Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Book of the Week - Blind Spot-#8


I was born in a small town. Taught to fear Jesus in that same small town.

And I was back doing a book-signing in that small town and I felt pretty good. My books were selling well and I'd sort of found my way with the writing. I knew that I was doing what I wanted to do and, somewhat to my wife's chagrin, I was donating and helping, and

I was writing well.

Feeling confident.

I felt I could just write anything I wanted without too much in the way of an effort.

The book-signing was almost over when a life-long friend from one of those cherished small town families stopped by. The man before me was a Dad who'd suffered an unspeakable tragedy, losing his child in an accident that claimed two and rocked the town to the core.

We talked a lot about God and why.

"I was hoping you could help me make a little sense of things," my dear friend said.

And that single line shook me for months.

How does one make sense of the pure tragedy that occurs?

How do you go forward at all?

Well, forget about the writing without much effort.

Blind Spot became my gift to a couple of families in a close town.

What's unique about the story was that I incorporated another story into it. I knew of a man who once told his wife he was 'heading out to get a haircut' and didn't return for a lot of years.

I often thought of that wife as day turned to night, and night turned to morning, wondering about how the haircut was going.

So, my main character headed out alone. He became the protagonist and the antagonist of his own story. He confronted the God issue straight on.

We ask God why, but maybe God didn't do it. Maybe God was fighting for the accident not to happen, and he lost in an epic battle against evil.

So many thoughts.

So much grief.

The character weaves his way through the story. I incorporated a City Mission story that was actually fairly factual.

I loved doing it with my buddy and his family in mind.

I worked to 'make some sense of a few things.'

And when it was done...I loved it for what it turned into.

A story of love, redemption, and a way to cope with overwhelming grief.

(Something that I'd soon know way too much about).

I was coming back from an awards show in 2009 where Blind Spot received a festival mention.

I was proud of the book.

"Just finished reading Blind Spot," my brother Jeff said through the telephone cell. "And I loved it, but I need to tell you one thing; you probably should just enjoy your life instead of trying to understand it."

Two days later our family suffered an unspeakable tragedy.

And so I think of Blind Spot with a true shadow over each and every thought.

Yet it's a good read, folks.

You'll enjoy it.

As you struggle to understand some things.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

3-Day Weekends!

The Labor Day Weekend is certainly one that people look forward to each year, but there is also a bit of hesitation involved as it feels like the end of summer, right?

And it was a strange summer in the North East. I don't ever remember a cooler August. It was 45 degrees one morning a couple of weeks back.

That's October stuff, folks.

And every time you bring up the chill in the air there's someone standing there who tells you:

"It's going to be a long, cold, miserable winter."

Really?

No shit?

"Aren't they all?" I asked the guy who gave me the weather report.

"Especially this year," the guy said. "The Farmer's Almanac said so, and I saw the squirrels burying their nuts early."

"That must've hurt."

"What?"

"Nothing."

The point being...no one wants the summer to really end, but we need the break.

I spoke with a lot of construction guys on Friday afternoon, and asked if they had the 3-day break.

Most do.

Which is good.

For all those who work really hard all through the year it feels good to rest a little.

So, have a good time.

Drive safe.

Eat a lot.

Hang with the family.

The squirrels are burying their nuts.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Royal Treatment


I know for a fact that my sons are going to remember watching the 2009 World Series as the Yankees won it all for the 27th time.

I understand that because for years and years I have cherished the memories of watching the Yankees-Royals games of the late 1970's. I distinctly recall that the Yanks were down in Game 5 when Chambliss hit the homer that propelled them to the World Series.

Dad made a huge sandwich for me and we ate it around midnight, despite the fact that there was school the next day, and we were so fired up.

I kept thinking about that as I walked into Royals Stadium in Kansas City.

George Brett.

Frank White.

Hal McRae.

I hated those teams, but I sort of liked them too.

Then there was the water fountain.

When I was a kid I thought it was just the neatest thing.

How did they do it?

Water flowing in the outfield?

And then Reggie hit one in there.

Life was good.

During the game on Monday night...I was seated alone...in the 2nd row right by first base...I thought of all those nights spent sharing time with Dad and my brothers.

An elderly couple was seated in row 1. When I mentioned something about Buffalo, and noticing my Yankee cap, the woman turned to face me.

The game was tied at 1.

"I'm so nervous," she whispered. "My husband really wants the Yankees to win."

She was whispering so that the Royals fans around us didn't care about either me or her husband.

The man couldn't even turn to face me. In fact, it almost looked as if he were asleep. He had to be at least 85 years old.

"He just loves them so," she said. "He thinks this is our last chance to see them play."

I felt bad for the woman.

Worse for the man.

"Don't worry," I whispered back. "The Yankees don't lose when I show up."

The Yanks scored four runs in the 6th inning and the woman turned to me.

"You're a lucky charm," she said.

Then her husband turned ever so slowly in his seat.

He gave me a really slow thumbs up.

Royal treatment.

For all of us.

What a great night.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

D.B. of the Week #5 - Marquise Goodwin

There comes a time every week when I panic a little bit because the D.B. of the week doesn't seem to be jumping out at me, but of course, not to worry, they always come through.

Not many people outside of Buffalo know this week's winner.

Marquise Goodwin plays for the Buffalo Bills. He's a wide receiver who runs fast but hasn't done much to set his career aflame.

He posted this tweet after the latest Bills loss (in an exhibition game at the stadium).

"Looks like we will have to play against our own "fans" this year. Same ones booing prolly the first in line for autographs. Smh #FEWDM."

First off...what a butcher job on the English language, huh?

Smh.

Yet here's the problem with that tweet.

They were losing 24-0 at the first game at the stadium where they were supposed to be entertaining the kids on kids day. At the halftime break the television feed showed the $130 million in renovations including the new expanded locker room where Goodwin and his other millionaire friends relax after playing with a ball.

And playing badly.

The NFL (who's tax-exempt and doesn't pay their cheerleaders and allows felons to play until they're too concussed to stand up)force feeds the exhibition games down the throats of their fans at high prices...and here's something else.

My son Sam was so looking forward to that game. Despite everything, he still feels like they can someday get to the playoffs. He was absolutely fired up all week long, and he even skipped his Saturday Porterhouse steak to go to the game.

"They're playing all the starters most of the game," he told me as he left. "This is the year!"

I had the game on in the background and it wasn't good.

Goodwin and the rest of his team of warriors punted four times, turned the ball over three times, and ran out the clock to end the half. They walked off the field losing 24-0 at the half.

And the fans booed.

So, Goodwin feels as if the "fans" are attacking him despite his hard work.

Well, congrats...you're the D.B. of the week!

You won something!!!

Sam walked in the house after the loss.

He can already tell how the season is going to play out.

He had a really glum look about him and there wasn't much I could say to make it better.

"They were pretty bad," he said.

And this is a kid who is 14 years old.

The team hasn't made the playoffs in his lifetime!

He had some hope and his hopes were way up there. The performance of the team was a huge letdown to him.

"I didn't boo," he said. "I wanted to, but I didn't."

I would have.

Goodwin, of course, was ripped on social media for his dopey tweet. I imagine that he'll clarify it all for us minions.

Ridiculous.

Moron.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Determination

Every once in awhile I like to look around the 'Net for stories and quotes and little items that push things forward. I don't have a lot of time to do it, of course, but when I'm feeling writer-ish I'll look around. This one reminded me of being in college and getting a paper returned to me from an old English professor who told us many times that he was 'working on a book'. I, of course, wanted to do the same thing someday, but he temporarily dashed my hopes with a note on the top of the paper that said:

"You'll likely never be published."

I remember reading that note over and over again until I finally tore up the paper and gave him a two-word send-off, over and over in my mind.

A few years later...and every single time I had a book come out...I sent him one. Each time I'd ask him how his book was coming along.

He never returned my correspondence.

Yet, this one is off the 'Net...same thoughts.

By Monty Roberts.

As he was a kid, his father as a horse trainer was moving from stable to stable, from ranch to ranch, training horses. Thus, the boy‘s school career was constantly interrupted.

One day, when he was a senior, a teacher asked him to write about what he wanted to be when he grew up. He did not hesitate a minute and wrote seven-page paper about his aim to be an owner of a horse ranch. He wrote many details and drew a location of buildings and stables and even a detailed house plan.

Two days later he received his paper back with letter "F“ on the front page.

After class he came to teacher and asked:

"Why did I receive an F?“.

The teacher responded:

"This dream is so unrealistic for a boy like you, who has no money, no resources and who comes from itinerant family. There is no possibility that you will reach your great goals one day.“

Then the teacher offered a chance to rewrite the paper with a more realistic attitude.

The boy went home and asked his father, how should he act. The father answered:

"This decision is very important for you. So you have to make your own mind on this“.

After several days the boy brought the same paper to his teacher. No changes were made. He said:

"Keep the F and I'll keep my dream“.

Now Monty Roberts owns 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of 200-acre horse ranch and he still has that school paper, which now is framed over the fireplace.

Remember, you have to follow your heart and never let anyone to steal your dreams.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Boys of Summer

I was taking the dogs for their Sunday morning ride around the block (we saw two squirrels and a dog) when Don Henley's The Boys of Summer came on the radio.

It's a good song from a good record and my brain played that quick trick on me by taking me straight back in time to when the song was at it's height.

I was living in Baltimore for the summer of '91. I was hanging out with my college roommate, we were playing tennis, rooting for the last-place Orioles, and drinking a lot of beer.

(I don't do any of those things anymore).

(I don't wanna' hear about the freaking O's!)

Anyway, the girl who was the lifeguard at the pool was a true beauty and we were all great friends.

When Don Henley sings the line:

Your brown skin shattered in the sun.

I'm instantly back at that place and time.

And of course, it works with about a thousand other songs.

There are songs that take you back to high school and perhaps running out onto the basketball court to start the season. There are songs that remind you of your Dad, or Mom, or second cousin on your mother's side, or whatever!

The first notes of the song just trigger that memory and bring it all crashing down on your head again.

And of course, if you live long enough there are songs that you can't even listen to anymore because of the pain that they bring.

I have quite a few of those...and I just have to flip the station, but The Boys of Summer isn't one of those songs.

It transports me back.

We'd play epic tennis matches in the blistering sun...Baltimore summers aren't for the weak...and then we'd jump in the big pool, have about 11 beers and think about going to the game.

It was a time in my life when I was still trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to do, but I had a real job.

I was dreaming big things.

Writing a little.

As the song played out and I sang along (the dogs were a little annoyed as they felt I was skirting my 'find animals around the neighborhood' responsibilities) I wondered about how everyone who shared that summer with me was making out in life.

But I pushed the thought away.

They were young right there in my mind.

With brown skin from a relentless sun.

Monday, August 25, 2014

ISIS

I recently watched a Dr. Phil show about a kid who was in a gang that terrorized citizens in his own neighborhood. Dr. Phil, of course, got right to the heart of the matter with his undying wit and goofy accent. By the end of the show he had the kid crying in his mother's arms and accepting Dr. Phil's gracious offer of intensive therapy that would show why he was destructive.

I never really got the gang mentality thing and if truth must be told I have dreams of walking down a dark alley and being surrounded by a band of thugs who are intent on causing me great harm.

We all fall prey to such scary dreams, I suppose and the great strength of gangs is in the fear that they strike in the hearts of all.

Putting a YouTube video up of an actual beheading of a human being. An American journalist can actually spread that fear pretty quickly.

And like Al-Qaeda I seriously didn't know much of the meaning of the word ISIS until it was front and center.

I thought ISIS was an old Bob Dylan song, actually.

Yet the threat is real and the gang has been formed.

And it's all so incomprehensible to me.

How do people just file away all of their true sensibilities about what is right and wrong and just get in line with the performance of heinous things?

The kid on Dr. Phil talked about having to kill people in an effort to be initiated into the gang.

There was a lot of skepticism about whether the kid had performed such an act, but it's certainly been done before.

And the value of a human life is at an all-time low.

People killing just to kill.

And it can really do a number on your fear meter.

I tried to talk to my boys about the shooting in Ferguson and the looting and protesting that has gone on since that awful day for everyone involved.

"I don't think the cop was out there just to pick off black kids," Jake said.

(A great point).

"But other people do," Sam said.

(Another solid entry).

"But no matter what happens now," I said. "There's gonna' be a lot of trouble. If charges aren't brought on the cop there will be more riots. If he is charged the cops in the world are going to be really confused about how they should do their jobs."

"The world's a mess," Jake said. "Live with it."

And perhaps it is so.

Yet every single time I think that I try and remember the good people.

The millions upon millions of good people.

People who are horrified by the violence.

People who have no concept of gang violence.

People who thought ISIS was a Dylan song.

It's not sticking your head in the sand to live with the idea that the world is a mess.

It's about burying the fear that it truly is.

Think of the good people.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Featured Book of the Week #7 - Counting On A Miracle


There comes a moment in everyone's life when you understand...

...that you don't control anything that's really important.

It breaks my heart to think about Jake standing next to me on the day when his tumor was finally discovered. He was really struggling to breath, but he was smiling at me. We both were sick with colds. He kinda' liked the fact that we were both battling the bug together.

But his cold nearly killed him.

And there was so much more about all of it.

The crying. The fear. The togetherness. The compassion.

Damn! I can write a book or two about it.

Yet what was odd about the situation was that following the operation I was standing at the foot of the bed, still so scared, when the chief surgeon approached me.

"I hear you're a writer."

Nobody's Home was out and had received some press and the award.

I nodded.

I think.

"I've always wanted to write," the surgeon said. "I think that's such a noble act."

I laughed. He'd just saved my child's life and writing was noble to him?

"Seriously," Dr. Caty said. "You should recount this story."

There was no way!

I couldn't re-live even a minute of it! I was going to go home and build a moat around the house to protect everything that was mine!!

But...two weeks later...at the same moment, honestly...it hit both Kathy and me. We were driving to a party. I remember it distinctly. We were on the Skyway. We were both really quiet. Still shell-shocked, actually.

"You should call Dr. Caty and write the book," Kathy said.

She'd stolen the thought from the center of my brain.

So I did.

I wrote from my journal entries. I've kept a journal of every day of my life since the 4th grade. It was all right there.

And the first person who saw the finished book was Dr. Marc Levitt. He was also prominent in saving Jake's life.

"Let me put it succinctly," he said. "This book should be required reading for every human being."

The single greatest sentence ever said to me in response to something I'd written.

Yet, the story had to be jazzed up a little. We needed a title. I believe that I had named it from a line from Jake's nightly prayers, but the publisher wanted it to be 3 or 4 words.

At that time Bruce had just released The Rising CD. Counting On A Miracle was a song about raised hope and gaining control over emotions that were fueled by something out of the control of the narrator.

"How about Counting On A Miracle?" I asked my publisher.

And to this day if you Google that title my name pops up...

...right next to Bruce's.

And here we are...

...a lot of years later...

with one miracle securely in the bank.

Thank God.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Decisions Made By Old Age

Every year my buddy Jeffy, a true Grape Ape, plays in a golf tourney with me. It's a two day event at a couple of great courses in Rochester and we play with my great friends from Syracuse.

On Thursday Jeffy had a decision to make.

"I believe I tore my hamstring during the softball championship game," he said. "I've been trying all week to swing a club. I can't."

I thought he might cry as he broke the news.

However.

I had my own problems.

I was an hour away from getting shots in my back to try and get some feeling back in one or either of my lower legs.

As the doc prepared me for the shots we talked about my ambitions.

"Can I play in a two-day golf event on Friday and Saturday?" I asked.

He laughed.

"I suppose, if you can tolerate it, but why would you want to?"

I explained about the great friends and the great courses.

"You might be able to pull it off," he said.

Turns out I couldn't.

I yanked my first couple of drives and those who golf with me regularly know I don't do that a lot, but there was considerable back pain on each swing (the numbness was less in my feet though, so yeah for me!).

By hole ten I was hit by a revelation:

I shouldn't play tomorrow.

And I thoroughly debated it, with a bag of ice from the clubhouse pressed between me and the seat.

Yet.

I hit my drive on 17...a long par 5. Straight down the middle. Great shot. My always astute boss did the math on the distance to the next shot with a creek running between us and the green.

"180 yards," he said.

I hit it 177.

I chipped onto the green and I bent to pick the ball out of the hole after a good putting session and it hit me:

Maybe I can tough it out tomorrow.

But I made a good decision.

I picked up the ball and went home.

Cut to Saturday morning.

The blog is late.

'Cause I couldn't stand up.

"When I see Adam and Eve I'm gonna' punch them in the face for this getting old shit," Jeffy said when I told him I had to make like Tiger and quit.

We can punch one of them each.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Life is Hard - Mellencamp Inspires A Lightning Strike

I spoke of having to write and it feeling like a lightning strike when the idea hits...I bought a new black notebook, folks...the lightning is hitting hard.

To appreciate it...think of a phrase and a story entering your mind...at all times of the day...and developing..it unfolds for you...the words of the characters must be written down. The characters are formed to the point of actually knowing them and there are:

Three words..over and over again...

Life Is Hard

I told my buddy:

"My mental illness is back!"

He said:

"Sweet!!! But it never actually left."

I had been in remission.

Life is Hard by John Mellencamp

Life is hard anyway you cut it
Life is sweet, like a berry from a tree
Life is temptation, Baby, every single day
Life is hard

Life is funny, I don't mean ha-ha
It's not always sunny, when it needs to be
Life is frightening, nothing lasts forever
Life is hard

My time
Is next to nothin'
My time
Falls on you, yeah
Everything
Is in motion
Life is hard

Life is precious, no matter how you see it
Life is crazy, like yellow fishes in the street
Life is lonely when you're not with me
Life is hard

Gentlemen
Is that you story?
hanging religion from a tree, yeah
My time is next to nothing
Life is hard

My time
Is next to nothing
My time
Falls on you, yeah
Everything
Is in motion
Life is hard

My time
falls on you, yeah
Life is hard
Life is hard

Thursday, August 21, 2014

D.B's of the Week - #5

For the D.B. of the week this week I'm gonna' let you take your choice:

Jessie Jackson

or

Al Sharpton

And believe me, I'm not being racist here.

In fact, I contend that they're the ones who are racist and actually hurt the cause way more than they help it. Ex-basketball star, Gilbert Arenas pretty much summed it up when he begged the black men of Ferguson to stop tearing apart their own neighborhoods while imploring them to stop listening to Sharpton.

Yet I throw Jessie Jackson in there as well because no matter what happens he's there mumble-mouthing his way through an incomprehensible speech that is designed to fan the flames of an already burning home.

Arenas went on to say that Sharpton never helps the cause...he only makes it worse...and that black men all over this great land shouldn't be spoken for by such an ill-informed D.B.

I'm right there with Arenas.

And let's be straight here.

What is happening in Ferguson, Missouri is downright scary. I caught the footage of the tear gas being sprayed into the crowd and before the announcer even spoke my brain automatically sent some wrong information.

I thought it was Iraq that I was seeing on the screen.

We are all one nation...or something like that was spoken by Obama in response...yet you know what I heard across the social media?

Why is Obama concerned with that black kid when white kids are shot and killed as well?

Well...it's not the same situation, is it?

People are looting, rioting, and fighting in the streets.

Perhaps the response to the shooting is all wrong...and how can you contend that it's not?...but the situation is being propelled by hate speech being slung by the likes of:

Sharpton and Jackson.

And I ask...how can there ever be a debate on the issue?

How will we ever get to the truth of the matter when before anything is even spelled out or digested we have those two front and center...not speaking for the black man...but imploring the hate to continue?

I want to know what happened to that kid.

Was he shot and killed as he attacked or was it simply an execution?

People in that town and in that state and in this nation deserve to know.

The response must be swift but measured and the questions must be asked.

They just shouldn't be asked by Sharpton or Jackson...

...they have a long history of being D.B.'s.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Best Sit-Com Ever?

I can watch sit-coms over and over again. It sort of drives my beautiful wife crazy. She'd rather watch it once and then never again.

And while I must admit that I've about run the route on Seinfeld...there are other classics that can be on in the background as I type reports.

Like Friends.

Or the King of Queens

And it got me thinking about the best ones I've ever seen.

There were the ones when we were kids - Happy Days, The Jeffersons, Taxi, The Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, Gilligan's Island.

We saw them all, right? Most of them were really freaking stupid.

I liked Taxi and Sanford & Son from the childhood days. Sanford was great when Redd Foxx was in it...horrible when Grady was there...so I guess I'll go with Taxi.

As an adult I was really spoiled...Cheers, Wings, Frazier, Seinfeld, Friends, King of Queens....hell I really loved Benson too! I'd watch Benson every day during college - my schedule allowed for it...and it was always good.

Cheers was my choice out of all of those though...we used to play a drinking game with the characters names and Woody always was good for a few laughs.

Yet as an older guy things have suddenly gotten out of control.

We have cartoons now that have taken the place of the real actors.

The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, South Park.

I like Family Guy out of all the cartoons and it's great in reruns. I laugh out loud twice a half an hour at that show.

Yet there is one other show that I actually enjoy now...The Big Bang has sort of run its course with me...I know they all just signed extensions...but it's getting sort of old...still the reruns are on TBS every two hours...

Modern Family...is the one now...Al Bundy can still make me laugh and he's even funnier as an old man.

So where am I going with this?

My favorite sit-com ever, I suppose.

The top 5?

5). Modern Family
4). Cheers
3). Family Guy
2). Taxi

and 1?

I haven't mentioned it yet!

1). The Odd Couple.

Jack Klugman was the best!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ALS Ice Challenge

So...have you watched your friends dump buckets of ice water over their heads?

I believe that I've seen at least 15 people do it...and it's all pretty funny, actually.

Until you're nominated.

And I was.

But instead of doing it...I decided to make the donation to ALS.

Now, I'm not a hater and I am certainly not afraid of getting cold as the water drenches me...I just thought 'I'd rather not do that.'

So I won't.

But the main thing is that there are a lot of people across the land who are willing to do all sorts of things in the name of treating a disease.

Every single year there are at least 5 events for Breast Cancer research.

The baseball players use pink bats and MLB makes a healthy donation.

The football players wear pink cleats and armbands and the NFL donates 3% of the millions raised there...and they put the rest in their pocket.

And I don't know what to think of all the raising money anymore.

Are all the people dumping ice over their head making the donation?

Where does the money go?

Are we making any progress?

The cynic in me wonders about all that cash raised in the name of breast cancer research...and hopefully it is being spent the right way...but sometimes I wonder.

Yet charity has always been about what it feels like to make the donation...you can't wonder..it'll drive you crazy...giving to a charity is good for the heart.

The rest can be dismissed, I suppose, but people like to know they've helped.

I've always considered the adopt a kid in Africa deal...to put your money in and talk to someone, on a regular basis, who really needed help.

That's kinda' cool.

But all across this great land ice will be dumped over the heads of man, woman and child and perhaps someone will actually think about what ALS does to a person as it destroys that human being.

And maybe someday it will no longer be a threat.

Wouldn't that be cool (so to speak) if it were wiped off the face of the planet because someone had an idea that caught fire across the land and doused the disease because everyone got together and dumped cold water?

Yep.

That'd be great.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Waaah! We Want A New Stadium!!

So...the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell came out front and center and said that for the Bills to remain viable in the league there would have to be a new stadium built.

I guess viable to the league and viable to the people who are struggling to keep their heads above water are two different things.

The Bills franchise is a cash cow.

Saint Ralph Wilson...the guy who had his ass kissed for a hundred years...threatened to leave every time the lease was up...but he didn't...you know why?

Because the freaking Bills...in Buffalo...are viable!

He banked at least $35 million every year.

And probably three times that figure.

We won't know...because the "National Football League" (and have you ever noticed that every single announcer must say it complete...the "National Football League"...at least ten times in every interview) won't open their books.

Goodell comes out and says that the Bills are a losing proposition in Buffalo and everyone falls in line and says..."Damn! We need to get the county and state and broke taxpayers to pony the hell up!

"We can't lose our Bills!!"

Waaaaaaahhhhhh! Waaaaaaaah! Waaaaaaaaah!!!

We want more money.

Well, Mark Polancarz...a politician here in Buffalo...finally stood up and said:

"Let's see the books!"

Polancarz had enough gumption to look the "National Football League" straight in the eyes and say:

"You're lying."

Excellent.

The Bills really don't need a new stadium.

As Sam always says to me when I say:

"I need a water."

"You need a water, or you want a water?"

The "National Football League" wants a new stadium. The Buffalo Bills don't need a new stadium.

There are about a dozen events at the stadium.

(God knows there aren't any playoff games)

...we don't need to spend a quarter of a billion dollars to watch those 12 events.

Polancarz nailed it.

Screw the "National Football League".

You can't always get what you want.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Featured Book of the Week #6 - Nobody's Home


People often ask about writing and I am fond of telling them that a story idea is like a bolt of lightning...that you can't run from...it keeps striking you over and over and over until you finish it.

Nobody's Home was definitely like that. I grew up in North Collins, a great little town, but a town where two police officers were killed in the line of duty. I knew both officers, and one of the killers.

I also knew all the kids who had the extreme misfortune of living with the killer.

But I pushed it out of my head for years and years until my beautiful sister-in-law asked:

"You know who I saw in church?"

Then she told me about seeing the daughter of that killer...now with her kids...praying.

And the lightning kept striking me at all angles.

How do you go back to church?

How do you even survive?

Can I write something like that?

A work of fiction based on real events?

I set out.

The book was named something different...I don't even remember the original title. I read every single news story I could find. I talked with people who knew the real killer. I thought about the kids. And then I thought about the kids some more.

What's funny is that I wanted to find a really beaten up home and take a photo of it so I could imagine the devastation...I was out in Central New York, just driving along and I saw the perfect house of destruction. It was in the late morning and I pulled into the driveway of a battered home and started snapping photos. Satisfied, I went to back out of the drive and saw that there was a car behind me, pulled straight up to my bumper.

"What're you doing in my driveway?" A drunken middle-aged man screamed at me.

He was filthy. He was angry, and he stunk to high heaven.

"I'm lost," I said. "I just pulled in to make a call to get directions (before GPS)".

The guy nodded and backed away.

"Get the f&*& out of here!" he growled.

Not only did I have my house...I had an image of a man.

I wrote from there.

Nobody's Home is a great book. It truly is. Perhaps the first great book I wrote, but it wasn't just me...I'm not patting myself on the back...it was a great book...because my editor was better than great.

You have to transition in and out.

You need to sell us the voice as a girl.

You need to make him despicable because he was.

Megan's voice was striking me over and over again...like lightning...as I rewrote.

Nobody's Home won an award at the New England Book Festival.

When the book was done and out I received a telephone call from a member of the real terrorized family.

"Was that what happened?" the family member asked me.

"I have no idea...I made it up," I said.

"Well, you nailed it...we never had the chance to know. He kept us all away."

And in the end...it's a horrific story...but whenever I think back on it, I smile a little.

She was in church.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

D.B of the Week #4 - The New York Daily News


We held off on the D.B. of the week this week - it will return to it's Thursday slot next week - I had decided to honor Robin Williams this Thursday.

But we had a bunch of D.B.s of the week this week, to be sure.

They work at the New York Daily News.

That front page really bothered me.

Robin Williams worked for the homeless.

He did charity work for St. Jude's.

He never turned down a fan who wanted a photo, or an autograph. The amount of money he raised for wonderful charities is astounding.

And that's not to mention his career...which was incredible...cartoons for kids...movies for adults...laughter all around.

And these rotten bastards send him out like that.

I know that they are trying to sell papers. I realize that we need to go negative on every freaking story that's done. People want to bitch and moan and piss all over every single thing that the world has to offer.

I remember going to the Children's Hospital when House of Miracles came out...I'd written a book to celebrate a beautiful hospital...and the talented doctors and nurses.

The Public Relations Director...a very good man met me at the door of the place...

"I called the media," he said. "Not sure if they'll show."

I laughed.

But he's right.

(They didn't show up).

And you know what else really galls me about this?

The heartless bastards who ran this front page are the same condescending pricks who will skewer any single person for a public apology if they just so happen to swear on television, or say something not meant to be racist, but is racist in their twisting, conniving hands.

Everyone has to apologize for everything...but these pricks...

...print anything they want.

At the expense of a good man who suffered with a horrific affliction.

Garbage.

They printed what Gandolfini ate for dinner on the night he had a heart attack.

Sell your papers...

...you've earned your standing.

The New York Daily News Headline writers are the clear douche bags of the week.

I hope they announce it on their front page.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Hands Up

Michael Brown was college-bound.

Just 18 years on the planet and now he's dead.

What happened in the moments before he was shot to death is in dispute and there's a whole lot of anger in a suburb of St. Louis.

The town of Ferguson, Missouri is two-thirds black and the people who police the area are mostly white.

That's really a recipe for disaster as people are protecting and looting and vandalizing their own neighborhood as they protest the circumstances of Brown's death.

The whole thing is really, really sad and I'm tempted to make a bit of a joke here because I heard Jessie Jackson speak on the matter, but I have no idea what Jessie was saying.

Jesse really needs to be captioned.

Yet none of it is anything less than disturbing to me because the death of Michael Brown will now be simplified into a black versus white thing.

People who don't know the first thing about blacks will talk about why Brown was automatically a suspect.

Blacks who hate whites will now have good reason.

And that's not even getting into the whole...cops are pigs debate.

Yet I feel for the police officer in the case as well. I can't imagine going out to do my job wondering if it might be my last shift because who knows who wants to do what to me.

Being a cop isn't for the feint of heart, and there's just a split-second to make a decision.

Of course, the stories coming out of the two communities are completely different. The account from Brown's family and friends goes something like this:

Brown was unarmed. Brown had his hands in the air. Brown was left on the sidewalk for hours. Brown was murdered.

From the police officer's side:

Brown was a real threat. Brown was armed. The officer feared for his life. Brown was not surrendering.

I have a bad feeling here.

This will truly escalate before the wounds heal.

Here's hoping there's a unification of sorts and that the family of Michael Brown finds some peace.

But if you somehow get on one side or other of this matter, do me a single favor, before you sling hatred one way or the other think of one simple thing:

An 18-year-old man died.

His life shouldn't end in a cloud of dust that is fueled by hatred.

Give Michael Brown that much.

We can't just throw our hands in the air and refuse to bridge the wide gap in race relations.

We certainly need peace.

41 Shots by Bruce Springsteen

41 shots, and we'll take that ride
'Cross the bloody river to the other side
41 shots, cut through the night
You're kneeling over his body in the vestibule
Praying for his life

Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)

41 shots, Lena gets her son ready for school
She says, "On these streets, Charles
You've got to understand the rules
If an officer stops you, promise me you'll always be polite
And that you'll never ever run away
Promise Mama you'll keep your hands in sight"

Is it a gun (is it a gun), is it a knife (is it a knife)
Is it a wallet (is it a wallet), this is your life (this is your life)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)
(41 shots)

Is it a gun (is it a gun), is it a knife (is it a knife)
Is it in your heart (is it in your heart), is it in your eyes (is it in your eyes)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)

41 shots, and we'll take that ride
'Cross this bloody river to the other side
41 shots, I got my boots caked with this mud
We're baptized in these waters (baptized in these waters)
And in each other's blood (and in each other's blood)

Is it a gun (is it a gun), is it a knife (is it a knife)
Is it a wallet (is it a wallet), this is your life (this is your life)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
It ain't no secret (it ain't no secret)
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living in
You can get killed just for living in
You can get killed just for living in your American skin

41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots

41 shots
41 shots
41 shots
41 shots

41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)

41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)
41 shots (you can get killed just for living in)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Funny Man


Robin Williams always had a special place in my heart because I saw him at a concert that was actually a benefit for Neil Young's kid. The concert was in October of 1986 and it featured Springsteen, of course, in Mountain View, California.

I saw the concert with my brother Jim and we often talk about that night because it was such a great show - Neil Young, Tom Petty, Glen Frye, Nils Lofgren, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Bruce,

And Robin Williams.

I recall that he spoke of giving up drinking because "you have to when you wake up naked on the hood of your car with your own keys stuffed in your ass."

He went off, of course, and we laughed really hard. I also recall telling Jim that I missed half the jokes because I was laughing too much.

Just a brilliant dude.

And of course, we will never know the depths of his depression. He never showed it. He would make jokes about it, but it turned out not to be funny at all.

And you wonder about all the comics who seem to be lost in the brilliance of their own minds.

Yet it's more than that.

Townsend, Keith Richards, Bruce, Lennon...

...they all talked about crippling depression.

I think we all can get down, from time to time. I certainly do it and it comes without warning. I've always liked to ride it out. I remember thinking that I write better when I'm really up or really down.

But I don't think I've ever sunk quite so low.

I love life.

I get depressed when someone says, "the comet won't come around again until 2075," and I feel bad that I won't be around to see it.

In other words...I cherish the days I've received.

So in that respect, I don't get it.

And I don't know how I'd ever leave my children in such a manner.

But I've never been that low...so I won't understand.

Yet Robin Williams left his mark...there's no doubt about that...a brilliant comic mind...a very giving dude as well.

None of us know him personally, of course, but he added something to our lives.

I hope he found some peace.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pepper Party 2014


The thing about the pepper party is that it gets bigger every year and it is about so much more than the peppers, of course. Corinne has a plaque with the winners names engraved on it, and for the uninitiated the party was started years ago by Jeff.

He won that first contest with his entry. I also placed that year...with the peppers he stuffed for me without telling anyone.

He most likely would be working on about ten straight by now because he was the king of the stuffed pepper. But we all try.

And we've all got way better at it.

But it's not just about the pepper as the above photo shows.

My nieces and nephews beat the heck out of me, and I was laughing pretty much all the way through, but Johnny made a leap at me and I felt my legs wobble.

He's getting big and strong.

And you know who saved me?

Yep...my beautiful wife...she chased all the kids away and stood in front of me, daring a kid to come near. They all backed off.

But back to the contest.


I stuffed my peppers with lobster meat and four different types of cheese.

They were good.

I didn't rank in the top five.

Chucky won with a pepper stuffed with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. I had a few before the tray was empty.

It was a well-deserved top finish.

Carolyn and Dave finished second with poppers that I thought were awesome. Every single time Rocco walked by me he had a popper.

"How many have you had?" I asked him.

"Seven," he answered.

Yet the pepper party is an awesome family event and the words on the plaque that Corinne dedicated to Dad and Jeff's memory are worth the trip to their comfortable home.

And besides...my name is already on the plaque.

I won with Jeff's recipe that was in the book.

I plan on winning next year with a new creation...

...but there are about 40 other people plotting their next move.

Thanks to Corinne for a great day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

World Class

Of course, anyone who's known me understands that I've always been a world class athlete. I've been dominant in golf, basketball, softball, tennis...hell...in my mind I have dominated every single event I've ever participated in.


Yeah.

In my mind.

That's me after most of the people left the tournament on Sunday.

Yet...you must know...I dominated all weekend.

I played golf on Saturday morning and I whipped a Baltimoron who was up for the visit.

(Never mind that another Baltimore native beat me...I thumped the one guy I had to beat - 91 to 90).

He stinks.

Then there was the softball tourney.

The Fuzzy boys went 3 for 3 to open up the game.

In fact, we were 6 for our first 6.

Never mind the fact that I never once touched first base because I wasn't running...I hit the ball okay.

(Let's say I didn't embarrass myself).

In my mind - I dominated.

But that was the end result.

When I put my feet into the two bags of ice I nearly wept with joy.

Nothing ever felt better than that.

Nothing.

And the bottom line came in the middle of the 3rd game that the Lions were playing on Sunday. I was coaching, of course, and the dip-shit team of mine was kicking the ball all over the infield.

I started yelling at them.

"Give us a break," Jeff Renaldo yelled back. "We're half a friggin' century old!"

So...my friends are no longer world class athletes.

Good thing that I am.

Monday, August 11, 2014

We Shall Overcome

Love is an amazing thing when you're receiving it.


The 4th Annual Memorial Softball Tourney for Jeff was held on a beautiful day. And I'm not talking about just the weather. During the day there were just so many wonderful thoughts that entered my mind.

Playing softball with the same guys I grew up playing with was one of them. We had a rally where we scored a lot of runs and the same voices were saying the same things as we slapped hands.


Mom sat on the Lions bench for part of one of the games and when Rocco scored from first on a hit (he was running for as many people who would let him) she stared out, eyes filled with tears.

"How many times have you cried today?" I asked her.

"A lot," she answered.

Because of the love.

The people of North Collins are incredible. Our Baltimore (and Delaware) family is always front and center...with more love.


Life-long cherished friends.

It really is amazing.

I can't even possibly start naming names because there were just so many people who joined in and made sure that the Fazzolari's...and especially Johnny, Farrah and Rocco felt the love.

Simply incredible.

And I even commemorated the moment with my first beer in a year.


And as we set up, Bruce was on...of course...and Corinne made mention of how brutal he was singing the first song of the day.

"You know what song it is?" I asked.

"No."

"We shall overcome."

And we shall...because of the love of some amazing people.

(P.S. - the beer was good).

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Featured Book # 5 - In Real Life


My Real Life was becoming somewhat complicated and my love of reading and writing was in true peril. I'd gone from eternally single to a wife, two kids and a dog.

I was a little frightened that my schedule would be F&*#ed with.

Would I never be able to write again?

And I must admit, it took some moving around of things in the cluttered mental cage. I would have to write differently. I started carrying around note cards along with the black notebook.

On each note card I'd write a quote with just the chapter number on it. I'd have that card with me all week long. I'd jot down cute little things and push the story forward each day.

I also wanted to write funny again, and the story was about being disillusioned by life. In essence, we are not what we think we are.

And man, let me tell you, it was fun.

The most fun I've ever had writing a book, honestly.

My brother Jeff fed me a lot of lines for the book as did my college roommate, Mike Palmer. They are all over it.

Yet, Leo Brown worked himself into a real life, sort of by mistake. It actually mirrored what was going on in my new madhouse.

One other funny thing I recall about writing In Real Life. My beautiful wife was pregnant with Sam and her moods sort of jumped around (she would read just pages behind me back in those days) (don't ask about now-she hasn't picked up Dogs on Main Street!)...and In Real Life was about 4 chapters from being done.

She read what I wrote that morning and she came down the stairs with tears in her eyes.

"What's going to happen?" she asked.

"I don't know," I answered.

"What do you mean you don't know? They're people you have living in your freaking head. What happens?"

"It happens as I write," I tried to explain.

"Well then get your ass back up there and finish it because I wanna know what happens."

The book came out on September 10, 2001.

Jake got sick in early October.

My favorite book to write...and the first one where I thought, I can really do this, died on the vine.

I never actually liked the cover of this book, either. I hardly ever complain about how someone else does their job, but the cover didn't do it justice.

But the book is great!

It really is.

In Real Life!

Get your copy today.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Baseball Means More Than You Think

We were discussing baseball the other day - go figure - my poor wife has to listen to the same discussion every night when all the boys are here.

"The A's have the best record in baseball," Matt.

"I'm not even sure the Yankees are going to make the playoffs," Jake.

"27," Sam.

Then I follow it all up and mention exactly why Sam is right and the other two are dopey bastards.

Yet the photo of me, mom, my niece Andrea and my Mom has been sort of stuck in my mind lately.


Here's another one.

And I was telling my Syracuse great friends about our trip to Yankee Stadium.

"Mom really wanted to see Jeter play there," I said.

And it sort of hit me like a ton of bricks mid-thought.

Mom is a Yankee fan to be sure. A bunch of people have taken to calling her Mrs. Jeter.

Yet I doubt Mom could mention what position they're in or that Betances has a tremendous arm out of the bullpen.

When she sees the Yankees she sees me, and John and Jim, and Carrie Lynn and Corinne...and she especially sees Dad and Jeff.

The recap of the trip to my friends was kind of held up as I mentioned the love Mom has for Jeter.

I remember when Aaron Boone went deep off of Tim Wakefield to send the Yanks to the Series in 2003.

The game had ended at 1:45 in the morning.

I was in a hotel room in Syracuse and I cheered when that ball settled into the left field seats.

Jeff called me.

And Mom beeped in.

We were so excited.

On the NYC trip the players were warming before the game. Jeter was tossing a ball back and forth and he wandered close enough to our seats.

I turned to see if Mom had a beat on him.

And she was crying.

I laughed.

"Why are you crying?" I asked.

She pointed at Jeter and then shrugged.

I guess I knew why, at that moment, but I let it roll around my head awhile longer.

Grandpa Fuzzy loved the Yankees. Dad loved the Yankees. My beautiful wife loves them. My siblings and their kids all love them.

And Mom loves them.

I have two dopey bastards who don't, but that's why baseball is the best.

It's bigger than the game.

And even stupid A-Rod couldn't ruin that.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Moments

You always hear people talking about the 'moments' in life and trying to cherish each and every great 'moment' so that the rest of the painfully ridiculous things in life don't cause you to jump out a 33rd story window somewhere.

Sometimes the 'moments' come right when you're in the middle of being deathly tired or completely worn out.

For me the summer is a true battle of getting everywhere and visiting all the sites I can fit into a work day. Most of the work days have ranged from 10 to 16 hours. A lot of time to think about being worn out.

During this week some time was also spent in trying to set up things for a weekend where 'moments' will be made. 'Moments' with Jeff's kids. 'Moments' with family and friends.

But there's still work to do to set up those 'moments'.


Pops said 'Bah!' when I took the photo because he knew there was a blog coming. But I wanted to capture the pepper stuffing 'moment'.

Mike, Pops and I stuffed about 400 peppers. We worked at a steady pace and chatted about being worn out and tired, but we had some great 'moments' doing the work.

We talked about my family's recent trip to New York, with the Weisers and I flashed a couple of photos.


A great shot there with Mom photo-bombing with a little wave of the hand.

A captured 'moment'.

And I just know there will be a lot more 'moments' as the week progresses.

Just so you know...the pepper count begins on the night when the peppers are being made.

I've had 4 so far.

By Monday morning the count will be somewhere around the 44 mark.

I decided to honor Reggie this year!

Pepper party on Saturday.

Softball Tourney on Sunday.

We're gonna' pile the 'moments' together.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

D.B. of Week 3 - Donald Trump

What makes me think that the Donald could be a repeat performer on this list as dopey bastard or douche bag of the week?

(Remember, only you can make that distinction).

Yet, for the better part of the week I was considering using Ebola as the D.B. of the week because, after all, who wants to deal with a virus that results in veins exploding in your body as you writhe in agony?

Ebola is not good news.

Yet the Donald was worse than exploding veins when he callously stated that we needed to keep the doctors, who selflessly headed to West Africa to help once there was an outbreak...out of the country and away from help that might now save their lives!

Yep.

Donald went on a twitter rant where he said that those doctors needed to be kept out of the United States!

"They knew the risks."

The Donald further stated his 'walls around the country' theory because as we know, if you aren't white, and rich, you're just a piece of shit that shouldn't really be dealt with on a daily basis.

Ahh, Donald.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every face you looked into was white and everyone just nodded along with your tremendous profound thoughts?

For God's Sake!

The doctors went on a humanitarian mission to slow the outbreak of a disease that is not transmitted through the air and can only harm your rich ass if you somehow come into contact with the body fluids of those infected.

How is the fact that two doctors are being treated in Atlanta at a center where they really only have one chance to continue breathing a attack on the Donald?

I hate rating the D.B.'s that I choose, but the Donald may be winning the overall race toward D.B. of the year.

What a dolt.

"They knew the risks."

Unbelievable.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Steinbeck

Sometimes people will ask me at a writing event who my favorite author is.

Easy.

Steinbeck.

Then they'll ask which book.

Easy.

East of Eden.

Here's why:

And this I believe; that the free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in this world.

And this I would fight for; for the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.

And this I must fight against; any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.

This is what I am and what I am about.

I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system.

Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts.

If the glory can be killed, we are lost.


Keep that free, exploring mind.

It's valuable.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4th Annual Jeff Fazzolari Thunder Road Memorial Tourney!


The donations are coming in!

I need to win that plaque for my Yankee room.

Or how about this one?


Dave Neisser comes through every year and he takes it up a notch again - a Playboy Playmate model signs a photo directly to the tournament.


Rocco will be there!


Johnny will be there!


Farrah will be there!


Pops is stuffing peppers!!!


Come on out and celebrate! We love to see each and every one!

Monday, August 4, 2014

"In Da' Pooper"

Let me set the scene for such a colorfully titled blog.

We went to an annual party for my beautiful wife's side of the family. Jack & Diane (I'm not kidding) throw the party each and every year at their beautiful home.

The food is great. There are plenty of things for everyone to do for amusement, and the company is usually great - except my brother-in-law Michael wore a Boston Sux Sux shirt to annoy me and then he annoyed me further with his Palin-based political agenda.

Anywhoha...

There is a beautiful putting green on the property and I ambled over and grabbed a putter. Sam, who is tethered to my leg, also grabbed one. As did Michael and another-right-wing-nut, my nephew, Matt. The final putter went into my nephew Johnny's hands.

And as usual, when men get together, it was quickly turned into a competition with my nephew Jake keeping it all in line we set off on a little tourney.

There was only a single hole-in-one the entire time through.

Johnny got it and he started to taunt me a little bit.

I had flashbacks to his Dad.

Same tone, same smile, same aggravating gestures.

"Who has a hole-in-one?" he asked me every single time I looked at him.

Yet it was getting down to the nail-biting time.

Sam and Johnny were well behind as we headed toward the final shots to grab the 15 points.

It was me against the two right-wing nuts for the title.

Jake flipped the quarter and lined us up to the final hole.

We would be going from the green to the rough and back to the green again.

I eyed it up and got ready.

The score was tied.

Everyone was chirping.

I wanted to win.

And just as I started to bring the club back I felt something weird going on.

Johnny had stuck his putter into my backside.

I held up on the swing and turned to face him.

It was the same smile.

Those same dark eyes.

The same voice called out to me and he said the exact same words.

"In Da' Pooper."

I lost the competition.

Stupid, cheating Matt Snell made a garbage shot from off the rough to sink it in two.

All I needed from Johnny were the most famous of all words Jeff used to speak on the golf course when a putt hung on the lip:

"Ahhhhhhh, that's a shame."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Featured Book of the Week: Desperation


Oh what a book this monstrosity turned out to be.

The finished book is about 300 pages. I must admit that I wrote about 750 pages to get it done.

And then I re-wrote it completely.

I chose the tile from a Dire Straits song where Knopfler screams:

I've seen Desperation explode into flames.

I wanted it to be Desperation Explodes Into Pain but my publisher thought it was too long of a title.

But first things first.

The book started with one idea:

"What if I was born into a horrible life. Could I still be a good guy?"

And that thought was after I read about a child being born into a toilet in the ghetto somewhere. The kid was saved, but was he?

So I started off.

I wrote the entire book introducing a truly horrible villain who I named after my Uncle Jim's Insurance brochure. Billy Barth was born.

And I wrote and wrote and wrote and when I sent it to the publisher in about 1995 I was sure that the response would be overwhelming.

But it wasn't.

"It doesn't work," she said. "There's too much jumping around, and I'd like to see you write it from a completely different perspective."

"Okay," I said.

Then I hung up the phone and threw it into a drawer. There was no way I'd write it all again. I was writing things that Steinbeck wrote about! I was writing about surviving poverty!! She was wrong!!!

So I tossed it into the drawer and worked on Waldorf & Juli.

But then Bruce put out a record about poverty - The Ghost of Tom Joad - and it grabbed me again.

So I did do the complete re-write.

And looking back on it...I'm sorta' happy with it. Especially Part 2. I got that pretty well down.

But the press came calling. I was granted a really nice feature in The Buffalo News. Off of that I received a call from the Buffalo City Mission and I toured the place. I wrote a featured article that the Buffalo News published and from there a priest in Tonawanda took my words, read them in church and received a massive donation that really helped the homeless.

And that's when it hit me:

I can help other people when I write.

I donated to the Buffalo City Mission with the proceeds from Desperation.

And I enjoyed doing it.

And every once in awhile I think about Jackie Gregory and Billy Barth.

I answered the question on paper. Jackie grew to be a good man despite the horror of his early life.

But that was on paper.

I still think that Desperation mostly explodes into pain.

In real life.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

$@%&* Bon Jovi

It's pretty funny, actually.

People are really torching Jon Bon Jovi in this town because he may or may not be affiliated with a group that has interests in Toronto and if successful with his bid, may move the beloved clown (oh, sorry) team, the Buffalo Bills there.

So here in Buffalo they have stopped playing Bon Jovi in bars, and the rallying cry was offered by non-other than Andre Reed who is entering the Hall of Fame this year.

$@%&*Bon Jovi!!!

Where do I come in on this one?

1). I thought Andre Reed was great, but you know what the last play of the Bills-Giants game before Norwide went wide right? Yeah, Reed dropped a pass along the sidelines that would've made it a chip shot. Flat-out dropped it.

So there's that.

But he was Hall worthy.

2). I'm not a Bon Jovi fan. A couple of okay songs here and there, but he tried to imitate the real god of music from New Jersey and when they shared a stage at one of the benefits it was a little like having to sing a song with one of your kids at a kindergarten talent show. Bruce just made him look silly.

So there's that.

3). I don't want the Bills in Toronto, eh. I can barely stomach the Blue Jays. It would be a crushing blow to a fragile city. I will never spend a penny to support the NFL again until they stop some of their practices...and we've been through all those...I'm simply a watcher of football for the sole purpose of making a mockery out of it. But Buffalo should keep the Bills.

(Yet please people, remember, its a ball and a bunch of thugs chasing it. Please stop looking up to these dorks).

So there's that.

4). Besides my brother John had a very astute point one day when I mentioned that a lot of tax $ would be saved if the Bills weren't around.

"You think they're gonna' give you a rebate?"

But to stop playing a song because a guy has a rooting interest in maybe buying your team.

Sort of silly.

But you gotta' hand it to Reed. He said that he was just saying it for a lot of people who want to say it.

$@%&*Bon Jovi!!!

But mostly for just pretending that he can share a stage with Bruce.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Ray Rice Gets It Now

It just kills me.

Someone gets into trouble.

Here's the full gamut of what they have to go through:

1). I can't talk right now. The legal team has told me to stay quiet.

2). I made a mistake.

3). I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sorry.

4). I'm gonna' be the greatest human being for the rest of time now.

I had the unfortunate luck to be exposed to the Ray Rice apology that was run on ESPN.

He mentioned that:

"Ray Rice wants Ray Rice to be the best Ray Rice that Ray Rice can be."

And we all know how much I enjoy a good mention of your own name when you're speaking.

He wouldn't talk about the incident.

He spoke of the Bible.

(Always bring out the Bible when hitting the high points).

He was devastated by the 2-game suspension because he let his teammates down. Yet it pales in comparison with how he is punishing himself over this.

He even mentioned the standing ovation that the lovely Ravens fans gave him because, hey, who can't appreciate a man who can throw such a wonderful right cross?

But there was certainly a moment when I wondered:

"Is he being sincere?"

And I hope he is.

But you know what really irritated me?

The talking heads who were on after.

They were praising the apology.

"I think Ray Rice really gets it."

Then...

"What he had to say was profound."

Profound?

Good luck to Ray Rice.

And to the people giving him a standing ovation.

And especially to his wife.

And daughter.

Week In Review

Spicy 🌶 out!! How can we not be disappointed? I'm thinking that SNL will get one more episode out of it. They have to do something ...