Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bruuuuuuuuccccccceeeeeee!


So being the nice guy that he is Bruce postponed the concert from Tuesday night to Wednesday night so that his fans didn't drive in poor conditions to get to the show.

So we get to spend Halloween night with the E Street Band.

I'm hoping that he breaks out A Night with the Jersey Devil although I know that the show will most likely have Sandy somewhere on the bill.

One other thing I know for sure:

It's gonna' be great.

Concert #32 - in Rochester!

Tonight!

Damn I'm gonna' be tired tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blindness

There was an earthquake in Canada over the weekend.

There was an earthquake in Southern California just a few hours later.

Hurricane Sandy was threatening us all and when it hit...

...there was just a feeling of helplessness.

And it brings to mind the delicate balance and the thought that life is so fragile.

On Sunday morning I went to church alone. I have taken to going there by myself over the past few months because that hour is a solitary event.

I don't sing much. I sort of cringe when it's time to shake hands because I hate touching strangers.

The priest spoke of blindness as the gospel was about a blind man screaming to Jesus for relief from his life.

I considered the blindness that affects us all from time-to-time.

We are blind in our dealings with others when we lose patience with those that we love. Our eyes grow blind and our blood runs cold when we get over-tired or over-exerted, or over-sensitive.

And the blindness leaves us groping for answers.

We're very often left to search through the debris that those moments of blindness leaves behind.

"One of the things to remember when we sit in darkness and suffer through the rain storms is that the sun will shine again soon. That's where the faith and hope come in. We know we can sustain because we have seen the sunny days."

As I watched the water slam through the towns on the East Coast and as the clouds gathered and hung what seemed like just inches off the ground, I listened to the weathermen and women screaming words of caution.

I thought of all the storms in my own life and the temporary blindness that seemed might never clear. I doubted that I'd ever see clearly again.

And the blindness comes.

And the blindness goes.

But there is still hope.

Time will take the pressure off.

"There are those who are stricken with blindness in their lives," the priest said. "And some of those people never see clearly again because they lose track of hope in their hearts."

There are way too many people that suffer through that affliction.

In the eye of the storm...

...here's hoping you're seeing things clearly.

At the sign of peace the men in front and behind me extended their hands.

I didn't feign a cold.

For the first time in a few weeks, I shook every hand sent my way.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Storm Clouds

Some crazy weather coming, huh?

I was reading an article about the two or three storms that are coming together and will supposedly meet sometime soon in a location near you.

You have two types of people in this situation.

There are the ones who pack up their gear and head for the hills and those who stand up to the television camera, claim that it's all creation of the media, and explain how tough they are.

Then when their homes are rolling down the street they wonder why no one gave them fair warning.

We really don't have a lot of those types of storms here in Buffalo, New York - the weather capital of the world.

We get a little snow on the roofs of our cars, battle some of the black ice, and it doesn't change what we do, really. If the blizzard is completely out of control we might sit it out for a few hours, but mostly, we're okay.

Not a lot blows off our houses, our roofs don't usually cave in, and we laugh at the snow, actually.

I know a lot of people who go out and play in it.

Yet I do realize that I'm getting older.

On Friday my beautiful wife asked if I'd like to spend my Saturday making a trip to see the biggest of the dorks at college a little over an hour away.

"I'm not driving an hour through the rain for the privilege of buying him a lobster tail and handing him a fistful of cash. He ain't got anything to say to us."

And, of course, it wasn't that I didn't want to see him. (I have about ten hours of Douche Armstrong to discuss with him as he was his biggest fan) but I didn't want to drive an hour!

I don't see as well as I used to.

I drive hundreds of miles each week for work.

I'm tired.

There's a storm coming.

I certainly hope that all are safe as Sandy rolls into town.

Did you know that Bruce has a character named Sandy featured in one of his earlier songs?

Coincidence?

Check tomorrow's photo.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bruised and Battered

Last week I read a blurb on Twitter about a high school teacher who was in a bit of trouble for putting his hands on a kid. The story didn't go much into detail...it was just an AP post and you can't cover much in 140 characters, but it got me thinking.

In second grade the crazy nun hit me with a paddle every day. It didn't seem to do much good as I couldn't keep my big mouth shut so one day she made me pull my pants down and I was so horrified that the red head I liked was going to see my underwear that I cried.

40 some years later I can still picture that in my head.

I moved on to the 3rd grade where the style of beating was different. I didn't have a nun in charge that year and I thought that might help, but the slaps to the face were rough as well. I was talking to a buddy one day when his eyes grew wide as he looked over my right shoulder. I turned just in time to catch her ring under my left eye.

I was bleeding like Rocky during his fight with Mr. T.

The next recollection I have is being driven backwards into a doorknob by Sister Henriella. I dropped to my knees as my buddy Al wailed in laughter and then took a shot to his own solar plexus.

A couple of years ago I was at an old folks home for nuns and I saw Sister Henriella's name on the roster. I actually thought about going up and seeing if I could find her wandering near a doorknob.

The emotional scars we carry.

Yet that was sort of the way it went when we were kids. I never mentioned the beatings at home or I'd have heard it there too.

As I got older, of course, I sort of saw the teachers as they were. When you're a kid an authority figure is sort of a robotic fountain of knowledge. As you become an adult you notice that they are just like the rest of us, flawed and nonsensical, most of the time, and you take the knowledge they bring, and forget the rest.

Hell, it seemed that they moved on from beatings to sleeping with the kids after I'd left the program.

"How come I missed that wave? Where were the hot teachers who slept with their students when I was in school?" I asked my beautiful wife.

"They were sleeping with the non-nerds," she said.

So I guess I'll never know.

Yet I have done a lot of teaching through the years. I know how difficult it can be to reign in a bad student or to calm someone who wants to argue.

A few years ago in a creative writing class that students were paying me for I got into a bit of a pissing match with a woman who couldn't write a competent grocery list. I was trying to help her. She was just crazy.

And she made the experience unbearable.

I thought of Sister Henriella.

I considered a doorknob.

We made it through.

Years later, as I consider my own children and their educational experiences I make sure to tell them to be respectful, and I pray that the respect goes both ways because times have changed, and if someone in a place of authority extends a right cross, or compromises my child in any way there will certainly be hell to pay.

Because some of the scars don't heal.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This is Crazy, This is Crazy, This is Crazy

Just thinking about Chevy Chase jumping in the pool to take a swim with Christie Brinkley while his family slept at that motel.

It was 79 degrees here in Buffalo this week and they are talking about snow in the early part of the week.

Wouldn't it be fun if we could all get sick again?

A lot of hate being spewed around the social media sites. Between the election, the discussion of Douche Armstrong, and the usual religious fights it makes you wonder where it's all headed. Everyone has a say. Everyone has a side. We are alienating one another with our misspelled rhetoric.

It teaches me a lot of things.

Like no one was paying attention when the English teachers all across this great land told people about:

They're - There - and Their.

Or Your and You're.

The other day I was on Twitter when Curt Schilling the former fake blood guy with the Boston Suck Sox posted a comment that used the word:

Intellectualize.

Except he spelled it wrong.

He posted this:

"Sorry about the misspelling. Damn auto-correct got me again."

I am working on being dismissed as one of Curt's friends. So I wrote:

"Auto-correct doesn't misspell words it corrects them. Try using smaller words."

Curt sent two replies.

The first was:

"Aww, shut-up!"

He quickly removed that and then wrote.

"Not on Apple."

I decided to let him slide. I didn't even send my usual post to all the Suck Sox players and writers:

"The Suck Sox lost 93."

He might have dismissed me right then and there, and I'm not quite done with him yet.

I'm waiting for him to make another mistake someday.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting Closer


A lot of people who are reading Oh Brother! The Life & Times of Jeff Fazzolari believe in their hearts that Bruce needs to see the book.

Which would be nice, of course, but I have done little to get it to him.

Anyone that wants to try is welcome to it.

Well today I received a signed photo from Miami Steve Van Zandt, or Little Steven, or Silvio from the Sopranos.

Steven, of course, is another hero to me.

It seems that when the band was in Hamilton a man who used to work as a publicist for U2 and Bruce was allowed backstage for a chat.

The publicist told Steven of Jeff and the book, and Steven grabbed the cover off one of his old CD's and ripped the page off.

"What's the dude's name?" he asked.

The publicist told him 'Cliff'

So Steven signed.

'Little Steven was here.'

Isn't that pretty cool?

I was handed the autograph by a co-worker who also read the book and gets tears in his eyes whenever he talks about it.

"What? No Bruce?" I asked.

"Working on it!" he said. "He wasn't in the room when the publicist was talking with Steven."

I could almost see Steven as he nodded his head up and down, shook the publicist's hand and said:

"His brother must be proud of him."



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Counter Productive

The other night I was trolling through Facebook to see how the back and forth was going in regard to the election.

You see, I have learned not to say much about one candidate or the other.

It's just too toxic out there.

Yet I did happen about a site that was addressing gay rights, abortion, freedom of religion and the right to carry that semi-automatic weapon that might be needed should the British come calling again.

Homosexuality is wrong and should be punished by hanging in the public square, one man wrote.

The same man then went on to say:

Abortion is the murdering of a human life, and murder is wrong in all circumstances.

I really wanted to post:

Uh, dumb-dumb...see your note above.

I didn't.

Yet there are some real lunatic ravings and rantings going on.

We need to carry guns to defend ourselves...period.

I've been up and down all sides of that issue. I can see it from a lot of different angles. I agree with the right, for sure. I'm confused about how easy it might be to obtain a piece to murder people on a whim. I look at every single mass killing, and die a little at the thought that we cannot or will not address the issue.

Even one murder of one innocent seems too much to me. Those that have died at the hand of another deserve our consideration in trying to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Yet It's never about those murdered. It's always about the murderers right to amass a militia.

And it's so hard not to just type away.

What if you're wrong about that?

I just want to type that singular sentence to someone who is spouting their religious beliefs to me.

What if you're wrong?

Yet I have long since learned that zealots don't consider that they just might be wrong.

They don't care about the rights of others, but damn...don't mess with what they believe their rights to be.

Then there will be a public hanging.

Even though murder is never right.

It's all so confusing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tequila & Salt

A Good E-Mail

This should probably be taped
to your bathroom mirror
where one could read it every day..
You may not realize it,
but it's 100% true.

1. There are at least two people in this world
that you would die for.

2. At least 15 people in this world
love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you
is because they want to
be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone,
even if they
don't like you.

5. Every night,
SOMEONE thinks about you
before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever,
something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world
has turned its back on you
take another look.

11. Always remember the compliments you received..
Forget about the rude remarks.

Good friends are like stars.........
You don't always see them,
But you know they are always there..

"Whenever God Closes One Door He Always Opens Another, Even Though
Sometimes It's Hell in the Hallway"

I would rather have one rose and a kind word
from a friend while I'm here
than a whole truck load when I'm gone..

Happiness keeps You Sweet,
Trials keep You Strong,
Sorrows keep You Human,
Failures keeps You Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only
God keeps You Going

'Worry looks around, sorry looks back, Faith looks up.'

Have faith..

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Good Man

Back some 15 years ago I started working with a company out of Syracuse. It's a close-knit group and soon enough, I became friends with many of the guys in the organization.

I was really honored about seven or eight years in when I was invited to the annual two-day golf event. I was even able to get one of the Apes invited along, and it's just a great time.

The Raulli-Militi Open is the place to be in mid to late September.

I didn't make it this past year.

Neither did the true leader - Joe Militi.

You see, Joe played every year despite the fact that he was in his early 80's. He hit the ball pretty well too, and he always brought the Italian meats and cheeses and peppers for the before round sandwiches.

Joe had a special greeting for me.

"Don't start with your f*&%ng shit," he'd say.

I'm going to miss hearing that.

Joe passed away this past weekend.

"You're a real beaut, aren't you?" he'd ask me.

And being around Joe was like being around my own grandpa, and I just knew that despite his gruff exterior he loved life.

He loved family and friends. He might even have liked me.

He really liked to eat good food, and share fun times with a lot of people.

I'll always be able to recall Joe playing in the foursome with the ladies from the office. They all wore large pink hats.

In fact, Joe was very serious about the attire. The first year I was handed a Raulli-Militi baseball cap.

On the second year I showed up wearing my usual Yankee cap.

"Do you wear the Militi hat to Yankee Stadium?" he asked.

I especially liked to bust Joe's chops.

"Someday they're going to call this the Raulli-Fazzolari-Militi Tournament," I told him one year.

"I'll kill you with my bare hands," he answered.

I'm going to miss Joe.

Ain't life a peach.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just Looking for Underwear

Sam loves the Outback steakhouse. It has a little to do with the grilled shrimp on the barbie, a little to do with the ribs, a lot to do with the time, with his Aunt Corinne's urging, that he ate a loaf of bread so that his Uncle Chuck didn't get a piece.

It has a lot to do with Uncle Chuck and Aunt Corinne.

So, we headed there for my birthday dinner on Saturday.

Of course, in this struggling economy it is impossible to get a seat in any restaurant at 5:00 on a Saturday so we were handed a buzzer and told it would take a half an hour. We headed down the block...both kids without jackets in 50 degree weather (because they're morons) (the other dork is at college) and we hit the local department store.

I hate shopping like that. Just roaming aisles, looking for crap that I don't really need.

Any who ha...

I checked the underwear rack. Who doesn't need underwear from time to time?

This is what I saw looking back at me:


I was looking for a shot that most resembled me. After all, those undergarments most likely wouldn't fit me in such a manner.

And then it hit me.

Why don't they have real models?

You know, guys with real abs, trying to squeeze into those tighty-whities.

I picked a couple of the packages up and turned them around.

I actually turned the photos away from any potential shoppers.

Come on guys, who needs the women to be looking at those photos?

Then they'd think that those guys are actually around out there and that is how guys are supposed to look in their underwear.

That's crap.

I decided against buying any. Instead I picked up a pair of warm winter gloves and a new pasta pan.

The buzzer finally went off.

I didn't even think of those underwear models once as I polished off my 24 ounce Porterhouse and Sam slammed a rack of ribs.

Aunt Corinne and Uncle Chuck would've been proud.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A-Dork


Man, he makes it real hard to like him, doesn't he?

You can put a self-centered moron in pinstripes but you can't make him classy.

I sort of don't know what to make of A-Rod on a day-to-day basis. He was an unbelievable baseball talent who became the poster boy for all that was wrong with sports by making a half-a-billion dollars and admitting to using steroids.

(See editor's notes 1 and 2).

1).A lot of that money was forked over by the Texas Rangers but lets blame the Yankees because it's a better story.

2).A ton of guys were using steroids, but let's make it an A-Rod story.

And he choked a lot in the playoffs before hitting a few home runs in the 2009 World Series when the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports Yankees thumped the pitiful Phillies.

It seemed as if the monkey was off his back. Even with the steroids. Even with all that money. Even chewing his gum like a cow after striking out in a big spot.

It all seemed like 'water over the dam' (as Bruce Smith once said).

Instead, he struck out a zillion times this year, and although he tried to act like a good teammate, he was busted throwing a ball to the lovely lady above in the 12th inning of a tied game one while he was sitting on the bench watching a real player - the great Derek Jeter - break his ankle while busting his ass.

First off...

...she ain't no Kathy Fazzolari.

Secondly...

...really?

Are we in high school A-Dork?

Game 1 of the ALCS and you're writing your little notes on a ball and tossing it into the stands.

Reportedly the note said:

"I like you, do you like me? Circle Yes or No."

Hmmmmm...I'm wondering...what would the beautiful Kathy Fazzolari say if A-Dork tossed her such a ball in the middle of the game.

I'm really getting to know her now 20 years in.

A half a billion dollars.

Yep.

As she once famously told me:

"Pack your bags kids, we're moving to the Bronx."

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Goin' Cali'


Well, I heard from my brother Jeff for my birthday this week.

The Southern California Book Festival Awards were announced on October 18 and Oh Brother! The Life and Times of Jeff Fazzolari won a place in the biography section.

I laughed when I received the email because the last award it won was the New York Book Festival award that was presented on June 22...Jeff's birthday.

And it's all so random!

I believe that the book is up for awards in two more shows including the Southwest Book Festival and the London Book Festival.

Can it win across the pond?

Well so far it is four for four in festivals.

And the awards really don't mean a lot to me as an author. Yes, I am honored. It speaks to a lot of people doing their jobs very well, including Sterlinghouse Publisher for sure, but I'm well past the 'look at me' stage of life.

I'm more into the 'look at him' stage.

Yet a wise man (Bruce, of course)once told me that you need to celebrate the little victories in life because otherwise all the days are the same.

So tonight I'm gonna' pick up a fork somewhere and eat a big steak (eating is my last rough habit, I suppose)

and I'm gonna'

look up and smile

and

share a birthday wish or two.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Give Me 1977

So with the baseball season all but in the books lets reflect back, huh?

Here are the reasons why 1977 was better than 2012:

1). In 1977 the Yankees played the Royals for the right to go to the World Series. The Yankees had the best record in the East and the Royals had the best record in the West.

Simple.

2). No team that won the best record had to play five days straight games including playing two different teams on two different nights.

3). You couldn't possibly ever go to the World Series if you won less than 90 games.

4). Reggie was still playing.

5). We hadn't heard word one about steroids.

6). The World Series was all decided by the middle of October. There wasn't a Mr. November. Reggie hit three in game 6 on October 18 to end the season.

7). It cost about ten bucks to go to the game.

8). We didn't need replay because the umpires were competent.

9). The Yankees won the World Series.

10). Thurman Munson was still alive.

11). So was Bobby Murcer.

12). So was Scooter and Micky.

13). Joe Buck and Tim McCarver weren't broadcasting games.

14). Howard Cosell was.

15). My Dad made me a Dogwood type sandwich to celebrate the World Series win. We sat at the table, smiling and eating. Eating and smiling.

16). I was 13 years old.

17). My knees, back and hips worked great.

18). Uncle George was still in charge.

19). Did I mention Reggie?

20). The Yanks won again in '78 and I knew they would.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me

Forty-freaking-eight-years old.

Some days I feel as if I'm 72.

Yet the birthday is a weird thing, isn't it? Whenever you hear the date you sort of think:

"Hey, that's my day! The world should stop for a moment and recognize it as such."

Yet when I really think about it, I can't recall the exact circumstances of too many of my birthday celebrations.

I remember turning ten years old and only because I was playing Little Loop football at the time and I absolutely hated it and on that particular day we had an away game.

Sitting on a bus and then sitting on a bench all for the sheer thrill of eating three orange slices at halftime wasn't my idea of fun.

Then I recall my 18th birthday because that was when I could legally drink. My buddy, Jeff Renaldo, and the crew at Speedy's led by Eddie got me absolutely hammered on shots of tequila.

My college buddies also got me pretty good that year as well.

My head still hurts.

At 30 they threw a surprise party for me at my buddy John's house. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. Weird moment because despite the fact that the place was packed with family and friends I had no idea why they all gathered.

Fun was had by all.

At 40 my wife threw a party for me and the Yankees beat the living hell out of the Red Sux - 19 to 8 - to take a 3-0 lead in the ALCS.

They went on to lose the next 4 games and the series so that one is slightly diminished.

And what to expect at 48?

Not much, I suppose because you see I have all a man can ask for. It's been a good ride so far. My kids get a kick out of the fact that a couple of years ago I worked and then made their dinner and then as we were eating I asked if there was a chance that just one of them might say 'Happy Birthday.'

They had all forgotten.

48 more to go.

By that time I'll feel like I'm about 132 when I'll only really be 96.

As my Dad said:

I want to live until I'm 99 and be accused of rape.

In other words, empty the tank.

Whether it's your day or not.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Punched in the Gut

My day was actually fairly routine, for the most part, until I stepped from my car on Delaware Avenue and made a turn on the sidewalk only to be nearly run down by some Lance Douche Armstrong jackass peddling his bike as if he were in the Tour.

"Sorry, Dude," he yelled.

My heart was pumping loud. I thought of a Bruce line:

The things that'll knock you down you won't even see coming. They'll send you crawling like a baby back home.

So I made my way away from that moron and headed to the doctor's office to see if I could set the date on getting the tear in my hip fixed.

As I waited there an elderly woman was headed out of one of the examining rooms. Her daughter, I assume, was behind her and she made steady progress with her walker, taking a good few minutes to navigate the short hallway. When the lady got to where I was seated she smiled.

"Ain't life a peach," she said.

She took another couple steps and swiftly cut wind just mere steps from where I was sitting.

I jumped up.

We both laughed.

"So sorry about that," she said.

Ain't life a peach.

I moved around town, visiting a few jobs including one where the residents of a loft type apartment are paying $1.5 million to live in a space that is one-third the size of my house. All of the material possessions were brand new and the place looked classy, but man.

I cut through the fancy building and was making my way clear of the place when I opened the door to a community recreation room.

There was a fooseball table, a bubble hockey table, an air hockey table and a shuffleboard table.

That's when I was about bowled over because I thought of one person and one person only.

My brother Jeff.

He absolutely loved playing all of those games and he would beat my brains out at each one.

I closed the door, almost hearing the laughter as he spanked me.

I felt as if I got run down by that bike and I could still taste the gas that old lady passed.

Just a day.

Just a few minutes.

Sends you crawling like a baby back home.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Do Your Job!


You see the ump looking right at the tag?

Two feet.

He called the Tigers' player safe.

And it's all right, I suppose. Yankees can't buy a hit anyway and the Captain went down, but what frosts my ass is something that aggravates me every day.

Do your job.

If your job is to make ice cream cones at the local diner try and make the best one possible every time.

If you are dumping garbage and a little stray garbage gets loose, bend over and pick it up.

If you are solely responsible for making an out-safe call at a base in an area where you can see it clearly:

Call if right for God's sake!

And yeah, I invest a lot of time in the Yankees and what-the-frig-ever.

Yet you see it on a day-by-day basis in real life. I remember interviewing a guy about giving him a job one time. You know what his first question was?

"How much vacation time do I get?"

"You can have all the days off," I answered.

And all right, we all make mistakes, right?

But that ump will hide behind his protection until the day he dies.

"It was too close to call with the naked eye," he'll say.

Really?

We can train a monkey to make that call.

If you screw something up, stand up and take it like a man.

That's it.

That's all.

I'm done talking baseball.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Did You Find Everything You Need?

Who doesn't love grocery shopping?

Load the cart, load the car, unload the car and put everything away.

What can be more fun than that?

I know that it's a battle around here, especially considering that they closed up the little neighborhood store. Now we have to go to the big stores and it turns into a real event.

Here are my favorite shoppers:

1). Just Looking.

I swear to God I stood for three minutes beside a woman who was looking through the glass at the gallon of milk as if it were about to do a trick. I, of course, needed to grab a gallon.

"I never know which one to get," she said.

"That particular brand comes from a cow," I said as I walked away.

She went back to looking.

2). Am I Blocking the Aisle?

I actually hate these bastards. They get their cart and park it on one side and then they stand directly across from it and study the aisle in front of them. Then my favorite part: they act all indignant when you attempt to pass.

"Get the mother....out of the way!"

3). Paper or Plastic?

The cashiers are a whole 'nother story. They definitely ask the paper and plastic question. Then they ask if you found everything as if it was a contest. Then they ask you one thing after another.

"You want your milk in a bag?"

"You want your pop in a bag?"

"You want your bag of onions in a freaking bag?"

I actually want to tell them to just plop it all in the cart, give me thirty bags and let me be on my way.

4). Didn't the Ad say $1.89?

We all love coupon lady, right? She has fifty freaking coupons and then needs to ask the cashier:

"Did I get this?"

I'm not kidding. Last time out the lady in front of me asked the cashier if the freaking chunks of pineapple she had were $1.81 because the register rang it up as $1.89.

Do you know how much time passed as we debated the issue?

6 minutes.

6 minutes for 8 cents.

I was ten seconds away from throwing a dime on the counter to settle the dispute. The lady was pissed. The cashier was confused. I was seething.

I'm not exactly sure how it turned out because I was busy counting backwards from a hundred so that I didn't strangle two people.

5). Let Me Read My Receipt in the F$#^&ng doorway!

So I usually feel a sense of relief when I make it back to the front door. That is when some dumb bastard, who has moved at a measured pace for about 300 feet stops on a freaking dime so that they can check their receipt in the center of the exit before they leave the store.

I nearly ram the cart into the annoying bastard.

"Oh geez, I'm sorry!"

"I wish I would have driven the cart straight into the back of your legs and somehow struck a main artery of some sorts," I mutter as I smile my way by.

God I love grocery shopping.

P.S. GET A-HOLD OF JEFF RENALDO TODAY. THE MAIN GRAPE APE IS 49 FREAKING YEARS OLD!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Debate This

For the first time in my adult life I blew off the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

I didn't want to hear word one.

Both guys will help the middle and the poor and fight against disease and make sure there are no terrorists.

Each will eliminate the national debt in one months time. Whatever you want, that's what they'll say.

And they will also say, "By the way, the other guy sucks ass and may or may not be a criminal, a Muslim or just a fat rich cat who doesn't care."

I'm glad I missed 'em.

In fact, if you told me I could be granted one wish:

The Yankees could win it all or I could have the guy I want for president. I know what I would choose.

The election means that little to me.

And it really shouldn't should it?

I should feel the anger and the angst. I should chase away the Doom and Gloom with Hope and Faith.

(By the way the new Stones song is called Doom and Gloom - thanks for reminding me Corinne - it's better than the debates. Mick sounds good in full voice).

And there are people out there trying to bait me into debating them about which guy is good and which guy is bad.

"Your vote counts!"

Yeah, my vote might count but it can be cancelled by a guy who votes the other way despite not knowing who or what anything is about. There are people in this country that can't find their own home state on a map.

"We are for the middle class!"

No one is for the middle class. That's the bottom line. I'm waiting for the profits to trickle down. I'm waiting for the free shit to trickle up.

Ain't gonna' happen.

So, here I sit in a blue state that has already handed over their electoral votes. Taxes will go up. Deductions will go down. My kids will continue to eat.

Hopefully.

And the Yankees will keep me up past midnight, reading the Twitter feed about the experts calling out about who won or lost a debate.

As if they were recapping a baseball game.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Square One

Everyone has a reason for feeling as if they need to start again.

I'm feeling a bit reborn this morning. The sickness is mostly gone. A deep breath will make me cough, but feeling as if a couple of days more of rest will have me jumping out of bed on Monday.

Yet the rest doesn't come easily in the autumn and that's because the greatest game in the world is having their playoffs.

I am a tremendous fan of the game. I was shamed by the steroids. I am embarrassed by the salaries, but man, they got that game right.

The anticipation. The pace. The long season that runs like a soap opera script. Day after day. Play until the final out. No kneel downs. No shooting free throws. No neutral zone trap and icing the puck. No head stuck under the replay curtain.

"Are you watching this?" my buddy sent me at 12:18 a.m. on Saturday night as the Cards came back from 6 runs down to beat the Nats.

I wasn't watching. I was sleeping. I'm glad he sent the message though because it made me smile in the morning.

Baseball is the best.

It makes me think of my Dad and hugging him when Chris Chamblis homered to beat the Royals in 1977.

It makes me think of standing in left field at Camden Yards, Pops on one side, Jeff on the other, Fluff in between...chugging a beer because Bernie went deep.

I think of the pain of the Yankees losing in the '01 series and having to comfort Kathy because Jake was getting operated on the next day.

"The Yankees don't have anything to do with the operation," I said.

The Matsui homer in the '09 series when all of life seemed to be not worth living.

The Yanks picked me up. They made me consider starting again.

"Matsui is a &%*#s%c*@r ringing in my ears."

And the sound of Jeff's laughter.

I don't have the dog in the fight this year. I'm just watching. Win or lose, it's all okay because I feel like I'm back at square one.

Poised and ready to limp ahead.

Anything can happen.

It's not about beating the clock.

It's more about playing hard until the game is over.

Two outs and two strikes.

Down two and nobody on.

"Are you watching this?"

We all get a chance to begin again.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Is It Possible?

Is it possible to feel bad for a man who makes $30 million a year?

Okay, I must admit: I am not the world's biggest fan of Alex Rodriguez. I think he's a fine ballplayer, but I find him a little lacking in the sincerity department. He strikes me as a guy pretending to be someone you'd like when you sort of really know that you really don't like him. I know people who hate the sight of him.

In other words....he's the opposite of Derek Jeter.

And therein lies the problem for A-Rod. He can never live up to the guy who plays ten feet to his left.

Jeter has 5 rings. A-Rod has 1.

Jeter is the captain. A-Rod wants to be the captain.

Jeter plays hurt. A-Rod just can't do it.

I always think of the play against the Red Sux when Jeter raced by A-Rod and dove face-first in the stands while A-Rod stood there with his hands on his head and a "Oh no expression" on his face.

On Wednesday night A-Rod was scheduled to bat second in the 9th inning of a game that the 27-Time World Champion AL East Champion Yankees were playing against Baltimore. The Yankees were losing. A-Rod had struck out a couple of times and looked bad.

Yet it's A-Rod, right? He has 672 big league home runs.

"A-Rod is gonna' do it," Sam said before the inning started. "He's gonna' be the hero."

Yet it was not to be.

Joe Girardi did the impossible. He pinch-hit for the half a billionaire.

You probably know the rest.

Rauuuuuuuuuullllllllllllllll hit a home run and then for good measure he hit the game winner.

And the life lessons were right there for me etched on the face of A-Rod.

He looked happy for Raul and the team. He said all the right things. He was just happy with the win and he is all about the team.

But did you see his face?

For the first time in his life, he faced what we all face way more than him. He was called back. His coach didn't think he was the best option.

That has never happened.

Immediately the negative crap was jumping off the screen on Facebook and Twitter. People were bashing A-Rod for the earlier strikeouts. Happy Yankee fans were screaming that no one needs A-Rod.

But I felt bad for the guy.

I really did.

I hope he has a shot at redemption.

He's not my favorite, but there was that pain in his eyes.

Poor guy.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I Dropped 12 Pounds!!!

Of course, it won't last.

You see, being sick last week (and I'm not out of the woods yet) really helped out.

By the way, the 'out of the woods' line is really weird, isn't it? You hear it all the time when someone is sick. The doctor might say it. The concerned family might say it.

As if there are woods out there somewhere.

Weird.

It's like Bills fans crowing about how no one circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills. They've been circling them for 15 freaking years now.

Anywho-ha.

I lost weight.

Violently ill isn't really the way to peel off the pounds, is it?

"What happened to you?" the receptionist at the hip doctor asked me. I'd received an injection in my hip just seven days before.

"I got sick."

"Wow, you're doing good," she said.

And I suppose that I am.

I won't be able to avoid hip surgery.

I still can't take a deep breath without going into a coughing jag.

"I hope you have a good day," my beautiful wife texted me in the morning.

"Oh, it's gonna' be splendid!" I exclaimed.

And I suppose that it could be worse, right?

After all, there are people who fight it every day. You really don't have much if you aren't healthy and there are plenty of people who are sick and really might not get better.

Besides, I've decided to look on the bright side.

At least for a little while here, I can't be considered obese.

That's a good day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

No Hate???

What is going on with the baseball playoffs?

So far I'm watching them without the usual anxiety, rage, aggravation and miserable angst creeping in.

The Yanks lost on Monday night.

They lost to the Orioles.

If I'd have even thought that was a possibility in April you'd have checked me for signs of glue-sniffing. I actually thought they'd lose 110 games. I asked an O's fan, before the season started to name five pitchers on the roster.

He couldn't.

Yet here we are. And the very reason why they are there may be the reason why I don't have hate in my heart.

You see, I went to about 50 games in Baltimore one year. Cal Ripken won the MVP on the last place team. He deserved it. He was fun to watch.

I also took a lot of trips to their ballpark at Camden Yards. It's a great park.

My wonderful cousins live in Baltimore. So does my sister. A number of college buddies are there.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want Baltimore to win because I want them to be happy. I want the Yankees to win so they can be miserable.

Carrie will be happy if the Yanks win as well.

Buck Showalter was the Yankee manager when they got good again in 1994. I think he's a baseball genius. The fact that he manages the O's now only enhances my opinion of him.

And have you noticed?

The O's play the game with respect. They play hard. They don't have crazy beards and dirty uniforms. They are playing it the Yankee way. Their fans will deny it, but they are mini-Yankees out there.

I'm really hoping that my hate grows over the next few days. Hell, I didn't even get worked up about the fact that the Yankees had to start the series on the road despite winning the best record overall.

Can it be that I'm maturing?

We all know that ain't it, right?

Oh, by the way, A-Rod is getting on my %$*ng nerves.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Does It Get Easier?

Ever?

I'm beginning to doubt it.

Do you remember when the kids were young and screaming and running and not listening and threatening to make you want to dig your own eyes out with a ballpoint pen?

I do.

Friends who'd had their kids earlier in life would mention this:

It doesn't get any easier.

Then they'd laugh and laugh and laugh.

I currently have one buddy who enjoyed his 'free' life for a lot longer than the rest of us.

This poor guy is now my age with three of four young-ins running around and his younger wife may or may not be pregnant again. She's been pregnant so many times in a row that it's hard to keep track.

"What's up?" My buddy asked as I picked up his call.

There was an ear-piercing scream over the line followed by a shriek and then his booming:

"LEAVE YOUR SISTER ALONE!!"

I roared. He didn't.

"It ain't %#&*ng funny," he said. "All day long. It's non-stop. He pulls her hair, she throws something at him, they both cry, I yell, and the wife yells at me."

"Dude, it gets worse," I said.

"How could it?" he answered.

"Well, for one thing they get more energy as you slow down."

"I'm already slowed down!" He wailed. "You forget that you were doing this at 32. I won't be doing what you're doing until I'm 65."

I laughed again.

"It ain't %#&*ng funny," he said. "Please just tell me that it gets easier. They are just lunatics."

"Yeah but they get dumber as they get older," I said. "Then they get lazy. Then they eat everything in your fridge. Then they get these big booming voices that scare the shit out of you as they scream at each other through the house. Then you think about punishing them and you wonder about them snapping and breaking your back in two over their knee as they head back to the video game."

Now he was laughing.

"And what's worse is that they take every nickel out of your pockets and come back for more, and when they can start making fun of you with their cute little smile...Oh God, let me tell you, it's all just worth it."

There was another blood-curdling scream somewhere in the room behind him.

"I just don't care anymore what happens," my buddy said laughing. "I really don't."

"Then you're almost there," I said. "When they beat you down, completely stamp out your self-worth, and have you contemplate making a wrong turn and not looking back, you've made it as a father."

"But they're so damn cute," my buddy said.

"That's their mother filling your head with that propaganda bullshit," I said.

"OH SHIT!!! I GOTTA' GO!" He screamed.

I laughed for a half an hour.


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Mule

The kids love to refer to me as the Mule. In light of the week just passed....it seemed like a year:


This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule.

The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving.

Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him.

It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE WOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!

This he did, blow after blow.

“Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up!”

He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well.

What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him . . . all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT’S LIFE!

If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.

Author Unknown

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Little Men

I'm not sure when it started. Perhaps it was a touching story between mother and son as Mom tried to comfort me from overcoming an illness, but I've always believed that there are a crew of little men, on the inside, taking care of repairs.

When I was young they were most likely very caring and hardworking. As I grew to adulthood, however, they have become a little less patient.

You see, the problem started in college when I used to talk to them about putting out the various brush fires going on after a rough night of drinking.

"Send water down!" one of the foremen, Bada, used to yell. His partner Bing would help him distribute the pails of water.

I spoke a lot with these little men on rehydration day.

As I've said, through the years the relationship has deteriorated. Bada and Bing are both weary and the little men that work for them don't move quite as quickly these days.

Early adulthood wore them out.

"Oh Shit! It's pasta! Get the wheelbarrows!!" I overhead Bada say one day.

"What are we gonna' do with all of it?" Bing would ask each Sunday.

"What can we do? Expand the walls!!!"

And so it has continued.

I tried to summon up the men this week as I battled my illness.

Apparently they are on my beautiful wife's side of things.

"She wants him to go to Immediate Care for medications," Bing said. "Fatty moron pants won't go."

"He's too tired," Bada said, laughing uproariously.

"No, no, He's too FABULOUS!" Bing laughed right back.

"He's not sick," Bada roared, "He's just an idiot!"

"Shh, shh!" Bing said. "He's at the doctors! Look! There are pills coming down!"

"Run and get 'em," Bada said. "We gotta' crush 'em and distribute them. First his mommy and now his wife."

"Why do people keep bailing this moron out?"

"Beats me."

"You know what's the worst part?" Bada asked. "Now he's gonna' feel better and it's Sunday."

"We're gonna' flatten the tires on the wheelbarrows again."

Rectum? It Nearly Killed Him

So, the deal with God has been called off as there was just a 24-hour window and I did not improve enough in that time frame to warrant keeping my big mouth shut.

So!

The umps blew another call in Atlanta invoking the infield fly rule on a deep ball to left. As the fans were littering the field with their drink containers I thought of a faraway country where they storm the field after a soccer match (storming anything over soccer is scary in itself) but I did call the umps post-game response:

"I'm right. You're wrong. Tough shit."

That was pretty much it.

People have been yelling 'Kill the Ump' since 1890.

Let's hope they don't do it.

Did you hear about the boy at the University of Tennessee who supposedly went to the hospital as the victim of drinking a beer through his ass?

Not kidding.

It's all the rage, apparently. The alcohol is absorbed quickly and just a few ounces can render you shit-faced.

I used to like drinking. I used to love beer. Those days are long gone as I struggle with being an elderly 47-year-old but I'm not quite sure that I would have ever been tempted to rip down my pants and allow one of my buddies to pour a beer in my ass.

I can't even believe I typed that last sentence.

I have three boys growing up now. One is already in the midst of doing stupid things that I probably don't want to know a lot about. I can't believe that we're going to have to have the 'no beer in your ass' talk with him.

It ought to be an interesting week ahead. The 27-time, first-place, AL East Champion, we-don't-need-a-wild-card-to-back-in Yankees are facing off against the Baltimore Orioles...starting the series...on the road???

(How does that happen?)

Whatever.

May the best team win.

May all the slap-happy Baltimorons (I told you the pact was null and void) have a little bit of fun during the three game sweep.

I'm told that Jeffrey Maier will be throwing out the first pitch when the series shifts to New York.

Friday, October 5, 2012

I Swear

Dear God,

I will stop making fun of people if you'll let me feel better.

I won't call Lance Armstrong a douchebag.

I won't mention that Arnold did the predator.

I will never again call the Red Sox the Suck Sox.

All I'm looking for is the chance to lift my head without it aching.

No more heavy sweating waking up in a pool of Italian juices.

I will be fair to the O's and the Phillies and I will refer to the fine people of Baltimore as something other than Baltimorons.

I won't call that QB from Pittsburgh Rapistpervert.

I'll forgive Michael Vick and Cheetah Woods.

(Okay, Tiger Woods...I didn't mean to call him Cheetah).

No more white women Michael Jackson jokes.

God,

Please.

Let me feel better.

I stop shorting of promising to be nice to W. and Palin.

But even You can understand that, right?

Signed,

Fabulous Fazzolari

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sick As A Dog

Sometimes I lie when I write a blog. I don't do that to offend anyone, but it makes for a better story.

This conversation wasn't a lie.

Happened on Sunday night just before bed.

My beautiful wife: Sam is still sick. I'm gonna' have to take him to the doctor tomorrow.

Me: Isn't it weird that I NEVER get sick? I don't think I've had even a cold for 5 years.

My beautiful wife: Maybe you shouldn't say anything.

Me: You can't hold down the Fabulous Fazzolari.

My beautiful wife: Get the hell away from me.

I did. I headed off to bed with visions of a 28th World Series Championship running through my head. I woke at regular time and headed out, hitting the road by 6:30.

What the hell?

I went to a few meetings.

I was dizzy. My chest hurt. My head was pounding.

What can this be?

I battled through. Kathy had the day off. I headed straight home. I went right to bed.

My beautiful wife: Are you sick?

Me: Of course not.

I actually got out of bed and went outside and mowed the lawn.

Sick! That's funny!!

The 27-Time World Champion first-place New York Yankees beat the Red Sux in the first of three. The hapless O's lost. I went back to sleep. I had a full schedule planned.

When I woke at 1:30 a.m. I knew it was over. I couldn't lift my head.

The Fabulous Fazzolari was grounded.

My beautiful wife: Are you sick?

Me: Please refrain from speaking.

My beautiful wife: Here, I got you some Vapo Rub and flu tablets.

Me: Will you be rubbing it on my chest?

My beautiful wife: hahahahahahahhahahhahahhahhahahahhahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahhahahhhahahhahhahahhahhahhahhahhaahhhhahhahahahhahhahhahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahhahaha.

I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Sad Story

I lived in West Haven, Connecticut for a year.

It's a funny story, actually. My Dad was running a job out there. A big job with a lot of responsibility. I had just finished college and was a real rising star in the offices of the construction trailer. I was one of the first guys in the industry who could turn on a computer and it really helped those in charge to document the progress of the jobs.

Dad got me a job. We worked together for two weeks. Then he broke the news to me.

"I got a better offer back in Buffalo," he said.

Two weeks later he was gone. I stayed on in Connecticut.

"If you wanted me out of the house you could've just told me," I said at the time.

"You'll be all right," he said.

And I was. I really enjoyed my time on the job there. I sort of enjoyed the Connecticut area. I'd drive down to Danbury or New York City or New Fairfield. I was young and dumb. I went everywhere, drank a lot, and laughed a lot.

I thought of New Fairfield today because there was a shooting there.

Big deal, right? There's a shooting everywhere, every night.

But this was a real beauty. You'd have to be heartless not to let this one get in.

A man fatally shot a masked teenager in self-defense outside his neighbor's house during what appeared to be an attempted late-night burglary, and then discovered it was his son, state police said.

Quick recap.

Woman believes someone is breaking into her house so she calls her neighbor. Guy goes outside and finds the kid dressed up like a burglar. The kid has something shiny in his hand. The guy shoots him, rips off the mask and sees his own kid's lifeless face.

That's a sad story.

Yet what gets me about such stories are the comments attached. You wanna' get sick head to the comment section of any of these types of stories.

The kid deserved what he got.

I guess that little joke backfired!

We all have the right to bear arms. He shot his kid, but next time it might be a real criminal.

The back story talks of the kid playing video games with a friend up until just a few minutes before the fatal encounter. By all accounts, he was a good kid. He had never been in trouble. Maybe he was playing a game. Perhaps he was just being a kid. Maybe he was up to no good.

I just don't know, but I have three young boys.

That's all I need to say.

I have three young, goofy boys. They joke around with their friends. They play video games.

Somewhere, somehow they will eventually walk around a neighborhood acting goofy.

We all did.

Remember throwing eggs at a house?

I don't know. I just don't.

No way to make sense of such a horrific story.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Go Away Arnold

Arnold Schwarzenegger is on a tour to re-do his image.

Let me catch you up.

Arnold was a weight-lifter. He made videos of his lifting exploits. In those videos he spoke of getting high, doing steroids, and doing all sorts of things to women that left anyone watching feel a little sickened.

Then he became a movie star. High action stuff. He had about three lines of dialogue in every movie. He made a ton of money. We all sort of fell for him, right?

"It's not a tumor!"

Somehow he became engaged in politics, and there were people out there saying:

"I wish Arnold could be president."

Of course, he wasn't born here, and we don't allow non-citizens to sit in the big chair, despite those people out there who claim that it has happened.

So he ran for the governor of California.

Sounds about right.

I hear conflicting stories about how effective he actually was out there. I listened to him speak on Howard every now and again, but considered him a little dim.

Then he proved to me that he was a LOT DIM.

Last year his love-child with his maid was discovered. Maria Schriver, who is part of the royal American family, filed for divorce.

Arnold was on the run.

"I'll be back."

And he's back now, trying to put a spin on all of it for us.

"Having a child with the maid was the stupidest thing I ever did," he said.

Wow! What an informative interview.

Truthfully though, I think it's really funny, don't you?

An Austrian athlete rises from poverty, becomes an International superstar as a weightlifter and then a movie idol, becomes governor of a large state in a rich country, is well respected by millions, marries a Kennedy, buys a mansion, hires an immigrant to keep his clothes clean, sleeps with the immigrant, has a child, hides the child from his wife, finishes up his governorship, is found out, is hit with the divorce papers, and begs the forgiveness of a fickle public.

And here we are.

How can we not just forgive and forget?

Good luck, Arnold...we're all rooting for you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What We Forget


There's a twitter photo out there of a skinny black kid looking perplexed at the photographer with a 'You've got to be kidding me' countenance. The caption under the photo says:

"You have five gallons of clean water that constantly refills and you shit in it?"

The photo sort of stopped me in my tracks as did the shot above. We are here, talking about trading in our I-Phones for the update, and there are people there, wondering if they will live through the day.

And I don't mean to bring you down or to turn it into an infomercial that ends with you becoming a sponsor for a kid who can eat three meals a day for less money than what you can find in the cushions of your couch, but we do a real disservice if we forget.

And this isn't just in India, people. We have plenty of people who are starving right here.

And it sort of makes me angry and sad when the blanket statements are hung out there to gain momentum.

Do you think, do you honestly think that people, if given the choice would rather stay on welfare and food stamps?

I really doubt that most people have the chance to choose to be lazy. Not people in the position of not eating anything all day.

Look, there are bad choices out there. There are people who commit fraud at the low end of the wealth pole.

But don't kid yourself: most of them don't have the means, or the smarts, or the family tree that allows for climbing, and it shames me to know that we don't feel shame in ourselves for allowing that to fester.

It's easier to ignore.

It's easier to tell ourselves that we have to go to work every day whether we want to or not, but think about this...

...was the deck stacked against you from day one?

We have always called ourselves the land of opportunity, and for many of us it is all out there for the taking.

But it's not all of us.

Some people are born in absolute misery.

Right here.

Mere miles from where you're playing Song Pop on your I-Phone.

They are not considering Romney or Obama.

They aren't trying to figure out ways to cheat the system.

They are not thinking about cashing in their 401K for a trip to the Gulf of Mexico.

They're starving.

Try not to forget that.

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 ...