Saturday, March 31, 2012

I Don't Want It

I may have already won about 600 million dollars.

I don't think I want it.

Can you imagine the people that would want to talk to me?

I don't want to talk to them.

Can you imagine the people who'd be asking me to lend a hand? I'd be harrassed from morning through noon to night. No freaking thank-you.

And since I've been handed a lot of crap that I don't want recently perhaps the lottery gods, who are more likely to hit me with falling airplane parts than bless me with the winning ticket will bless me with the chance to be eternally bothered until I go completely off the rails.

I'm 30 seconds off that pace anyway.

Yet I listened to the news in the middle of Thursday night...

The first anchorman (and did you hear Ron Burgundy is back) told me that her coworker was off tonight before starting in on her newscast.

"I'm Melinda, Robert is off tonight."

Why the hell do I care if Robert is off? Rubbing it in?

"Mega-Million-Mania is in full swing and you might hold the lucky ticket!"

Then Melinda threw it to a reporter who spent a hundred grand to get a journalism degree to go out on the street to talk to a dirt poor ghetto dweller who explained that if they won the money they'd buy new teeth and an I-pad.

Can you imagine?

A half a billion dollars?

What would I do without the chance to get up and out of bed in the middle of the night to drag my aching ass down the street?

Who needs that aggravation?

Please, please, please don't give me that damn winning ticket.

"Will you retire?" Melinda will call to ask me.

"Will you be donating any of your winnings to the church?"

"Will you now be able to send all of your kids to college?"

"Will some of that money go to filling both of your vehicles with gasoline?"

"Now that you're a multi-millionaire what will you do with the money that you'll save on taxes?"

Who needs it?

Not me.

Still, I better check the ticket.

I pray I don't win!

(check, check, check)

I didn't get even one number!!!!

Oh Thank God!

I get to go back to work Monday!

For once my prayers were answered.

Back to you, Melinda. Tell Robert to hurry back to work.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Where the hell is Dr. Welby?

At the beginning of March I was lucky enough to secure a doctor's appointment with a neurosurgeon to discuss my back, leg and groin pain. I battled through, circling the date on the calendar, and going to therapy twice a week, dealing with traction, sleeping fitfully, but working through it.

The doctor would see me and fix me, right?

It was a bit of a letdown.

I showed up 15 minutes early for my noon appointment. A pretty girl asked me to fill out forms. She seemed concerned with how I'd been feeling.

"How do you feel?" she asked.

"With my hands," I said, raising my eyes to Grandpa.

I didn't see her again until 1:35 when I asked her if it was going to be much longer.

"They're running behind."

That really isn't an answer, but I sat quietly. After all, this was the day I'd been waiting for!

At two o'clock, two hours after my scheduled appointment, I was stirred from my resting spot and brought to another room.

"We'll be right with you."

Twenty more minutes passed.

The doc came in. I had read an article that said they only listen to your first two minutes so I led with my best shit.

"The pain in my groin has me contemplating removal of something I need desperately."

No reaction.

"I'm wondering about the back amputation, do you do that here?"

Nothing.

"My right leg has been asleep all day and I'm afraid it won't sleep at all tonight."

Stone-faced.

She stuck me with a pin.

"Does this feel different?"

"Does that feel different?"

"How's therapy going?"

I explained that I was at my wit's end.

"Do something for me!"

She disappeared.

I headed back to my solitaire game.

"We ordered a test to see if your back pain is related to the numbness and the groin pain. Continue with therapy and try and rest more than you're resting now. We'll have you back in when we see the test results to see if a surgical procedure is the best option."

Wonderful.

I headed back to rest at my job. Four more hours of rest at work that day. Ten hours of work rest the next day. Looking at a 12er today.

The lawn needs to be mowed.

The garage needs to be cleaned.

Dog shit in the backyard!

Only six more weeks to the next appointment.

I better get there early!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trayvon

That's some story out of Sanford, Florida, huh?

If you've been living under a rock a skittles-carrying, iced-tea drinking, hoodie-wearing black child was walking around in a neighborhood, talking on the cell phone and staying out of the rain. A neighborhood watch guy was watching him closely and decided that Trayvon looked like trouble. Zimmerman called 911, was told to stay put, called the kid a fu%&*ng coon, got out of the car and chased the kid down. A scuffle ensued and Trayvon was shot and killed.

If you haven't heard the 911 call, don't listen to it. Hearing that kid scream, "Help me! Help Me!" is bone-chilling.

The watch guy hasn't been arrested yet because there seems to be a backwards ass law on the books in Florida.

There are 16,000 murders in this country every year. This one struck a cord. Trayvon is black.

Geraldo came out and said that the hoodie was as much to blame for the murder as the guy who pulled the trigger.

I read a Facebook post today that said that Trayvon deserved it because he fought back.

A New Orleans police officer was fired for saying that since Trayvon lived like a thug he shouldn't have been surprised to die like a thug.

We have a Trayvon march going on here in Buffalo tomorrow.

We kind of lost of sight of things here, right? A 17-year old boy was shot and killed. His freaking hoodie did it?

WTF?

I have a closet filled with hoodies and I like skittles and iced tea.

The guy chased him down, fought with him, and shot him.

How freaking complicated is this people?

Black, white, purple, beige...what the hell does it matter?

The thing that gets me about it is that we really should be up in arms about all the murders. We kind of slough them off as a society.

"Blacks killing blacks."

What're you gonna' do?

"Husbands killing wives."

At least he had a motive.

The amount of deaths in this country, at the hands of our own citizens, has always kind of confused me.

We can't get on top of that?

I guess if we are going to blame the hoodie, we probably haven't evolved enough to figure it out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Needed Me Some J.J.

This back injury is so freaking weird...and frustrating. I laid low on Sunday. (As low as a Fazzolari can lay), and I felt better. I did my bends and stretches and really congratulated myself on being ready for the work week.

I had a lunch meeting. Just five hours after getting back to work.

"You have a real hitch in your getty-up," my lunch partner said.

I wanted to explain to him that it was because an hour into the freaking work week my back and groin were aching so freaking bad that I wanted to rip the whole shabang off...which would have been a hell of a trick...and throw it in the dumpster.

Do they amputate backs?

Whatever. On with the day. We all have problems, right? Suck it up and tough it out. Shut your whiny mouth.

Got dinner ready. A pretty good steak. Grab the ice pack.

And there was just one other thing I really needed.

"What can I do to help?" My beautiful wife asked.

There was one thing...no more One Tree Hill! No more Desperate Housewives! No more Blue Bloods! No more freaking The Good Wife!

It was time for Judge Judy.

"I wasn't asking you a question you idiot!" J.J. screamed just as I switched the channel.

Perfect.

Feeling better already.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Way We Do It

There's something really cool about being in a room filled with people who share your blood. It's just comfortable, you know?

On Saturday those of us with Fuzzy blood gathered together and while there were a couple there that were not blood-related they are so loved, and so ingrained into the goings-on that there are no illusions, no apologies, no awkward moments. Weiser-Fuzzy, Fuzzy-Weiser...what's the difference, really?

Everything just fits.

The occasion was my brother Jim's 44th birthday. Brand new sausage served as the focal point. It had been Grandpa's recipe, then Dad's, now ours. Jim is the man who gets the job done for us.

But Saturday we helped out. Corinne made a batch of sauce that could have been served in the finest of Italian restaurants anywhere in the country. Old country or new country, besides. I chipped in with about 40 stuffed peppers. It was another handed-down recipe. John, Mom and Dana brought the salads and desserts. A perfect set-up.

The conversation was free and easy. The old funny stories were flying, and suddenly...suddenly...

...I found myself four deep in the line, waiting to get at the vat of pasta. The aroma was causing my mouth to water. Those who had been smart enough to get in line first were passing by me with their filled dishes.

"Hurry the hell up!"

We shouted at my mother who was taking her sweet old time getting a few of the noodles on her plate.

I was seated between my mother and my cousin Steve who evidently believed it was his very last meal. The first forkful told the story of why he was eating as if there was a gun to his head.

"Holy shit that's good," I said.

My mother and I shared a story about my father once cooking for the entire church parish and having had to hide the sauce in a secret location the night before.

(If you ever had Dad's sauce you understand the stealth operation).

I'd been a little nervous about my beautiful wife sharing such a dish. I wondered if the black olives and the chunks of onion would throw her off. She was a long ways away across the lively table.

"I gotta' get a little more of that," I heard her say.

I'd heard my own grandfather say such a thing at nearly every meal we shared.

"You came a long ways for sausage and pasta," I told one of my favorite Baltimorons Larry.

"Worth it," he said.

I finished everything on my plate. I was teetering in that space where not getting more would be a shame, and where getting more would make me a tad uncomfortable.

Take a guess which way I went.

"Yo, throw another pepper on the edge of your dish," Steve called out as I refilled my plate.

Little bastard ate more than I did.

That's just the way we do it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

You Gotta' Have Heart

So Dick Cheney has a brand new heart to poison.

But man, it's a tough crowd. The Twitter land was alive with tweets about the fact that this life-saving procedure involved replacing a heart that attacked the man five times beginning at the age of 37. Now that he's 71 some people are questioning the sensibilities of giving a man his age a transplant.

Now that Cheney has his heart maybe they can get W his brain.

One article that I read questioned whether or not Cheney was bumped ahead of others on the list who had: A). Been waiting longer or B). Had less available cash to donate.

Either way...he's still a relatively young man. The new heart may allow him to live anywhere from 5 to 12 more years. Even knowing that is the best of all case scenarios is a little scary. Don't you want more than 12 years, no matter what age you are? As quickly as time seems to pass...

I hope they threw his old heart into a volcano.

I don't know if there was ever a man so polarizing. When I think back on his days at the forefront I prefer to think of all the happy times:

Like when he shot his hunting partner in the face.

Like when he told the man on the floor of congress to go &*$K himself.

All of those warm speeches he extended to a struggling American public.

His anti-gay stance right in the face of his family's struggle to come to grips with such a thing.

As an organ donor is there a box I can check that restricts me from donating parts to keep Cheney alive?

Yet if Cheney was a member of my own family I would be crushed by such an out crying of ridicule in the face of something so life-threatening. I'm sure that he's a man who loves his children and his grandchildren, his country and his money.

Not necessarily in that order.

Sort of hoping that Dick Cheney's old lungs, kidneys and liver band together to beat the shit out of his new heart.

I do wish him a full 12 or even 15 years. Like I've said, I'll dwell on the good times.

After all, we all need to take heart, somewhere along the way.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Grab A Big Spoon

It occurs to me that we are forced to eat a lot of shit in life.

My advice?

Just shovel it in.

Do you ever run across people who tell you all of their problems when you see them?

"I couldn't get to sleep last night! I went to bed early enough, but I kept thinking about how busy I am and every time I drifted off, I'd wake up. Man, I'm tired!!!"

What do you say to that?

And the complaints don't stop there.

"I've been working so hard. It seems like all I do is work. I get up, go to work, work, then come home, and work some more at home, and then I go to bed and I can't sleep because I'm anxious about work!"

Yeah, we get it...it's called life!

And there are piles to shit to eat on a daily basis.

"My boss is an asshole! Nobody likes him. All he thinks about is himself and he doesn't do anything all day and I do all the work and he gets paid the big money and then I work some more and then I go to bed and I can't sleep."

Life is actually tiresome from time-to-time. There are a lot of days when we think:

"Man, he sucks!"

"This blows!"

"I wish I could just drive off to the middle of nowhere and be by myself!"

"Have you seen the price of gas?"

"Obama is a socialist!"

"Newt is a dope!"

"Santorum is slightly mentally ill!"

"Romney is a dog-killer!"

"Did you see the price of gas?"

"Did I tell you my back hurts?"

"I wish I could sleep at night!"

But we need to get to the moments, as sparingly as they are spread out, that don't suck entirely.

You remember those moments, right?

Like laughing with the kids.

Like eating a really great dish of pasta.

Like seeing Bruce for 3 hours on a given night.

Like reading a great book...(Oh Brother! The Life & Times of Jeff Fazzolari).

Like the gentle touch of a beautiful wife.

Like the 27-Time World Champion Yankees running onto the field to start the season.

But first WE HAVE TO FINISH EATING OUR SHIT!

And what we need to do, of course, is to just keep eating.

Sooner or later, if the spoon is big enough we'll get to the bottom of the endless pile of shit and then...

...and then...

...and then...

It'll be time to curl up into a ball and sleep for a long, long time.

(This Blog is Dedicated to my wonderful brother Jim who is celebrating his birthday today. Make it a point to get a hold of him today. Life is filled with enough shit, and I'll bet you a lot of money that he'll make you laugh).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk

On Thursday evening I sat in my hotel room trying to watch the NCAA games. There were three young girls sitting outside, in the sunshine, and they were talking and talking and talking. I swear the one girl must have sprained her tongue. Just one word after another...blah, blah, blah, blah blah.

"When you say hello to her it's like turning on the radio," my father once said about a girl who never shut up when we worked together.

And I don't get it. Maybe because I write down my thoughts a lot of the time, but I'm not one for small talk.

"This weather is great!" A stranger said to me today.

I agreed but silently I considered not even answering. Why do I care if she thinks the weather is great?

"Do you like the Escape?" another stranger asked me as I was getting into my vehicle.

What would it matter if I answered? Would he run right out and buy his own.

"It's comfortable; okay on gas," I said.

At dinner the guy at the table beside me, noting that I was wearing a Mantle shirt asked me if I liked the Yankees.

Did he think I was a Red Sux fan trying to root for them through reverse psychology?

We talked about the state of the pitching staff and Andy coming back.

The thing is, and I may be wrong about this, but I've noticed that women seem to talk more than men.

Am I wrong?

I have a couple of nieces who should be paid by the word. You can catch up with their last three weeks in about three minutes time. I love them, of course, but man!

I do feel for my beautiful wife. She does her best to engage all of us in conversation that has nothing to do with sports or music. My boys don't seem all that interested in small talk either.

"Please tell us one of your beautiful work stories," Jake told Kathy one night.

She refused to do it and feigned hurt feelings.

That lasted for ten minutes.

Wait! Listen to that!

My next door neighbors after an hour of nonstop chatter shut up.

And then the phone rang.

And then they started talking again.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tebowing in the Off-Season

So, let me get this straight: about six months ago we were witnesses to the virtual second coming.

"Tim Tebow isn't going anywhere," his boss said. His boss being the legendary quarterback, John Elway.

Around that time Tebow was on the sidelines praying that he could bring a Super Bowl to Denver.

Turns out he just might.

By leaving.

Yep, he got fired.

And it's sort of fun to watch the backlash. Some people in Denver are up in arms. Tebow was going to be the guy to lead them to the promised land!

Now they only get Manning. There are plenty of heathens who are thrilled with the idea of Peyton Manning coming to town. They certainly should be if he's healthy. Not many better than him.

And once again, it is all about a couple of guys and a ball.

You see, one of the guys can throw the ball and people really like him, and the other guy doesn't throw the ball very well and people LOVE him.

What can you do?

It's like being the captain of a pick-up game and choosing your best friend instead of Michael Jordan.

Of course, I am wondering about the religious ramifications of all of this.

Will it be snowing in Denver in August?

Will Timmy take his Tebow to another sideline and bring love, peace and understanding to that team.

He is the first Christian to ever play a sport after all.

Ah hell, I don't know.

I just find the amusement with it sort of amusing. There is one certain fact known: Tebow will handle it all with grace and a sense of humor because he truly is a good guy. New York City better brace for his return. Clean up your streets; watch your language, Rex. Prayer group just got a captain.

"I'd let my daughter marry Tim," Elway said.

Under his breath he added:

"Maybe she can teach him how to throw a spiral."

Good luck Tim.

You'll land on your feet, and your apostles will certainly follow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bad Murders

I suppose there isn't anything that can be considered a good murder, is there?

Just thinking of the black kid in Florida who was killed by a neighborhood watch group just because he was a "bleeping coon," as his murderer put it.

The 17-year-old had Skittles in his pocket and was talking to his girlfriend when his life was snuffed out by a guy who said that he was fearing for his own life.

Just horrible.

Makes me wanna' puke.

And then there's the soldier who killed 16 Afghanistan civilians because he went a little around the bend because he had been deployed four times and suffered a brain injury. He busted in and just started slaughtering people.

Just awful.

Makes me wanna' throw up.

You know what's worse?

I actually heard guys talking about how both of the killings were justified.

Don't shake your head, there are people who truly feel that way.

And not just a few people.

"All's fair in love and war," the lame brain said on the construction site when the subject of the soldier deaths came up.

On Martin Luther King Jr. day there are people who have repeated this joke:

"Kill four more and we can take the whole week off."

Disgusting.

And I hope that people are just trying to make sense of things. Even in war shooting little kids in the head, no matter where they had the fortune or misfortune to be born, is horrific, heinous, disgusting, horrible, and pathetic.

"That poor soldier should have never been over there."

Perhaps.

What he did can't be explained away though.

And the neighborhood watch guy?

What we fail to remember is that we all have the right to live free and prosper. That is why the racial profiling is wrong...yes, even in cases of those damn towel heads riding on the plane next to you. Especially when the guy doing the profiling is just another citizen.

I don't get the hate, I suppose.

And I don't wanna' think about it anymore.

It upsets my stomach.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Has Sprung?

I waited all year for that one blinding snow storm that kept us all in the house and made us worry about whether or not the world was ending.

Breaking news from Buffalo:

It never happened.

And I'm thinking it's safe to say that we may be free from such a threat until November. It seems like there is so much on the horizon. March is always a busy month...making it through.

A quick update.

1). The NCAA's have been picked, money has been paid. Nothing to do now but keep circling in red and blue and making fun of the guy who was dumb enough to take Duke over Lehigh. It may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things and playing with a ball always is, but the boys and I have had a lot of fun. They were watching the games, and running out to the yard to shoot hoops in between. They don't have the ready-made two-on-two that we had as boys but they definitely have the trash-talking down. I wanted so badly to go out and shoot with them, but it's their time now.

2). Meat. It's all about putting the meat in the freezer. The cow has been butchered, just waiting on the call to pick it up and then spend an agonizing half hour trying to find room in the freezer - got that wifey? - make some space! Jim is also making noise about getting the sausage-maker going and every Tom, Dick and Weiser will come out of the woodwork to help. I'd say it's not about the sausage and all about the friendship but anyone who's ever tried it knows:

It's about the sausage.

3). Baseball is a few mere weeks off. If I have to be amused by people making their living with a ball I'm glad it's the small rawhide one. In recent years they've done everything they can to ruin the sport, but I always get excited by opening day. Always. I can remember where I was for every opening day back to about 1974. Let's go Yankees! Turn the 27-time into the 28-time World Champions

Just so I can annoy every single living thing within shouting distance of me!

4). This is usually the time when the golf clubs come out of hiding and I start imagining the hole-in-one and the long rides around the cow pastures we play in on Sunday mornings as I sit by the Grape Ape that I've been playing with since I was 16, and we laugh. My next neurosurgeon appointment is March 28th...I don't have a ton of hope, given the way I feel, but

I'm excited that there's still a chance.

5). Festival hopping. Oh Brother! The Life & Times of Jeff Fazzolari is being considered at the New York Book Festival come May and it was also entered in the Hollywood Book Festival. We are going from sea-to-shining-sea with it. Jeff's life has touched so many lives but there are so many more other people out there. Feels a lot like I don't want it to stop until everyone meets him.

That's not a bad goal, huh?

6). And the downside to spring?

Think of it.

One major problem.

Two dogs.

One backyard.

Plenty of bowel movements since October.

Get the shovel out, my beautiful wife.

I feel my back aching.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Queen Ain't in Charge?

Wow, saw the Sarah Palin movie on HBO and while I know that it is not a documentary there are plenty of people who were there who are coming out now and saying that it was pretty accurate.

I feel bad for the people who really thought she might do a good job someday as one of the leaders of the country.

I was never fooled. I recall telling my wife as I watched her debate Biden that I wanted to tap her head off the podium a few hundred times to see if there was anyway to knock sense into her.

Of course I don't condone violence in such matters...they would have been love taps...but she drove me crazy with her incompetence and I couldn't see how she could help the ticket garner even a single vote.

Anyway...we've been over that before.

The movie was good. It was good on a few different levels.

1). Woody Harrelson is a great actor. I'm not talking good, I'm talking great. It's a long way from Woody Boyd, but he is really believable in every single role. I thought he stole the movie and it was all really well done because...

2). ...because I was right back in that time, remembering how I felt when Palin butchered the Katie Couric interview and during that debate. I recalled all the commotion about Trip and Trigger and Donner and Blitzen, and the rest of the backwards-ass clan from Alaska, the state where we handle our relations with Russia because we can see it out our back window.

3). I also felt exactly how I felt back then...that I really liked John McCain. He has always seemed like a stand-up guy to me, and I liked him even more after seeing how he actually performed back then. He was presidential material which was more than I could say for his running mate and his predecessor in the party.

4). The exchange between Harrelson and Julianne Moore - who was great as Palin - on the plane as they prepped for the Biden debate was also classic.

"The queen isn't in charge of Great Britain? Then who is?" nearly made me fall out of bed and roll under it.

Which brings me to my final point.

5). Are politicians all really that sleazy?

Don't answer that.

But how, after realizing the error of their ways, did those in charge just forge ahead with their mistake. What would have happened had McCain won, and then died in office?

The country would have survived it, I'm sure...we will always survive...screwed up, of course, but still livable, but the question that remains is it all about winning for your side no matter what the cost to the greater good?

To be fair, Palin (the real Palin) disputes the facts of the movie. Recently she said that wasn't really her on Katie Couric.

It was ACTUALLY Tina Fey.

She also offered to debate Obama.

I could beat her in a debate.

Anyway, see it if you can...no matter what side you're on or think you're on.

It's an American history lesson and last I checked that's what all of us aspire to be:

Americans.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Seamus

I had to eventually get around to the story of Seamus, didn't I?

Mitt Romney is running for president, of course, and by all accounts he appears to be one helluva' nice rich guy. They are, as per usual, trying to dig up dirt on him. As is the method of operation in politics there is no stone left unturned.

Romney once told a story about strapping his dog's cage to the top of the roof for a family vacation because the car was too full. Evidently the dog got sick somewhere along the way and the evidence of his stomach problems rolled down the back window of the family station wagon.

People are up in arms with Romney for being so cruel to his dog.

I just think that's funny. Actually the whole story has a funny Aunt Edna quality to it.

I am a dog lover. I take the 'Melkman' and 'Par-Par' for a ride every morning. It's getting to the point that they would also like a ride after dinner. With the price of gas at four bucks a gallon I must be the only dumb bastard driving the dogs around the block looking for squirrels.

I can almost hear the argument that Romney faced as he took the kids on vacation.

"We can't leave Seamus home!"

"What are we going to do with Seamus?"

"Can he go, Dad, please!!!"

So Mitt - and I still haven't really figured out who else in the world has the name Mitt - (it's as bad as Clifford) - Mitt gave in. He probably tied the heck out of that cart and really thought it would be all right.

I guess traveling down the highway in a crate as the car goes 60+ MPH is bad for digestion but who knew that? After all, Mitt and Chevy Chase were the only two guys hip enough to try such a thing...but Aunt Edna was dead, after all.

Anyway, it happened 25 years ago. By all accounts it isn't what did Seamus in and really shouldn't carry much weight in whether or not Mitt is more qualified than Obama, but it will.

There are tee-shirts printed that beg for justice for Seamus.

There is an anti-Mitt element to one group that is solely against what he did to his dog.

"It shows he's not one of us," one guy said. "If he can do that to his dog, it just shows he only cares about himself."

That might be a bit of a stretch there, but who ever said politics are fair. People voted for the village idiot twice because they wanted to have a beer with him.

Anyway, I have to do a bit more research on the matter. On one of our recent trips around the block, as I went about five MPH I pointed out a couple of squirrels looking for their nuts.

"Get the squirrel, Paris!" I said.

Paris jumped out the window, hit the ground face first and immediately chased after the squirrels.

I hope no one was watching...it could ruin my chances to be the most powerful man in the world.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Koney Update

Okay, so the guy who was partially responsible for the Koney 2012 video was found naked, masturbating and incoherent as he ran down a city street.

Reminded me of college.

Anyway, his wife had his back. She said that Jason Russell's masturbatory jaunt was caused by dehydration and exhaustion from being excited about his video going viral.

If he would have taped his crash he might very well had another viral video.

He was also despondent about the fact that he was being criticized in his work, and was being ridiculed by those around him.

How would we do there if that were the sole cause of masturbation, huh, Pops?

And that's a funny way to respond to it all, isn't it?

I can remember chatting with my beautiful wife about it as watched a movie one-time and the young kid was locked in the bathroom. The actor playing the mother asked the father what the kid was doing in there. My wife asked the same question.

"Pulling his pud," I said.

(very classy guy I am)

My wife reacted with a "Ahhh...when does that start for guys?" she asked.

"About 13," I said.

"And when does it stop?" she asked.

"I'll let you know when I know," I said.

But back to the video:

I sort of thought it was weird when I saw it. I did mention that. I was hoping that I wasn't being cynical just because I'm a cranky, bitter, middle-aged man.

(There may be something to that).

I was really, really hoping that someone was doing something nice for anonymous children a half a world away.

This little episode casts even more doubt than the fact that it has been said that it's a moneymaking scheme.

A couple of things haven't changed though:

1). There's no room for this sort of behavior anywhere in the world

and

2). Koney must be stopped.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Wifey

Billy Joel has a song, All About Soul. I think of my wife whenever I hear that song. That's a good thing. Shall we check the lyrics?

All About Soul

She waits for me at night. She waits for me in silence.
She gives me all her tenderness and takes away my pain.

And so far she hasn't run, though I swear she's had her moments
She still believes in miracles while others cry in vain

It's all about soul
It's all about faith and a deeper devotion
It's all about soul
Cause under the love is a stronger emotion
She's got to be strong
Cause so many things getting out of control
should drive her away
So why does she stay?

It's all about soul.

She turns to me sometimes and she asks me what I'm dreaming
and I realize that I've gone a million miles away
And I ask her how she knew to reach out to me at that moment
And she smiles because it's understood there are no words to say

It's all about soul
It's all about knowing what someone is feeling
The woman's got soul
The power of love and the power of healing
This life isn't fair
It's gonna get dark, it's gonna get cold

You've gotta be tough, but that ain't enough

It's all about soul.

There are people who have lost every trace of human kindness
There are many who have fallen
There are some who still survive

She comes to me at night and she tells me her desires
And she gives me all the love I need to keep my faith alive

It's all about soul
It's all about the joy that comes out of sorrow
Who's standing now and who's standing tomorrow
You've got to be hard
As hard as the rock in that old rock and roll
But that's only part
You know in your heart

It's all about soul.


See why I think of her?

Happy Birthday to Miss-A-Little-Time-On-Her-Hands.

Look what spare change turned into.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Here We Go!

Thursday and Friday are two of the good days of the year - NCAA hoops.

As luck might have it, my back has really been acting up. I probably shouldn't have been trying to visit too many sites for work, but I'm a little crazy that way.

Yet, on Thursday, I spent some time in the office. I got there at tip-off time.

Go figure.

My family is involved. We have all filled out our pools. We also continue to pay homage to my brother's idea as we took a night to draw names out of the hat.

I can't tell you how much all of the betting cost me. I need to win just to cover my costs.

I do love this time of year. The college teams are really enthusiastic. The geek in me loves circling the winners and crossing out the losers.

Sam is beside me doing the exact same thing.

I think of all the great games through all the years. Valvano in 1983. Duke winning with Grant Hill, Patrick Ewing on Georgetown, Michigan and the Fab Five. Year after year.

The only problem is that my beautiful wife's birthday falls on this weekend. It always does, of course, at least there's one difference as the years pass:

Now I'm not the only one with one eye on the games as we celebrate her birthday.

Now we can all ignore her equally.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Ball

We are having a ball, aren't we?

Most college sports programs are such a huge business that their coaches can molest ball boys and people will still defend the molesters.

The Bills sent a private plane for a free agent to come to town. They wined and dined the guy. Money was no object. The taxpayers however are paying for the changes to the stadium, and if it don't sell out, the hell with all of you, YOU DON'T GET TO WATCH.

Shelly Miller of Michigan City punched his daughter's basketball coach until the coach was unconscious. Miller was upset that his daughter had to run extra laps.

Most of the colleges are postponing classes if their school is big dancing. They can take the loss there, but my kid has to pay $600 for a text book.

Timothy Forbes of Springfield Massachusetts bit off part of the coach's ear as he argued for his son during a 6th grade basketball game. He's being held on assault charges.

The president is picking his brackets and people are writing stories about it.

Joseph Cordes, also of Massachusetts is accused of pointing a laser beam into the eyes of the opposing team's goaltender. He is being charged with disturbing the peace.

I can't even enjoy watching my kids play sports because of the idiot parents, the over-the-top coaches, and the assault of the refs at such games.

Sports was supposed to be about effort, and participation. It was supposed to help us become better adults.

There's a certain star on a certain college team that is all the rage around my house. The idol worship of my kids galls me to no end, but of course, I had idols too...still do have a few...but putting a ball through a hoop isn't the greatest achievement known to man.

You wouldn't know it given the way society responds. Athletes; dumb, immoral and indecent are the new kings and queens of the world.

THEY ARE MAKING THEIR LIVING WITH A BALL!!!!!!!

THEY DON'T DESERVE OUR WORSHIP!!!!

Unless they are members of the 27-time World Champion Yankees, of course...

...then they deserve all of our adoration.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beating Carrie to the Punch

When I heard that there was going to be a rapper on the new Bruce album I cringed.

As you may have guessed, I am not much of a fan of the hip-hop. In fact, if the young-ins are playing it during one of my construction audits I will give my best imitation of my father:

"That isn't music, it's noise!"

So I was scared.

I knew the song was Rocky Ground.

It may be my favorite song on the album. The rapper can really sing. The words that she sings were placed in her mouth by the Boss.

Here they are:

You use your muscle and your mind and you pray your best
that your best is good enough, the Lord will do the rest.

You raise your children and you teach them to walk straight and true
You pray that hard times, hard times come no more.

You try to sleep, you toss and turn, the bottom's dropping out
Where you once had faith now there's only doubt

You pray for guidance, only silence now meets your prayers.

The morning breaks, you awake, but there's no one there.

There's a new day coming.


That's a long way from using your glock to bash your ho, but I decided to put the song to the test. I played it for Sam.

"Bruce doesn't have rap," he said with a laugh, "Can you imagine him rapping?"

I played the song and Sam nodded along with the Bruce vocals.

"That's okay," he said.

Then the perfectly placed rap.

"I actually like it," he said. "But it ain't real rap. Real rap is about being tough."

I tried to get him to read the words, but he begged out of the room.

"I heard them," he said. "I get it."

And I say that I have to beat Carrie to the punch because we had the conversation about the rap a couple of hours into the release of the record.

I can't wait until Bruce starts singing about his real rap life.

"I'm the boss man, yes I am. I'm stronger than my ho or Yosemite Sam."

You know, real rap.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Bounty On Your Head

Surprise, Surprise! There is a story of violence making its way around the NFL.

That just kills me.

The NFL is looking into the fact that the New Orleans Saints players were being paid extra cash for knocking their opponents out of the game with violent hits.

Shocking, isn't it?

They were trying to hurt the other teams best players! Color me amazed!!!!

Yet in a day when we've figured out that damaging hits to the brain may have a long-term effect on those who get their craniums scrambled, it's a troubling matter.

Have you ever seen a NFL-released tape about violent hits? It's a billion-dollar enterprise.What do they show on Sports Center ever morning?

Besides ten straight shots of big guys slamming the ball through the hoop...if I never see another dunk I'll be a happy man - we get it...they can slam the ball straight down through the orange rim and scream in triumph, completed by the two-handed beating of the chest.

Watch a hockey game here in Buffalo sometime. If a Sabres player gets checked hard the announcers scream for a penalty and give us the 'they need to take those kinds of hits out of the game,' speech.

If it's a guy wearing a Sabres jersey who delivers the hit we get the "Whoa! The Caruba Collision hit of the night!"

You can't have it both ways. There can't be tapes celebrating the violence while out the other side of your mouth you talk about how worried you are for the players.

And the fans?

Forget about it!

Take fighting out of hockey?

Are you crazy?????

Watch a NASCAR race to see someone smash into the fuel tanker!

You bet your ass!

Football is all about the great hits. We don't put faces on the guys getting creamed. If he's wearing the laundry of our team, we love it. If he's not, we want to kill him. Literally kill him!

There is no doubt in my mind that the televised ripping off of limbs by lions and tigers and bears would be the most-watched show ever. If those types of events were held at your local stadium you'd never be able to get a ticket.

We love the violence. We thirst for blood.

Bounty?

Yeah, shocking!

Surprise, surprise.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Geek Time

My boy Sam is in geek heaven right now. We had the first of the fantasy baseball drafts the other night, the Sabres are making every effort for the playoffs, and God help us the NCAA brackets are ready to be filled out. He is running all over the house, on high alert for every single score change.

Like me, it isn't so much about the games for Sam. It's more about shouting out his opinions, getting ink on his arms from circling who won what game when and letting us all know that he forgot more about sports than any of us will ever know. (He stole that line from somebody).

On Saturday night I was watching another expertly Kathy-chosen movie. It was the first movie I've seen in about three months that didn't have Ryan Gosling in it. It took me awhile but I figured out that little mystery.

If my wife was looking for a Ryan Gosling type she missed the boat by a couple of oceans and a large continent.

Regardless, Sam was in the other room, screaming at the television as he watched the Sabres game.

"He's a mess," I said.

"What do you think happened to him?" Kathy asked.

Hard to say really.

Yet when I was his age I recall all of the games being played and the pressure of the new baseball season starting. I punched a fireplace when the Sabres were eliminated in about 1977.

"They'll win it next year," my father said. And he laughed.

Still waiting.

But the beauty of sports, of course, is that there is always another season. There's always a moment when you can say, 'I told you so.'

The NCAA pool that we get into each year has had four winners from our household.

Matt won it all last year - and he's been able to really stretch that win out...it has provided him a car, new tires, a full year at St. Bonaventure and a dozen hockey games. Whenever he does something that is costly I ask him where he's getting the money - "From my NCAA win," he says.

Jake won it all the year before. He has never once watched a full basketball game, but to his brothers undying aggravation he collected the big prize without even glancing at the final game. He spent his winnings in about thirty seconds.

And then there's me. Thankfully I've won the big prize twice. I am apt to mention it to my sons, oh once every six minutes during this time of year.

God help us if Sam ever produces the winning entry.

That's all I can say.

God help us.

He came out talking and I'm sure he's got his: "You're sooooo stupid speech all worked out."

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Robertson Burning a Doobie

Saw that Pat Robertson has made news by saying that they should legalize marijuana.

Who keeps going to this guy for quotes?

Not that his statement is crazy, but really, why the hell are we interviewing him? He rarely makes sense, but we see him on all the shows, spouting useless crap about all sorts of topics. How does one get to be one of the go-to-guys in the world?

You think it has anything to do with money?

And of course, he has swindled money from all sorts of desperate people who are trying to buy their eternal salvation. Safe to say that I'm not a big Robertson fan.

Yet back to his point. Should pot be legalized?

Isn't it already sort of there anyway? People in California can get a pot prescription for stubbing their toe, and when the cops make an arrest involving pot it's sort of treated like a quick roll through a stop sign. Pay a fine, go on your way.

It don't matter to me either way, I guess. There are enough people getting pissed up on the weekends and getting behind the wheel of their car. I'm also of the opinion that if you take everything away from everybody we'd all stand out on our front lawns spinning in a circle until we get dizzy and fall down.

Getting baked is the same as getting hammered or eating yourself into a diabetic coma. It's done in the spirit of chasing away the bad shit that traipses through all of our lives.

Want to turn yourself into Tommy Chong on the weekend?

I don't care. Just don't run me over with your car.

I've never been a fan of smoking anything. I've never even finished a cigarette in my life. It always seemed pretty rough, like standing in front of a campfire and pulling it straight into your lungs. I used to have an occasional cigar during a poker game, but I haven't played poker in ten years so you see how that's going.

Yet Robertson did say something interesting to me. He said that the war on drugs hasn't worked.

You think?

It's way too big of a business to ever stop. In this day and age of instant communication and photos from the sky don't you think they'd be able to wipe out a 300-acre pot farm if they wanted to? Hell, they can see me picking my nose at the computer.

So maybe taxing the product is the way to go. Cigarettes are about twenty bucks a pack now, and there is a sin tax on all sorts of shit. Imagine the taxes they can charge on an 8-ball that you want to get for your kid's graduation party.

Why the hell not?

How much worse can it get?

There's a shooting every day somewhere in this country. We are all broke. No one has much hope in economic equality.

Why not keep the masses stoned?

If it passes, I'm buying stock in Doritos.




Saturday, March 10, 2012

Don't Talk to Strangers

Weird isn't it that our minds take us back in time whenever we hear a song that was popular or meant something?

The I-pod gave me two straight today. Yeah, I took a ten song break from the new Bruce CD, but don't read anything into that - it's brilliant and wonderful. He's as good at 62 as he was at 26.

Anyway...Rick Springfield was the singer who broke through with "Don't Talk to Strangers."

What's funny about it is that I thought of high school and my friends and the girls we liked back then.

And I knew every single word.

Who's the Don Juan I've been hearing of?

How do we remember it all? How does it come right back to us as if we heard the song yesterday? And the feelings.

I thought of riding around in Renaldo's beat-up old car, heading to play golf, wondering what life would bring.

It brought plenty, but them were the days, right? There are plenty of new songs, of course, but they don't write them like that anymore.

And as soon as that one was done I was treated to Meatloaf and "2 out of 3 Ain't Bad."

Did you ever meet anyone that didn't like that song?

And you've been cold to me so long I'm crying icicles instead of tears.

There is one thing that I am certain of after hearing both of those songs after a real long break:

I should have been a rock star.

Don't we all think we sound real good when we sing alone?

Its the old tree falls in a forest deal. We don't really know the sound unless someone else is there to tell us how lousy it is.

Hey, maybe that's what happened to all those girls we had crushes back on back then...perhaps they heard us singing and instead of seeing Rick Springfield sitting beside them they saw Meatloaf.

That's gotta be it.

And they were pretty much right.

It's their loss, right, Jeffy?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Koney 2012

So I tried traction the other day. I felt an inch taller, but couldn't sleep through the night in the hours that followed. Instead, I went on Twitter and looked at shit I wouldn't normally look at in the light of day. Twitter is actually good company at 2:30 a.m.

I came across the new sensation to stop Koney. They are doing a good job of marketing the video because I had no idea what it all meant, but everyone was talking about it.

Turns out James Koney is a real bad guy in Uganda who preys on little children. The video is heartbreaking as it runs down a list of Koney's crimes. The emphasis seems to be that we have to stop this madman's reign.

The video presentation is well done and the goal of the stop Koney movement seems sincere. I was thinking about putting the link up here but I'm kind of dopey when it comes to that stuff.

Regardless, I am sorry to say that as I watched the video I was skeptical. Why is it that these days we are skeptical of anything that appears to be too heartwarming, or too good?

Think Tim Tebow.

Or maybe it is just me.

The thing about it is that the narrator seems to be coming from a place where all of our hopes arise. He is trying to stop crimes against children. The video is a half an hour long.

Ten minutes in I felt it was a sales pitch of some sort.

Fifteen minutes in I was asking, 'What the hell do you want me to do to stop a bad man in Uganda?'

Twenty minutes in I almost shut it off.

I thought about suffering kids right here in the United States. Obviously they are not being beaten or raped and murdered, unless you count what their own parents do to them, but Koney 2012 made me uncomfortable for a number of reasons.

First, people don't want to see evil personified for a half an hour.

Second, I don't know about you but when it seems overwhelming to me I sort of back away.

Third, although the narrator and the organization appears legit, I was uncomfortable feeling as if there was more to the video.

Fourth, I thought that using his own kid in the video was sort of creepy.

I don't know.

Google it for yourself. Watch it instead of American Idol.

One thing is certain.

It'll find its way into the back of your mind.

And stick there.

It's worse than traction.

AND JUST AFTER I WROTE THAT, I READ THIS (HARD TO TRUST ANYTHING, RIGHT?):


We got trouble.
Please note that posting date has been edited to keep this at the top of the page. Post written March 7, 2012. Updates follow below, more reading here.

I do not doubt for a second that those involved in KONY 2012 have great intentions, nor do I doubt for a second that Joseph Kony is a very evil man. But despite this, I’m strongly opposed to the KONY 2012 campaign.

KONY 2012 is the product of a group called Invisible Children, a controversial activist group and not-for-profit. They’ve released 11 films, most with an accompanying bracelet colour (KONY 2012 is fittingly red), all of which focus on Joseph Kony. When we buy merch from them, when we link to their video, when we put up posters linking to their website, we support the organization. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and I’m not alone.

Invisible Children has been condemned time and time again. As a registered not-for-profit, its finances are public. Last year, the organization spent $8,676,614. Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, and Charity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee. But it goes way deeper than that.

The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.

Still, the bulk of Invisible Children’s spending isn’t on supporting African militias, but on awareness and filmmaking. Which can be great, except that Foreign Affairs has claimed that Invisible Children (among others) “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.” He’s certainly evil, but exaggeration and manipulation to capture the public eye is unproductive, unprofessional and dishonest.

As Chris Blattman, a political scientist at Yale, writes on the topic of IC’s programming, “There’s also something inherently misleading, naive, maybe even dangerous, about the idea of rescuing children or saving of Africa. […] It hints uncomfortably of the White Man’s Burden. Worse, sometimes it does more than hint. The savior attitude is pervasive in advocacy, and it inevitably shapes programming. Usually misconceived programming.”

Still, Kony’s a bad guy, and he’s been around a while. Which is why the US has been involved in stopping him for years. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has sent multiple missions to capture or kill Kony over the years. And they’ve failed time and time again, each provoking a ferocious response and increased retaliative slaughter. The issue with taking out a man who uses a child army is that his bodyguards are children. Any effort to capture or kill him will almost certainly result in many children’s deaths, an impact that needs to be minimized as much as possible. Each attempt brings more retaliation. And yet Invisible Children supports military intervention. Kony has been involved in peace talks in the past, which have fallen through. But Invisible Children is now focusing on military intervention.

Military intervention may or may not be the right idea, but people supporting KONY 2012 probably don’t realize they’re supporting the Ugandan military who are themselves raping and looting away. If people know this and still support Invisible Children because they feel it’s the best solution based on their knowledge and research, I have no issue with that. But I don’t think most people are in that position, and that’s a problem.

Is awareness good? Yes. But these problems are highly complex, not one-dimensional and, frankly, aren’t of the nature that can be solved by postering, film-making and changing your Facebook profile picture, as hard as that is to swallow. Giving your money and public support to Invisible Children so they can spend it on supporting ill-advised violent intervention and movie #12 isn’t helping. Do I have a better answer? No, I don’t, but that doesn’t mean that you should support KONY 2012 just because it’s something. Something isn’t always better than nothing. Sometimes it’s worse.

If you want to write to your Member of Parliament or your Senator or the President or the Prime Minister, by all means, go ahead. If you want to post about Joseph Kony’s crimes on Facebook, go ahead. But let’s keep it about Joseph Kony, not KONY 2012.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Carrot is Freaking 40!!!!!

It's hard to believe, but my baby sister is forty-freaking years old!

I am dumbfounded today as I consider this because, of course, I can remember the day when she was born. There wasn't one day out of all those days when I thought she wasn't the coolest little girl on the planet.

(All right, there was one drunken Memorial Day party when she pissed me off with sophomoric comments, but it was just for one night and we've laughed our asses off about it every day since).

But 40!

Crazy.

And there will be a great party in Maryland this weekend and life itself is stopping me from going, but she knows, really knows that I'd be there if I could...we all would...because like me and Kathy, the rest of my family adores Aunt Carrie.

We have Bruce in April in section 116 in April too!

And it's funny, but there was a moment earlier in the week. I rose from bed on March 6th knowing that the new Bruce album had downloaded to my I-phone. As happy as that made me, it made me sad. There would be a void.

And Carrie stepped into it.

By 6:30 a.m. she was texting me her thoughts.

"Rocky Ground is awful," she noted.

"I told you it sucked," I answered.

Both of us realizing exactly what the other was thinking.

She was right there. Doing what came natural.

Of course, there's more:

I hooked the phone up to the car stereo and on a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning, I headed to the first job. Brand new Bruce blasting through.

God, how I wished Jeff could hear it.

The "Tire Pressure Error" light flashed on my screen.

"What the hell? Can't I enjoy an hour?" I asked, looking to the sky.

And I had a thought...could it be?

The second I thought it, the light went out.

To be safe I went into the rest area and checked my tires...all fully inflated.

I went into Tim Horton's for a coffee, kind of snickering to myself.

I ordered the coffee and was handed my change. I usually check the pennies...if there is a wheat penny I save it in a space in my car because Jeff collected them and I see a day, years from now, when I hand them all to Johnny or Rocco.

I received six cents in change. One nickel and one penny.

One wheat penny.

I hadn't found one in months.

Back in the car...Bruce was turned up loud...another text from my soon-to-be-40-year-old-sister.

"Don't you just love the heartbeat in the background all the way through Land of Hopes and Dreams."

"I love every note of it," I answered.

Happy Birthday, Carrot.

You OLD, sophomoric bitch.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

An Ill Wind Blows

Man, did you read any of the horrifying stories in regard to the tornadoes that battered some of the towns across the country?

I've never seen a tornado up close and I hope that I never do. I remember being about ten years old, living in Florida, when they called for a major storm. The trees were bending, we were all crying. Thankfully the twister didn't take us out to sea.

But it's one of those days you never forget.

I bring it all up because of the story making rounds today about the Mom who lost both of her legs when she shielded her children from the storm.

There's a little bit of heaven in every tragedy.

Stephanie Decker was home with her son and daughter when the tornado bore down on their home. They headed for the basement and she covered the children with her body. The crumbling house cost her one leg below the knee and all of her other leg.

She saved her kids lives.

That's a tough road, but I bet she'd do it again.

I think of what we would do for the kids around this place and I'm certain that if it came to a choice both Kathy and I would be hopping around here on stubs.

Of course we would.

And it takes me back to the post of a week or so ago about those that abuse their kids. There certainly comes a time in a man's life, hopefully, when they realize that it isn't about him anymore...not really.

It's about making sure that the replacements are set up for a life that is happy, healthy and prosperous.

As the kids have grown I've always kind of put it into their laps...during the summer months when they are off I'll often ask them:

"What did you do to help me today?"

My kids all have different attitudes on this.

Matt will usually feel guilty and ask what needed to be done.

Jake will answer with: "Absolutely nothing!"

Sam will have a list ready to explain all that he did.

It's fun to see how far they'd go to please us...

...all the while knowing that we'd give up our legs for them.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Knee Bone is Connected...

I never paid attention to that song when I was young. You know the one, right.

The knee bone is connected to the foot bone, blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, my therapist, Terry, is a fine woman. I almost looked forward to getting hurt so I could see her again. Just an ultra-smart professional with a great personality and a better laugh.

Problem being, she's smarter than me, and my Dad used to tell me to stay away from the ones that are smarter than me.

It's a wonder I married my beautiful wife, Kathy, given how much smarter she is, right darling?

Anyway, Terry was trying to explain the back injury to me. I am perplexed by the fact that the numbness in my right leg and the really sore groin on the left side is all connected.

Terry mentioned nerve tension and tried hard to work my legs a bit.

And it is all so irritating.

There were a bunch of kids playing hoops at the YMCA the other day. They were going hard, full court, popping shots from deep in the corners, fighting for rebounds.

Years and years ago as a young man we played in a rec league. One of the guys who I guarded was in his 50's. He was a step slower, but he played every game. (Miss you Peter!).

"I want to play when I'm in my 50's," I told him then.

"I hope you can," he said.

Turns out, I can't.

One of the kids playing in the game below the walking track where I was stranded received a pass in the corner. He faked his defender out of position and put the shot up. It clanged off the rim. The kid followed his shot (something I never did because I thought they were all going in) got the rebound, elevated, and slammed it through.

As he cheered for himself I smiled.

For a moment there he was just plain unstoppable.

It goes real fast, kiddo. Enjoy yourself.

Nerve tension will be settling in before you know it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Rush is a Fat Drug-Addled, Idiotic Moron

Rush Limbaugh called a young college coed a slut in regard to the dumbest issue I've ever heard debated.

Should birth control be part of healthcare.

Rush shouldn't call people names.

That's mean.

Besides, he's a big, fat, stupid, drug-addicted blowhard who knows less about sports than he does about politics.

I don't really care for him.

And it's not that I don't listen to him now and again. I honestly do try to see if there is something that I'm not saying as I appear to be jaded in my cry to help people out a little bit.

I can never listen for more than a half an hour though because he usually says something so pompous and ignorant that I yell at the radio. I try hard not to call him names, but this is how I usually go as I flip the channel:

"Rush, you're a fat, stupid blowhard with no concept of anything but getting married, getting divorced, popping pills and abusing others."

And it kills me that somehow or another he is the voice of the right in this country. And that by being the voice he has lost all sense of competence and just yells in the other direction, whether it is sensible or not.

I argue things too, but when the other side makes a point, I am able to recognize it. Rush sees no point in that.

When Bin Laden was killed, I listened. How could you find a show to bash Obama out of that, right?

Wrong. Rush was bitching about the amount of credit the Democrats would take.

Talk about unifying.

And do you know what Rush's background is?

He was the backup announcer for Kansas City Royals baseball games.

Is it any wonder that he's just an ignorant slob behind the microphone?

I hope that girl sues him out of the business, off the airways, and out of the news.

That way he can curl up into a big fat ball and laugh himself to extinction.

Adios, dumb ass.

I'll try not to call you any names.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Land of Hopes & Dreams

Grab your ticket and your suitcase
Thunder's rolling down the tracks
You don't know where you're goin'
But you know you won't be back
Darlin' if you're weary
Lay your head upon my chest
We'll take what we can carry
And we'll leave the rest

Big Wheels rolling through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

I will provide for you
And I'll stand by your side
You'll need a good companion for
This part of the ride
Leave behind your sorrows
Let this day be the last
Tomorrow there'll be sunshine
And all this darkness past

Big wheels roll through fields
Where sunlight streams
Meet me in a land of hope and dreams

This train
Carries saints and sinners
This train
Carries losers and winners
This Train
Carries whores and gamblers
This Train
Carries lost souls
This Train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This Train
Faith will be rewarded
This Train
Hear the steel wheels singin'
This Train
Bells of freedom ringin'
This Train
Carries broken-hearted
This Train
Thieves and sweet souls departed
This Train
Carries fools and kings
This Train
All aboard

This Train
Dreams will not be thwarted
This Train
Faith will be rewarded
This Train
Hear the steel wheels singin'
This Train
Bells of freedom ringin'

Just Thank the Lord

Just Thank the Lord

Just Thank the Lord

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Just Thank the Lord

This is a lonely old weekend. Another anniversary of another shitty day...the shittiest actually. Three years since Jeff was here. Three years. Seems like ten minutes.

The downhearted mood began on Friday morning...thoughts of my brother blasting through a tired brain and tired body.

My heart ached for the kid who shot the other kids.

Yeah, it ached for the shooter!

When I saw him being huddled into the courtroom to be charged, and listened to the story of his life that led to the pain in that Ohio town, I ached for him because he committed the worst of all human acts.

"They should shoot him in the public square," a guy on one of the jobs mentioned.

"He's a little boy," I said. "A little boy who had no chance in life. He never knew how to live."

"Crucify him for all the other troubled little boys to see," the man argued.

And I drove away.

Awash in the heartache.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the carnival of self-pity. For one, a friend reached out to me and we talked about our wives, our kids, and our jobs, and we laughed.

Then I heard the reworked Land of Hopes and Dreams from Bruce's new CD and the song went to fade with Bruce cajoling the audience to Just get on board the train that carries losers and winners, whores and gamblers...people get ready.

Except he added a few words at the end:

You just thank the Lord.

He sings it as if resigned to the fact that it all amounts to that after all the spit and anger and bitterness and heartache.

You just thank the Lord.

And a cloud of despair lifted from my heart and soul because it's easy to forget and miserable to travel the road alone.

I don't thump the Bible. I don't beat the drum of my beliefs for you to assess.

But once in awhile, my human-hindered eyes are brought alive with the realization that the bad times come and go whether I want them to or not.

The dogs jumped for me at the end of the day.

I traded text messages with my sister.

My mind went relaxed.

All the pain sliding off of me.

There's a great Clarence sax solo at the end of the song, just before Bruce asks us to remember to:

Just thank the Lord.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ryan Fraud

Ryan Braun won the NL MVP last year. He's a good-looking guy with a deadly swing. He makes about twenty million dollars a year for hitting a ball with a bat.

The guy who collected his urine last October is a health care professional who will remain anonymous...all his life. He has a family, a bunch of coworkers and his own professional integrity but they don't give regular guys awards so we don't know how valuable he is.

Our regular guy had a job to do back in October. He collected urine from 3 Brewers players, put it away, placed seal-resistant tape on the samples, and since it was after 5 on Saturday, FOLLOWED MLB protocol by bringing the samples home and storing them in a cool place until he could FED EX them to the lab on Monday morning...which he did.

One of the 3 samples came back high for levels of things that allow you to win MVP trophies.

The story leaked. Ryan Fraud went nuts. There was an explanation!

He would be declared innocent!

Uh, hardly.

You know what the explanation was?

It was a technicality. The sample wasn't immediately driven to the lab. The sample was stored improperly.

That's not an explanation.

That's a slick lawyer avoiding the truth.

So they dragged a poor, working slob's good name through the mud to save the word, and the millions of the guy who tested high in the first place.

It comes out as a case of Braun versus this poor guy who had nothing to gain out of it.

Guess who won...Ryan Fraud.

I was real happy when the working stiff stood up for himself the other day. He wrote out a statement that said...tamper-resistant seals were not resisted with. He also let all of the slick-talking lawyers know that he did what he was supposed to do.

Ryan Fraud didn't.

Like Mark McGwire he accepted all of the glory under false pretenses. He didn't care who or what got in the way. He's Ryan Fraud, for crying out loud! and you're not!

I don't wish injury on people, but with the season getting ready to go, perhaps I'll use an old Showbiz expression:

Break a leg, Ryan.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Where's the Promise?

Growing up the goal of life was to believe in the promised land. The dogs on main street howl cause they understand and I believe in the promised land.

Over the last couple of weeks I've heard every song off the Bruce album, "Wrecking Ball", that will be out next week.

It's been a long ride.

In We Take Care of Our Own he asks, 'Where's the promise from sea-to-shining sea?' He also starts the song by saying he's been knocking on the door that holds the throne. A question of his own mortality or his reluctant involvement in the last presidential election?

Either way, he's pissed.

And all those things he chased down Thunder Road and seemingly found are lost again.

The music is varied and kind of wild. A Celtic song, a couple of good rockers, gospel, a lot of violins, blues, country, folk...one after another, all different.

Even a freaking rapper in what might be my favorite song: Rocky Ground. A rapper who says something bright, mind you, and in a voice that speaks the English language - Bruce doesn't rap.

Then I listened to the anger break up towards the end of the record and in the last few songs he offers an answer to economical troubles, personal difficulties and missing out on the promise because of the 'fat bankers'.

While the band was playing on Jimmy Fallon it all come crashing down on me.

"Hard times come and hard times go and hard times come and hard times go and hard times come and hard times go."

He screams and begs the listener to let go of the anger and to see the big picture. He sympathises with those having a difficult time and he presents that big picture in the backdrop of love, faith and hope...and he's always done that.

By the end of the angry record, he seems to have let go of it himself, and he redfined the promise.

I read an interview with Bruce where he talked of his motivation. He has not suffered financially lately, but he grew up in that manner and those feelings never left him.

So he tries to reach the depths where the thoughts of a common man are located.

He finds those depths easily because he's still a normal guy in a big house. This record is evidence of that.

While watching the Fallon show and seeing the passion that fueled the music, I nearly lost it.

From three years ago until now I have been lost in grief. I had given up on the promise for long stretches of time.

But there it was halfway through Wrecking Ball.

"Hold tight to your anger."

The dogs on main street howl...

(Finish it for me, Rolando).

Extend the Netting!!

During the Wednesday afternoon Yankees game, Todd Frazier ripped a line drive into the crowd above the third base dugout. The ball, which ...