Thursday, February 28, 2013

It Takes All Kinds

I spent an hour and a half listening to a guy named Alex Jones talk about a whole bunch of things. Jones was on the Howard Stern Show and he secured the booking by going stark raving mad about gun control on Piers Morgan.

Now for the fun of it, I do listen to differing opinions from time to time. I say that Jones and I have different opinions because he appears crazy to me, and as we know, I have some real opinions of my own.

None of which are wrong.

In my head.

Jones not only is dead set against any sort of gun control. He believes a whole bunch of things like tyranny, and that the government allowed 9/11, and that breast cancer is a conspiracy to control population, and that we need to stockpile guns, food, and all sorts of other survival items because the government that is in now is indeed rogue and will be knocking on our doors soon, not only to grab our guns, but to shoot us to our death.

By the time that the interview was over my head hurt.

Jones cited a whole bunch of information that appears to be out there. He's been studying history for the last twenty years and he must have told us, a hundred times, that we can 'look it up.'

It's all real.

Howard was truly a great interviewer because after listening to Stern for the last 25 years I was well aware that his opinion certainly differed from the views he was hearing, but he let the guy talk.

Did you know that fish are bisexual?

Did you know that there are suicidal shrimp?

You can look it up.

I guess.

The Kennedy assassination was staged.

9/11 was an American strategy.

Cancer is desired by some people as population control.

Flu shots are a way to alter our minds and poison us.

It's all right there if you open your mind.

And oh yeah.

Buy your gun because the government is on the way to mess you up.

You can look it up.

Perhaps he's right.

I may be wrong.

But what an exhausting way to live.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

On and On

February is a cold month.

We need to spice it up somehow, don't we?

I don't think that Valentine's Day quite cuts it. There are only 28 days, usually, but the month seems eternal to me.

The ice and the cold are a true battle. As a young man it's easy to make fun of the people who migrate to warmer climates for the winter, as a just-past-middle-aged man it seems like a grand idea.

Football season is over. The real college basketball season isn't here yet. The guys in baseball are denying the new batch of steroid claims, and playing catch in the sun.

Hockey blows.

Seems all a little slow, doesn't it?

Some people amuse themselves with the Oscar's talk, but I normally don't see the movies that are up for consideration.

I did see the White Lightning thing because Bradley Cooper was in it.

I get to see Bradley Cooper, Channing Tatum, and Ryan Gosling movies...by my beautiful wife's request...

...because those guys remind her of me.

I'm guessing.

But still a little bored.

"I need to see the sun," a co-worker said to me the other day.

And that might be it.

It always seems dark and cold in February.

It feels darker and colder to me in March too...for tragic reasons.

I have to remember.

Opening Day is just around the corner.

Jeter will lead the boys out onto the field.

The 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports will get their cuts in. Television will be taken care of from April until October.

Judge Judy.

Yankees.

On and on we go.

And I won't have to look at Ryan or Channing or Bradley again for a whole 'nother year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hoodwinked

Did you happen to hear Ben Affleck (a Red Suck fan and one of my least favorite actors) stumble over his thank-you to his wife in his acceptance speech.

First off, he likes the Red Sucks so he can't be overly brilliant, but he forgot to thank her one other time when he was getting an award so this time he went out of his way, but he called his love for her, 'Work.'

I almost felt bad for the moron.

"It is work," he said. "But there's no one else I'd rather have working with me."

All right. He might've saved it, but it got me texting with a buddy of mine as we considered marriage.

I'll tread lightly.

I'll also allow my buddy to remain anonymous.

You'll see why.

"It's not the same as we believed, right?" he asked.

"We were bamboozeled," I replied.

"Hoodwinked," he answered.

"A great heist," I sent back.

I decided to break it down.

"Yet we love 'em and sooner or later, whether we get aggravated or not, before too long they can pull us back in with a couple of moves."

"Ain't that the truth," my buddy said.

"But that means we're like trained monkeys," I said.

"Worse," he answered.

I waited a couple of moments for him to finish his thought.

It was worth the wait.

"Monkeys get to hump other monkeys when the feeling strikes 'em," he said.

I wonder if that's what dumb Ben Affleck was trying to say when he was up there.

Was that the 'work' he was referring too?

Poor monkey bastard.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Shot in the Dark

Guilty until proven innocent is an important concept particularly if you are wrongly accused.

Yet with that being said, I'm not sure I'm buying the Blade Runner's story.

To paraphrase, he was hot and he got up out of bed to retrieve a fan. His beautiful girlfriend, who he loved above all else was asleep beside him when he hopped out of bed.

When he was getting the fan he heard a noise in the bathroom. He was so scared for his life that he raised his gun, after putting his legs on, and shot through the door, killing her by accident.

Uh, yeah.

Sounds plausible.

Let's try and imagine it.

First off, that wouldn't happen in my home for two very important reasons.

1). I don't own a gun.

and

2). My beautiful wife most likely would've left the door open.

But all that aside.

Don't you call out to the person behind the door?

Did he do that?

"Who's in the bathroom?" Frightened Oscar says.

"It's a marauding intruder!"

She must have answered that way, in a fake voice, to get the gun-blast response.

That's the only possible conclusion you can draw.

More likely it went like this:

"Get out here or I'll kill you!"

"I'm calling the cops," she cried.

And it calls to mind the questions that come up in such a trial. How can a defense lawyer look someone in the eye, knowing what the truth most likely is, and work as hard as he can to muddy the waters and get his client off?

Seems a shady way to make a living.

Yet, Oscar is guaranteed his day in court.

Shoot into the dark first and deal with the consequences?

Even if it were an intruder is that the way to handle such a situation?

The guy is locked in the bathroom. You have your legs on.

You can't just head off and find help?

You can't pick up your phone and call the police?

You shoot first?

Why are gun owners so scared all the time?

Oh, by the way, there have been 2,000 gun deaths since we were all horrified by Newtown.

Keep shooting, boys.

They're coming for you.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Carrie's Turn

My publisher and friend, Cindy, said something to me late last year that sort of stuck. I was mentioning that I was heading up to the New England Book Festival to appear on a panel about writing and she stopped talking for a second. Then she slowly said.

"You don't even think it's unique, do you?"

"What?"

"People don't just get to do these things," she said. "You just casually mention things like we all know what it feels like to get such honors."

I suppose that I am guilty of that although I certainly do not feel entitled. It's just that the writing was always a natural course of action for me. I do know what it feels like to be honored and I'm certainly appreciative, but those honors aren't just mine...they are Cindy's too. They are my friends as well. They most certainly belong to my family. The Oh Brother! honors are way less mine than they are my brothers and sisters. We all could've written that book. Jeff's life is the honor.

Yet, for the 6th time, Oh Brother! The Life & Times of Jeff Fazzolari will be honored.

At the Los Angeles Book Festival.

On March 8th.

Carrie's birthday.



And tell me I'm not crazy here.

The winners of the New England Book Festival were announced on - October 18 - my birthday.

The ceremony for the New York Book Festival was on June 22 - Jeff's birthday.

The winners of the Southern California Book Festival were announced on my Dad's birthday.

And now the ceremony for the Los Angeles Book Festival is on Carrot's.

That's not random, folks.

And how many?

New England

Hollywood

New York

Southern California

London

Los Angeles


I'd say that WE are doing what WE thought was normal.

WE are telling the world about love.

WE are spreading the message about celebrating life.

WE

And it still does feel real natural.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Equal Time

Okay, there certainly was a time when we thought 'we were the wildest things we'd ever seen' and that we'd make it in Hollywood someday. Actually, that went on for just a couple of years...watching Letterman when he first came out, tossing rocks at prisoners jail cells in the Erie jail, sharing a single McDonald's hamburger because we were broke (I got the pickles). One of the guys who I actually thought I'd be writing comedy with - Terry - submitted the column today - poking fun at my alleged new television gig. He wasn't the only one to respond, either...I have a lovely photo of myself as Costanza as well. (Thanks Jeffy).


TOP TEN THINGS ABOUT CLIFF'S NEW GIG:

1) Was the show CSI or something that needed a cadaver?

2) They're remaking Brian's Song and need someone that looked like they're in end-stage...whatever...

3) I don't know if I'd watch a sit-com where the dad is the Elephant Man.

4) Wow. You as the dad; Kate Upton as the mom. THAT'S never been tried before in a sitcom!!!!

5) Italian-American writer/dad/husband. Somewhere Ray Romano's lawyers are sharpening their knives.

6) And THIS was the message he remembered. Sam picked up last week when Bruce called while he was playing X-Box but forgot to write THAT one down.

7) Holy Crap. Now all we need is a fictional family that ignores Cliff and disrespects him at every turn. WHEREVER COULD WE FIND SUCH A GROUP OF PEOPLE?

8) Dad in a sitcom? Hell, Cliff hopes to someday become a dad in real life.

9) Yeah. L.A. commutes. Hollywood agents. Poor ratings. Just when you thought Cliff was running out of things to whine about.

10) All these years of being a wise-ass has finally paid off. Now if only that drinking problem could translate into success, he'd have something...



Classic. Somehow, it appears to me, that I have formed a true character. If Sam truly missed the message from Bruce...oh, I don't even want to think about it...and it's a FORMER drinking problem. My beautiful wife says that I am indeed the real Dad...and she's coming for you with that one!

Everything else is fairly accurate.

Elephant Man?

Good comedy writing, buddy.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Matinee Idol

Got home from another aggravating work day yesterday (aggravating because it's cold and I'm old) and in the middle of typing my first report the power went off.

The power going out around our house is a true emergency as it kicks teenagers off the X-Box. It also ruins reports that aren't quite saved yet, but I wasn't about to panic or said teenagers would follow suit.

So I headed down to do something productive, passing Sam on the stairs.

"Someone wants you on television," he said.

"What?"

"I don't know. Someone from New York City wants you to be on television. She left a message on the answering machine."

I went towards the answering machine. There were no lights blinking.

"There's no power, genius," Sam said.

I prodded him for information but he didn't have any.

So we waited. We even spotted Jake who had left his room with his controller still in hand.

About an hour later the power returned and I hit the answering machine.

"This is someone from somewhere. We are contacting you to see if you'd be interested in being a television Dad in a sitcom."

The woman left her phone number and the company name. I immediately went to the Google machine and typed it in. It was more than legit.

I called the number and was transferred through.

Once more the woman explained the idea.

"Where'd you get my name from?" I asked.

"Thoughts of a Common Man," she said. "Your blog is funny and you're a good family man."

I just laughed.

We went through what needed to be done next and I'm not sure what can come of it, or what I even need of it, but why not try it, huh?

I sent a text to my beautiful wife.

"They want you on camera?" she asked.

"I think."

"Well, that's a mistake," she said, laughing. "I can see them wanting you for writing, but you have a face for radio."

I then sent the text to friends and family.

"You can be the next Peter Griffin," my brother John said.

"What are they gonna' name the show?" Sam asked. "The Complainer?"

Oh, the love.

You gotta' love the love.

Move over Brad Pitt.

Clifford is coming for the title.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

FIRED!!!

It's weird but following sports is a job for a lot of people.

"They should fire Ruff and Reiger!"

I've been hearing that one all year.

And you know what's weird?

When the Sabres finally dropped the hammer I felt bad for Lindy Ruff.

I'm not the world's biggest hockey fan. I think they made the game boring with the blocked shots and the clutching and grabbing. A guy can hardly ever get a shot through to the goalie, and if he does it will most likely be stopped because they're wearing pads as big as my bed mattress.

Anywho-ha.

Lindy is gone.

He was here a long time.

It brings to mind the only time in my life when I was fired.

My Dad left the job. It took about two weeks for his rival to fire me.

I didn't take it lying down.

I told the guy that there were only two things that he didn't know anything about:

Construction Management...and Weight Control.

And that's the way that I wish Lindy would have gone out.

Both guns blazing.

"Ryan Miller is a crybaby, bitch."

"Stafford couldn't shoot the puck in the ocean."

"Myers reminds me of big bird on skates."

"Enroth couldn't win a junior league game."

"Kaleta skates like a mental patient."

He could have gone on and on.

We would have all loved his presser to end it.

Good luck Lindy, and when you're with your new team, holding the cup up over your head, look in the camera and give a wink to good old Buffalo.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mind Over Matter



The guy above is a street performer.

I found the shot on Twitter and there was some great debate about whether or not it was an actual photo or if it had been doctored in some fashion.

I believe that the actor was David Arquette and he posted the photo swearing that it was legit.

I can buy it.

Our minds are truly capable of some unbelievable feats. The problem being that we certainly don't use them, very often, for understanding things that aren't right in our wheelhouse.

Have you ever been amazed by a magician?

Someone sent me a video of one of the famous guys doing all sorts of tricks with a coffee cup.

"How is that possible?" I wrote back.

I watched the video over and over and had no idea how the trick was performed.

Some years ago a company hired a magician to work the tables at a Christmas party. I had a couple of belts in me when the guy came over to me and asked to see my driver's license.

"Don't take it out of the wallet," he said.

I showed him the license. I don't think he ever touched the wallet.

He talked a little while, we exchanged a few jokes, and Shazam! he asked me to look in my wallet.

My license was gone.

He opened his wallet.

My license was there.

I wanted to kill the guy when he walked away and didn't share the trick.

I still don't know how he did it.

I don't know how that guy in the photo is just sitting there either, but I don't doubt it.

The mind:

It's a terrible thing to waste.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pole Position

So, Danica Patrick will be sitting in the cat bird's seat for the running of the Daytona 500.

Good for her.

I am not much of a racing fan. I find the Daytona 500 very interesting and each year, after the race, I tell myself that I'm gonna' pay more attention to who's winning, but soon enough I don't understand what the hell they're talking about, why the races look different and who is in the lead in the standings.

It's not like they print the box scores in the paper and I certainly ain't gonna' search for them.

Yet Danica makes it interesting, doesn't she?

In what other sport are their females competing with males for supremacy?

None.

And believe me, I'm not getting into any discussion of why men and women don't compete on the same field more often, I'm writing this entire blog just to bust on the guys who love NASCAR.

"They have to be great athletes," my brothers and my brother-in-law have told me time and again.

"I can drive a car," I'd respond.

"Not very well," they'd answer.

But it all came about as an argument because during the months of February and March and April and May we'd fight over the television as the pasta was being prepared.

"Put on basketball!" was usually followed by:

"Put on the race!"

And then the fighting would start.

And it all peaked years ago when we would bet on the winner of the Daytona 500. I picked Jeff Gordon to win during the year when you needed to know only one thing about racing:

Jeff Gordon was gonna' win.

And I took home the prize.

The next year I read up on it a bit and when Corinne called to tell me of the pool, as the winner, I chose Dale Jarrett.

He won.

So as the collector of the big prize two years in a row I was first in line for choice #3. I took a guy named Sterling Marlin because people on ESPN told me that he had the fastest car.

Good old Sterling would have won that race too had Dale Earnhardt Sr. not cut him off at every turn so that his son could win.

My sister called me as the race wore down.

"The streak is over!" she cried. "Marlin won't win!"

"He would've if that %&*$NG Earnhardt hadn't cheated!" I yelled.

"Oh boy, he's in a crash," Corinne said.

"I hope it kills him," I answered.

Of course, of course, of course I didn't mean it. I couldn't even open the paper the next day. I cry a little inside whenever I see a big 3 on the back of someone's window.

I've never made a bet on a race since.

But I did have to rattle my brother-in-law Chuck's cage a little.

"The best guy in the sport is a woman?" I asked. "Not sure I'll live long enough to watch a woman in a MLB game."

"You won't either," Chuck answered. "To play that game you have to stand in one spot for long periods of time, scratching your...

Ah, the love of sports.

Monday, February 18, 2013

World Class

I have thoroughly aggravated each of my children with my repeated bringing up of the fact that I was some kind of an athlete.

World class.

The kind of star that only comes around every once in a blue moon.

I've learned that if you say things enough times people will believe it. Just look at Michael Jordan and his whole 'greatest player ever' deal.

I argue with the kids about this all the time. Wilt would've shut him out in an one-on-one. That's not debatable.

But back to me.

I started it with my "I'm Jerry West in disguise talk."

I had Sam believing that for a little while. When he figured out that I was less than ten years old when West was dominating the shooting in the NBA he sort of had me.

But there are enough stories to keep the world class talk going.

I tell them about the time I dribbled it off my foot and out of bounds in a game when I played just 2 seconds. I was put in to shoot a bomb from before half court because I had made the same sort of shot the game before.

The designated shooter.

"Why would you try to dribble?" My coach screamed. "Everyone in the gym knows you can't dribble!"

Then there is the story of the length of the court basket in my Junior-Senior game. I was trying to shoot it. I swished the bastard. The ref turned to me as the crowd sat there stunned. "It doesn't count," the ref said. "You're out of bounds."

And it wasn't confined to basketball my friends.

I scored a goal in soccer as well. Into my own net. Perfect header. Top right corner. Our goalie, who had been working on a shut out just cried out my name and added two simple words:

"Fuzzy! You suck."

The next morning one of my buddies announced my feat over the loudspeaker at school.

That was a good day.

And what about softball?

I kept the books for the team so I know this to be true:

I led the Lions in hitting every year.

How much of it was due to my accounting is up to debate, but know one thing, boys:

They all look like line drives now, some twenty years later.

I also suffered the indignity of tearing my Achilles tendon on what would have been my first career home run.

"Keep your foot on the bag," one of my best buddies yelled as I arrived head over heels at third. "We've never seen you hit a ball that far. You wanna' be tagged out?"

(Great friend there. He also misdiagnosed the tear and had me drinking beer while resting on a bag of ice).

So, you see, kids, there have been moments of greatness.

One of the young NBA players raced up the court and finished the obstacle course in 28 seconds. He completed a pass, a bounce pass, a 3 point shot and dribbled through fake defenders to get it done in that time.

"15 seconds," I said. "I could do all that in 15 seconds."

"What?" Sam asked. "You can't get a bottle of water out of the fridge and sit back down on the couch in less than 15 seconds."

"Well, not now!" I answered, "but back then. I was some athlete."

"World class!" Sam laughed. "World class."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cleaning Things Up

How do you handle the cleanup after a meteor strike?

There probably isn't much of a call for a meteor cleanup program.

I hope it remains that way.

But a few things to clear up this week as we wait for the big strike to finish us all. We'll never really see it coming, will we?

1). Sad Story - The blade runner story is so tragic that it's hard to comprehend, right? There were so many lines that popped into my head when I considered his crime that I just wrote them all down like a comedy writer. It was fun. I posted a few of the better ones on Facebook:

The cops are searching leads but so far they're stumped.

He was two feet away from escaping.

Do you think he'll stand trial?

I think he'll skate.


And some guy jumped all over me for my lack of compassion. I just laughed as I wrote, 'Lighten up, Francis.'

Yet it is a really sad story. A beautiful, intelligent young girl lost her life in what looked to be a truly abusive relationship and it was yet another conflict solved with an easily accessible firearm.

Will that ever stop?

2). The Rogue Ex-Cop - Hollywood writes these sorts of stories every year, don't they? A mentally unstable yet sympathetic figure loses it and tries to make a statement by using violence.

'Are you watching this?' a friend of mine texted during the shoot-out.

I put CNN on and nearly vomited on my shoes as I heard the glee in the announcers voice as he recapped it all as if he were calling a football game.

Can it ever stop?

Read the next one before going on.

3). Ted Nugent - Most of the sensible gun owners that I know believe that some concessions should be made in order to protect the rights of the responsible.

'The background checks are necessary.'

'Illegal gun sales must be addressed.'

Yet if you follow the speak of the NRA you'd think there was a different issue on the table. What I've gathered so far:

No background checks, no reduction in arms, no registering guns, pry it from my cold dead hand, and I have more guns if you want 'em.

Guess it won't stop if they have their way.

4). New Life

But I didn't want to end this weekly clean-up on a down note. My buddy Jeff and his beautiful wife Kathy became grandparents this week. A.J. and Raechal welcomed a beautiful boy to the planet...and although they wouldn't go with Clifford as a name...and although A.J. sent a photo of himself in a Red Suck hat...I was absolutely thrilled for all involved.

I remember being with Jeff on the eve of his marriage to Kathy...a long time ago. We were real young. Jeff was nervous. I was the unwitting best man.

"Do you love her?" I asked.

"I love her a ton," was Jeff's quick reply.

THAT never stopped.

That's how you build love. A day at a time. Through thick and thin. Above all else.

Congrats, buddy. God Blessed you in so many ways, but you all deserve each of those blessings.

Just as an aside, when I broke the news of Aaden's birth to my beautiful wife, I said:

"They didn't name him Clifford."

"That's good," Kathy said. "That name should die a graceful death."

"What!"

"I'll tell you what," Kathy said. "We can name the next dog 'Clifford'."

So.

I got that going for me.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

We Are All Connected

So, we have meteors crashing into Russia and asteroids screaming by the Earth close enough to see.

Strange, right?

It sort of blows my mind when I think about the fact that the asteroid is the size of a couple of football fields and it's gliding on by. When you think about all that has gone on while the universe is spinning, you get that we are but a speck of that time.

Think of that when you're waiting in line behind the guy as he clicks through his lottery picks. Time passes slowly there, right? We argue over the most mundane and senseless stuff. We entertain ourselves by watching bad behavior. We are trying desperately to amuse ourselves to death, but consider this:

The other night I woke from a dream thinking: 'We're all connected.'

And I had no idea what it could mean.

Are we all connected?

I'm not just talking about me and you here. I'm actually considering everyone all through time.

I've become fond of saying that love kicks death's ass and that no one who is truly loved ever dies, but it might be more than that. I consider that those who have gone before us are still alive in so many ways. Their spirit, their lives, their heartbeat is still part of the fabric of everything that has ever happened.

Too deep?

Think of it this way.

Those people aren't gone because things they said and did still enter your mind in all kinds of ways, like when something similar happens, or in dreams, or in the eyes of the children they left behind, or in the way they lit up your heart.

And it's not as if they are gone, but that they are actually in another city or state, just out of physical reach.

They surely aren't out of mental reach, right?

They certainly still have a spiritual presence.

They are in your laugh.

They are in your tears.

They just are.

Another thing to consider.

Imagine the first time that you went on a date. Can you remember that? It's sort of a common experience, right?

Do you remember the butterflies in your stomach the first time you reached to hold her hand, or the first time that he reached for your hand?

Do you recall the movie you saw or the dance that you attended?

Can't you almost imagine all of it once more.

It's not gone.

The moment has passed but it is still really alive.

Don't believe me?

I was in 8th grade and the dance was held in the dimly lit high school gym. The Class of 82 banner was strung on the back wall and I remember thinking that 1982 was so far away.

There was a knot in my stomach because I couldn't dance. My mouth was dry because I was nervous when it came to talking to a girl.

Yet somehow there I was with a pretty girl as a date. She was in a off-white dress. She wore glasses, but she was pretty enough to pull it off.

My tie felt like it was choking me. She was concerned that her friends were being rude. I heard my Mom's voice in my head, 'Be a gentleman.'

I got my date a plastic cup filled with really red punch, and she smiled when she thanked me.

And time went quickly that night but here it is, alive, almost 40 years later.

Every moment.

Before long we were alone. We walked towards the Lemon Tree to meet up with our friends. I was thinking about getting a great burger and a plate of curly fries. I can still almost taste those curly fries covered in ketchup and vinegar.

Halfway across the lawn at the front of the high school I finally reached for her hand.

I recall all the minutes that passed so slowly as I worked up the courage to do it.

As I wrote that sentence just now, I felt the nervousness creep up inside of me again. As a grown man with a wife and children.

The butterflies are still alive.

She slid her hand into mine, and I felt the stickiness of the sweaty coupling. Was her hand sweating or was it mine? What did she think?

That moment is not gone.

It's out there in the air, alive between two people who haven't physically seen one another in about thirty years.

But it's alive.

And that's where the connections go, on and on, all of us together.

The shared experiences of being connected somewhere.

The love stays.

The hate stays.

The laughter stays.

The tears stay.

Happiness and sadness are co-mingled in our community of being.

Our bodies go.

Our spirit doesn't.

Maybe one day that asteroid will strike the Earth, but the universe will just keep right on spinning, and all that we did here will continue.

Through eternity.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Love Story

So I fell down last week. It sucked because I was already limping. The concrete landing made my limp a bit more pronounced.

The worst part about it is that my wife actually has more of a side tilt as she is on her feet non-stop as Nurse Kathy.

By the end of the work week we strike quite the pose.

That's the sort of shape we were in as we headed down an icy path towards the church door. Our son, Jake, stood at the door, holding it wide open for us to step through. The problem being that we were still a good twenty feet away.

"I'm not gonna' stand here and hold the door for a broken down old man and his penguin wife," Jake said, as he disappeared and let the door swing closed.

True to our nature, my beautiful wife and I laughed.

"Isn't that wonderful?" Kathy said.

And here we sit with another Valentine's Day in the books. Not a single card has ever passed between us on such a day. We don't buy flowers, or any of that goofy stuff.

Yet the limping that we are doing, as a couple, is a testament to the life and love that we've built. There aren't a lot of days when we have to apologize for selfish actions, or nasty comments.

We normally think about the other person before we think about ourselves, and we both put the kids first.

Even if they won't even hold the door open for the broken-down old man and the penguin-like wife.

"Do you know why we're both limping around?" I asked Jake when he got into the car.

"Because you're old as dirt?" he asked back.

"How about because we work hard every day, and go to work no matter how we feel?"

"And you're old," Sam chimed in.

We shared another laugh.

There was no horrible disrespect intended.

We'd rather laugh about it than fight about it.

"Always look for the laugh," I once told Jake.

He learned pretty well.

We all respect one another just enough, and that's a pretty good love story.

Don't you think?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

State of the Union

I don't watch the State of the Union Address. It doesn't matter who is the leader. I hate the format. No one needs the clapping. I'm not much of a clapper unless I'm at a Bruce concert. Which brings me to my point.

Leading up to the State of the Union I was exchanging texts with a couple of people from my small hometown. We were talking about the cop-killer in California, the gun laws, the economy, and raising our kids. We were in a bit of despair.

Before the president spoke I heard from a lot of people who were not willing to even listen.

After he spoke I flipped to CNN. Rubio was being introduced as the guy who needed to respond. The host asked about the moving tribute to the victims of gun violence and asked him if what Obama asked about presenting the vote was a legitimate point.

"He can ask for whatever he wants," Rubio responded.

I shut the television off and said, out loud, to the empty room:

It's gonna' be a long walk home.

And it hit me that it was exactly what Bruce was talking about. I'd started the day talking about the past and thinking about a much more innocent time. We certainly have a way of romanticizing the past, but we seem to be so far off on so many of the ideals that worked for so long. We want to get back there, but there's a fight at every single turn.

Long Walk Home

Last night I stood at your doorstep
trying to figure out what went wrong
you just slipped something into my palm
then you were gone.

I could smell the same deep green of summer
above me the same night sky was glowin'
In the distance I could see the town
where I was born.

It's gonna' be a long walk home
Hey pretty darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna' be a long walk home
A long walk home.

In town I passed Sal's grocery
the barbershop on South Street
I looked into their faces
they were all rank strangers to me
The veteran's hall high up on the hill
stood silent and alone
the diner was shuttered and boarded
with a sign that just said, 'gone.'

It's gonna' be a long walk home.

Here everybody has a neighbor
everybody has a friend
everybody has a reason to begin again.

My father said, "Son, we're lucky in this town
It's a beautiful place to be born
It just wraps its arms around you,
nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone
You know that flag flying over the courthouse
means certain things are set in stone
Who we are, what we'll do, and what we won't."

It's gonna' be a long walk home.
It's gonna' be a long walk home.
It's gonna' be a long walk home.
It's gonna' be a long walk home.
It's gonna' be a long walk home.
(Bruce Springsteen, Magic CD)


And that feeling of comfort, security and all that felt right about the country felt so distant to me. If we are ever going to make it back to that, we have to stop fighting.

Not everything needs to be a fight.

The stuff we hold dear, as Americans, should not be turned into a political argument.

That seems simple to me.

We should be able to walk the streets without fear.

Problem being it's gonna' be a long walk back to those days of innocence.

A real long walk.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Another Banned Man From Common Man

I heard about the fight with the basketball player at some NYC club.

I heard about the beat down of his girlfriend who wasn't his girlfriend, then might be his girlfriend, and then definitely was his girlfriend.

He allegedly fought with someone named Frank Ocean who is another singer evidently.

Is that Billy Ocean's kid?

Then he drove his car into a parking garage wall to hide from the camera guys chasing him.

Has anyone else had enough of this Chris Brown guy?

I actually saw him try and sing a song once and it sounded like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Why do I know who he is?

Why do I care who he punches next?

Why is anyone with a camera following him?

I'm serious here.

I've written a whole lot of books. All wholesome, life-affirming, good stuff...and even when I win an award at a show I can't catch more than a mention in the local penny saver and this guy dumps all over his girlfriend...and everyone else for that matter and we all know who he is?

And I suppose that he's living the high life as well.

I don't get it.

Who do you know that is buying his records?

Everyone seems to really hate him...

...except the dingy broad he knocked silly.

So why are we fascinated with him?

I watched the Grammy's for about ten seconds last night and I must have seen his sour puss seven times.

I've had enough of Chris Freaking Brown.

What about you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is the Pope Catholic?

I remember my first day of Catholic grammar school as if it were yesterday. The nun lined us up against the blackboard and had us all say our names out loud.

I was scared out of my mind.

I had never seen anyone dressed as she was. I didn't know that she really talked like a real person. She had a huge cross hanging around her neck and she said that she was married to God.

Then the priest came through and we introduced ourselves to him. He was also dressed up in a long gown that I swore was a dress. He spoke about God, the Bishop, and the Pope. Over the course of time we were introduced to each on a daily basis.

It always felt like play-acting to me.

Yet through the years I certainly bought into all of it. I bought in so much, in fact, that I wore a gown right alongside the priest as an altar boy.

I was happy to do it. When I mention it to my boys they point and laugh as though I must have been molested.

Thankfully I wasn't. But I could have been, I suppose, and that's horrific.

The Catholic Church has certainly taken a lot of hits since the time I was ringing those little bells and holding up the container of wine.

And rightfully so.

Yet there wasn't a lot of social media back in the early 70's.

I believed that the pope was the holiest of all men and that he received instructions from God...you know, like Murdering Ray, and Timmy Tebow, and George W.

Turns out the gowns and all that were just costumes. The men beneath the costumes weren't extra special holy men in a lot of regards, and those nuns sure packed a wallop as I discovered after my shyness wore off and I put on my Fuzzy hat permanently.

And to be honest with you, it's still a struggle for me.

When the social media blew up as the Pope stepped down because of old age, I sort of felt like defending the old guy.

And then it hit me that the Catholic church did the same sort of thing that so infuriated me about Penn State, and that they did it on a much grander scale.

They did it hundreds of times.

On purpose.

I still go to church regularly, but the whole costume party sort of pisses me off now.

The priest stood before me at a recent mass and cried poverty because the church had less than ten grand in savings.

"We'd like if everyone gave $500," he said. "This is your church."

And what if I didn't contribute?

Would I burn in hell for all of eternity?

The shame of it being that there are a lot of people who think that way. Older people seem to really buy into the financial struggles of the guy in the dress.

And the office of the Pope seems sort of out of touch to me. The world isn't the same place. What are the official stands?

Gays are bad. Abortion is a mortal sin of epic proportions...but molesting boys gets you a trip to a new parish?

Priests and nuns must abstain. Birth control is the devils work. Divorce gets you excommunicated, but fiddle with little Tommy and we'll make you a cardinal?

I've always believed in the community of the church. I guess that comes from being lined up against a blackboard on my first day of first grade, but through the years I've tried so hard to get rid of the guilt associated with just living, and sinning, and trying to do my best even though I was scared out of my mind.

I have faith.

I have belief.

I have love.

I don't judge others because of what they believe. I don't excommunicate loving people who may have made a mistake. I don't condone sexual molestation of little boys and girls. I recognize that people make huge mistakes sometimes and that they should be forgiven, but not without first paying the price, and not without atoning for those sins.

I suppose I just got tired of the costume party.

And to my ultimate surprise, I don't feel guilty about it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Have Another Doughnut, You Fat Pig

Chris Christie was on Letterman this past week making fun of himself for being obese.

I sort of respect that.

In fact, he seems like a decent human being. He is a huge Springsteen fan. (The huge was unintentional), and he responded well during the hurricane crisis.

Add making fun of his own failings and I'm sort of with him.

Letterman had a great line of course:

"Governor Christie celebrated his 50th birthday recently and as he blew out the candles on his birthday cake he wished for another birthday cake."

Of course, someone jumped all over Christie telling him that his girth isn't funny and that he might just drop dead because of it.

I have news for the skinny folk of the world.

You'll be dropping dead too.

Courtesy of Redd Foxx:

"I hate the health nuts. Some day they're gonna' be laying in bed, dying of nothing."

Yet, it always struck me as weird that people just jump all over the people in the world that have a few extra pounds, and especially in this day and age.

We're getting awful big, America.

Yet the title of this blog is something a hockey coach, Jim Schoenfeld, once yelled at a hockey referee during an argument.

"Have another doughnut, you fat pig."

Epic.

A lot of buddies of mine still yell this whenever things get rough, or a comeback is hard to find.

It's a classic put down, isn't it?

Yet I feel for the poor Governor. He must not be able to eat a single thing in public without someone staring at him, or counting the food he's gonna' put away.

And imagine if he ran for president.

My God, what SNL would do to him.

Chris Farley would have nailed that part.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Tax Man Cometh

I get a weird feeling as tax time comes every year. I suppose that it goes back quite a few years when I anticipated a return but was instead hit with a bill. I really don't understand a lot of what happens, but I try and keep good notes and hand the whole package off to someone smarter than me.

Regardless, I sort of don't like the whole process. Thankfully, my tax guy is a good guy, and he usually does me justice.

Not to know if he didn't, but whatever.

The problem that I have each year is that it seems to get harder to make it through the season and expect that refund.

"How old is Jake?" my guy asked me.

"I'm not quite sure," I said. "He's big and his voice is deep now."

The guy looked at me.

I tried to do the math back to the time when I played softball, golfed regularly, drank to excess, ate like there was a gun to my head, and laughed every day.

That was a long time ago.

"Let me figure how long I've been married and then subtract one fun thing from every 18 months," I said. "When I get to zero I'll be able to figure his age."

The guy laughed.

(I told you he was fun).

"Do you still have the same job as last year?" he asked.

I nodded.

"Do you still have the same wife as last year?"

"I'd never get a new one," I said.

"15!" I said. "Jake will be 16 this year. That's how long it's been since I laughed out loud."

"You won't get a tax credit on him once he's over 16," the tax man said. "You'll still be able to claim him, but the credit is gone."

"Seriously?" I asked. "Mitt Romney gets a hundred grand for his horse and I can't get a grand for my kid?"

"Buy a horse," the very funny man said.

I was asked if I got a new hot water tank, or new windows. I had to strain to remember where I made charitable donations, and had to claim each and every book sold.

"Do you like doing all of this?" I asked him.

"Eh," he said.

I thought about the phone call he'd make to me in the next couple of weeks. He always says the same thing:

"Are you sitting down?"

I just hope that he doesn't make me fall down with news that I indeed owe more than what I already paid.

"Do your magic," I said.

"It gets more difficult every year," he answered.

I think I might throw up.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Protect and Serve

We are all sort of fascinated with the life of cops, aren't we?

When we're young boys we wanted to grow up to be one.

Well, I didn't.

I've always been extremely cowardly.

We watch television shows that speak of the profession.

Think about it. How many cop-themed shows have you watched in your life?

And in our own lives, we sort of shy away from them, hoping that we never have to speak to them.

I've never had the cuffs on me (professionally), which is a good thing considering I'm well into my fourth decade, and I'm thinking I'll get through life in such a manner. I have had a few traffic tickets, of course, but I've always tried to be respectful.

They have a job to do. They aren't picking on little old me. 65 is 65...not 77. I've usually deserved it.

(And I know what you're thinking with that professionally thing...I wish...when we were kids we had a set of cuffs).

Yet there are a couple of officers in the news in recent days and it sort of sums all of it up for me in the way we are fascinated.

Patty Parete died this past week. The circumstances of the direct cause of her death are sketchy but now that her life is over the last couple of years was a living hell. You see, she was a Buffalo police officer who was shot in the line of duty, and paralyzed because of it. We all felt badly for her. We all wished that she'd make a full recovery, but it was not to be.

She gave up her life in an effort to protect and serve.

And that's why I am always respectful.

I have a good friend who is a police officer. He's a great guy, and I've known him all my life, and when we are together we talk about some of the shit he's seen out there. I admire his grit, I suppose, but he doesn't think much of it. It's just what he does for a living.

I'm amazed that they are paid so little, actually.

Yet there is a dark side.

Oh, before I get to Christopher Dorner...the cop who is target practicing on cops out in California...I have to tell you this story:

I went to a Sabres game in Buffalo back about 20 years ago. I came out of the game and headed for my car in the outdoor lot. My buddy Kimball was walking with me and he pointed ahead at my car.

"Did you leave all four doors open?" he asked.

Someone had opened them for me. They stole everything including the stereo right out of the dash.

Of course I was upset.

I headed to the police station and all out of breath I filed a report. The officer behind the desk glanced at the report and then returned his attention to the novel he was reading.

"That's it?" I asked, as he sort of dismissed me.

"Would you like me to run out and chase him down?" he asked.

I suppose not.

We both laughed.

Anywhoha...

There is a lost cop out on the loose as I type this. He's targeting other cops and he's shooting them down. The manhunt is extensive.

And he has fans on Facebook.

People are cheering him on. They hope that he can elude police, and hopefully get a few more.

And that's what is bugging me a lot today.

Think about the police officer and what he vows to do. Consider that each day may be his last. Like with any other thing the good ones don't get the headlines.

Unless they get shot.

The bad ones have their crimes magnified and in some cases glorified.

It's a confusing job to be sure.

I'm real glad I've been a true coward since I can remember. I'm even more thrilled that I've respected the profession each day.

RIP to Patty Parete. Thank you.

And to Christopher Dorner?

Justice will be served.

I'm truly not a fan.

Friday, February 8, 2013

God is Punishing You

February sucks. The temperatures are low. There's ice everywhere. I have to walk out in it.

I headed to the first site of the day on Thursday morning. A worker that I've known for quite some time was walking ahead of me on a concrete pad. He sort of stumbled as his boots met the icy ground.

"Why don't you get some ice melt down on this pad?" I asked. "You're stumbling around like the drunken bastard that you normally are on the weekend. Look where you're going. Get your stupid hands out of your pockets."

I had just finished the sentence. He sort of laughed and so did his coworkers. I took two more steps.

AND THEN

The ground came up to meet me.

I hit the concrete so hard, and with such force that my head snapped back and the back of my hardhat made direct contact. So did my entire left side.

The side with the bad hip.

I rolled over and thought about popping straight up.

But I couldn't.

The only two thoughts in my head were:

1). "I'm hurt."

and

2). "I'm so f&*Ing old."

I rolled to my side. A couple of guys came skating over, including the guy who I had just made fun of.

"You see, God punished you for being a smart ass," he said.

He offered his hand to me.

Another worker chimed in.

"God couldn't possibly punish him enough for being a smart ass," the second guy said. "If God worked that way he couldn't walk three steps without falling down."

I was helped to my feet.

I stumbled towards the car.

In all my years I have never hit the ground with such force. Within a half an hour the hip was throbbing.

Could it truly be that God is looking to have the last laugh?

Does He punish those who make fun of others?

There's a joke here somewhere and it's on me.

If God is gonna' drop me to the concrete for a simple put down I better rethink a couple of things.

I certainly gotta' change my ways.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Change the World

You know, back when I was a kid I was told, by everyone it seems, that anything is possible.

You can be whatever you want to be. Just put your mind to it.

Do they still peddle that crap these days?

He can change the world if he wants to, my second grade teacher allegedly told my mother.

She was a nun. She ended up at the funny farm, I think.

I say all of this because I was thinking about human behavior this morning. I teach a lot of classes for my job, and I very often polish my stand up act in the class as we discuss why people do what they do.

I have a good client that has seen my act on an annual basis for about five years now, and I stood before them, and worked out some new material as I spoke about defensive driving and talked about the perils of driving under the influence.

I'm not quite sure why I got off on that tangent, but for a split-second I stood before them thinking that they were a little tired from too much lunch, and that I had better turn it into something funny real soon or they'd be sleeping.

"It's amazing," I said. "That people still drive drunk."

I thought of the Sam Kinison line.

I'm against drunk driving, but I have one question: How do I get my f%&*ng car home?"

I got the laugh.

And then it sort of hit me.

There's really no changing the world. It's all a pipe dream, I thought as I stood before them.

The guys before me understood all that I was about to say about not being safe in their personal life as well as their work lives. They all saw the news, every day about horrific crashes that would snuff out everything they worked for in a single instant, but there were certainly a few of them...hopefully less than a few...who would not listen at all.

I went off on a twenty-minute rant about my son becoming a driver, complete with his journey into the back of a school bus and his famous line:

"If you don't stop yelling at me I'll call my Mom."

The room was roaring.

I'd woken them up.

Or had I?

"Seriously though," I said. "It blows my mind that I'm standing here talking about this and tomorrow morning I'll open the paper and read about the guy who drove drunk, or the teenager who went into the other lane reading a text message. We have all the information. We know all of the bad things that can happen. Then we do it anyway."

"Do you safety guys have bad habits?" one of the guys shouted out.

I did my best strut across the stage acting as if the very question that he asked was an insult to everything I stood for.

How dare he ask me such a question.

"I've been coming here long enough for you to know the answer to that," I said. "And despite the image I portray not all safety men are geniuses, but I don't drive drunk. Ever. I might answer a call now and again, but texting while driving is sort of really stupid, right?"

They agreed with guilty shakes of their heads.

Tomorrow a few of them would do it anyway.

But maybe one guy wouldn't.

I thought about changing the world again.

The nuns were wrong.

I wouldn't see all of the changes, but maybe...perhaps...just a little.

"Hey genius," one guy yelled out. "You got a little mustard on your shirt there."

"We all know that Einstein couldn't tie his shoes," I fired back.

I got the laugh.

One guy at a time?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Super Bowl Review

So...it's in the books and I was wrong with my prediction although if you go back to September I had predicted the Ravens in the big game. I don't take any credit, however, because I really wanted them to lose.

And that's a shame because I do like Joe Flacco. He's really good.

So how was the game experience at Camp Clifford?

We won one square as a family. Our resident gambler, Sam, picked up a square in the family pool. (For entertainment purposes only). He wins one every year so no big surprise.

I was shut the hell out.

The first half of the game, of course, was a real downer. The Ravens scored at will. The Niners looked awful. As we prepared for Beyonce I was thinking about getting to bed early.

But the freaking Ravens wouldn't even do that for me. They pulled a Buffalo Bills super bowl impression in the second half. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

What to make of Beyonce?

Damn.

She may not Kathy Fazzolari, but she is on the attractive side, isn't she?

The thing about it is that my beautiful wife might actually be a better singer.

I really did try.

I just don't get that music. It sounds like something the kids could put together, and forget about understanding what she's saying.

"I wish she'd just stand still so I could look at her," got me a sideways glance.

Whatever.

The commercials?

I was let down there as well. The goat one made me smile a little, but other than that?

Nothing.

Then the lights went out and the comeback began.

"This sport seems fixed to me," Jake said. He was the only guy in the house pulling for the Ravens.

By the time the lights came back on my passion for the game was gone.

I didn't care if Ray Lewis won.

I just stayed tuned in because I was curious about the end.

"Do you think they script it?" Jake asked again as the 49ers lined up for the 4th down play.

"There's a lot of money involved," I said. "Bad things happen when people are trying to get paid."

The 49ers were "held" out of the end zone.

The call could have gone either way.

Jake cheered.

Sam yelled.

I gathered Melky and headed for the stairs.

There was just one thing I would make sure I didn't see:

A Smiling Ray Lewis.

He had a Hollywood type ending, didn't he?

Kind of like when Hulk Hogan took the title away from the Iron Shiek.

Not that there was a script to follow.

Damn, Beyonce is good-looking, right?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Saving for Retirement?

One of the contractors that I work with brought a financial planner into their annual safety meeting. The guy was way too excited about breaking down financial things for the audience, but that's his job, right?

I saw the doubting looks on some of the faces gathered before him as he spoke of saving a portion of their weekly income for things that people might need down the line...like food...and a place to live.

"We all have choices to make," the planner said. "There are people who are living completely underwater, choosing the newest model of phone over their peace of mind in their retirement years."

As is apt to happen in such circumstances we often break it down to our own capabilities to withstand the years ahead when we are supposed to be fading off into the sunset.

A very well-thought out guy stood up and asked a few questions.

"How much money do you think, on an annual basis, after the age of retirement, will we need to have set aside to survive?"

The planner hedged a bit.

"The retirement age has changed in recent years. Life expectancy is 84 years for the average male."

The guy sitting next to me touched my shoulder.

"I only have about 18 years left," he whispered.

"I saw you eat lunch," I whispered back. "You can probably take ten years off of that."

He didn't laugh.

"People are looking to retire at 65, but in all likelihood it is more like 70," the planner said.

"Ugh, 22 more years," I said.

"What're you bitching about? I'll be dead by then," whispered the guy next to me.

"For about 15 years," I whispered back.

"You'll need quite a nest egg for a period of 14 years," the planner said. "The uncertainty of the social security program is the real wild card here so if you are not heading off into retirement with about four or five hundred thousand dollars in the bank, for that span of time, you'll most likely have problems."

I laughed.

"What's funny?" the guy next to me whispered.

"It'd probably be easier to die than to try and save half a mil."

"Especially when you only have four years to do it," he whispered back.

The financial planner talked about putting ten bucks a week aside out of each paycheck.

"That's 520 bucks a year," I said. "In 400 short years you'll have what you need."

The old guy next to me tossed an elbow.

"I'm gonna' have to find a bag of money on the side of the road," he whispered.

"A big bag," I answered.

The financial planner spoke of making sacrifices.

"Your 12 year old kid doesn't need a smart phone. You don't need to eat at a fancy restaurant once a month. You don't need every single pay channel on the television. Those retirement years are going to come up fast."

I thought of the high cost of educating the kids. The $600 a semester for books puts you under water on the ten bucks a week you've saved.

I considered that having my wife handle the finances is a good thing, but I also considered that twenty years passes quickly. I was comforted by the fact that I work with a good company who has thought of the future for me.

Yet how much would I truly need?

I thought about green fees and the rent for the condo next to the golf course.

"I just want to play a few more rounds of golf," I whispered.

"You're too crippled to play now," my buddy whispered back.

"Good point."

"Perhaps it would be more prudent to go now," my buddy said.

We both laughed.

The planner turned to face us.

"It's really not a laughing matter," he said.

Set aside ten bucks a week.

That is kinda' funny.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Graceful Fall

My buddy John Mellencamp writes a blog every now and again for me. I heard this song on Saturday morning as I was doing my taxes and feeling a little worn down from a weary and tiresome week. It made me smile because I know that a lot of people feel this way from time-to-time. Here's hoping it passes for you each day.

John Mellencamp - A Graceful Fall Lyrics
Artist: John Mellencamp
Album: No Better Than This
Genre: Rock
Songwriters: John Mellencamp


A Graceful Fall

It's not a graceful fall from dreams to the truth
There's not a lot of hope here if you got nothing to lose
When it feels no good, when you're flat on the ground
Yeah, the future's not bright when you're falling down

'Cause I'm sick of life, yeah, it's easy to do
When everything is so hard has been handed to you
Yeah, I'm sick of life 'cause it's lost, it's found
I will see you in the next world if there is really one

Well, I'm not falling off the ladder, I'm just putting in my days
My pack is all empty and my aces won't play
Yeah, I'm moving down the street and I'm going nowhere
It's not a graceful fall when you don't care

'Cause I'm sick of life and it's easy to do
When everything is so hard has been handed to you
Yeah, I'm sick of life and it's lost, it's found
I'll see you in the next world if there is really one

Yeah, I'm sick of life 'cause I'm falling down
I'll see you in the next world if you're still around


By way of explanation the line: 'the future's not bright when you're falling down' makes me smile every single time. It's a great, great CD by the way.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Prediction

As a Buffalo guy it's pretty hard not to think of the Super Bowl in terms of losses, and losses, and losses and losses.

Four straight of them bastards.

A long time ago, now.

Ah well. We'll get 'em next year.

Losing a game is not quite as bad as losing in life.

Which brings me to this years game. I'm not all that enamored with the matchup.

I lived in the San Francisco area in 1983 and again in 1987. I was there when they were really great, and I couldn't get into their team at all. I even went to a couple of games during a Super Bowl winning season, and it did little for me.

Bur I'll be rooting for the Niners.

And this is in spite of the fact that I also lived in the Baltimore area and a lot of people I love still live there.

I really wish I could throw my support to the Ravens, but, uh, you know why I can't, right?

Yeah...Murdering Ray.

Blah, blah, blah, it ain't up to me to judge.

Blah, blah, blah, he went through the system.

Blah, blah, blah, he's found Jesus.

Well, I'm still judging here because he puts his face front and center. I will choose not to judge him on the case. I'll NOT judge him on the antler piss or whatever else he drank. I'll judge him solely as I see him as a man in the 2012 season.

He's an attention-seeking, slow-footed, weeping, fake, lying, scheming piece of shit. He said that if he could go back to that fateful night in Atlanta he wouldn't change a single thing because it allowed him to grow as a person. Two dead people and he wouldn't change it because he is pretending to be a good guy.

And I can't root for him.

I may get physically ill if he's at the podium telling me about his deep love for God when he seems to me to have lived his entire life in stark contrast to the principles of the God I am seeking to know.

I don't wish injury on anyone.

I hope he makes a whole bunch of tackles, but the last image I want of that guy on a football field is of him on his back, watching Frank Gore score the winning touchdown with mere seconds on the clock.

I want him to feel the pain of loss in the only true way he understands it.

It won't make up for the loss that those two families feel, but it'll make me smile.

49ers 28 Ravens 24.

I don't win a square.

I don't like more than 2 commercials.

In fact, the only thing I like is that Ray Lewis is done as a player, and he goes off the field the same way he's walked on it so many times.

As a loser.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Memories

As an adult the memories often go two ways. First off, we are trying hard to give the boys shared memories that they can think back on and smile.

We went to the Harlem Globetrotters show at the First Niagara Center.


And it was great fun. The old gags were brought out and the fans helped play along. The one thing that I remembered was the old water and confetti trick...it came with a twist...there was actual water in the bucket...and they threw it on the crowd.

Right where we were sitting. I was doused pretty good as were the boys, and we laughed. The guy behind us yelled out the F-word in anger.

Dopey bastard.

Yet the second branch of the memory tree came as I considered the only other time I sat on the floor for a real basketball game.

I was seven.

I was the world's biggest Wilt Chamberlain fan. Dad got the tickets and he sat between me and John. I told Sam about it as we sat down.

"Did the Lakers win?"

"I think it was a win during their 33-game winning streak," I said. "It was something like 120 to 104. Wilt tore it up and then sat most of the last quarter. We were about twenty feet from him."

I could almost see it clearly in my mind's eye. A moment later we brought the game up on the Google machine.


My memory was pretty good.

It was the Lakers 28th straight win during that 33-game streak.

I missed the final score by a mere four points.

As Sam watched the Trotters and laughed along with Big Easy and Moose and the rest I thought of Meadowlark and Curly.

I thought of Wilt and Jerry West.

I thought of Dad and John.

It was worth the free bath with the ice cold water.

"That was fun," the boys said as we filed out.

I betcha' a lot of money that Sam will remember the final score.

If not, I'll write it down for him.

112-106.

Ah hell, it'll probably be on Goggle for all-eternity anyway.

Friday, February 1, 2013

What An Idiot


I remember how excited I was back in 2004 when the news reported that the Yankees were on the verge of dealing for A-Rod. It wasn't because I loved him as a man (I actually couldn't stand him) but I knew that he was a great player, and that he would come to New York and deliver championships.

It hasn't really worked out that way.

They did win one in 2009 by beating the hapless Phillies, but A-Rod has been way more aggravation than he's been worth, and the longer he stood next to Jeter on the left side of the infield, the worst he looked as a player.

Yet I stuck up for him a little because there were a lot of guys cheating and when he got caught he stood there and took the heat.

At least a little.

But now there are even more allegations, and he struck out a zillion times with a runner on third and one out, and he chewed his gum like a cow and smiled as he walked back to the dugout, and he was cashing huge checks, and giving fake interviews, and waving to girls, and divorcing his wife, and striking out with a runner on second and no outs to not MOVE THE FREAKING RUNNER TO THIRD, and the Yankees were just not the same.

And then he started getting hurt.

I can't believe that Chris Colantino caught me feeding him popcorn in the photo above.

But a lot of people are asking me these days what I think about A-Rod.

See Douche Armstrong.

See Cheetah Woods.

See Murdering Ray.

Scumbags one and all.

There's talk that the Yankees are gonna' get out from under the rest of the contract.

If there's a God in heaven it will work out that way because the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Sports don't need such aggravation.

And Jeter needs to stand next to someone who can measure up.

At least a little.

Heather Heyer

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