Monday, January 31, 2011

Other People Kinda' Suck

You know when you get loaded onto a plane, like cattle, and you are forced to share very limited space with complete strangers, it sort of occurs to you that other people suck, and that no matter if you consider yourself a people-person, you're going to cringe with the thought of actually speaking with them.

I had an I-pod and two books. Listened to the I-pod and read both of the books before my trip was through.

In between, I heard a crying baby. Now, don't get me wrong, I know how difficult it is to keep a baby from crying, but when they do that ear-piercing scream in the middle of a moving airplane, it's aggravating.

"Give that kid a chicken bone," as my Dad used to say.

Then the woman and her husband next to me got to cooing about their love for one another. She kissed his hand at one point, and then he took to rubbing her back as she groaned in delight.

"Care to make it a threesome?" the guy behind me said, and we all laughed. I thought it would put an end to the massage, but the horny old dog kept at it until it got annoying.

Then the guy across the aisle got up to get something out of his bag in the overhead compartment. His big fat ass was directly in my face as he searched through the bag. One minute, two minutes, five minutes.

"Get your ass out of my face!" I nearly screamed.

And the coughing and sneezing, and the smells of someone getting rid of their bag of Ritz crackers.

My God, make it stop!

The flight attendants head from the front to the back of the plane at record speed. Being that I had an aisle seat the attendant with the ass that needed a zip code kept banging into my elbow. Not even a glance back.

The guy three rows ahead kept going to the bathroom. One, two, three, four times. Perhaps he was the one ridding himself of the Ritz crackers.

And so when the plane finally touched down, I was happy to be getting off soon. Yet as we waited - I was at the back end of the plane - everyone stood up as if we would all be able to get off at once. The guy across the aisle raised his now-too-familiar ass in direct line with my face.

I wanted to punch him.

"Other people suck," I mumbled.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Smooth flight," I said.

I hope I never see any of them again.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Anywhere Is A Better Place To Be


Harry Chapin once wrote a song that is the title of this blog. I kept thinking of it this week as I was away in Las Vegas.

What started as a work trip, and slowly evolved into a pleasure trip if my wife could go, turned back into a work trip when she couldn't.

So, what you had was a guy in Buffalo, thinking about being in Vegas before leaving, and a guy in Vegas, wishing he could be back in Buffalo while he was there.

And therein lies the problem that Chapin wrote about. Someone who goes through life wishing he were somewhere else is one messed-up, lonely dude when it comes right down to it.

Not to say that the trip was a hardship. I had a little fun.

I threw ten bucks down on #23 at the roulette wheel, looked up and said, 'Help a brother out.' The first number was 26. So I tossed another ten down. Mind you, I was only playing with a twenty.

"Twenty-three, red," the woman said. "Pays 35 to 1."

I laughed. It was pretty much the highlight of the gambling there. Don't ask about slots.

As for food. I hammered a buffet one night. That can be done alone and given how much I ate, it was less embarrassing alone. I also ate at a fine Italian restaurant and it took care of my pasta fix in the middle of the week.

Other than that?

Two hookers asked me for a little of their time. I couldn't believe it happened right on the casino floor at the Flamingo.

Neither of them were very good either.

Ha! Ha! Got you Kathy.

I just laughed and walked away. The one had asked for my attention immediately after I finished said meal at the buffet...she would have remembered that encounter for sure.

When I told my wife about the hookers propositioning me she said they must have been attracted by my filthy, smelly tennis shoes.

Gotta' love the wit of that woman.

And now I am back. Sitting at my desk, writing a blog. Pasta on the menu. Laundry turning in the washer. The dogs chewing their bones after Melky got her 'ride in the car' fix.

To dear old Harry...

...I am exactly where I want to be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I Don't Wanna' Go to Rehab....No, No, No

So Charlie Sheen is headed to rehab. Again.

It's fairly sad because what will bug me most about it is that his show will go into repeats for awhile.

And isn't that pathetic?

The whole world is watching this guy die a slow death and the media is huddled around wondering if he can do his little half-hour comedy sketch every week.

I'm about the same age as Charlie. We are separated by about 11 tax brackets, but we do share a few weaknesses. Like drink and a love for women. He does the drugs and the porn, which are mildly interesting items, but not something I'd get hooked on. My love of women, of course, is isolated to one, but why quibble?

Still, he's 45 years old. Isn't it time to grow up? Money or not.

I've been fairly tired lately. Too much work, too much travel. Too much sadness, too many days when I'd like to bag it and drink the goose.

I have decided, although my life doesn't depend on it like Charlie's, to fill the empty spaces with something other than the dirty martini's.

Charlie and I will go to rehab together!

Of course, I am half-joking here. I don't need rehab, but I also want to try and get back on top of the emotions a little. With the book coming out, and with a lot of speaking engagements lined up, with work going full speed ahead as well, I feel that need to rest, exercise, hang with my family, and just relax.

There's too much going on to be pushed by the wind in every other direction.

So, here we go, Charlie. Let's get that mojo back. After all, baseball season is just around the corner, and it will offer that distraction that football doesn't bring but once a week.

We both have good news coming anyway. The Steelers only have one game left. Then Ben can go back on the prowl and his next rape will just push Charlie to the back pages.

Too early for my Super Bowl prediction?

Nah....what the hell...

Look back on my 09/08/10 blog. I picked the Super Bowl winner as....

...the Green Bay Packers.

Too late to turn back now.

Pack 27 Steelers 24.

Rapistpervert next brush with the ladies:

April 4.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Losing Your Head

The big story around Buffalo is about the man who beheaded his wife a couple of years ago. As the story goes, he felt as if he had no choice because she was rough on him.

Seems like a mighty weak defense to me, you know?

The are a lot of ways that you might, as a man, be able to handle an abusive situation. Perhaps it is different for a woman, fearing for her physical safety, but you mean to tell me that this guy was so afraid of being yelled at by his wife that he could only respond by cutting off her melon?

My wife doesn't abuse me, by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm quite sure that she doesn't feel threatened, at all by me. First and foremost, she might be able to kick my ass. Secondly, we respect one another. The kids laugh whenever we ask them who is in charge at our house. It's her, and I accept that, but I certainly don't feel beat down.

Now that's not to say that there haven't been quiet moments as we contemplate my lousy behavior, but for the most part we are able to muddle through.

And if we weren't able to?

There are options available, right?

Walk the hell out...

Call the police and report the fact that your spouse is yelling at you...

Go drinking...

Go work out at the gym...

Eat a good meal...

Do anything other than lop off your partner's head.

If the abuse was so bad why didn't he tie her up in a chair and call the police?

Why didn't he go on his television show and mouth the words, "I am being held prisoner," for his viewers to see.

Now I'm not Jimmy the Greek, but I think this guy is going to be convicted of the crime of murder.

He cut off her head!

How do you explain that to the kids?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

730 Days

I have been granted 730 days to live without talking with my brother.

Let me tell you, it blows.

2 years ago today I got the call to tell me Jeff had collapsed at work. It is hard to pinpoint moments in your life that will forever change your life, but that wasn't one of them.

So, how has life changed in 730 days?

Sadly, some days it hasn't. I am still right there. Still out of control. Still trying to keep my head above water. Every single day. Every lousy moment. Knowing that there needs to be a moment of acceptance.

Never wanting to accept it.

I am battling though. Knowing that there has been some progress made in 730 short days...knowing I need a million more for acceptance.

I do need to know that my beautiful wife and my wonderful children have kept me afloat over the last two years. Without them, there would be so much more pain.

So where do we go from here?

Onto day #731, right?

Thats life. That is how we sustain. An hour at a time.

A day at a time.

Celebrate the day you've been given.

Oh Brother!

It's all we can do.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oprah's New Sister

It sort of smacks as a public relations deal, doesn't it? Oprah announced yesterday that she has a sister that no one knows about.

A couple of interesting aspects, huh?

First off, I heard an interview with Oprah's husband, Gayle King, who said that she didn't think that Oprah should make a spectacle of it by announcing it on the show. Like Oprah could do anything without holding a press conference. What good is it to have a sister if you can't get ratings out of it?

Secondly, who'd a thunk that when Oprah announced that she had a sister that it would turn out that Oprah would be the skinny, cute one?

The best part of it all though is that it also caught Oprah's dad by complete surprise.

So, let me get this straight: Oprah is the moral compass on everything. She tells us what to read, what to eat, how to love, how to talk, and how to pray...and she comes from a place where men father children and don't even know about it?

Still, you talk about hitting the lottery!

Oprah's new sister has to be thrilled with the idea that her half-sibling is a billionaire.

So happy for Oprah...hopefully Stedman has room in his heart for the newest woman in Queen Oprah's life.

Bike Path Rapist

A friend of mine, Jeff Schober, along with police officer Dennis Delano wrote a book about the capture of the Bike Path Rapist that terrorized Buffalo for twenty plus years. The man, Al Sanchez, was caught a few years back.

First off, the book is great. Jeff did a wonderful job of telling the story with style and grace. That certainly couldn't have been easy because his subject was a pure monster who didn't care even a little about human life.

Shameless plug for Jeff...the book is entitled Bike Path Rapist...google it and order it!

Secondly, the pull of the story for me was that Sanchez had a wife, a couple of kids, and worked among us in the community, all the while keeping the filthiest of secrets.

My mind was caught up in the how and whys of it all.

There were no answers in the book, possibly because there are no answers.

One of the most compelling aspects of the story comes when the author puts Sanchez' words out there for interpretation. Sanchez' father wasn't around as he got caught with a hooker when little old Al was only two.

A lot of serial killers live without a father influence. A father whose downfall was caused by a woman could conjure up hate for women as a boy grows older.

Yet that's all bullshit. We do that all the time...look for reasons to explain bad behavior. There are a lot of model citizens who grow up without their Dad in their lives. It has to be a bit more than that, right?

And Sanchez' wife never suspected a thing, right? That's the story and they are sticking to it.

I don't have a lot of secrets from my wife. My bad behavior is usually front and center and she, thankfully, puts a stop to it most of the time.

The other aspect of the book that was interesting was the crime-solving parts of it. I knew all of the figures from their time on the local news, and I knew every location that the killer roamed, so it was spooky from time to time.

Do you really know the next-door neighbor? Will you be the guy on the news that says, 'He was such a quiet guy.'

So what to learn from such crimes? Sanchez attacked over ten women and killed three. That's what they know for sure. He says that it was all about sexual fantasy and that he blacked out and never truly felt responsible.

Pure evil.

Life really is a catastrophe, isn't it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rewriting History...Sucks

I can't believe that they are changing the language in Mark Twain's classics so that ethnic groups aren't offended. Not only is that an infringement on his work, it is downright stupid as well.

I wrote a book called Desperation and I wanted one of my characters, Billy Barth, to personify pure evil. As you might guess, he had a toilet mouth. Would a character meant to be evil talk like Ward Cleaver? I didn't think so. I wasn't making the guy swear so that I could shock someone into buying filth.

The best way to convey evil was to make the man evil.

A couple of months after the book came out...it is a book about hope and redemption and faith that rises above evil...a woman stood before me at a Media Play Book Signing. She held the open, already purchased book open to the middle. There were yellow highlights all over my words.

"How can you sleep at night writing such filth?" she asked.

I was shocked. I felt like I was being yelled at. Something that had taken me years to write and was about so much more than what she was saying.

"You have the "F" word in here a thousand times," she said as she flipped through the book.

I could have explained the process of establishing the character as evil. I could have lectured her about the main character rising above the filth to make it as a loving human being.

I could have.

"Did you buy that?" I asked.

"Of course," she said.

"Then who gives a flying fu&*," I told her.

You should have seen her face.

But the thing is that Mark Twain was writing at a certain time with a certain vision in mind. His words should never be changed. He wasn't writing that way to piss people off. He was conveying the message of the times. That was exactly how Native Americans and African Americans were treated.

Changing Twain's words now won't fix those injustices.

Changing those words now is more of a slap in the face to those groups than leaving it alone is.

What the hell?

I don't get it at all.

Injun Joe must be rolling around in his grave.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Wrong Side of Zero

So, Jack LaLanne is gone. He died at the age of 96 and they said he was exercising, every day right up until the end. Reminds me of Redd Foxx saying, "Exercise is for dopes. Some day they'll be lying in bed dying of nothing."

We all end up on the wrong side of zero eventually. LaLanne got more time than most though. RIP.

Speaking of the wrong side of zero have you been outside?

Don't you wish that running across someone when the mercury is on the wrong side of zero, that they'd say something other than, 'It's really cold out there.'

What's the response to that?

I go with, 'Um, uh, no shit.'

So the J-E-T-S! Jets, Jets, Jets were eliminated again.

They are not my hometown team so the emotional investment isn't the same - of course the Yankees are not my hometown team either, but that's different - but still, I certainly have a problem with Pittsburgh and wish I didn't. I have a lot of friends in that fine city.

Rapistpervert is my problem.

Yeah, yeah...second chances. Maybe he didn't do it...all of that crap. Much like Vick, I just don't want to see him lifted up and glorified.

Too much?

Come on Steel City...explain it to me.

Rapistpervert is on the wrong side of zero for me. How does he redeem himself?

Winning another Super Bowl is the incorrect answer, by the way.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

That's My Boy

"Are you coming to my game?" Sam asked as soon as we crossed paths yesterday morning.

I decided to make him sweat it out a little. "I went to your game last week and you got blown out," I said. "It was 38 to 8."

"We'll be better today."

A half hour later we had this exchange:

"Are you coming to my game?"
"Are you going to shoot?"
"As often as I can," he said.

And boy, did he. Two minutes in he missed. Then he missed at least three more. A couple that were halfway down before popping back up.

He looked at me and shrugged.

Moments later, in rapid succession, he took two more shots that were off the mark. This time, he didn't glance up. His head found the ground and there was a real sour look on his face.

Yet the kid has something that I never had. His court sense is good and he is always in the game, battling for his shot, playing D, and bringing the ball up court.

At a short break he looked at me again.

"Don't be afraid to keep shooting," I said.

He nodded.

When his first one went in, I knew that the sour look was gone. Nothing cures a shooter like finally knocking one down.

Then a long bank shot.

Two shots from the corner.

A drive down the left side for two.

Another mid-range swish.

When it was over his team had gone down again but it was a better game - a 28-23 final.

Sam had scored 12.

We headed towards the car. He seemed a little concerned with his poor first half shooting and the fact that they lost.

"You're a good player," was all I said.

I gave him the old man head rub, and he smiled. He's recently pulled a couple of teeth from his head, and his smile looked a little weird, but it was a wonderful smile anyway.

My boy is a gunner.

I'm so proud.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fuzzy's South

They go by different names: Switala, Walsh, Ingram, Darin, Neisser, but make no mistake...they are full of Fazzolari blood, brashness and attitude and over the last few weeks, they have filled my heart with love and life, and celebration when it comes to Oh Brother!

Little story here:

About twenty years ago I was working in Baltimore. This was fun for a number of reasons. 1). I was single. (Although being married to my beautiful wife is a million times better) 2). I was hanging around with a group of buddies from college and 3). Fuzzy South was alive with laughter.

In Easter of 1991...I went to Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Lenny's for the day. Word on the street is that I mistakenly ate a dozen eggs for breakfast when I assumed that the platter of eggs meant for everyone was simply prepared for me. Simple mistake. Could happen to anyone. I don't remember much of a struggle finishing them.

After an expertly made dinner and laughter that made my stomach ache (it wasn't the eggs), I headed to my car for the trip back to my apartment. There was a light snow falling. The driveway sloped down away from the house. I started my Cougar to warm it up and headed back into the house. When I stepped back out into the driveway I screamed in horror as my car was slowly, very slowly making its way backwards down the drive towards a huge oak tree. I must have knocked it out of park!

I tore off down the driveway, slipping, falling and running as fast as a slightly overweight man, carrying a dozen eggs and four pounds of ham, and a bushel of zuchini and tomatoes could go (That was awesome. I dream about that dish sometimes).

Anyhow, I got to the car as it suddenly...came to a full stop????....just about a foot from the base of that tree. I pulled open the door to see my cousin John parked in the driver's seat, crouched to the floor, working the pedal and laughing his ass off until he nearly pissed himself.

"You're (freak)ing eyes were like milk saucers!" He wailed.

So, you see, there is little separation! Notes that I've received from the wonderful people in this family...Steve, Karen, Sally, Mary Ann, Larry (sneaky funny dude)...and on and on...even the sons and daughters and son-in laws of the cousins we didn't see near enough! Dave, Carolyn, Amy....I can't even possibly name everyone!

Beautiful. Wonderful. Celebration of life.

I know that they won't stop promoting this book until I am sitting down at a table with them, eating all of their food, after being on a D.C. or Baltimore tv program.

And you know what...it'll be the perfect place for that day. Fuzzy South.

Besides, I'm still trying to figure out a way to get John back.

Funny Bastards.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I Beg to Differ

Hands down, if you asked my wife if there were one thing she could change about our daily existence, it would be that she would like the arguing, about senseless things to end.

For instance:

It drives me up the wall that everyone in the world has come to some sort of agreement that Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player ever. My kids believe that because it was all they were fed as they studied the sport. They never even saw the man play! Yet enough people have repeated it for it to become fact.

I beg to differ.

My argument being that he won all those titles after Magic and Bird quit; he shot every time he got the ball; he was a miserable guy most of the time; cheated and dumped his family; spoke as if his poopy didn't stink; and is also in those horrible underwear commercials and while complaining about not having enough time to himself because the media was stalking him, appeared with Bugs and Daffy in a cartoon movie. Plus, and this is my main argument: if he would have played Wilt in a one-on-one when they were both 25 years old, Wilt would have beat him 15 to zip, and took down his shorts and spanked his pompous ass about halfway thru the game.

My kids don't agree.

We also debate whether or not Ryan Miller of the Sabres is the greatest goalie in the world as the Sabres announcers believe that he is: I point to the fact that he's 30th in goals against out of 49 goalies. If he were the greatest, wouldn't he be a little closer to #1.

My kids don't agree.

And the reason I beg to differ is because I believe that we as parents have the job to send a questioning group of children out into the catastrophe of life. Everything reported and agreed upon can't be accepted as fact. People once believed the world was flat. My children would've argued with me on that until I pushed them off the edge.

So, my poor wife has to listen. Every once in awhile the kids will turn to her to get her thoughts on the matter. "I just wish you'd all stop," she'd say. Then to get it started again, "Jordan was the greatest ever."

No wonder they threaten the outside world with the statement that if it doesn't stop, mommy will be called.

I can just hear them thinking: I'm not calling Dad he'll argue with me about it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Living Proof

This morning I set off down the road early...like 5:30...towards Rochester to be on live television to talk about Oh Brother!

With a valuable assist from a great friend, Terry, I was to be interviewed. Let me tell you, lack of sleep has hurt my emotional state of mind. I got behind the wheel, with the full moon calling to me, and my mind in tune to how I wanted the interview to go. I felt as much like crying as I did sleeping.

I put on my I-pod and asked the gods of music to strengthen my mind as I drove. I wanted to hear from Jeff, and after a few songs from Seger, Ryan Adams, Paul Simon and the like, I got the Bruce song I was looking for.

Living Proof...

The lyric that spoke to me was:

Well now all that's sure, on the boulevard
is that life is just a house of cards
as fragile as each and every breath of these boys sleeping in our beds
Tonight lets lie beneath the eaves
just a close band of happy thieves
and when the train comes we'll get on board
and steal what we can from the treasures of the Lord.


So, I was spiritual. I was emotional and I knew that the verse spoke to what I needed to do. So much so that I started the song over and sang it again.

Then the freaky part. The song ended. My cell phone rang, it was Terry checking in, and the next song started.

I have 2000 songs. Four days of music. I was looking for a message. I was emotional.

American Land.

If you read the book, you know of what I speak. The Brucebumps ran down my spine. I said hello to Terry. A sob was stuck in my throat. The sun was coming up. The song was loud. The message was clear.

Don't blow the interview.

I don't think I did. Check it out: http://www.13wham.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoId=2123716&navCatId==2102.

Evan Dawson was an unbelievable host. Thank you. Terry, thank you. Kathy, Cindy, Carrie, Corinne, Yvonne....you know.

But most of all...

Living proof.

I swear to God. I never believed in God as much as the moment when the phone rang and American Land started.

There is no seperation.

Jeff knew where I was going this morning.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Praise For Oh Brother!

From Janice Catalano:

Cliff, Well Done! You had me laughing and crying at the same time. A beautiful testimony to your beautiful brother! He would've been proud. Yes, probably a sarcastic comment here or there, but nonetheless proud. Take care and keep the books coming!

From Chris Mokadam:

Cliff, Thank you for sending the book! My husband is a Springsteen groupee too. He has been to 15 Bruce concerts and we recently went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to check out the Springsteen exhibit. I can tell that once I start reading the book I won't be able to put it down. I can tell that you have a wonderful family! Thank you.

From Linda Sibigia:Thank you for the book! It was AWESOME!

From Vicki Haas:

Cliff, Thank you so much for sharing this story. I so wish I could have had the chance to meet Jeff! You gave us a way to feel as if we knew Jeff and that is a great gift. Your family has endured so much, yet you all continue to set the gold standard in terms of family values, love and commitment to each other. You've inspired this family to continue to cherish every moment together and appreciate every day we have! Best wishes for success and a happy, event less 2011!!!!

Pretty hard to get down after reaching so many readers with Jeff's beautiful message of life.

It is humbling and overwhelming and thank you to all for reading along and sharing with us.

It means the world to the Fazzolari family!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Post

I have no idea what will come out of this new post. Just feel as if I must make a post that is new.

Should we check the news?

Watching football this weekend I caught a recap of a bunch of New Orleans Saints fans watching a television screen that showed Manning throwing a pick-6 in last years game. Those fans were going crazy. It made me think of a couple of things:

1). Going that crazy with excitement about a game. I sort of cheer like that for the Yanks and definitely did in my other lifetime when the Bills were good, but in front of that set was a fat guy in a Saints jersey, and it made me wonder. Did he feel like a part of the team? Did he imagine himself as Drew Brees, throwing the long pass and getting the love of the ladies? Watch for that commercial. Think of me.

2). During the Bears game in a driving snow there were a couple of guys that were shirtless. What does that prove? How stupid you are? How hearty Da' Bears fans are? I don't even like to take off my shirt to mow my lawn these days because I'm afraid of scaring the neighbor kids. Can't imagine doing it in 10 degree weather as I sucked cold beer. I'm getting old.

American Idol is starting this week. Are you all aflutter? No Simon, no Paula...just JLO and the big mouth from Aerosmith.

I'm a rock and roll guy but I never quite got Aerosmith. They seemed like poor imitations of my beloved Stones.

I won't be watching.

What else?

Still sore. Still tired. Still battling a cold.

Boo-freaking-who.

Glad the new post is done.

Perhaps I'll put on my A-Rod jersey and cheer my way through Judge Judy. Or take my shirt off and run outside to see how cold my nips can get.

Have fun!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Suckiest Bunch of Sucks That Ever Sucked

The name of this blog is one of the best Simpsons lines ever. The dialogue goes something like this:

Bart: Those Guys Suck!

Marge: I swear to God, I don't know where you kids learn such language.

Homer (on the telephone): That sucked. Those guys were the suckiest bunch of guys that ever sucked.

I thought of that line all morning. I had some training to do for a company and not only did they choose to do this training on MLK day, they also started it at 7 AM (an hour away from my house), and they needed to get the training done...outside.

To get there by 7...I was up at 4:45. I took Melky for her morning ride and headed to the site. Check out yesterday's blog...I was sick, by the way.

Ah, as the kids might say: Boo-freaking-Hoo. Or better yet...saddle up the mule it's time for work.

Whatever. I wasn't going to whine. I had my get-it-done attitude.

Until I froze my freaking big-ass-mule-ass off.

It was about three degrees this morning. Every time I had to watch an employee operate the forklift I had to do a checklist.

The pen didn't work.

My hand was frozen.

My nose was running.

"This sucks!" I screamed. "These guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked!"

Six hours later I was back home with reports to write. First things first though, I needed a hot shower and some sort of cold medicine.

The kids were all home. They greeted the mule with a joke about enjoying what should have been a day off in celebration of MLK.

"I need a hot shower," I said.

"Hot water's gone," Sam chided. "I took a two-hour shower this morning."

I knew it was a joke the instant he told it.

"You suck," I mumbled. "All of you are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked."

How was your day?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm Really Not Sick!

Last week Kathy really battled with a cold. From the outside looking at her it seemed as though it were a miserable battle that zapped a lot of her energy, but true to her nature, she went about her business of work and school.

I did try to help, but I also stood in the shadows reminding her that I don't get sick because I take such good care of myself, treat my body like a temple, and of course, eat well-balanced, sensible meals.

To be honest, I am sort of convinced that I don't get the flu or colds because I eat hot peppers with everything. I actually sometimes sprinkle red pepper flakes on my cereal.

Okay, not true. I don't eat much cereal, but you get the idea.

I also wash my hands a lot and I never, I mean never...do anything other than go to the hand sanitizer after shaking someone's hand.

It has become an absolute obsession. As I'm shaking their hand, however, I immediately think: what if he just finished scratching his ass or picking his nose...so hand sanitizer here I come.

Anyway, I escaped the reach of the cold again! And I bragged about it all week.

"Germs flying around. Everyone coughing and hacking but me because nothing wants to live inside!"

And a strange thing happened.

I woke up Friday morning feeling like crap.

Saturday felt much the same and there's little improvement today.

But I'm not sick. I don't get sick. I don't have a cold!

Where the hell is that cayenne pepper? I'll blast this thing away.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Stop Yelling At Me!

So, two months after getting his driver's license, Matt, on his way to school yesterday, decided that he would rather take the bus.

He should have got out of his car before trying to board the bus though. Yep, smashed right into the back end of an empty school bus. So much for the plan to quit working because he had enough money, huh?

Now, thankfully, no one was injured, but the whole event sort of left us shaking our heads a bit about how prepared Matt is to enter the world.

When asked to produce the insurance card and registration he was yelling, "I don't know what that is."

Then confronted by a clearly agitated bus driver who was yelling at him for following too close Matt apologized.

The yelling continued so he apologized again. The driver yelled a little more about responsibility, and Matt uttered the line that will never be forgotten. It will be told to his children and their children down the line.

"Stop yelling at me, or I'm going to call my mother!"

I can imagine the bus driver wanting to laugh. I wish I could have seen his face when he made the threat.

Of course, Kathy responded and despite receiving a call that she dreads every time he backs out of the driveway, she was able to bring some calm to the scene.

There was little damage to the bus. Matt ruined a fender and a light. More money out the window. The old Mattdonalds fund is mighty low. Too bad he retired already.

I don't really mind though. If it costs $500 or so to fix it will have been worth every penny.

"Stop yelling at me or I'll call my mother!"

Priceless.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Spoon Can Make You Fat

I never liked Charlton Heston.

The NRA ads made me cringe for a lot of years.

Guns don't kill people. People kill people.

Fine.

Nice, catchy saying.

For all the mentally stable people in the world that makes sense.

Try this for sense.

16,000 murders a year in the most civilized country in the world.

And growing.

When will there be a new idea that is hatched that solves such a problem?

I don't want to take your gun away, model citizen. You have the right to bare arms. Even though that was written in a completely different time when the threat of the government stealing your world was more of a reality.

Protect yourself.

I don't give a shit.

Buy a gun at Wal-Mart and shoot 15 people including women and children and I question the rights.

The rights of a man who's very photo brings thoughts of a lunatic in a thriller film.

How is it so easy to get a gun?

Before you take up your argument, think of the loss of life.

Think of the people wiped out.

Think of the hundreds of people who mourn those who were senselessly killed.

Because this guy got his hands on a gun in a matter of days.

Wait two weeks...there will be another mass murder.

Take away gun rights and only outlaws will have guns...'nother Heston sound bite.

Take away one gun...

From one lunatic...

...and 15 people live...

...every two weeks.

Come on. Truly. Make it more of a process to get a semi-automatic.

We shouldn't be selling them at Wal-Mart to every guy who smiles through filling out the application.

You can't argue that.

A spoon can make you fat if you don't have the mental capacity to rise above it.

And that's coming from a semi-fat guy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spot the Fraud

So, old golden-voice boy Ted Williams has a sordid past. Who would've thunk that a guy living on the streets with 9 kids, a drug and alcohol problem, a taste for pissing outside, and a past of not being able to hold a job, was not quite so suited for fame and fortune.

Ted is off to rehab, and perhaps even to the dentist to work on those choppers. Before that though, he sat down with a fraud and took a serious berating.

Think back...one week ago everyone was passing the video around. Then Today Show, article after article speaking of redemption...and then "Dr." Phil.

I am not a fan of "Dr." Phil.

For the simple reason that he is not a doctor. He is not an accredited man. He slapped the Dr. in front of his name so that it would carry more weight when he was shoveling his crap.

And speaking of carrying more weight.

I once watched him totally hammer on a couple of really big people who, as he said, were suffering from self-esteem issues, and were not smart enough to get on top of the weight problem that was killing them.

Uh, Phil, mirror...mirror, Phil.

So what would I have done differently had I been Ted Williams?

Phil: Come clean with me. You haven't been sober for 2 years like you said.

Ted: You aren't a doctor.

Phil: If you want to be successful and take care of your kids, you need rehab.

Ted: You should try the Adkins Diet.

Phil: You pissed on the corner near a restaurant.

Ted: You piss all over your guests every day.

You get the point. I kind of thought golden-voice was on the streets for a reason. I wanted to root for him, and still will.

But most of all, I have fun rooting against "Dr." Phil.

Fraud.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Hamburg Sun Review


"Oh Brother!" teaches lessons on life and love
Hamburg Sun, January 13, 2011


It is more important to enjoy life than it is to try to understand it.

This is both the mantra by which Jeff Fazzolari lived his life and the message that continues to inspire many after his untimely death.

In his latest book, “Oh Brother!: The Life and Times of Jeff Fazzolari,” author Cliff Fazzolari keeps the memory of his brother alive by sharing humorous and heart-warming anecdotes of Jeff’s daily escapades. Known to his family as “the walking celebration,” Jeff had the ability to transform any ordinary situation into a party.

Yet, as often as the book is funny, it is also incredibly sad. Any reader who has experienced loss can relate to the agonizing trial of the Fazzolari family as brothers, sisters, parents and in-laws spend countless hours and sleepless nights in the waiting rooms of Mercy Hospital in Buffalo.

“I come from a tremendous family,” said Fazzolari. “This book was as much for them as it was for Jeff.”

Indeed, “Oh Brother!” places a tremendous amount of importance on family. The book’s cover assures that readers will want to hug their siblings and give thanks before the book’s end, and Fazzolari’s writing holds true to this promise.

Though writing a book is never an easy feat, Fazzolari described the writing process for “Oh Brother!” as downright torturous. Fazzolari holds nothing back in his writing; the reader is allowed to witness the narrator at his most raw. Yet it is these moments of unbridled emotion that readers are likely to relate to and appreciate. Fazzolari’s words tug at the heartstrings until readers find themselves praying along with the narrator for a miracle.

Despite the emotional toll it took, Fazzolari said that the decision to write about his brother’s life was a “no-brainer.”

“If the shoe was on the other foot, he would have done the same for me,” he said.

Cliff and Jeff Fazzolari grew up with their four other siblings in North Collins.

“It’s an incredible place,” said the author about his hometown. “I couldn’t have picked a better place to grow up.”

North Collins is just one of many places that local readers will recognize in the book. The Gow School in South Wales is also mentioned quite frequently; Jeff worked there as an executive chef.

“Oh Brother!,” which marks Fazzolari’s 10th book, has generated an unprecedented response for the author. Fazzolari called the waves of praise from both friends and strangers “overwhelming,” but much appreciated.

“You want to do that every time you write,” he said.

Perhaps the praise is not only due to the author’s writing, but Jeff’s infectious personality. If readers did not have the chance to know him in life, he feels like an old friend before the book draws to a close. Though Jeff’s life was short, it was inarguably well-lived. The book is full of Jeff’s life-lessons that seem wise beyond his 38 years of existence.

“It all boils down to the things you can’t hold,” reads a quote from Jeff in the book. “If it isn’t about love and faith and hope, what is it about?”

For Fazzolari, who journals every day of his life and was reading major works of fiction since the second grade, writing books was the next step in a natural course. Fazzolari is the author of both fiction and non-fiction works, including “Nobody’s Home,” “Blind Spot” and “House of Miracles.” He is also the author of the popular blog, Thoughts of a Common Man, which can be found online at www.fazzolari23.blogspot.com.

He is currently working on a fiction novel, entitled “Everything I Know.”

Those who are interested in purchasing a copy of “Oh Brother!” should send an e-mail to Cliffordfc@roadrunner.com along with their name and home address. Fazzolari will send an invoice and a signed copy of the book.

Fazzolari resides in Blasdell with his wife, three sons and two dogs.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Can You Be A Hero?

In the middle of every tragedy is a slice of heaven. On Saturday in Arizona men and women alike teamed together to subdue that crazy bastard. Thank God they did too because the death toll may have been even higher.

During 9/11 there were a number of documented heroes at the various scenes. Their participation may also have saved a number of lives.

So, it got me thinking. What way would you go in a tragic scene such as the one that played out in Arizona?

Would you run and hide? Would you take a stand? Would you be a hero even though it may cost you your life?

Listening to Howard Stern this morning as they discussed this topic, Howard said that he would be in full retreat. "Feets don't fail me now," was his actual quote.

When Robin asked if he would do anything if he were close enough to the gunman, he said, "I'd be shot in the center of the back. Obama would be praising everyone but he would also mention what a coward I was."

And I wonder.

"Feets don't fail me now," sounds like a reasonable reaction in such a life-threatening situation.

Then again, there is that daydream that started way back in grammar school when we put ourselves in harms way to save the girl from the burning building, the terrorist attack, the bully, and even though we get hurt, we are only hurt bad enough to get the sympathy and win the girl.

I like to think that I would run to the fray to help others. I am pretty confident that I could have been a part of the team that proclaimed, "Let's Roll," aboard the high jacked plane.

The unfortunate aspect of thinking about it is that the way things are going, we may all someday have to answer such a question.

Every two or three months, in the greatest land in the world, there are mass shootings such as these.

Makes me sick.

Makes me want to run the other way, and not trust anyone, and not believe in the goodness of people.

Where has humanity gone?

God help us all if we don't turn this thinking around.

Feets don't fail me now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Too Much Blood

How can you not be horrified by the shooting in Tucson over the weekend?

I'm not sure about you but the divisive nature of the liberals versus conservatives in this country is going to be our great undoing. I've been screaming for a few years that the gap must be bridged. We are all Americans, for crying out loud. Take aim at the Democrats with a scope sign on the website of the leading Republican candidate?

What the hell did we think would happen?

And every night there are channels after channels of bullshit being spewed, by both sides, about how the other side is wrong for America.

You know what's wrong for America?

This crap. Killing each other, even disrespecting one another, because he voted for Obama, or she voted for W.

We all have our own thoughts about how the government should or shouldn't be run. Stand on any street corner and bring up politics with any passing stranger. Within minutes, you will be able to tell whether they are blue or red.

And its absolutely sickening.

I have a few friends that tease me about the way that my political views seem to slant. We often engage in friendly debate, but deep down, I wonder if they think less of me, or I of them, because of the side they're on.

We are all Americans!

This is ridiculous.

Gunning down people in a shopping center because you feel it was necessary for the long-term health of the country? I'm not even sure that is what happened, but you know what, a funny thing definitely did take place:

In the hours after the tragedy, the scope and the ad to take aim were gone from that website I spoke about.

It is time to heal this country, right?

Or is that a liberal thing to say?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Elderly

So, we are at the alumni basketball game last night and prior to the game we meet with the other team to ensure that the older members of the squad aren't forced to go head-to-head with the kids. The other team is fine with that idea. After all, the goal is to escape without serious injury.

Meanwhile, I started to feel it in the warm-ups. After missing my first fifty attempts, I hit a couple of bombs. 'This could be okay,' I thought.

We met in a huddle before the start of the game. A boy with pimples and no need for a razor chimed in: "So, the elderly guys are going to start and then we come in after five minutes, right?" he asked.

Elderly? Elderly! Did he just call us elderly?

We all laughed and told him that was correct and we headed to the court.

I missed my first two shots, but then made my next two. Both bombs that were full surprises to the crowd...and to me, actually. The elderly guys left the court leading 10 to 5.

The young guys blew the lead. And so it went the rest of the night. Each trip getting harder, but we were actually playing a game. At one timeout one of those pimply-faced kids said, "Weird, the old bastard can shoot."

Fast forward to the end. We were down by 12 with 50 seconds left. My buddy Jeff and I safely on the bench. We should have been unlacing our shoes, but Jeff ran into the game and scored a quick layup during the 6 on 5 drill. Thinking that it was a good idea I made it 7 on 5.

We inbounded the ball and I told the young kid I wanted to try a half-court shot to close things out. He turned to his buddy who had the ball. "Give me it," he said, "the old dude wants to shoot from half-court."

I got the ball at half-court. Elderly, old dude, old bastard was rattling through my brain. The crowd was counting down. I set my sights and let it fly, the ball leaving my hand on a perfect arc as the crowd actually gasped.

'I'll give them old dude,' I thought.

I got the front of the rim.

The ball landed harmlessly.

We all shook hands and went home.

Elderly!

You want elderly you should experience the pain I feel in my legs and back right now!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Glory Days

Last week I went to one of Matt's basketball games and all of the old feelings started to stir. It's weird, but watching kids play high school basketball takes me back to the days when I played.

I remember how it felt to shoot a free throw, what it was like to see the ball go through the net as other people cheered. How wonderful it was to be on display with my friends as the whole school and the girls we all had crushes on looked on.

Yes, every time I watch a game all those things come to the surface. I hardly remember that I rode the pine a bit. I don't even consider that during my first game on the varsity I get hit with an elbow thrown by Digger Braymiller and ended up breathing in smelling salts moments after entering the game. (Digger was on my team).

I forget about the fact that I had so much arc on my shot that in the middle of one game I struck the rings high above the court and the crowd laughed when the ball landed a foot in front of me.

I don't even try to recall that I was once put in the game to take a half court shot, decided I should try to get a little closer, dribbled the ball off my foot, and was greeted by the coach who yelled at me for longer than I was in the game.

Where are the girls we all had crushes on? Not even one of us ended up with one of them. Man, that was so important back then.

Why do I bring it all up?

Well, I'm supposed to play in an alumni basketball game tonight. I've been dragging my right leg since July, but you know what?

I'm going.

All of that past 'glory' is too much to pass up.

My buddy Jeff Renaldo and his boys are playing on the team.

"I already told my kids," Jeff said, "that if you pass the ball to Cliff on the offensive end, just head back on defense because he's shooting it."

Sounds about right.

I'm ready to dominate!

Tomorrow's blog will be called "Six-to-Eight Weeks to Heal."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mr. Golden Voice

So, by now, everyone has witnessed the video of the homeless man with the golden voice, right?

We all know the story. The guy was spotted on the side of the road by a Columbus, Ohio newspaper reporter. He was holding a sign that spoke of his wonderful announcer voice and when he read a bit of script, the man sounded like the greatest voice ever. He is now being offered big jobs, parts in a movie, and free places to live.

The Facebook community is abuzz with his story and the cute little phrases of redemption and second chances are starting to drive me a little nuts. I must be the only guy in the world not all a flutter with the man.

What is wrong with me?

It is a wonderful story of second chances and shots at redemption. I am all about that, right? It will also, most likely take the man off the streets and put him in a position of esteem.

What about it rubs me the wrong way?

Perhaps that his name is Ted Williams and that makes me think of the Red Sux and we all know my feelings on them.

Maybe it is the fact that Ted Williams the homeless man and not the splendid splinter has nine kids, has been chased by the law, abused drugs and alcohol and never truly worked hard for his new positions.

He is on the freaking Today Show, Oprah the queen has to be calling soon, right?

And he hasn't done much with the gift from God other than abuse his family, himself and the laws of society.

All right...second chance...all for it...love Michael Vick, don't I?

Here's hoping that it all works out for the guy. I really do not want to see him fail, but for crying out loud, please stop sending me the you tube video of it.

Saw it. Cute. Wonderful. Good Luck.

I still hate the red sux.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sorry!

The first thing I did today...like millions of others...was think about the Mega Millions Drawing from last night. I only had five dollars worth, but you never know, right?

The short drive to the store was done with Melky in the passenger seat, of course, and it was bone-chilling cold. I didn't care. With any luck, I'd be booking flights for fifty people for a Hawaiian get-away.

Being that I am old and tired these days and a bit lazy, I thought of the machine next to the clerk.

"Morning," she said. "How are you?"

We are friends because we see each other every day.

"Great, I won the Mega," I said.

"No New York State winner," she answered before I even had the chance to check my ticket.

"Maybe I just won a couple of mil," I said.

I placed my ticket under the red flashing light.

"Sorry You're not a winner." The read-out flashed back.

"BUT I AM A WINNER!!!!" I cried. "HOW DOES THIS MACHINE KNOW I'M A FREAKING LOSER?"

"Yeah, they could be nicer about breaking the news," the clerk said.

But I was thinking the other way. Wouldn't it be cool if they flashed real messages on there?

Hey, asswipe, you should have saved your five bucks,would have made me smile.

Dear mentally-challenged loser...go back out in the cold, would have been easier to handle.

Why did they have to tell me I'm not a winner?

I spend all day singing theme songs in my head to build myself up and ten minutes into the day I'm being ripped a new one by the damn lottery machine.

Hawaii? Really? Lace up your boots, looooooooooooser!

All I know was that I was real deflated. I headed back to the car and slinked in. The ice was nearly gone from my windshield.

"I'm not a winner," I told Melky.

Melky licked the right side of my face.

"Sure you are," she was saying, "and goshdarnit, people like you."

Gow School Welcomes Oh Brother!


I had no idea what to really expect when the Gow School welcomed me into their assembly hall for a speech and a signing in support of Oh Brother! The Life and Times of Jeff Fazzolari. I just knew that it was the place I was supposed to be to open up the book tour.

So, imagine my surprise when the camera crew from WKBW-TV-7 greeted me first and asked me for an interview about the book and my brother. I was thrilled to do it...and the story will air on the six o'clock news tonight.

But that's just part of the story. The headmaster, Brad Rogers, gave me a wonderful introduction and with the hall filled with students and faculty, I began to speak.

I spoke of my brother celebrating life on a daily basis. We traded stories of wonderful practical jokes, many that the kids had already heard about. I told them about how Jeff had telephoned me when I stepped off live television to critique my performance....all to hearty laughs and extreme celebration.

For most of the speech, I felt Jeff beside me, goading me to make it funnier, thanking me for standing up and speaking to his friends and coworkers, and urging me not to cry or babble.

And then I saw my Mom in the front row. Her sad eyes, red from tears of pride? laughter? unbelievable sadness?

And I said, "Ah, geez, Mom, don't do that to me!"

And the crowd laughed a little and I swallowed the sob and moved forward.

"Jeff's message is one of celebration I said. Celebrate your success/ celebrate the mundane/stick your finger into the yawning guy next to you/celebrate the boring/love your brother, your mother, your sister, your kids, your friends.

Celebrate the fact that you have today.

That was Jeff's message, and I owe it to him to bring it to you."

The applause I heard in my head was all directed to the space directly above me in that room.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Simply Overwhelming!

Oh Brother! has been out for just about two weeks now and the message of the book has been sent and received.

I have written ten books. I have received positive feedback on much of what I've done, but nothing like this!!!!

The presentation made by SterlingHouse Publisher was nothing short of fantastic with this story. The vision was supplied by Cindy Sterling and Nicole just went above and beyond what was needed to put a cover on the book that was worthy of the man the book was about. And don't even get me started on Megan....the editor who makes it all happen!

Evidently, my message of love for all things Jeff was also very clear because I am being driven absolutely crazy by the kind words and long, wonderful stories about the joy, sorrow and laughter that the book has brought to each reader.

To be honest, I am not totally surprised. We all worked very hard to put together a work that will stand the test of time and was done with love in our hearts.

I am just simply overwhelmed!!!!

For years and years I tried my best to write something that would mean something to someone, somewhere along the way.

Knowing that I did it, with this book is satisfying in the most unsatisfying of all situations.

The real telling sign is that I was the one who ended up learning something!

For all those who have read along and want to post comments on the story please do so at ohbrother23@ymail.com.

My beautiful sisters have set up a space to share and celebrate Jeff's life.

The Oh Brother! Blog site is carrying the story even further.

For those of you who haven't read it yet....what are you waiting for?

Simply e-mail me your address at cliffordfc@roadrunner.com and I will send you a signed copy for $15. Proceeds to benefit Jeff's family.

Join the celebration. It's a real chance to be overwhelmed!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Disgusted...3 Days In


Making my rounds through a construction site today and it was bitterly cold...feet like a brick sort of cold with wind whipping through a building that had no roof. The man pictured above was working to demo a wall by swinging a sledgehammer, over and over and over again.

He stopped to catch his breath and I snapped his photo because he was working hard and actually dressed for the job.

"How's the new year going?" I asked.

"I'm thoroughly disgusted 3 days in," he said.

We both laughed, but who could blame the guy?

I tried to tell him it wasn't so bad, but he got to talking about the Bills and how all the players on the team are millionaires and how that wouldn't be a problem because everyone likes to watch football and the money is there...but...

"If I don't keep swinging this hammer like John Henry, they fire my ass. Ain't they accountable? Keep screwing up and they keep paying you millions anyway. Thoroughly disgusted."

The man reattached his dust mask, blew into his glove and started swinging the hammer again.

I seriously hope that the poor guy was half-joking, but I can see how he might be disgusted by it all. The cold days, working hard are a real hassle. Of course, every opportunity is available to us in this country, so if you don't like the job, change, right?

I hope that's still right. Does it seem all that possible these days?

"What're you going to do with the picture?" he asked as I headed away.

"I'm going to show your bosses that you were doing a good job," I said.

"That's good," he said. Before his face disappeared behind his dust mask, I saw the start of a smile.

Who knows? Maybe he will only be a little disgusted the rest of the day.

"You gotta' stop thinking about the Bills and all their money," I called back.

"You got that right!" he answered.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Memory #1...Done

So if life is about making memories, why not make a few?

Kathy, the boys and I went to the hockey game last night. The Sabres were playing the Bruins and as a surprise I picked up five tickets for Christmas, mainly because Sam hadn't stopped talking about the couple of games that he'd been to earlier in his life and I tell you something, the kid is dealing with the sort of memory his old man has.

"Remember when we came down here to see Bruce?" he asked as we were heading into the arena. "Uncle John parked next to us and we all had to climb the fence to get to our car because they had locked the gate."

Okay, yes, he's seen Springsteen twice. As an adult I regret the fact that I never saw Sinatra with my Dad so I wanted to give him the chance to see a legend before he got caught up in the rap crap.

Anyway, I didn't remember climbing the fence.

So, we settled into our seats and I explained how the Sabres were going to get beat. We had a little playful banter back and forth especially when Boston took a 3 to 1 lead.

But I was hoping they weren't disappointed. I actually was rooting for the comeback, and there were a couple of them. The Sabres went ahead 5 to 4 only to blow the lead and trail 6 to 5 with less than 30 seconds left...and then lightning struck. A late goal, followed by loud screams from the kids and the other 19,000 people.

In all of those voices I only heard three. Matt, Jake and Sam were screaming, singing and reminding me that the Sabres were great tonight. Of course the game stayed tied through the overtime and it was going to be settled with a shoot-out...Sam's one wish for the night.

The Sabres scored three out of three times and we headed back into the cold. All three boys were yelling, skipping and shouting back at me. Yes, the Sabres were good, last night.

Kathy and I walked a little slower than they did and as we headed to the car, I took a little solace in the fact that I'd spent the money wisely for once. I traded a pile of paper and ink for a memory that will last for a lot of years.

"Thank you!" the boys each screamed as we hit the pavement.

One for one in '11.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Your Freaking Breakfast is Ready

It's sort of funny how things work in a marriage. This morning, after a night of celebrating the new year with close friends in a rather contained setting, I turned to my beautiful wife and said, "Why don't you make me breakfast?"

She laughed. "That's not my job," she said.

And she's right. It isn't. It's my job and always has been. If we are all home, it comes down to me getting breakfast ready, and I never thought about it much until this morning.

Of course, over the last several months, I have taken my short order cook duties to the extreme, bellowing out a name and then saying, "Your freaking breakfast is ready!"

Sam particularly enjoys this and follows up for me, yelling the same words up the stairs to Kathy or Matt, or Jake.

So I cook the breakfast and the kids know that if something breaks in this house it is Mom who gets the call.

Our call for that one is MAINTENANCE!

And maintenance comes running. Sometimes with her chest of tools, most of the time with just her knowledge of how things work.

And that's how the whole thing continues to roll around here.

So breakfast was served...Italian sausage, potatoes and eggs with toast. The dishes were brought to the sink and neither of us had to fight about who was going to rinse the plates and set them in the dishwasher.

That's my freaking job.

And it has all worked for so long. No need to change it up now, right?

Happy freaking New Year.

Heather Heyer

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