Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Perfect Love

Since reading Keith Richards book I spent a lot of time downloading Stones songs. That was a month ago...now I'm spending time listening to them.

All day long I've been singing one verse over and over. Imagine Mick singing:

"You'll never find that perfect love that you read about, that you dream about."

On the day of my wedding anniversary, I can't argue with Mick.

He's right.

The sort of love that people dream about when they're young certainly doesn't exist. Trying to understand love at 20 years old is sort of ridiculous as well.

But love certainly does exist...and perfect love can be realized even though it won't be quite as easy as they make it look in the romantic comedies, or the fairy tale princess stories.

You know what is perfect love?

1). Being able to depend upon the other person when your shit is all messed up.

2). Getting back to the table after visiting the restroom to find that your pasta has arrived and that your wife already asked the waitress for the red pepper.

3). Wondering if you'd be able to face another day because the sadness was too much to take, and having your wife say: "How can I help?"

4). Realizing that you've been acting like a douche for a few days and trying to figure out how you can justify it and simply getting an "I know why you were frustrated. It's all right."

5). Understanding that your views of the world are really the same when it's all broken down and the bullshit veils are stripped away.

6). Knowing that the important part of the wedding vows isn't in the acting straight during the good times. Fully realizing that the bad times come and that if you aren't in tune, you'll crumble.

Not crumbling is sort of perfect.

But I know what Mick is saying. That "Oh My God! I'd marry that girl tomorrow!" sentiment doesn't truly cut it.

Perfect love is way more about breaking through to the other side when the dog took a dump on the carpet, the boys are fighting for no reason, there are mice in the laundry closet and the basement has flooded and the upstairs shower is broken.

When all that is happening and you still pinch her ass as she is heading buy you in the kitchen...you're truly doing okay.

Perfect love?

Possibly...

...You just gotta' overlook the imperfections.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Our So Called Life

Tomorrow is the anniversary of when my brother Jeff stood in front of the people who gathered together to share our wedding and said that the number one thing that Cliff said on his wedding day was actually first said by Ex-Washington DC Mayor Marion Berry:

"The bitch set me up...the G.D. bitch set me up."

I had 7 best men for that event. I should have had 12.

Anyway, my beautiful wife and I go on 5-year deals in our marriage. We are currently entering the walk year on this deal and we have not yet discussed the re-up. Of course, I'm like Jeter on this new deal. He had to re-sign with the Yankees. Where else would he play?

It was all only a matter of if the Yankees still wanted him.

I have a feeling we'll get the deal done.

Because it's been an incredible happy and profoundly sad ride and we are still on the boat, riding out the storms.

And seriously, who the hell else would have me?

Over the weekend we have been watching the old television show "My So Called Life" with Claire Danes. Believe it or not, I used to watch the show in the 90's and I thought it was something my beautiful wife might like.

She loves it.

I still like watching it to, for the same reason I watched it then...I sort of want Claire Danes.

Anyway, here we sit all these years later. Is it what I envisioned marriage to be?

Yeah, it is. The real world. There's no flags unfurled.

Just me, you and the faith, hope and love we're bringing into the real world.

I listened to that Bruce song on the way to the reception.

It certainly still applies.

All these years later and we've compiled our so called life.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Apes On the Loose


We petitioned a golfer that was lurking in the parking lot to take a photo of us after our round. The guy made a joke about wondering where the wide lens button was.

I couldn't have possibly cared less.

On hole one, I hit the ball straight down the center. I'd been concerned about the first swing. It had been so long since I played.

And the sun was on my face, and my buddies were relaxed and enjoying the day as well. As each hole ended, I just looked forward to the next one. I didn't care a lick about a missed shot or the fact that it took me two hits to get out of a sand strap on a ridiculously easy par 3.

I hit the ball well. I had a big fat fried bolgona sandwich at the turn and hit it even better on the back 9. The knee is still swollen, but its like that after work too, and today was so much better than work.

By the end of the round I was already thinking about the next chance I'd have to get out there again.

It seems as though I spend so much time wishing I were somewhere else or getting other things done.

Today was exactly where I wanted to be...and I enjoyed every second.

"We should have made our putts on that one," my buddy Jeff said after hole 14.

"There could be someone standing there hitting me with a hot poker at the end of every hole and I'd still be enjoying this," I said.

"It would get tiresome around hole 18 though," Jeff said.

I suppose.

Then again it didn't even bother me that the joker in the lot needed to find the wide angle button.

The Grape Apes were back out there where they belonged.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Wonder What Phil Harmonic Is Up To

A long time ago, in a land far away, my buddies and I drank all through the evenings and into the morning hours, playing music loud, shooting pool, laughing, fighting, arguing, and laughing some more.

We were in college, of course, and trying hard to distinguish ourselves as fine adults.

We didn't make a lot of headway.

Yet in college, very often, there are characters who really don't have much of a chance and you kind of see it when they come through the door, hooting and hollering.

There was a short, little, funny guy who hung around us a lot in our senior year. To say he was a little off would be like saying George Dubya was a bad speechmaker. His name was Phil, so naturally we called him Phil Harmonic.

One morning Phil was stumbling through the streets of Erie after an all-night party...some "old" woman (she was in her 40's) began to lecture Phil about the dangers of booze as she swept out her driveway. Phil arrived at our door, that morning, with the broom that he had wrestled away from the woman to chase her screaming down the street.

Phil never touched the lady, but he had us all laughing as he explained that he had told the lady that he'd teach her a thing or two about God.

I bring this all up because last night I was sleeping next to the open window when Melky started to growl. My beautiful wife and I had spent the night watching old episodes of Cheers on Netflix, so I was feeling a little geriatric.

Anyway Melky was growling because there was a real young girl, obviously intoxicated, sitting outside talking to her friends who were inside. The house is mere feet from the window.

Being that "I'm old" I thought about yelling out..."People are sleeping here, it's 1:40 in the morning!"...but I thought about how lame the old guy across the way would be.

Besides, she was good-looking and she was telling all kinds of stories about her love life. Evidently she wants to have kids and Kevin is dragging his feet a little. "I'm twenty-two freaking years old!" she said. "I can't wait around forever."

I never said a word. I didn't preach to her about the dangers of alcohol (that would sound funny coming from me, wouldn't it?).

I didn't explain that 22 is awful young to be worrying about such heady things, or that having children as quick as you can might not be the best idea, or that Kevin may not be her best option, or that early to bed and early to rise is a real good motto.

Instead I thought of Phil...who is now in his early-to-mid 40's somewhere. He probably has a couple of kids of his own. Maybe he tips one now and again and thinks of the woman he chased down the streets of Erie as she unleashed the wrath of God on him.

I bet he laughs when he thinks about it.

Ah, youth is wasted on the young.

Now I get that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Do You Know What I'm Saying?

Big News from here...okey-dokey, or okie-dokie, or oakie-dokie...has been upended by the new phrase that drives me absolutely crazy...

"Do You Know What I'm Saying?"

I was listening to Howard yesterday and some guy named Flavor Flav (Me doubts that it is his God-Given name) was being interviewed about something yesterday. I'm not quite sure what Mr. Flav does, but it hardly matters because I didn't learn a damn thing about him because all of his sentences started with a "Woo-Hoo, Howard," and ended with the phrase, "You know what I'm saying?"

I finally got tired of what he was saying and flipped the station to the all baseball, all day channel.

Advertisement: Get Sirius radio...it's the best.

Anyway, it seems that all the cRAPPERS, who put out cRAP music wonder if we know what it is that they are saying, and it drives me up the freaking wall. When you can count someone saying the same thing over and over and over again in a 3 minute interview, you really have to wonder about how and why they are being interviewed in the first place. What redeeming factor is there in listening to such garbage?

Mr. Flavor didn't disappoint, however. I learned he has 7 children and that his drug problem ran him about $2600 a day but that crack is awesome, you know what I'm saying, but that he had to get rid of the habit so he could produce his art, you know what I'm saying because it's all about getting paid, you know what I'm saying?

Also, yesterday, wanting to smarten it up a little I listened to a political talk show. Not sure why I went there to smarten things up, but they are starting to interview potential presidential candidates two years before the office is up for election and you just know I won't be able to get enough of that.

Sarah Palin was on.

She makes Flavor Flav look like a Rhodes Scholar...all together now...you know what I'm saying.

Anyway, she was talking about her run for president because the country really needs her to reverse the spiraling direction we are in and in a two-minute interview she used the phrase:

I have a fire in my belly

Five times!

In fact she said, "I have a raging fire in my belly," twice.

Are you freaking kidding me with this candidate? Is there someone really willing, outside of her husband's snowmobile club, to vote for her to run the country? She failed as governor. She can't string five coherent sentences together, and she did lousy in school.

Oh right, we might vote for her...Dubya "won" twice, right?

That's all from here today. I have a raging fire in my belly that tells me that we need to think about the brilliant people we are interviewing and really wonder about why it is we are interviewing them in the first place.

And how can I end the blog with any other sentence than:

You know what I'm saying?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Matthew!

Well, well, well...Matt is 18 today. Happy Birthday. I can distinctly recall the first time I laid eyes on him and the quiet confidence that he seemed to carry. Even as a child, he was too proud to let you see him sweat and was easily the calmest, sharpest, well-behaved kid you'd ever seen. He never truly was a baby...and it always caught me off-guard.

That's why it was so aggravating when he pooped his pants at the age of four and with his mother far away, pushed me into parent duty.

I wanted to kill him.

Through his teenage years, he's been a dream to have around the house. Never trouble, always responsible, usually in a pretty good mood. A lot of parents don't say that as their son turns 18. I can. Matt is a great kid with a lot going for him.

And he still has the quiet confidence and an eternal optimism that drives me crazy.

He picked the Bills to go 12 and 4 last year. If you ran into him today he'd tell you that the last-place Oakland A's are going to shock the world. He'd convince you that next year is the Sabres year and that the Bills might go unbeaten.

We fight every morning about our teams, and although it sounds a lot like shouting, I'm sure he'd tell you that our daily exchanges are fun.

Recently it was said that I don't say a lot positive to Matt about how he chips in around the house or how he's been going about his business.

Well, strike that...

Matt is a great kid who will continue to grow to be a very intelligent, responsible man. The world is there for the taking for him, and if I am critical it is only in light of the fact that I know the world will kick the shit out of you.

The blue skies turn suddenly dark and grey and you really need to be ready to ride out the storm.

My gift to you today, dipshit, is in knowing that I'm behind you every step of the way.

Usually on his birthday we play a one-on-one basketball game. I really believe that he feels he's going to win this year because the old man ain't what he used to be...

...but be forewarned...

The A's won't win the World Series. The Sabres aren't going to win the Cup...the Bills will miss the playoffs one more time and...

...I will whip your ass in our annual game

And

One more thing...

...no matter what you want to do with your life...

...I'm right behind you with the whip.

Happy Birthday.

I'm proud of you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

To my best friend, Pat...hope the knee replacement surgery goes well and that you aren't as big a baby as me!

I've always loved this weekend coming up. Memorial Day has always been symbolic of things starting anew and really sort of signals the start of decent weather in these parts. I'm hoping that the same holds true.

I've always associated Memorial Day with cleaning up the yard, planting the garden and hitting the ground running as summer arrives. So, I'm getting that feeling again.

And its impossible to think of the weekend and not recall wonderful Memorial Day celebrations on the big house on the hill. We grew up knowing that planting the garden was going to be an all-day event and sometimes a two day event. Everyone chipped in and worked hard, and following the dirt, the plants, the bitterness and the bitching there were ribs and chicken and beer and laughs, and laughs, and laughs.

I thought of all of this yesterday as I pulled weeds, cleaned up dead leaves, and mowed the lawn again because I didn't want to chance that it might rain for six more days before the mower could be moved.

It would appear that I did a lot of work by myself, but with the I-pod in my ear, my mind was really occupied with thoughts of my Dad and how he pushed me to always do a good job, whether it was pulling weeds or writing books.

"You can even up a lot of things in life by working hard," he told me on more than one bitter morning.

I'm making him sound like a bit of a philosopher...his true speech was much more colorful.

"Hey, you goofy bastard! You aren't gonna be worth shit unless you work harder than your working now," was more like it.

Dad had an insight. He pushed hard, and I really thank him for it.

I remember having to plant the cukes one year. He'd bought so many seeds that sprinkling the seeds down the line as he'd wanted me to do would've taken me about a year. I was only ten or eleven years old at the time...so I buried a lot of the seeds under the manure pile.

As luck might have it...they grew, and grew, and grew.

We had more cukes that year then ever before, and for years after we buried a lot of seeds under the manure pile.

Yet Dad always brought it up to me because he knew that I tried to cut a corner.

"Remember the time you buried the cukes," he'd say.

He said that to me last year.

In my mind he said that to me again yesterday.

Cutting corners usually doesn't work as well as it did that one time.

I worked hard yesterday and will do even more to get the yard where I need it to be.

It's about so much more than just doing yard work.

It's Memorial Day.

As I work this weekend it will be in memory of all of the soldiers, sure, but it will also get done in memory of all that we've lost as a family.

Just trying to make sure it isn't lost forever.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Saying Whatever The Hell I Want

The doc gave me a cortisone shot today and I shot a little blood across the floor when the needle hit. He was panic-stricken.

"Thank God my AIDS is in remission," I said.

His eyes almost popped out of his head.

Three weeks prior to that the therapist was examining the knee. She was kneeling on the floor as my legs dangled. She measured the knee and then traced her fingers on my thighs in an effort to see if the sensation was different in either leg.

"Ain't my legs I'm feeling the sensation," I said.

Her head sprung up like a jack-in-the-box.

I always do it to convenience store clerks.

"Can I help you?" they ask.

"What do you have in mind?" I ask back in my best bedroom voice.

Wouldn't it be nice if the best lines always popped into our heads at the perfect time? I love shocking people with quick lines and it usually lightens the mood.

I was having lunch with a good friend of mine who is about 300 pounds and stands about 6'5". As we ate our lunch there was a beautiful blonde girl across the way. As we ended lunch, we chatted in the parking lot as the girl got into a white mustang convertible and headed for the road. My buddy yelled something and she yelled something back.

"What did she say?" my buddy asked.

"She said, 'Holy Shit, there's Shrek!'" I answered.

Of course, I don't make a patch on my brothers asses, or my Dad's either for that matter. Whenever I consider the subject I think of my Dad and I sharing a huge steak in a California restaurant.

As way of explanation, Dad really enjoyed eating in silence, and away from people chatting, or God help them, laughing.

The tables in the restaurant were close. Dad was cutting his steak when the woman about three feet away started to laugh uproariously.

I knew it was coming, but I prayed it wouldn't be too painful. The woman laughed louder and louder and it seemed to go on forever as I waited for Dad to shout her down.

Very calmly, he placed his knife and fork on the table. He made a grand gesture of looking at the laughing woman.

"BAH!! Are you gonna' lay an egg or what?" he asked.

The woman stopped laughing immediately.

Spinning Into Infinity

Man, who's disappointed that the world didn't go up in a blaze of glory on Saturday? I know that the Grape Apes got out and golfed without me this weekend so I know they were happy that it didn't end.

And I had pasta yesterday and the Yanks beat the hapless Mets, so I did okay.

But, I'm getting ready for the work week, and as you slip on the clothes and think of the next ten or twelve hours there's a sneaky little thought in the back of your mind...it might have been to my advantage, right?

Last week as I drove I listened to an author...Vincent something or other...he was the lawyer who prosecuted Manson. Anyway, he wrote a book that disputes the existence of God, calling himself an agnostic who does not lean one way or another, instead saying that its too much of a mystery to even argue.

And yet he wrote a book about it arguing it his way.

Which brings me to the heart of the matter.

The idiot and his followers who proclaimed to have inside knowledge now look pretty damn stupid because it didn't go down like they thought. They flaunted their vast knowledge of the Bible and it bit them in the ass.

Every single person you meet today has their own theory on how and what and why we are here. If you're lucky, no one will spout it to you. If they do, best advice, walk away.

The author had no answer for how the universe came to be. Jay Thomas asked the guy the question I wanted asked.

"What put the world in motion?"

"An energy source," Vincent said.

Good old Jay shouted the next question: "What started the energy!"

"I don't know," the guy said.

Exactly.

"I don't know."

So, we aren't spinning off into infinity today because a bunch of kooks said we might be. Guess what? We're no closer to understanding than the nearly-erect men who were scratching their blogs on the cave walls.

But up and off to work we go.

Not sure if I'm relieved or not.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I Want A Baseball Team!


I spent yesterday in Pittsburgh. I've always seemed to have a problem with Pittsburgh but its only because I went to college in Erie and I had to hear from all the people in Pittsburgh and how they bragged about actually winning Super Bowls when they got there.

The Bills hadn't even made their first trip there when I was in college, so it was even worse. Back in those days, Pittsburgh also actually had a baseball team, but they've been kind of dismissed over the last twenty or so years.

Last night I didn't get to go to the game, however, because it was freaking sold out!

I go to Pittsburgh for the first time in 15 years and they sell out their first game in about that long.

And I walked all around the place, listening to the sounds of the game and the roar of the crowd. I also went on the riverwalk from the Rivers Casino past Heinz Field and on down to PNC Park. Three bridges, the river, boats on the river, a city all lit up.

And it pissed me off.

Buffalo should have nights downtown like that. Young adults were playing games in the parking lot. There was a concert somewhere close, couples walked by me holding hands, people were out jogging! And they have a pro baseball team!

Granted the Bisons could give the Pirates a game, but other teams actually come to that city playing pro ball.

Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell played there.

I did a lot of walking last night. I felt safe and secure in a clean, alive city. Of course I still defend my town when it comes to talking with the old college friends, but I thought of my buddy George and all the days when he'd shout me down with his championship talk.

I was only in the 'Burgh for a few hours, really, but it was long enough to realize something very important.

Keep the Steelers, keep the Pens, take the Sabres and the Bills...Good God, just give me the Pirates!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Feeling Very Apocalyptic

So, let's sum up:

Randy Macho Man Savage stepped into his last Slim Jim. That's too bad. I loved wrestling when I was a kid...can still remember watching Ernie Ladd and the group with my brothers and sisters, and my boys dragged me and Uncle Chuckie to a few where we sat sipping beer waiting for the ring girls, pretending to be thrilled. RIP. We all gotta' go.

Speaking of which, what time does the world end? If they are claiming to have the inside track on universal knowledge you'd think they'd be a little more specific. There might be a couple of things I want to do at the last minute.

Seriously, the group of nut jobs advertised the end on the back of yesterday's USA Today. I defy you to make sense of that garbage. They sent the Unabomber to the cuckoo's nest with less evidence than that.

Here's hoping that the sun stays out long enough to dry the yard so it can be mowed this weekend. Anyone know where we can buy a sickle?

I swear, my grandfather had one of those and I had to chop crap down with it. No wonder we're all hogs now. We have weed whackers, they actually had to swing their arms.

Bin Laden's still dead.

Cheetah Woods golfs like me now.

Speaking of which for the first time since I was 15, I am going to get nearly all the way through May without playing a single round of golf. Somethings gotta' give there.

Is Charlie Sheen still winning?

Saw his million dollar an episode job was lost in a purple haze. Some might consider that, duh....looosing.

Whitney is back in rehab.

So much for the comeback album of the year, huh? Another example of drug abuse tearing you down, are you listening kids? Seriously, pissing away that much talent. Perhaps marrying Bobby Brown, in hindsight, wasn't the best career move.

So that's it...

...perhaps the final blog?

See you all tomorrow. I can't wait for them to say, 'Uh, we may have miscalculated the date because the Bible was off in the Old Testament, and because we're all a bunch of mentally-deficient morons.'

Probably won't be a full-page ad in USA Today on Monday saying that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

48 Hours Left

So there's a group out there saying that the whole shebang is going to go up in flames on Saturday. Evidently there is some sort of proof available for this as the good people will be delivered to heaven while the rest of us are left here to be tortured and in turmoil for something like five months.

So many angles to cover.

First off, what if it's true? Also, pretend for a moment that you know it to be true. What would you do? Would I write one final blog?

I've been thinking about it all day. What would I do? Golf? (It'll probably rain). Just spend time with my family, telling them how much I love them and how much they mean to me?

That would last about six minutes and then the kids would be off to play Call of Duty one last time.

Cook a big meal? Drink until I fall down? Rape, loot and pillage?

I think it would kind of, sort of go the same way that you lived your life. If you are so inclined to rape and pillage then that's what you'll do. If you are prone to staring lovingly at your beautiful wife and loving children then that's probably what you'll do.

You think Judge Judy is on just prior?

And what happens if all the Bible thumpers are pulled into the heavens while the rest of us slobs who missed the cut because we ate a bologna sandwich on a Friday during lent are left to wallow in the Armageddon that is to follow.

I tell you what, I'm not chosen and I'm going to go freaking off. The hell with it.

And if I am chosen to rise into the clouds?

I'll miss the rest of you.

Personally, I just can't see it happening. The baseball season is only 40 games old. We've suffered through months and months of dismal weather.

Not now. We're just around the corner to the light of day. Bin Laden isn't here anymore.

Let us be.

Hopefully there are hundreds of more blogs to follow.

If not...good luck...goodbye and thanks for reading along.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Really?


So the above photo shows Arnold's mistress.

That's not the real story, is it? Far be it of me to question anyone else's physical appearance, but is this what you were imagining when the story broke?

My fascination with the story has little to do with Mildred's looks anyway. It's more about the day-to-day living as the maid was serving the married couple, knowing that she had given birth to Arnold's child.

Maria: Where is that damn maid?

Arnold: Leave her alone.

Maria: Why did you give her another ten thousand dollar a week raise?

Arnold: She's a good maid.

Mildred enters the room just as the doorbell rings.

Maria: Get the door, Mildred.

Mildred: I don't feel like it.

Arnold: I'll get it, don't fight, please.

Mildred: I need another raise.

Maria: Are you kidding me?

Arnold: Is ten grand a week more enough?

Maria: Who's at the door?

A kid enters looking a lot like Mildred and a lot like Arnold.

Arnold: The paperboy (shooting a glance at Mildred).

Mildred: I was thinking twenty grand more a month.

Maria: You're a maid making half a million a year.

Arnold: Ah, why don't we give it to her?

I'm just not sure, but this might be my favorite story of all time.

What a freaking moron.

Mildred was too good for him.

Bye Bye Oprah

So they had a celebration in Chicago last night to talk about Oprah saying goodbye after years and years of her being the smartest person on the planet.

Congrats on Stedman riding her off into the sunset.

I find it funny that Stedman glorified her for being a person who brought her own lunch to work everyday.

Way too many jokes wrote themselves there.

Did she bring it in a U-Haul?

She saved money on the staff of fifty that were hired to make it every day.

But I am just kidding of course. Oprah has eternally struggled with her weight and her weight loss and through it all she's done her job with dignity and class. I would catch her show every now and again and would find it interesting.

The only thing I really didn't like is how she passed herself off as an authority and others saw her that way. If she knew so much about weight loss, for instance, why is she still in need of two zip codes?

How come all of her book club choices became best sellers and she didn't choose one of mine?

The stars lined up to say goodbye. That must have been a helluva' an event. Tom Hanks, Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Jordan (the puke), Tom Cruise (the nutbag), and of course, Stedman...who I wouldn't know if he hit me with Oprah's lunch box.

But there is one thing I really need to say. Oprah was always fighting for what she believed in. She had a wonderful forum to say what she believed was right and she stuck to her guns for years and years. She fought the good fight.

She earned the right to just sit on the couch and eat bon-bons.

And one more final question:

When Tom Cruise was jumping up and down on her couch that time, do you think that was the worst moment ever in the history of television?

Watch that sometime. It's uncomfortable to even look at.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Room Service!

One of my favorite Seinfeld episodes contains a plot line in which George is let go from his job after sleeping with a janitor at his place of employment. In his exit interview he speaks the following line:

If I'd have known that type of behavior was frowned upon in this establishment...

This morning there were two such stories in the New York Post headline. The IMF guy, Strauss something or other is charged with coming out the shower naked and chasing the maid down the hall with his willie shaking before pouncing on her.

Also it is coming down that the Governator had a child with a member of his household staff and thus the reason for Maria hitting the bricks after twenty-some years of marriage.

Years ago it was a hotel girl that tore down poor Kobe Bryant who was looking for just a little bit of forced sex (allegedly) as he rehabbed his knee.

While the idea of getting a little something from someone who cleans your freaking room is something that might happen - in Penthouse Forum - it is also the very thing that is frowned upon in most establishments as well as being frowned upon by the unsuspecting spouses that are waiting at home on the other end of the business trip.

It's always kind of blown my mind that men get into trouble for such things. It's not like there aren't certain urges that pop into the old brain now and again, but to act on them is absolutely mind-boggling.

Not to mention that hooking-up doesn't sound like much fun when the other member of the party is screaming 'NO! NO! NO!' when you pop out of the shower with your thing hanging out.

I suppose that it comes down to people just being too weak to quell their own desires, even at the expense of the other person, but it is also more than that. The three people mentioned above are all in positions of power and the lady with the toilet brush and the spray bottle of Windex is certainly not.

Here's what's frowned upon...for the record...

TRYING TO FORCE YOUR PATHETIC URGES DOWN THEIR THROAT!

(So to speak).

Anyway...it sure would be a pleasure to some day open up the paper and see the following headlines:

The Sun is Out in Buffalo!

OR

Not a Single Person Did Anything Really Stupid Last Night!

Seems to be little chance of either of those things happening today.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who's Going to Win?


As you can probably see the above coffee mugs are in pretty bad shape. They are the coffee mugs that belong to my beautiful wife and myself.

My mug is the big blue one on the right. It used to be a Yankee mug, but there are no real marks left on it. I got the mug in 1991.

The smaller mug on the left belongs to my wife. It used to have a hard shell that had the date of 1995 on it. It was a work mug that she has drank thousands of cups of coffee out of over the last 15 + years.

What made me wonder about this?

You see, the other day, I emptied the dishwasher and saw that the shell on her mug had finally given way. I had noticed the crack in it back around 2003.

I had a surge of happiness as I believed that I had won the battle. No shell. Her mug was going to go to the garbage.

I would win!

And as you know, in any good marriage, its all about winning the shit that has no bearing on anything.

I have the last traffic ticket between us, and she rubs it in my face. I am actually rooting for her to get stopped before me so I can get the power back there.

As you will also notice, my mug is on its last leg. The hole in the bottom is dangerously close to rendering the mug useless.

So, when I saw her mug back in its spot in the cupboard, I cringed.

"You didn't throw it out?" I asked.

"Nope!" she said.

She didn't lead on that it is a real contest, but she knows...she knows!

I don't wish ill on anyone's coffee mug, but man it sure would be sweet if the inner shell on hers popped a pinhole leak.

A Mental Health Day

Far be it from me to pick on a Yankee, but it turns out that Jorge asked out of the lineup so that he had a day to 'get his head straight.'

Wow...can you imagine how many people would be calling in today if that were a legitimate excuse?

I'm not sure where the drive to be available came from, but I do remember my father saying that a huge part of life is handled just by showing up.

"Show up and be a Fuzzy," he told me.

That advice has worked out good for me throughout the years, and it has forced me to show up even when I really, really wanted to stay at home.

And I know I speak for my brothers and sisters when I say that such drive to be available has really sort of been a curse.

For many, many years I never even considered taking a vacation day. Even lately, I've forced myself to do some of the stuff that takes a lot of doing even though I wasn't really physically ready for it.

Yet there is a tremendous shift in the thinking of the rest of the country. Howard Stern is mad at one of his former staff members who quit a decent job for the chance to bike across the country. The kid is 28 years old but believes he deserves the time to find himself.

Find yourself?

I say find yourself on your own time. Get up and go to work, otherwise. Don't feel well? Suck it up. Don't think you're being treated fairly? Speak up...and if doesn't change, be a man and quit and find something else. Need a day to clear your head? Count it down to Saturday...in the meantime...show up and offer something other than a piss or a moan.

I'm not sure if what I'm speaking about is a reason for concern in the country. Perhaps we've lost a little of our edge, finding ourselves.

Bruce had something to say about it, of course:

Early in the morning factory whistle blows. Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes. Man takes his lunch, walks out into the morning light. It's the work, the work, just the working life.

Through the mansions of fear, through the mansions of pain, I seen my daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain. Factory takes his hearing, factory gives him life. The work, the work, just the working life.

End of the day factory whistle cries. Men walk through these gates with death in their eyes. And you just better believe boy someone's gonna get hurt tonight. It's the working, just the working, just the working life.


The lines that get me?

Through the masnions of fear, through the mansions of pain...daddy walking through them factory gates in the rain.

Man, I wish I could write like that...but daddy kept walking through the gates because despite the fact that the mansions he would be afforded would only be those of fear and pain, he needed to show up.

I see a bunch of hardworking Americans still punching the clock.

But every once in awhile...I hear about someone looking to find themselves.

Ridiculous.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hip! Hip! Jorge!

My beloved Yankees are reeling.

Now that's great news to some of you, but I have a feeling that my 27-time World Champions will be back and you'll hear from me soon enough. Yet on the week when some kid called me 'old dude', I must admit that the struggles of Jorge Posada and to some extent, Derek Jeter, have been tough to watch.

You see Jorge and Derek, along with Pettite and Rivera all landed on the team within weeks of each other in 1995. Should I go through the list of things they did together?

Why not? It's fun for me and agony for all the Yankee haters out there.

They won it all in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 (when they beat the crap out of the Mets). They made it to the series in 2001 and 2003. They battled an obviously cheating Red Sox team in '04 and '07. They won it all again in '09 - a year when they had to win it all.

In that time, I went from being a pathetic, young, lonely single man with a head of hair that was holding on, and something of a waist line to a pathetic, old dude, happily married man with 3 kids, a beautiful wife, hair that continued to leave and a waist line that got bumped up a little.

My kid got real sick. I lost a brother, a father, and a huge part of my innocence and excitement for a lot of things.

And through it all, there was always the core four. Winning, battling, allowing me a few moments of peace.

This year Andy quit. Late last year and early this year Jeter struggled. Posada's batting average is currently hovering around my weight from my senior year in high school. He's going to have to get real hot to get to where I am now.

Rivera? Ah, he's still the best. But he may not be human.

And my point being?

Time waits for no one. Picture Mickey Mantle in your head.

I bet you see him as the young, strong man who hits the ball to the moon and runs like a deer.

He isn't even with us now. He died of liver failure due to his lifelong abuse of booze. He didn't die young and strong and agile.

Last week Jeter his two home runs and went 4 for 5. The New York Post ran an article that proclaimed, 'He's back!'

Most likely, he's not.

And that's okay.

To everything there's a season.

If a genie were to pop out of a bottle and say...I can take you back to 1994 when you could run faster, had more hair and were eternally single with little chance of ever finding as much love as you've found...would I do it?

It may be tempting on some levels, but the life is found in the living, and despite the pain (the unbelieveable pain, actually) there is so much more there to grab ahold of.

Hip! Hip! Jorge!

Aging is inevitable. Sit back and enjoy it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

West Falls Public Library




I wasn't even sure that I could find the West Falls Library and to be certain, I wasn't at all sure how a book signing might go there. As it turned out, it was a day to remember because of Gloria, Reita, Joanie and some true, blue Jeff fans.

First off, I was shocked to see that people were waiting for me to arrive. As a matter of fact, that always surprises me and I hope it always does.

Secondly, I was born in a small town and it does my heart good to visit small town life now and again. Yet what really thrilled me to no end is that the West Falls Library is a completely volunteer library that is kept open only through the hard work of the dedicated staff.

As I signed books, I met a few people who love books, reading, and writing as well. One by one, I spoke with people from town, and the working staff. In between, there were plants being planted, and services being provided.

It saddens me that in towns all over this great land libraries are closing because funds have to go to other things...like more extravagance for billion dollar sports team owners and their million dollar employees.

It also saddens me that kids don't know what it feels like to have to visit the library to do research or just look for a good book.

Check out the one photo. Oh Brother! The Life and Times of Jeff Fazzolari was on the shelf. Right under the Keith Richards book that I loved so much.

During breaks in the action I looked around the library. It's so clean, so well-kept, so organized.

By a group of wonderful volunteers who love to read.

It's heartwarming, isn't it?

I hope you think so because when places where community exists close for good, we are all going to be in real trouble.

You can't get true human companionship on your I-phone.

"So Sorry, Old Dude"

My editor calls me a 'minimalist' writer as I rarely describe the characters I write about. I do this because I read Stephen King's awesome book on writing and he said that he likes to leave the character descriptions to the reader. I do too. It's easier as well, but I have to describe the kid I met yesterday.

Let me set the scene.

I headed into Wilson Farms and straight to the coffee island. The kid was in the center of the island dressed in bright red sweatpants and a Hawaiian tee-shirt. He had ear buds in and his I-pod was in the front pocket of the shirt. It was definitely cRAP music in his ear, and it was loud. He had a lot of facial hair but it looked like he'd attempted to shave it into some sort of work of art. Fine. To each his own.

I wouldn't have met him unless we did that little struggle for space in where he moves left, I move left, he moves right, I move right thing.

"Wanna dance?" I asked, as I always do.

"What's that?" he said, taking the thing from his ear.

"We were doing dance moves there," I said with a smile.

"Whatever," he answered.

I made it to the coffee. I added a little milk and turned to get a lid. The kid was now holding his phone in his hand, head down, texting someone. He didn't look up at all until he smacked right into me.

"So sorry, old dude," he said.

What do you do with something like that?

I thought of what my father and all of my brothers might have done in such a situation. I imagined the ear buds and the cell phone flying all over the island as the kid's face was smashed off the counter where the stale donuts are stored.

And 'Old Dude?'

When did I become 'old dude?' I suppose I can certainly be perceived as an old dude, but who the hell wants to hear it from a clueless kid, spinning in a circle, oblivious to anything that doesn't have something to do with him?

"Sorry," he said again. "Where are the lids?"

I didn't smash his face off the counter, but I didn't answer him, either. In a second I decided that the best course of action was to just get the hell away.

I was about thirty feet away from him in second place in the checkout line when the kid dropped his coffee on the floor and yelled 'Shit.'

"God, the new generation is really clueless," the middle-aged woman in front of me in the line said.

Indeed.

"Old Dude."

I should've introduced his mis-shaven face to the counter.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Springsteen and Dino

I had a dream last night that there is a lost CD out there of duets from Springsteen and Dean Martin.

I find that to be an extremely interesting coupling because they are certainly favorites in the Fazzolari family. My Dad would have certainly been quick to point out who had the better voice while we would have been talking about songwriting and marathon concerts.

But sadly, the Boss and Dean have never performed together.

Yet speaking of music I am really tired of the sounds coming out of my kid's I-pods. Just awful stuff sung by young men who can't even spell the one name they have...and my kids compare it to Bruce.

But there was severe panic around my i-pod a couple of days ago. I sat before my locked computer screen with music that wouldn't play.

I was finally able to get the following message:

RESTORE ORIGINAL FACTORY SETTINGS.

In small print underneath there was a note that said that doing so would result in a loss of all data.

Now I'm no genius but to me it appeared that I had a single option that would result in my losing 2000 of the best songs (including 600 songs from Bruce & Dean).

"It's broke," I said.

"You want me to look at it?" My beautiful wife asked.

"What can you possibly do that I'm not doing?" I replied.

My wife waited me out. I finally threw my hands in the air and got out of my seat.

Two quick moves later a Stones song filled the air.

My wife looked over.

"Thank God I fixed it," I said.

Kathy laughed. "Tell me I'm brilliant," she said.

But I wouldn't admit it.

But I'll admit it now. My brilliant wife saved my I-pod.

Now if she can just figure out how to erase my kids data and find that Springsteen-Martin CD...

...I'll be all set.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's About the Readers, Stupid!



I'm having fun at the recent string of book signings for Oh Brother!

It's come full circle for me as a writer because when I was young I thought I'd eventually rule the world.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

There were a whole bunch of questions. Some about how long it takes to write something. Some about how much of an honor it was to share air with Jeff. (It was an unbelievable honor).

Yet what was really interesting to me about the last two signings were the people!

One of the readers, pictured above, had gathered notes from the book to form questions for the meeting. Teri showed me 10 pages of notes and it really did blow my mind! As I spoke with her, I felt the pain in her life as she shared mine.

Back what seems to be a hundred years ago I got into the bookwriting business in an effort to just reach a few people with words I put together, one after another. Other writers had done it for me. I have always loved reading.

To be a link in the chain of people who've published books is a mindblowing concept when you meet readers who really loved the connection as much as you loved putting it together.

So, thank you Teri. Thank you Sandy and Diane and Karl, and my big sister Corinne. Thanks to all who show up.

It truly is a pleasure.

One that I appreciate more and more as I get older.

Oh Brother! is about love, faith, celebrating every single day, grief, togetherness and more love.

I felt every single one of those emotions today.

And I scored another plate of baked goods!

A Winning Attitude

Our downstairs shower, which I'm still aggravated about having to use on a routine basis, calls for a step into the tub and a quick duck of the head for entrance.

I didn't get all of the steps down yesterday morning at about 5:30 and clunked my melon. Not a major injury, mind you, but an irritating moment for sure.

It was one of the better things to happen all day long.

You see, once you begin your day by conking your coconut, the mood sort of sours. I had begun my day, not with a prayer of hope, but a muttering of curse words. Lousy bastard.

The next stop was the gas station...the home of the sixty dollar fill up. Sonuvabitch.

Listened to the sports...the Yanks were off on Monday but the Red Sux won. Bitch!

Thought about the leg...it's doing much better, thank you very much, and the limp is almost gone. Golf perhaps? Checked in with the Grape Apes. They're game. Set a tee time for Sunday.

"It's supposed to rain," one of the Apes informed.

*&$K!!!

And the day went on. An eternal battle in my mind as I tried all day to move forward while every single ring of the phone, text message, email and passing driver, sent a message that bashing my head off the shower door had sealed my fate for the day.

All of the best self-help books tell you the same thing...it's all about having the right attitude. See the world through eyes of happiness and you will be happy. The eyes are the light of your soul, right?

As I drove down the thruway there was a slight commotion in the truck ahead of me and a bunch of garbage came flying out of the bed of the uncovered dump truck. Thankfully, like Rain Man, I'm a good driver because I turned the wheel slightly and avoided hitting what looked like a steel tank that must have been on the space shuttle.

The driver, in the lane beside me, well back away from harm mind you, laid on his horn as he passed. Certainly I had made a slight unforseen maneuver but was in no way in danger of slowing his steady progress.

He gave me the finger.

Man, I wanted to beat that mother&*%$er up.

All at once he saw the debris flying clear of the truck in front of us, and suddenly his finger turned into a bit of an apologetic wave.

Certainly I could forgive him, right?

Nah, I still wanted to beat that mother&*%$er up. I had rapped my noggin' earlier in the day.

By the time 6 PM rolled around, I had a big steak in front of me. The wife and kids knew that the day had been rough.

I did my job reports during the Yankee game as I finally, some 15 hours after the shower, began to relax.

That sucked! I told Melky as I got ready for bed.

The good news being...I successfully finished my shower today...no problems!

I'm beginning the day with a smile!

The world is my oyster!

Book Signing today!

Yanks won! Red Sux lost!

I bought gas yesterday!

Everything is coming up roses.

Have a good day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Oh Brother! Information

The Gow School is once more honoring Jeff with an award in his memory!

Hi Cliff,

Hope this finds you well. I wanted to let you know that the class of 2011 has created the Class of 2011 Jeff Fazzolari Memorial Award. Here is the write-up that will be in the program: This award will be given by the Class of 2011 to honor that student, faculty or staff member who always exhibits a positive attitude and humor, no matter the circumstance. The award is given in memory of Jeff Fazzolari, Gow’s former Executive Chef and a cherished friend to The Gow School community.

The Honors Convocation is scheduled for Friday, May 20th from 1:30-2:30 to see this award being presented in the Gow Center.


Additionally, after speaking with Sterlinghouse about the book we are working hard to make sure that Jeff's story is carried further. Oh Brother! The Life and Times of Jeff Fazzolari is up for a few of the book awards across the country.

We intend on winning!

The goal of all of this, of course, is simple...to pass Jeff's message of celebrating the days you are given!

Awards, accolades, and the money earned is to the benefit of John, Farrah and Rocco.

As the Gow School Honor shows, it is about a life well lived!

Pass the word.

To order Oh Brother! simply send an email to cliffordfc@roadrunner.com.

Leave an address and the book will arrive with an invoice. It's that simple.

Join the celebration!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Camp Clifford Closed for Repairs

A couple of weeks ago the basement flooded. We were able to clear the water...Kathy did a lot of the work as I was fortunate to be out of town when it happened...and we were in decent shape.

Except for a closet.

On the way to somewhere else last week, I opened the closet and was hit with a pungent odor. There was only one kid home at the time, but I lofted a direct order in his direction.

"Find out what stinks in the closet. Take your time and clean it good. It might take you awhile, but get a pail and some soap and get it cleaned up."

The kid, who will remain nameless (Matt) gave me the answer I wanted, "Okay."

Ten minutes later I saw said kid (Matt) in his room playing a video game.

"I thought you were cleaning the closet."

"I got rid of the smell," he said. "It was an old pair of wet shoes."

I was on my way to somewhere else. If he solved the problem, fine. I wouldn't make an issue out of it.

Cut to Saturday morning. I open the closet to feed the dogs and I'm nearly driven to my knees by the same exact odor of a few days ago. I bend down and make one movement...I move the dog food bin...to see caked, wet dog food stuck to the bottom of the closet floor.

What would my Dad do?

I laughed thinking about that one. A strange thought entered my mind:

Make your point without yelling.

It took me three hours to clean and deodorize the closet. On my hands and knees I washed the floor - said kid (Matt) wasn't home at the time - but as I cleaned, I seethed, and the little voice to tell me to do it without yelling was yelling at me.

Five hours later, the nameless kid (Matt) came through the door. "I heard and I'm sorry," he said when he saw me. Another kid (Sam) had tipped him off.

My beautiful wife and I set a few new guide rules for Camp Clifford. Despite the fact that I wanted to strangle one (Matt), maybe two (Jake) kids...I established the rules with a simple firm voice.

The hour after dinner was a thing of beauty. The vacuum was humming. The back lawn was being mowed. Pop cans were returned to the store and I saw the floor of their rooms clear of clothes that had been washed but not yet put away.

"Heil Hitler," one kid said as he passed me. (Jake)

Oh, how I wish they'd known my Dad when work needed to be done.

Man, those kids (Jake and Matt) really would have learned a thing from my father.

Last night, as I got ready to close my eyes, a text flashed on the cell phone on the side of my bed.

"Do you need anything?" one kid (Sam) asked.

Ah, the joys of parenting.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

If God Made You...

...then He must love me.

It's easy to try and place blame when things don't go right. Why would God do this to me? Why doesn't God help me through?

There can't be a God!

Well, Mother's Day for me is a reason to argue that faulty thinking.

I think of my sisters...two women who've always had my back. Two wonderful mothers to be sure. Carrie, of course, is doing a helluva' job raising beautiful Paige and always entertaining Tony. She's doing it on her own, pretty much, and still she finds time to be a great friend, sister, and daughter.

If God made her, then He must love me.

Then there's Corinne and at first blush, she is not considered a mother in the traditional sense because Chuck is her only real child. (Sorry Chuckie). Yet, she may be the most motherly of all. She has taken great care of brothers, her little sister, her own mother, and a couple of dogs right now. I'm also convinced she breast-fed Lonesome when he was kicking around. Corinne makes me proud at every turn in how she helps me and how she runs the breast cancer race among a million other wonderful projects. I wish she didn't convince me to run in that race though. Still...

If God made her, then He must love me.

I think of my sister-in-law Dana. I marvel at the terrific job she's done through the years and how my beautful nieces have grown-up happy and healthy and secure. I am also quite amazed at the relationship she's nurtured and shared with John, for so many years. It couldn't have been easy! Remember, I shared a room with him for a lot of years. God Bless, you Dana!

If God made you, then He must love me.

My sister-in-law Lynn hasn't had a very easy time of it at all. Hopefully her days are spent with God's light shining directly on her face because she's going to need a lot of strength, and not just because she's on her own, but because Rocco is already setting a torrid pace, and because Johnny and Farrah and the Rock are going to need days filled with love and strength. So far, real great!

If God made her, then He must love me.

And my Dear Mom. I was looking at her during Easter dinner. She was clowning around with one of my boys and her laughter was not forced even a little. Her face was red with happiness, and it struck me that she is clearly the strongest person that I've ever had the pleasure to meet. I've never met a harder worker, a more loving soul or a more dedicated human being. I'm supposed to feel that way because she's my mommy, but, man....

If God made her, then He must love me.

Then my wife. Mother's Day thrills me for her because my beautiful wife couldn't possibly love her own children any more. It's funny but when the boys were born I saw the glow of happiness in her eyes, and that glow is actually a blinding light now. She defends those little hoodlums to the point of total dedication. A wonderful mother. A great wife, and its painfully clear that...

If God made her, then He must love me.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A New Comic on the Scene


So, my wife and I went to a Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo fundraiser tonight at a comedy club on Sheridan Drive. The place was packed and it was wonderful to see a lot of the people who've become friends over the years in the Family-Centered Care Program.

I was very relaxed. So relaxed, in fact, that I told a truly great nurse, Barb, that I should do a set before the regular comics came on. We laughed and Barb mentioned that I'd probably do very well.

A half an hour later, I was sitting with Kathy at a table near the stage when Rob Leederman, who owns the club and is the funnyman on 97 Rock.

"I hear you want to do a set," he said. "Think you can?"

Why the hell not?

"I'll give you five minutes," he said. "I guarantee you that it'll be the longest five minutes of your life."

It was uncomfortable for me to tell him that I wasn't concerned in the least. I'd always wanted to do it. This was my chance. I wouldn't fail.

I headed outside and tried to figure out a few stories. I was on in 10 minutes after the host warmed up the crowd. Well over a hundred people. On stage, lights, a microphone, was I crazy?

I had a plan though. Who did I know who was funny and would carry me through?

I told Jeff stories from Oh Brother!

Let me tell you, the material carries well from the written word to the stage.

The laughs were like music to my ears.

I went on for 15 minutes. I got laughs courtesy of Jeff, at the expense of Kathy, and remembering a couple of Dad's classic jokes.

I could have done a lot more. The harder they laughed the more energy I got.

Absolutely crazy.

The next comic took the stage as I headed to my seat listening to the applause.

"There goes Cliff, just trying out material for his upcoming HBO special. Are you kidding me?"

So, I got that done. I don't have to wonder if I can handle stand-up comedy.

The only problem being that I want to do it again.

Like tomorrow night.

It was an absolute blast.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tortured

I've always been bigger in stature than my older brother John. When we were kids I was a lot taller and weighed a little more. Now I'm a little taller and weigh a lot more, but that's another story.

As kids it was always kind of funny for those looking on to see the four-foot guy beating up the five-foot guy. The fights were a total mismatch and although I outweighed John by plenty and had a lot more reach, I was toast when we were battling, mostly for fun.

His fun.

I distinctly recall the various forms of torture that John would initiate. Sometimes he would sit on my arms, straddling my chest, my back flat on the floor, and he would begin to drool, until the spit hung above my face and I rolled around trying to break free. Then he would suck it back in, laughing as he did so.

It's a common fighting technique employed by a bully all across the land.

I survived, and he could have gathered all sorts of information had he wanted to.

I bring this all up because of the great torture debate. Did the U.S. find out where the rat was hiding because they tortured other rats? Should waterboarding be legal? How about sleep deprivation? Forced nudity? Slapping?

There is plenty there to think about. For one, the information gathered under such scrutiny may not be all that reliable.

Keep me awake long enough and I might say that the Red Sux are a perfectly good organization.

That would, in fact, be a lie.

Secondly, there are those out there who say that we should rise above the techniques of our enemies. Why stoop to their level? Do prisoners have rights?

Of course it is not really all that debatable in terms of what happened in light of the recent rat capture. Poll citizens now...would they vote for torture in regard to capturing that bastard?

Of course.

Yet on a much higher level, where do you draw the line? When is it wrong?

The United Nations has rules of conduct. I doubt that the rules are followed like golf rules out on the battlefield. There may be slapping going on. But remember a few years back when soldiers were caught in compromising photos in their treatment of Iraq hostages?

Would you like American hostages to be subjected to unspeakable acts?

I'm sure they are.

Just something to think about, as you go about your daily activities. I know of what I speak. While I was never actually tortured there was most certainly a four-foot terrorist with a hanging spit waiting around every corner of the big house on Shirley Road.

The big, lanky oaf was always ready to talk...and scream: "Mom!!!!!!"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Oh Brotherly Love!



There's no way of knowing how a book signing appearance is going to go. Through the years I've learned to accept that the people who gather to meet you may see things through a different set of eyes and its best to go in with little in the way of expectations. The worst is when they don't show up at all!

Oh Brother! I should have known that making appearances for the book about Jeff's life would be a complete and utter love fest.

Today I met with a group of women at the Carnation Apartments through the Southtowns YMCA. My wife always refers to the women as my groupies. I tell you one thing, they always feed me!

Many of the women had read the book a couple of times, and all had a list of highlighted items and questions. To a person, they exclaimed that they absolutely adored Jeff and the way that he lived his life.

Me too.

The questions of Jeff's life centered around love, faith, family, friends and laughter.

In other words they heard the message loud and clear.

And a funny thing happened. With tears in their eyes they each lined up to shake my hand and tell me that they learned a lot about themselves by considering Jeff's life.

"It's not about money or grudges or any of the petty crap we worry about," one woman said. "It's all about celebrating the days we have and making the most of every minute. It's about love, pure and simple, right?"

Absolutely right.

"You should be famous," another woman said.

"I am in my house," I answered. "And Jeff should be famous, not me."

I headed out to my car. It was a lunch signing and a Oprah style question and answer period. I enjoyed every second of it.

We were talking about family, and pasta and practical jokes.

As I left the building, I looked to the sky, and I thought of my brothers and sisters and my brothers and sisters-in-law. I thought about all the love we have shared through the years.

It was dark, cloudy, and threatening rain...again.

Inside the sun was shining bright.

Corinne, Chucky, John, Dana, Jim, Jeff, Lynn, Carrie, and Pops, Lorie, Mike, Carilee, Jim, and John.

One after one the names filtered through my mind.

"Thanks for letting us all meet them," another of my groupies said.

It's been my pleasure.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Closure

The death of Bin Laden is a universally accepted good thing, right?

Its still a little distressing to me on a few levels though. First, the dancing in the streets doesn't do much for me. Celebrating death and violence, even of a truly vile man, doesn't feel right. It had to be done. It was done for the peace of mind for those who lost loved ones. But it's not a football game.

Whatever....

But I did listen to Rush Limbaugh yesterday. He bashed Obama all day because they knew where the compound was in October, but he didn't get it done until May.

He also criticized Obama for taking credit for the death of Bin Laden. Who was Obama supposed to credit? Dubya? He also said we would have never heard of Bin Laden if it weren't for Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Ridiculous. Someone has to get that guy off the air. He's a big, fat idiot.

Yet what bugs me more than anything else are the reporters asking those who lost loved ones if the death of Bin Laden brings closure.

That is such an insulting, vile term that it should be Limbaugh's middle name. Closure? Like the death of a loved one can be put away, in the back of the closet.

There's no closure. It's all psychological babble.

Rush is now, as I say this, saying that the democrats owe the republicans an apology because when they were going after bin laden the democrats were trying to stop them, but that when the democrats were going after him, the republicans helped.

Have you ever heard more horseshit than that?

Closure?

We can't have closure.

Dancing in the streets?

Arguing your point, no matter how much of a stretch it is?

Saying that bin laden isn't really dead because the body was tossed into the sea?

There are more questions than answers now.

There are more arguments than accolades.

Do yourself a favor.

When you hear the big, fat idiot's voice...turn the station.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Wicked Witch Is Dead

So, who woulda' thunk that Barrack Hussein Obama leading a raid that killed Osama Bin Laden would cause such excitement in our world.

It's been a long time coming, right?

Strangely when I saw the headline scroll across I didn't feel overly jubilant. War has never really excited me, but I'm certainly not liberal enough to say that Bin Laden deserved a day in court.

Not my call, but a bullet through the head seems appropriate. Even more suffering wouldn't be out of hand. Good riddance. Tell Hitler we said hello.

No, instead a couple of other things came to mind.

First off, I thought back to 09/11/01. It's impossible not to do. It wasn't so much the images that stuck yesterday, but that old, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that swelled again. Horrific. Horrible. On the verge of throwing up as the stories came out.

It was a day that changed everything. A day that will never be forgotten and it has nothing to do with the 'Don't Ever Forget' stickers. As a human being, as a United States citizen during that day, you just can't forget.

Yet frustration surely followed. Why couldn't we find this guy? Where was our intelligence? Why did we always kill the number two guy while the number one guy made tapes mocking us?

It seemed to be a perfect strike yesterday. The genius of the plan being that it happened on a Sunday. Bin Laden probably just finished up his pasta and was probably awaiting the season finale of The Simpsons. He most certainly wasn't expecting Navy Seals at the door.

Yet the 2nd thing that struck me was the fact that I had to listen to Rush some time today because there has to be an explanation, right? Somehow, someway, this has to be a grave mistake by Obama or a fact of simply lucking into the capture and killing.

Surely after Rush digs into this it will all be about channeling our inner-Reagan, or taking a suggestion from Palin, or the idea really came from Bush who came up with the hiding spot while clearing brush at his Texas ranch.

Obama has had a good week, huh?

First he proves his American citizenship by finally showing his birth certificate and then he cements it by killing Bin Laden.

In any regard it certainly isn't Democrat versus Republican here.

It's American Justice.

It's for the three thousand or so victims...which when you break it down is about hundreds of millions of other casualties.

The wars aren't over.

No reason to believe we are celebrating that, but when the wicked witch bought the farm there was surely celebration in the Land of Oz, right?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Am I As Hot As I Used to Be?

Maybe its the Royal borefest that got us talking about it.

And what the hell happened to Prince William? He's as bald as me. Wasn't he the guy women everywhere drooled over? He looks like his old man already.

Maybe it was an episode of Rules of Engagement that did the trick. An old photo surfaces in the marriage of the veteran couple and Puddy wants to know if he's still as hot as he used to be.

So, I asked my wife.

"Do I still look as good as when you first married me?"

"No," she said. "Not even close."

Now I was never Prince William in his prime anyway, but she could have hesitated a little.

"What about me?" my beautiful wife asked. "As I am as beautiful now as on the day we married?"

She laughed. Of course, it's an inside joke as she was extremely pregnant when we exchanged vows. So much so in fact that we discarded most of the wedding photos...her call.

"It's a toss-up," I said.

So, there you have it. Just an old married couple trying to make each other feel better.

The show was drawing to its conclusion when my beautiful wife said, "Of course you're hotter now than you were back then."

And it's funny I suppose, but she's a lot hotter now than when she appeared at our wedding, and not just because she lost the baby weight.

Life just changes the definition of hotter, I suppose.

(Wow, that line will probably not win me a popularity contest).

Yet youth, of course, is wasted on the young. Physical beauty, of course fades. Right after Rules we watched an episode of Cougar Town and I commented that Courtney Cox was looking a little rough.

"That hurts coming from you," my wife replied.

So, that's how the discussion faded to an end. There weren't any hurt feelings. Time comes for us all, and like a glacier it wipes away all that was there and leaves us as old, paunchy, grey versions of ourselves.

That's life.

We just need to harness the hotness and play it off in other areas, right?

Ah, who am I kidding...it sucks!

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