Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Prayer for Healing

For according to Mark 11:23–24, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Late last night my sister-in-law called us with more bad news from the hospital in the care of our nephew Jake. Another setback. Another devastating wave of tears, sadness and extreme fear. I know the feeling all too well, and I shriveled inside myself, wishing that there was Jameson's in the house.

Five minutes later, I was on the computer. My sons had posted on their Face Book accounts.

"Say a prayer for Jake Brotz. He's in the hospital and he really needs it."

I wandered the house for a minute, trying to make a little sense. I thought of Jake; a good man by all accounts. Just 29 years old. Two beautiful, happy, wonderful children, and a loving wife. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, cousins, aunts, and uncles all shaking their heads in disbelief.

Come on, God! Really! Why? How? Are you kidding me?

Jake's never done anything but try and make his way.

But I know the darkness that living brings. In fact, I slipped straight into the negative thoughts of utter despair. It's still so raw in my heart that I can't even walk through those hospital doors to sit with the rest of a close family.

My son Sam's simple message, however, told me where to center my energies. I said a prayer for my young nephew, and through the night, my mind went back to it. A long, self-serving plea to God to keep that family intact.

I thought of those gathered at the hospital. The waves of regret, the sleeplessness, the shock, the confusion, the disbelief, the begging, the pleading, the bad coffee, more tears, and prayers, and prayers and prayers.

There is nothing wrong with trying to center the energy away from the negative. This family needs some positive energy. If you get a moment today, send some of those positive spirits to a sick man who needs your help. What else is there to do?

My 10-year old son reminded me, that its all controlled by someone with a much higher rank.

For according to Mark 11:23–24, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Hang in there Jake.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gone Fishing

I used to love to go fishing. Of course, I haven't been fishing in years because when I took the boys, Sam casted and hooked the back of his head and we all ended up in the emergency room.

(For the record, Kathy was in charge during the fateful cast -I was getting a beer).

Anyway, now 'fishing' is a dirty word around our house.

But thinking back on it, I remember fishing with my brothers, four real dark boys throwing their lines into a pond, with bobbers on the line and worms on the hook. What I liked about it was the anticipation of seeing the bobber get sunk by a tug on the line. I was completely out of control of the situation. I could only see what was happening on the surface and had no clue as to what was going on underneath.

Now I hate fishing. I hate the bobber being torn asunder.

What I'm getting at here is that for the last nearly two years, I have been the bobber on the water. I try hard to stay afloat, ride the crest of the waves, and not sink. I've tried all sorts of things too - self-help books, books on grief, gallons of goose, Yankee games, Bruce songs, church, writing, family, dogs, pasta by the truckload, friends, family, laughter, crying, anger and more grief.

And the fucking bobber got yanked under anyway.

In a span of about twelve minutes in the middle of the week my mother announced that her aunt had died - 88 years old - nice productive life...and my wife explained that my thirty-year old nephew thru marriage had suffered some sort of thyroid attack. Jake is currently in the ICU fighting to keep the bobber afloat in the worst of all scenarios. A father of two...a kid with his whole life to live...battling...pray for him.

And with the 'pray for him' thought in my mind, the bobber sunk again.

I've been running with the I-pod on in an effort to keep my mind healthy. I set the goose aside, started eating less, dropping pounds, writing more, reading more...

And the fucking bobber got yanked under anyway.

The water seems deep and who knows what's going on under their. When I was fishing as a young boy I used to hate bringing that line in and seeing that the worm was gone. I used to have to beg one of my more manly brothers to rebait my hook (worms are gross) and they used to do it while cursing me for being a wuss.

I visited the funeral home. I can't do the hospital visit, but I will jump back on the horse and pray along with our families for the full recovery. What else is there to do?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to cast this line, try and get it to the water without hooking the back of my head, so I can keep an eye on the fucking bobber.

Here's hoping it stays afloat.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just a Woman in Love

Back in 1988 I found myself working in New Haven, Ct. My brother John was assigned to Hartford, Ct., for a couple of weeks, so being that my brothers and sisters have always been my best buddies, we got together on a weekend for a little food, and a few beers.

It's funny, but I remember that weekend because we laughed our asses off. First we cooked steak on the grill, while we drank a few beers. Then we watched the Yankee game, while we drank a few beers, and finally, we played cards (guess along) while we drank a few beers.

While we were playing cards we put on some music - Bruce, of course, Stones, Who, Dire Straits - the rock and roll favorites. I distinctly recall one moment however, when the tape ran out. I ran off to the fridge and the head, and John found the next tape to play.

He hit the button just as I entered the room. Barbara Streisand's voice filled the room. Now you must remember, we were drinking beers as fast as we could open them. Also, John is the strongest guy in the world and a little on the edge of things.

"That's right," he said when I looked at him as if he lost his mind. "I love her voice."

We laughed all the way through a few of the songs, but there was also a reason why he found the tape - I love her voice too.

Today I sang along with A Woman in Love - I defy you to listen and not try and sing with her. I have it on my I-Pod.

I was driving down the road, concentrating on the sound of her wonderful voice, and trying not to sing the words clearly enough for the guy in the next car to read my lips.

The version of the song I have is from a studio recording and the voice is isolated so that you can hear her sing each and every word.

American Idol that...she has a wonderful voice...and I wasn't drinking a thing today.

PS...By the way, if John reads this blog, I'm going to get pummeled to a bloody pulp.

PSS...nothing funnier than to hear my wonderful wife try and match Barbara note for note!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why? Oh Why?

1).Why do people call you to tell you they're sending you an e-mail, send you the e-mail and then call you again to see if you got it?

Send me the freaking e-mail and shut the hell up. I'm busy.

2). Why is there a sign at the Dunkin Donuts Shop on the Thruway that says, "We can no longer accept Dunkin Donuts Coupons?"

Do you think Starbucks will accept them? What the hell kind of crap is that?

3). Why every Monday do I hear people say: 'I can't believe it's Monday already?' Or worse, when the new month begins they say: 'I can't believe it's already November.'

Correct me if I'm wrong but it goes that way every week...Saturday, Sunday and then freaking Monday. September, October and then freaking November.

Why can't you believe it? Happens every week. Happens every year. It's a pattern. Not that hard to figure out. Write it on your hand if you have to so you don't get caught by surprise when the next week or month ends.


4). Saw a Face Book question the other day: "When is trick-or-treating in our hometown?"

Now I'm not much for ceremony but they usually do it on Halloween, right? Why ask dumb questions?

5). Why do people post on e-mail that they are: hungry, tired, irritated, elated, or constipated?

Get the hell away from the computer and handle your problem. We don't care. Eat a sandwich, take a nap, have a drink, dance a jig, or take an enema....I don't give a crap!

So there we are. Just questioning why today.

I can't believe it's already Wednesday...and almost November.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet Dreams

So, Matt has decided to forego his job at Matt-Donalds so that he can concentrate on the upcoming basketball season. I wasn't completely enamored with this decision as there are a number of things about my own youth that come into play here.

As teens we were encouraged to work hard to put some money away so that we could help pay for our college experiences. In my mind, that's how it should go. Of course, there is another train of thought that says kids should be kids for as long as they can and that their job is school.

So far Matt is doing well in his studies, so I will begrudgingly give him the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, I went to bed thinking about it last night. In the middle of the night, I was treated to a vivid dream that sort of hammered it home to me. Actually, it wasn't really a dream because it really happened.

Travel back in time to 1983. I was 18. I was going to college during the school year and working as a grunt union laborer during every single break and the summer months. I was being paid as though I had some skills, and I did. I was young and strong and I worked really hard because my father was the boss and I didn't want to do anything that shined a bad light on him. He was doing it for me.

I used to drive to work with Dad to the high-rise job in California. I was part of a ten-man crew that poured concrete at each floor of the hotel - from sun up to sun down. My back aches just thinking about it.

I remember complaining to my father and having him explain that I was working to save money so I can get an education and not have to do it forever.

"But I'm starving by ten o'clock in the morning," I explained.

Cut back to last night's dream. I was pouring concrete with my co-workers when I heard someone call my name. I looked up to see my father standing behind one of the columns. In his hand was a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on a sub roll.

"Come here!" Dad called.
"I can't!" I answered.
"Get here now (Italian swear words) and eat this!"

That was the dream, and it really wasn't a dream because it really happened. I ate the sandwich in about three bites and hustled back to the crew. The other ten guys gave me the evil eye for the rest of the morning.

Of course, as I went about my business today I replayed the scene in my head time and time again. I saw my father's eyes as he watched me hammer that sandwich home. He was always standing right there ready to help out. He was about the same age then as I am now.

"Stand by your kids decisions," he's saying. "Just help them through."

I love when Dad and Jeff stop by in my dreams.

Monday, October 25, 2010

So Who Are You Voting For?

In about ten days I will walk into my local fire hall, close the curtain behind me and cast my vote in a whole bunch of elections.

How the hell do I vote with a clear mind?

Have you done your homework on all of the candidates?

Are you voting for the best looking candidate? The one with the least aggravating commercials? Someone who's party you think your in line with? Just voting against all the people who have already been in office because you want to wipe everyone out?

Voting for a candidate because Obama told you to? Or because Sarah Palin mentioned that you should vote along party lines? Voting for a guy who says he's mad? Voting for a senator because she's hot? Or stupid like the rest of us?

This is truly a confusing time and I cherish my right to vote, but wonder if I truly have all the right information to make a good choice.

There is one candidate who will get my vote next Tuesday because I drank beer with him once, and he was a funny guy.

There's another guy who will get my vote for governor because he's Italian. (I didn't give myself away there - they are both Italian).

Another guy won't get my vote because he refused to stand up in support when they were talking about closing down the Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

But do I have all the information?

Not even close - and I read a lot.

The problem as I see it is that people don't really give a crap. It's easy to vote one way or the other based on just a little information.

There are way more people interested in whether or not Jennifer Grey or Bristol Palin wins Dancing with the Stars.

Which begs the question:

Why isn't there a test when it comes to being eligible to vote? Shouldn't we have a little background provided other than the 30-second commercials that all seem the same to me. Negative. Negative. More negative.

When I voted for the 1st time at 18 years old I had a real concise way of figuring out the candidates.

1). I voted along party lines - I didn't even know what party I was in.

2). I voted strictly for men - now that I have more information I can see that was a mistake.

3). I voted for guys with Italian names - if you ate pasta every week you were okay with me.

I shouldn't have been allowed to vote.

I'm not alone.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wide Angle Lens, Please!

So we have another major scandal on our hands with a famous married man and a very young reporter. You know I love these.

Brett Favre is accused of sending voicemails and text messages to a pretty, young sideline reporter. Allegedly one of the photos he sent along was a snapshot of his, (uh, I hate when I have to search for a word) 'peaker'.

Why did I spell it 'peaker'?

One time Kathy and I were watching a movie and unbeknownst to us, Jake snuck into the room. The punchline of a joke that we both laughed at contained the word 'pecker'.

When I noticed Jake I ushered him from the room, and he asked me why I laughed at the joke. I tried to give a lame answer, but he wasn't buying it. Finally he asked, "Dad, what's a peaker?"

So, around our house we refer to 'it' as a peaker.

Anywho, back to our regularly scheduled blog. Here are the facts.

1). The girl is pretty. No Kathy Fazzolari, mind you, but attractive enough. They always are. And that's the point...there are a million pretty girls out there. None of them want to be texted a shot of your peaker and if they do...they really aren't that special.

2). I couldn't, wouldn't shouldn't dream of texting a photo of my peaker to anyone. First off, I don't know how to work the wide angle lens on my camera...

(Okay, to be honest, I wrote the whole blog just to get that joke in there).

3). Favre's wife survived cancer. He has been cheered from coast-to-coast. He has more money in his couch cushions than all of us will ever see. Doesn't it cross his mind to have a little restraint?

4). People are claiming that the reporter is not the victim in the story, but the one who started all the trouble. I heard one man on the radio claiming that she stands on the sidelines showing cleavage and her butt cheeks, so she gets what she gets when men advance on her.

Let me ask you something. If I showed off my plumber's crack and my man-breasts, would you feel comfortable sending me a shot of your peaker?

It would be an unwelcome advance.

So there we are. I don't really give a crap, honestly. I just needed to work a couple of jokes in there.

At the end of the day its just another dumb jock story and a damsel in distress.

I do know that if I did something like that Kathy would take my phone away, and it would be a long, long time till the old peaker saw the light of day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Silence!

Went to church tonight sort of as a way to catch my breath and listen to the choir, and hear the prayers. Kathy and the boys stayed home, leaving me to catch the vibe on my own. Which was good, I craved the silence from the outside world.

But of course, the priest, during his sermon, had to mention that we all had more time on our hands now that 'the Yankees didn't live up to expectations.'

I had to laugh.

Yet my mind was in serious wander mode. I thought of all the people gathered on a Saturday night, attending church for a variety of reasons - some people perhaps craving the silence, some praying for huge things, some dreading every second of it because they had something else to do.

I was there for peace and comfort, so it was easy to enjoy it all.

The man in the choir had a heavenly voice, never messing up even a single note. About halfway through mass, a girl of about 17 turned around to give the guy a thumbs up. Then, she did it every thirty seconds for the rest of the mass. Thumbs up, huge smile. She was a Downs Syndrome child. The smile on her face was heartwarming.

I continued to scan the faces of the people I don't know. There was a real old nun beside me, nodding in agreement at the words of the Gospel.

A man of about twenty-to twenty five was seated beside his Mom and Dad, and it entered my mind that he should cherish the moment. He had a Droid phone in his hand, checking something out that seemed to be more important than what was going on at the altar.

And I was silent through it all. My mind whirling through tasks for the week ahead, the prayers entering in snippets, the choir voices hammering it all home,and the girl with the thumbs up.

As the congregation gathered for communion a single thought hit me.

We had skipped a huge chunk of the Mass.

What happened to Holy, Holy?

Did we do 'Christ has Died, Christ is Risen, Christ will come again?'

Was I that close to heading back home?

I know a lot of people who crave silence in their lives and don't share in the community of the church. I certainly don't preach to anyone, and learned that guilt is a shaky way to steer the ship, but I enjoyed myself this evening.

The silence seemed to do me some good.

I give it a hearty thumbs up.

Creating a Monster

The telephone rang late last night. A-Rod had just stepped to the plate with 2 outs in the 9th in a game the Yankees were losing 6 to 1.

There weren't any runners on base. They had mustered a pitiful attack in a game they had to win. I had long since given up.

"It ain't over yet!" I heard Sam say into the phone.

He was talking with my father-in-law, who for all of his life hated the Yankees, but now sort of roots for them because Sam loves them. He wasn't calling to bust on Sam, but to see if his grandson would take it okay.

A-Rod took a called 3rd strike and the game was over.

"Texas sucks," Sam said defiantly. "I hope they enjoy it because the Yankees will sign Lee and win 2 of 3 next year."

I honestly don't know where this kid gets his information.

"So what? Let them win the World Series," Sam said. "If they win them all until 2037 they will tie the Yankees."

We all went to the Billy Martin school of "Don't take no shit from anybody."

But I know my boy is upset. It will be what he talks about all day. I sort of think its a good moment.

Life isn't about winning just because you want to. It isn't about getting your way each and every time. It certainly is about reacting to what is handed to you, even if it is something as tedious as a baseball game.

Over the weekend we will have a calm moment to talk about it. I will explain that it is really hard to win - no matter how many advantages you have and that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and a tremendous amount of luck...and that sometimes it still doesn't work out.

The Yankees have won 'only' 27 out of 100. That's not good odds each year...but they will get back on the horse in a few months and try again.

Yes...I will work the life lesson in somewhere today.

And then we will sit back and bash all of the rest of the teams left.

Josh Hamilton.

He should have received a lifetime ban from baseball. Hell, Pete Rose did.

That's a good one...perhaps I can pass that on to my little Yankee monster.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ain't Broken...But You Can See the Cracks in the Foundation

Don't you hate when you wake up more tired than when you went to bed?

And I'm not sure if its the weather, but I was aching today, and more than the cranky knee.

I stopped by to see my friends at the first office and the two wonderful women that work there noticed that I wasn't my usual belligerent, sarcastic self.

"You look tired," Debby said.

"Something's wrong with me."

"Don't say that!"

Jeannette joined the conversation and they asked my age.

"46," I said.

"Yeah, he's getting there," Debby said.

My friends went on to explain that there would be a day when you reach the point of no return and the aches and pains of age will just stay with you.

Was today my first day of it?

Actually I haven't felt quite right since the mid-90's, but man, hopefully there will be more pain-free, well-rested sort of days ahead.

The Yanks are going to have two games this weekend - Game 6 tonight and Game 7 tomorrow. Other than that I plan on getting a lot of rest.

Naps, long drawn out moments under a blanket on the couch. Maybe a steam and a whirlpool at the YMCA.

You know, things the old folks do.

After all, I have to rest up. The Yanks are going to be in the World Series next week.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beeps, Buzzing, Ring Tones

The other day I silenced the sound on my cell phone. Especially the notifications beep that has a tendency to annoy me whenever an e-mail from Macy's comes in to break my train of thought.

The main reason I dropped the audible signs was because the Yanks lost and fell behind 3 to 1 and there were bound to be people texting me with their witty messages.

It brings about thoughts of how ridiculous it is that we are all in constant contact. From Face Book to texting to e-mail thru the Rolling Stones ring tone on my phone I am now at a loss if I even head into the other room without my phone in my pocket.

Now, don't get me wrong...I enjoy the contact a lot. I have buddies who keep an ongoing conversation going all day long...and especially during the games. When Lance Berkman hit that long drive the other night my phone buzzed five times in a row. "It was foul," was the prevailing thought.

Yet there are moments. Like when I am carrying my bags in to check into a hotel room...or when I'm taking 12 bags of groceries into the house...or in the bathroom...or driving the car.

It is best to keep the phone well away from arm's length at those times.

Of course, I'm old enough to remember when I wasn't on this communications leash. Even in the early days of cell phones I could claim that I couldn't get a signal.

Now you get a signal everywhere. I rode up in an elevator today, talking on the phone and didn't miss even a single word.

The phone just beeped.

I paused long enough to look at the e-mail message. It's from Barnes&Noble...15% off any one item.

Thank God I didn't miss that message.

Time to silence the damn thing.

I love that 'Beast of Burden' ring tone though.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Titles Done Dirt Cheap

Getting a lot of flack about the money the Yankees spend today as it looks as if they are circling the drain on 2010. A guy said to me that they didn't get much with their $200 million dollar payroll.

Ah, I hate to be argumentative, but with attendance, television revenues, parking and sales of hats - they made a tidy little profit, and I have to laugh about those who feel that they have an unfair advantage. Let me break it down for you in simple terms.

Baseball has a product that sells real well in the Bronx. Should there be a salary cap on the team that plays there? Imagine for an instance that there is...and all teams spent the same...

Know what would happen? It happened before - the product wouldn't sell like crazy in the Bronx.

Then you know what would happen?

The money that the Yankees give to the pool of baseball would go way down.

All the other teams sharing (stealing) that money - with their crap attendance and lousy stadiums - would lose a revenue stream. The product would be watered down because all teams would be mediocre (see the NFL and NHL).

How many of you out there hate the Yankees? Raise your hands.

How many of you love the Yankees? Raise your hands.

How many have no opinion either way? There are no hands being raised.

How many would feel just as strongly if they had the players of say, the Kansas City Royals?

Broken down easier. If baseball makes $500 million dollars and one team is bringing about $300 million of that to the table, and is willing to pay a tax, so everyone else can re-invest, is it good economic sense to handcuff the one team making that money?

If you bring a hundred dollars to the house income and everyone else brings three, is it good common sense to say that I can't spend my hundred bucks for the good of the family?

There's a story going around today. The Yankees took dirt from the old stadium, slapped a photo and the team logo on a plaque and sold the "Commemorative Package" for $60-$100 per plaque.

There is less than an ounce of dirt in each plaque.

They have made roughly $360 million off the sales of the memorabilia.

Salary cap?

Try selling dirt in Tampa, or KC or Minnesota, or Oakland. That's why Cliff Lee is house shopping in Westchester while he's beating the Yankees brains out this year.

That's why Steinbrenner was one of the best businessmen of all-time.

Makes you sick, huh, haters?

Number 28 is slipping away this year, but I can see the number circled in the dirt of the new stadium. Followed fairly quickly by numbers 29 and 30.

What're You Worried About?

I will set the scene as best as I can remember it - I was only 12. The Yanks were playing the Royals for the right to go to the World Series in 1976. It was the middle innings of the game, and the Yanks were down by a couple of runs.

"Maybe you should go to bed," my mother said.

"Let him stay up," my father answered.

"But they're losing," Mom sort of whispered.

"So what, they're the Yankees," Dad answered. "What're you worried about?"

In the bottom of the 9th Chris Chambliss hit a first-pitch homer to win it, against all odds. As he circled the bases the fans emptied onto the field.

"He's gotta' touch home!" I was screaming.

But I was talking to an empty room. My father was already making me a salami, cheese, and pepper sandwich.

(He made the world's best sandwiches).

I thought of all that last night as I watched Girardi (A guy Dad didn't like) flush away Game 4 of the ALCS by leaving AJ in too long.

"What're you worried about?" ran through my mind, but this looks like a really wounded crew.

"What would we eat if they lost?" I asked Dad as we shared that sandwich so long ago.

"Same thing," he said. "You can't control if they win or lose, but you can always eat good."

Not sure where our phone conversation about last night's game would've gone today, but sensing my disappointment, I'm sure my Dad would have offered up a comforting sentence or two because in the end, it wasn't about the Yankees, really.

It was about sharing a sandwich.

When does free agent season open?

A rotation of Sabathia, Pettite, Hughes, someone else, and Cliff Lee sounds about right this morning.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bathroom Break Please!

One of the candidates for governor of New York got up in the middle of one of the other candidates closing remarks to run off to the bathroom.

"You gotta'go, you gotta' go."

Being as that I am older now - I can sympathize. There are times when I go looking for a bathroom, wondering if I can just pull over and hit the construction toilet on the side of the road.

Yet, for the most part, I am able to control where and when I have to go.

Like everyone else I like the home field advantage. My own toilet is comfortable. I know where everything is, and I know how well the door locks. It has to be an extreme emergency to use an unfamiliar bathroom.

Like the bathroom at the Cracker Barrel restaurant.

About a month ago I went with friends to the restaurant for breakfast, and there was a man doing his business in the small stall beside the urinal. The place stunk to high heaven and there were sounds of an animal coming from under the half door.

The man just had to be embarrassed. I imagined an emergency situation. How else can you explain having to go to the bathroom when you're just stepping out for breakfast.

Unfortunately, I immediately thought of my brother Jeff, and what he might do in such a situation.

Why the hell not?

Embarrass the guy!

"Oh geez," I said loud enough for the guy to hear over the noises he was making. "Someone ate rat for breakfast!"

And despite the fact that I was alone, I giggled.

I could almost see the poor guy cowering in shame on his side of the wall.

In my mind I high-fived my brother and made my way back to the table, laughing all the way. As luck might have it, I had a good seat, and I kept my eye on the men's room door.

A middle-aged, slightly overweight balding man exited the bathroom and searched the faces of the patrons as if he could tell who said it.

It wasn't funny anymore. That poor guy could have been me, and that would have been a horrible embarrassment.

Ah, I'm just kidding, I laughed my ass off all the way home.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Now June Cleaver is Gone

Sad news over the weekend...Beaver Cleaver's mother is gone.

Tell me you didn't watch that show. We all did. I remember asking my mother why she didn't wear a dress and earrings around the house...I shouldn't print her answer.

And the old man - Hugh Beaumont (How's that for a memory?) drove me crazy. He was always filled with such wise advice, not to mention that he wore a coat and tie as he dabbed at his mouth with a napkin at the dinner table.

Not to speak cross of my beloved Dad, but we used to fight for the seat furthest away from him, particularly if we were having sauce or corn on the cob - food was flying everywhere and God help you if you wore a white shirt sitting next to him as the frenzy began.

As a matter of fact, everything about the show sucked. Beaver was a dweeb. Wally was annoying. Neither one of them were very fleet of foot when it came to meeting the girls. Eddie Haskell was a tool.

Let me think...who did I like on that crap black and white show?

I got it...Lumpy. Remember Lumpy? He was a funny dude. Lumpy didn't try and play June and Ward. He was a little on the mental-deficient side, his nickname fit his profile, and he sort of taught Wally and the Beave a few things.

And how in the hell did that poor kid get the nickname Beaver?

That has to be disconcerting in this day and age, right? A play on the Cleaver name, I hope, and not a shot at describing him as something slang in regard to the female anatomy.

Oh well, June Cleaver has left us. Mom's everywhere took a hit.

Truthfully, I loved my Mom's honesty when I did ask her about wearing that dress.

11-year-old me: Mom, why don't you wear a dress like Beaver Cleaver's mother?

Mom: Go take a shit for yourself.

Okay, so it wasn't too graphic to print.

It's exactly what I thought of when I heard the tragic news. Thanks Mom.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I Never Did the Things I Thought I Would

Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?

That's a Bruce question from The River, but it is also a question that has hammered men a lot better than me.

We all have dreams.

Have your dreams measured up?

I will turn 46 tomorrow. Am I where I wanted to be? Is this all there is? Are these the dreams we dreamed?

Okay, let's answer the questions that I've posed in such an elaborate fashion.

1). I'm 46. I feel pretty good. A creaky knee, but I'm alive. That's where it begins and ends right now. Check.

2). I have three healthy children who all have wonderful imaginations and dreams that challenge my own on a regular basis. Check.

3). I have two good dogs. No more explanation required. Good dogs. Check.

4). I have a great wife. 'She's no Kathy Fazzolari' hasn't become a slogan just because my wife is wonderful...she deserves it.

But did I do the things I Thought I would?

I've signed books in Atlanta, Buffalo, NYC and Chicago....

I've written 10 books...

I've been on the mountain top...

... and the valley floor...

Still not even close to being satisfied.

Will I ever do the things I thought I would?

Nah...new blog tomorrow.

Good night, Clifford.

Good Night, Cliffffffffford!

I have no idea how I can explain to my kids that there are people you'll meet in life that will mean more to you than others.

The reason why is because I have no idea!

As a kid I grew up next to a cute red head who had parents that knew my parents. Her friends knew my friends. I couldn't have gone out with her or I would have gotten cooties.

She is now a good friend, of mine, thirty years later, Yvonne....

I went off to college... met a buddy that everyone called Gag because his last name was Gaglianone (Did I even spell it right?)....we only hung out for a year.

One of the best friends I've ever known...

And I told my boys, you only get a few of those types of relationships and that life was all about establishing what was real with true friends that will forever care about you no matter what the hell you do to them.

I have a bunch of buddies. I thought a lot about them this weekend as Kathy left town this weekend. Pops and I had a few beers. Jeffy and I are as thick as thieves. I love Johnny, Millie and the giraffe and my good pal, Terry from Rochester.

Thank God for good buddies!

It's funny, but tonight I was telling my boys about my college buddy, Gag, and how he'd sit on the end of my bed each night and say:

"It's been a good night. Go to sleep, Clifford. Sleep well."

It was like having another Mom on that first year of college.

Twenty five years later, after the Yanks and Phils lost tonight, he said:

"Good night, Clifford. Sleep well."

That's really, really, really, freaking cool...and I tried to explain it to my boys.

They thought I was out of my mind.

But it happens quicker than you think, boys.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Ghosts of Yankees Past

Watching Yankee baseball changed dramatically for me in 2009. After losing Jeff, my main partner in root, root, rooting for the Yankees a lot of my friends took it easy on me, believing that I deserved a championship last year.

Not anymore. The Yankee haters are really out, baring their teeth and swearing about payroll. (More on that in a later post). That's okay, too, because I can take it, because no one can steal those intimate conversations that I used to have with Jeff. They are all still in my head.

Bah, CC is rusty, he would have said after Hamilton drilled a homer to make it 3-zip Texas. Want another Heiny Light?

So I had one.

They struggle against lefties, he would have said as the middle innings wore on. It's a shame, but Hughes will come up big. Wanna' shot?

So I had one. Sipped another beer.

Dad just called, Jeff would've said. He said that the Yankees are done.

I answered a few ribbing texts from buddies of mine who wanted to remind me that Cliff Lee would be pitching game 3. I also heard from Pops, Johnny and Gag, good buddies who like the Yanks and help me so much this time of year.

The Yankees scored 5 off of Lee the 2nd time they faced him in the series last year and they beat him up a month ago. They can beat him. Especially at home. Your beer is right there, you're only cheating yourself, Jeff would have mentioned.

Another sip. Cano homers to make it 5 to 1.

He's the MVP, the Jeff voice in my head whispered. Hamilton missed a month of the season.

Gardner slides in, Jeter doubles, Swisher walks, Tex walks...bases loaded, down three with A-Rod up.

"What're you doing up there?" I ask in my head.

Everything is happening at once now. The announcers seem terribly disappointed. The Texas fans aren't waving their towels. Sam is screaming beside me. Kathy is cheering loud.

Those ripping-on-me texts are silent.

You'll see, Jeff responds. Tend to your beer.

Sip. A-Rod Doubles, Cano singles...tie game.

"Are you kidding me?" I ask.

Thames singles. The Yanks take the lead.

Having fun yet? Jeff asks.

There are two phone calls of congratulations that never came last night- Dad and Jeff didn't check in - but who needs a phone when there's a crystal clear connection of heart and soul?

Love kicks death's ass, my friends.

It just does.

For clarification there were only four beers and a sip of Jameson's harmed in the making of this blog, less anyone think I'm really an alcoholic.

I still have a few saved for today's game though. The voice in my head wants me to have a few.

I'm only cheating myself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Just Like You

Heard this song on the I-pod the other day...it's by Mellencamp from about 10 years ago. Still means quite a bit to me now.

Just Like You

As my time goes by on the mean, cruel Earth
Trying to find some peace and something to believe in.

How can things go so wrong in such a beautiful world?
Why are so many people crying? Where's humanity gone?

And every time it gets so dark; there's nothing for me to see
something comes along (just like you)
Yea, just like you
Something so unbelievably beautiful
Just like you

Well it happened the other day. I'm just walking down the street
I'm looking down at my shoes, with only myself in my way
I'm living in my head, too much life in my veins
Forgetting all the time that we're always in motion with angels

And every time it gets so dark; there's nothing for me to see
something comes along (just like you)
Yea, just like you
Something so unbelievably beautiful
Just like you

As my time goes by on the mean, cruel Earth
Trying to find some peace and something to believe in.

How can things go so wrong in such a beautiful world?
Why are so many people crying? Where's humanity gone?

And every time it gets so dark; there's nothing for me to see
something comes along (just like you)
Yea, just like you
Something so unbelievably beautiful
Just like you


Happy Birthday to my golf buddy, Grape Ape, and a great friend, Jeff Renaldo.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Get the Plunger!

Is there a better feeling in the world than when the water goes down and the plunger has worked?

Just a thought-filled day.

Do you think the miner with the wife and the mistress would have liked to have stayed buried?

Did you hear about the Florida boy - 8 years old - who at his parents urging donated his pet turtle to the local aquarium because it was too big for his house?

The parents stood with the child as the turtle was released into the aquarium and then promptly eaten by an alligator as the kid watched.

The witnesses said they heard the shell being crunched. How does that kid forget that sound?

It's a teachable moment, I say...the parents can tell the kid that he can do the right thing, love with all of his heart, and then stand back and watch the destruction. "That's life, Junior, Get on with it."

More celebrity breakups this week and supposedly Brett Favre sent photos of his winky-dink to a reporter. Just goes to show you, money doesn't make you any smarter.

I picked every single division series match up right in the baseball playoffs...so let's go through it...

In early August I picked the 8 playoff teams correctly...

Before the playoffs started I told you who would win each division series...

Now we have Yankees-Rangers and Phillies-Giants.

Ready?

Get the plunger...

Yanks over Rangers in 5...maybe 6 if Burnett has to go.

Phillies over Giants, but it is going to take 7. There's a lot of pitching in the city by the bay.

Take it to the bank.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Wrestler by Sam Fazzolari

My birthday is coming up in a few days(Monday, for all those that want to acknowledge that I'm a beat-up old slob) and Sam has been doing his best to let me know that he has a few presents for me. He need look no further - he already gave me the best one.

You see, Sam is becoming real interested in me as a reader and writer. He is sharing his reading conquests with me and has recently purchased a notebook to jot down his thoughts. Well, his present to me (I have to give it back when I'm done reading it) is something he wrote for a school assignment.

I laughed my ass off.

The Wrestler by Sam Fazzolari

Bob was an eleven-year-old boy who loved wrestling. Bob would always watch wrestling on television. Bob and his brother would wrestle all the time. He played wrestling video games. His dream was to be on the school wrestling team. He told all of his friends that he would make the team.

When he went to school to sign up Bob found out that he needed to be 13 years old to wrestle. He asked his parents if he could go to a different school that would allow him to wrestle. His parents said yes and he transferred to a different school. He did not know anybody and everybody was bigger and stronger than Bob.

Bob decided he would get stronger by training every day. He went to sign up for the wrestling team but there weren't any spots left. He went home and he was upset and he told his father about not being able to sign up. Bob said he didn't want to go to school anymore, but Bob's dad said he had to go. Bob was upset and he cried, but he continued to train.

Bob's father got him a dog. Bob was so happy. He named his dog Bob Jr., and Bob and Bob Jr. worked out all day. One day the school wrestling matches were on and Bob decided to go. During the last match there was a boy who broke his leg. Bob went to the referee and told him that he could wrestle.The referee said that Bob had to weigh at least 83 pounds, but Bob only weighed 80. So the other team won by forfeit.

Bob went home and ate everything he could. Then he weighed 81 pounds. Then he ate some more. The next day, he weighed 83 pounds. Bob was so happy. He went to school and told the coach he could wrestle.

That night there was a match and Bob got his wish to finally wrestle. He won the match, but was injured.

The doctor told him he could never wrestle again.


Isn't that beautiful? That is wonderful writing right up to the twisted end. Loved it!!!! He has his old man's taste for tragedy and the downtrodden. Classic.

And how about naming his dog Bob Jr.?

Perfect!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Now I Got Immigration On My Ass

There are so many days when the best laid plans go astray...

I like to plan things. I hate when things go against the plan. I am learning to deal. I really am.

But today...I see the police car lights turning behind me. What the hell did I do? I was only going 10 MPH. My cell phone was on the seat beside me. I hadn't picked it up in miles and miles.

"You're tail light is out," the cop informed me when he got to the window.

I stopped myself from saying, "Big freaking deal."

"Oh really? Golly gee whiz, officer I'd have never left the house had I known."

I got off with a warning and was on my way...to a job near the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. I wasn't quite sure where the job was so I turned into a parking lot to get my bearings. It was a parking lot without an exit. If I tried to back out I was warned of severe tire damage.

I went into the Duty Free shop. A nice lady greeted me.

"How in the name of God do I get out of the parking lot?" I asked.

"You can't," she laughed. "You have to pay the fee to go over the bridge into Canada, tell them you made a wrong turn, and they'll swing you back around into the States."

Sounds easy, right? I must tell you, I hate Osama Bin Laden even more today, if that's possible.

I paid the fee and waited in line. I explained myself to the guy at the gate to enter Canada. He filled out a form and told me that I had to park and go inside to talk with an immigration officer.

I took a deep breath. Serenity Now! I entered the building and was escorted to a line that was ten deep. There were no clerks on duty.

"Shift change," the lady before me said. "And they don't move too swift when they're here."

I wanted to scream! I didn't have to wait in the ridiculous line, did I? I made a call to a coworker to tell him I was being detained.

"NO CELLPHONES!" a guard yelled as though I were hiding a bomb. He pointed to an 8"X10" sign that I should have seen, evidently.

40 minutes later, I stood before a guard. "Why are you in Canada?" he asked.

I explained myself rather calmly. I was proud that the real Fuzzy in me didn't show itself.

"I have to fill out a form," he said.

The form stated that I was being denied acceptance into Canada. Whatever. I signed it. He escorted me to my car and I was handed the slip and asked to present it to the guy at the gate to enter the US.

Another long line of cars. At least I could use my cell phone now. I got to the booth...now an hour and a half in...I figured me and the US guy would have a good laugh over my wrong turn.

"Step out of the vehicle," he said. "Give me your license. Do you have a criminal record?"

"No!" I said a bit too loud.

"You've never been arrested?"

I almost said, "Believe it or not, No!"

I was escorted into another building where I sat on a bench as they ran my info.

I was fully expecting to be lubed and searched.

But I got out. Two full hours after I pulled into the wrong parking lot to get my bearings.

Please smile at me if you see me later today or tomorrow. The best laid plans have been known to go astray. SERENITY NOW!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss

Growing up there were two signs that hung in the cubby-hole in our garage. I remember being a kid and seeing adults laugh at them.

One said, "What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?" The next line said, "I don't know and I don't care."

The other side said simply: "Ignorance is bliss."

Now, I haven't seen those signs around my parents home lately, but I do remember them being there, and like I said, the adults all smiled.

I thought of those signs this morning when I read a couple of news stories about violence involving gays, and of course, the speech given by one of the candidates for governor of New York where it was stated that we can't let our children think that homosexuality isn't wrong.

Perhaps ignorance is bliss. I really don't get it.

Why if you are a straight American do you care to make a statement about gay rights one way or another? I am all for equality of people and you can bet your ass that if I felt discriminated against in any way I'd beat on my chest until I was heard.

Say for instance that there was a law against loving the Yankees or eating pasta on Sunday, or having two dogs, or going to a Catholic church, or drinking grey goose martinis while cheering on Judge Judy.

Then I would have a dog in the fight, right?

And that's my point. Who gives you the right to choose the path that others choose to walk down? Why would you become violent in trying to change someone's mind about what they like or don't like?

And what are you going to solve? Because some buffoon running for governor is anti-gay will that stop homosexuality?

I don't know. I do understand that gay marriage is a hot button topic, but does it matter to me? I can't figure out how love is wrong and if it is love between two consulting adults...

... ah hell, I don't know. I do know that beating someone up because they don't have the same lifestyle as you is wrong. I also know that shoving your beliefs down someone else's throat (bad pun unintended) will also not get you very far.

Life is too short to walk around completely ignorant to the lifestyle of others. I don't like rap music, but I respect your choice to listen to it.

This is America folks.

No one should be able to tell you how to spend your day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let Me Stop Thinking

And now all I do is sit in my darkened room and on occasion break my silence to howl at the moon.

Let me set the scene. Ten after eight in the morning and I have grated cheese, a loaf of French bread and ground sausage to mix with the meatballs (three guesses on who made sauce). My bill comes to $12.01 and I hand the girl a twenty. She counts out seven bucks and starts rooting around in the change.

"Seriously, you're giving me .99 cents back," I ask, fairly nicely.

"I don't want my drawer to come up short at the end of the day," she says. "Sorry."

Doesn't that just piss you off? Getting ready for the week ahead and we need to start it this way.

She hands me the change as I grit my teeth.

to curse every nerve and neuron in my brain that won't stop the pain I'm feeling and let me stop thinking.

"Can I get twenty-five pennies for a quarter?" I ask.

She thinks I've turned the corner and am seeing things the way she does. She doesn't mind counting them out because there's no one else in line. She hands them to me and smiles.

"Okay, now take these twenty-five pennies and the extra four pennies you gave me earlier and put them on the counter and when some poor bastard comes by with a one cent difference toss one in so your drawer ain't short."

I dropped the pennies in her open hand. Her mouth was open as well.

"That way you won't get 29 people worked up over a lousy freaking penny.

And now all I do is sit in my darkened room and on occasion break my silence to howl at the moon.To curse every nerve and neuron in my brain that won't stop the pain I'm feeling and let me stop thinking.

"Wow," she whispered.

"Have a wonderful day."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't Use a Razor On Your Eyebrows

For the very first time, I took a few minutes today to download photos to a new author page for Face Book. My sister put together the page for me and I went through the archives and wrote a caption for each posted photo.

A couple of things struck me down while doing this:

1). I've had a full life of wonderful friends, family, and experiences. From signing books in New York to meeting the Fonz, to speaking at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, to partying on a penthouse in Miami...the writing has indeed been fun.

2). I look like a dope in most of the photos. Either too breasty, too much belly fat, eyes closed, hat on, tennis shoes on in a business setting...beer in my hand.

What the hell happened? Leonardo I am not.

So, the other night, in one of my 'I wanna' change my clothes, my hair, my face,' moments, I decided to shave and give the goatee a trim.

I got the work done and then looked at my eyebrows.

The razor trims the goat well...why the hell not.

I don't recommend it.

I look like Bob Geldof from the movie The Wall.

I chopped a nice hunk of hair that fell to the sink as I said, 'Oh Jesus.'

Don't you love that precise moment. The second when self-knowledge comes rushing forward - immediately after you've really f---ed something up.

"Uh-oh," I said.

"What?" Kathy asked in deep concern.

Moments later, she was laughing.

Visit my author's page - have a few laughs at my expense, but check out the books too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

KILL THE UMP!

Baseball continually gives life lessons.

On Wednesday with two outs in the bottom of the 9th Delmon Young of the Twins hit a sinking liner into right that was caught by Greg Golson for the last out. Except it was called a trap. The Yankees were in disbelief and Joe Girardi came out to have it explained. The umps got together to discuss and they still missed the call. Mariano took a deep breath and executed the next pitch, getting Thome to pop up and end the game.

I saw my 10-year old son, Sam, who hasn't missed a pitch when I got in the door on Thursday.

"Did you see that horrible call the ump made?" Sam asked.

"Mariano got 'em," I said.

Cut to Thursday afternoon, Michael Young took a check swing at a two strike pitch. The ump ruled that he didn't swing, giving him another pitch, which Young hit out of the park. Tampa fans went crazy, wanting to kill the ump.

The difference in the two situations? The pitcher for Tampa did not respond well to the adverse situation. He allowed his focus to be distracted by what he felt was an injustice. Things didn't go his way and he responded poorly.

Lucky thing I was able to continue the lesson, with Sam at my side in the night game.

Lance Berkman of the Yanks came to bat with runners on in a tie game. The first pitch was a foot outside: "Strike one," the ump cried.

"That is not a strike!" Sam yelled beside me.

"He's been calling it all game," I said. "He's giving them the outside corner."

With two strikes on Berkman the sloth of the pitcher from the Twins (bad blood from his idle time with Yanks) just missed on the inside corner. Okay, it could have easily been called strike three.

"He can't have the outside and the inside corners!" Sam yelled to the fans who were booing the ump.

Exactly right - my boy knows baseball!

Now a couple of things could have happened here. Sloth Pavano could have put a pitch on the outside corner for strike three. He could have bounced one in the dirt that fooled Berkman. No, instead, he made a pitch that Berkman lined into center for a double.

The place went crazy. The announcers began explaining that the Twins were screwed. ESPN and other outlets will no doubt join in the bashing of the umps and scream for the call for replay.

I don't want replay. I don't want the game of baseball ruined by guys going under a hood to kill the rhythm of the game that I love.

Make the next pitch!

Scream 'Kill the Ump!'

Do what you have to do, but remember, we will all make mistakes somewhere along the way and most of the time, in life, the call will seem to go against us.

Our response to it is what really matters.

Earlier in the year Galarraga from the Tigers threw a perfect game. A bad call ripped it from him.

"I did throw a perfect game," he said. "I know it and I know life isn't perfect, and that's the way it'll be."

Perfect response.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Riding the Horse

It's a lonely proposition when you realize there are left days in front of the horse than what's in back of the cart.

I get this way every year in the Fall and coincidentally its because my birthday is in the Fall. Over the course of the last few weeks I've been walking around thinking...46? Really! 46? You've got to be kidding me! 46? I just turned 21!

It blows my mind and as I was discussing this with a co-worker today. It isn't quite as easy to watch the 27-Time Defending World Champion Yankees win a playoff game in the wee hours of the morning and then get up nice and early to start work. I did it, mind you, but I was a step slow.

Besides, I watched the game, laying on a pillow - with the sound off because the announcers suck - and not putting forth any sort of effort at all.

How did I get tired?

Why did I wake up feeling worn out?

I'm getting old...or I already got old.

"You're still a baby," my 55-year old co-worker said. "I'd kill to be 46 again."

Of course, the best option is to keep on getting older. There's so much more life to live, so much more that needs to be done, but is it too much to ask to do it:

1). Without being sore? The ache moves from place-to-place - it's currently in the right knee.

2). Without waking up in the middle of the night? To pee. Can't make it six hours without going pee? When did that happen?

3). Without feeling your eyes close right after Judge Judy is over at 7:30?

4). Without your kids listening to your music and saying, 'This guy is a dinosaur?'

5). Without whining, complaining, or becoming a bitter old guy?

They talk of aging gracefully.

Forty-Six?

Really?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Don't Drop the Soap, Moron

When I say the name Faisal Shahzad what do you think?

Not much, right?

Well, he's the guy who tried to leave a car bomb in Times Square in an effort to kill as many Americans as he could.

He messed up the recipe for the bomb and then locked his keys in the car. Sounds like a Muslim Gilligan.

Yesterday he was sentenced to life in prison and he had a lot to say. He explained why he hates you and me and every other American. He explained that W started the war and that it would be years and years until its over.

Well, it's over for you, Faisal. Enjoy meeting your new cellmates and please let them know about your anti-America stance. See how it goes for you.

The other thing that really galls me as a former bleeding heart liberal (don't get concerned or excited, I will never be a right-wing conservative) is that we never once hear a condemnation of these Muslim extremists actions by Muslim leaders.

As Americans we are supposed to be opened-minded about who steps foot into our melting pot, and we are supposed to not question a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero, in the name of being good guys, but never once do we hear anything resembling an apology from anyone associated with nutbags like Faisal.

I love Times Square. I can't imagine walking through there fearful that idiots like this are free to spew their hatred and violence.

Faisal quoted the Quran to his judge. Is there anything in that book about peace, or love? I haven't read it, and have no intention to do so, but is it all about blind rage and terrorist actions?

I doubt it, right?

Enjoy yourself, Faisal.

I hope they give you the really slippery soap.

We'll see what your senseless diatribe gets you in this life.

I'm thinking you'll be too sore to consider the 72 virgins you missed out in the afterlife because you rig a bomb like one of the Stooges.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let the Defense Begin!

It's hard to think about October without considering that I will be staying up late a few times a week, or that I'll be swearing at Joe Buck and Tim McCarver as they spew their crazy crap and anti-Yankee venom. I really, really, really dislike those two gentlemen as announcers.

Yes - the 27-time World Champion Yankees are staggering into the playoffs in an attempt to defend the fact that they kicked the crap out of the Phillies last year. Can they do it again?

Well, I don't know, but as a Yankee fan my job is too act cocksure of myself, irritate everyone, and annoyingly remind everyone that this is the 27-Time Defending World Champion Yankees that we are talking about.

But, I am also a little down this time of year, as well, because the two people I talked about baseball the most are watching from the best seats in the house - hopefully with their arms around each other, and with a beer in their hands.

It's funny, but Michael Kay on the Yankee network played a videotape of Bucky Dent hitting the home run in '78 to beat the Red Sux in that one game playoff. I recalled the crisp feel of autumn in the air, remember that my father had left work early to watch the game, and especially cherished the good feelings we had later that afternoon. For a brief moment the other day, I was 13 years old, sharing the moment with my full family.

Man time goes...

But now to make cherished memories with my boys. They will never forget last year's win, and while they are hoping for another this year, and another next...they understand that winning isn't always easy.

Predictions?

I was absolutely correct on who would be in the playoffs. I had given the AL East crown to the Yanks and the Wild Card to Tampa, but I will take being 8 for 8 on who would make it there. Besides the Yankees didn't want to finish first or they would have. (How's that for being irritating?)

So...Round one...without further ado.

Phils over Reds....Phils have too much pitching.

SF over Atlanta...sorry Larry...Braves are too banged up and I've always hated Cox.

Texas over Tampa...Too much Cliff Lee (that's a great first name) and Tampa can't hit

and ...drum roll please...

Yanks over Twins...sorry Terry...too much CC and besides...I'm a Yankee fan.

You didn't really think I'd pick them to lose, did you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

They Call Me Hapless

I remember playing in an 8th grade basketball game. My team and I were playing Eden and we were woefully over-matched. The final score of the game was about 75 to 22.

I recall looking at the clock in the last quarter and thinking that 7 minutes left was never going to pass. I also remember shooting about 1 for 10 in the game, including a couple of long, rainbow, air balls.

My coach met me at the bench as the game came to a close.

"You're hapless!" he said. "I'm hapless! We're all hapless!"

I remember laughing. Hapless - is a great word. I felt hapless that afternoon, and unfortunately I've felt hapless many more times in my life, in a wide variety of venues.

Looking at a car engine of a flat tire - I'm hapless.

Trying to hammer a nail or turn a screw - fairly hapless.

Winning a discussion with my beautiful wife - very hapless.

Trying to talk sense into my kids about Buffalo sports teams - undeniably hapless.

Of course, this all comes to mind because of the NY Post article regarding the Bills-Jets game yesterday:

JETS POUND HAPLESS BILLS SENSELESS.

Hapless and senseless.

Beautiful.

I've been hapless and senseless too, but that has usually come immediately after the 3rd martini.

That old basketball coach was right about one thing though - if I remember right - he was one hapless son of a bitch.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Wow!

Just finished reading about a Michigan mother who faked her little boy's cancer so that she could collect gifts and donations in regard to his treatment. Allegedly.

The woman went so far as to shave the 12-year-old's head, and feed him opiates so that he'd feel lethargic. She was nice enough to let him play with the X-Box that someone gave him because they felt sorry for all he was going through.

Just shocking, isn't it?

There are so many warped stories and a woman like this attacks all sensibilities, doesn't she? How much money would it take to make you act in such a manner?

Thankfully, the kid was removed from the woman's home, but you know what she supposedly told the people who knew her?

Yeah, she explained that the child died and that she needed more donations so that she could pay for his funeral and burial!

I don't know exactly how you get a straight ticket to hell, but that is certainly a good start.

A few years ago I read about a guy who did the same sort of thing so that he and his child could hang around with professional athletes. Steve Yzerman of the Red Wings flew this father and son team all around the country, and showered them with gifts.

Man, those of us with kids can't even fathom thinking about such a scenario. Those of us who've had sick children know the helpless feeling of being out of the control loop.

To allegedly prey on your own children.

Wow!

Just Wow!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I'm Sorry

John Denver.

Great Singer. Great Song.

I'm sorry.

It's cold here in the city
It always seems that way
And I've been thinking about you
Almost every day
Thinking about the good times
Thinking about the rain
Thinking about how bad it feels
Alone again

I'm sorry for the way things are in China
I'm sorry things ain't what they used to be
But more than anything else,
I'm sorry for myself
Cause you're not here with me.

Our friends all ask about you
I say you're doing fine
I expect to hear from you almost anytime
But they all know I'm crying
That I can't sleep at night
They all know I'm dying
Down deep inside

I'm sorry for all the lies I told you
I'm sorry for the things I didn't say
But more than anything else, I'm sorry for myself
I can't believe you went away

I'm sorry if I took some things for granted
I'm sorry for the chains I put on you
But more than anything else,
I'm sorry for myself
for living without you

The Donkey

Lesson from a Donkey

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into an old, dry well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, totally frustrated, he decided the animal was old, the well to deep and as it needed to be covered up anyway it just wasn't worth it to continue to try to retrieve the donkey.

So after explaining his plight to his neighbors the farmer asked them to come over and help him take care of the unique situation.

Sympathetic to his dilemma they all grabbed their shovel and began to pitch dirt into the deep well.

At first the donkey, when he realized what was happening, brayed horribly. It was quite upsetting to listen to...then to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few hours later, for this was a very deep well, the farmer finally looked into its depths. What he saw astonished him!

Wth each shovel of dirt that was pitched over the well's wall it fell on the donkey's back.

The donkey realized that this was his way out and instead of braying he concentrated on shaking the dirt off of his back and stepping onto the raised surface underneath his hooves.

When the farmer told his neighbors what the donkey was doing their spirits lifted and they shoveled dirt into the well as fast as they could. Each time this was done the donkey would shake the dirt off and step up.

Within a few hours the happy donkey was high enough within the well that he stepped out of the well onto level ground, walking away from what had seemed an impossible challenge without any practical resolution.

~~Author Unknown

Friday, October 1, 2010

Roll Me Away

In a complete 180, I found myself driving home this afternoon in a sky that was alive with the brilliant sunshine of a bright sun. There were just enough clouds to give me a break now and again, but the orange circle was a welcome sight, even if I had to move my visor about thirty times.

As I attacked the miles, I went to the world's second greatest invention (the I-Pod) so that I could listen to the world's greatest invention (Rock and Roll).

I only had one rule - it had to be a loud song that had wailing guitars, banging drums, and loud vocals.

I know it was a Springsteen song that got me going - Real World - but then on to Mellencamp - Crumblin' Down - through Aldo Nova's Fantasy - The Stones - Little T&A and Tumbling Dice - McCartney with Band on the Run - Don Henley - The Boys of Summer. The Who with Bargain.

Loud, louder, loudest. The speakers were shaking. I can never turn it all the way up with Kathy and the boys in the car.

I was a moving, shaking, rattling, 1970's and 1980's hit wagon.

My favorite Bob Seger song followed after Tumbling Dice - Roll Me Away.

I got tired of my own voice, Seger wailed.

The sun was riding high. It was lucky that I had the cruise control on or I would have smashed the pedal.

I feel a little lost, been double-crossed, sick of what's wrong and what's right.

Why did Seger pretty much stop making music?

I was singing along word for word. The drenching rains of yesterday long forgotten as I shifted the visor once more. The lady in the next car saw me singing and started to laugh.

I stood alone on a mountain top staring out at the great divide. I could go east, I could go west, it was all up to me to decide. Just then I saw a young hawk flying and my soul began to rise and pretty soon my heart was singing, Roll me Away won't you roll me away tonight.

I was beating my hand off the steering wheel knowing the next verse before Seger even sang it. It was the exact verse that I was looking forward to hearing and it is the pure pleasure behind a well-written song and rock and roll.

I gotta' keep rolling, gotta' keep riding, gotta' keep searching until I find what's right. Roll me Away.

(Incidentally, that's E-Street Band Member Roy Bittan on piano)

Brilliant song. Brilliant sunshine. Chased away the drenching rain.

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