Wednesday, July 31, 2013

5150

Damn, that Amanda Bynes is a mess, huh?

Are you watching that unfold?

Bynes was a real star on television. Our kids all watched her show back then...Matt quickly switching the channel because some doof would make fun of him for watching a girl on television.

"Matt loves Amanda," I would taunt.

"I WASN'T WATCHING IT!!!"

Yet for all intents and purposes she was a star. She went into movies...

...and then something slipped.

She crashed her car, lost her license, got the DWI, then the possession charge. She appeared in court as a lunatic. She threw a bong out a window in NYC, she threatened to start her dog on fire.

Her parents reached out.

Other stars made fun of her.

Other stars tried to talk to her.

And the papers ate it up. TMZ setting up residence wherever she moved.

And finally...the dreaded 5150 call went out.

The star was sent to psychiatric treatement for being potentially harmful to herself or others.

5150.

Do you get to put that on your resume once you get through it?

And I must admit that it's a bit like a game for all of us who don't know the woman. We all like to pretend that if you gave us $50 million we'd know exactly what to do and how to act.

My ex-Brittany Spears went through the same thing a few years ago and it seems that she's sort of straightened it out.

Here's hoping that Amanda does the same.

I know that Matt is secretly wishing her well.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From Ourselves

I read the story of the guy who snapped in Florida and killed six people before the cops put a bullet in him to end the battle.

And it occurred to me.

All of the angst about guns and pyschos missing...

...all of the despair over loss of life...

...the hand-wringing about rights lost or rights retained...

It's never gonna' stop.

I'm thinking it's just a hold-your-breath type of situation.

Just hope you're not like the guy who was walking by the scene and was gunned down by a stray shot.

My job as a safety consultant for construction guys is a real eye-opener. I have a lot of chances to communicate information to a lot of men who age from 21-65.

"Your chance of surviving a fall from 16' or more is not good," I always say. Then I discussed the speed at which you fall and show videos on results of man meeting ground.

When I'm done I ask the question:

"How many of you will feel good about working 16' up without being protected? Will you do it after seeing this?"

"How much does it pay?" One of the guys yelled out.

And the rest of them laughed.

And therein lies the problem.

That same guy in the class went off for a few minutes:

"They make us wear helmets to ride our bikes. They make us wear seatbelts. They make us use fall protection. They want to tell us what to eat and drink and how to arm ourselves."

(Those bastards - THEY).

"They're trying to protect you," I said.

"From you."

And in the end it's a fruitless job.

"I don't need someone making up my mind for me," the vocal guy yelled out.

And maybe he doesn't.

But some people do.

They are just trying to keep us from killing ourselves.



Monday, July 29, 2013

A Blink of the Eye

The real difficulty of life at almost 50 years old is that weekends are spent at a graduation party for one of your friend's kids...if you're lucky...or at a funeral parlor to say goodbye to someone...if it's a bad weekend.

This particular weekend we ran the gamut.

A party.

A graduation party.

And a wake.

For my cousin, Kathy...who was way too young to head out to the spiritual side.

And what got me about each event was how quickly it all goes.

At the first party there was a lot of booze around.

None of us really picked it up and drank it.

We looked at it and talked about days gone by when we got particularly over-served with one brand or another.

Then we did a single shot of Jamesons, toasting those days past. I kept thinking that ten years ago it was a very different party.

Then it was on to the wake.

As is now the norm there is a television in the back corner and life is captured in a series of moving pictures with a soft song playing. I sat down and watched my cousin's life play out. Kathy stood beside me and we laughed at the shot of my Dad...caught in mid-wave as he entertained a group of people.

Then there was Grandma Fuzzy.

My heart caught a bit when I saw her.

But my cousin Kathy's life went by so quickly...in the photos and for real...there were shots of her as a baby, on a rollar coaster, with her own kids, and as recently as a month ago.

Just zooming by.

The photos and the time just giving us a glimpse and then disappearing. The music playing on.

I got a real headache watching it play.

I thought of my cousins left behind. The pain of losing a sibling. The horror of losing a Mom for Kathy's kids. The devastation of loss.

"It goes quick," one of my cousins said.

She wasn't talking about the video, either.

We left the funeral parlor with the thoughts of the graduation party the next day. A good buddy's kid is done with high school already.

Seems like she was born yesterday.

Blink of an eye.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Living Legend


He's hanging up the spatula.

Living Legend Jeff Popple is pulling out of his particular job...to win.

And let me tell you, it's my loss.

"Yo, I'm stopping for lunch," I'd text.

Two hours later I wouldn't be able to move.

Way too big on the cheeseburger.

Way too much on the plate when I'd order the Joe's Special.

There were usually two stuffed peppers served first.

As an appetizer.

Quick...anyone else get an appetizer for breakfast?

And it was a lot of fun eating at the 3-Star when I was a young man.

Perhaps it will do us all some good if Pops leaves the industry.

But it is our loss.

Because he really can cook.

"How do you do your macaroni and peas," he texted me one day.

I gave him my father's recipe and then went on with my day.

Hours later, I got a text back.

"Holy shit! I can't make enough of it to keep 'em happy."

My Dad knew the feeling.

So, good luck on the new career.

If it's half as successful as your last one there will be people lined up to get their water treated.

Go get 'em, buddy.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Parents - (Thanks Karl)

Things I Owe My Parents


My Parents taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE ..

"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished

cleaning."


My Parents taught me RELIGION.

"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."


My Parents taught me about TIME TRAVEL.

"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of

next week!"


My Parents taught me LOGIC.

"Because I said so, that's why."


My Parents taught me FORESIGHT.

"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."


My Parents taught me IRONY.

"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."


My Parents taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.

"Shut your mouth and eat your supper"


My Parents taught me about CONTORTIONISM.

"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"


My Parents taught me about STAMINA.

"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."


My Parents taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.

"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."


My Parents taught me about ANTICIPATION.

"Just wait until we get home."


My Parents taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.

"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that

way."


My Parents taught me HUMOR.

"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."


My Parents taught me WISDOM.

"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."


My Parents taught me about JUSTICE.

"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.”

Friday, July 26, 2013

He Gives Weiner A Bad Name

I'm not really all that crazy about giving second chances when the first one was really bad enough.

A-Rod?

Kick him out of the game.

Ray Lewis?

He should've never been on TV and billed as a warrior. He killed his chance.

Twice.

Douche Armstrong?

I don't ever want to hear his lying voice again.

And this Anthony Weiner dude?

I am amazed, actually.

I'm amazed that he'd have the audacity to run for the Mayor of New York knowing that he had tapes of dialogue of sexting with a 22 year old.

I heard the dialogue the other morning on Opie and Anthony.

It was horrific. I was embarrassed to be a man.

First off, I wouldn't ever be stupid enough to do such a thing, but if I had, I know that I wouldn't even try and beg forgiveness from my wife, kids, or millions of New Yorkers.

I wouldn't even be able to ever look someone in the eye again let alone stand up and tell people that I'm the right man for a very important job.

He sent photos of his thing to people all across this great land, begging people he didn't even know to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10.

He embarrassed his kids.

He brought shame to his office.

He tortured his wife.

And don't even get me started on her!

I can't even imagine what my beautiful wife might do in a situation like that.

She'd be the next Lorrana Bobbitt I'm thinking.

And what do you have to promise your wife to get her to stand up there next to you and mutter the:

"I forgive him. I love him. He's a great guy," line?

How about this?

We make a new rule:

If you've sent photos of your junk to anyone other than your doctor you can't run for office.

Is that too much to ask?

What a dick weiner is.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Royal Gynecologist

How much can you take in regard to the royal birth?

I find it all so weird, actually. That kid won the freaking genetic lottery, right? He is already a star just by virtue of making the trip down the canal.

The Queen makes $42 million a year.

That goofy Prince Charles gets his ass kissed at every turn.

His bald son landed beautiful Kate and now they get to have a royal baby.

Delivered by the royal gynecologist.

Do they have a royal proctologist too?

I'm just sort of burned out on it a bit even though having a baby is a blessed event and while Kate is a truly beautiful girl.

(All together now)

(She's no Kathy Fazzolari).

Yet there's a whole lot of pressure being born into such a life, isn't there?

What if the kid is butt-ugly?

What if he doesn't want to play dress-up and go to all of those ceremonies?

What if he is a little dim-witted?

I have a feeling that we are going to find out all the answers to all of these questions because we are going to get a blow-by-blow replay of every single moment of his life.

What a royal pain in the ass that's going to be.

Someone call the proctologist.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Ugly Broad

I was stopped at a traffic light yesterday morning. It was one of those eternal lights out on Niagara Falls Boulevard, and it was just a little before eight o'clock.

The girl in the car next to me was making a number of frenzied movements and I glanced over. She was a pretty, young blonde girl and the movements were frenzied because she was essentially putting her face on.

I watched her rub a small brush up and down her chin and around her eyes. She never looked my way because she was really working hard.

She's pretty, I thought.

She reached to the seat beside her and came up with another instrument and she started really working on her eyes, looking straight into the mirror to make sure she didn't mess up.

The light turned green and I moved on.

She's no Kathy Fazzolari," I thought next.

There was another light just a short jaunt up the road and we stopped again. She went back to work.

I'm glad I'm not a woman, I thought.

It just looked like waaaaaayyyyy too much work.

And then my mind wandered as the light turned green and she was soon gone.

I'd be hideous as a woman, I considered.

The makeup would not be expertly applied. The eyeliner would be haphazardly strewn about my face. I'd have mustard all over my blouse.

She stinks, I imagined someone saying about me.

And the entire casual, disorganized approach of the fairer sex wouldn't play very well if those types of things were trapped inside my body.

Not to mention the other crap they have to go through, I contemplated.

I dressed up for Halloween as a woman a couple of times.

I must admit that I was sort of pretty in a Roseanne Barr type of way.

"Holy Shit! Did you see that broad?" People would call out as I shimmied my way by.

"She's a freaking mess."

Yep.

See what happens when someone applies make-up in the car next to me?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Woof, Woof

Did you read about the star linebacker from one of the colleges who was arrested over the weekend?

His arrest caused him to be suspended as it was his second arrest in a short time.

Know what he was arrested for?

You'll never guess.

Seems the young man was walking down the street, minding his own business when the police dog who was locked in the car with the window open barked at him.

So the guy barked back.

"The dog made a woof-woof noise," the linebacker said. "So I barked back and he went nuts."

The cops intervened and tried to figure out why the dog was going absolutely bat shit.

The linebacker got lippy.

The cops threw him against the car and later added a resisting arrest charge.

Since the school doesn't want the bad pub they suspended the player.

He got arrested for barking back at a dog!!!

And now...

The baseball suspensions are coming down for the steroid scandal. Ryan Fraud of the Brewers finally admitted to his use. Last year he tortured the guy who collected his tainted specimen. This year he's begging for forgiveness.

And we have A-Rod.

He's been barking all along that he hasn't done anything wrong since the last time he got caught doing crap wrong.

And he's the one who really grates on me, of course, because he's a current member (non-playing member) of the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized Sports - and he's an absolute embarrassment.

How does that happen?

My sons don't know much about A-Rod except that he is paid a ton of money, has two bad hips, doesn't hit in the playoffs and is an all-around slug of a man who lies every time he opens his mouth.

"He's a joke!" Jake proclaimed the other day as a way to bash the aforementioned wonderful franchise.

And I have to ask you a question:

Would you lie, cheat and steal to get ahead in life?

A-Rod got two contracts worth about $400 million dollars.

He was cheating a lot of the time.

He gave up all the good will. He was a tremendous player at one time. He pissed it all the way for the big money.

What would you do?

If steroids made you better at your job would you take them, lie about it, and bark back against all your accusers?

There's actually only one decent being in this entire blog, isn't there?

Yeah.

The dog.

Woof-Woof.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Appreciate It, Stupid

The grind is called a grind for a reason. My parents really drove the work ethic into all of us very hard so I have a pretty high threshold for working through things.

But I was losing my mind without even knowing it, and I think the guy who asked me to join him to play golf was feeling some of the same sort of pressure.

It was a crazy idea. I was going to drive better than 2 hours, play golf for 4 hours and drive back home. My tee-time was scheduled for 8:30.

How is that relaxing on a day off?

You'd be surprised.

My rules for the trip were I-pod all the way. Thoughts of tomorrow would be pushed aside. Thoughts that bordered on negative would be shown the exit. Just going out for a drive and a walk with a club in my hand to try and get my head straight. I refer to it as heading out to the desert to do my time (Got that from a Bruce song). The rest of the sentence is just looking for a sign.

Which was the 3rd rule of my trip:

Open up the senses to everything. I've always been able to do that when I'm on the top of my game when I'm writing.

It helps.

At 5:30 in the morning I hit the road. The first song to play was that Cold Play one - Viva, whatever. When he sang the line: I know St. Peter will call my name, I was off and running.

For one reason or another I thought of my Mom. I spent about twenty minutes just thinking of the sacrifices she made for all of us and how hard she worked, and that threw me headlong into thoughts of my beautiful wife and her devotion to our kids. Then it was onto the kids and how they make me laugh and how they are so much like Fuzzy's, and I began wondering how that happens. John begot John who begot Cliff who begot Sam and Jake and something that Kathy said the night before:

"It's amazing how much Sam and Johnny look alike, and Jake and Nicole."

"You seen one Fuzzy you've seen them all."

Tracy Chapman took control of the next twenty minutes:

I can't run fast enough. I can't hide. I can't fly. Struggling with the limits of an ordinary life.

And the frustration of working so hard each day jumped into my mind just as three deer took their place on the side of the road. With the sun rising and the deer feeding, I pushed the frustration out of my mind.

There's so much beauty.

I considered my golf game. I've been playing since I was 16. So many rounds. So many great times. So much laughter.

I thought of Jeff at the tee with an iron in his hand when he was young and strong.

"You can't get it there with an iron," I said. "It's 280 yards."

He didn't answer me.

I was always trying to guide him.

"I'm telling you, it's going to be in the middle of the pond."

No reply.

He swung the club and the ball zoomed high into the air. It landed dead center in the green on the other side of the water.

"One question," he said. "Do you ever tire of being wrong?"

There are so many times during the day when we wish we were somewhere else. I thought of my family again. Having too much to do and too many responsibilities is never an excuse not to savor each moment.

Do you ever tire of being wrong?

I got out of the car and went straight to the tee. I hadn't played in two months. My hip would be an absolute mess by the end of the round. I was going to enjoy every single shot. Even if there were 120 of them.

I hit the first ball down the center of the fairway. My standard 220 yard shot. Three shots later I had par for the hole.

The sun was riding high in a brilliant blue sky.

Wink. Wink and the moment's gone.

All through the round I thought of that David Gray lyric.

This moment was going to stay with me.

When I got home I'd appreciate more of the blessings that have been given me. All the laughs. All the love.

Feel the love.

"You're clear to hit," one of the guys in the crew said.

"You sure I can't reach?" I asked.

"You can't hit it that far," he said.

I swung the club and the ball zoomed high into the air. We saw the two golfers on the green where I was aiming scramble a bit.

"Oh shit, you're in the center of the green!" he said.

We apologized to the golfers at the next hole, but here's a secret:

I wasn't sorry.

I had my sign.

I was still in awe and appreciation that I could hit it that far.

Do you ever tire of being wrong?

I even birdied a hole.

By the 12th hole I couldn't sit down in the cart without pain because of the hip.

I even appreciated the pain.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Graceful Fall

Mellencamp writes one.

This isn't exactly Jack & Diane. This was from his last record, a true blues record. You gotta' love the blues because we all feel this way from time to time. I highlighted my favorite lines.

A Graceful Fall by John Mellencamp

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

Not good that I'm writing about a graceful fall on a day when I'm trying golf. I'll let you know how it worked out. 'Yeah, the future's not bright when you're falling down.'

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Suck It Up, Bitch

In the middle of the work day I ran into a friend of mine who was stressed as well.

"I need to play golf Sunday," he said.

I thought about hitting the ball and then chasing it from one spot to the next, hopefully hitting it in a spot where it could safely be hit again and eventually putting it in the cup in less than 7 or 8 shots.

I considered making fun of the guy at the tee box, talking about nothing else but how horrible that last shot was.

I contemplated being so relaxed that heaving my club across the fairway was my biggest problem.

"That'd be nice," I said. "I haven't played in three months."

We talked about the hip a little, but he didn't care much.

"You're a (insert curse word here).

I moved off into another part of the office and met with some other people.

Twenty minutes later the guy wandered by.

"Suck it up, bitch," he said. "We're teeing off at 8:50 on Sunday morning."

I started to protest.

He repeated the curse word a half a dozen times.

"Be there by 8:30 or so," he said. "You might want to stretch a bit. Also, it's a high-end course; try and wear something that doesn't have mustard on it."

So.

I'm golfing on Sunday.

I see the doctor on Tuesday.

I'm now imagining that conversation.

"Eight-thirty!" My buddy yelled as I started to walk away.

I started to text my beautiful wife to let her know.

"Are you asking permission? Suck it up, bitch."

I answered him on that one.

Think of the mother of all curse words.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Candy Crush & This Freaking Heat

I don't mind the heat. I really don't. I'd rather sweat all day than freeze my ass off.

That probably sounds funny coming from a Buffalonian, but it's true.

What I hate about this stifling heat is every single person, from the toothless lady at the convenient store buying a gallon of beer at 10:30 in the morning, to the guy you pass on the street saying:

IS IT HOT ENOUGH FOR YOU?

Yeah. It's hot. I get it. You get it.

Why the f*&K do we have to talk about it?

That toothless lady was priceless though. She stunk to high heaven and she was intent on telling me that she doesn't usually swig beer in the late morning, but that she had to:

BECAUSE SHE WAS SO FREAKING HOT!!

You know what is annoying me more than that though?

CANDY CRUSH!

It's a Facebook game that is going to have one very important footnote in my life.

It's going to chase me off of Facebook.

Every day I get ten requests from my friends asking me if I want to play.

I get messages from other people that tell me that they passed a level.

I have people here with their faces pressed to the I-Pad playing the game.

Evidently some of the levels are really hard.

Evidently someone here is playing under my name.

Because now the updates are saying:

Cliff Fazzolari has given a life to someone else who's playing this freaking game that had to be thought up by Satan himself.

I hate it.

The words Candy Crush are going to be in my suicide note.

Right next to:

Is it hot enough for you?

Bastards.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It Could Happen


Saw this photo on Twitter and actually sat staring at it for a long time.

That is one dopey bastard, right?

But I am of the mind that I can see it happening.

To me.

Years ago.

I'm imagining that the guy behind him goaded him into it.

"You can't do it! You're too fat!"

I also imagine that perhaps there was a bit of alcohol involved.

"I'm not as fat as you think. I'm agile," the Cliff-like guy in the photo might say.

"Care to make it interesting?" The guy goading me asks. In my head it's one of my brother's voices. "Let's say a hundred bucks?"

"I'm not going to do it with an audience," I say.

"No. Just you and me. If you start to get stuck I'll help."

"A hundred bucks?"

"And a case of Heiny Light."

"Get out of my way!"

And that's how I see it happening.

Yet, of course, the real story doesn't start until it becomes readily apparent that I can't wiggle my way free. Can you imagine what this poor bastard went through?

A call to the fire department.

Them cutting the bars so he can get out.

The firemen laughing.

The total strangers gathered laughing.

The endless laughter that comes up whenever someone says the word playground.

Forever.

And then using that hundred bucks to buy a new whatever-the-hell-that-is for the kids to play on.

It could happen.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Halley Road

A couple of people I know checked out this week which sent me back to the worst place on the planet Earth:

Wentland's Funeral Home in North Collins.

Prior to the trip to pay my last respects to two local women who gave it their all, I mowed the grass, with my brother John and rolling around cutting the grass brought wave after wave of emotion again.

Our time is finite.

Or so it seems.

What we leave behind is what defines us.

There's a street in town. It's just a little street that connects Mile Block Road to Route 62. It runs in front of the church and the Catholic grammar school where I took my daily beating from some angry nuns.

There's a really small creek there under a bridge. That creek looked like the Mississippi River when I was a young guy chasing frogs and laughing.

So much laughter.

The street also is adjacent to the camp where a bunch of teenage boys hung out, and talked about girls, and drank a few beers for the first time, and laughed.

Damn there were a ton of laughs.

There's a pole there that was replaced after a car accident involving one of my family members.

"Our insurance had to pay $950 for that pole," my mother said the other day.

We joke about the accident now. Something about a gumball and a box of Shake N Bake.

Thank God we joke about it, but I pick out that pole every single time down that short street.

There's a bunch of streetlights that line the darkened road. I always think of my teenage buddy, Dan Alff, throwing rocks with me at the globe. We were talking about girls we liked. We were talking about the life we'd live. The Wonder Years, for sure.

Danny got hit by a car and died from his injuries. He was struck less than a quarter mile from that globe.

I always think about him.

We used to trap animals back when we were about 12 years old. Or at least we talked about it. I don't think we ever trapped one, but there was a kid who knew all about such things, and he told us that he got like $50 once for a coat from a raccoon or some such bull crap.

So we tried.

That kid never really made it to adulthood either. Following a rough go of it at home he got hooked on a lot of different things, and the funny, really funny, innocent kid that he was gave way to a strung-out man who wanders the town looking for ways to make an easy buck at the expense of others.

I think of him.

At the end of the road is the church.

I always think of my days as an Altar Boy. We had a ton of laughs up there while people came in to pray for God Knows What. There are so many scenes that play in my head from those long-ago days.

I burnt my hand trying to light the candles before mass. The entire congregation laughed hard when I shook my hand in pain as the match burned down to the end.

What an idiot kid.

I think of the priests who held court at that church. They were intimidating figures who were the living, breathing hand of God in my still developing mind. I try and figure out what kind of men they were, as an adult, knowing that the priests aren't always the living example of Christ.

Just that one minute drive from one end to the other.

It all goes by really quickly.

As I turned the corner and headed up Shirley Road on Saturday I glanced at the cemetery.

I can only ever glance. I've yet to stop by. I can't bring myself to do it.

To admit that the days are numbered.

That our time is finite.

Except in what we leave behind.

We spend our days chasing so many things. We try our best to make a mark, and in moments of absolute clarity some times I can really see it.

We are alive.

Though our bodies will sell us short of what we might want to do.

We make that mark.

One way or another.

Just a quick trip down a short road.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

They

I have figured out all of our problems.

They.

I was talking with a guy at work the other day and he went into a rant about healthcare.

They want to take our money and then they want to serve up shitty healthcare and when we battle back they deny our claims.

Or fair wages.

They want us to work longer hours for less pay and then they cut our medical and when we bitch about it they just let us go. They took away our bonuses and they want more and more and more.

Or religious leaders.

They tell us to go to church and live right and then they molest altar boys in the back vestibule.

Or the cops.

They pulled me over for texting on my phone and they have computers right on the seat next to them. Don't they get distracted while driving?

But the biggest they in the whole damn they business is the government.

They force us to work long hours and then they go off on their four month vacations while they don't do anything all year long.

They don't even read the bills that they pass to make them laws and they are only out for themselves.

Then they want to take my guns away when they don't even know that I use them to shoot clay pigeons.

They are getting out of hand.

I suppose that their is some merit to some of the discussions.

But who the hell is they?

Listen to anyone crabbing who's worth their weight in salt.

They is always the culprit in a good long whine.

And you know what's the worst part about this whole blog post?

They are probably reading it.

I hope they had a good time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not Guilty

(I'm a bit slow on the uptick, I guess).

I really don't get the Zimmerman verdict.

Does the law read:

You can pick a fight, and if you're losing, you can stand your ground and use deadly force?

I guess it does.

And somehow even this thing turned into a liberal versus conservative argument. Do you know that there are people who admire Zimmerman?

Wasn't that an irresponsible use of a weapon?

(I told you I was slow).

I really get the outrage too.

Martin was a thug. He smoked pot. He got in trouble at school.

Should we line up and execute all the kids who fall into that category?

Zimmerman's life was in danger. Martin was using the sidewalk as a weapon to kill him.

Then stay in the f%&*ing car like the 911 operator told you to!

There are plenty of other blacks killing blacks how come we never hear about them?

Because evidently we can't question who is responsible enough to obtain a weapon or figure out how to stop sales from one guy to another guy until they end up in irresponsible people's hands (Who we can't judge to be irresponsible because we are infringing on their rights, but we can judge who does and doesn't look like a thug? Huh?).

We don't want to shirk those rights, right?

So let the killing commence.

(I'm really way behind here, folks).

I just wonder.

There's a kid walking down my street.

Going to the mall perhaps.

I don't like the looks of him.

I fancy myself a cop.

I approach and as it apt to happen, he punches me in my big bald head.

I can shoot him?

And be judged.

Not Guilty?

Sounds a little dim-witted to me.

(But what the hell do I know?).

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Counting On A Miracle

It's been that kind of week, family and friends. A lot of people sick and some of them losing their battle. I heard this song the other day and was hit by the brilliance of it. I also remember choosing it as the title of my book about Jake's ordeal at the hospital and it's such a beautiful sentiment just in 3 words. The coolest part is that now, when you Google Counting On a Miracle my name is in there with all the opportunities to read about Bruce's song. Think about the fact that this song is so beautifully written. Just line after line after line, and imagine that a songwriter would kill to write just one song of this caliber and Bruce has about a thousand of them. Just a perfect song.

It's a fairy-tale so tragic
There's no prince to break the spell
I don't believe in magic
But for you I will, for you I will
If I'm a fool, I'll be a fool
Darlin' for you

I'm countin' on a miracle
Baby I'm countin' on a miracle
Darlin' I'm countin' on a miracle
To come through

There ain't no storybook story
There's no never-ending song

Our happily ever after Darlin'
Forever come and gone
I'm movin' on
If I'm gonna believe
I'll put my faith

Darlin' in you

I'm countin' on a miracle
Baby I'm countin' on a miracle
Darlin' I'm countin' on a miracle
To come through

Sleeping beauty awakes from her dream
With her lover's kiss on her lips
Your kiss was taken from me
Now all I have is this

Your kiss, your kiss, your touch, your touch
Your heart, your heart, your strength, your strength
Your hope, your hope, your faith, your faith
Your face, your face, your love, your love
Your dream, your dream, your life, your life

I'm runnin' through the forest
With this wolf at my heels
My king is lost at midnight
When the tower bells peal

We've got no fairytale ending
In God's hands our fate is complete
Your heaven's here in my heart

Our love's this dust beneath my feet
Just this dust beneath my feet
If I'm gonna live
I'll lift my life
Darlin' to you


Saturday, July 13, 2013

My Beautiful Nieces

We went to my niece Nicole's graduation party last weekend.

She's a beautiful girl.

Just like her sister, Andrea.

And the party was great as our cousins came out and a lot of friends gathered to wish Nicole well as she moves off into a promising life, and what got me about it was that while she was moving around the gathering I thought of something her father had written in a graduation card he handed me all those years ago.

"You got the world by the ass. Don't screw it up!" He wrote in the card he handed me as I graduated from college.

I still have that card in the box filled with stuff that I've saved through the years. Cards and notes like that are important to me, and I saved it because it meant a lot coming from him.

We all played a little volleyball during the party. I used to really love that sport. My cousin Tony was on my team and he was in the middle, the setting position.

"Set me up!" I called from the front row.

I wanted to spike the ball on my brother Jim who was across the net from me.

Tony did it perfectly. A well-placed ball that was right where it needed to be. I eye-balled it the whole way and started my leap.

It was all I could do to get the ball over the net. Jim had also half-jumped on his side of the net. He was a couple of feet short of stuffing it back at me. The ball ended up somewhere else.

No spike.

No block.

Wow, how time goes.

Just about the same time I saw Nicole and Andrea walk by.

Just crazy.

Wonderful, beautiful, well-adjusted women.

My brother had the world by the ass too.

And he didn't screw it up.

Now if only we could still jump a little.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Progress?


I work in the construction field and thankfully I've stayed real busy through the years. In fact, even a bit too busy.

On Thursday afternoon I was downtown near about three jobs that were all going on. Guys were chipping concrete and working from aerial lifts and signalling the cranes.

I was sitting on a park bench eating a couple of hot dogs from the cart on the corner near the three jobs.

And it occurred to me:

"We're almost like a real city."

The big job, of course, is the ice rink and hotel to be put in right next to the hockey arena. The Sabres aren't doing much, but their owner is sinking some money back into the area and despite all the angst over the current state of the team that's a good thing.

Then it seems as if every hospital is expanding and building tremendous new facilities.

Healthcare is a booming business, and given the number of doctor visits I've made in the last two years, that's great.

Buffalo is a great place and I'm hoping that it continues to grow. It really depresses me when I drive around and see the poverty and the boarded up windows.

The East side is like a war zone. The West Side is getting that way.

People are afraid to drift too far away from the event their visiting.

Things can change.

Build Buffalo!

It's a great idea.

The hot dogs were good too.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zimmerman or Trayvon?

So George Zimmerman is on trial for the death of Trayvon Martin.

Remember that story?

The black kid and the neighborhood watch guy rolling around and the neighborhood watch guy shoots the Skittles-carrying kid, to death.

There was so much outrage, but everyone took sides immediately. The cops finally had to arrest Zimmerman because the public outcry was so loud.

Turns out Zimmerman may have been after Martin for the Skittles.

Have you seen how big he got?

And what is keeping me from commenting on it was that when it happened I had joined in the outrage because the 911 operator had instructed Zimmerman to stay clear and wait for the real cops.

I thought that was the most important part of the story.

Had he stayed clear the fight wouldn't have happened.

That sort of seems simple to me.

Yet that is never the case when it comes to the justice system. The laws dictate the eventual result, unless of course, you're the jurors in the OJ case or the Casey Anthony case.

Then the actual facts don't matter.

Yet I was listening to an "expert" talk on it today and he actually said something interesting. He mentioned that jurors these days have watched so many movies and so many television shows that they are waiting for the twist at the end.

The facts of the case may not really matter because the individual jurors may not just consider those...they may also be waiting for something dramatic to happen.

Which makes it all a flip of the coin.

Will Zimmerman get off?

Those who want him to get off believe that should be the case because they are fighting for the right to defend themselves against the evil, using deadly force.

Will Trayvon's death be punished?

Those who want Zimmerman to spend a considerable amount of time in jail believe that race was a factor and that being black and wearing a hoody shouldn't get you shot.

Me?

I hate the fact that it happened.

I hate that hundreds of people are murdered every day.

I'm sure that makes me a wussy, right?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Aaron Hernandez Jersey?

Can you believe it?

Elliott Spitzer is running for public office again.

Anthony Weiner is leading in the polls for mayor of NYC.

Aaron Hernandez jerseys are going for about three hundred bucks a pop.

Serial killers get marriage proposals in jail.

Marion Berry won again after he was busted for crack.

What the hell is going on?

I'm sorry, but I just can't imagine voting for Weiner or Spitzer or buying my kids a Pats jersey with Hernandez' name on the back. I heard a story the other day about how popular Michael Vick was when he was in jail for his dog-fighting crime conviction.

I simply don't get it.

Do you?

Spitzer's first press conference was interrupted by a heckler who really hammered on the former governor.

"This is about public service," Spitzer said from the podium.

"It's about power!" The heckler yelled. "It's about abuse of power! You wanna' serve the public volunteer at a soup kitchen! You abused your office!"

I think we should elect the heckler.

Spitzer then went on to say that his family was 100% behind his move and that his wonderful wife was his biggest supporter.

Uh, yeah.

Right.

My beautiful wife and I have a little game we play when we hear about bad behavior.

"So, I pick up a few hookers from New York and transport them to Washington so I'm not lonely on road trips. Is that a deal breaker?"

"What do you think?" She answers.

Seriously?

Hookers are frowned upon?????

It's really sad, though, isn't it? These morons are welcomed back with open arms?

Spitzer with hookers. Weiner sends shots of his Weiner to strangers? Hernandez allegedly shoots people in the head.

And they are celebrated????

Damn!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crazy Summer Days

We've had a lot of rain so far here in the summer of '13.

I've only played golf twice because I'm still, unbelievably hurting. I will fix this hip before the end of the year, but it doesn't do much for me now.

On the rare beautiful warm days.

When there is so much grass to mow!

My parents home is absolutely stunning. As an adult and driving around on their piece of ground I am reminded of how lucky we were as we grew up. Just endless amounts of space. I thought of it as I mowed around the garden area. I considered it as I mowed the spot where we played football. Then there was the baseball field. The best field in town with the pool in dead center as the home run area.

I had endless power in those days.

Yet unbeknownst to me there was a pitfall.

On a previous visit John had cut down a peach tree, leaving only the tree stump.

I hit it hard.

Right in the middle of a Triumph song.

The riding mower stopped dead in its tracks.

I did the only mechanical thing I knew how to do.

I turned the key.

Nothing.

It sounded as if the battery had come undone.

I lifted the hood. (It wasn't as easy as it sounds. I told you I'm incompetent).

The cables seemed to be disconnected. The battery had shifted in its compartment.

"What chance do I have of getting this started again?" I asked the blue sky above.

I thought I heard laughter.

Yet I'm a stubborn bastard.

I grabbed the push mower.

I had been about halfway through the nearly five acres. I'd finish the rest by hand if I had to! I wasn't leaving my obsessive-compulsive mother to stare out the window at high grass.

I started moving, dragging the bad leg behind me. Up and down, back and forth. The sweat pouring down, the yards and yards of grass still un-mowed just mocking my pitiful ass.

"How about a mother%U#@ing break!" I yelled as the Stones finished up Shattered.

I got my answer as the push mower stuttered and then stopped.

I checked the gas tank.

Bone dry.

The gas can was dry too.

I went through the checklist in my mind.

I needed to head to the station for more gas. I needed to somehow push the dead mower about a half a mile to the barn. I had to call my brother and confess it all. I broke the mower on my turn. I left half a field undone.

"One time," I said as I sat on the seat of the rider and turned the key.

I nearly had a heart attack as it came to life.

An hour later I was done.

I spent that entire sixty minutes thinking of divine intervention.

"I had no business fixing that mower," I said to my beautiful wife as I returned home.

"Pure luck, obviously," she said.

Perhaps.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Behind the Wheel?

So the great debate has begun again. Jake is 16 and wants to get his learners permit.

Neither one of us wants to teach him how to drive.

And it's not that he eventually won't have to get behind the wheel. He has to, but there is so much that goes into it. He's the kid you watched grow and do some really dumb things on the way.

They all walk into walls and such.

They all show unlimited bouts of poor hand and eye coordination.

It's natural to doubt their abilities.

Then there are the things you read. How many accidents, end-of-young-life accidents have you seen in recent days?

Kids driving into trees.

Kids drowning in a pond or the lake.

A kid fell into the Whirlpool at Niagara Falls the other day.

Way too young. Way too sad.

Yet Jake found an ally with his Uncle Mike at a party on Saturday.

"It's just criminal that this young man isn't already behind the wheel," Mike started. "When I was his age I was a courier for the mob. I'd already been driving for five years."

Jake was eating it all up.

Mike screamed for Kathy.

"What's it gonna' take to get this kid behind the wheel of something nice? He deserves a brand new car. He can drive your asses home from a party when you get pissed up. He can run to the store, drive to school, hell, drive across the country if he needs to. You two are basically shot. Who's gonna' run you to the hospital when your hips finally break? Jake! That's who!"

Of course I want to see my boys grow to be responsible adults who are capable of driving safely for the rest of their lives, but I also remember my incompetence at such a young age.

"I didn't get my license until I was 19," I said. "Renaldo was driving me all around town and I was always with him. There was no sense in both of us driving."

"We all know you were a tad slow on the uptick," Mike said. "Don't hold that against your kid."

Jake laughed hard at this.

"You gotta' give some thought to your breaking the hip," Mike said. "You don't wanna' be writhing around on the floor wishing you'd taught him how to drive."

How did life go so fast?

I watched the nieces and nephews chasing their kids with filled-diapers all around the party. It didn't take much to imagine those crazy days.

"You are gonna' need me to take care of you someday," Jake said. "And it's just around the corner."

Indeed.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Call & This is the End

I can't say that I'm ever really enthused when my beautiful wife tells me that she has a movie to watch.

I've been burned so many times by the romantic comedies that I just cringe.

But I decided to give The Call a go:

"It's supposed to be intense," she said. "Matt saw it and it scared the crap out of him."

Given that Matt is scared by a big spider I was still a tad skeptical, but what the heck?

The movie started and the 911 operator was sort of attractive in a Halle Berry sort of way.

"She's pretty," I said. "She sort of looks like Halle Berry."

"That is Halle Berry, moron," Kathy said.

"Damn! She's as old as you," I said. "What's up with that?"

The silence was deafening.

And it's a good thing too because it wasn't long after that when my skin started crawling. The movie was crazy intense.

And I don't wanna' spoil much of it, but I was truly saddened by the fact that such things actually do happen in this world, and perhaps the villain was a bit over-the-top but I think if we knew what some of the lunatics in society are really like...

...just intense.

And as the movie wound down I tried to play it off like it wasn't a home run.

"Did you like it?" Kathy asked.

"Halle Berry could've sexed it up a little."

"Whatever."

Then the kids talked me into seeing the Seth Rogan, James Franco and Jonah Hill movie. This is the End. We actually had to get up and go out of the house for that one, and while it is R-rated, the boys have seen all sorts of crap.

They are still well-adjusted, good kids because we talk a lot about what is appropriate and what isn't.

Plus we like to laugh.

And those guys do make us laugh.

Jonah Hill can give you the weather report and you'd laugh.

And the movie is about the end of times, of course, and allows a few glimpses into what it takes to make it to heaven.

Both good flicks.

For a change.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

If It'll Please the Court

Spent a bit of time the other day listening to two guys tell me about their divorces.

We all laughed a lot at the guy who was reprimanded by the judge for saying:

"No wonder 48 Hours is able to do a show about a husband killing his estranged wife every week."

That little comment got him a restraining order.

Which forced him to have to beg to see his kids.

Who were living in the house he bought and paid for...

...before he met his wife...

...who started the whole fight...

...by pleasuring the next-door neighbor...

...on the couch he bought.

"I had to give her the whole house," the guy said, "because when I caught her, in mid-act, mind you, I left the house instead of just strangling her and him where they lay. The judge said I abandoned the family by leaving and that because of that she got the house."

And yes. He had bought and paid for the house years before he met her.

"That ain't right," I said.

He laughed.

"No shit! But I'm just thankful that I let it go. I seriously thought about doing some real bad things in the days immediately following the event, but I got through it. It cost me $90 grand, but whatever. In the end it's not about the money."

I was sort of fascinated. I also wanted to bust his chops.

"Remember how much you loved her?" I asked.

"Remember how you pledged your love in a church filled with people? In sickness and in health? Till death do you part?"

The guy just stared me down.

"They do 48 Hours about drywall guys who bludgeon their safety man too," he said.

I laughed.

He didn't.

"Can you buy me a house as a parting gift?" I asked.

"You better run!"

Friday, July 5, 2013

Keep Your Foot On the Bag!!!!

Went way down memory lane on the 3rd of July because I remember it as the date I tore my Achilles tendon.

This year I didn't remember much of the pain of the situation although there was plenty of that! I don't recommend rupturing that part of the body.

It sucks.

But I thought of so many things:

1). The moment of the rupture will always be funny to me because it was on a ball that I absolutely crushed. I didn't hit a lot of homers...I was a great hitter, mind you, but think Wade Boggs...not Mickey Mantle. Yet I had hammered that ball and as I rounded second I saw the CF chasing it. I was just 31 years old. I could still move a little. I registered the fact that it was a homer.

But it wasn't.

I had just passed the shortstop when it felt as if I were shot.

"What did you do?" I asked him, thinking he'd hit me with a rock.

"Nothing," he answered.

Two more steps and I was just hoping to make it to 3rd where my buddy John was waiting. John doesn't have a medical degree, but I trusted him as a smart guy.

"It's not torn," he said. "Keep your foot on the bag!!!"

2). I liked beer back then. I liked drinking all the beer that was available. I sat on the ground near the team bench and drank beer while resting my leg on a huge bag of ice. We won the game (Renaldo homered twice - he'd kill me if I didn't mention that) and I stood up to congratulate the guys.

Or I tried to.

They had to pull a car onto the grass and they pushed me into the back of it.

"I still don't think it's ruptured," John said.

(Did I mention he's in charge of a ton of children as a decorated principal?)

3). My friends drove me to my parents home. I wasn't living there at the time, but they were my go-to-guys. Mom and Dad would do anything for me.

Except Mom wasn't home.

I called out for Dad.

"What do you want?" he asked. I made the painful trip to where he was seated, watching the baseball game.

"I need help," I said.

"The game is tied," he answered. "Get someone else."

I stood before him in absolute distress.

"Where's Kathy?" he asked.

4). Kathy rushed me to the emergency room. The doc checked me out. I was still half-in-the-bag but I wanted to get all-in-the-bag. The team was out drinking. Could I join them?

"My buddy said it isn't ruptured," I said. "He's a school teacher. He's been trained in physical health," I tried.

"Tell him not to open a practice," the doc said. "It's ruptured in two places."

(I've never really thanked you properly, JC).

I had one question for the doc who explained to me that I couldn't have the immediate surgery I needed because I had drank too many beers.

"If you're doing the surgery in the morning can I keep drinking now?" I asked.

The doc just looked at me.

"He's an idiot," Kathy mentioned.

5). And then life stopped. I had the surgery and all the things I wanted or needed to do were just stopped. I remember thinking, "God wants to give you a timeout."

And Kathy took care of me.

She cooked.

She cleaned.

She waited on me hand and foot.

"Do you need anything?" She'd sweetly ask every day as she called me from work.

"A hacksaw and a gun," I'd answer.

"I'll make sure you don't hack off the cast or shoot yourself," she said.

And that's significant.

Because of two things.

It's been 17 years since she babied me like that.

And I still can't really walk right.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)

Bruce gets to do one! Happy 4th!! Celebrate your days. Dedicated to Rosie!

4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy) by Bruce Springsteen

Sandy the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Forcin' a light into all those stoned-out faces left
stranded on this Forth of July

Down in town the circuit's full with switchblade lovers
so fast so shiny so sharp

And the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open
like Latin lovers along the shore
Chasin' all them silly New York girls

Oh Sandy the aurora is risin' behind us
The pier lights our carnival life forever
Love me tonight for I may never see you again

Hey Sandy girl

Now the greasers they tramp the streets
or get busted for trying to sleep on the beach all night
Them boys in their spiked high heels ah Sandy their skins are so white

And me I just got tired of hangin' in them dusty arcades
bangin' them pleasure machines, chasin' the factory girls underneath the boardwalk where
they all promised to unsnap their jeans

And you know that tilt-a-whirl down on the south beach drag
I got on it last night and my shirt got caught

And that Joey kept me spinnin' I didn't think I'd ever get off
Oh Sandy the aurora is risin' behind us

The pier lights our carnival life on the water
Runnin' down the beach at night with my boss's daughter
Well he ain't my boss no more Sandy

Sandy the angels have lost their desire for us
I spoke to 'em just last night and they said they won't
set themselves on fire for us anymore

Every summer when the weather gets hot they ride that crazy road
down from heaven on their Harleys they come and they go
And you can see 'em dressed like stars in all the cheap
little seashore bars parked making love with their
babies out on the Kokomo

Well the cops finally busted Madame Marie
For tellin' fortunes better than they do
This boardwalk life for me is through
You know you ought to quit this scene too

Oh Sandy the aurora is rising behind us
The pier lights our carnival life forever
Oh love me tonight and I promise I'll love you forever
Hey Sandy Girl...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

You Have Two Legs...You Can Afford to Give Us One

There's no doubt that one of the best ways to really screw the middle class is to try and wring every last nickel and dime out of their pockets by hitting them where they love.

Yeah, I'm talking about college.

The costs are ridiculous.

The process is abysmal.

The loans are being handed out by sharks.

And there's not much you can do about it.

Think of it.

What is the number one wish of every single responsible parent out there?

Yeah, set up the kids.

Yet here I am on the verge of leaving middle age, and there are days when I wonder why we are paying so much freaking money so that our kid can sit in a classroom with a bunch of other kids...all paying a fortune for their schooling.

Of course, our boy is at a good school, and yes, he's staying on campus, and we definitely needed to get him a meal plan, but that much money?

And the financial aid people have been talking to my wife and supposedly they figure out how much you can actually afford for the kid to go to school, and they try their best to extract every single penny. I guess we are supposed to send one kid to school and serve Ramen noodles to the two still at home.

And now the loan rates are doubling?

I know some kids who get out of school and end up owing about $100 grand.

How are they ever gonna' work that off? And to top it off, half of them are working at Target after graduation.

It's so much fun to vent here, right?

Yet the deal is I went to school, at a private college, just twenty-five years ago. The cost was about 5 grand a year.

It's about 35 grand a year now.

Same school.

Same education.

Kill the middle class.

By using their children against them.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

First Responders

I've only been in a panic situation once.

It almost killed me.

It was way back in college and I was working hard to impress a girl. She spent Friday night studying at her apartment and I went out drinking.

(I wasn't very good at impressing pretty girls).

When I got to her apartment I was a little wobbly and she was a little irritated, but I thought I was entertaining.

Anywhoha...

"Do you smell smoke?" she asked.

I went to the hallway and there was a good degree of smoke coming out from underneath the door next door.

"Oh, my God!" she wailed. "I don't know if they're home or not."

I had a regular damsel in distress situation going on. I knew what to do. It was my time to shine.

I lined it up and slammed my shoulder into the door.

I crumpled to the floor, whimpering in pain and rolling around.

Thankfully, another drunk buddy came by.

Together we hammered the door, and knocked it off its hinges. The smoke came billowing out.

I was coughing and choking and crawling on the floor. I didn't make it three feet into the apartment.

And it's a good thing I didn't.

It turns out that one of the residents had left a curling iron on the bed and the resultant fire did a lot of damage. I think I was still on the floor in a drunken, coughing heap when the firemen arrived.

They actually were able to respond and take control.

I wasn't the hero I thought I could've been and every day since I've looked at fire differently. It had actually scared me.

I thought of all that on Monday morning when I heard about the tragic fire that killed 19 real brave guys.

That's just brutal.

May God be with their families.

May the rest of us value the true first-responders.

By the way, I'm still friends with the pretty girl.

She must still laugh a little at my attempt to impress her.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The 4th of July Top Ten

Every year they run the old best rock songs from 500 to 1 or some crap like that. It is mildly interesting to follow along, but I always get pissed when I see Born To Run at 25 and Stairway to Heaven or Hey Jude fighting for number 1.

So we are going with my top ten.

Not individual songs, mind you, but overall bands.

You may not be surprised by number 1.

But it's my Top Ten.

Number 10 - U2 and Bob Seger - I couldn't leave one of the two out, so I put 'em both in. (Like I've said, it's my list. I can do what I want). There are moments when a song by either of these two is the perfect song at the perfect time. My favorite U2 song is It's a Beautiful Day. My favorite Seger song is Roll Me away.

Number 9 - Bob Dylan - Just a great writer. There are single lines in single songs that just make you go, "Oh crap! That's brilliant." I know a ton of people who shudder when his voice comes through the speakers, but he sings enough to make it worth listening to. I love the song Sara. He actually sang the hell out of it, and the writing is awesome.

Number 8 - Pink Floyd - A bit low on the list, but that's because their songs are sort of stripped down when taken out of the context of the album, but when taken all together Waters is a genius. I'm a Final Cut lover, but it's hard to choose just one song. (And I ain't even a pot smoker! I hear it's even better with weed).

Number 7 - The Who - There was a day when they were in the top 3 - and they were still the best band at the Hurricane relief concert. Townsend is amazing and one of the top five all-time as a rocker. A best song is difficult, but Bargain, was always one I loved.

Number 6 - Van Morrison - Tremendous writer. The music is just so relaxing or so upbeat. He really made me think a lot through the years and is great to have on in the background during writing sessions. I love the song Enlightenment. What's the sound of one hand clapping?

Number 5 - The Beatles - You know all of it. What gets me about it is that some 40 years later if they put out any of their albums it would still go to number one. A Day in A Life is my favorite. John Lennon was my favorite Beatle, but they were all remarkable.

Number 4 - John Mellencamp - It's my list! I love JC - always have. He could sing the ABC's and I'd buy it. We saw him live a couple of times and he's cooler than Fonzie. He's the one rocker I'd like to have a beer with - even over Bruce! Minutes to Memories might be in the top 3 of all songs all-time and he did it live when I was there. I almost passed out like one of those women at a Beatles show. Great writer.

Number 3 - Mark Knopfler - There are days when Knopfler is number two, or even number one. I can listen to him play the guitar for 100 hours straight and I don't believe he's recorded anything I haven't purchased. If you don't have his solo albums you're really missing out. Seeing him perform live with my brother John there was way up there on the list. So difficult to choose a favorite song, but gun to my head - Telegraph Road - just an epic song.

Number 2 - The Rolling Stones - They were Bruce for me before the Born to Run album. I remember arguing with my buddies. They were better than The Who and The Beatles in my eyes. I still think so. They were so weird! But man, when the I-pod spits out one of their rockers I can't turn it up high enough. I love so many but Tumbling Dice has to be the favorite.

Number 1 - Bruce - Has there ever been a less anticipated number 1? Bruce's music is a part of my life, and a part of the family and the number one topic with a lot of my old friends. He's the greatest American writer since Mark Twain. He's the greatest live performer of all-time. He's always seemed to do the right thing (women problems aside, but I told him he shouldn't marry that Hollywood gal), and while I want to choose Leah in this spot, I have to go with The Promised Land as my favorite song.

The Dogs on Main Street Howl 'cause they understand.

"He Wants to Hang 'Em All"

Every day there's something nasty. So sick of the nasty. Sometimes the nastiness is passed off as a joke. Other times it's locke...