Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Love A Good Parable or Four


Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day.

What would you do?

Draw out every cent, of course!

Each of us has such a bank.

Its name is TIME.

Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft.

Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow."

You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success!

The clock is running.

Make the most of today. To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train. To realize the value of ONE-SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.

Treasure every moment that you have! And treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. Remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present!


A scientific convention was held at a lakeside resort. After the first days proceedings, a mathematician, a physicist, an astronomer and a molecular biologist hired a boatman to row them around on the lake. As they sat in the boat, they discussed string theory, bubble universes, the Gaea Hypothesis and other abstruse topics.

The biologist noticed the boatman looking at them from the corner of his eyes. He asked him:

"What do you think of these ideas?"

The boatman replied, "I didn't understand any of it."

The astronomer asked him how far he had studied. He told them he couldn't even read.

"I hate to say it," said the physicist, "but you seem to have wasted a good part of your life."

The boatman remained silent. By now they were out in the middle of the lake, far from shore. A sudden storm whipped up. The waves started churning and heaving. All of a sudden, the boat flipped over. The boatman started swimming for shore. The scientists cried out:

"Help! We can't swim!"

The boatman called back, "I hate to say it, but you seem to have wasted your whole lives."

Most Important Lesson

During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count towards our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Happiness is an attitude.

The 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with her hair fashionably coifed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today.

Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready.

As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on her window.

"I love it," she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mrs. Jones, you haven't seen the room .... just wait."

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged ... it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it ... It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away ... just for this time in my life."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just Catch the Ball

The star wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills, Stevie Johnson, is a Thoughts of a Common Man idiot.

Last year he dropped a pass and blamed God. He became a big star for writing something on his chest and showing the world after catching a touchdown pass. Everyone thought it was funny.

So yesterday, he caught a pass and pretended he was shooting himself in the leg to make fun of another player. Then he played a crashed Jet and received a penalty that cost his team 7 points.

All in good fun, right?

It's the basic problem in the world right now, if you ask me. Everyone wants to be a star. Everyone is disrespectful to the next guy. No one is accountable to anyone else. When all else fails, blame God.

Now I know it's just a football game and he isn't a Rhodes Scholar, but it aggravates me because my boys thought it was so cool.

"He made fun of the guy who shot himself!"

It's a vicious circle. The guy who shot himself took a gun into a nightclub because he wanted street cred and he wanted to be a big shot.

As if God were actually watching, Johnson dropped a pass later in the game that would have brought victory to his team.

He didn't perform a dance after dropping the ball.

When does it all end?

A woman pepper sprayed another woman who was reaching for the same sales item on Black Friday.

The Syracuse coach allegedly molested young boys, and in the craziest of all scenarios his wife admitted he had issues and just for good measure, she slept with the kid too.

I'm not blaming Stevie Johnson for all the worlds ills. He's a pass catcher in a dumb game. But the attention-grabbing, look-at-me-at-all-costs-and-consequences-be-damned mentality drives me crazy.

The coach didn't see it and doubted he would discipline Stevie. All in good fun.

My advice?

Do your job...whatever it is. Don't worry about being on television. Don't look for additional compensation for doing what you're supposed to do. God didn't do it to you.

Last year after being fined and ridiculed for his actions Johnson said he made a mistake and would learn from his actions.

He said the same thing yesterday.

He'll say the same thing next year.

Fortunately I am in my kid's ears to remind them.

When you point your finger cause your plan fell through, you got four more fingers pointing back at you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Another Roll of the Dice

The Buffalo News ran an article about a woman who gambled away the money raised for her sons fight against cancer. It's a really tragic story as they held a benefit, she took control of the cash, and then she played cards at casinos all across the area.

Evidently she isn't a very good card player.

The outrage is predictable. Letters to the editors explain that she should be put to death. Her son instantly forgave her. I must be getting old because I didn't really buy her story about being scared and lonely and that others in her position just might do the same thing.

She should have stopped it somewhere along the way. Loneliness isn't a valid excuse. Her son was on the verge of death. He needed the money. It was money donated by hardworking people.

Leave your ATM card at home if you can't stop yourself from withdrawing the money your kid needs to fight the disease that might kill him.

Of course, that's the lazy way of attacking the subject. Of course she was wrong. I don't feel much like kicking her at this point. The problem is bigger than that anyway.

I like the slot machines for the escape of it all. I'm also fairly lucky at it. There have been a couple of times where I lost more than I felt comfortable losing, and it made me sick. The real problem is that if you are equipped with the addictive gene, and you don't have the money to fill the emotional hole in your heart, you could be in trouble.

There are more casinos. There are more people embezzling. More fathers blowing their life savings. More robberies. More stealing.

The next spin will make it all right. The next card you turn over will be an ace. The dice will smile on you if you just lift another $200.

The woman had a telling comment when she said that it wasn't about winning or the money. If she won it just meant that she would be in the game longer.

Looking for a place where the world seems right.

When the cops came looking for her she was glad that it was over.

Her son is doing well. He may just have beaten the cancer even though the odds weren't in his favor.

Looks like she finally beat the house.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Working on a Dream

So we all gathered last night at my brother John's. The kids were running around, all of them...Jeff's kids were also there and Rocco, John and Farrah were leading the charge. We had pizza, chicken and a great batch of chili that Dana prepared the hell out of.

Springsteen's Working on a Dream was on low in the background, and the wounded adults were smiling, tossing a few insults out, and having a couple of beers.

I was drinking tea. My leg was great all day but stiffening up as the night moved on. The music was just loud enough for me to hear a few lines.

There's a pillar in the temple where I carved your name.

Johnny looks so much like Jeff when he was young. Rocco is so big and strong. Farrah is just beautiful.

All random thoughts running through my head.

But here the nights are long and the days are lonely. I think of you and I'm working on a dream. Working on a dream.

We also celebrated Mom's birthday some more. I had asked my son Jake to write something in the card for his Grandma. This is what he wrote:

"You're my dad's Mom so that makes you my grandma. Love Jake."

My mother laughed her ass off.

There's a wonderful world where all you desire and everything you've longed for is at your fingertips.

My brother Jim's favorite subject is the shape of my eyebrows. He spent about ten minutes calling me Uncle Leo from the Seinfeld show and laughing until there were tears in his eyes. There was even a half-hearted attempt by my nieces to fix them.

"It's hopeless," Andrea said.

Darlin' I can't stop the rain or turn your black skies blue, but let me show you what love can do.

I saw Rocco coming from a hundred feet away. His eyes wide, his smile huge. He ran straight for me and jumped towards my chest. I grabbed him and hugged him tightly as he giggled. A wonderful, perfect giggle.

"I love you buddy," I said.

"I know!!!" he giggled.

This life, this life and then the next, with you I have been blessed. What more can you expect?

"Can we go now," Jake asked. He was holding his phone out for inspection. "We can't get any reception here."

"A little while," I said.

I was sitting in the center of it all with my leg propped up, just watching the chaos that comes with all the kids running around.

"You can do the same thing at home," Jake said, pointing to my leg.

"No, I can't," I said. "Now relax a little while. I'm listening to the music too."

"Bruce sucks," Jake responded, as he walked away trying to get his phone to text.

With you I don't feel the minutes ticking by. I don't feel the hours as they fly. I don't see the summer as it wanes. Just a subtle change of light upon your face. Walk away, walk away, walk away. This is our kingdom of days.

Did I mention the chili was great?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let's See What Comes Out

A whole bunch of random thoughts, I suppose. It's been another traumatic week. I don't know what to think, so this is an exercise of what pops into my head.

1). 69% of people can find something dirty in every sentence.

2). Newt Gingrich is a tad crazy.

3). Football is a group of lousy teams and Green Bay. Which means, of course, that one of those lousy teams will win the Super Bowl.

4). I can't think of a single thing I want for Christmas. I've given up on world peace.

5). The weather in Buffalo has been tremendous. Isn't it a shame that I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop?

6). My family is so punch drunk from horrific news that when the phone rings we all cringe.

7). I've done the hokey-pokey a thousand times at weddings and I still don't know what it's all about.

8). I wish John Lennon was still making music.

9). Bruce has a new tour coming. I can't wait for the new music and the excellent writing. He puts a stamp on what I'm thinking at any given time through the year. He just lost Clarence. Wonder what sort of spin he will put on grief. Could it help? The only sure bet in my life.

10). Studies show that if your parents don't have any children chances are you won't either.

11). When a dog throws up there's always a great build-up. It isn't enough time to get them out the door and off the carpet or comforter, but it's violent and scary. Guess feeding them a little turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving isn't really doing them a favor.

12). Still waiting for the 27-time Yankees to get me another starting pitcher. Did I say I didn't want anything for Christmas?

13). When I finished the eulogy for my Uncle Jim another uncle came to me and asked me if he could hire me to do his. I told him I didn't think anyone would be in the church to hear it. At least we both laughed.

14). Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

15). The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear.

You see what happens in my mind in five minutes time?

It's not much fun.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Mommy

Today is my mother's birthday.

I've had enough of the rest of the bullshit holidays that are set on the yearly calender. She deserves a national day of honor.

If you are a follower of this blog and you have read the words of loss and despair over the last few years, you have to wonder, in awe, about the strength of a woman who has been smack dab in the middle of the heartbreak.

I know I do.

Mom has endured. She has not missed a single gathering. She has had her moments of sadness to be sure, but she hasn't dropped it any of our feet. No matter why we get together, she's right there in the center of it all, telling a joke, offering an opinion, cooking something that no one else will even bother to try cooking because she just blows everyone away.

Her eyes fill with tears at the mere mention of some of those we've lost, but she fights them back.

She's the strongest person I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

And I tell anyone that will listen. I have never had a fight with my Mom. We've never really disagreed to the point where we were even a little angry with one another.

That goes back 47 years.

And today is her day.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

I can't promise you won't feel the heartache today, but I do know one thing for sure, you'll battle it back...

...and lead the rest of us through the darkness.

Happy Black Friday?!!!!!

As has become a habit over the last three weeks, I flipped the television on before getting up the nerve to put my feet on the floor.

"Happy Black Friday!!!!" the announcer screamed.

My head almost hit the ceiling. He was actually screaming. What an idiot.

When did it become a holiday?

The announcer was absolutely giddy about the prospect of saving money through his exhaustive system of getting to the right store at precisely the right moment. They showed people camped out. They showed footage of long lines and they interviewed a couple of the "shoppers".

Everyone was so freaking excited.

I tried to figure out if there was anything I would lie in a parking lot to get.

Springsteen tickets in New Jersey?

Nope, not even those. I'd wait it out and then just call a scalper.

Then they showed the doors open at one of the Target stores. Men, women and children were busting through with their arms raised in a victory salute.

Are you freaking kidding me?

When the empire finishes crashing down at least we will have footage of the near end.

Happy Black Friday?!!!

Of course, I must admit that my wife is out there somewhere. She passed by me this morning muttering a question about helping me get things set up for the morning, but she had a mug of coffee and a few newspaper ads.

"I'm all set," I said.

Of course, I have a real busy morning planned.

I have to figure out how in the hell to appear interested after she tells me about running into an old lady, fighting with some jerk at Wal-Mart, and the $11 she saved on a video game that will end up being chewed by the dog.

I know it's good for the economy. I know that some people enjoy it.

That's not to say I have to understand it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thank You

All of the small words are the ones that mean the most. Yes, Please, God, Love, Thank You.

I don't know why the words 'Thank You' sometimes get caught in our throats. They are two very easy words to say, but that's the way it is sometimes. Have you ever received a compliment from someone and instead of simply saying thank you have offered up some other words, like, 'I told you' or 'Yeah, thank me! You can thank me!'

I personally use that one all the time when my beautiful wife says thank you.

Which is once in a blue moon.

But we should feel thankful every day. There are a lot of people who help us make our loves go. Thanks be to God. Thanks to your Mom and Dad. Thank you to your siblings, your spouse, your children, and your dogs.

Truth be told we can spend our entire day thanking others if we were so inclined.

There's a lot of garbage going on in America. A ton of unrest. The lower class sucks, the upper class blows, those of us caught toiling in the middle deserve better. Racism sucks. Poverty blows. Socialism is bad. Greed is horrible. Republicans are idiots. Democrats are bleeding hearts.

We all just need to say thank you now and again. Thank you that we live in a free land, with a chance to shoot off our misinformed mouths.

I will most likely eat a lot this year. The mood of the family is unbelievably shaken again.

But Mom made the stuffing, and Jim is hosting the party, and we will laugh and watch some football.

Mom's stuffing can't be over sold. It is flat-out greatness.

Thankful that we are still together through the hurricane winds that have blown through our lives.

Thankful that we still feel the love.

Even when we don't feel much like giving thanks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For Uncle Jim

Very difficult words to say aloud. There is certainly another huge void.

I’m not sure that this is breaking news, but there are some members of the Fuzzy family that have some of the following qualities:

Obnoxious, Loud, Wild, Quick-tempered, emotional, boisterous, impatient, emotional and a tad confrontational.

But loving…always very loving.

I was speaking to one such member a long time ago when at the age of 12 I helped my Dad make the sauce. I was chopping up onions and garlic when I said to him:

“You know, Uncle Jim is a really good guy.”

Dad agreed, of course, he thought the world of his little brother.

And through the years I thought a lot about that moment.

How had my uncle, in the middle of the Fuzzy storm, figured it all out?

There are so many distractions along the way. There are way too many temptations in life that can throw you off your game.

Uncle Jim was always able to stay the course.

How’d he do it?

First off, he had a great love of family. He loved his wife, Aunt Sherry, through all of the years, through the thick and thin, and when the chips were down.

He loved his daughters, Jamie and Kristin with every ounce of strength he could muster, and that happened, in spite of the fact that one of them may or may not have had some of that stubborn Fuzzy blood coursing through her veins.

I’m not going to say which one. (Kristin).

He loved his grandchildren, Dom, AJ and Brandon and was a great grandpa. He turned his car into the swim mobile. He called them sucky-thumby- babies. He teased them about playing so much hockey, telling Dom to find two dead ants to play with him.

He loved them for every second of their lives.

Then there was his love of food: Tripe, calamari, pork chops, pasta and peas, pasta and beans, pork chops, marinara, pasta and broccoli, pork chops, linguine and clams

Are you catching a theme?

And Italian Sausage. Every three months or so Uncle Jim, Jim and Paulie would get the ball rolling and we would meet to make the sausage.

Every time we showed up the container that Uncle Jim brought to bring his share of the sausage home in, got bigger. This year he had about an 80-gallon cooler. We would work, eat, have a few beers and laugh.

And the love of family extended through the sadness. Over the last few years we have lost some extremely well loved members of this family. Jeff, Dad, Aunt Carolyn…and we’ve been reeling.

Uncle Jim was there for all of us. He called us with a quick joke or a message. He wanted us to keep smiling and keep moving forward, never forgetting the love. He sent me a note one day that said simply, “I miss my bro today.”

I called him on the phone and before long we were talking about food. Know, with all your heart that he wants every single person here to smile and laugh as much as you can with the time you have. I know he does. We talked about it.

Uncle Jim also used faith in God above to fashion his great personality. His personality traits should be studied at the greatest universities in the world and taught to the general public.

I was in church one time and Uncle Jim was working as an usher. He called himself Frank Barone from the Everybody Loves Raymond Show.

And there was more love.

Sometimes I referred to Uncle Jim as Uncle Billy Joel and he enjoyed that because he always told me that he ‘got his Christie Brinkley’.

And he really meant it. We should all love our spouses in such a manner.

And there was more family.

Every June the 2 was cause for celebration and happy phone calls were made all through the family. June the 2 should be a national holiday from here on out.

And Uncle Jim believed in heaven and heaven is a better place now. He knew that the way to get there was to work hard, have faith in God’s plan, and eat a good meal.

No more chicken!!! (Sorry, Aunt Sherry)

Uncle Jim battled through a lot of tough times. Certainly things weren’t always smooth, but he battled through, day after day and hour after hour.

He didn’t feel sorry for himself. He never put it on someone else.

Instead, he forged ahead and asked us to join him in love.

The sadness that we feel now is the price that we have to pay for spending so much time in Uncle Jim’s loving embrace.

We don’t have to feel the separation because he is with us. He always will be with us.

And back when I was 12 years old, I was completely wrong.

Uncle Jim wasn’t just a good guy.

He was a great man.

And we should all be honored that God allowed us to share his kingdom of days.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Man, the Dope Is That There's Still Hope.

The only possible news that could have lifted my spirits yesterday was that Springsteen was coming out with a new album and touring the country in the near future.

So he announced on his website that it was exactly what was happening.

It's just music. He's just our family's favorite artist. He did what he could.

So, this morning, I put on the E Street station and headed out on a long trip, thinking of my uncle and writing his eulogy. I don't want to write it. I never wanted to write it. I will though because I can't help my aunt around the house in the near future as my other brothers or even my wife can.

So, I'll do what I can.

And as I drove I thought of my brother John and the fact that today is his birthday. A wake is a crummy place to spend your birthday. I hoped Bruce could help a little.

At noon they started the concert for the day. They play an entire concert from start to finish. I needed a full show. As they were announcing the venue and the date I was hoping that it was a newer show because Bruce just had so much more music to choose from. I wanted some of the newer stuff mixed in.

From HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY from November 22, 2009.

That would work just fine. It was a show that a lot of us attended. It goes without saying that it was a great show. They played all of Greetings from Asbury Park.

I concentrated on the lyrics. (Listen to the words!) even though I knew them all by heart.

"Man, the dope's that there's still hope."

Over and over I sang that lyric.

Thanks, Bruce, again, for reminding me.

At a rest stop I texted my brother to let him know they were replaying the show.

"No kidding," he texted back.

I know two people who had their spirits lifted on a cold, gray day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just Can't Pick it Up

So, feeling, once again like I have my shit together, but having a lot of trouble picking it up.

Let me tell you about the weekend.

Saturday morning I woke to a swollen left ankle. Big deal, cry me a river, right?

Well, I had a choice of which leg to put on the floor. The swollen, very painful ankle, or the still real stiff, swollen, surgically repaired (twice) knee.

I laid in bed from 3:30 to 7 a.m.


Of Jeff

Of Dad

Of Aunt Carolyn

Of Uncle Jim


I didn't say it was profound thinking.

My problem being that I needed that time to lie there and consider everything. Besides, if I'd gotten up, I would have had to let the dogs out, feed them, and give them a ride in the car.

I took a pain pill.

It would work for the ankle and the knee. It wouldn't work for the WTF? portion of the program.

By 7:00 I got out of bed. I put on a pair of pajamas and headed to the door with the dogs. I stayed in the backyard, looking up, feeling the love of those who'd gone, but feeling the pain they left behind.

Melky immediately wanted her ride. I didn't have milk for the coffee anyway.

So I limped to the car.

Damaged as I was, I felt that I could still move forward.

Picture it:

Limping on both legs...doing the ow, ow, shit, ow, mother fu&%$, as I walked down the aisle of the mostly empty store. In my pajama bottoms, Carhartt, and sneakers with untied laces.

I felt the eyes of the cashier boring a hole through my back. She must have been thinking: "WTF?"

If she only knew.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

June the 2, Pork Chops, Billy Joel & Greatness

When I lost my brother my Dad and my Uncle Jim made sure that they stepped in to make up for some of the loss by calling me and telling me they were thinking about me.

When Dad passed, Uncle Jim, his own heart broken worked even harder to touch base. We talked Yankees, food, the Ria sisters (Gonna and Dia), and how much we missed our brothers.

Uncle Jim got pretty sick, really fast. We lost him this morning. He will most likely get to heaven before the pasta is served. If life is fair, there will be pork chops in the sauce today.

My Uncle loved pork chops. I'm talking, he dreamed of them sometimes. He'd call me late in the afternoon and ask me what I was having for dinner. We shared dinner quite a few times...not enough though.

He loved his family even more. Uncle Jim would call me the day before my birthday. Every year. He said he wanted to be the first one to wish me a great day. Then he would call me the next day and ask me if he'd been first.

He was so dedicated to his wife, daughters, and grandchildren that like my Dad, every other pursuit of the fleeting things in life was dismissed. As long as he fostered that love, he was happy. And he was always happy. His personality traits should be studied and taught to others in this world.

For years I told Uncle Jim that he resembled Billy Joel, and he did a little. He loved when I told him that because he would insist that he got his Christie Brinkley.

And he did. He loved my aunt so much. He loved his daughters and grandchildren even more. He loved his mom and dad and his brothers and sisters. Since I was a small boy, I'd tell my Dad that Uncle Jim was one of the best guys I ever met.

My Dad agreed.

Everybody did.

So, here we are again. June the 2 will never be the same because Uncle Jim was the one, who like George Costanza's father, made it into his own holiday. This past year my "Merry June the 2" call came at 6:30 a.m.

I smiled when I saw Uncle Jim's name on the face of my phone.

As a matter of fact, he always made me smile.

And there's a great temptation to feel sorry for my family here. Yeah, we've taken an absolute beating in the last 3 years, losing parents, uncles, nephews, brothers, aunts and moms and dads.

I dread all of the pain, but I do know...for certain now...that we will sustain. I've said it so many times: love kicks deaths ass if we look at it the right way, and there is no separation, if we don't allow our hearts to feel it.

And we will sustain because of the love they showed us, taught us, and demanded of us.

I'll miss you more than you know, Uncle Billy Joel, but then again, you're right here, always, in the muscle beating underneath my shirt.

Feeling thankful that I basked in greatness.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

With Love


hey say that all you really need is your health. I'm not sure who "they" is, but I can tell you for sure that you really miss your good health when it's gone.

And I'm just talking about a bum wheel.

There are so many other things in the grab bag that can really strip you of the vibrant health of your youth, and it occurs to me, we are all going to get something.

Somewhere along the way, our nice little life is going to be threatened by a disease or a diagnosis that makes us scramble to google for a clue on what went wrong with our given vessel.

Yesterday there was a boy and his sister on the news. The sister started her fundraising campaign to help her little bro raise money to battle what was ailing him. They interviewed her first and then they cut to her suffering sibling. His face was pale, he was rail thin, and his speech was stilted. His sister, on the other hand, was positively glowing with excellent health.

It just didn't look fair.

It's all a crap shoot.

They say to eat right, get a good night's rest and try not to attack your own body with poison unless you practice moderation.

"A glass of wine is good for you," an alcoholic might say.

A liter of Jim Beam...maybe not so much.

In any regard, at the end of the day, perhaps it doesn't matter. Maybe all there is up there is a board with a name next to it that begs for an affliction to be placed next to our name.

"Look it up," those in charge tell us.

So what will it be?

Catfish Hunter, an athlete in his 50's got Lou Gehrig's disease. Every single man will get a dose of prostate cancer just for fun (and people say God doesn't have a sense of humor).

Another youngster in the community died in his sleep the other day. He was ten years old.

Breast cancer? The line is long.

Heart disease? That one stretches around the corner.

And there are charities set up to battle the disease of the day.

"We have to stomp out _______!"

Fill in the blank.

But there will be another new disease on the opposite corner because our vessels weren't built for the real long haul. Parts wear out. Things need to be repaired or replaced. It would be an awfully crowded place if we all went to 223 years of age or so. Something has to get us.

It's all a game of cruel roulette.

The wheel goes round and round and we don't know where it's going to stop.

Stands to reason we best enjoy ourselves as the wheel is spinning.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Things We Should Be Able to Do Something About

All right. We are occupying the land, right? Are there things we can put on the agenda for discussion?

1). No more ATM bank fees. We can all get behind this, right? Have you ever been at a casino, for instance, and been hit with the question of whether or not you'd pay the fee to get your money?

Sure you have. Have you ever considered not hitting yes? Get rid of the fees, please.

2). No more lawyer ads. Ever. The appearance of the lawyer acting compassionate makes my skin crawl. A soft song plays over the if the lawyer loves you.

"Have you been hurt in a car? Do you know what to do? You've heard it said a million times."

Yeah, we have. You're the one who keeps saying it! Shut-up! Shut-up! Shut-up!

3). No more political ads, either way, talking about how the other guy is all for his own party and will not cooperate with the other party and that when you are elected it will be a fantasy-land of cooperation.

You all hate the other party, and we all hate you. Don't make the ad.

4). The rules of congress have to be changed. 60 Minutes was all over the truth the other night telling us how these guys make millions. It's stealing and cheating.

A congressman's business card should say, "I steal and cheat. Thank you for being so dumb."

Term limits. Arrest the bastards. Something. We should be able to do something about it.

5). Stop telling us about the healthy choices at your fast food restaurants. We know the food sucks for us. We know that it's going to sit in our guts like a bowling ball. We don't want a salad. Got cheese, add it. Got bacon, throw that on there too. We ain't stopping at your greasepit to stay under our alloted points for the day.

6). And another thing. When we walk in to a place and step up to read the menu, don't immediately ask us if you can help us. Yes, we want you to help us, but we'd like 3 freaking seconds to look at the menu to figure out how we are going to make our hearts skip a bit. And when I'm done ordering don't ask me if I want an apple pie. I'm not a moron. If I wanted one I would have ordered it.

7). And those of you at the drug store and the dog food store. Please don't ask us if we'd like to save 1% on our purchase by filling out an application to carry your rewards card around in our wallet. Just check out the 40 pound bag of dog food I'm holding and shut up about your neat fan club card.

I'm not allowed to sign up for anything anyway because my wife revoked my man card about 12 years ago.

Occupy that, please, as long as we're bitching about things that won't ever change.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Everything I Know-Decisions, Decisions

Everything I Know About Making the Right Decisions

A successful life hinges on making a higher percentage of wise choices versus stupid mistakes.

It is easy to make a mistake.

A lapse in judgment is possible in every waking moment. We make mistakes because of inner conflict, because of resentment, out of feelings of guilt and frustration.

Sometimes they are mistakes that do not allow us room to recover.

The greatest mistake that we can make is to let an error in judgment strip us of faith in ourselves.

There is a right and a wrong way to live life.

I believe that living right is based on a number of true scientific principles. If you break the laws of science your life may go terribly wrong.

Common sense, hopefully, will tell you that making honest, unselfish and right decisions will allow you to lead a more peaceful life.

Unfortunately we can’t see very far down the road.

In a lot of instances this shortsightedness costs us in the end. Realizing this should provide enough instruction to make each step true. Put each foot down in wisdom and faith, and turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones.

Sometimes the decisions that we need to make don’t come easily. We are driven face first into the ground ahead as we trip on the past mistakes that we don’t disregard as useless baggage.

In some instances it is fear of moving forward that stops us in our tracks. By keeping your energy levels high, and believing in your solid heart, you will discourage those fears.

Ask yourself ‘Am I doing the right thing?’

Ask that question over and over, and before long, you’ll know everything I know about making the right decisions.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Love & Happiness

Mellencamp wrote a song back in the 80's called Love & Happiness. The lyrics of the song pop into my head every now and again because things haven't seemed to change all that much. I think the song sort of hit me back then because I was just figuring some things out. It's a downer, but as I considered the Penn State deal, it kept finding its way to the front of my mind. JM doesn't offer a lot of answers.

Because there aren't any.

Love & Happiness by John Mellencamp

Well they're dropping their bombs in the southern hemisphere
And people are dying who live right here
And they're fighting wars in the name of peace
And they're killing each other in the middle east

Well love & happiness have forgotten our names
there ain't no value left in love and happiness.

They raised the price of oil and they censure our mouths
if you're a young couple today forget buying a house
we wage our wars in the neighborhoods
we kill the old to feed the young
and man that ain't no good.

Yeah but love & happiness have forgotten our names
and there's no value left in love and happiness.

So if you sell arms, or you run dope,
you got respect
and you got hope
But the rest of us die on your battlefields
with wounds that fester and bleed
but never heal

Love and happiness have forgotten our names.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Replacing Regis

So getting back to work at my long-time job is on the immediate horizon. I am ready...easy goes it, but on the way back.

And in the meantime, the world is calling for me to take a new job:

As Regis' replacement on Regis and Kelly.

Call it Clifford and Kelly.

I suppose I'd have to do it, but there are some problems:

1). I'd have to give up a lot of time with my beautiful wife and spend those moments with Kelly Ripa. We all know that there's no contest there. Ripa is all right.

She ain't no Kathy Fazzolari.

2). I'd have to learn how not to swear. It's live television and television show hosts aren't allowed to say the first word that pops into their minds. Unfortunately for me, every sentence seems to start with 'What the F&^%?'

3). I'd have to fawn over alleged superstars. This may be a major problem as I really don't kiss ass very well.

"So, you've kicked your spousal abuse problem by going through anger management?"

May very well turn into:

"Good morning, you piece of f*&^ing s&*%t, why are you here?"

4). They don't start the show until 9 a.m. Given my present work schedule I may have to grab a second job that starts more in line with the time I get up in the morning. Perhaps I can work on the set or something. You know, help Gelman out a bit.

5). And then there's the problem of the money. Regis made way too much money for sitting there and reading the newspaper. By all accounts, he's a good dude, but I'd shame the rest of them by donating a lot of the cabbage to people who are less fortunate. That would most certainly cause a chain reaction in which all the entertainers making zillions of dollars for easy jobs would have to give back.

6). The other people up for the job are Nick Lachey, Kelly's current husband Mark (that would change if she had to spend a lot of time with me...that relationship is doomed), and Ryan Seacrest.

They are all perceived to be good-looking guys. My emergence on the scene would change what everyone sees as good-looking.

I'm not sure I'm ready for all that sex-symbol attention.


So, as you see, there is more there than meets the eye as I consider taking the job.

Besides, I have to answer them about hosting the Oscars before I really consider taking over for Regis.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Watching T.V.

Man I've logged some television hours this past week. In a glimpse into the future, I've tried hard to stay grounded. Like an elderly man, I've put down a few things on a daily schedule and those things have really grated on me during the course of the day, until I get them done.

So, what kind of television has been on?

True crime dramas. Not certain what station it is - 104 on our cable box - but it replays the 48 hours and dateline deals. Lots of husband killing wives and vice-versa. They do them in mystery form. The I Almost Got Away with it ones are good too, but too many shows like that over and over makes it difficult.

The brain goes to mush.

So then there are the Westerns. Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Rawhide. We've been over this...good morals...good stories...simpler times, but the guns and horses and all that, sooner or later, the brain goes to mush.

So switch to the comedies. Seen them all over time. Big Bang, Two & a Half Men, Friends. The simple plots, the quick wit, the crazy antics...


But here I sit. Notebook and laptop ready for writing. Facebook and Twitter for the arguing with friends.

All mush.

The kids have entertained me though. We've had a lot of time to joke around, and I sort of like them. My mind is active when they are in the room.

Two more weeks of laying low. I will certainly amp up the schedule for the coming two weeks, but I'll be careful too. No way this leg will take another surgery.

So here I sit. For the time being.

Just watching t.v.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Merry Mother of Muffins

In the family dynamic that has developed here in our home Sam has become the 'Carrie' of the unit. He's the guy everyone calls for when we need something done.

"Sam, get me a water."

"Sam, let the dogs out!"

"Sam, where's the remote?"

And it works nicely because like Carrie, Sam is always ready, willing and able to help. He's actually what makes the machine go around here.

So, to thank him, when a pair of hockey tickets became available, I grabbed them for Sam, and my niece. They headed to the game on Friday night.

A grand gesture and a big payback, but one aspect of my plan was not well-thought out:

I was going to be without Sam for the evening.

The leg sucks. At least this time I know that it isn't anything I can change. Having had it done six months ago I have a bit of insight. It's going to feel like a bowling ball is in there. Standing on it, or climbing a ladder for that matter, is not highly recommended.

So I won't be fooled again.

"Can you take this ice pack?" I asked my beautiful wife in the late afternoon. It was the white one. Sam wasn't there to put it away.

About 4 hours later Kathy and Jake joined me for a movie. During the movie I needed a water. I verbalized my needs.

"Grab me a nutty cone when you're up," my beautiful wife said.
"I'll have an ice cream sandwich," Jake chimed in.

"Sam!!!" I called.

We all laughed and Jake finally got up, moaning and groaning his way across the treacherous 30 feet to the kitchen.

"Grab the white ice pack," I said.

He came back with the water and the BLUE ice pack. The problem being, I had just put the blue ice pack back.

"The white one," I said. "Sorry, this one isn't cold yet."

Jake made a grand show of being put completely out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my wife grow a tad uncomfortable.

"Where the merry mother of muffins is it?" Jake cried out from his space in front of the freezer.

"Uh-oh," my wife said.

"Sam!!!!!!" I yelled.

Poor kid.

He's not going to any more hockey games.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Sun Rises...

...over Happy Valley.

One of the interesting aspects of life is the picking up of the pieces after tragedy strikes.

It isn't easy to do.

When multiple people are involved in a tragedy it is imperative that they step through the healing process at roughly the same pace, or resentment and anger is displaced and the tragedy spirals.

Stepping together is difficult. Nearly impossible. Parents who suffer a tragedy don't make it through, usually.

The sun will rise over Happy Valley no matter how unhappy everyone is.

The most difficult aspect of a tragedy is to internalize it and try and make sense. It is so difficult for a rational mind to understand the workings of an irrational person. What may be even more disconcerting is attempting to make sense of God's plan when the answers are not available.

At all.

No matter how we want them to be.

There are people who are drawn to serial killers. For every ten people who are disgusted by the evil that lurks around 3 out of 4 corners there is someone who thinks its sort of cool.

Why would the masses continue to cheer?

Because they don't understand.

Much about anything.

I've lived long enough now to know that the next horrific event is right around the bend. No matter how many rivers we cross there will be another river ahead.

We have to keep crossing them, hoping that we don't lose each other along the way.

Hoping that we don't lose hope.

Hoping that maybe we have learned from the latest horrific act.

And begging God to be merciful because like I said yesterday:

We are a mess right now.

But the sun will rise again.

Over Happy Valley.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Post # 1,500 - Oh the Humanity

I never imagined that I'd get to 1,500 posts on this blog, but like everything else, I worked it into my schedule and then sort of obsessed about doing it, not really caring about how it was received, but trying to enjoy the process.

Sometimes it's a bit of a drag as I wonder what the hell to say. Sometimes I wonder why I say what I said, and sometimes I just hope it's funny. I don't purposely set out to piss off any particular party of people.

But it doesn't bother me if I do.

Sometimes I take to the keyboard to convey sincere love, pain and hope. Sometimes, I'm really, really pissed off.

It's disconcerting to me that it is my starting point for the 1,500th post.

I am nauseated by the Penn State situation.

Not the crimes so much....mental illness will always be around...horrible, but basically unsolvable.

Especially when it is allowed to fester.

And make no mistake, it was allowed to go on. People knew. The man was reprimanded. He was still allowed to roam the campus. Word never leaked out because it was going to cost money. Millions of dollars. Reputations would be ruined.

The second thing about it that really bothers me is the reaction. Fans were cheering for the coach. He didn't do it. He only knew. Regardless, he should not be cheered. Never, ever. Not on a train, not on a boat, not in a car, not with a goat. Never.

Fans should not be chanting "Beat Nebraska!"

The team should not be allowed to finish the season.

It's that simple.

And if the world was right, it would stop. And save me the innocent until proven guilty. He was reprimanded years ago and promised to stop showering with little boys. He admitted the abuse and said he hated himself to the mother of one of his victims.

That is public record.

So, why am I so upset?

Because it is a microcosm of the world we live in. It's smack dab in the center of my life and in my life, I've decided to write, for myself and for those I love. I can't let it go.

We are in a mess. We are collectively a country of people who have lost their way. We pay millions to CEO's who don't earn it. We pay hundreds of millions to sports stars. We cheer for celebrities who have stolen our money and committed crimes, and we shrug it off, saying they deserve second chances.

We need new rules. If you can't behave, we will give you a second chance, but not a second chance to be a glorified millionaire. Blow it's gone. Join the rest of us worthless slobs at the bottom of the pole.

We elect pedophiles, serial cheaters, guys who are accused of stealing, raping and harassing. We overlook it. We cheer for them because we all want to have our own little piece of celebrity action.

People go on television and act like idiots. People speak in public as if they are in the middle of a bar.

I'm not sanctimonious. I've certainly made mistakes, but I've never done some of the things these people have done and expect to still hear people cheering for me. When I make a mistake, I ask for forgiveness. I try my best to keep my mistakes to a minimum and I certainly couldn't live with myself if I had a raped child or two on my conscious...even if I just heard a whisper.

It would have been reported. I would have at least blogged about, cursed about it, and screamed it from my bedroom window.

Tomorrow I will most likely write a post about something light. Maybe the Yanks, maybe the dogs, maybe my love of family, or sunsets, or Judge Judy.

But today, I am sick of a lot of things.

People chanting for Tiger, Vick, Paterno, Mel Gibson...there are hundreds more...and will be thousands after this...

People stealing from people who can't afford to eat.

We need a moral center.

Right now, morality is just a rumor.

And that is aggravating to me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Down Goes Frazier!

When I saw the R.I.P. next to Joe Frazier's photo one thing came to mind quickly:

"He was something."

Frazier, of course, fought Ali back in the days when boxing was a major sport. Ali was a master and Frazier was more than a worthy adversary, he was sort of nuts. He'd just march forward with his head down taking hit after hit after hit and offering his own punishing shots.

"Down Goes Frazier!!"

I can still hear Howard Cosell screaming it as me, John and Dad watched the Thrilla in Manilla fight in 1975.

We all wanted Frazier to get up. He always seemed to get up. After that fight Ali said he thought he might die in the ring.

About 20 years ago I was out of town for work. I was in Scranton, Pa. for a job and I pulled up to a little rinky-dink hotel that had a great steak house attached. There was a huge stretch limo in front of the steak house, but I didn't pay it much mind. It was only a one-room restaurant however so everyone that showed up that night got to watch Joe Frazier eat his steak.

He was about thirty feet away. The steak he had was as big as his own massive head. The heavyweight championship ring on his finger was as big as the steak.

"He'll shake your hand," my waiter told me. "Just make it fast."

You wouldn't believe how fast it was. I told him he was great and he said something that I really didn't understand. His hand engulfed mine. He smiled.

As I left the joint, all the things I whine about now popped into my head.

"He's just a boxer."

"He makes his living at sport."

"I couldn't even understand him!"

But I kept looking at my hand.

Shake the hand that shook the hand of Joe Frazier.

He was a legend.

The other thing that stands out about that night was that I ordered the same steak he did. I specifically remember telling the waiter:

"I'll have what Joe's having."

My steak was waaaaaaaaayyyyyy smaller.

(Still ain't over that).

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

C'Mon Up! There's Room

We have a horribly mentally-affected dog. By all accounts, Paris is a wonderful canine, but if she were Mike Vick's dog...well, let's just say she'd have been disposed of by now.

The word for it is skittish. Paris runs from company. And I'm not talking about being a little shy. When my brother Jim was by, she was so afraid that we had to literally go outside and get her with a collar...two days later.

When I returned from the hospital I was on crutches. Paris' new phobia is crutches. They are near my bed now and she won't come up the stairs because they're in my room.

Right now, in the middle of the afternoon, with Bonanza on, a minor miracle has occurred. Paris is in the middle of my bed, just mere feet from the hated crutches.

And given the fact that I have a lot of time to think, there's a life lesson in there because you see, Paris really loves me.

Her love has conquered her fears.

We have a strange dynamic around our house when it comes to the dogs and it all stems from their love of me. Melky is unbelievably protective, not even allowing someone to approach me with the ice pack. Paris tries to be as close as Melky and me are, but those damn fears!

Regardless, its strange when I open my eyes in the morning...the love fest begins. Both dogs sit in front of me, or on top of me, begging for my affections.

"That's 'cause you smell just like them," my beautiful wife said.

Yet watching how the dogs react to love, security, and a stern word is interesting to me in that you can tell that they are like the rest of us.

They don't want confrontation or chaos in their lives. They want to be warm, fed, played with and loved. They don't want the fear of torn cartilage, or big bad crutches, or even strangers in their home.

As Paris lies on the bed, she lifts her head every few minutes to make sure that the crutches haven't started walking across the room.

For now, everything is all right. Love has displaced fear, and this episode is featuring Little Joe.

Life is good for an hour or so.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Valley

I'm disgusted again.

I thought Joe Paterno was a cool guy. He talked a great game. It was more than football. It was about educating young men. He always seemed to say the right thing.

As the new disgusting story of the day goes one of Joe's assistant coaches saw one of Joe's former coaches anally raping a ten-year-old boy in the shower. This allegedly happened in 2002.

Over the weekend Joe released a statement that way back then he did what he was supposed to do by calling it in. He is shocked and saddened.

Okay, Joe...that's fine. Keep your job, your millions and your legacy. No biggie.


I am actually sick to my stomach thinking about this one. Why in the world, when you took that phone call didn't you hold an immediate press conference, call 911 and bitch slap the guy until he owned up to his sick mind?

I'll tell you why...because you only gave a crap for your legacy and all that you built over your big, impressive career and that maybe it would cost you money.

It's a ten year old boy!

And now there are people saying that Paterno has earned the right to quit when he wants to and that the program will do things better from now on and that Joe is shocked and saddened.

You didn't do what a man is supposed to do!

If you saw your neighbor beating the shit out of his wife would you not make the call? If you saw someone shoot someone on the street would you pretend that you're blind?

I can keep coming up with examples, but there's nothing as vile as what you did, except of course, for what your coach did. And you knew all about it! And he spent nine more years attacking innocent children, while you prayed it would be okay so no one would say something bad about you.

10 years old!

Quit. Go sit in a chair somewhere and never show your wrinkled face in public again.

You're an asshole.

How's that for Happy Valley?

Way Too Early

TBS played How the Grinch Stole Christmas on November 5th. This morning I saw dancing Hersheys kisses in their Christmas outfits and a commercial about Santa with back pain.

My beautiful wife is already in her fog of gathering gifts for a few boys who have whatever the heck they need anyway.

"What do you want for Christmas?" is a question she doesn't even bother to ask me anymore.

Especially at the beginning of November!

What the hell happened here? Christmas is nearly 50 days away. Didn't we used to wait until Thanksgiving passed before all of this started?

Now, I'm not against Christmas...and I like presents too, but the 27-time Yankees didn't win the world series this year so there won't be a new plaque on my wall on the 26th. Sox without a hole for the big toe may be the big present for me this year.

The theme behind the Grinch movie is about the real meaning of Christmas. Dr. Seuss would probably be a little agitated with the fact that the commercialism is starting so early.

Of course, a lot of my Christmas shopping was done with a few flicks of the computer. I had Sam figure out which Sabres game they'd like to go to. Last year we went and the entire event was a success other than the $500 that was coughed up. But I remember how excited they had been walking away from the arena. Hockey isn't my favorite thing. Coughing up that much money for the billionaire who owns the millionaires is aggravating, but...

...but they will be smiling.

The gift won't be a surprise to any of them, but Sam chose a gold game. Ovechkin and the Capitals in town on the day after Christmas.

Thank God I have 50 days to save up the money.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Perhaps the worst and best of being laid up is that you have a lot of time to think. Unfortunately, sometimes the thinking comes in the middle of the night whenever everyone else is asleep, and there's no one to bounce things off of.

The conversations with Melky are a little one-sided and she hardly reacts unless I mention a squirrel somewhere in the message.

I'm reading a memoir of a girl who, during her formative years, slept with a lot of men as she searched for validation and love. A fairly common theme, I'm told, although those girls saw me as a good friend as I grew.

Yet the striking thing about it is the lengths that we all seem to go to in order to sabatoge our own efforts. We can do everything right for all the hours out of the week and then screw up the effort with a bad word, an hour of weakness, or a three-hour window where we forget to do the things we are supposed to do.

I'm not sure what to make out of all of it except to understand that as humans we are weak. We know the big picture and the right way to go about it, but we cave.

Growing up, the nuns taught us a lot about our conscious. That's a good thing, right? Listening to them, I never felt anything but guilty.

And as the protestors gather, I wonder what the conscious is like for some of the people who are out on yachts and living in a summer home while others suffer. They most likely don't feel a thing. How could they?

Newt Gingrich was talking tonight. Middle of the night, flipping by kind of thing.

"People should not get a handout, period, unless they have a severe disability."

I know we are all supposed to make our own way, but I find Newt's comment incredibily short-sighted. We don't all have the same opportunities no matter how good that sounds. It isn't the same for everyone. There are people without severe disabilities who are struggling in this new world order.

And the opportunties to sabotage our own lives are endless. It seems that every single day I read about a middle-aged man or woman convicted of embezzlement. Last night's news went like this:

Pedophile, embezzelment, fire, murder, celebrity jailed, sports and then weather.

People aren't bad. Over and over I need to tell myself that, but that's what we are fed, day after day...night after night.

Living the right way is harder than taking the low road. I'm hoping that I don't sabotage my efforts at all this week.

Gotta' go, there's a squirrel outside the window and Melky wants to have a conversation.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Andy Rooney

How could you not like Andy Rooney?

His eyebrows were a little scary, but he always seemed to tell the truth about everyday living.

The fact that he retired just a month ago, at the age of 92, and died almost immediately was kind of comforting because he wanted to work right up to the end.

And what I liked the most about it is that he said, a lot of times, that a writer's job is to tell the truth, and that was what he did, no matter who liked it or how popular he was or wasn't. He wasn't swayed by working for 60 Minutes or the big shots. He called his own shots.

And he was moral and a voice of reason in a lot of ways.

Being laid up again, I'm watching a lot of old Westerns. I don't know why I need to go there when I have nothing else to do, but it seems that the messages are so much simpler. There's a good guy, a bad guy and a moral choice. The good guys usually win, but not without having paid a price. To get what they wanted they have to give up something else.

But in the end, doing the right thing wins out.

Contrast that with the show Two Broke Girls...a new show that is trying to be funny. On last weeks episode they talked at length about their vagina's. At 8 o'clock at night.

The episode wasn't funny. In fact, it was downright stupid. I changed the channel. No moral choice because the morals are gone.

A buddy of mine and I were chatting about it.

"It's a money grab," he said. "Don't care about anything but making money."

I'm sure that Andy Rooney crowed about it somewhere along the way. You don't live as long as he did and not see such a shift. Hell, you want to see the shift, just watch one of those old shows.

They had to tell a joke to make you laugh. It wasn't all about the shock.

And as I write that I think of how contradictory I sound because I love Howard Stern, but what can I say? Howard is at least clever, and tries.

Anyway, thanks for the memories.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lou Shaves My Leg

I don't remember them shaving my leg for the last knee surgery. I imagine that it must have been done, but it wasn't done before they knocked me out. This time, a very pleasant man came at me with the razor.

"How did you hurt your leg?" he asked.

"It's a long story," I said. "Originally, it may have been from playing my kid in hoops, but I beat him."

Lou took his razor out. He talked about the NBA. We were both a little uncomfortable. I'd never had a man shave my leg, or a woman either for that matter, and Lou probably did it before, but he wasn't thrilled I'm sure.

What to talk about in such a moment of intimacy?

Lou stuck to basketball until I told him I really didn't give a flying crap about the lockout and then we went to hockey and football. Lou hates hockey.

He moved the razor deftly and told me how bad hair is for infection during an operation.

There were others in and out. I tried my best to be cheerful, remembered to say thank you every time one of the nurses popped in. My beautiful wife is a nurse. Does it hurt to be nice to them? I told the one who took my blood pressure she was the best. When Lou was done shaving my leg - it was real smooth - I asked, "Who's better than you?"

Lou seemed a tad concerned.

I thought about the whole deal. A bunch of selfless people, right? Some of the things that those in that profession have to do. I mean who the hell wants to shave my leg?

Feeling better already...I had another tear in cartilage that was causing the problem after the repair of the last tear. There is most likely a cause for the second tear:


So, this time, I will pay attention. Unfortunately self-knowledge only shows itself after we've completely screwed something up.

So, here we are.

Lou is probably helping someone else. I really hope he isn't writing a blog about having shaved my leg, but I'm glad he did it.

It's so smooth!

Friday, November 4, 2011

There's Something Wrong With You!

So, let's analyze. Why do I like Judge Judy? I have heard that it is a fixed sort of show, where they allow people to stand there and settle their dispute, and in the end, the show picks up the tab.

That's fine. It's not the Kardashians. She isn't fooling me.

Why I like it though is because I am amazed at the people who are happy to get on television even though what they are doing is actually downright despicable, if not just plain stupid.

The Wednesday night episode had two cases. In the first, a pretty girl locked her boyfriend out because he showed up 7 hours late for a date. He kicked in her door and she took him to court for the cost of the door.

As a guy, how do you agree to go on television to talk about such a moment?

How many doors have you kicked in during your life?

Judge Judy stopped the case, telling them that she was tired of their stupidity.

Perfect answer.

The 2nd case was about a woman who was suing for money because she needed plastic surgery.

Judge Judy asked her about her kids and then lectured her about throwing away money for a breast implant when she has kids to take care of.


JJ yelled that about five times.

She's right. That's what I like.

We honestly should have a television show where someone just stands there and tells people over and over again what is stupid. Perhaps if we could just get it all out in the open, we'd be able to do something about reducing the level of stupidity in the world.

I'd love to host such a show.

Just one scenario after another. People would line up to stand in front of me because everyone wants to be on television. They can tell me the story of their life. I'll listen, and then tell them how stupid they are. We can all have a good laugh.

It would be a hit.

Me and JJ could change the world.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Number 23

The address to this website is

That isn't a mistake.

Whenever I program something into the microwave it has a 23 in it. Need to heat something up?

1 minute and 23 seconds will do it.

It's the first number I pick on the quick-pick for the lottery. I don't use it for passwords though because that would be too obvious.

Because, you see, my favorite baseball player of all-time wore #23. Donnie Baseball.

And I shared the love of that number with my brother Jeff. We fought over the number on our softball team. We played Captain Says Shoot for it.

Guess who won.

We used it as our calling card.

So, why am I bringing it up now?

Well, I have been glancing at the clock lately and the number always seems to be 23. I woke in the morning, pulled the clock to me: 5:23.

Driving along, I look up wondering how much time I have to make it to an appointment: 10:23.

It's driving me crazy!

It's happened ten times in the last two days.

I set my GPS for a destination this morning. I was glad to see that it was 7:14 when I did it.

"At least there isn't a 23," I whispered.

The details of the trip came back to me.

Yep...223 miles.

If Jeff is taunting me...'s working.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Cut me, Mick"

So, they are checking the knee again. Perfect timing because it really is getting to me. Golf is shut down and the knee has been troublesome from the time they did it the first time.

Of course, they fixed the old problem last time...mobility is actually way better, but the pins and needles and the swelling.

So, borrowing from Rocky it! Cut me!

There are a couple of things I plan on doing differently this time.

First off, I won't climb a ladder 12 hours after the surgery, under any circumstances.

Secondly, I will do the rehab to the letter of the law. I plan on going to the YMCA and riding the bike, and sitting in the hot tub.

I may be dumb, but I can't possibly make the same mistakes twice in a row, can I?

Melky is ready for the downtime too. We are going to watch Bonanza and Gunsmoke. The laundry will be done tonight and the house is clean so there may not be a need for me to move around a lot until Monday.

But...and I caution you...get ready for the whining.

Do you hear me, Larry?

Damn, I wish it was baseball season.

Oh yeah, if the anesthesia gets's been a fun ride.

Topping Eyewitness News

Remember when they used to say:

"It's 11 o'clock, do you know where your children are?"

My Dad used to say, "Yeah all the bastards are right here."

Anyway...who could have called the Kim and what's-his-pus divorce? This just proves to me that anyone who watches one of those reality shows should be lined up and shot. They are all fake, people. It's like pro wrestling.

Also, I may be in the minority, but I wouldn't know a Kardashian if they hit me with their big asses. Don't remember ever seeing one. Hear they have nice butts though. I'm an ass man.

I walk down the street and people yell: "You're an ass, man."

(Thanks Rodney).

I see that Cain went to the Dubya school of politics - did you hear him speak?

New rule:

If you can't complete a sentence an eigth-grader can complete, you can't run for president.

And Rick Perry? He's downright dim-witted. Not that I'm against all the Republican candidates, but is this what they can drum up? Holy crap. One is dumber than the next.

Not to say that Obama has had an easy time of it. It seems that no matter what happens the economy continues to tank, or at least that's what they tell us...economy is pretty good around CC Sabathia's house these days.

And the Bills paid their quarterback 10 mil a year. Ridiculous? He's 13 and 15 as a starter.

If Cain or Rick Perry were doing the math that would be a million per win.

Leaving Iraq, huh?

Good news, but the exit plan was sort of slow...nine years after mission accomplished.

I hate Halloween.

All of it.

The candy, the costumes, the little bastards making me get up from watching Judge Judy.

I gave them all a lot of candy though.

That's the news for now.

Go find where your kids are.

That's so funny to the news comes on and the announcer says, "Do you know where your children are?"

And you're going to go:

"That's right!!!! I have kids!"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And With Your Spirit

So, I went to church in North Collins on Saturday. Unfortunately, mass was in honor of Dad and Aunt Carolyn. It's awesome that the mass is said in their honor, but....ahh, you know.

Anyway, it was the first mass where they introduced the changes that the Catholic church is making. The Roman Catholic church has been hammered at all angles by accusations of molestation of little boys and the biggest changes they make, after all this time, is to change a few words in the prayers so that now those of us who went to chuch all of our lives shout out the wrong answers.

I tapped my brother-in-law on the shoulder as the changes were being announced.

"Is Jesus still the guy we're talking about here?"

"Yep," Chucky answered.


The first prayer where the changes were evident contained the word consubstantial. Quick, use consubstantial in a sentence. What the hell does it mean?

"That's not even a word," I mumbled.

"I smell a blog coming," Corinne said.

And I suppose it was inevitable. Why the changes? What's the difference if he says "Peace be with you," and we say, "And also with you," like we used too instead of with "And with your spirit."

Explain please!

Was it just a bunch of Cardinals sitting in a room saying, "Let's mess them up. Anybody know a really big word that no one has ever said before?"


"What does it mean?"

"Who cares, they'll say it."

A few times during mass people shouted out the old answers. At one point the priest just kept saying the same thing over and over until he got the new answer...he got it from everyone but my brother, who having caught on to what the priest wanted...said the old answer again to make my boys laugh.

We'll catch on, I suppose. I may even know what consubstantial means real soon as I'm thinking of looking it up.

But as long as we are talking about religion, I must comment on Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers who said God told him, on the on-deck circle that he was going to hit a home run.

Why does God choose to only speak with certain people? And why didn't God tell Hamilton not to shoot drugs for ten years if they had a line of communication open?

Hamilton went on to say that God didn't tell him who was going to win the game.

Could that be because God doesn't really give a crap about a baseball game (that doesn't involve the Yankees)?

What does God's voice sound like?

How did Hamilton hear Him over the crowd?

Did God tell him that the outcome of the game was consubstantial to what else was going on in the world?

Not sure that is right, but it sounds good.

Peace be with you...

...and with your spirit.


I was ordering lunch on the road and one of the choices was a meatball sub. I wanted to eat something a little healthier than that, but I as...