Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dog Food Day

My hysterical children have worked up a bit of a comedy act. Yesterday at a wonderful party thrown by Pops (stuffed peppers were okay...that's why I only ate nine), my boys waited until there were a group of people around who had no idea who we are.

"My mother told me that I was an accident and she really, really wanted an abortion," Jake said.

I watched the jaw of a woman hit the floor.

"You know what day I hate most of all?" Sam asked. "Dog food Wednesday. If I eat another can of Alpo I'm gonna puke."

Yesterday was the first time I listened in on their polished routine. I guess my wife had heard it before. The women leaning close to our table had never heard it.

"I hate when he lines us up in the driveway and throws basketballs at us," Jake said. "I'd eat six cans of dog food if I didn't have to take a ball off the face again."

"Yep, yep." Sam said. "That is bad, but not as bad as when they tied us to the car and told us to keep up."

Finally I laughed, and the woman eavesdropping was able to relax.

And yesterday before the party I was having a conversation with a guy I've known since I was 3 years old. We agree: it's such a weird transition into this stage of parenthood.

Our kids are now stealing the show. They are the life of the party. We are watching to make sure they behave, instead of us being the one's who are watched.

I can't get used to it.

The expertly made food was served.

"Get something to eat, boys," I said.

"It's not my day to eat," Jake responded. "Last time I ate on a starvation day you beat me half to death."

The woman raised an eyebrow again.

"Really?" I asked. "You're buying this shit?"

Dog food day.

If only.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Her Name was Ann, But I'll Be Damned If I Can Recall Her Face

That's a Gordon Lightfoot lyric from Carefree Highway...great song.

I thought of it the other night because I passed Matt in the hallway after I finished working. Kathy had taken Jake and Sam to baseball and since I was late, I missed the game. Matt hadn't been around for dinner, so I was surprised to see him there.

"What're you doing?" I asked.

He whispered his answer. "I'm going to watch a movie."

"Why the hell are you whispering?" I asked.

Then it hit me. He missed dinner because he'd taken a girl out. Evidently, she was now in my house, preparing to watch a movie.

The girl was as nervous as Matt as I walked by where she was seated.

"Hi," I said.

She smiled back.

About ten different girls entered my mind. Girls that I knew in college, or high school, or hell even grammar school. Girls who were now middle-aged women with kids of their own. Some who'd been through failed marriages, loser boyfriends, the entire shebang.

Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

The clutter has been driving me crazy lately. I'm talking certifiable. I haven't written anything new. I haven't golfed well.

I decided to clean up my golf bag. Halfway through the task, I decided to scrap the bag and go to Dick's Sporting Goods.

The long-standing joke around our house was when my beautiful wife once said, "I'm going to Dick's for balls."

My boys started laughing. I just joined in. I swear.

Anyway, her name was 'Ann and I'll be damned if I can recall her face'.

I thought of the past girls in my life. You couldn't call any of them girlfriends because I was too strange to pull that off. But they all meant something to me.

I grabbed a new golf bag and yes, some new balls (golf balls). I was out of the house for awhile and when I headed back down the street I saw Matt's car coming the other way. I forced him to the shoulder, where he had no way of getting by me.

He rolled his window down. I could tell that he was afraid that I'd embarrass him with the girl in the car.

"Where you going?" I asked.

"I'm taking her home," he said.

He waited and waited for the wise-ass remark.

"Have a good time," I said, and I let him pass.

I spent the next hour cleaning up my old golf balls. A little less clutter.

I told my buddy Jeff about the new bag.

"I even washed my balls," I said, feeding him the line.

"I thought I smelled swamp ass," he answered.

Human wheels spin round and round.

Help the light find my face.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I Walk the Line

I really need to stop reading the paper.

My heart was aching this morning after reading about a 35-year-old man who was killed in a car crash. The last line of the recap talked about the police officer who had to notify the young wife...now a widowed mother of two.

And since I had to travel to Rochester, for the 2nd day in a row (A 180-mile round trip) I had a lot of time to think about things.

And I was tired. Long week. They seem longer than 5 days these years.

Got things done and decided to put on the I-pod to pick up my mood. It was raining hard when I thought about that poor wife and her kids. But I drove towards home.

When I stopped to get a coffee. I called home. Sam and Kathy were both on the line and I betrayed what I was feeling by trying to be upbeat about the coming weekend. Steak for dinner. Yankees at 7. Golf on Sunday morning. Party with Pops tomorrow.

Planning life.

I got back on the Thruway and the rain slowed. The music kept coming though. Stones doing Where the Boys Are, Dire Straits with Love Over Gold, Mellencamp with Human Wheels and Tom Petty doing Learning to Fly.

All songs I love to sing.(My Lady Gaga phase has passed...two songs into it).

The old familiar sound of Johnny Cash followed Petty. I met Johnny Cash's kid at a book signing in New York. I told him that his father was the coolest guy on the planet. JC Jr. agreed. I got a free tee-shirt.

I was thinking of this, and singing along to the following verse:

As sure as night is dark and day is light I keep you on my mind both day and night and the happiness I've known proves it right.

And a 10-wheeler edged over really quickly. I was doing 70 mph on cruise control. He evidently didn't see me.

The back tire of his truck was inches away from the front of my truck. I hit the shoulder, and laid on the horn. I'm not sure I stopped singing though. It was that fast.

I was looking for the spot in the field where my truck would turn over and over when he cut the wheel back and got into his own lane.

I steadied my heart and got back to the song.

You've got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can't hide
For you, I know I'd even try to turn the tide
Because you're mine
I walk the line.


It took me a few minutes to make my way past the driver of the 10-wheeler. As I passed he honked his horn. He looked like Colonel Sanders. He mouthed the word, 'Sorry.'

I waved and moved on down the line.

That close.

Life's too fragile.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Fat Toad

Hideki Irabu was a pitcher for the New York Yankees. They signed him to a big contract in the 1990's and he was supposed to be a great star as he had been in Japan.

It didn't work out that way.

Irabu was pretty awful as a Yankee. I wanted to like him, I really did. But he stunk. My brother used to yell at me about him as if I signed him to the deal.

The Yankees ended up dumping him and he signed with Texas. They cut him after he showed up to pitch - drunk as a skunk.

Irabu was found dead today. 42 years old. He died at his own hand.

These sort of stories really drive me crazy. He was blessed with talent enough to throw a ball and sign a 12 million dollar deal for doing so. He left Japan and came over to the United States, and it all fell apart from there.

When Irabu was with the Yanks he spoke only through an interpreter. The rest of the team talked about how hard it was to communicate with him.

Yet he stayed. He was living in Los Angeles at the time of his death. He was still drinking pretty good by his recent arrest record.

How do people fall so hard?

Isn't it weird that we think that all the money in the world will chase away the problems of the day. Having a lot of money evidently doesn't take away loneliness, or drive away addiction.

When Irabu was on the Yanks he didn't break off the mound to cover first base. He had been pitching pretty lousy that year anyway. Steinbrenner commented on him after the game, calling him a 'fat toad'.

Every single time Irabu pitched after that someone called him the fat toad.

I wonder if it had anything to do with him killing himself.

Sad story.

Desperation and isolation are just around the corner. No matter how loud the cheers used to be.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fact or Fiction

MESA, Ariz. — Police in suburban Phoenix say they have arrested a man suspected of killing his girlfriend and living with her body for more than two months.

Thirty-five-year-old Erik Grumpelt was charged Tuesday with one count of second-degree murder.

After receiving a tip from Grumpelt's father, Mesa officers went to the suspect's apartment Monday and discovered the body of 39-year-old Melinda Raya on a bedroom floor under several sheets. Investigators say the body was in an advanced state of decomposition and surrounded by air fresheners.

Authorities say on May 19, Grumpelt struck Raya several times in the abdomen after learning she had cheated on him. When she became unresponsive, police say Grumpelt panicked and tried to hide her body.


My favorite part of the story, of course, is that they discovered her body with air freshners all around her.

Are you freaking kidding me?

And how do you live like that for two months?

Wouldn't you consider moving?

Wouldn't you consider finding a place to put the body?

How does a routine day go around there? Do you still set a place for her at the dinner table? Do you sleep in the same bed? Or the same room?

Again!

Are you freaking kidding me?

They lived in Mesa, Arizona. Isn't it hot there? How in the hell?

Ahh, forget about it.

I can't even do this story justice.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Everything Seems Cluttered

If I had to put a finger on my main source of mental illness it would have to be that when I feel cluttered, I'm cooked.

How many emails are in your inbox as saved, sent, or archived?

I was talking to a guy today who said that he had 1,400 saved emails.

I would honestly slit my throat.

I have zero saved, zero in the sent box, zero in the box waiting to be opened. If I get one, I address it and delete it. If there are emails in the box when I wake up in the morning I address them and delete them as well...even before I hit the head.

If the kids leave their shoes in one of the rooms where I decided that shoes shouldn't be stored, I put them in the room where they should go.

But I hide one of them.

I can't stand when we take a car trip because they leave things behind in the cup holders.

I will very often be driving down the road when it hits me that the storage area where I keep job information, in the back of the truck, is disorganized.

I have pulled over at a rest stop to clean it up on more than one occasion.

I don't know what it is. I have a black notebook to organize my writing thoughts. A black notebook to organize my work visits, and recently I have been compiling a to-do list to go along with the to-do list that I have in the black notebook.

When I feel disorganized, I'm shot. The mood is shot. Productivity suffers, and I get a little cranky.

The graduation party threw me into a real tizzy this week.

We have borrowed roasters sitting on the cupboard downstairs. We had tables and chairs in the garage. My good buddy Jeff picked them up in a hurry though because, after all, he knows me.

He knew it was driving me batty.

So, all others out there with such an affliction please come forward.

I arrange my life so much that its almost like I'm trying to get enough done so that I don't even have to be present for it to work.

Did anyone really doubt that I'm not crazy?

Monday, July 25, 2011

She Didn't Wanna' Go to Rehab

Twenty-seven years old and Amy Winehouse is dead. Now, every person that ever met her is appearing on radio and television to talk about how talented she was and how they wish she would have beat down her addictive and self-destructive behavior.

Isn't that always the way? Everyone saw it coming, but there was no way to stop it.

I'm not being critical here because there really isn't any way that you can slow down that train. She was a wreck.

It came.

Destructive, addictive behavior is something that we all face, right?

I must admit that I've toiled in all sorts of self-destruction. I have a hammer in one hand to build things with and a torch in the other to burn down the things I've built.

We all do.

Whether it's drugs and booze or gambling, or sex-addictions...whatever, it's all over the news.

There isn't a person in the world who doesn't feel as if they are on top of it either.

I marvelled at the drug parts of the Keith Richards book. He hated heroin, but he couldn't stop taking it. He stopped taking it, cleaned up, swore it off forever, and then went back to it in a matter of hours. He's been off of it for over 20 years and he still misses it every day. Richards was a guy making millions and being cheered on by thousands and thousands, and nothing was close to how he felt, killing himself.

Amy Winehouse, that dude from Nirvana, Jim Morrison, John Entwistle of the WHO, that over-rated drummer from Zeppelin (that's for you, Matt), one after another. Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Heth Ledger...on and on and on.

None of them could stop the train from derailing.

And if you think they are the minority, imagine what the hell is going on in real life. Millions upon millions suffer every day.

"I can stop if I want to."

What a shame, huh? Not that I was a fan or her music, but 27 and unable to cope with fame and money and just plain living?

The moment the rehab song hit the charts someone should have grabbed her by the hair and made her stay there until it was all taken care of. I guess she had tried, but man!

Twenty-seven.

That's too young to quit on anything, isn't it?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Graduation Party

I'd never actually cooked for a hundred people before. Yet I wanted to do it that way because my Mom and Dad really went all out for our graduation parties and why the hell not, right?

As it turns out, I can do it. We had plenty to eat, drink and a lot of fun in the sweltering heat.

I swear to God during the next rainstorm I'm going to run outside and yell thank you to the sky. It's been that long.

Remind me of this in February, would you?

Yet the day had a Fuzzy party feel to it. Peppers were featured on the menu and the pasta was gone as usual.

As I cooked, I listened to my I-pod. Certain Springsteen songs always bring a tad of sadness as I spend hours alone, but yesterday it was Sinatra that did the trick.

My Dad was 44 when I graduated from high school.

A blink of an eye later and I'm down there cutting up the garlic and onions.

I remember being amazed at the way my parents put a party together.

I'm pretty sure Matt was amazed last night.

Of course, a graduation party is also about chasing down kids that come in and making sure that they act responsibly.

Thank God my beautiful wife was on top of her game. She made sure that every kid was safe. Thank god for mothers, huh? If Dad's were in charge there'd be complete chaos.

One of the kids sat next to me to chit-chat.

Dad and Grandpa made their presence well know when I told the kid to beat it.

But they were decent, respectful kids. Too bad the old dogs whipped their asses in hoops.

Yep, I threw a few in.

Anyone want to help clean up this mess?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life At Its Best


On Saturday most of the small Town of North Collins will gather to play kickball.

Yep, in 90-plus degree heat grown men and women will play kickball in honor of a friend to all: Cathy George who passed away after battling cancer. This is the 7th annual kickball tourney and all of the proceeds go to charity.

Life at its best.

Of course, being born and raised in North Collins I knew Cathy fairly well. I was a wee bit older, but that didn't stop me from knowing her entire family. That's the way small town living is.

Besides, who doesn't know Foxy and Foxy Jr., right?

Yet tonight I was slipping off to sleep and I saw the announcement for the tourney on the Facebook page of Cathy's friend Diane Mathis, and it struck me that life is really something sometimes. There is so much to get down about, but this is a great story.

Imagine tomorrow.

Beer, fun, burgers, Chinese Auction, love, laughter and friendship. I'm sure that events like this go on every once in awhile in all of the small towns all across this great land, but they don't get a lot of play in the media.

In a few weeks, this same group of friends is going to meet with my family to benefit my brother's children.

It's what people with great hearts do.

One of my personal goals for 2012 is to play in Cathy's tournament next year. There were a number of factors that went into not being able to field a team of Fuzzy's this year...none of them great excuses, but if you've seen us all walk into a party this year, you know that we've been wounded.

But that doesn't stop a few glorious things from happening this year:

Like remembering Cathy's wonderful life.

Like feeling the beauty of life when put into the context of small-town living...

...and love.

How I wish the television stations sent cameramen to such an event. Why shouldn't it be front page news tomorrow?

Announce the winners as you'd announce the winners of American Idol or the last Sabres game. (The Flyers, by the way).

'Cause when it all comes down to it, isn't this what we all should be talking about?

Isn't it life at its best?

Friday, July 22, 2011

How Stupid Does They Think We Is?

The NFL players all across the land are sending out tweets today because the owners are holding their feet to the fire.

The players are really upset that they are being treated like slave labor as the average pay is only a mil or so for the 25 weeks they have to work so they don't get busted for drunk-driving, drugs or raping the "civilians."

And the owners must thinks we is real dumb. They is having trouble making money. They's can't compete.

There's nine billion dollars out there!

Ah, who the hell cares? Play, don't play...just shut the hell up.

Then I listened in on a couple of them there proposals about dat debt thingy-ma-bob.

This is a fun one.

They are going to take away the mortgage write-off on our taxes.

Yep.

Create some jobs.

What about the people that have jobs and have homes?

Are we intent on strangling every last nickel out of the working bastards so that we have more homeless people and more people who want to put a gun down their own throat?

No raises...its the economy...sorry.

New taxes on the middle class...we all have to band together...but tax breaks continue for the wealthy

The poor can't pay...can't get blood from a stone.

The rich won't pay...we stole it, it's ours.

I is stupid.

I's must be.

Take away the mortgage credit. Tuition is going to be half a mil a year to send three kids to school who are going to do well, be all they can be, and wind up back on the couch because there ain't no jobs.

But hey!

Maybe football will come back.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

25,000 Days


I took a photo of the sky as I entered the Thruway at Milestrip Road. It was a little after seven a.m. when I pointed the camera at the sky and I did it without really thinking. Just sort of looked like something was reaching down to me.

"Just another day," I thought as I clicked through the list of places I was expected and true to my nature, one stray thought made me think about a bunch more.

Just another day is kind of a waste. Especially when you only get about 25,000 of them...and that's if you're real lucky.

And break it all down.

One-third of those days is spent asleep...not counting after-pasta naps - so we're down to 16,500 or so. The first twenty years are spent in a cloud of confusion...so down to about 10,000. We spend hour after hour waiting on line, sitting on the toilet, waiting at a red light, watching countless hours of garbage television.

Conservatively, we are down to about 6,000 days left.

How can we afford to just throw one away as 'just another day?'

Think about the days you really, really remember.

How many are there?

What were you doing?

Doubtful that the one's you truly remember are the one's where you drank too much, ate too much, or did something that only benefited your own simple life.

I bet the days you recall are the one's you spent with someone else. Someone that you really loved, or thought you loved.

That sky is really cool, right?

Like someone is reaching down to hold you close.

Like someone or some power is asking you to appreciate the day granted to you.

Hopefully it's one of those that you remember.

Days from now.

Years from now.

When the days are getting short.

The fuse is burning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hotter Than Hell

Whew! Pretty crazy from the heat, huh?

They are talking about 100 degrees here in Buffalo-freaking-New York.

That's what I'm talking about!

I will NEVER complain about it being too hot. I know what it feels like when my bones are cold and I have snow up to my ass. Bring on the heat!

But I am beginning to understand that no matter what happens people are going to bitch.

"It's too hot!"

"It's too cold!"

"We need rain!"

"I wish it would stop raining or snowing or whatever!"

Bitch, bitch, bitch.

I guess that's the nature of things.

Will it ever be just right?

There's a television commercial out now where a man asks for toilet paper. His wife tosses a roll at him and it's too abrasive and shaves off his hair. "Too rough," the narrator says.

A second later, he's in the same spot and asks for another roll. She throws it. He catches it, and it turns to dust in his hands. "Too soft," the narrator says.

Then...

The guy stands in position and yells "We're out of toilet paper."

The wife tosses him another roll and the narrator says, "It's just right!!!!"

Yea baby!!!

What I wish would have happened in two scenarios:

1). "We're out of toilet paper!" would have been followed by a bellowing growl and an agitated primal scream..."Get it yourself, asswipe!" (No pun intended).

OR

2). "We're out of toilet paper!" would have been followed by a bellowing growl and an agitated primal scream..."Are you shitting your brains out?"

I don't know how I got there in this blog, but excuse-friggin me!

It's hot!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Humbling


Isn't that a great photo to make your day?

You should try and enjoy your life instead of trying to understand it.

I received a package in the mail yesterday from a great guy: Dave, anything to help the family, Neisser...we laughed because I told him he sounded like Sonny Corleone.

The package was filled with sports memorabilia to auction off at the Thunder Road Softball Tourney on August 14 at 11 a.m. at the New Oregon Field. The tourney itself is being setup by more of Jeff's friends and was the brainchild of Jan Mathis.

Dave's package held signed photos of everyone from Joe Paterno to Eli Manning to a few of our beloved Yankees.

Then late last night, another friend and reader, Brian Schmitt, asked if he could donate about a dozen special Springsteen CD's for the show. Some never heard before, quality (duh, it's Bruce) music that can also be used as a door prize!

I'm going to spend a lot of cabbage just trying to win this stuff!

And just when I get down about things and when I reach an understanding that life blows...people rise up and help...and make me feel better.

August 14...11 a.m....basket auction...wonderful door prizes...show up to play...watch me get carried off the field...beer...Bruce...more beer...a long fly ball to the catcher...run the bases backwards...stand in line for a beer when the ball is hit your way...all the things necessary...

...to enjoy your life.

Hope to see you there. If not...we will certainly accept the basket donation. All...every dime...of the proceeds to John, Rock and Farrah's college fund!

Monday, July 18, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! I WAS WRONG!!

I almost didn't listen to the interview.

That's how closed-minded I am.

I figured that Lady Gaga was all about style and that there wasn't any substance. People tried to tell me that I should give Eminem a shot and I did and almost pulled off my ears listening to that crap.

What in the world would make me think Lady Gaga had any talent?

And to imagine that I never...ever...heard one of her songs.

Where am I going to hear them? On my Bruce/Stones filled I-pod? On the last John Mellencamp or Tom Petty CD?

So, Stephanie was on the Howard Stern Show today.

And the interview started and I thought to myself, "Hmm, she's not an idiot."

And the more she talked, the more I liked. She was playful, honest and heartfelt.

What the hell was happening here?

So Howard asked her to sing...right after he found out she wasn't wearing a bra.

And she told the story of her grandfather dying. She took us through the process of why she wrote the song Edge of Glory.

I was hooked.

Yet I had arrived at my destination. Should I not ruin it by listening to her sing?

And then she sang.

And I got Bruce-bumps.

What a voice! What lyrics!

And no bra!

Wow! I was wrong.

Who Won the War!

The 27-Time World Champion Yankees put a sound whooping on the Blue Jays yesterday and they finished just in time too. I had just put the water on for pasta and the chicken and veal parm was all set. The women's World Cup soccer game was also still nil-to-nil.

"USA! USA! USA!" Sam chanted.

"Who cares," I answered.

"Are you crazy?" Sam asked. "What country do you live in? How can you not root for the USA?"

"I'm rooting for them," I said. "But it's soccer. If they lose it doesn't mean Japan is better and if they win it doesn't mean the USA is better. They have a ball out there. You don't settle anything by kicking a ball."

The game was actually mildly entertaining as soccer matches go. You know the story. The USA coughed up the lead twice and then lost on penalty kicks.

What was really neat to me was seeing both sides of the coin. The agony on the faces of the USA girls and the jubilation on the faces of the girls from Japan. Their country had been ripped apart earlier in the year, so, good for them.

Still, it's a ball and grass and a net. Doesn't help with that earthquake or tsunami now, does it?

Distractions from tragic events are simply that: distractions. Life didn't get infinitely better for Japan's citizens yesterday.

Sam watched the Japanese team celebrate. In true American fashion he shouted back at the screen.

"Who won the war?" he asked.

I laughed.

I just can't figure out why my boys are such wise-asses.

I'm going to have to have a talk with Kathy about watching what she says around them.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Few More Things I Don't Like

I don't like when you hand the lady at the grocery store a big bill and she takes her little pen out and checks to see if its counterfeit. I always wonder what I'm going to do if she swipes it and then looks at me and says she can't accept it. I'd probably have to go over the counter.

Don't you hold their breath until she puts it in the drawer though?

I also don't very much like when there's a cop behind me for a few miles as I drive. There's a mental checklist going on:

My speed's okay, I'm not on the phone, no firearms, drugs, or booze in the car, seat belt on. Is he going to stop me? What's his problem? Come on, asshole go ahead.

Don't you hold your breath until he's by you?

Another thing that gets under my skin are the guys and gals on their bikes who are dressed up like Lance "Douche" Armstrong. They drive down the shoulder of a busy road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk up there and then they use hand signals to show me that they are about to take up half the road.

I always think I'm going to clip one of them. (That's funny...clip is a word from my mother's vocabulary. She used to always warn us about getting 'clipped' or the dog getting 'clipped').

Anyway one of those bikers kept weaving in and out in front of me the other day and I had to remind him that he wasn't in the Tour de France, and that he sort of looked like his hero: the 'douche'.

I also don't much like the people who tell me that we really need rain. Just saw a guy at the grocery store.

"Isn't this weather great?" I asked.

"We really need rain," he said.

He said it as if it were my fault and that my enjoying the sunshine was really stupid because I just don't understand the big picture.

I hope his kid has a graduation party coming up and that it rains all freaking day.

What else do I want to piss and moan about today?

That should about do it.

I may think of more as the 'day goes' on.

Dago?

Why'd you have to start with that crap?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

J-Lo is Free

So, J-Lo is getting divorced...again. I'm back in the mix. Although she's no Kathy Fazzolari.

Wondering a lot today about what Casey Anthony can do when she gets out of prison. A career in baby-sitting? That ship may have sailed. I predict an OJ Simpson type of deal. If she gets busted for urinating in public she's going to jail for about 50 years. They just said that she is too exhausted to answer questions about the case. What the hell is she doing in jail? I'd have been sleeping.

Do you believe that people have been mailing her money. WTF???? as the kids says.

Can't wait for the debt ceiling to be raised. Thank God there has been a bi-partisan effort on this one. Unbelievable that there is a war going on in this country that has nothing to do with guns and bombs.

Speaking of war...I listened to the Howard Stern broadcast from 09/11/01. It was amazing how upset I got listening to it unfold all over again. You can hear the absolute terror in the voices of Howard and the crew. It took me back to that day, nearly ten years ago, which is almost incomprehensible. I felt as nauseous yesterday as I did on that morning...when I was also listening to Howard.

What was most interesting about it was hearing them speculate about how America had to strike back. I'm not sure that things unfolded quite the way everyone thought. Howard was adamant about how we needed to just wipe a few countries completely off the map. I wonder what might have happened had it gone that way.

Hot enough for you?

I will never complain about summer and sunshine, but this is crazy, huh? Six months from now when I'm up to my ass in snow, I will think back about sweating so much. We do need a little rain though.

Rupert Murdoch is having trouble, huh? Poor trillionaire. The scandal is a little scary though. People tapping your emails and text messages and computer keystrokes. Who would've thunk? I thought that we were all doing all of this shit in private.

Ready for the Harry Potter movie? Isn't that kid older than me? I hear the movie is in 3-D. Is that so we can't see that the kid is 52 years old?

I wonder what Cheetah Woods did last night. I know his wife is now dating a billionaire.

And I thought I had a shot.

Oh well, like I said, J-Lo is back on the market. We all know she can't sing or dance like my wife.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'll Fix It

Can you imagine running your household the way the government is being run?

I can't imagine telling my wife that we are going to raise the debt ceiling so that I can waste money on all kinds of crap that we don't really need, or that I'm ill-equipped to handle.

"I need ten grand to play Pebble Beach," might not go over real well.

So how can we do it differently so that perhaps when I'm crippled up I can collect social security rather than slough off to work at Wal-Mart and greet guests in as miserable tone as I can?

"Welcome to F%&*ing Wal-Mart," won't go over very well.

Here are my thinking points:

1). Stop with the steroids crap. We know Clemens cheated. We know Bonds cheated. We know Lance Armstrong cheated. Take the money you're spending on that crap and put it in a cookie jar.

Send out a blanket statement headline:

Clemens, Bonds, Armstrong...proclaimed as douches!

2). Enough with the election money. Empty the coffers into the cookie jar. We'll just go in and elect the next dipshit without hearing the crap about how they are going to make it all right. They aren't. We don't care. Just pick an anonymous moron. He can fly around in the luxury jets, doing nothing. Doesn't make a difference.

3). Can't work? Prove it. No money for you if you are on permanent disability because you think someone in your family once had sugar. Get off your ass. Paint houses. Do something. So sick of walking around downtown Buffalo watching grown men swigging out of a jug on Tuesday morning at ten a.m.

4). Want a baby? You can't have one until you prove that you can feed it. Even animals in the wild make an attempt to gather food for their children. You want to beat them, abuse them, teach them how to be drunken, worthless idiots? You can't have 'em. We seriously need a rule there.

5). One family...one car per working member of the family. Don't have a job? You don't get a car. We'll save on oil there.

6). Politicians get their pay chopped. Pay them by the hour when congress is in session. When it's not, they get summer jobs. Like they used to. It wasn't meant to be a job where you get rich stealing as many favors as you can.

7). Cap the money made by entertainers and sports stars. That's enough. $182 million for five years is just stupid. For bouncing a ball. Send the extra money to the cookie jar.

8). Tax toilet paper. Make it $25 a roll. Send the rest of the money to the government. No one is going to give up wiping their ass and if they do, it'll cut down on the number of kids being born.

9). Enough with the suits and ties. I spent $150 for my wardrobe re-up. I'm good for the next couple of years. You don't need a new suit every time you appear on television spewing your bullshit.

10). Dump the lawyers. All of them. You don't need to find a lawyer if there aren't any other lawyers. If it were illegal to practice law in this country it would be a better place to live.

There.

All done.

It's fixed.

I'm going to Pebble Beach.

A Brand New Man

Of course, everyone who really knows me understands that I'm a very snappy dresser.

I'm meticulous about the clothes I wear and whether or not they are stain-free, or wrinkle-free. I have a hard time stepping out of the house if everything isn't just perfect.

Truth be told:

That is the biggest lie I've ever told on this blog.

I'm a mess. Oscar Madison would certainly laugh at me and my piss-poor sense of fashion.

Yet yesterday even I had had enough. Two days ago my favorite pair of jeans developed a hole in the crotch area. There are a couple of jokes there about the fabric never standing a chance against size, or what-have-you, but I'll leave it mostly alone.

I still wore them.

That night, I threw them out.

The next day, another pair of jeans developed a nice split in another area. Again, we can talk about size being the problem...

So I did something I never do.

I stopped at a store and I bought some new clothes.

Let me tell you...I'm a little lost without the mustard stains, the rips, and the dirt.

I'm certain that as I sit here, in my new shirt and jeans, that some people who I see every day will not recognize me today.

By tomorrow, I should be all right as I will have a few meals in these clothes, but for one day, at least, I feel like a brand new man.

Incidentally, my beautiful wife used to stop the train before it went down the derelict path.

No more. I seem to be on my own now.

In either regard. Check me out.

I'm styling.

Remember!

Only a couple of days to see the stain-free stuff.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beautiful Summer Days

My beautiful wife turned to me the other day and said:

"Do you know that you're very opinionated?"

"Is that a revelation?" I asked. "After however the hell many years, you're just learning that?"

"No, I've always known it," she said as she laughed. "I just want you to know that you aren't always right."

"That, right there, is bullshit!" I said.

My most recent opinion, however, is that life is better when the sun is shining. Perhaps it is becoming closer to the time when I will get the hell out of Buffalo when the cold winds start blowing. It's a tired cliche that old birds fly to the south for the winter, but I definitely know why.

Last night I was driving back from North Collins. My brother John and I had spent a couple of hours mowing Mom's lawn and just sitting and chatting with Mom. It had been a great visit that left me thinking that 'nothing feels better than blood on blood.'

The sun was sinking low and they sky was flashing streaks of orange as I traveled back. A dynamic, hypnotic picture. David Gray on the I-pod...life seemingly calm for a few moments.

One of those passing feelings that, 'It ain't all bad.'

But I'd found an empty can of Copenhagen snuff in Dad's barn. I had been with Jeff when he tossed it up towards the rafters and missed. He'd been telling me a story about his kids.

The can laid there, undiscovered until I picked it up last night. The date on the back of the can is July of 2008. I will carry it with me now for some reason.

The summer sky was awesome last night.

I tried to hold onto the moment. I've been missing a lot of people in my family lately.

Holding moments is all we can do sometimes.

That's just my opinion.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eat Your Peas

There's a pretty famous story in Fazzolari folklore. As you see, I hated peas when served without macaroni surrounding them. My Dad and I really disagreed on whether I should eat them or not.

I lost.

I ate the entire bowl and pushed it defiantly away.

"How were they?" he asked.

"Friggin' great!"

"Good, have some more."

Last night I watched two news stories. That's two too many.

The first was about the budget or raising the ceiling, or debt. It's funny but the reporter said that the two factions of the country are at war over how the bill shall be paid. One side wants the burden to be handled by the middle and lower class so that the upper class can hang onto their money to generate jobs, or build a lake home and re-up their country club memberships.

The other sides wants the people that work for a living to pay the entire burden so that others can sit at home and sponge off the system...or do something crazy like eat.

Either way, Obama used the phrase: "It's time to eat our peas."

The payments are due.

Not sure how it'll all work out, but it dovetails into our second story.

The obesity rate in New York State now stands at 24% of the citizens! What a bunch of fat bastards!

They were showing citizens, waist-down, so as to not embarass them, and I was sitting there going...'He's way bigger than me...she's bigger than me...look at that one!'

The reporter explained that the rate was up from just 9% ten years ago.

Are these stories connected?

"We need to eat more greens," a diet technician stated.

See, Dad was right all along.

"Eat your peas!"

Monday, July 11, 2011

God, I Wish I Were My Dog


Not all the time, mind you, but on Mondays with a full work week staring me in the face, there is a bit of temptation.

The photo of Paris is sort of in your face, isn't it?

You see, Paris is a real slap-happy animal. Every moment of every day to Paris is like the split second when she emerged from the womb.

She's just plain fired up about living.

Paris is the kind of dog who when confronted with the stairs jumps down all five, never even really touching one until she gets to the bottom. She gallops across the backyard like a deer, eats fast, runs fast, chases the tennis ball with reckless abandon, and even takes a quick dump as though she's missing something else while doing it.

In other words, she loves life.

And there are moments, such as when I snapped this photo, when I think it would be a hell of a lot easier, wouldn't it? She's just so carefree?

Of course, there is a downside to being a dog, right?

Like no concept of money. Dogs don't have money. The problem being they have no pockets.

Like no idea if they really are going to get that ride in the car when they absolutely need it. Dogs can't drive cars. No place to put their car keys.

Again, no pockets.

Like not being able to eat whenever they want to. Dogs kind of have to wait around until you fill their bowls for them or they can find something absolutely inedible around the backyard. They can't just pull a snack out and start munching on it because there's nowhere to pull the snack from.

Besides they eat so fast and so excitedly that even if they hid snacks in their pockets, they'd just eat it right away.

What the hell is the matter with me?

I don't know.

Dog days of summer, I suppose.

But admit it.

You'd like to be a dog every now and again, wouldn't you?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Captain


I give and take a lot when it comes to the Yankees. Of course, I haven't been a quiet fan of the team, and there's always been a spiritual approach to my wanting them to win every single game of every single year.

For those of you that knew my family as we grew, you know the television was always on in the garage on summer days, and there were so many people there, getting a whiff of the sauce, having a drink, laughing, and keeping an eye on the game.

"They're losing," was usually followed by my father saying something along the lines of, "They aren't going anywhere this year."

"They're winning," got a proud nod.

As a family we call agreed on a few universal truths:

1). Billy Martin was crazy, but a great manager.
2). Reggie was clutch
and
3). Jeter is an amazing player. Way better than A-Rod.

My mother and father named the dog Jeter. My wife, possibly my sisters and just about every female we ask about wants to marry him. He's a classy guy. No arguments out of anyone I've ever known. Even Red Sux or Mets fans.

Yet out of all the things about the Yankees that I've shared with so many people that I've loved through the years I found myself completely alone for the game yesterday afternoon. Sam was my only chance to share the moment and he went swimming.

So, I gave a little fist pump as Jeter got hit #2,999. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much his next time up. David Price is a good pitcher. The Yanks were being shut out.

My mind played a trick, flipping me back into a conversation before Game 3 of the 2000 World Series that was tied 1 to 1 with the hapless Mets.

"They're in trouble," Dad said just before first pitch.

"They're batting Jeter leadoff," Jeff added. "What the hell are they doing?"

That first pitch of Game 3 landed in the left field seats about halfway up at Shea Stadium.

"That's why," I remember saying as we high-fived. "Never underestimate Jeter."

Hit #3,000 landed in about the same general location yesterday. Different stadium, but same location. And a funny thing happened when the ball landed.

Sitting alone, my eyes filled with sudden, unexpected tears. That is baseball for me. It's not that I love Jeter the man, I love that he brought me close to my family. I love that we shared so much together in the glow of their victories.

It was crazy. I was tearing up in pride for a multi-millionaire who has all the celebrity, fame and glory that a man can have in one lifetime. He has a smoking hot girl (she's no Kathy Fazzolari) and loving and supporting family members.

But I wasn't crying for him.

The door to my room slammed open.

"That was awesome!" Sam said.

"I thought you were swimming."

"I didn't want to miss seeing this with you," he said.

Me neither, buddy.

Thank you, captain.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Love Does

The other night at a Texas Rangers game a man tumbled over the railing after catching a ball tossed to him by a player. The man, Shannon Stone, died from injuries in his fall as his 6-year old boy watched. The part of the story that absolutely hurts my heart is when the man, as he was loaded onto a stretcher, asked one of the players to keep an eye on his son.

Last night Dateline recapped the Casey Anthony case and I watched that bitch smile in court when she realized that her time in jail was almost done. The horrifying part of that story being that she had to know what happened to her child in the 31-day gap before she reported her missing.

Last week we went swimming over at my buddy's house. My buddy's young son was jumping in the pool from the diving board, running all around with swimmies attached to his arms and laughing. I caught my buddy's eye one time and saw undeniable love and appreciation in what he was seeing.

I knew the feeling.

Years and years ago I watched Jake hit a shot in a basketball game. Hell, just last year I watched Sam burn up the nets on a Saturday morning, and Matt hit a big 3-pointer to tie the score late in a game.

You know how it feels when your heart swells up like that?

And on Matt's graduation day I looked around the auditorium as we strained to see him walk the stage. The other Mom's and Dad's were feeling as proud and happy and as loving as we were.

It's a wonder that when there's that much love in a single room that the place just doesn't lift off into the air.

But it doesn't.

Because we don't focus in on that sort of love in life. Stories are not written about a team of people that raise over $20 grand for breast cancer. We don't know that Shannon Stone loved his boy so much that he was hardly ever spotted without him. A book written about the love of a brother couldn't possibly touch something about Harry freaking Potter.

Because love isn't as thrilling as chloroform searches and the smell of decay in the back of the car.

As we finished watching the show on Anthony last night I turned to my beautiful wife and said, "If she gets rich off this I'm going to puke every three minutes for the rest of my life."

Love, responsibility, family, pride and honesty doesn't come easy. Those attributes certainly don't sell many newspapers, but let me give you a little something to think about as you rail against the verdict handed down by that Florida courtroom, or as you mourn the loss of that young father, or as you consider the scene at another horrifying shooting such as the one that happened in Michigan this week.

It's really all about love.

Catch the eyes of a mother or a father as their son or daughter does something.

Spare parts and broken hearts shouldn't make the world spin. In a perfect world, love does.

Love does.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cuddling

There's a new study out that states that men actually crave cuddling and that they aren't getting enough.

I can buy the not enough argument, but cuddling?

Come on guys, who took this survey? I know that the gay marriage law recently passed here in New York, are those the guys they interviewed?

Is that a politically correct statement?

Probably not.

The thing is, I'm not down with the whole cuddling thing, but I may not fully understand. Is this cuddling before or after?

Before?

Hell yes, we'll cuddle. We'll also rub your back, massage your feet, wash the windows and do the laundry. But that ain't about the cuddling.

After?

No chance. Usually there's a baseball game on somewhere. Even if the Yanks are done, the west coast games are starting. Plus there's gotta' be something in the refrigerator that needs to be eaten.

Cuddle?

It's more like...got that done...what's on television until I drift off to sleep?

Yet in this society men are trying to be more sensitive and women are trying to be tougher.

If an interviewer asked me if I enjoyed cuddling I'm not sure what my straight answer might be, but take my word for it, I'm a man and most of my friends are men.

We don't wanna' friggin' cuddle.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

This Sort of Pisses Me Off


I work as a construction safety consultant and on a daily basis I see some bad accidents. It's usually a case of someone doing something they shouldn't do and there's a tremendous amount of pain involved as the victim didn't truly understand the consequences of the action.

I try and tell guys that they should stay clear of things that can knock them down that they don't see coming.

The photo above sort of caught my eye as something that just really shouldn't be done. Far be it from me to tell others how to live, but that's about a 3-year old kid in the sidecar of a motorcycle heading down Niagara Falls Boulevard.

Sure, the mom and dad on the bike no doubt have all the safety training in the world. Everyone was wearing helmets.

Speaking of which did you read the story about the guy who was riding his Harley helmet-less in a demonstration to protest the New York State helmet law?

He flipped the bike and died on the road in a town outside of Syracuse. The cops said he would have lived if he'd been wearing a helmet.

True story.

Anyway, as the kid went down the road he was holding a Winnie the Pooh blanket high. I'm not kidding.

Why would a mother and a father put a kid in a sidecar on a motorcycle? They can't possibly control the situation? What if a drunk driver sideswipes them?

I've always been cautious. I was never much fun when I went for a snowmobile ride with my brothers. They all had to wait up as Grandma Moses as they called me crept into the bar parking lot.

When the doctors at Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo told me about the number of kids who break their necks on trampolines, I took our trampoline down.

"Oh, the kids love it," my neighbor told me.

"Couldn't live with myself if they landed wrong," I said.

I'm sure the 3-year old with the blankie riding in the sidecar loves to go out with Mom and Dad on their motorcyle ride.

What could happen to that kid just sort of pisses me off. It's child abuse, ain't it?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011



It really seemed like a good idea at the time. Derek Jeter was just 6 hits away from 3,000 and he got hurt. I checked the schedule, did some math and figured out that he would get the big hit last night. Except the old man didn't heal quite as quickly as I expected so he was still six short heading into last night.

The other thing I didn't figure was that this old man can't work 9 hours, drive 4 hours, watch a 3.5 hour game and then drive home 4 hours, and get up after 3.5 hours and work another 9.

But you know what?

It was worth it.

Check the photos above. The big lug is going to college in two months. The middle lug doesn't like the Yankees so with them winning big, he was shut all the hell the way up, and the little lug loves the Yanks so he was thrilled. Momma bear is tired today too, but she was in a great mood for a poor lady who has to spend all free time and a lot of disposable income at baseball stadiums...but she did comment on A-Rod and Jeter's glute muscles.

And what was worth it was that we made memories. We didn't see Jeter get his 3,000th hit but we saw him get #'s 2,995 and 2,996. We also watched a home run land about twenty feet away, and we shared some laughs as we drove.

Kathy sang nearly all of the 1980's songs on the radio.

If you've never heard her angelic voice do AC/DC you're really missing out.

In the middle of a tight construction zone, with a jersey barrier on one side of me, a semi-tractor-trailer on the other, and wild curves in the road, my beautiful wife asked me what I would be up to the next day.

"I'm a little busy to shoot the shit right now," I mentioned.

As we headed towards the car on an 85 degree night I thought it might be a good idea to grab a bottle of water for the road.

"They charge $4.50 at the stadium," she said.

80 miles later, I would have paid a grand for a bottle of water. I may have mentioned that bit of logic a half dozen or so times.

But that's what it's all about. Listening to the boys bicker and make each other laugh in the backseat. Suffereing all the next day, but still getting up and getting our work done.

Life itself.

And the Yanks won big.

Don't call me tonight.

I'll be sleeping.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ain't That America

Saw a lot of tan and sore people at work today. The sun was shining in Buffalo for 3 straight days and there was a lot going on.

My final tally?

About 6 hot dogs, a couple of Italian Sausages, salt potatoes, pasta, a few shots of Jamesons, a couple of beers, a bit of prime rib, and a half dozen stuffed peppers (yes, I used Jeff's recipe...no, they weren't nearly as good).

I also played an absolutely horrific round of golf with the Apes and shot basketball with the boys at least four times. It was funny but I watched Jake and Sam play a one-on-one and their personalities, their games, everything reminded me of my brothers and me playing in our backyard. Sort of heartbreaking.

Yet the weekend wasn't about heartbreak. It was about fun.

Late last night I laid in bed with Melky cowering beside me because the neighbor kids were blowing off fireworks. I really never got the appeal of lighting them, but as I laid there a few words popped into my head.

And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air

And I thought of all of the sacrifices made so that shlubs like me can come and go as I please, eat until I can't move, and play any game I want with my family and friends in my own backyard.

By the end of the weekend, my knee had swelled back up, my elbow hurt, and I laughed a bunch with my family. I also mowed the lawn, caught a couple of horrible movies, and took the dogs for a ride.

Ain't that America for you and me

Ain't that America land of the free...

...what a great weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wrinkled Hands

The passage of time continues to amaze me. I've spent so much time this weekend missing things that I decided to move around a little with the boys.

The 4th of July holidays of my youth were fun-filled events with a lot of eating, shooting hoops, swimming and drinking beer. I really wanted to turn back the clock a bit, but 2 of 4 days in the car to make it to Maryland for such fun was sort of out of the question.

So, I had to try and force the issue here on the home front. I shook the trees around here by announcing to the kids that we were going to have an epic basketball shooting contest. Sam couldn't have been more excited.

Late last week I was driving in the car on the way to somewhere when I glanced down at my left hand.

"It's all wrinkled," I said out loud. "My freaking hands look like old man hands."

I worked the rest of the week feeling cheated by time. I actually glanced at Matt, Jake & Sam's hands and the perfect skin. All of my replacements hands are wrinkle-free.

Not yet. I was going to whip their ass on the court.

I didn't.

In game one, Matt beat us soundly. I couldn't get enough under my shot to make it to the rim. Everything was clanking off the front iron. Shots that would rain down one after another couldn't find the net anymore. The kids ran around laughing at me, enjoying the game, and in Sam's case, trash-talking, talking, talking, talking.

"Sooner or later I'm gonna' go on a run," I said.

But the run didn't come in the 2nd long game which Sam actually won...he is allowed to move in a few feet...the pain in my bones doubled because of his taunting.

"You were awful," he explained.

"My hands are wrinkled!" I wanted to yell back.

We played two more. The third game was a bit closer but Matt hit a bunch in a row. Eighteen years old...not a single groan as the ball twisted through the net. Time after time after time.

"Enough!" I thought.

I could still shoot a basketball at 46. They didn't need to win to have fun. Wrinkled hands and all.

I concentrated on every shot in game 4. Like a geriatric mess of what was once a good shooter, I lectured myself to bend the knees before I attempted to shoot. Sam danced in front of me trying to distract me. Matt kept hitting shot after shot. I thought of Jake hitting the long ones now with confidence.

I still have confidence! Dammit!

In game 4. The final tally showed me with the 50 points required to win. No one else even made it to 30. At one point I made 16 in a row.

"Wow, where'd that come from?" Sam asked.

"That came from a long time ago," I said.

It wasn't about winning, of course, it was about spending time and laughing with the boys. We are planning to do more shooting today if I can lift my arms.

Ah hell, who am I kidding? It was about winning.

Wrinkled hands and all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Casey Anthony Free Zone

Do you know how many unattractive mothers are accused of murdering their children?

You probably don't because you're spending your time wondering how Casey Anthony is going to get away with murdering her child.

It is certainly troubling because there's a lot of time being spent discussing this case. I'm not sure why I know that Casey and her father may or may not have had a disturbing relationship. I don't know why I am drawn to the case like so many others.

The other day, out on a construction site, I saw two guys covered in dirt, eating sandwiches that had to have grime on them, debating about whether or not she did it and how much the grandparents knew about it. There was definitely a difference of opinion for these two guys, but they had one thing in common:

They both agreed that they'd 'do' Casey.

Of course the media is to blame. This is a case that should never have received the sort of acclaim that it has. The entire circus has been played out on television and even the child-killer seemed to be caught up in it. Casey was treated like Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton. The whole shebang...helicopters, news cameras, everything.

They made her a star.

And what she is accused of doing is absolutely mind-blowing.

I don't know. I just always found it sad that we are drawn to such garbage. But we all are! I watched the OJ case from gavel-to-gavel. I've certainly read articles about this idiot.

The tragedy of it all is that the hours that cover the case can be better spent showing a program that perhaps helps a mother cope with trying to raise a child alone. Maybe that would stop another mother who wants to go out dancing from snuffing out a life.

"You'd honestly 'do' her?" I asked the two guys.

"Definitely," said one.

"You gotta' admit she ain't bad," said the other.

What a crazy, mixed-up world.

Seriously.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Let it Ride

Made a trip to the Niagara Falls Casino last night and for the first time, I sat at a table and played cards.

The dealer yelled at me about seven times.

"You can't use the phone at the table." (I was checking the Yankee score. They won again, by the way).

"Don't touch the money." (Sounds like my beautiful wife).

"Are you placing the bet?" (Hold onto your hat, lady, I have to have my chips stacked in piles).

But the interesting thing about it was the guy to my right. He'd lost 3 grand up to the moment we sat down. Still, he was playing at least $100 a hand. I was risking $15a hand.

"Gotta bet big to win big," he said.

"Or lose big," I answered.

He didn't smile.

We were playing a game where you are dealt three cards down and then use the dealers two cards to make your hand.

"I got triple 7's," he whispered.

"You have three 7's dealt to you?" I asked.

Doing the quick math I saw that he would win well over a grand with the hand.

He didn't even crack a smile. Two hands later he won another grand or so.

There was no joy at all.

"Still in the hole," he said.

As he walked away I was sort of amazed. I was sweating bullets because I'd lost a little, then won a good pot only to hand some over to my wife who was losing. I spent the night treading water, but had a bunch of laughs with my niece and her husband. We most likely won't be going back for quite some time.

I have a feeling that the guy from last night is sitting at a table right now, hoping for another lucky hand.

Not sure about the economic troubles either. The place was packed. Not everyone is losing, right?

If they are, we are in some serious trouble. Where does such disposable income come from?

Ah hell we are all patterning ourselves after the government, let it ride, right?

We'll figure out the mess we made somewhere or other down the line.

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Doozy of a Day

Thinking back a week when Kathy asked if I'd ever made a mistake in life and I acknowledged making one and that it had been a doozy...

Picture the scene:

A tiny little bar that is home to construction workers. My watering hole. I would stop each and every Friday night...and a lot of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights as well.

Kathy and I were working together at the time and we were becoming fast friends who liked to flirt quite a bit. I was eternally single...she was Miss-A-Little-Time-On-Her Hands. She was the only female in the bar, but she hung around anyway, laughing and talking with my buddies.

Van Morrison songs were on the jukebox. Think Into the Mystic and Domino and Moondance.

The owner of the bar removed the Springsteen songs when I started coming around. I guess the time I played Better Days eleven times convinced her of such a move.

Anyway, a half dozen Michelob Lights and a couple of shots of Cuervo had me feeling pretty good. Yet I was living alone and facing a night of Sega Hockey by myself. No real plans.

"Wanna' come to my place for another beer?" Kathy asked.

Herein lies the doozy that we speak of.

"I'll be by," I said.

The rest is history.

That was a lot of years ago on July 1. An anniversary of sorts.

We are talking of going out tonight.

Domino came on the I-pod this morning.

"How's work?" Kathy just texted me.

"I'm tired," I said.

"Me too," she replied, "And we gotta' go out tonight."

I haven't drank very many beers lately. Less than ten in six months, I would say.

But tonight I may have a few.

Miss-A-Little-Time-On-Her-Hands is still around.

A doozy of a decision.

Thank God I went by for a nightcap.

Meet the New Boss...Same As the Old Boss

There's a movie out now about three people that want to kill their bosses. I haven't seen it, but the trailer looks interesting, and that's because we've all sort of been there.

Do you have, or have you had a boss that you just couldn't stand? Maybe not to the point of murder, but you seriously hoped that they'd reach the end of their career at least?

I had a couple of beauties...

Back in '83 on my first real construction job I had a simple task to start each day...I had to buy a case of beer for my foreman. Not kidding, I'd punch in and head off to the store to pick up 24 bottles of ice cold Bud. I'd watch my boss, who was usually in a good morning mood, click back the tab on that first one. We'd talk for a minute, and then I'd be off to work. That one minute conversation was significant though because it was the only coherent thought that came from him all day.

By noon he'd be pissed up and really mean. He'd torture the crew with his rants, and I didn't take a lot of the heat because I was buying his beer. I hated the sight of the man.

My Dad fired him for me and the rest of the crew. Somehow, Dad, who was running the whole job found out about the drinking.

Then there was another enormous man who really wasn't into anything but belittling and control. He didn't seem to care much about the job that was being done or the money being made, he just wanted to put people down. Being a college guy I sort of saw right through him...it was his own insecurity shining through.

"There are two things you seem to know little about," I told him on the day I left the job, "construction and weight control."

Anyway...I tossed in a few other things and was able to tell my boss off as one would in the movies. Unfortunately, some people have to eat a lot of shit from a bunch of real power-hungry idiots.

Thankfully my two bosses now are great.

I answer to a smart, funny man at work. He was a friend of mine long before the working arrangement was established. We have never had a cross word in 20 years of knowing one another.

And then there is the boss at home...she certainly seems to respect the job I'm doing. So all good.

My advice?

Same advice my father gave all of us:

"Don't take no shit from nobody."

Maybe not grammatically correct, but you get the message.

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