Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Took A Day Off...Almost

I really don't strive for perfect attendance at work.

It just sort of happens that way.

I'll begin the year thinking that I will take the vacation time granted me, but then I'll glance at the calendar in September and think:

"Damn! I missed it."

This year is a little different as I have an operation coming up.

(What's a year without a surgery?)

So, I sort of went at it hard, knowing that days at the end of the year would be needed.

Yet those aren't days off, you know?

So during the past weekend I tried to talk myself into just extending the weekend by a day. I wouldn't miss work. The phone would be on and I could hang by the computer, but I didn't need to rush out to visit locations, did I?

I discussed the matter with the boys.

"You'll go," Sam said. "There's something wrong with you."

And sure enough I was up and out of bed by five.

"What would I do if I stayed home?" I asked Melky.

"Let's go," she said.

So I went through the morning routine and headed out to a couple of jobs. I was still thinking about taking it a little easy, but I felt myself getting wound up a bit.

Then my tire light warning went on.

I pulled to the side of the road.

Evidently the warning light goes on just before the tire goes flat.

Damn!

Now where do I go?

I looked to my left, then looked to my right.

I was three feet from the entrance to a tire repair shop, and that was a good thing because my chance of successfully changing a tire is extremely remote.

I pulled in.

The guy rushed right out and looked at it.

"The sidewall is damaged," he said.

He might as well have been speaking Chinese.

"You need a new tire. I don't have one. I can put the spare on for $47 or I can overfill it and you can take it where you want to go. You'll get 15 miles out of it."

"Fill it, please."

I drove it to the place close to my house, left the keys there, and walked the short distance home.

Sometimes the universe takes care of things.

I actually just sat and waited.

A partial day off.

Inspired by a nail in a tire.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

It Ain't That Easy

We watched a movie on Saturday night.

I couldn't tell you the name of it. The guy who used to be on Talk Soup was in it. He was a best-selling author who had two kids who were also authors.

The first kid was a 19-year-old girl who wrote two books while humping every guy she met, and while fighting with her brother and mother and father penned these books in a moments time.

We see her having champagne toasts while she is lauded by guys in tweed jackets as a true talent. She talks about the next one she's going to write.

Presumably on the car ride home.

Then, not to be out-done her 16-year-old brother sits down and in one scene he types really fast. Then his phone rings and Stephen King is on the line telling him he's great.

Umm, ok.

Here's the real world.

You commit to writing something that means something to you. You toil at it for a full year, and it encompasses all your waking moments. It's right there in the back of your mind while you're doing other things like interacting with people, while you're trying to make a living, while you're in the shower, or in the car.

You're scrambling for a notepad.

You're typing in that same frenzy, but then you go back and look at it, and get disgusted with yourself. You quit. You start over. You quit again.

Then you send it out, and you get it back.

Covered in red.

The editor is screaming at you in the margins because you mixed up 'their' and 'there'.

But for some ungodly reason you forge ahead, through the doubt, through the fear, through the voice in your head that tells you that everyone else is out drinking, or just sitting there.

You don't even once think of a champagne toast. You don't plan on making a dime. You figure out that time spent versus royalties makes you a migrant worker on the pay scale.

If you're lucky enough to make the grade the fun really starts.

You meet people at a bookstore sitting at a card table hoping someone at least picks the book up. You try and verbalize why it's the best book they'll ever read. You listen to people tell you when they write their books they're gonna' be on Oprah, and then you have to answer the one question that truly gets under your skin:

"How much money do you make with this?"

"I made $6.2 million last year," I always answer.

Yet as I watched the movie I thought about the books they were discussing back and forth. They were talking about writing the first sentence.

I always took great care in coming up with a great first sentence.

My favorite?

In one start of a book (still in the tank) where I wrote:

"Self-knowledge often only shows itself right after you've just finished f&*King something up."

And there are still plenty of things on my computer that I've half-started and nearly finished. I wrote every single sentence with one person in mind:

Me.

Yet it ain't easy, folks.

Stephen King doesn't call to say 'Nice Job.'

The reward, however, is real.

It's inside.

And the $6.2 million doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tighty-Whities

So during the Breaking Bad phase of our lives there came a time when we had a family discussion about the tighty-whities that Walter wore.

Let me set the scene:

I was in my spot, heating pad, blankie and Melky right beside me. Jake was next on the couch, watching the show in season 5 again even though he had already finished the series.

"This is the one where Jessie dies," he'd say as we started each new episode.

(I swear I don't know where these children have learned to be so sarcastic).

My beautiful wife was across the way, and she snickered when Walter came running out in his underpants.

"He looks ridiculous in those," Jake said.

"Hey!" I yelled.

I too wear that style.

"Don't you think he looks ridiculous?" Kathy asked.

I was in a tough spot here.

"If I say he looks ridiculous than I must look ridiculous," I said.

"Oh, you look a hundred times worse," Jake answered.

So there we have it.

All out in the open.

No feelings spared.

"I can't wear boxers," I said.

I had tried. Kathy had, many times over tried to introduce the switch by bringing home alternate styles. The boys all wear boxer briefs.

The ones she bought for me are buried in the bottom of my dresser drawer next to the skinny jeans that will never be worn again unless I get a bout of swine flu.

"I don't care," I said. "Who am I trying to impress? No one sees me in 'em."

Jake laughed.

"What?"

Now Sam had joined the room.

"Over the summer you got up in the middle of the night and came downstairs for a bottle of water," Sam said. "Matt had one of his friends and two girls over to watch a movie. Evidently you had no idea, but you haven't seen those girls back here again, have you?"

There was joyous laughter all around.

"I'm trying to watch the show!" I said.

There ain't nobody taking my tighty-whities.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dropped Dead

Ran into an old friend the other day. We'd worked together back when they were re-doing the Ralph Wilson Stadium one summer back about 16 years ago. The site had been a real rough one as there were 700 workers out there and the fun of being at the stadium every day was sort of neat. I remember walking around the field thinking about those Super Bowl runs.

Of course, that job is what soured me on football too. Seeing how the players were treated like royalty sort of pulled back the curtain on it for me. I saw the little guy who ran the Mighty Oz show. It all suddenly seemed fake and the players looking down their noses at guys who work a lot harder than them changed everything.

Yet the story behind the trip down memory lane was in the talking about past people we knew in common. I asked about one guy who was a colossal pain in the ass back then. I had really sort of despised the guy because he was downright miserable most of the time.

"He dropped dead," my buddy said. "Heart attack at 53."

"Oh damn," I said.

But my buddy laughed.

"Nobody liked him," he said. "His dying doesn't change that."

And true to my nature I chewed on that single comment for 72 hours. Here we are years and years later and try as we might neither of us could come up with anything good to say about the guy.

But 'dropped dead' is a lousy way to go, huh? No one will ever know how he felt or how it played out for him. Just standing upright one moment and on the ground the next.

Being that we all sort of struggle with our mortality, and given the pain associated with all of it, I'm surprised that I only spent 72 hours straight considering it.

First off, no one is truly ready, right?

53 is a short life. Even when you're mostly miserable.

Secondly, what had he left behind?

The legacy that two guys who saw him every day can't come up with a single nice word?

Lastly, and the most important aspect of considering this:

What if it happens to me?

Even typing that sentence is uncomfortable.

'Cause I ain't leaving until I'm satisfied, but it ain't up to me, right?

"Well, we'll all know what you were thinking," my buddy said, "because you never shut-up."

And I guess that's right. I've often thought about the blog and the books and the endless stream of banter that I've left behind as a footprint.

There isn't a lot of room to think:

I wonder what he was thinking?

Yet I thought of the guy I knew back then. Certainly there had been people who loved him, or who he loved. Were they at peace with his kingdom of days?

I think of it in the context of the people we've lost as a family. We weren't left guessing. They laid it on the line. They emptied the tank too. They were undeniably loved and they loved with all their hearts.

So I resolved it in my mind.

On the moment when the old ticker gives way it can be a peaceful exit because the love was always front and center.

Everyone will have known where they stood.

And that's a good way to go about it, I think.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'll Bring It Up!

Okay, so I have a single, closing eye on the World Series.

No matter what they do to the sport I have to watch.

I enjoy it that much.

McDumbass and Joe Buckhead can't even ruin it.

I mute 'em. I've been doing that since 2000.

Yet what is really grating on me this year is the love affair with Big Papi.

Quick. What do you know about him?

Nothing.

Every single article I read about him exalts his greatness. He's the face of Boston Strong. He's the captain of the home run derby. He's always smiling.

Seems like a great guy.

You know why he's smiling?

BECAUSE HE GOT AWAY WITH IT!

Think about it.

He's the only one that got clean away from the steroid stink.

A-Rod is seen as a downright criminal.

Ortiz failed the exact same drug test the first time.

A-Rod held a press conference.

Ortiz scratched his head and said he'd 'get back to us on how that happened.'

Then what happened?

A-Rod spent ten years getting investigated.

Big Papi was never asked again.

They are talking about him for the Hall of Fame!

Ask Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens how that vote is going for them.

(Not to mention Ortiz is a half a player anyway).

There are shots of Bonds as a Pirate...a skinny kid...who suddenly became a massive man.

Check Big Papi in a Twins uniform and compare it to the monster in Boston.

"But Papi is a good guy!"

Really?

Does his former supplier believe that?

Guess we'll never know.

Because no one asks him!!!

I'd be smiling all the time too...

...if I got away with the crap he got away with.

Clean break.

Must be nice.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Defending Jacob

The rusty wire that holds the gate that keeps the anger in, gives way, and suddenly, it's day again, - Roger Waters of Pink Floyd.

First of all, Waters is a genius.

Secondly, I've been singing that phrase over and over in my head because I'm reading a book about a father, who's son, stands accused of murder. The Dad doesn't see the violence in his kid, of course, but worries about the fact that violence was handed down.

Years ago I read about Jeffrey Dahmer and his father said that he knew something like that might happen because he always believed there was violence in the family. Old man Dahmer said he had a dream that he was a murderer so he wasn't surprised that his son eventually got it done.

Weird.

Could that be true?

I know that my beautiful wife is leery of it in the Fazzolari blood.

Not that I'm violent, by any means, but once in awhile the rusty wire that holds the gate does give way.

My entire anger explosion lasts for about ten minutes.

Then I go quiet as I contemplate why I'm that dumb bastard emptying the dishwasher thirty times over the course of a two-day weekend.

I suppose there's better ways to communicate, but its fun every now and again.

Still.

There was always a vein of anger running through our family. I remember my grandfather being downright surly at times:

"LEAVE THE DOOR!! OPEN THE G*&^MN FLIES AIN'T BEEN OUT ALL DAY."

My father was certainly prone to bouts of sheer aggravation and could go at any moment.

Yet there's a fine line. The aggression can certainly be contained and used for good instead of evil.

Sometimes I wonder if the constant motion is a way to keep the gate from swinging wide open, but deep down, I know that there are a lot of people roaming the streets who don't have the capability of drawing it in.

Anywhoha...

Back to the book.

My wife actually picked it out for my birthday.

It's great because it preys on every fear a parent might have about raising a child who might eventually do something wrong. I always use this as a line in my talks:

"When my kids were born I contemplated the possibilities. They could be world leaders. They could be pro athletes...and now...after having met 'em...I'm just collecting bail money."

Yet my kids are good.

Sam doesn't have any flashes of anger. He's always bringing the sunshine and the energy...like his wonderful mother.

Jake can flip the switch, though, but he is using it for positive gain.

The 'Fazzolari energy', I call it.

Defending Jacob by William Landay.

Its worth the time.

Friday, October 25, 2013

To Do List

Some things I'd Love to Do Someday:

1). Make vanilla pudding and put it in a mayo jar and eat spoonfuls of it in public.

2). Hire two privater investigators and get them to follow each other.

3). Wear a shirt that says "Life" and then hand out lemons on the street corner.

4). Get into a crowded elevator and say, "I bet you're all wondering why I asked you to meet me here."

5). Stand at a fast-food line and ask people "Why they want fries with their order." And then tell 'em how bad they are for them.

6). Run into a crowded store and ask:

"WHAT YEAR IS IT!"

When they answer I'll run out screaming:

"IT WORKED!"

7). Become a Doctor and then change my last name to ACULA.

8). Change my name to Simon and then always speak in the 3rd person.

9). Buy a parrot and then teach the parrot to say:

"These bastards turned me into a bird."

10). Follow joggers around in my car and blast "Eye of the Tiger" for encouragement.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Want Another Beer and Way Over His Head

Read a couple of stories the other day that have just stuck right in the middle of my chest and have sort of churned away.

The worst about both stories is that they were true. Real-life murder stories that make you really wonder about how and why people get so lost.

The first was about a father and son in another state. It seemed Dad considered his weekly sacrifices to be worthy of a Sunday out, watching football, and getting blasted. The story went into the dynamics of it all as they spoke of the hard-working man who felt entitled to having some time of his own.

A lot of men get in trouble when they start asking:

"What about my life?"

The family you are tasked to take care of is your life, stupid.

But a compromise was reached.

Dad would go to a bar and drink and watch football. His 19-year-old son would go along and serve as the designated driver. The wife set up the day for him so he could blow off steam.

And it worked out well. Dad drank a dozen beers and had at least ten shots. The first game ended and they watched another. At halftime of the 2nd game, after seeing his father fall from his bar stool the son took control. Despite a huge public display of anger he was able to get Dad into the car and back home.

The fight continued.

Dad shot his son in the chest, killing him instantly. He said something about doing it to show him 'who was in charge.'

That's the sort of story that sticks in your head, right?

Then right here.

About a half-mile from where I'm sitting a Toys 'R Us employee was stabbed to death in the early morning hours.

This week they caught his alleged killer.

They showed a photo of the house where the killer lived.

A beautiful home that he had once shared with his wife and kids.

Now empty.

Nobody's Home.

It appears that the guy was in way over his head. Robbery was the apparent motive. He stabbed another father to death, and then pretended to be all broken up about it.

And the questions that I'm always haunted with when reading about such behavior once again reared its ugly head.

Why?

And it was followed by the other question.

How?

And then I think of those men sitting in a small cell. All they had just...gone. One man shooting his own flesh and blood because he wanted another beer. The other killing someone who happened to be standing in his way.

"Sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

World Series Preview

So, it pains me to even think about a World Series starting with the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of American Sports on the sideline.

"Stop living in the past," my friends say when I post 27 on their message boards.

"Yesterday was the past," I write back. "Ten minutes ago was the past. We have to live in the past, you dopey bastard."

They don't know how to answer that.

But we have the Suck Sox going for title #6 against the Cardinals going for title #12.

Still a long ways to go, people.

27 minus 6 = 21 more than the Suck Sox.

27 minus 12 = 15 more than the Cards.

Still really safe.

But I won't be watching much, despite my love of baseball.

First, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are mind-numbingly stupid. I always tell my kids that if I ever stand right before each man I'd wait for them to extend their hand to shake and then I'd punch them in the jaw.

They've caused me way too much angst with their stupid analysis of my game.

Secondly, Fox handles baseball like it's football with all the camera angles, and showing fans picking their noses, and showing their own stupid actors on their own stupid shows.

Unless Stewie Griffin shows up at one of the games I ain't interested.

And then the Suck Sox are there.

With nary a mention of the fact that Ortiz failed the same drug test that A-Rod failed.

With shots of their disgusting beards and filthy helmets.

You all understand that I'm a snappy dresser, right?

Clean yourselves up.

And the Cardinals are there.

I'm not a fan of hearing about how great their franchise is run.

Look up.

27 to 11.

Boston Versus St. Louis.

Yipeeeeeeee.

Buckhead and McDumbass.

Cards win it in 6.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Walter White: The Conclusion

Talk about a letdown.

We finished Breaking Bad.

The six seasons took us under two months, and it was real weird to watch a series that way. Walter, Jessie, Skyler, Hank and Flynn became a part of our family.

We'd watch a couple of episodes and then I'd go to sleep and think of them. All through the next day I'd think about what had happened.

Then we'd watch a couple more.

So as we got close to the conclusion I felt a true sense of dread.

Not because of what I figured what was coming, but because it was finishing up.

I'd always felt the same way when I'd finish a long piece of writing. I'll never forget closing the black notebook when I finished up Eye in the Sky about 25 years ago.

"It's done," I whispered.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I walked around in an absolute funk.

"What the hell do I do now?"

With the writing, back then, it was always about doing something new and finding a new angle.

I've sort of lost that too. The book-writing has felt done to me for about two years now. There's still a black notebook to my right, but I haven't opened it in awhile.

Yet that's the beauty of life.

We all want to move ahead and try our hand at something else once we've sort of drifted into a place that is too comfortable.

But Breaking Bad is done for us, and not a single thing about the series was disappointing to me. The writing was tremendous. The story was filled with drama. The production of each episode left me wanting more, and it concluded with me okay with how it all worked out.

The Sopranos kept us guessing.

Breaking Bad didn't.

Both shows hit the mark.

And I thought about it afterwards:

I still loved Gandolfini and the rest of the mob more.

But not by much.

Walter, Jessie, Flynn and Skyler will forever remain.

Until the next thing captures us.

Any suggestions?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Stone


Had a few moments of panic last week.

I'd lost my stone.

The very first blog I ever wrote for this site was about that stone.

My then 7 year-old son, Jake, had handed it to me on my 40th birthday. Just before I pitched it back into the ditch where he'd picked it up my beautiful wife said:

"He's been polishing it all morning."

So, naturally, I've been carrying it around with me ever since.

It's the greatest of all presents, right?

Well, as my birthday approached, I thought of it. I went to the spot in my car (the tiny space of my driver's side door panel) where I keep a lot of stuff:

A golf tee handed out at the funeral of a good man.

The thumb rosary my sister gave me when Jake was sick 13 years ago.

A small photo of my bro.

And the stone.

Everything else was there, but the stone was gone.

I spent the better part of a couple of hours searching through the car. I brought the seats forward. I looked in the glove box. I rifled through the stuff in the back of the car. Under my bed. In our laundry room.

It makes no sense where you look for something when it's lost.

I picked up the thumb rosary and said the prayer to St. Anthony.

Actually, it wasn't a prayer. It was more like:

"Where's the freaking stone?"

And my mind centered on possibilities.

Perhaps it had fallen out when I slammed the door.

I always park in the exact same spot in the driveway (see mental health blog).

I bent down and looked. (Not an easy feat).

And there it was.

All shiny and polished.

My great gift had been returned to me.

9 years to the day.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Taking Stock

It's kind of weird how the year is set up for me. It seems that each year around my birthday I start looking back at what has passed, and the concept of marking time is a strange thing.

What's the difference if we start something after October 18th or before?

"I'm gonna' start my diet on Monday," someone will invariably say as they shovel a huge lunch into their mouth on Friday.

Why can't we just start when we wanna' start?

We gotta' put a time frame on it to give it a chance to work.

Anywhoha...

Back to the taking stock portion of it all.

I can feel it too.

The feeling of dissatisfaction as the birthday date approaches.

"It's a lonely proposition when we realize there's left time in front then what's in back of the horse."

There was a lot of hand-wringing in the days leading up to the marking of my arrival on the planet.

But I got High Hopes.

And the day came in like so many others in the past few hours. Unable to sleep. Up at 3:30 in the morning. I received a text from my cousin who was wishing me a good day. Yeah. At 3:30. I answered it immediately.

"Thanks for thinking of me," I said.

"Family," he answered.

And it made me think of Breaking Bad and how close we are to finishing that series. A world of lies built on the thought of taking care of family.

My brother texted me.

Then a sister.

Another brother.

Another sister.

My beautiful wife.

Then the kids.

One, two, three.

Family.

And it started to dawn on me that the feeling of restlessness and the idea that more can be done, and yes, even the insomnia is all part of all of it.

The taking stock.

The High Hopes.

We all hung out. A nice dinner. A good cake. A few jokes at the old man's expense.

And then the thoughts of my Dad and how it never seemed like he was sweating so hard taking care of us.

But he was.

His waking up in the middle of the night was legendary story-stuff.

Once in awhile he'd buckle.

But he never broke bad.

Family.

High hopes.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Facebook Birthdays


O.K.

Let's start with the premise that I'm a tad mentally ill.

You're all still with me, right?

I need to write a blog a day.

Nothing right about that.

I stay at the same hotel room, preferably the same room every time I go out of town.

I unpack the same way.

I follow all the same rituals.

I do these sorts of things at home as well. If there is work to do, I must do it before sleep. I don't have a single email in my in-box on any accounts.

Ever.

So Facebook birthdays really mess me up!

You see, it is easy for people to wish you a 'Happy Birthday'.

Yesterday I heard from everyone I ever met, seemingly. I appreciated every single wish and since they took the time to say 'Hi' I took the time to answer.

And normal people handle it the normal way.

At the end of the day they write one post saying:

"Thank you for the birthday wishes. I had a nice day."

Not me.

I try to answer each wish almost immediately with something witty.

O.C.D. will do that for you.

So I was a mess yesterday.

Then, to top it off, one of my first college roommates decided to prey on my mental illness.

Every 20 minutes or so he wished me 'Happy Birthday'.

He knew that I'd respond with 'Thank You' each time.

(Thanks, Gag).

And by the end of the day my head was super-imposed on:

1). Braveheart
2). A Red Sux fan.
3). A Red Sux player.
4). Bubbles the Michael Pedophile Jackson Monkey.
5). Standing next to the god of music...Bruce.
6). On a 27-time World Champion Greatest Team in the History of Organized sports, a New York Yankee player's body.
7). In a bathtub surrounded by donuts.

There has to be more.

Now understand.

I'm a quiet, introspective man who tends to my own business, rarely offers an opinion, never judges others, and is extremely open-minded.

And this is how I'm treated?

On my birthday?

Thank you everyone.

It was a blast.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Tim Scott McConnell (who wrote the song) and Mr. Springsteen, as a birthday present to me, produced the post today.

This is one song that really didn't get a lot of play.

Love the sentiment. He sings the hell out of it as well.

It's recommended.

High Hopes

Monday morning runs to Sunday night
Screaming slow me down before the new year dies
It won't take much to kill a loving smile
And every mother with a baby crying in her arms singing:

Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep

Give me love, give me peace
Don't you know these days you pay for everything

I Got high hopes

Coming from the cities, coming from the wild
I see a breathless army breaking like a cloud
It's gonna smother love it's gonna shoot your hopes
Before the meek inherit they'll learn to hate themselves

Singing

Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep
Give me love, give me peace
Don't you know these days you pay for everything

I Got high hopes

So tell me someone what's the price
I wanna buy some time and maybe live my life
I wanna have a wife I wanna have some kids
I want to look in their eyes and know they're gonna' stand a chance


Give me help, give me strength
Give a soul a night of fearless sleep
Give me love, give me peace
Don't you know these days you pay for everything
Got high hopes


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Quoted????

I received this email because my name was in it. Was I actually quoted? Doesn't fit the context, but I laughed at all of them.

Why Athletes Can't Have Regular Jobs

The danger of having role models for kids................



1. Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model:

"I wan' all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan' all the kids to copulate me."


2. New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season:

"I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."


3. And, upon hearing Joe Jacobi of the 'Skin's say:

"I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl,"

Matt Millen of the Raiders said: "To win, I'd run over Joe's Mom, too."


4. Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins:

"He treat us like mens. He let us wear earrings."


5. Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann:

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."


6. Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh :

"I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes.."

(Now that is beautiful)


7. Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach:

"You guys line up alphabetically by height."

And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, and then line up in a circle."


8. Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson going to prison:

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton .."


9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker:

"That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."


10. Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regimen of heavyweight Andrew Golota:

"He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning, regardless of what time it is."


11. Chuck Nevitt , North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice:

"My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt. (I wonder if his IQ ever hit room temperature in January)


12. Cliff Fazzolari, Professional Writer extraordinaire:

"Being fat drastically lowers your chances of being kidnapped."


13. Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player:

"I asked him, 'Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?'

He said, 'Coach, I don't know and I don't care.''


14. Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D:

"Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."


15. In the words of NC State great Charles Shackelford:

"I can go to my left or right I am amphibious."



Ah, but they ride to the bank in a Mercedes...


I ain't riding in a Mercedes!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Get the Stretcher!

Watched a lot of football this past weekend. The Bills have been entertaining this year despite the fact they've lost 4 of 6.

My son Sam is in the middle of betting against his Uncle Chuck and I've had to keep an eye on that as well. He lost last year and it cost me $240. Watching Chuck shovel free steak wasn't the best feeling ever.

Sam has a lead so far.

Yet the league has changed since we were young. There are a lot of personal fouls now for hits in the head area and I suppose that was bound to happen since there are a lot of middle-aged men walking around with scrambled brains from having been in the league.

In the Pittsburgh game one of their wide receivers caught a pass and had a clear lane to the end zone. Rather than waltzing over the line he did a flip, landing on his back. He was about six feet in the air.

"Would you do that if you scored?" Sam asked.

"First off, I couldn't get open. Secondly, I would have dropped the throw. Thirdly, I can't do a flip like that. Period. And lastly, if I could pull all of that off they'd have to meet with the stretcher to get me back to the sidelines."

And despite the fact that I was once a world-class athlete, those days are long gone.

I have the date for the surgery on my hip.

The day before Thanksgiving.

"You sure that's when you'd like to do it?" the receptionist asked me.

"I don't wanna' do it at all," I said, "but someone will bring me a plate."

And truth be told all I want is a big-ass bowl of my mother's stuffing anyway.

I'll get it.

"By Friday you'll be up and on it for therapy," the woman said.

I thought about how that is going to feel.

I have a sneaking suspicion I might whine.

"You're going to do what the doctor tells you to do," my beautiful wife said. "I'll kill you, this time, if you try and be a hero."

So the ass over tea kettle flips into the end zone is going to have to wait.

But golf in May is a true possibility, and I have a feeling that I'm going to be back to powering 300 yard drives.

Did I mention I was once world-class?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fifty! 50!! Freaking Fifty Years Old

This has to go back about 33 or 34 years.

We were on bikes, heading towards a girl's house. It didn't matter which one of us liked the girl because we sort of just dated a whole bunch of them, dropped them off to save money, and then went to eat.

We were on Mile Block Road in North Collins just by the cemetery where Mile Block intersects with Brant Road. We were talking about something, just casually riding, side-by-side when a car came up over the hill.

It was going about 80 mph.

We had little time to react and we both ended up being scraped by the bumper. Our bikes turned over. I might've made the ditch. Jeffy landed just in front of it.

We nearly died right there. A two for one deal. My heart was pounding as I thought about that car nearly striking us down.

"At least the cemetery is right there," was all that Jeff said.

And we laid on the side of the road laughing.

The near-death experience seems like it was about ten minutes ago, but today is Jeff's 50th friggin' birthday.

That blows my mind.

I'd get him something, but it's sort of pointless because he just hands it back to me 3 days later when I have my birthday, but at least I'm only gonna' be 49.

50 is big!

Yet the thing about it is that I watch my boys bring their friends around now. Jake is about the age I was when the car nearly got us.

And I often think to myself.

I hope they find such a great friend as my buddy Jeff.

You know, it's weird but this past September we went out and played in a two-day golf tourney. Day one was exactly as it should have been.

Jeff driving and me in the passenger side of the cart, talking about the same thing we talk about each time:

"I'm driving all right, but I can't putt or chip," is the basic line uttered.

Yet on day two the organizers of the tourney threw me a curve-ball. We weren't teamed up.

The golf wasn't the same.

It didn't feel quite as comfortable.

Anywhoha...

Happy Birthday to my old bastard buddy.

50!

One of the Grape Apes made it there.

50 more, dude.

My drives will probably still go as far as they do now, but can you imagine how we'll be chipping then?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Foot Meet Mouth

So every once in awhile as I do my job I get a real bad phone call.

A couple of weeks ago one of those calls came through. A 60-year-old man had fallen from a roof deck to the ground below. The paramedics were taking him from the scene. He'd landed on his rear end and while all appeared to be okay, he had a lot of pain in his rib area.

I got to the site within the hour. Knowing that the man had fallen about 14' told me a couple of things:

First, he was breaking the rules. There's a 6' rule for some sort of protection. He hadn't had any.

But secondly, and more importantly, I was going to have to be a bit of a bulldog with the guys who remained on the site because there was a chance that OSHA could eventually ask some questions.

And thirdly, I had to document all of it because in this day and age there's a good chance that a lawsuit can be filed.

So, off I went.

When I got to the site I was greeted by another man of about 60. He was eating his lunch. He was also visibly shaken by the ambulance taking his co-worker away.

So we talked about the safety that they should have been using and now definitely needed to put in place.

I asked about the guy.

"Broken ribs, for sure. Maybe a broken wrist."

"What kind of guy is he?" I asked.

"Regular guy," his buddy said.

"It's a tough question," I said, "but is he a drunk or a drug user? Will he be an asshole and sue you?"

The foreman looked perplexed.

"He definitely doesn't drink or smoke, or even curse."

I tried to play it off.

"What's he doing in construction?"

The guy laughed.

"We are very religious people," he said. "When you pulled up we were praying together. That's what is weird about this: we had prayed just before he went up on the roof."

I thought about it for a moment.

"Prayer doesn't solve gravity," I said.

He laughed.

"I don't suppose it does, but we also don't believe in litigation so I don't feel as if he'll sue the company."

Well.

That was a new one. I had planted my foot firmly in my mouth by using the 'asshole' phrase.

"Sometimes we need to give up control to God and hope he heals us properly."

I had contemplated the 'God-Control' questions plenty of times. This was a tricky one.

"I understand you," I said. "But you guys were in control here. He fell off the roof because that's what happens to objects when the firm footing is gone. God couldn't stop him once he started to go."

The man caught my point quickly.

"And when they start asking questions of you in regard to the rules you'll lose control of some of your money, and God won't stop that either."

The man laughed.

"I got ya'," he said.

We shook hands. He had hands rough from working and a real firm grip.

"Sorry about the 'asshole' comment," I said.

He waved me off.

"I'm religious," he said. "But I'm not stupid. There are plenty of assholes out there."

I turned to walk away.

"I didn't mean you!" he called after me.

We were both laughing by then.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Jinkies

Woke up on Saturday morning thinking about cartoons.

Remember how they were the big deal when we were young? We didn't get much of a chance to see them during the week on the 3 channels we got with the antenna pulled way up and tin foil wrapped on the end.

Seriously.

Tell your spoiled-rotten-dopey-bastards about those times.

Yet we did get some classics.

Bugs Bunny was awesome.

When the Looney Tunes deal played it was all about waiting for Bugs, right? He'd just mow through whoever was in his way, chomping on the carrot and cracking wise.

Bugs was one of my first heroes.

I was also real partial to The Flintstones. The friendship between Fred and Barney was epic and even into my 20's I'd watch them. I had an apartment that was just around the corner from where I was working and on my lunch hour I'd head home and catch about 20 minutes of the Stones as I ate my sandwich.

But a true American classic was Scooby-Doo.

We all watched it, right?

What made me think of it on Saturday was I was rooting around for my phone on my dresser and I knocked my reading glasses to the floor. I turned to Melky and said:

"Jinkies, I lost my glasses,"

Velma said that on every episode.

Then I got to thinking about Fred and Daphne.

They had to be 'doing it', right?

Whenever they'd split up it was always Fred and Daphne running off together, and Scooby, Shaggy and Velma would be on their own. Velma losing her glasses. Shaggy looking for food, and Scooby along as the voice of reason.

The monsters were never real, but the talking dog was.

But you also had to love Shaggy. He was a useless, lazy guy, but he was loyal and funny, right?

And believe it or not, there were times when I felt bad for Velma.

She was ugly.

We all knew that.

Fred didn't care if she got hit by a bus.

But still she pressed on.

Searching for her glasses.

Trying to fit in.

Jinkies.

Indeed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How?

When a story like the story of football player Adrian Peterson's kid comes down the line don't you just wonder, how?

Peterson's son was living with the child's mother. Allegedly the boyfriend of the girl beat the baby to death.

Two years old.

It is hard to fathom, right?

There is simply no reason why this should happen.

And make no mistake, it happens every day, somewhere in this country.

Back when I was working on House of Miracles I spoke to one of the doctors about it. I was a bit naive when I asked the question.

"How do you control your anger?" I asked.

"It's not up to me to be angry about it," he said. "I am, of course, but my job is to try and save the child. I don't have time to feel hate."

As the story of the death of Peterson's son broke there were two guys talking about it on sports radio.

They were debating whether or not Peterson should play on Sunday.

Then they were talking about what should be done to the man who stands accused. The two men were sort of giddy about what might happen to the man once he is confined to a jail cell.

And I suppose that is a normal reaction, right?

I had asked the doctor about that as well.

"I try real hard not to judge people that I come into contact with," he said. "It's easy to do, but where do you draw the line when you're judging someone? What if my idea of what is right and wrong is a tad aggressive, or a bit lenient? I certainly try not to judge, especially when the task at hand is to help."

And I honestly thought of that as the two men continued to debate which holes would get bigger on the man who was sent away. They then spoke of Jerry Sandusky as well and what they hoped was happening there.

I don't much care what happens to someone who commits such a crime...unless they go free, of course. There should be a swift punishment handed down.

Yet I have more of a desire to explore the How and Why of it all.

How does it happen and continue to happen?

Why is there so much violence?

Those are two fundamental questions that I feel will never be answered to my satisfaction.

I spent time considering those questions as a child.

I grew to an adult still contemplating them.

I sit here as a more than middle-aged man just wondering.

How?

I often think of a mass-murdering couple back in the 50's. Charles Starkweather had gone on a rampage across the mid-west and with his girlfriend they had indiscriminately killed people.

Without thought.

The newspaper clippings on the day they were caught tell most of the story. When asked why Starkweather very calmly says:

"Sir, I guess there's just a meanness in this world."

It's a hollow explanation.

Friday, October 11, 2013

From November 29, 2008 - The Carrot

The Carrot

This time of year it is easy to motivate the children. Not only is Christmas just around the corner, but the WWE is also coming to town and thanks to my sister, Corinne, and brother-in-law Chuck, we have great seats.

"Clean your room if you want to go to wrestling," or "Let the dogs out if you really want what's on your Christmas list."

I have boys hopping around the house to get things done. And thankfully there is usually something that gets you up and out of bed on any given day. Kathy was looking forward to this weekend for shopping purposes - exhausted and full of shopping stories, she sat on the couch last night with eyes that were barely open:

"Was it all that you imagined?" I asked.

Bruce's new album is out at the end of January. Pitchers and catchers report in February. The Yanks begin their 27th title search in April.

There is always something there to attract our attention.

Yet what of the days when we are just doing what we do? Does it have to be absolute drudgery until we get to that moment we've been waiting for? What if that moment turns out to be something less? What if the wrestling matches are not as wild as what we imagined? What if that one present we were looking for isn't under the tree? What if the Yanks don't sign the pitching they need and they don't make the playoffs again? What if the Bruce album is disappointing?

Okay, so I got carried away with that last one - I apologize for even saying it!

Yet there are plenty of people who spend their days waiting for a moment - something that will carry them through the next set of 30 days or so - and the moment never truly comes.

I've lived long enough now to enjoy the journey. Sure Sam is going to talk non-stop for a couple of days on the weekend. Yeah, Jake is going to go absolutely ballistic about not winning a game on the X-box. Matt will certainly slam his fist in rage when the Bills or the Sabres inevitably lose. Certainly the house will get dirty again and the laundry will pile up. I guess I've mellowed right before my own eyes - because I don't get quite as amped up over the dangling carrot that I'm running behind.

And you know why?

Because the carrot that is actually in front of me is the life that I'm living. The house, the car, the TV, the warm bed, the plate of pasta coming on Sunday, the Bills games, a chance to go to work, book signings, writing something new and yes, doing the dishes, letting the dogs out, cleaning the friggen' storage room, shoveling snow, waking up tired, drinking a few martinis - it's all the carrot.

And when does the moment finally arrive?

I'm thinking it happens when you aren't really looking for it - it happens all at once, when you are finally able to sit back and say - there it is - I've been happy most of the time - and I've lived a life with a hundred good companions, and I've been sensible about things most of the time. It doesn't come when your team wins it all. It doesn't come when you survive being trampled by a Wal-Mart crowd, and although it's close, it doesn't even come when the new book or the new Springsteen album arrives.

I'm betting it comes late in life, if you're so blessed with the chance, to look back and say, 'Damn, I raised some good kids, I ate some great food, drank some fine wine, and laughed hard, and lived right.'

And yet there are lives interrupted before that moment of enlightenment comes, and that's why this post is all about not chasing that carrot every moment of your waking life, but understanding that the joy is in the journey and the successful life, no matter how long or short arrives when we understand that it was really all about the day-to-day excitement of being alive.

I was talking to a friend of mine who was asking me how to get through difficult times and it occurred to me that all of life may be a struggle if you allow it to be, but that there is also beauty in just living. That chasing that carrot that is just out of reach, is also part of the fun.

I hear the kids stirring in another part of the house. The cold winds are blowing mightily outside, but it's warm where I sit. There's breakfast to cook, things to clean up, dogs to go outside, laundry in the baskets, and work just 48 hours away.

It's all right.

Today I'm just going to sit back and eat the carrots that I've already snagged.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Stick It Up Your....


So it was a beautiful day Wednesday in Buffalo.

I was out visiting job sites. One after another. I was marveling at the progress in the city. I had also planned my visits so that I could grab a Godfather sandwich off the truck on the corner of Delaware and West Huron.

Tomaso's.

The guy makes a good sandwich. The Godfather is sausage and steak and provolone on a hoagie roll.

I paid the money for parking - fifty cents for ten freaking minutes and I headed to the truck.

People are nice in Buffalo. You can't pass someone without someone saying hello.

My mood was all right despite working like a crazed man lately.

I chatted with the guy making my sandwich. He took his time.

I thought about where my car was parked because as nice as the people are that's how rude the parking enforcement assholes are.

I got my sandwich and headed back to the car so I could eat it while reading about the state of the Sabres and Bills.

They're as bad as the sandwich was good.

After taking my first bite I looked up to see the parking ticket stuck under my windshield wiper.

It was 11:37 when I discovered the ticket.

I had been good to 11:34.

Where was that bastard? I scanned the area and saw three of the envelopes stuck on the people around me.

I grabbed the ticket and my paid receipt.

11:34 on the receipt.

He wrote the ticket at 11:31.

I may have even been back to the car at 11:34.

So.

I'm a writer, right?

I wrote a nice little letter and shoved it into the envelope.

Then I ate my sandwich.

It was awesome.

A Rerun

Originally posted on July 24, 2010. Still applies:

(Hey, I can quote myself!).

Everything I truly do know; take these to the bank.

1). Life is better with a breaded pork chop in your hands. Better yet with another one on the plate waiting for you to finish the first one.

2). In most cases the person who loves you most in your life will be your mother. A few of the dogs you own throughout your life will love you just as much, but it's a little different sort of love. Or is it?

3). During his lifetime, Herman Melville's Moby Dick sold only 50 copies.

4). God will not provide for you. He will give you the means to provide for yourself, but you have to make it happen.

5). The longer you live the more you'll regret the things you haven't done as opposed to regretting the things you have.

6). The best path to happiness is doing something for somebody else.

7). Ain't no one going to give you what you really need in life. This journey is a solo act, no matter how you cut it. You pull people in to share your days, but you came in and will go out alone.

8). Pepsi-Cola was originally called, "Brad's Drink."

9). 70% of life is showing up.

10). Most of the people you meet in life don't really care if you get hit by a bus. I know that's a downer, but it's true. Hang with the other people.

11). Red Pasta sauce served in restaurants generally sucks - and that's because my father ruined it for all of us by serving the best sauce week in and week out.

12). You can't protect your kids every moment of their lives, but there really isn't a lot wrong with trying to do that.

13). In New York City, every year, 1,600 people are bitten by other humans. If that doesn't tell you something about the human condition nothing will.

14). Life is beautiful if you're open to it.

15). Life sucks if you let it. Love the line: Positive thoughts don't always work, but negative thoughts do.

There are highs and lows and somewhere there is a simple balance.

I see it when I swing past.

God I want a breaded pork chop.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Walter White Part 3

So just like that we are in Season 5.

"It's doing something to your personality," my 16-year-old said.

"Yo, bitch, why would you say that?" I answered.

And perhaps it would have been best to savor it all in a long-drawn-out 5 year span. I'm sure that I would have been able to digest each episode over the course of a week's time rather than waiting the 20-seconds on NetFlix and considering my wife's question:

"One more?"

Perhaps that would've been better, but I imagine that I will refer this time in my life as the "Breaking Bad" period.

The acting is incredible.

Jessie is my favorite character.

The fact that money and greed eventually makes them all break bad is disconcerting, but true to life.

I know very few people who would do the exact right thing if huge profits stared them in the eye.

Sad to say, but true.

I know others who wouldn't even seriously consider doing the right thing.

The writing is superb.

Simple scenes about tasks elevate the drama. In the back of my mind I know there are future episodes so it appears that the danger is fleeting, but I have, on many occasions moved to the edge of my seat.

The husband-wife tensions are palpable. I enjoy watching that give-and-take.

The 'no turning back and the past be damned' elements of it are interesting.

"I wouldn't change anything," Walter said early on in season 5.

"Really?" I said to my beautiful wife. "He wouldn't do anything different?"

But I imagine that it will all be over soon.

The God complex will be the end of Walter, one way or another.

(I seriously don't know yet...it's been difficult to avoid that as I'm active on social media)

But I will be sad either way.

I really wanted a 6th or 7th season.

I'm not tired of any of it.

Yo bitch.

Monday, October 7, 2013

27-Time World Champion...

...Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized Sports.

Yeah.

The New York F&*$ing Yankees.

So.

For the 2nd time in 21 seasons the Yankees aren't in the playoffs.

I am reminded of that fact at least three times a day by my buddies.

Some of whom are Bills fans.

Zero for 44 in Super Bowl Years. (Close don't count).

The Yankees have won 7 times in those 44 years.

Some of whom are Sabres fans.

Zero.

I remember crying on the edge of my Dad's bed after the Pathetic Flyers beat the Sabres in the cup finals.

(Shut-up, Gag).

"They'll win one soon," Dad said as he consoled me.

37 years later.

When, Dad? When?

And then there are inexplicably Mets fans who bring up the subject.

Why there are Mets fans, first of all, is disconcerting and secondly, seriously?

Remember the 2000 Subway Series?

The biggest drama in that series was whether or not it'd be a sweep.

(Almost was. Torre threw them one game).

But the Red Sux fans are the worst. Their team lost 93 games last year, signed 11 free agents, and are back in the playoffs.

Great job of building it 'the right way'.

But it's about perspective.

Let's say they do win it all this year.

(Which would induce vomiting).

That's 3 titles in 105 years.

That's 24 titles behind.

At their current pace that would take them 840 years to match.

I may be gone by then.

That would make me 889 by the time it happened.

The 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized Sports.

The New York F&*$ing Yankees.

(That's how I answer 'em).

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Impasse

It all seems rather juvenile, doesn't it?

The party leaders are now into the "I've offered to talk and you don't wanna' talk-portion of the finger-pointing-school-yard-bullshit-asshole-my Dad can beat up your Dad-your momma' sucks argument.

We've all been in arguments, right?

We've all had moments in our lives when we've cut off conversation with someone because we just don't wanna' deal with their crap anymore.

Often times we've had to compromise and work out a solution because despite all of our anger, we've needed the other person.

If the willing to compromise is gone, however, the relationship might just come to a merciful end. Sometimes you get so sick of the fighting you lose your fear of the end. (My buddy Bruce taught me that).

Not sure if the morons involved in the governmental impasse can figure that out, but I've always been pretty good at caving in my personal life.

Because I don't much care for direct confrontation.

And because I absolutely suck at arguing.

My beautiful wife and I don't butt heads very often...we're too tired for such drama...but every once in awhile...

I always lose.

I don't much care for the silent treatment, first of all, and at the end of the day I have to cave because, and let's be honest here, she can live a lot longer without me touching her than vice-versa.

And that's when I sort of end it and give in.

So even when I should win the argument, I lose.

So how does that relate to the governmental leaders?

Perhaps we take away their ability to touch one another, or rent hookers, or hook-up with gay guys in airport bathrooms, or mess with interns.

Maybe if we take those rights away from them.

What if we took away their long vacations, or their expensive lunches or their free healthcare.

Would any of that help to get them to figure out who didn't want to talk first?

SO THEY CAN FREAKING TALK????

The good thing about it is that it has the whole country arguing, right?

What a mess.

Perhaps Kathy can go sort it out for them and make them apologize.

Even if they aren't wrong.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

I Met the Joker

Went to a meeting the other day and there was a guy in the meeting who had a sort of misshaped mouth that made it look like he was smiling all the time.

It was weird.

The meeting was a serious sort of affair where we were going over policies and procedures and every time I locked eyes with the guy as I was talking...he seemed to be smiling.

So I sort of smiled back.

Then his brow furrowed a bit because he must of thought that there was something wrong with me.

Why would I be smiling while talking about compressed air during a confined space meeting?

I think the guy thought I was making a pass at him or something.

Moments later someone else started talking and he turned to look at her and I sort of gauged the fact that, like the joker, his face was a perpetual smile.

Then he must of felt my eyes upon him cause he turned to look at me quickly, and I darted my eyes away.

He must of thought:

"What the f&*$k's up with this guy?"

As the meeting ended the room sort of broke up and I quickly made for the front door. I was stifling a bit of a laugh over the whole thing and my hand was on the door to sweet freedom when he called:

"Cliff!"

I turned back and returned his smile.

I think.

I was sort of too far gone by then.

"Did you work at Great Lakes Environmental?" He asked.

"Yeah, back about ten years ago," I said.

"That's where I knew you from!" He said. "I could tell you were trying to figure it out too. How you been?"

I was certain I'd never seen him before the meeting started, but we shook hands.

He seemed to smile at me as I walked away.

I just can't be sure.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Firing On The Capitol

Don't you think it's sad?

I hesitate to even talk about any national events because there is way too much anger.

Everyone is angry.

Everyone has picked a side.

People I love are absolutely bitter and mean because we may be on different sides of an issue.

And we're all to blame.

I have my opinions. You have yours. We're all free to express them. That's the beauty of this country.

But why all the anger?

I guess we are learning from the so-called leaders, right?

If there's an R in front of your name you're automatically an idiot in the eyes with those with a D in front of their names.

And definitely vice-versa.

It's enough, isn't it?

I was typing reports when the television show was interrupted by news of shots on the capitol.

I barely looked up.

There's not a single thing that can happen that might surprise me.

We're living in day of chaos and turmoil.

And perhaps it's a simple case of one nut-bag trying to make a statement.

But the streets appear to be filled with a lot of nut-bags who are really angry, and their anger might be misplaced and may not be rooted in reality, but the simple sad fact of it all is this:

I barely looked up.

And lately I've been really thinking about something that I thought we were well beyond because of the election back in 2008.

I thought we were okay with a black president.

I honestly don't think we are.

Some people were ready to be sure, but so many others weren't.

And while that may not be the main thrust of all of the anger, it's some of it.

I am convinced of that.

I remember the morning after that election that year.

My Dad called me.

"This poor bastard is gonna' rue the day he won," Dad said.

I'm not sure if Obama is there yet, but he's gotta' be getting close.

He probably under-estimated the anger in the streets.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

So...I Tried Crystal Meth

Did you get thrown by the blog title?

I only tried crystal meth in my dreams.

Yeah, the Breaking Bad mess I'm in.

We have been watching the show pretty regularly and I had a real vivid dream about actually taking a bump from a really old friend. Actually I got the hit from my next-door neighbor from back in my childhood.

In the dream it really messed me up and I was promptly stopped by the cops as I was driving my little red Corvette well over the speed limit.

Perhaps we best take a bit of a break.

But we can't.

Because the show is as addicting as crack.

Or meth.

There has been plenty of pontificating going on in regard to the government shutdown. I can remember way, way, way back listening to the radio play the resignation of Richard Nixon.

It's one of those weird things that happened that stuck with me through the years.

Dad was driving. Mom was in the passenger seat. We were all stacked like little monkeys in the backseat and I was leaning into the front seat, listening.

"So we don't have a president now?" Was my question.

Dad explained that we now had President Ford.

"So the world isn't gonna' end?"

(A legitimate question from a 10-year old).

"Not yet," Dad said.

And I suppose that the conversation stayed with me all these years because I was really worried about the world really ending.

My son asked me about the shutdown yesterday.

"We'll get through it," I said.

I hope.

Makes me wanna' try crystal meth.

Not really.

But at least I can escape into Walter and Jessie's world, right?


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

23 or 50?

A couple of weeks ago Derek Jeter attended a Michigan College Football game. The camera caught him in his seat next to a beautiful young girl who was his date for the evening.

"Nice," I said.

There wasn't much of a comment from the area where my beautiful wife was seated.

A couple of days passed.

I honestly didn't give it another thought.

Yet my wife did some research.

"You remember the girl with Jeter at that football game?" She asked.

"Oh yeah," I said.

"Turns out she's a swimsuit model. You know how old she is?"

She didn't wait for an answer.

"She's 23! What does he talk to a 23-year old about? He's like 40, right?"

I actually laughed.

"Let me put it this way," I said. "There's a breakdown somewhere and suddenly I can have any woman in the world, any time I want her. Do you think I'll pick a 48 year old?"

I knew I was treading on wobbly ground.

"First off, that ain't happening, but secondly, she can't be much of a companion for him."

"I'm sure she's just fine for what he needs," I said. "Real fine."

Yet, believe it or not, my wife has a point.

I don't think that I'd be much of a companion for a 23-year old at this stage of the game. I sure the hell wouldn't want to be going out at 10 p.m.

I certainly wouldn't be much interested in catching Miley Cirus or Lil' Wayne in concert and the first time I mentioned Springsteen as the god of music she'd probably beat feet for the front door.

So, most likely, the ship has passed.

If I had the pick of all women by some stroke of luck, I'd probably still have to choose my wife.

She has it all over all the rest of them, of course.

Because she has one thing going for her over all other women. They are the same guidelines I accepted 20 years ago:

I don't outwardly repulse her.

Right? Wifey?

Right???

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shut it Down

How many times, in the last couple of years, have we heard about the government discussing shutting down their business because of the in-fighting?

Do you even pay attention to it anymore?

Doesn't it all seem rather juvenile?

I guess the latest problem is the health care bill that was made into law by a vote that went through the senate and the house.

They passed it!

Now some of them don't want it?

So they're gonna' take their ball and go home?

I know that I'm naive when it comes to the games they play and the dishonesty of all of it, but wouldn't it stand to reason that the one way to change things is to introduce a new bill and work to have elements of what you don't want re-done?

Is that too much work?

I'm sorry. It just all smacks of absolute laziness and politics based on who you hate more than who it may or may not help.

I can't even begin to understand the workings of the healthcare bill, but don't worry about me, I didn't understand the old system.

I've been to three different hip specialists in the last six months. They are all fine doctors. Really smart guys. I've enjoyed talking with them. They all know I wrote a couple of books about Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo so we've had a unique relationship. One of them was asking me questions about re-writes as he hit just the right spot with a cortisone shot.

They all agree my hip needs surgery.

Yet here I sit.

We haven't scheduled it yet because the surgeon is waiting on approval from the insurance to get the CT-Scan, that he needs to see where he's cutting, approved.

"They're playing games," one of the receptionists told me the other day. "Typical shit, excuse my language."

And I haven't truly bitched yet because work is extremely busy. I want to limp through it a little longer, but it's frustrating.

Should I blame Obama?

Do you think he knows about my case?

Yet there are moments when I just wish they would call the bluff of the morons who want to threaten and cajole to get their own way.

Send 'em home.

Save their high salaries.

Let's see how it goes with no government at all.

I'm thinking it'll be a bit of a mess.

When we were kids we did have one little bastard that always brought the ball and always whined that he'd take his ball and go home.

"Let him go," my brother said one time. "We'll buy our own ball and he won't ever play again."

The kid adjusted his attitude really quickly.

But what the hell do I know?

I can't even get my hip fixed.

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