Saturday, August 31, 2013

Senseless Crap

Seems we have more tragedy in Syria and that there has to be a response.

A violent response.

Read the story about that little lunatic Kim Jong Un supposedly executing his former girlfriend and the rest of her band.

Lined 'em up and executed 'em.

And lately I've been seeing a lot of posts on social media that really get under my skin.

They go something like this:

"How come Obama isn't angry about the murder....?"

Wherever the murder of the day is.

This anger is directed at Obama because he said that the Trayvon Martin murder was a senseless act and that perhaps Trayvon could've been his kid.

Now when a white kid is murdered...Obama better release a statement?

First off, it isn't a racial thing.

Obama wasn't upset because Martin was black.

He'd answer the same way no matter what murder scenario was presented to him.

Do you really think he'd say, "Ah well, that's a white kid, no big deal?"

So that's why I'm agitated.

All other politics aside, it's an absolutely ridiculous stand to make a statement like:

"How come we haven't heard from Obama on the Lane murder, or the baby who was shot in the face, or the 8 year old that shot the 5 year old, or the store owner who was shot in the robbery attempt, or the husband who shot the wife, or the wife who shot the husband."

Just ridiculous.

Don't you think if you presented a question about any of these senseless killings that any reasonable man would say:

"It's horrific."

Yet there are the angry posts:

"Why doesn't Obama say something today?"

And I imagine that I'd just let it go if I hadn't seen the public reaction to the shootings in Connecticut. It was a human reaction. The same sort of human reaction that Bush showed after 9/11.

No matter what the politics...these men aren't happy with murder.

They'd love never to hear about it.

So do me a favor:

If you oppose the guy in the office try not to put hate-filled words into the mouth of the guy.

How about this:

Instead of spreading more vile crap, why don't we try and stop the killing somehow.

Then we don't have to worry about the reaction.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Senator Dipshit

I don't know how I missed this story, but when I heard the audio of the Senator from Texas who beat his daughter, I was more than a little upset.

Jay Thomas played the audio on his show on Wednesday afternoon and let me tell you, if you're gonna' Google it...it's heartbreaking. I won't even post the link.

It was that crazy.

The guy's name is William Adams. His daughter is Hillary. She suffers from cerebral palsy, first of all. Secondly, she was just a kid.

The back-story is that she went on the Internet to illegally download music after she was told not to. Her disgusting mother (who's name I didn't catch) caught her back at the site downloading the music and the rush to punish her was on.

We hear the voice of her charming father telling her that she is to bend over the bed and take the beating she so richly deserves.

The kid knew it was coming. That's why she planted the camera. It had evidently happened before.

The wailing child was heartbreaking.

The father was screaming at her to take her punishment.

The mother also got a couple of whacks in.

And it was horrible for those of us listening in.

Being on both sides of the parenting coin allows me to comment on such things.

I grew up in the 70's where there were occasional smacks across the ass given out as a way of discipline. I recall being terrified of getting in trouble, but I was by no means beat.

By any stretch of the imagination.

And certainly nothing like what I heard on that audiotape.

Those parents were enjoying it.

My Dad would threaten and we were certainly afraid of his bark, but this is a totally different ballgame.

I was also spanked by the nuns back in those days, but again...never anything approaching this poor girl.

As a parent...the kids have certainly sent me close to rage on a few occasions.

Very few.

I hardly ever raise my voice.

And I've never struck them.

But as I listened to that girl scream in pain as the belt struck her...

...and more importantly as I listened to the guy try to explain why she was a piece of shit and he was king shit of asshole mountain...

...it was my kids who I thought of.

There is no way I could listen to them scream in horror and continue to do the thing that is making them cry.

No way in hell.

I need to find out more about this guy.

Because my initial assessment of him as a human isn't real positive.

The girl released the tape to You Tube in an effort to show what she was subjected to. She waited 8 years to release the tape because she was deathly afraid of the guy.

Look it up if you can take it.

Senator William Adams from Texas.

You may be able to Google it under:

"Senator Dipshit".

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to College

Matt hit the road back to school this past weekend.

It's funny but I remember each trip back to start a new year.

Year One: 1982

I got to Gannon without a friend in the world. I knew one guy who was going there, but I didn't like him much. He had played on the Eden basketball team. He gave me a finger in line for my first meal. We became good buddies. Still that first night I laid in bed and nearly cried. I missed my Mom. Thankfully I was drunk and I got to sleep fairly quickly.

Year Two: 1983

We all returned a couple of days early. We drank a half-keg a beer the first night back and met the freshman girls as they unpacked their cars. Two days in and they all hated all of us. Thank God I'd had enough beer. The rejection wasn't so bad.

Year Three: 1984

Our roommate had sublet our apartment to two very attractive girls. We had no idea. My mother dropped me off and eyed up the situation.

"You can't stay here with two girls," Mom said.

But I did.

The girls wanted nothing to do with me. Thankfully I tipped a few those first few days. The fact that they despised me was well-received.

Year Four: 1985

I had my tuition money in my pocket. I arrived two days early. Midway through the drunken mess of a party on the first night we found out that Springsteen was playing in Toronto.

We took the tuition money and headed out, scalping tickets in the CNE parking lot.

Bruce played forever that night.

We drove all the way back to Erie.

Already worn out and I was three hundred bucks short to pay for classes.

I sold my car stereo to make up the difference.

We also got detained at the border on the way in because of this exchange:

Border Patrol Guy: Why were you in Canada?

Me: We went to the concert.

Border Patrol Guy: What concert?

Me: Bruce.

Border Patrol Guy: Bruce who?

Me: Springsteen.

Border Patrol Guy: Who's that?

Me: Do you live under a rock?

We were good and searched that night. My partner in crime wanted to absolutely skin me.

So, Matt packed the car and headed out. He was going to be getting there a day early.

I don't even wanna' know what he's up to.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Enough is Enough

We've had a weird schedule lately. The beautiful wife has been working a different shift that made it impossible to even be in the same room at the same time as I was asleep before her shift ended and gone before she got up in the morning.

The boys have had the run of the joint with just one parent around. We've watched a lot of comedy shows in the late afternoons. Baseball always seems to be on as well.

So on Saturday we headed out for breakfast. Just the two of us.

And what did we discuss?

Yeah, the kids.

Except there was a twist.

"I had a dream that I was pregnant," Kathy said. "With twin boys!"

"You'd be on your own," I said.

"And I didn't know if I was going to keep them," she said. "And I was afraid to tell you."

"I'd be long gone," I said.

Again I was sort of ignored.

"Can you imagine having twin boys at our age?"

My wife seemed to be enjoying the dream.

"I'd be on the first bus out of town," I said. "You'd be a single mother of five."

Kathy just laughed.

"Right," she said. "Mister Responsible would just get on a bus and leave. You know you wouldn't."

"I'd have to take you out," I said. "You and the twins. Gone."

Yet my beautiful wife wasn't buying it.

"You'd be right there. Changing diapers. Chasing 'em around the house. Wouldn't it be crazy?"

The waitress finally brought a coffee and a water to the table. I considered the scenario for a fleeting moment.

"Nope. I'd kill you," I said.

"Could you imagine what they'd be like?"

I just wanted breakfast.

I hadn't laid eyes on her in about a week.

Starting over with two more hoodlums at nearly 49 years old?

"It can't really happen," Kathy said.

"Good thing for you," I said.

"I still think you'd be there if it happened."

Thank God we don't have to cross that bridge.

I'd be on 48 Hours Mystery.

They'd title it 'Enough is Enough.'

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dirt Boring

At the risk of being looked up by an old friend, I spent the morning thinking of an old college buddy who never actually made it past sophomore year.

Bert Doring.

I have not heard one word about Bert since he left Gannon all those years ago, but I thought of him this morning as my beautiful wife and I shared breakfast and talked about Matt returning to school to start his junior year.

Of course, we called Bert Doring...Dirt Boring...but he was anything other than boring.

Bert's highlights:

1). I was shooting baskets behind the dorm with a group of people when I went for a pump fake and tore up ligaments in my ankle. I asked Bert to get me some help.

He called an ambulance.

As we rode to the hospital in the back of the ambulance Bert begged the guy to blare the siren (he did), and he held my hand and whispered, "You're gonna' be all right, Clifford!" at least 70 times.

2). Bert didn't have a lot of luck with the ladies, but when he finally spent a little time with one at a frat party he returned to my room in the middle of the night just to ask me about love. I remember throwing him out of the room - I believe Gag helped with that dismissal. Bert was yelling, 'What does love mean?' As he ran down the hall away from our room.

3). In the greatest of all-time pranks Bert went through the door freshman year and collected everyone's alarm clock. He then returned to his room and painstakingly set about 100 clocks all around the bed of his sleeping roommate, Andrew, who was the most straight-laced guy I ever met. He then invited a whole bunch of people into the room just before the clocks went off. I swear to God, it was the funniest thing I ever saw...Andrew had to be peeled off the ceiling.

4). Bert was also the inventor of mattress football. I still don't know how the game was played, but we all played it...until the RA took Bert's door off the hinges so he could keep an eye on the room.

As we ate breakfast...I wondered...what the hell could have possibly happened to old Bert.

I wonder if he's a Dad, sending children off to college with the instruction to study hard and work hard.

I wonder if he's found wealth and a stable mental environment.

I contemplate whether or not he figured out what love is.

Part of me wants to go on Google and look.

More of me wants to just let it be...

...Dirt Boring will always be 19...and laughing...and screwing around.

I hope Matt gets the chance to meet about a hundred guys like Bert.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Learning to Fly

My middle boy, Jake, is currently obsessed.

He wants to learn how to drive.

Then he wants a new car.

Then he wants to fly around town, picking things up for the family, meeting his friends, driving all across the world.

We are a tad skeptical.

"I've seen him walk into walls," I said to Kathy.

And of course, there's the feeling that we don't want them to grow up. We certainly know the dangers of being out in the big, bad world.

But we know that he has to learn to fly on his own.

Somehow.

Last week I told him to get in the car.

"Why?"

"I'm taking you driving."

He ran to the vehicle and went straight for the driver's side door.

"No."

I drove to an empty parking lot.

He listened as I told him the basic truth.

"People die driving every day," I said.

"They drive drunk or they die texting. They die because they drive too fast or too careless. It's a responsibility. You have to be safe."

He was nodding along.

I repeated it a whole bunch of times.

Then I moved to the passenger seat and let him start the car, telling him what to do each step of the way. If he was nervous, he didn't let on.

He drove carefully around the parking lot, turning slowly, backing up, just getting the feel of the car.

I can't say that I wasn't scared for him, but let me tell you, he was way better at it than I was at 16 years old.

We practiced.

I watched him concentrate. It was impossible not to think of the moment when he was born, or the moment when he came through surgery, or the moments we brought him back from the hospital - both when he was an infant, and when he was sick.

"There's one other rule," I said as we switched back for the drive home.

"What's that?" he asked.

"When you drive you have to listen to Springsteen. It keeps you calm. None of that hip-hop shit."

He smiled.

I made him promise.

"I won't drive drunk. I won't text and drive. I'll always listen to Bruce," he said.

"Perfect. You'll fly right."

Next week we learn the three-point turn.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Heather


Ten years.

Time slips away, you know, but in grief it really doesn't.

My friends John and Mary lost their daughter ten years ago, and it's strange how life makes it even bigger as time moves on. Now I feel for my friends John, Mary, and their daughters Emily and Melissa too.

There were things I didn't know ten years ago...like Heather's beautiful sisters, and how we'd end up being comic foils for one another on social media.

Of course, the Cataldo girls are smart, sarcastic beautiful girls now...Emily has a particularly quick wit and she loves making fun of the 'Cliff' character on Twitter.

Who would've thought?

And the thing that struck me when I saw the photo on one of their pages on Saturday was what I selfishly missed out on as well...

...Heather would've been right there mixing it up too!

Life-long friends are often people we sort of take for granted as always being there. I met John when he was four years old. He always laughs at my memory, but I do recall the night that his Mom and Dad came by to visit my Mom and Dad...we played up at the big house on Shirley Road...running, jumping, throwing shit at each other...

...we did that for the next 44 years.

...we'll probably play a similar slower game for the next 30 or so.

Yet life intervenes, right?

Together at all the big events.

John there as we celebrated a softball championship or two.

Plenty of beers down the gullet.

John and Mary sharing moments at weddings, bars, poker tables, at hospitals and sadly at funerals.

Jokes flying back and forth.

Tears being shared with heartfelt sadness and long, tearful cries.

And then our kids talking, laughing, perhaps remembering the moments when we were the parents and they were running around the house where we were drinking the beer and sharing the love and friendship.

It struck me today.

Ten years down the line.

I lost a friend from the future all those years ago.

And yet, here she is, Heather.

Front and center.

In the hearts of those who loved her.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Presidential Visit

So Obama rolled through the area this week. He spoke at the University @ Buffalo and then headed east on the Thruway, in a bus stopping in Rochester and then heading to Syracuse and Binghamton.

I make that trip twice a month.

With a little less fanfare.

And I'm not sure what a trip like that accomplishes.

And it doesn't matter who the Prez is...it just seems a lot of time and money for little return. W was up in Niagara Falls when he was in the chair and I got stuck behind that motorcade.

It seemed to be a tremendous expense.

Can't they just Skype their speech and save some of that cash?

As it happens I was in Rome, NY early in the week and the guy who was traveling along with me started humming the Erie Canal song.

The damn song got stuck in my head for three days.

We were in a fabrication shop where we watched a middle-aged guy working with some huge pieces of steel. The guy was sweating, bleeding and swearing. He was wearing a welding shield and long sleeves in a real hot shop.

I thought about how hard he was working. He had done that sort of work every day for years and years.

At the break we shot the shit a bit and lo and behold one of the things we discussed was how much money it costs to send our kids to college.

"I'm at the top of my ability to make money," he said. "I'm not smart enough to bring in money any other way, but I don't have two nickels to rub together and I'm breaking down. Where do I go once it all falls apart?"

Just that simple statement brought me down.

That was about it.

A long discussion followed as a few of us wondered where it all went wrong.

"A guy like that used to be able to afford everything," I said. "He paid his medical bills. He could send his kids to college, and his wife didn't have to work. Now, none of that works."

Coincidentally the president was discussing the costs of college.

A 265% increase in college costs in the last 25 years.

Have wages gone up that much?

For the guy humping steel?

I think not.

Perhaps it's time to keep the politicians home and save the travel expenses until guys that bust their hump every day can afford to pay their cable bill without having to take a home equity loan.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Toughen Your Skin


Check this out.

This is a photo of a young black gal trying to toughen her skin against abuse that she might take if she were to venture out in the world and try and become a productive member of society.

The twitter photo stated that it was from a training session that black girls were put through at the time. The lady positioned behind the seated student is hurling racial put-downs at the girl while the man positioned at her shoulder is blowing cigarette smoke into her face.

She is being graded on her ability to work through the abuse while controlling her anger at the situation.

Of course, the photo and the explanation of it all made me pretty sad. It made me understand just how abusive it was back then.

When was the photo taken you ask?

1960!!!

That's the part that blew my mind.

The other day I was telling my boys the story of buying the Henry Aaron Hammerin' Hank book down in Largo, Florida. I had saved my money for months to be able to buy the book and my Mom finally took me to the store where I had eyed it up for a couple of months or so.

I was 10 years old. I was so excited to be holding the book. I couldn't wait to read it.

When I got to the cash register a middle-aged white man took it from my hand.

"Why are you letting him buy a book about a nigger?" the guy said to my mother.

I was white child. Still, the word bit into me. 38 years later, I can still picture the scene. I can still see the disgust on his face.

I didn't understand it.

Of course, my mother went completely ape shit. Mom always has been a staunch defender of each of her children, and she was going to raise us with dignity.

She threatened to kill the bigot.

A few things come to mind whenever I think about that day:

1). I remember the pain of having to save my dimes for that book.

2). I recall how disturbed I was by that man's hateful word.

3). I remember being proud of Mom.

38 years later three things are true:

1). I still have that book.

2). To me Henry Aaron is still the home run king.

and

3). I still don't understand that man's hate or the fact that men and women were treated in such a manner, in our country, just over 50 years ago.

And in some places...still today.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lyrics Gone Wrong

I know we've talked about this before because I remember writing about 'Hold me Closer Tiny Dancer' and telling you that I always sing 'Hold me closer Tony Danza' substitute line.

Yet this morning I was driving around and Bruce's 'Tougher Than the Rest' happened to be playing.

Bruce sings:

Some girls they want a handsome Dan, or some good-looking Joe.

I automatically sang:

Some girls they want a handsome Cliff or some good-looking Jeff.

Because my college roommate, Jeff 'Fluffy' Taylor used to sing it that way 22 years ago.

There was also a line in 'Tunnel of Love' that Fluff had changed on me.

Bruce sings:

Fat man sitting on a little stool. He takes the money from my hands as his eyes take a walk all over you.

(A wonderfully descriptive sentence by the way. Writing-wise it doesn't get much more concise than that).

Fluff used to sing:

Fuzzy sitting on a little stool.

(An equally effective way to write a solid joke).

And I suppose that it's fun to absolutely ruin a song for years and years, but I smile each time I think of it.

My brother John is good at it.

He makes up a lot of his own lyrics.

My brother-in-law Chuck is the absolute master though.

I know I ended the last blog about this in the same manner, but Paul Young sang it this way:

Every time you go away you take a piece of me with you.

Grand old Chaz changed it to:

Every time you go away you take a piece of cheese with you.

Five verses later the song winds down.

Paul Young emphatically belts out:

Don't leave me all alone.

Charlie sums it all up as such:

Don't take the provolone.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I Won't Need It

Late last week I sat in front of the surgeon who will finally settle down and take an instrument into my left hip and friggin' fix it.

"Have you finally had enough?" he asked.

"Yeah," I answered. "Let's do it."

For those of you trying to keep score. I hurt my hip on January 30, 2012. It was just two months after my second knee surgery in six months.

So essentially I have been banged up since early in 2011.

When people I haven't seen in awhile run into me they don't even know what to ask about:

"How's the knee, back, hip, ass, whatever?"

The kids don't know me without either a heating pad or an ice pack somewhere on my body.

I refused to take the time off of work to fix everything.

I'm actually still not convinced.

Have you finally had enough?

When the car barreled into me at the stop sign I felt neck, back and groin pain. I got through the neck and back pain, but the groin pain never went away.

Not for a minute.

Think 18 months with a constant groin pull.

I can't lift my left leg high enough to put my foot on a stool.

By Wednesday I'm a stumbling fool. I sometimes count the hours until Saturday morning.

And yet I climb.

Up and down ladders.

Across scaffold.

Onto rooftops.

And I bring all of this up, not to whine, or show you how tough I am, but to bring around my entire thought process on it.

When I'm done with this body it's not going to be effective for even scrap parts.

I know some guys who nurture and sculpt their bodies.

They eat right.

They do cardio.

They jog.

They get regular rest.

If they feel a twinge they sit down somewhere until it all subsides.

I'm not of that mindset, I suppose.

"Did you think of being an organ-donor?" someone once asked me.

I can't do that to some poor son-of-a-bitch.

I'm wearing it out one muscle at a time.

Wish me luck.

They say 3-6 weeks on crutches. 4-8 months to full recovery.

"How many days after surgery will he climb a ladder?" Sam asked Jake.

"He's an idiot," Jake answered.

(The good money is at 3-5 days).

In a little while I won't need this body at all anymore.

I'll drift off high over the grape fields, laughing.

Knowing that I left it all out there.

That's the plan.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wrecking Ball

Just Feel like doing lyrics today - to my buddy Terry)

Wrecking Ball by Bruce

I was raised out of steel here in the swamps of Jersey, some misty years ago
Through the mud and the beer, and the blood and the cheers, I've seen champions come and go
So if you got the guts mister, yeah if you've got the balls
If you think it's your time, then step to the line, and bring on your wrecking ball

Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you've got
Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you've got
Bring on your wrecking ball

Now my home was here in the Meadowlands, where mosquitoes grow big as airplanes
Here where the blood is spilled, the arena's filled, and Giants play their games
So raise up your glasses and let me hear your voices call
Come on!
Because tonight all the dead are here, so bring on your wrecking ball

Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you've got
Bring on your wrecking ball

One, two, one two three four!

Yeah we know that come tomorrow, none of this will be here
So hold tight on your anger
Hold tight on your anger
Hold tight to your anger, and don't fall to your fear


Now when all this steel and these stories, they drift away to rust
And all our youth and beauty, it's been given to the dust
And your game has been decided, and you're burning the down the clock
And all our little victories and glories, have turned into parking lots

When your best hopes and desires, are scattered to the wind
And hard times come, hard times go
Hard times come, hard times go
And hard times come, hard times go
Hard times come, hard times go
Hard times come, hard times go
Yeah just to come again


Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you've got
Bring on your wrecking ball
Bring on your wrecking ball (bring on your wrecking ball)
Bring on your wrecking ball (bring on your wrecking ball)
Come on and take your best shot, let me see what you've got, bring on your wrecking ball

One, two, one two three four!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Off the Wall

The more I think about it the more pissed off I get.

The Buffalo Bills have a ceremony when they want to induct a player or coach or owner onto the ring of honor or wall of honor or wall of fame, or whatever the hell they call it.

Whenever you see the names on television as they pan the wall for this prestigious honor there is the name big and bold.

O.J. Simpson.

You remember O.J., right?

2,003 yards.

Fast as hell.

Always smiling.

Nordberg.

TV Commercials.

Our biggest star.

He's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When they honored him he brought his beautiful wife down onto the field and paraded her around.

A little while later he chopped off her head.

And there his name sits on the wall:

O.J. Simpson.

Honor.

Fame.

Well, I am just dumb enough to think that we can start a movement to make the Bills take it down.

Take it down.

And I know all the stupid excuses. He's on the wall for what he accomplished on the football field.

That's bullshit.

I think that we need to take charge on this. Today's players are scumbags too. Lying, cheating, murdering, driving drunk, beating their spouses, running people over on street corners, shooting themselves at night clubs and killing dogs.

Send a freaking message.

Somebody!!!

Why can't the Bills organization take charge?

This year at halftime of another dismal home game invite the national press in. Hell, invite the Simpson family (who aren't in prison in) and make a speech.

To take his damn name off the wall.

Think of the positive message that we will be sending to the kids.

Think of the fact that the Bills may gain some sort of credibility.

Think of the embarrassment that Orenthal might feel when word gets back to him in his 8X10.

Why can't we send a message about living life right?

Why is the wall of honor a wall of horror?

Get that asshole off the wall.

(Feel free to share this. I'm serious. It needs to be done).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Big Life


They say that a picture tells a thousand words.

I know that I can write a book off the photo in this blog.

In fact, it's a book that I've thought about for a long time.

We can all do it.

Look at a photo of ourselves from thirty or so years before.

Think about the dreams trapped in the head under that mop of hair.

That skinny, clear face. All the hopes, dreams, desires.

I loved basketball. My finest memories from high school come from wearing that jersey. I could really shoot the ball and I had a funky release. I had a lot of friends too. The one's sitting in the stands used to chant:

Fuzzy! Fuzzy! Fuzzy!

When I was sitting on the bench.

I did a bit of that because I never wanted to do anything but shoot the ball.

I was a sensitive kid. I fell hard for girls. I had the best friends in the world. I laughed a lot. I loved my family. I loved my dogs. I respected and loved my Mom. I respected, loved and feared my Dad.

I hated my hair!

I could never control it!!

I can control it now.

I dreamed of a big life.

I already loved reading and writing by then. I already loved the Yankees, Bruce and the Stones. I could eat a pound of pasta by then. At one sitting.

I still love all of those things. I just can't eat that much pasta anymore.

What that kid didn't know was that life would be heartbreaking.

It's hard to tell a kid those sorts of things, right?

The shame of life is what dies within us while we are still alive.

Most of what was inside that kid hasn't died yet.

But sadly some things have.

I'm not sure how that kid would have reacted had someone taken him on a trip to the future.

To now.

The travel host showing him the love in his life.

But also the pain.

32 years or so in the future.

A great many things accomplished.

A whole bunch of dreams realized.

It's pretty heady stuff.

It'll make your hair fall out just thinking about it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

December 1, 1974

The Buffalo Bills were finally getting good. They were coached by Lou Saban and they had the best running back in football - O.J. Simpson.

I was ten. John was eleven. We wanted the Bills to win every week. We loved watching O.J. run.

We absolutely begged my Dad to take us to a game.

He didn't want to.

Of course, I didn't know that at the time.

He was a great Dad.

He feigned interest.

Through the years I came to learn that he sort of hated football. He watched with the rest of us, of course, when the Bills went to 4 straight Super Bowls, but he didn't love it.

I think of that day in 1974.

I imagine how much he detested sitting in Orchard Park on a cold winter day with us.

And it had nothing to do with us, of course. He loved us, or we wouldn't have gone.

I only really remembered five things about the game.

1). O.J. went over 1,000 yards on the season.

2). Neither team scored a touchdown.

3). It snowed all through the 2nd half.

and

4). It sucked.

None of us had any fun.

Yet I forgot all about that until I started thinking about the Bills home pre-season game tomorrow.

I Googled the 1974 season and that's when I found the game.

The Bills beat the Colts 6 to 0.

The place was packed.

Then I thought about it some more.

Of course I had returned to the stadium about 30 more times through the years. I'm not sure if my brother ever has. I know for a fact that my Dad never went back.

A lot has happened in the nearly 40 years, huh?

Everyone's life moved forward.

Orenthal is in jail.

The Bills didn't win the big game.

and number five.

5). "Thanks for taking us," we said to Dad.

He just kept saying the same thing over and over as we cranked the heat up in the car and tried to get feeling back in our hands.

"Never again," he said.

And I remembered we laughed.

I swear to God...

I remember that.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Thank You, Pasta

I was real close to getting through my 3rd day without solid food following a nasty bout of the stomach flu.

When I remembered something.

When I was 19 years old I had a tumor in my throat. Thankfully it was benign but I always remember the operation to remove it because I'd been scared, they didn't knock me out to take it, and it was the size of a golf ball when they showed it to me.

That and some kid dumped his bike as my mother was driving me home from the hospital and it hurt like hell to laugh at the goofy bastard going over the handlebars.

Anywhoha...

Following that surgery I was in a bad way for a few days.

I was drinking dinner (and not in the good way), and as you know, whining about my pain.

On about day 3 my Dad tried to talk me into eating solid food.

I remember being nasty about it.

He made it anyway.

He brought a full plate of pasta to the living room and set it about a foot from my nose.

"I know you can't eat," he said. "But just in case."

As I was telling Sam the story the other night he started laughing.

"Like a dog," he said.

He didn't even ask if I ate it.

Which I did.

Probably before my Dad ever hit the stairs.

So I turned on the rigatoni last night.

I made a real soft sauce for it without too much garlic or onion.

"Can you eat it without losing it?" Sam asked.

"I guess we'll see," I said.

It never stood a chance.

12 hours later, I feel great.

Thank you, pasta.

Thank you, Poppa.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A 3-Run Jack

Every year the lineup for the first game of the Jeff Fazzolari Thunder Road Memorial Tournament is fairly steady.

Jim Fuzzy, John Fuzzy, Cliff Fuzzy were the first three batters this year.

Truth be told I led off the previous two years and it's a little troublesome because everyone is watching the first batter. I had made outs both years...so I switched it up.

Jim grounded out.

John popped out.

"Gotta' leave it up to me," I said.

I doubled.

But I only bring up our first at-bats because I wanted to tell you that I doubled.

What happened later in the game was more exciting.

Let's flash back.

When John was 9 years old he played in a little league game. He was always really fast and he could always catch the ball.

In his first little league game he caught a ball in center and threw it in to 2nd for a double play and from there it went to first for a triple play in little league.

I remember my Dad going nuts.

We were all celebrating.

Through the years we all had our moments. John remains fleet of foot despite knee problems and even busting his leg. He still covers a lot of ground in left and for the 3rd year in a row he fell over the fence trying to catch a home run ball.

But it was the 3-run homer that nearly made me fall over.

As luck might have it I was standing right behind home plate, talking to the ump as the pitch came in.

In 48 years I'd never seen my big brother hit a ball that far.

I thought of watching him play as a 9-year old and as he crossed home plate he gave me a high-five.

So much for my double.

That was one of about 3,000 moments of the tourney for me.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Nothing

Read the article about the man who fell to his death at the Atlanta Braves game the other night. He was just a young man with his whole life ahead of him and he went tumbling down 65 feet over a railing and landed in the parking lot.

The article quoted his heartbroken mother and father and they were upset...

About the configuration of the stadium.

About the idea that their boy might've been drinking.

There's nothing that can be said.

Nothing that can be done.

To take away such pain.

Back when I was a kid we had the Aud here in Buffalo.

That thing was almost straight up and down. For a kid who was pretty scared of everything a trip to the nosebleeds was akin to torture.

Even a few years ago when we all went to a Yankee-Indian game Sam was petrified about climbing the stairs.

They say the kid may have been out smoking a cigarette and he may have leaned too far over the railing to see into the parking lot. He was 6'7" and I imagine that the protective railing hit him about waist level.

And there will be a lot of people who point to the fact that an accident such as that hardly ever happens.

And perhaps they will try and blame it on drinking.

Eventually they will say it was the fault of the kid.

And maybe it was.

But nothing will bring him back.

And nothing will take away the pain of imagining his final moment.

It seems to happen too often.

Josh Hamilton tossed a ball to a man who fell to his death last year trying to catch it.

Every year there are two or three whether it be baseball or football or college football.

Would it kill them to make the railings a little higher?

Nothing I say can make the story better.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sick!

My buddy was explaining the illness that started for him on Thursday and ravaged him by Sunday. He hadn't eaten anything for two days.

"I never get sick," I told him. "It must suck to be a wimp."

Then I thought, that his illness must've sucked and my OCD kicked in. I walked way, found my hand sanitizer and went about my day.

By the time the tourney ended I felt fatigue and was worried about my legs, but I had plenty of time.

I went straight to bed with the heating pad.

I would get a great night's sleep before taking a trip to Syracuse.

I was up at 12:15.

Again at 2:54.

Finally out of bed by 4:15.

The legs were okay.

But I felt weird.

I headed for the coffee.

Took two sips and poured the rest in the sink. It just hit hard. I'd get a cup on the way.

12 hours later those two swigs of coffee was all I could stomach.

I made a couple of visits but the legs were wobbly.

It must suck to be a wimp.

I just knew that I wasn't gonna' be able to turn around and drive home as planned.

It was over.

And here's the funny part.

I can't ever remember not eating for such a prolonged stretch.

I couldn't even hold water down.

I sent a note to my buddy:

"God must've seen me smiling yesterday," I said. "He decided to fix that."

"Wimp," he answered.

Life is a roller coaster, huh?

Ah well, at least having the kids run for me left my legs in okay shape.

Good thing too.

I need 'em to run to the bathroom.

Just Incredible

There were so many wonderful moments at the Memorial Softball Tourney for Jeff.

Almost too many to mention, but each wonderful moment has been filed away, and through the next several weeks our family will thank all who helped make it another rousing success for Jeff's kids.

But as I sit behind the keyboard, hardly feeling anything other than pain, I just smile at so many things:

My wonderful cousins from Maryland and Delaware who just give and give and give. My cousin Mary Ann bringing a beautiful banner that welcomed all to the tourney with photos of Jeff and the kids - it simply brought tears to about 300 eyes. Jan, Diane, Pops, Jeffy, Millie...just so many people.

Dave Neisser who provided wonderful memorabilia. Dave is my son Sam's all-time favorite. My Uncle Lenny who won the signed baseball from Yankee pitcher David Phelps, and promptly handed the ball to Sam. My cousin Sally who came from Florida to be there.

And the baskets!

Just wonderful donations for a basket auction that is so great it just makes me laugh. Kim and Terrie and Larry Bowman and so many, many more.

One basket more beautiful than the one before.

And the games?

I roped the first ball into center for a double.

It should've been a triple.

Then I decided to be smart and get a kid to run for me.

It didn't matter.

We won our first two games and then had to sit for two games.

It was in that time that I stiffened up.

"I need the Tin Man's oil can," I told my cousin.

And it was worse than that.

I sat on the ground so the kids could try and throw marshmallows into my mouth for a door prize.

(Some of those kids had anger in their eyes. I was glad I didn't see them throwing the vienna sausages into the cup attached to my back - I was eating pickled eggs when that was going on).

And in the end...

...I ate an awful lot of stuffed peppers in a 72 hour period.

We put a healthy donation into the kids college fund.

I laughed 7 thousand times and I looked up all day long, and Thanked God for a wonderful group of people.

Just Incredible.

All day long I thought of Jeff, of course, and I laughed every single time when I considered that he would've owned a day like Sunday.

He lived for such celebrations.

Every day.

Thank you to all who remind us of that love.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pepper Party Winners

I really took a lot of time with my peppers this year.

I honestly spent about $50 in cheese and shrimp.

My idea had been a garlic peppercorn shrimp pepper, and since I ate about 12 of them, I must say, they were a strong entry.

But then, even before I got to the contest, I had two of Pops' peppers.

At that point I was shooting for 2nd.

But even he didn't place!

The contest is getting out of hand.


My niece Paige just kicked butt this year. (Although the meatballs had the Carrieness - she always made the best meatballs).

So we were beat by a young chef.

Let me tell you, it was a great pepper.

And there were 10 others that fell into the same category.

Just great.

By the way.

Since Thursday night I've had a bunch of peppers.

Lucky for you, I counted them.

27 so far.

With one big event to go.

(I'm thinking I'll have a bowl of cereal before it starts).

Garlic & Pepper Party-2013 Edition


So how did it all start?

We got the invitation in the mail without any warning.

Jeff & Lynn were throwing the Garlic & Pepper Party.

"What the hell is this?" Kathy had asked.

"Who knows? Another hair-brained scheme."

Then Jeff called.

"Did you get the invite?"

"Yeah. I ain't stuffing no peppers."

"Come on, it'll be fun."

And here we are a lot of years later. Big Sis, Corinne, has picked up the torch and the party has grown to epic proportions.

My entry for this year is above.

(I will let you know how I fared - the party ended too late for this blog's edition).

But that first one was the real deal.

"Here's your stuffing," Jeff said all those years ago. "Just get it in the pepper and you'll be on the leader board."

There's some dispute about the order that day, but my peppers did win.

Not first place, mind you.

Jeff won that.

Yet his 2nd best recipe also placed because he took care of me.

It's funny, but as I stuffed the peppers on Saturday morning I could almost hear him giving me the instructions.

Wash the peppers.

Wash your hands.

Don't touch yourself.

Don't spit chew in the batch.

Don't eat one for every one you put on the plate.


I hear ya'.

I must say, bro.

They're pretty damn good.

But you would've won.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Team Georgie Tourney - North Collins Town Park - We Take Care of Our Own


We Take Care of Our Own by Bruce Springsteen

I've been knockin' on the door that holds the throne
I've been lookin' for the map that leads me home
I've been stumblin' on good hearts turned to stone
The road of good intentions has gone dry as bone

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
We yelled "help" but the cavalry stayed home
There ain't no-one hearing the bugle blown

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own

Where the eyes, the eyes with the will to see
Where the hearts, that run over with mercy
Where's the love that has not forsaken me
Where's the work that set my hands, my soul free
Where's the spirit that'll reign, reign over me
Where's the promise, from sea to shining sea
Where's the promise, from sea to shining sea

Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown
Wherever this flag is flown

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag's flown

We take care of our own
We take care of our own
We take care of our own

Wherever this flag's flown
We take care of our own


Bruce says We Take Care of Our Own at least a dozen times while singing this song. I swear, as I thought about the Kickball Tourney coming today, I sang it ten times that number.

Georgie is smiling down on a bunch of nuts today!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Big Love

Sometimes I hear from someone who has read something that I've written and they tell me how much it has meant to them.

That's an astounding thing, and something that is hard to comprehend. I've always said that the writing is an isolated event that, if you're lucky, finds a connection.

Connecting with others is the very basis of this life.

We are heading into a weekend where that matters an awful lot to me.

I anticipate seeing a lot of people who I really love.

One sentence will play over and over in my mind.

Let love give what it gives.

It started for us on Thursday night. A simple exchange of texts to my brother John, my brother-in-law Chuck and Pops. We were gonna' stuff the peppers. All we needed to know was the time.

Then it all came together.

We settled into our spots on the assembly line. There wasn't much in the way of discussion of who would perform what task. We'd been doing similar things for over twenty years.

We stuffed about 400 peppers in a little over an hour and a half. We fried up a half dozen, ate them quickly and nodded our heads.

Perfect.

There were a few jokes passed back and forth. A couple of stories about work and our families.

Just comfortable and easy.

Then I stopped by and saw my sisters and my sister-in-law, and my beautiful nieces and nephews.

A few hugs.

A couple of more jokes.

Easy conversation about the things we love.

And laughs.

No pressure.

No despair.

Just sitting there, enjoying the fact that we were all sitting there together.

The weekend will be filled with love.

Cousins and friends joining us from far away places.

To share the food, drink and fun.

In celebration.

Of a couple of lives that deserve to be memorialized in a town filled with people who know how to love and take care of each other when life doles out its punishment.

Love isn't a real complicated thing.

When you just sit back and appreciate it.

This goes out to a friend of mine, from a long time ago, who reached out to me and reminded me that my writing had an impact on her life.

Please hang in there.

Let every of the second of the love you find in your life...

...in.

That's all.

Let it in.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hurry the Hell Up

Is it possible to hate an entire corporation?

I think it is.

I hate Time-Warner Cable.

They make me wait.

They charge crazy prices.

Their customer service people drive me insane. I'm not even allowed to try and call them to complain.

I bring all of this up because I was trying to write a whole bunch of reports in a hurry yesterday and when I went to send them out, Time Warner decided to slow down their e-mail delivery.

It happens at least twice a month.

And as I sat there stewing, it really got to me that I just hate being held up.

The most frustrating thing in all of life is to be ready to do something and have to wait.

I'm awful at it.

I lay on the horn when someone is going 22 MPH in a 45.

I can't stand the morons who come to a full stop in the E-Z Pass 20 MPH lane.

And don't get me started on the 'I gotta' run in the store' for a minute dialogue that is presented when I'm ready to go somewhere.

I can't take it! I tell ya'!

And that is becoming even worse as time goes on.

Now people expect you to answer your phone every time it rings and if you don't call back instantly they will wonder if you're hurt, wounded or worse.

I don't handle it well.

A few weeks ago a guy called me when I was in a meeting. He was foremen from one of the companies I work with.

I didn't answer.

He called back three minutes later.

I hit decline.

He texted me.

I sent a text back asking if it was urgent.

He replied, 'No.'

Ten minutes later...he called again.

I stepped out of the meeting.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Are you avoiding me?" he asked.

I swear to God.

If he was in front of me I would've kicked him in the balls.

What's the point of all of this?

I hate waiting.

I hate being available every second of every day.

And most of all

I hate Time-Warner.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jack & Diane

Okay, we've all heard the song. The other day, a good friend of mine stated that she was a little less enamored with the tune now that she got older as it may exploit and objectify women.

I looked into it, a bit. Here are JC's lyrics.

Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp

Little ditty bout Jack and Diane
Two American kids growin' up in the heartland
Jackie's gonna be a football star
Diane debutante backseat of Jackie's car

Suckin' on chili dogs outside the tastee freeze
Diane's sittin' on Jackie's lap
He's got his hand between her knees
Jackie say 'Hey Diane lets run off
Behind a shady tree
Dribble off those Bobby Brooks
Let me do what I please.'
And Jackie Say:

'Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone
Oh yeah say life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone.'

They walk on

Jackie sits back reflects on his thoughts for the moment
Scratches his head and does his best James Dean.
'Well you know, Diane, we oughta' run out of the city'
Diane says 'Baby, you ain't missin' no-thing'

Jackie say:

'Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin is gone
Oh yeay say life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin is gone'

Gonna let it rock
Let it roll
Let the Bible Belt come down
And Save My soul
Hold on to 16 as long as you can

Changes come around real soon
Make us women and men

Oh yeah life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone
Oh yeay say life goes on
Long after the thrill of livin' is gone

Little ditty about Jack and Diane
Two American kids doing the best they can


My breakdown:

First of, it's straight up art. It's brilliant. It's about young love. It's about being stupid. It's about making a mistake that might change your life forever and leave you believing that life goes on...long after the thrill is gone.

I believe it's about a pregnancy and the decision they have.

Jackie saying 'we oughta' run out of the city'. Diane answering, 'You ain't missing a no-thing.'

It may also be about an abortion:

Let the Bible Belt Come down and save my soul.

Changes come around real soon make us women and men.

All hammered home with the most depressing chorus of a pop song ever.

Life goes on long after the thrill of living is gone.

So what we have is a pop song. A happy song in the manner that is presented, but an innocence of youth song suddenly gone completely wrong, leaving children looking forward to the end of their life. It's based on making decisions meant to thrill ending in responsibility that is overwhelming, all-consuming. It concludes with the message:

Two American kids doing the best that they can.

What is really brilliant about the overview is that Mellencamp also followed up the song later in his career:

Diane and Jack went to a movie.

That's the line that starts Eden is Burning another brilliant song that implies that the Jack and Diane relationship went up in flames years later.

As is apt to happen in a large percentage of such early couplings.

He doesn't objectify women.

He shines light on a real problem.

Teen pregnancy.

YOLO

Children pretending to be adults.

Jack & Diane is a cautionary tale for teens.

May the Bible Belt save the soul of children in such situations.

A backhand to those who pray for salvation in a situation that is potentially avoidable.

Damn, I love Mellencamp.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crack of Dawn

Read a story this morning about the ABC reporter who used to be Dawn Ennis.

This morning he's Don Ennis.

Back in May he went from Don to Dawn.

Now back to Don.

Confused?

Think about his poor freaking wife.

You see, Don always believed that he was a man trapped in a woman's body. So through the years of his marriage and career he became convinced that he was living a lie.

So Don grew some breasts, put on an auburn wig and fed his friends a lifetime of one-liners by announcing to the world, and that shell-shocked wife of his, that from that moment on he was gonna' be Dawn.

He looked about what you'd expect.

Err, I mean She.

Well, Dawn stuck around for about three months.

I'm thinking it was too much of a chore to be a woman. I mean with those purses and shoes and bras and isolated moments of daydreaming that lead to hair-brained ideas about....

...whoops...better stop.

Don is back.

He said he had amnesia for three months.

He said that he's gonna' return to the men's room at work.

He told a few lame jokes.

His wife is standing by him.

Now that's love!

I can imagine that she spent a lot of lonely nights.

Awake at the crack of Dawn.

Wondering what went wrong.

Wanting to talk to the man she married.

And knowing that he had amnesia.

What a world, my friends.

What a world.

Claire Danes

I waver on my crushes of women who would love me if they just had the chance to meet me.

Alyssa Milano was a crush early on.

Who didn't know she'd be beautiful?

Same with Winnie Cooper.

I felt every single moment of angst that Kevin felt as he tried to get Winnie to love him.

But the title of the blog might be my all-time number one crush.

Okay...I laugh at my boys whenever they catch one of the reality shows with my beautiful wife. We are currently in the middle of the Big Brother series...and it's on the big television three times a week. I have sat there while it's played in the background, trying to think of clever things to write on Facebook.

I couldn't name a character on the show if you held a gun to my head.

But I had my Big Brother moment.

It was with the show: My So Called Life.

Claire Danes was the star and she was a high school girl trying to figure it out. As luck might have it she had a crush on Jared Leto. A good-looking guy, I'm told. I hated him. I hated when he kissed Angela. I didn't want her to have a boyfriend. He wasn't good enough for her. She was just a young girl trying to find her way and he was using her. Couldn't she see it? Why didn't her friends help her through it. I hated to see her cry!!

Okay. I'm back.

Anywhoha...

My beautiful wife paged through the movies. She played the trailer for the Claire Danes flick. I was a wee bit scared of the cheesy love story deal so I held back my approval.

But damn.

If worst came to worse I could just watch her act.

As luck might have it, the movie was good.

Claire was beautiful.

I even love that name.

Isn't it a pretty name?

I used it for the girl in my book In Real Life.

I wrote that book back in the mid-90's.

When I was watching A So Called Life.

So there's a secret for you.

I still hate Jared Leto.






Monday, August 5, 2013

So Sick of It

Every year of my life the excitement of a new season has begun in about February. As the snow flies here in Buffalo I begin by reading the baseball preview issue.

By the time the games begin in April, I'm an emotional mess. In the late 90's and early '00's I just couldn't get enough information.

About Jeter and Bernie and Rivera and Posada and O'Neill and Brosius and Pettite. They were guys who battled hard. They were all upstanding citizens.

The Yankees just kept winning.

I remember where I was when the deal was announced that A-Rod would be joining the team. Soriano was going away in the deal, but how could it be bad? As much as I didn't like A-Rod, his talents were not in dispute.

I learned to like him even less.

And this year he's doing the impossible.

He's making a man, who for 40 years would eat, sleep and dream baseball, skip stories about the sport.

A-Rod is ruining baseball for me.

And he's not alone.

Not by any stretch.

There are hundreds of guys who should be painted with the same brush, and it really galls me that Aaron and Maris don't own the home run records anymore.

That is a flat-out shame.

Yet, I have been skipping complete games this year.

A couple of weeks ago I was more than an hour into my day when it occurred to me that I had no idea if the Yankees won or lost the night before.

And that's A-Rod's fault.

And Bud Selig's.

And Sammy Sosa's, and Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire and David Ortiz...ah hell, I don't have enough time to go through all the names.

And I wonder what the kids think. I was enthralled with the sport when I was their age. Reggie was loud and pompous, but he was great. Billy Martin drank too much, but he was tough. Thurman was gruff but he was a leader.

What can be said about A-Rod?

The 'but' in the discussion has been completely overwhelmed.

A-Rod is a cheater, BUT he's also a lying asshole, and a bad teammate and a Yankee who every Yankee fan worth an ounce of pinstripe loyalty hates.

Not much of a 'but' there

And it's making me think about something I never thought I'd think about in my lifetime.

Baseball makes me sick.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Not Possible Anymore

Went to a graduation party a couple of weeks ago and was stuck playing one game that I hate - horsehoes.

I don't hate the concept, of the game, and I certainly didn't mind spending time with three of my best buddies in the world, but I have to hate the game.

Because I've always really sucked at it.

Yet, as luck might have it, I have one buddy who is a freak at all things competitive and I have made a lot of money just being his partner in a lot of two-man events.

I cheer him on.

He tells me how bad I suck.

We win.

So we started throwing shoes.

The other team battled right along, but I captained my team to victory by 21 to 15.

I scored one point.

That particular shoe slipped out of my hand.

I let everyone know what a great toss it was.

While we played I thought of all the other games we'd all played through the years. Basketball, tennis, baseball. Game after game. We all had a few skills. A couple of the guys playing had a lot of skills.

I always had the biggest mouth.

We started the second game and my partner opened up the scoring with a ringer and another point that just missed being a ringer.

I mentioned to the other team that they were getting their asses kicked again, and that I was on the winning team.

I glanced at the tennis courts. I couldn't even fathom trying to play a competitive game now and I had loved that game.

I scored a point.

I ran my mouth.

I scored another.

Ran my mouth some more.

We won again.

I had totaled 7 points in the second game.

A true career high.

One thing is still possible:

I can still talk a great game.

(Dedicated to JC and Millie: You guys suck at shoes).

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Whirlwind

You know what one of the cool things about life is?

Doing something, or making a movement and thinking:

"That was just like something my Dad would do."

Of course I hear him in my voice when I'm bantering with the kids.

Dad's right there in my laughter when I say something biting that makes the guy I'm insulting (playfully sometimes) laugh.

(The guy thinks I'm kidding).

Dad was the king of that.

And there are moments when it really hits me, of course.

Like today.

He's been gone for three years.

That's a lot of days when you realize that there were so many that preceded it that you couldn't imagine life without him.

But he's not really gone, right?

My Dad commanded a room.

"You always knew right where he was," I often say to people in way of description.

"He was a quiet introspective man," I say to get a laugh sometimes.

But Dad was way more than all of that.

He was a presence. A whirlwind. A freaking tornado.

And of course, I hate missing him when I hear him in my own voice or see him in the tear that sort of catches in my mother's voice as she tells a story.

And my head is filling up with angst right now as I write this because whirlwinds aren't supposed to be quiet for 3 years.

But all this week I've thought a lot about one night back about 30 years ago.

It was just Dad and me drinking a few beers on a summer night in Mill Valley, California. I had recently finished up my first year of college and was working as a laborer, chipping concrete, living alone with him for a few weeks before the rest of the family could make the trip west.

We were talking baseball.

Dad was showing me how Yogi went back on the ball in left that Mazeroski hit to end the 1960 World Series.

(We were quite a few beers in).

He tripped over the coat hangar in the corner of the room and even though he didn't go down, he stumbled, and we both laughed for better than three minutes.

You know those laughs.

When all the rest of the world is shut out.

And it's just you and the person you're laughing with.

And nothing bad can ever get in.

"Is that how Yogi played it?" I asked.

(In a matter in which he would ask the same question).

And we laughed some more.

And I remember the next morning because we had to go into work really early, and my head hurt, and I wondered if he might just sleep in and skip work.

(For the record, we NEVER skip work).

And I headed to the kitchen, smelling bacon, of all things.

And Dad wasn't there.

But my breakfast was ready.

Three eggs over-easy, bacon, toast and potatoes with onions.

And the newspaper was open.

And the Yankee box score was circled.

And there was just a little note on a piece of paper in his handwriting.

"I had fun laughing."

So did I, Dad.

So did I.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Weiner Taking A Pounding

The story is already well past old.

Weiner has to pull out, doesn't he?

Or will Weiner stay in and keep plugging?

The real story being that the New York newspapers are having a blast with the whole sordid tale. What got me about it is that evidently he had 5 or 6 sessions a DAY with his sexting partner.

A DAY!

My first thought was that he truly needed to get a job.

My second thought was an old joke that I heard once.

I had such a thorough masturbation session that when I woke up my penis was in the kitchen making breakfast.

And therein lies the problem with the world these days.

All of these things are in the newspaper, in blogs, on the news.

You have supposedly reputable news people (is there such a group) snickering as they ask whether Weiner has pulled out.

It's crazy!

And his sexting partner - Syd Leathers is now looking for a way to cash in. She's considering porn. She's aspiring to write a book or star in a movie.

(These people that end up on the best-seller list with vile garbage are particularly galling to me).

She's gonna' be a freaking star selling her story, and she's proud of herself. When she started telling people that she had been victimized I was a little taken back by it all.

And in the middle of it all the Pope came out and said that he won't restrict gays from participating in church if they wanted to be active members.

Oh God, I wrote that sentence all wrong - (Pope came out) - (active members).

And again, the problem.

There isn't anything behind closed doors anymore.

Everything is out in the open.

Candidates for mayor tell us that they are sick and/or victims when in fact they are just plain SICK.

"I'd vote for him," a respected member of society said to me the other day. "It's just too funny not to."

And I suppose that it would be funny if it weren't so perverted and demented.

"Weiner is gonna' stay in," my buddy said, with a laugh.

"He never WAS in," I answered.

(Dedicated to a friend who requested that this blog be written).

Thursday, August 1, 2013

3rd Annual Jeff Fazzolari Thunder Road Memorial Tournament


Farrah is going to be there!


Johnny is going to be there!


Rocco is going to be there!

August 11, 2013 at 11 a.m. Come a little early if you're going to get on a team.

Same fun as the last two years:

An epic basket auction!

Great softball!

Pops' peppers!!

What else would you rather be doing.

We have a great time. A ton of laughs.

And it's a weekend of absolute beauty in North Collins as the Team Georgie Kickball Tourney is the day before.

I will be there!

I may be in a wheelchair on Monday!


Jeff wants you to celebrate!!

Happy Birthday, Brother

It's my brother Jeff's birthday today. He's not here to celebrate 🎉 it with us, but make no mistake, he's with me. Ever...