best not to plan ahead. We can't control the major things in life, right?

Now some may argue that not stretching before activity may have had something to do with the leg injury. Others may believe that regular exercise and a strong diet can lead to better results. I am of the firm belief that running in the first place - at the breast cancer fundraiser is behind it - but either way.

The air cast makes me feel like doing an impression of Herman Munster. I used to be able to do his laugh real well, but haven't seen the show in awhile. Perhaps they can put that on instead of Rhoda.

So I'm going through paperwork, schedules, and fielding phone calls. I'm resisting all temptations to rip off the boot and stutter-step my way through life.

I'm listening to the plans that someone else drew up for me, and I'm trying real hard not to fret, or worry.

It's just a few days. The Yankees are making due without Pettite for a month. He'll be back and better than ever, right?

What's the lesson here?

I suppose that maybe you should just ease up on that to-do list.

Someone can just take the legs right out from under you.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

X-Ray Vision

When I was a kid I remember asking my brothers if they'd rather be invisible or have X-ray vision.

I wished to be invisible because you could go anywhere you pleased, mess with people, take a bit of cash from the bank when you were short, eat things off other people's plates - ah, you can see the advantages.

I remember my brother saying that he'd rather have X-ray vision because he could look through women's clothes and see what's doing.

Well, my sources tell me that all you need for that particular super power is to become a working member of the TSA.

Yes, there will be X-ray machines installed at Kennedy and LaGuardia, and that the images they show are of the nude variety. The TSA member will glance at it on his computer screen, and finding no threat, will immediately delete the image.

Uh, yeah,right!

Now its not the images that they will certainly save in a secret folder - images of models and beauty queens - that concerns me. (Honestly, you're a TSA agent and Jessica Alba comes through - are you going to go, um,no weapons there...delete?)

I thought not.

No, the images that bug me are the ones of the gruesome looking people who come through that may be saved and posted on the 'net as a joke.

Have you been to your local amusement park lately? There are some big people, ugly people, and just plain strange looking people stuffed into bikini's, thongs, and tight-fitting clothes.

When your eyes drift to them,you're thankful for the small bit of clothes. The TSA agent won't have that luxury.

And he's going to save those pictures too. He'll use them to make fun of his buddies on his fantasy baseball league page, or to put other people's heads on them and hand them out at parties.

My other concern with this, of course, is that I may one day wind up in this saved batch of photos. I certainly won't go to the model pile.

Yet after reading the article, I felt a bit violated. Seriously, do you want some stranger looking at nude images of you as you cut through the X-ray?

Doesn't it sound a tad intrusive?

I'm going to file a petition. If they can have X-ray vision, we all should have it, or at least make us capable of being invisible.

I still haven't given up on my quest for a super power.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Watched Rhoda

Being laid up has sort of done wonders for me in the watching old television shows department.

As you can see by the title of the blog, I caught an episode of Rhoda today. Man, that show sucked. Carlton the doorman was all the rage back in the day, and Rhoda spent most of her time bitching about her ex,Joe, who always looked like something of a pimp to me.

Yet my television viewing wasn't confined to just the ex- Mary Tyler Moore star. I also got a chance to see three episodes of Three's Company, a couple of Married with Children, and a Bonanza.

A few questions:

1). Why did anyone ever watch Three's Company? The plot of all three shows was about a misunderstanding that got everyone in hot water.

Jack acted like he had no clue about women. His friend Larry popped in during all three episodes and excuse me for saying it, but I know why Furley thought those two were gay. Jack and Larry spoke of women as if they were new to the planet.

2). Suzanne Somers had a terrific body before the ab machine and the hip crunches. The opening scene of her walking in the short shorts along the beach was worth the time invested in the show. But man, that theme song was unbelievably lame as well. Another notch in the Jack is gay theme.

3). And man, John Ritter was young. And now he's gone. Thank God he did those shows so we can preserve his legend. I didn't so much as smile once while watching the three episodes.

4). Christina Applegate was even better looking than Suzanne Somers.

5). Married with Children is an excellent depiction of a marriage, isn't it?

6). Why didn't Al Bundy just leave?

7). Little Joe, Hoss, and Candy were also a little troublesome to me when it came to aspects of their manhood. Why weren't they ever with women? They were awful tight with the old man, weren't they?

The episode I watched showed Hoss helping a family down the road build a well.It was pretty interesting, but looked like backbreaking work. Couldn't he have just hit the old man up for some cash? They lived on the Ponderosa for crying out loud. There had to be well parts sitting around somewhere. Hoss was something like McGyver too. He showed those hicks how it was done.

8). Wouldn't you get tired of riding the horse a hundred miles every time that you ran out of something at home.

"Pa, we're out of toilet paper."

"Get the horses drawn. Take your brother, but watch out there are injuns waiting to scalp you. Get three rolls so you don't have to go back tomorrow."

I don't know. Some of the old shows seem kind of silly to me, but I'll tell you one thing for certain:

They beat the hell out of reality television.

Temper Temper

Yankee pitcher AJ Burnett cut his hand up when he smashed a clubhouse door after pitching poorly (again) in one of his last starts. After the game he apologized to his teammates and vowed never to do it again.

I bet Mel Gibson would like to say the same thing about now.

Through the years I've been accused of having something of a temper. When I was a kid I'd go off all the time about everything from the Sabres losing to the death penalty.

Now who gives a crap?

I rarely lose my temper these days and actually shout at the kids even less than my wife, and she doesn't shout much either. Yet you listen to the tapes of Mad Mel and its a little scary that a human being can reach such levels of rage.

And if you listen to the tapes it certainly doesn't seem that Gibson is all that upset with his girlfriend - its the rest of the world around him that has him acting so irrationally. Poor guy is down to his last billion dollars.

I once worked with a boss who would go completely around the bend. His voice would distort into exorcist-like bellowing that caused you to hold the phone away from your ear. Anything you tried to say to calm him would further infuriate him. Two hours later he'd call back like nothing happened. Most of his employees couldn't get away fast enough.

I'm not sure but I think that Italian-Americans are sometimes painted as people who are quick to anger. I do know that a lot of arguments around my house, as a kid, were predicated on someone going off the rails in lightning quick fashion.

But that's just it...it is sort of excusable in children, right? The baby bellows until mommy comes running and before long it's a learned behavior.

"What a baby Burnett is," my son Jake said to me the morning after AJ's tirade.

"That hurts coming from you," I said.

Jake is legendary for his tantrums.

"I'm really trying to control those moments," Jake said. "I haven't had a fit in ten days."

So, there you go. Mel Gibson could learn something here. It's within his control.

Serenity Now! Serenity Now!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Instant Karma

I'm writing this blog from the emergency room bed. I woke a little after 1 AM with pain so severe in my ankle that it was all I could do to tough it out long enough for Kathy to get a decent night of rest before driving me to the hospital.

Our last conversation before bed was that I shouldn't rush back to work. I, of course, disagreed. Guess that Kathy won another difference of opinion.

"God's telling you to slow down."

Ok, that might happen. And perhaps God is also sticking needles into a bobblehead doll made in my image. Perhaps I'm paying for the sins of Adam and Eve. Maybe God is asleep and dreaming all of this crap up.

I don't know much about good and bad karma. I refuse to believe that I have an inflamed or torn tendon because I swore when I four-putted a hole. Or because I had seventeen too many beers one night during college.

God isn't sitting up there with a ledger that he uses to balance things out, right? If that were the case only really bad people would suffer, right?

In any regard, I'm fairly happy with the loritab they gave me, but I honestly feel that some sort of break, some good fortune, is just around the bend.

Then again, I might be dead wrong about that. If there are wages for sins, I may not walk again for about six or seven years.

And I'm a good guy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Graduation Day

My beautiful niece, Andrea, had a party to celebrate her graduation from high school. The weather was good, the food was great, the beer was cold, and the old stories were flying.

I kept going back in my mind to my own graduation and the feeling that I'd finally arrived.

And it's a funny thing about time because it was just a blink of an eye, right? And there I was sitting with a chair to prop up my foot, grey whiskers on my face, a lot of my hair having left for somewhere. I saw my brother running around the party too, and he looked just as old.

But there were still a few laughs hiding inside. We all sat in a circle, sipping the beer, and telling story after story. My father was reaching way back in time to tell a story about a couple of friends of his who stayed in a ring for three minutes with a gorilla to win a bottle of wine.

Three-fourths of our altar boy group was in attendance at the party and John, Joe and I remembered a day when Joe was lambasted by the priest for sticking his finger out of his crotch area in the middle of the mass. Joe might have gotten away with it if John and I hadn't laughed.

The new graduates were well away from the older members of the gathering, no doubt talking of their hopes and dreams for the days to come, and that's the best part of graduation day - seeing the wide world out there for the taking, and realizing that you'd have to work hard to make it work.

Life has changed for the Fazzolari's for sure. Gatherings are still looked forward to, but its a real chore to chase away the sadness. Sometimes it works better than others, yesterday, it went okay.

But there is a steeling force behind the battle against the sadness. We still have each other, we still have dreams, and we certainly can still make one another laugh.

So, for all the graduates out there: chase the dreams, and realize that heartache will certainly come. Rise above it. Suck it up and tough it out. Whatever it takes. Keep punching. Work Hard. Take time to smell the roses. Love your family. Do more than what is expected. Make lemonade.

All that shit.

It's true.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mother's Little Helper

Too often we go to the doctor only to return home with a score of drugs. There seems to be a pill for every sort of ailment, and despite what are some nasty side effects, we chase them with a cup of coffee and forget about it.

I'm not a big pill taker. An aspirin here, a gout pill there, I'm a little apprehensive about taking my medicine. I know people who have up to 15 prescriptions. These are people in their 40's, mind you, and they wonder why they feel out of balance.

Go running to the shelter of the mother's little helper.

I hear Jagger singing it just perfectly.

Yet the pain in my right ankle was pretty sharp all day yesterday. It only truly hurts when I walk so its a good thing the Yanks were on last night. I was able to sit and ice it, but the hydrocodene was calling.

I took one and relaxed. And man, do I mean relaxed. A soft,comfortable haze overtook me as the kids played beside me. They were laughing, joking and making fun of the Yankees who spent most of the evening behind the hated Rays.

I remember considering that I understood the addiction behind such pills. I could clearly see why Big, Fat, Moron Rush Limbaugh was busted for his addiction.

It wasn't that I was buzzed or high or anything, but the pain was completely gone and I was absolutely relaxed.

The Yanks rallied, of course, but the excitement of it all was dulled by the pill. When Swisher and his friends were bouncing around in right field after the walk-off, I smiled comfortably. Oh, so comfortably.

Waking up this morning, I immediately thought of the ankle. I thought of it because it was throbbing, but I didn't race to the pill jar. In fact, I won't be visiting it at all today. We have a graduation party to attend. I don't want to be foggy as I pay tribute to my niece.

But I can see the problem. Pills in the wrong hands, taken for the wrong reasons, can really create havoc on the human mind and spirit.

Just ask the mother in the Stones brilliant song that was written about 40 years ago.

Mommy needs something today to calm her down.

Indeed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I've Got Good News and Bad News

Don't you love the good news, bad news jokes?

I also love one particular joke:

Woman goes to the funeral parlor director: "I'm here to bury my husband."

The director says: "But I buried your husband two years ago."

The woman answers: "I got remarried."

The director says: "Oh Congratulations!"

My father came home with that joke about twenty years ago and I remember my mother saying: "I don't get it."

We told it to her a few times, and then she announced that it wasn't funny at all.

Mom was never much of a joke-teller, but if you ever get the chance ask her to do the impressions of a cat that was hit by the car. She'll laugh all the way through it.

My good news and bad news?

Good News: I am pretty sure that I escaped the knife with the Achillies. Ice, rest and a wonderful pain killer has helped immensely.

Bad News: I still am not real proficient at walking.

And man, what a gift it is to be able to walk. Yesterday, I stared at the long corridor of the hotel hallway and really wondered how I'd make it to the bank of elevators.

Suck it up and tough it out was playing in my mind, but I just kept thinking that I was about to cry.

And people look at you real funny when you're limping, gimping and half-hopping your way down the bunny trail.

"Looks painful," one guy said to me.

"Just trying out a new walk," I said. "You think it'll catch on?"

So, golf is out for Sunday, but thankfully, hopefully, it looks like I will be able to return to work, golf, and my usual animal-like gaunt in a lot less time then I thought.

It's funny how life works. Before being injured I complained about a lot of crap. Now I'm just thrilled that I'll be able to walk without the use of crutches.

I'm actually in a good mood because I survived the scare.

And I'll tell you something else: From here on in, I'm going to live life different. No more Grey Goose, or pasta, or steak the size of your head. No way. It's fruit, vegetables and good living for me.

(I can't even type that with a straight face).

Still, I almost feel like the woman who accepted congratulations on her second marriage.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Useless Information

If a lobster loses an eye it will grow another one.

When you walk down a steep hill, the pressure on your knees is equal to three times your body weight.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I've been doing little more than reading useless fact information on my phone. That's because I may have torn my Achilles tendon in my right leg. I should know for sure by the end of the day tomorrow.

How'd that happen? You ask.

Not real sure. Played that basketball game on Tuesday. Worked all right yesterday, and slowly but surely arrived at a position, after walking a number of job sites, where I could not put any weight - let alone three times my weight - on my ankle.

I walked into a convenience store - more like hopped - and the girl behind the counter asked me if I wanted her to call an ambulance.

Coconuts kill more people in the world than sharks do. Approximately 150 people are killed each year by coconuts.

There is an average of 50,000 spiders per acre in green areas.


So, here I sit, reading and praying that I can walk over the next 6 to 8 weeks. I will have the tests done tomorrow.

Koala bears are not bears.

Tom Sawyer was the first novel written on a typewriter.


I tore my left Achilles in 1996 and while it wasn't much fun, it allowed me to settle down long enough, and trust someone enough to lead to my marriage. Kathy took care of me then. Hopefully, if surgery is necessary, she still wants to do it. Neither of us are looking forward to the possibility.

The average person falls asleep in seven minutes.

Not me. In fact, I wonder how much sleep I'll get tonight. It's fairly painful right now.

Most dreams last only 5 to 20 minutes.

Seems like I've been dreaming all my life. Still waiting on some good news. The last two years have simply blown.

About 1 in 30 people in the United States are in jail, on probation, or on parole.


Sheryl Crow's two front teeth are fake.

I hope you learned something tonight. I have a feeling there will be about seven blogs a day if I'm laid up too long.

Isn't life wonderful?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Definitely the Last Year

Not sure what made me do it, but I headed to the basketball court for a few shots with Sam after dinner last night. Sam wanted to play me in a one-on-one so we went for awhile and I finished him off with a shot from about 15 back.

You see, I won't let the kids beat me. Even a nine-year-old with a nice little bank shot. I could throw the game, of course, but will they ever learn to lose? They need to have a challenge.

Which brings me to Matt. He is now over six-feet tall. He scored 45 a couple of weeks ago in a basketball camp game. He will be a starter on the varsity team this year. He has also been banging on me about playing the annual game against him. I certainly wasn't up for it after a day of work.

It was Kathy who made sure it happened. She pulled up a picnic table bench, got Sam to root, root, root for Matt beside her, and announced that I was certain to lose this year.

Now for all that have ever seen me play hoops, you are certain of four things: 1). I can't handle the ball all that well. 2). I'm old and slow. 3). I have absolutely no left hand and 4). Most importantly, mind you, I can still shoot the lights out.

"Game to 15, win by two, basket out, I start with it," I announced.

Five minutes into the game I was winning 10 to 1. I hit 8 straight from the same spot on the floor, about 15 from the hoop with Matt draped all over me."

The crowd was dead silent.

"He can't be stopped," Matt announced.

But, oh, I could. Age and bad legs stopped me long enough for him to make a healthy run. It was 13 to 12 before I knew it.

"Why didn't we just play to 11?" I asked.

Matt missed a long jumper. The crowd groaned.

I dumped a water over my head and limped to the place before him. I had only one chance and we both knew it. I had to use my weight.

I muscled him down under the hoop and hit a bank shot.

Still breathing heavily. I was sweating like Patrick Ewing in Game 7. The muscles in my chest were tight.

Matt gave me the ball and immediately crowded me. I muscled in some more, backing him to the basket.

I stopped, swung around, did the fade away and announced: "Maybe next year."

(There's no fun in playing if you can't talk trash).

The ball kissed the glass and dropped through the net.

I am hear to tell you, it will be the last time. I will not beat him again next year.

And oh by the way, if you think I'm bragging, I'm not.

Only one of us is walking without a limp today.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Uncle George

I was a Yankee fan before George Steinbrenner bought them for ten million bucks. Go back to those times and consider that they couldn't get five thousand fans into the building. The Yankee Pride was gone. They were the freaking Pirates for crying out loud.

And yes, Steinbrenner went the free agent route to bring the team back to prominence, and for this he is vilified. But he did not pioneer free agency. Curt Flood and Andy Messersmith did that as players. Steinbrenner was just the first owner to take advantage.

And man, did he take advantage. He hit the gold bars with Catfish and Reggie. He struck out with a whole bunch of others - Tartabull, Jack Clark, even Giambi.

But he kept trying. He kept putting money into the product, and didn't really care who had a problem with it. He knew that he owned the team in New York City. The team that had Mantle, Ruth and Gehrig.

He wanted the Yankees to be relevant again, and he pulled out all stops. He once said that he could double his payroll, which was already double everyone elses, but that he just wanted to be fair.

I hated him for awhile there for how much he meddled. He wasn't a baseball man, and he drove Billy Martin to drink, drink and drink some more. He pulled a real bonehead move on Winfield, and was even criminally charged and banished a couple of times.

But he really, really, really wanted to win. And when he did, he cried because he was happy for New York.

Every year my brother and I would talk about what Uncle George would get us for Christmas. There was always something under the tree.

Steinbrenner once said that he appreciated the fact that Yankee fans have better days when the teams win. So, he wanted to win every day.

And I learned to find it refreshing. Yeah, the Yankees began to turn unbelievable profits for him. Sure, they aggravated everyone else in baseball.

But there's Yankee Pride again. There are millions of true Yankee haters. The sport really needs those haters, too.

It's all good for baseball. The sport is thriving. There were a ton of owners that complained about George, but they did it as they stuffed their pockets with cash - and never gave back. The Yankees are thriving. 7 titles in Steinbrenner's reign. What other team in sports can claim that in 35 years?

What brought a smile to my face today is that Uncle George went on the day of the All-Star Game.

He was always about making a grand show of it.

RIP Uncle George. Hopefully, Hal and Hank learned something about running a successful business.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Passion of the Dipshit

Has anyone's star fallen faster than Mel Gibson's?

Cheetah Woods looks at Mel in pity.

That idiot that screwed around on Sandra Bullock thinks Gibson has gone around the bend.

Seems like every day I'm sitting here commenting on poor behavior by someone who was considered a star.

We set 'em up just to knock-a-knock-a-knock em down.

But Gibson really knows how to anger the masses. Just a few years ago he was the darling of Hollywood. Who didn't love him in the Lethal Weapon movies?

He was the best. Then Braveheart. My God what a movie that was - one of the best ever, right?

He threw all of his money into the Passion of the Christ, and while everyone seemed to love it...it started the beginning of his descent, right?

He'd been married forever with a ton of kids. Done with the marriage. Okay, stuff happens. Then the drunken anti-Semitic crap with the cops, and the great drunken mugshot. (One thing I've avoided. How in the world did I avoid the drunken mugshot?)

Anyway, new girlfriend, not going so well. Mel thinks she's a whore, apparently. A whore that deserves it if she is attacked by a pack of n-words.

Talk about a complete moron. What can he possibly be thinking?

His talent agency dropped him. People are staying away from his movies in droves.

Here's a little hint: Try not to piss off millions of people all in one sentence.

I don't even have the brave heart to rip this guy for the next ten minutes or so. He just joined the group of people who aren't worth my time. So, let's see. Who have I banned so far?

Cheetah, Lebullshit, Roman Polanski, Lance Armstrong, Marshawn Lynch, Michael Vick, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan (had a run on Michael's there), Jessie James, Orenthal, W, Palin, Rush, Kobe, and now Mel.

Running out of heroes.

Oh where have all the cowboys gone?

Even heard John Wayne was a bit of a dork as well.

If Bubbles Could Talk

There isn't anything that can make you feel older than going to a place where young kids are gathered and listening to their music. Believe it or not, at the wedding this weekend, there wasn't a single Springsteen song played. My wedding was virtually all Bruce, of course, but he doesn't play well I suppose, to twenty-something dancers.

What does play well to the dance crowd is the "music" with the techno beat. I didn't know even half the songs. Danced once to the slow Clapton tune - with my beautiful wife - but other than that - stood and watched and wondered.

But there was also plenty of Michael Jackson. My nieces loved the man and don't take very kindly to my reminders of the accusations against him. When Billie Jean came on, I mentioned something about pedophilia, and got looks that could have frozen water.

Lo and behold, he was in the news this morning because his sister, LaToya, who will never be confused with Plato, explained that the gloved one was trying to teach Bubbles to talk. Dear Michael even went as far to take Bubbles to the doctor to see if there was an operation to bring the words forth.

And what might Bubbles first words have been? I've decided to take a few guesses-perhaps you can add some of your own. Words straight from the chimp's mouth:

Why do you keep grabbing your crotch?

What's with the freaking glove?

I saw what you did to that little boy.

Get your hand off of that!

What the hell is with the zombie's?

Billie Jean couldn't have been your lover; someone got her pregnant; you couldn't do that.

Who would win in a fight? You or Janet?

Your old man stopped by, said he's going to kick the shit out of you.

You wanna' put what? where?

Hey look! Your hair is on fire!

I just don't know - maybe it is lucky that Bubbbles wasn't granted the gift of speech. The story went on to say that when LaToya went to visit it didn't appear that Bubbles knew who she was.

He knew.

The monkey in the cage next door heard him mutter these words when LaToya entered:

Don't look over, here comes another nut from that whack job family.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sacrifice

This is supposed to be a LeBron free zone, but I just can't help it. I read another story today.

"This is all about sacrifice now," LeBullshit said. "We sacrificed dollars to make us a winning team."

Poor guys.

Wade, Bosch and LeBullshit left three million dollars from their $111 million on the table so that the team could go out and sign other free agents.

It was implied that the sacrifice made by the chosen one's puts a hardship on their families as they move forward, but they are willing to do so.

Great guys. All for the greater good.

"Don't forget LeBron sold ads for his announcement to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of America," someone said to me when I made it clear that his special was a disgusting display of Me, My Mine. (A great Beatles song, by the way).

And maybe I've had enough of sports in general. Maybe it took the sacrifice comment to make me see straight beyond the games that I used to really love.

Sacrifice?

How about a single mother working two jobs to make ends meet and staying home because it's either go out for a night of fun or feed the kids?

How about a working man getting up and out of bed every morning at five, working ten or twelve hour days so that the three kids sloughing around the house have a chance at paying the skyrocketing college tuition prices? (That one sounds familiar).

How about the war veteran that can't get decent medical care, but still finds a menial job so that he can stay clear of a homeless shelter?

Or the man who goes back to school after working in a factory for years and years, only to see it close down and move to Mexico when he was within ten years of retirement.

Those are sacrifices.

Not leaving three million on the table from a $111 dollar contract.

It's a good thing that LeBullshit picked Jim Gray to do his interview. He should have picked me. It would have gone something like this:

LeBullshit: I'm taking my talents to South Beach to play for the Miami Heat.

ME: Really? Your talents? You selfish p&*ck? That's how you want to start this interview? Don't you want to say anything to the millions of people through the years who sacrificed their talents to watch you bounce a freaking ball?

LeBullshit: I'm making sacrifices here. I left millions on the table for the chance to win.

ME: So we can blow more smoke up your illiterate ass? Is that why you did it? My what a humanitarian you are. How will you feed your family from here on out? I hear they pass out food stamps for guys like you who are forced to leave all that money on the table.

LeBullshit: My momma always told me to do what makes Lebron James happy.

ME: You're Lebron James! Stop talking about yourself like you aren't even in the room. Stop talking about yourself period. Suffer through your sacrifices in quiet humility like the rest of the poor bastards who are paying eleven dollars for a warm draft beer as you jog up and down a court putting a ball in a basket. You suck!

Lebullshit: I'm just trying to do what's best for LeBron James.

ME: I hope you break both legs stepping off the pedestal you put yourself on.

Don't you think that would have been a better interview?

Sacrifice!

My God!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wedding Day

Going to a party today to celebrate the wedding of my niece, Katie to a fine,young man, Matt. It's sort of strange too because when Kathy and I first had the kids and needed a moment away from them it was Katie who stepped up to the plate and offered to babysit. She always did a fine job, and usually balked at an offer to be paid, although she eventually took the money that I crumpled up and threw at her.

It's also strange because every single time I go to a wedding I think of two things:

1). My character Waldorf, in my widely acclaimed book Waldorf & Juli (I learned self-promotion from King LeBron), was standing at the front of the church waiting for his bride when his best man said: This is either the greatest moment in your life, or the single standing in time that you'll look back on and rue with all of the hatred in your heart.

2). Or as Springsteen said in his widely acclaimed CD, Tunnel of Love, Would they ever look so happy again? The handsome groom and his bride, as they step into the long, black limousine, for their mystery ride?

And, I'm here to tell you folks, it's sort of a crap shoot. Katie and Matt will be a wonderful couple and they will live a life of eternal happiness where they raise a couple of kids, love each other every day, and blissfully expire at the same moment about 70 years from now.

Or: They stand in front of a judge accusing one another of cruelty, infidelity, disrespect, abuse, and general differences of opinion that led to utter destruction.

Doesn't seem to be a lot of middle ground these days, and it is pretty scary when you reach middle-age and the couples around you start to drop.One after another. Never amicably. Always with a great deal of angst.

"So, what's the secret?" Matt asked as we sipped one of his final free beers at the stag.

"How the hell do I know?" I asked. "I thought OJ and Nicole were getting on terrifically."

"But you and Aunt Kathy always look like you're having fun."

"That's the secret, look like you're having fun," I said. "Respect each other. Simple as that," I said.

And it shouldn't be a secret. There should be that implied understanding when you stand up in front of the church, or the judge, or the gathering and make the commitment. And I'm quite sure that most people honestly believe that it is how it will work out.

Pretty hard to fathom the guy who says, "I Do," while thinking, What a freaking sham this is going to be, I hate this broad. or vice-versa.

That's the rub of it all. No one feels the destruction coming on. But at that very moment when the bride comes down the aisle, tears in her eyes, a proud father on her arm, so much love, so much pride there's a chance that it can turn into:

- Utter destruction, the crash and burn, the I hate you, and you cook like shit. The we used to be so close, and the extra 40 pounds, and the kids are dinks, and the dog shit in the basement, and the how the hell can we be broke, and drinking heavily, and perfume on the collar, or hidden texts, and lies and lawyers and I really don't care anymore.


But there's also the opportunity to have it end in:

- years of togetherness, finishing each others sentences, giggling at the movies, sharing every meal, always watching one anothers back...always respecting, making love, standing proudly next to the children as they accomplish something, growing old together, achieving life's ultimate goals, or having someone right there on your arm when life swings its hammer of despair.

And it's a chance that we are willing to take.

I know Katie and Matt very well. Two very smart, young people, who seem so perfect together...Congratulations...I sanction this wedding.

And don't come running to me later on!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The King Is Banned!

All right, so I lied. I watched The King proclaim who his next team would be. I had to. The 27-Time Defending World Champions are playing on the West Coast, so there was absolutely nothing on television.

And man, was I put off by the whole deal.

First off, they called it The Decision. As if creation itself depended on it.

Secondly, they called those three ball-bouncing millionaires The Chosen Ones: a bit much.

Thirdly, they sat The King in a chair and said he's about to make a decision that will affect the world. Turned my stomach.

Fourthly, while I knew the ads for the program were going to charity - The Boys and Girls Clubs of America - I honestly believed that The King would have a message for young people. In my heart I believed that he might start with a decree that children should stay in school, or stay out of gangs, or stay off of drugs, or stop freaking shooting each other every friggen day.

But no. It was all about Lebron. And at the end of the day, his momma told him that Lebron James has to do what makes Lebron James happy.

So, there's the message. Perfect.

Now I'm not saying that Lebron had to be the second coming of MLK, but a few nice words about someone other than himself may have worked.

(I turned it off waaaaaaay before the end so if he did this after I went running screaming from the room, I don't care. He should have started with such a message. He could have done it too, he's The King).

I guess he learned from Cheetah and that other serial narcissist Michael Jordan.

Cliff Fazzolari doesn't like Michael Jordan either.

And for God's sake, make up your mind. The interview started with The King telling us how hard he worked for the opportunity to do what makes "Lebron James happy."

In fact, he told us how he enjoyed the process three separate times. Then he explained that he never wanted to go through it again because it's the hardest thing Lebron James ever had to do.

"Will you still live in Ohio?" Jim Gray asked.

"I don't know. Lebron James gave all he had to Cleveland, but Lebron James' Mommy gave Lebron James some advice and Lebron James...

"Has to make Lebron James happy," Gray finished.

"Yes, but I'll always live in Akron. I love Akron."

At that point Gray wanted to reach across and throttle The King.

"That's what I freaking 'axed,'" you had to be running through his mind.

And another pet peeve of mine. It is pronounced "Ass-ked."

Where's the X?

You can say Ass, can't you?

Add an -ked and you're all set.

That's it. Done with Lebron, or The King, or The Chosen One, or Lebron Christ - whatever the hell he wants to call himself.

But at least I have a new favorite NBA Team.

Whoever is playing against The Chosen One's.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Redirecting The Anger


Don't you hate guys like this guy?

He parks the car in two spots in a convenience store where there are just four parking spaces. I can see doing so if you don't want someone to park next to a luxury automobile (all right, I lied, that's selfish too) but this guy can't possibly be doing it this way to protect a hunk of crap, can he?

I had to park on the street. I went into the store and he was spitting out a thousand numbers for the lottery. I wanted to smack him with my newspaper.

So I buy the newspaper and I see LeBron freaking James on the cover. He's got an hour special tonight to tell us where his next hundred million is coming from.

I received my social security statement the other day. I have made 1.2 million over the last 24 years. I have .77 cents in my checking account, sore feet, a bum shoulder, and a lot of anger that needs to be redirected.

Tune in and see LeBron make an announcement that is going to get more play then the Cuban Missile Crisis. I won't be watching. I'll be puking somewhere. The sport is unwatchable anyway.

It isn't just guys that park like that either. Maybe it's the heat but outside of my immediate family (who happen to be vacationing at Camp Clifford) everyone else I know is bitching about something or other.

"It's tooooooo hot," some lady said to me as I passed her on the sidewalk.

"Go hang yourself," I nearly answered.

As you see, I'm not my usual Mr. Nice Guy Self today. I'm trying to redirect the crap that's building up.

It seems to be working too. Now if only LeBron will sign his deal and then lose for the next ten years.

That would make me happy as I scratch out a living.

I only need .23 cents to make a dollar.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What're You Afraid Of?

I had a long conversation the other night with someone who is deathly afraid of overhead wires.

I'm not kidding.

This person has crying fits whenever she is forced to pass under, near or around overhead lines. Power lines, cable lines, anything hanging. The only way she can walk under them is to throw up an umbrella.

As she told the story, I sort of laughed uncomfortably. What I wanted to do was telling her that she's nucking futs.

Yet there are people afraid of heights, snakes, bugs, serial killers, being forced to leave their homes, dogs, cats, rats, and bats.

I can't say that I'm afraid of much. I remember a college buddy who was scared of thunderstorms. He got drunk one night and went out and stood in one, and he conquered the fear. He got wet as well.

When I was a kid I wasn't fond of heights, and there is every now and then when I'm driving across a bridge when I feel a shudder, but my job has cured me of most of the fears of falling.

The things that scare me are the realities of living life. Someone I love getting sick and maybe not getting better. That was always the greatest of all fears, and going through it hasn't stopped me from still being afraid. It's not like standing in the rain, after all.

Living life is sort of like trying to dodge the rain drops. There isn't one among us that can stand in a rainstorm and not get wet.

And I know that there are people out there who never truly conquer their fears. Too much anxiety, too few moments of peace.

What is the most irrational fear you've ever heard of?

The power lines one sort of takes the cake for me.

I suppose that everyone is scared at one time or another, sometime in their lives. But I think life sort of beats the fear out of you.

There comes a moment when you realize that what you are afraid of is something that you can't control no matter how hard you try.

And you're going to get wet eventually.

Catching Up

See that Lindsay Lohan is going to jail for 90 days. Who could have predicted that?

Isn't she a fine actress with a stable, healthy upbringing. Hey boys, maybe we have a chance now. She'd be happy to see any man after spending time in the clink. Then again, doesn't she swing from both sides of the plate? Ah well, still out of luck.

Another Manson parolee shot down. Geez, aren't they rehabilitated by now?

I hear the latest to be denied has been a model citizen in jail. Awful hard to plead your case for time off for good behavior with all of your victim's blood all over the wall.

Here's an idea - donate the money for the parole hearings to the family of the victims. Announce that they are receiving special treatment - no more parole chances. Good behavior!

The oil has showed up along the coast of five states now. Haven't been listening to Rush much.

Is he still of the opinion that the media is overstating the case? Or that the sea is strong? Maybe I'll listen to that moron today to get my blood flowing.

See the 27-time, Defending Champion Yankees still have the best record in baseball. I know, I know...the spend some money.

Hey, wanna' guess what team earns the most money in baseball by a wide, wide, wide, wide, wide margin?

I'll give you three guesses - here's a hint:

It starts with "27-Time Defending."

Okay, off to work. You know you always wish people have a good day...and most of the time you don't mean it at all. It's just habit, right?

Have a good day.

(I mean it, honestly).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Consequences

I'm not a big fan of fireworks. Sure, if there's a good show going on and I have a beer in my hand, I'll look up and do the ahhhh thing. I also understand that its a reason for us to get together and drink that beer.

Yet what soured me on fireworks and fire crackers and sparklers and all of that are my two dogs. They are scared out of their minds at this time of year. Last night Melky cowered in the corner, shaking because of the constant pop outside, coming from where, I don't know.

I pictured some guy, running around, setting them off and cheering by himself. A little strange, you know?

I also always think of July 4, 1988 when I attended a private party in Brooklyn with the guys I was working with in Connecticut and the free fireworks they got from a friend of a friend of a friend who knew John Gotti. These guys set off fireworks for ten hours straight in the middle of the city block. Weird night.

I could have lit a few that night, but I didn't. A few guys called me names that have to deal with being less of a man, but I didn't want to do what the guy from Long Island did two nights ago.

The 36-year old man with a wife, two kids, and a job that requires two working arms, blew his right arm off, and now he's beating himself up about it, and that isn't easy to do. (Okay, one arm jokes are troublesome, but that one wrote itself).

Still, I think of it all the time. The consequences of my actions are bigger than me. They encompass all of the fears of my entire family, and the two dogs quaking under the bed. And stories of guys losing limbs, or worse, happens every year, but still we want to run around and try it, right?

Not me. I like to clap. I enjoy going to work, playing hoops with the boys, and playing golf. Doing all of those things with just one arm would be difficult.

Sometimes thinking about the consequences makes you less of a wimp than what you might think.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back to the 80's

Believe it or not, we watched Fast Times at Ridgemont High yesterday, and it was really sort of weird, you know?

First off to see Sean Penn as Spicoly is real strange - no matter what you think of him - he's a great actor.

Secondly, the movie was not nearly as funny as I thought it was. In fact, it was kind of beat. I remember seeing it when I was a little older than Jake and a little younger than Matt. There wasn't anything overly offensive in it I suppose, but the boys were in an out anyway.

Mostly they wanted to laugh at the way the characters dressed in the 80's, or the way they talked, or the big hair, or the huge cell phones, or the lame looking cars.

"Did you wear shorts that short?" Jake asked me as they showed a character jumping into the pool.

"The shorter the better," I said.

"My God, how those shorts would look on you now," he said.

"Just watch the movie."

And I remember the days and the turned up collars, and the music Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Jackson Browne...

I'd take all of it over the music my boys are listening to today...that's for sure.

Like I said, the movie seemed lame in comparison to how I remember it. Perhaps its better to leave those movies alone and recall them as fondly as I used to.

"Animal House was a good one," Kathy said later.

But I wonder. Perhaps I should just leave it alone.

I'll go see Twilight Eclipse, or whatever the hell is going on now.

Sometimes its best not to go back in time.

Particularly when you'd look like sausage stuffed into a casing if you tried to put on the short shorts again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

For Spacious Skies

The Fourth of July is the perfect holiday, isn't it? Barbecues, sunshine, and good feelings about our wonderful country.

Despite all of the turmoil, and there is always turmoil, the US of A as Archie Bunker might say is still the greatest country in the world, and the pride you feel when celebrating the nation's birthday is always uplifting.

Glad it happened in July though. Could you imagine celebrating it on, say November 5? That would suck.

And I say that because of the ribs. My brother Jim made the call early in the week. "Ribs and swimming at my place," he said. "Get the ribs, I'll cook 'em. Three of four slabs should work."

Later in the week, "Make it five or six slabs," he said.

Now, I'm all for having too much food rather than fighting for the last rib. "You want that?" is usually all the inspiration I need to take the last rib.

"I could eat these until I pass out," I told my sister.

"Looks like you're going to try it too," she said.

And while I ate I remembered why the holiday was important to me. I recalled getting ready for the bicentennial celebration of 1976 and how it felt to hold one of those special quarters in my hand. I recall thinking of Francis Scott Key sitting on the boat writing the national Anthem. It was always about the writing. Thought it was neat that he wrote it all down. He must have been fired up that night.

And there was an endless sky yesterday, and it looks like there will be another big sky today, and I look up a lot these days, but with little sadness, because its hard to get down about things when your heart if full of pride. And despite it all I'm proud to be an American. My children have endless opportunities, despite the feelings of standing on shaky ground from time-to-time.

A spacious sky, a lot of laughs, and an unending supply of ribs.

Freedom is cool, isn't it?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Think About It

There are millions and millions of us...a whole deal run amok. We all lead lives that are supposed to mean something to someone, somewhere along the line. Do we even think about that?

We watch Dancing with the Stars, or America's Got Talent, and by the time we go to bed we think that's all there is for the day.

We spend our days chasing the almighty dollar, telling off the next door neighbor, and crying because we don't get a great reception on our cell phone.

We eat too much, drink too much, swear too much, and wonder why we don't have enough love.

We amuse ourselves, abuse ourselves, and use ourselves, and in the end never really know ourselves.

We laugh too hard at things that aren't funny and cry too long for things we should get over quicker.

We worry about the government, and education, and healthcare and child abuse...when we know that things we worry about that we can't change have no solution...and things that can be resolved will be solved anyway.

So why worry?

And we spend so many days chasing so many things that are so far out of reach...but we try...and we worry...and we cry...and in the end we will all be like Junior Soprano when Tony walks in on him in the end, and says:

"You controlled all of New Jersey."

And Junior, obviously in dementia, says, "That's great!"

Because none of it mattered,

And none of it really does.

And if that's too sad to think about,

Just think about it.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Horse Died in the End

Being that the 27-Time Defending World Champion Yankees,who have the best record in baseball, played and won their game in the afternoon, there were not a lot of choices for television last night.

After dinner, Kathy decided to visit Redbox for a flick, and despite the fact that I've been burned before - by romantic comedies where someone who looks like Jennifer Aniston, or Catherine Heigl spends two hours bemoaning the fact that men don't find them attractive, only to miraculously find love in the end - I let my wife choose the flick.

(Hey guys out there - wouldn't you be willing to take a lot of crap from Aniston or Heigl? Would it take you months or minutes to profess love? Just asking).

Anyway, Kathy was very secretive about the movie. She didn't divulge actors in it or the plot line and I'm not even sure of the name - Remember Me - maybe?

Yet the movie started out promisingly enough with a Ghandi quote about what we do in our lives will be insignificant, but we still have to do it. Then there was a point-blank shooting of a mother, with her daughter standing right beside her, on a NYC subway platform.

Now, you must understand, on most days I'm teetering on the edge of sadness and utter deapair. I can hold it off, but there comes a tipping point that usually sends me to the goose for relief. I've been good all week. Smiling, joking, hanging in there, chasing the insignificant because it needs to be lived.

After the subway shooting, the movie took a turn to the depressing. Whenever it looked like there'd be a swing to the merry, more bad things happened. And, oh yeah, there was no Hollywood ending. The ending in fact made the subway shooting look like a comedy sketch.

"Holy shit!" I said as the screen went to black. "That's the saddest movie ever made!"

Jake who revels in the fact that I am made to sit through the romantic comedies wanted more info.

"Let's just say that if there were a dog in that movie we would have watched it get scrunched under the wheels of a semi-tractor-trailer," I said.

Kathy laughed.

"Why would you get such a movie?" I asked.

"The guy in it was from Twilight," she said. "I just wanted to look at him."

"What about this?" I asked as I allowed my hands to highlight what she can see every single day. "You live with a movie star."

She laughed again, but this time it was a laugh that came out of absolute surprise and glee. One of those laughs where you're laughing because what you've heard is just plain ridiculous. "Not quite the same. He's fresh-looking," she said.

I brushed my teeth and headed for bed. Not only did I see the saddest movie ever, I lost the overall comparison with the fresh-looking, young actor. Now I know what Kathy thinks when I watch Jennifer Alba, or hundreds of others.

Ah well. Glad there wasn't a horse in the flick.

We'd have watched the process of turning it into glue.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nice Work If You Can Get It

The details of Cheetah Woods divorce settlement hit the news today. It looks as if Elin will get a couple of homes, custody of the children and about $750 million for her troubles.

I don't know about you, but I sort of smiled when I saw that. Good for her. She's going to have a good time spending his cash, huh?

And what did she have to do for it?

Cheetah's the one who had to practice every day. He chipped and putted and chipped some more. He's won the 2nd most major tourneys of all-time, and has had to travel the world playing golf on the greatest courses in the world. Poor guy.

Elin spent a few years with him, popped out a couple of kids, and held down the fort as he slept with waitresses from Denny's, hotel receptionists, the next-door-neighbor, and the Russian lady with one leg. (Oh right, that was Tony Soprano).

Cheetah might have got her too.

I don't know. I smiled at the idea of her cashing that check because he was certainly a dirtbag who put her threw hell. He tarnished his name, but he also dragged hers through the mud, and spit all over his kids to boot.

But man, that's a ton of cabbage for being married, isn't it?

I remember laughing with Howard Stern who paid his wife a big sum as well. He complained a little about it saying that his wife didn't do a lot to help him amass his fortune because she had gardeners, nanny's and an assistant for the last twenty years or so. Howard was only joking, but you can see his point.

Let's see: what would my wife get?

1).$749.999999 million less than Elin.
2). About 700 books that I read throughout our marriage.
3). The weed whacker
4). My collection of Yankee championship plaques.
5). The photo of me and Henry Winkler.
6). The shaft from the putter that I smashed over my golf cart last week
7). A few unsold books that I'll autograph for her if she'd like.

She might as well hang in there, huh?

Extend the Netting!!

During the Wednesday afternoon Yankees game, Todd Frazier ripped a line drive into the crowd above the third base dugout. The ball, which ...