Friday, October 31, 2014

Free Travel Bag!


Isn't that lovely?

My free travel bag is on the way if I freaking sign up for AARP.

And let me tell you, I'm sorta' ready.

This is the deal.

On Monday and Tuesday I felt great. I pushed the foot pain clear of my mind and ever since the doctor told me that it would be sticking around, I just sort of gave up trying to battle it.

Life is like that. You get used to crap and sooner or later it becomes part of the routine.

But I awoke on Wednesday ready to go and when I put my foot on the floor I felt a real stabbing pain in my right ankle - which is supposed to be the better of the two.

I didn't think much of it.

Dogs out, get the papers, eat cereal, chug coffee and out by 6:30. To the real big job downtown, make fun of a couple of people, walk around the ground floor and then through the 12 stories.

By the time I got to the ground I couldn't walk without bringing a whole lot of attention to myself.

"You gotta' go home, old man," the 20-something kid said to me.

I considered it. I should ice and elevate. Damn! Why didn't I put on the air casts?

The phone rang.

"OSHA is here!"

I headed to that site.

Four stories, limping all the way.

No sympathy.

"Go home!" the OSHA guy said.

I did.

I went home and got the air cast and went to three more jobs.

On the last job there was a real young kid there working beside a man who is five years older than me. As we talked about our problems, the kid looked on, amused.

"How old are you?" I asked.

"19," he said.

"You wait," I said. "When you're 50 you'll be talking about this stuff."

"50!" He said. "I ain't living until I'm that old!"

Little bastard.

Ice, elevate.

I ain't retiring yet.

F&*$ the travel bag!

The card went in the garbage.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

D.B. of the Week - Cliff Fazzolari

Yeah.

There's a real movement afoot to declare myself as the D.B. of the week.

Okay.

Here it is:

"Well I've built my own little dungeheap and here I sit flinging the shit about," - Charles Bukowski (speaking of Cliff Fazzolari)


The Buffalo Bills play each week.

I spend a lot of the week leading up to the game trying to agitate anyone who'll listen to me. You see, the Bills have gone 14 years without making the playoffs and not only did I get fed up with the hope, I started to speak loudly against it.

They always draft the wrong guy.

They cost us too much in taxes.

They're a bunch of criminals.

You've heard the rants.

Well, this week, I went a bit too far as far as my kids were concerned.

"Geno Smith is better than Kyle Orton," I proclaimed.

Truth be told, I didn't believe it.

In fact, gun to my head and I must admit that I thought the Bills would win to go to 5 and 3 on the year.

More honesty?

They have a chance to break their string of non-playoff years, and they finally got a draft pick right as Sammy Watkins is a great talent. He's fast. He's tough and he can make a difference.

Okay...

Cut to the game.

Geno Smith threw a pick right after the Bills scored.

On the next drive he threw another one.

On the drive after that: Interception.

The Bills were dominating.

The kids started talking about D.B. of the week.

"You pick on everyone else for saying stupid crap," Jake explained. "You said the dumbest thing I ever heard."

I hear ya'.

Congrats to me.

D.B. of the week.

The Bills play the Chiefs next.

My prediction?

Chiefs 31 Bills 20.

I'm just flinging the shit about.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Oscar Taveras

Most of the world probably doesn't know who Oscar Taveras is.

Baseball fans do.

Tavares was the next big star coming down the pike. He was the St. Louis Cardinals best prospect since Albert Pujols. At 22 years old, he was going to dominate for about the next 15 years.

He died on Sunday in a car crash in the Dominican Republic. His girlfriend also died in the crash.

My son Sam was seated beside me as we read the news on Twitter just as Game 6 of the World Series was set to start.

"Oh man," Sam said. "That's awful."

And I instantly thought back to the days of my youth when the Yankee Captain Thurman Munson was killed in an airplane crash. Thurman had been on two championship teams and was one of my favorite players.

I remember crying when my Mom told me. I also remember that she drove from our house to my little league baseball practice to break the news.

How was it even possible?

Sam seemed to be wondering the same sort of thing as we read about the accident.

"I hope he wasn't drinking," I said.

"What difference does it make?" Sam responded. "He's still gone."

Which was true, of course.

Moments later my wife saw the report of the accident during the World Series game.

"How awful," she said...saying almost the same thing as Sam, but for distinctly different reasons.

"I'm so afraid of the kids in the car. I dread the fact that they are driving around without me as the driver."

It is sort of easy to forget that Tavares was just a kid.

Born in 1992.

A big strong kid with the world at his ready.

A little while ago I saw a photo of Thurman Munson's son.

A whole bunch of tragedy came swimming into my brain.

How awful.

The twitter feed was filled with the following:

We send our thoughts and prayers to the Tavares family.

I suppose that is the best we can do in such a horrible situation.

"Man, I feel so bad," Sam said.

What else can you say?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kissing Booth

A little concerned with Ebola yet?

Man, the news is jumping all over this, huh?

It appears that Obama is responsible for spreading it. Evidently he's from Africa and that's where it started so it stands to reason that it was all part of the plan to bring down America.

Some people believe that.

And yet...

...should we be handling it a little differently?

The New York doctor went out on the town when he got home. He even went bowling.

I'm not big on bowling. I stunk at it.

It made me drunk.

Anywhoha...

The good doc went out to eat, bowling, walking around the city, and then he came down with the symptoms.

I mentioned that I was surprised that he hadn't opened a kissing booth at the end of his driveway.

And yet...

It's a bit complicated I think.

Why are these healthcare professionals going over there to play in it anyway?

Someone mentioned on one of the sites.

"Because they want to help," I said.

"We need to keep it out of here. The hell with those people!"

I couldn't answer that. Although I'm not sure if I were so trained that I'd hop on a plane over there to help.

Let's be honest here.

There are people who are a lot better than me and perhaps you.

So what to do?

Should the returning professionals feel like lepors if they've checked out?

Unfortunately, I think they should be set aside for the three weeks. It appears that there is risk involved. We certainly don't want it here.

We should want to contain it there.

Then again, I might be wrong.

Perhaps Barrack and Michelle did cook it all up in a lab underneath the White House in an effort to bring Africa to us.

Sounds reasonable, right?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Eating Better

I was late coming home on Friday and my wife was as well.

We did the dinner call about an hour after we should've been eating dinner.

Don't you wish you had the time back from the usual dinner banter. The 'what do you want to do?' stuff. The hardest part of making dinner is deciding what everyone wants to eat. My parents did it differently. We ate what was on the menu.

It was usually great.

"Did you take anything out?" I asked.

Since I was coming from out of town the prep work had to be done by someone else.

"Nope."

"What did the kids eat?"

"Chicken fries, probably," my beautiful wife said. "You want a sub?"

"I suppose."

So, I woke up Saturday morning with better eating on my mind. We'd been serving up too many fast meals during the course of the week although they had a roast when I was out on the road.

So, the fun started.

In an hours time on Saturday morning I marinaded steaks, peeled potatoes, made meatballs, started the sauce, got some ribs ready, made breakfast for the boys, and fried some peppers and onions so that I could slop them on every sandwich I eat in the next five days.

Beautiful.

As I was doing it I kept thinking of my brothers and sisters, off in their own little corners doing the same sort of thing.

Chopping onions, slicing garlic, pouring the olive oil.

I'm not sure that it's going to go down a generation as it was passed to us.

My boys certainly appreciate a good meal, but none of them has quite shown the ambition to actually do the work.

Maybe it's all about watching it being done. Perhaps they will jump on it when it's their turn to present it to their families.

I hope so.

Rumor has it that Matt has been cooking for his friends at St. Bonaventure.

Let's just hope it's not chicken fries and mac & cheese.

The steaks were great.

The sauce was perfect.

And the plan is to make the dinner plans for the rest of the week, well in advance.

I have a feeling there will be a call somewhere down the line:

"What do you want for dinner?"

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Life Is Hard-Part 2


Saw this photo on Twitter with the caption:

He brings a photo of his wife to put across from him as he eats.

And if you don't think that's pretty cool, you're kinda' heartless. You might wanna' get that checked.

As I'm prone to do I started to really think about that poor man. I considered that he'd probably shared an awful lot of time with his wife, and that he doesn't quite know how to go forward now.

That's the life is hard part.

It seems like there should be more of a pay off when you kinda reach the end. Yet. There he is:

Sitting across from his favorite photo.

And it's funny, but one of my buddies said:

"Turning 50 mess with you? Thinking about the less time in front of the horse than what's in back of the cart?"

And I'm really not. I still feel great, but my son had this to say on the day after my birthday:

"Does it bother you that 80% of your life is probably gone?"

(Why oh why did my kids turn out to be wise-asses? Where did they get it from?)

I laughed.

But then I saw this photo.

And I thought of that old guy. Heading off to the diner alone. Thinking about what she always ordered when she sat across from him. Having a conversation in his head with her as he ate.

Life is hard.

But it isn't sad.

Thank God he has that time to think back on.

Thank God the love didn't die with her.

Thank God she left a mark somewhere.

I'm imaging a few kids.

A happy life.

Laughs, love, days of wonder.

How can that be sad?

It just isn't.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Ridiculous - Part 2

Did you see the story about the Breaking Bad action figures being ripped from the shelves at Toys R Us because a woman in Florida got a petition going?

(She garnered about ten thousand signatures).

The woman believes that we cannot condone the violence and drug dealing ways of Jessie and Walt. She found the action figures to be dangerous to her children, evidently.

It was a television show!

What about Scooby-Doo?

Is your kid confused by a talking dog?

The best part of it came from my now favorite living actor, Bryan Cranston (with a head nod to Gandolfini, of course).

Cranston said:

"I burned my action figures of Florida moms."

Perfect.

How about the woman who was busted for DWI after trying to back into a tight parking spot at the county jail?

The woman was serving as a designated driver for her drunken boyfriend and she angled the car into a spot at what she thought was the parking lot for the bar.

It wasn't.

It was the parking lot where the cops parked their cars to attend to the jail, which was next door.

She struggled to park, they watched her from the window, and then they went out and hit her with the breathalyzer.

She failed.

A true shame about the shooting at the Parliament in Ottawa. The gun crap is out of hand and that happened in Canada where they have a handle on it a bit.

What galls me about all of it are the pro-gun posts that talk about freedoms. I try so hard not to get into the debate, but I always feel like asking someone who puts up that get-tough-with-your-representative-post - what can we do with the gun problem?

Surely you can't think the way it is now is okay, right?

But you can't even have the conversation.

I'm not anti-gun!

I'm anti-innocent people getting shot.

Still, two questions in and the gun guy starts calling anyone and everyone a commie-liberal-bitch.

What's the answer?

More guns?

Maybe it's Walt & Jessie's fault.

Or Scooby-Doo's

Ridiculous...

...times 2

Thursday, October 23, 2014

D.B. of The Week - MEUndies

This is a story of a man, making about $450,000 a year for running with a ball...and underwear.

Joseph Randle is a running back with the Dallas Cowboys.

He was arrested a couple of weeks ago for stealing underwear and a tester bottle of cologne.

The entire tab would've run him $123.00. Evidently that was too expensive, so he allegedly stole it.

Now normally that would be enough to grab D.B. of the week honors, but his actions pale in comparison to the people who actually run MeUndies.

They decided to hire Randle as a spokesman!

Yep.

They paid the fine that was levied on him by the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys hit him with a $29,500 fine.

MeUndies is going to pay that.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

He loves our underwear so much that he stole it!

But he's good guy so we're going to hire him and take away his fine and the shame that comes with doing something as low as shoplifting something that he didn't even need or want.

Isn't that beautiful?

And we wonder why these guys think that they're above the law.

Did you see the Jets traded for a known bad guy, Percy Harvin?

To make room on the roster for the constant troublemaker they cut a guy named David Nelson who's main claim to fame was that he used his spot in the league as a guy who helped raise money for the people of Haiti.

The NFL is a league where bad behavior isn't just ignored, it's rewarded!

Randle will make more money with his new job pitching underwear than many of us will make all year.

Don't you love when things work out?

And there is a scheme attached to it, but can someone tell me why a company would go out of their way to hire a guy who was confronted by 'an old man'? (that's what Randle allegedly called the security guard who busted him).

Randle allegedly said 'when the old man came up to me I said, 'you got me.'

And then this gem:

"If I'd a known it was gonna' be such a big deal I woulda' just kept walking."

Ohhhhhh!

Now I get it!

Randle was a good guy because he stopped walking away when the 'old man' busted him.

Hey, he could've knocked the old dude out with one punch, right?

He showed tremendous character there, folks.

I had it all screwed up....if I would've known he was such a warm dude I would've hired him too.

D.B.'s all around.

Thank God I wear tighty-whities.

I don't have to worry about stealing $50 underwear.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ridiculous

There really are times when it seems that life sort of conspires to slap the living shit out of you, right?

Here's what I learned this week:

1). My dog has a disease I never even heard of until a week ago.

2). The vet charges $48 for a bag of saline.

3). When the phone rings once it will ring twelve times in a row, often times beeping in over and over until you want to throw it out the freaking window.

4). Ebola is running rampant - how many one's of people have it now in the U.S.?

5). Relaxing is tiring and the results of relaxing only last about seven minutes into the new work week.

6). 50 feels as shitty as 49.

7). It's getting cold outside.

8). When you fill your car with gas and set off on a long trip you'll just get on the Interstate when the low tire pressure light will come on.

9). When you leave the kids home alone they won't give you a straight answer about what they're doing:

"We're smoking crack and inviting babes over," they told us.

10). It is possible for me to not be able to finish a big dinner!

I had to leave a bit of my birthday dinner to be finished the next day.

Yep.

I left a taste of pasta. I just couldn't finish it!

11). The vet charges $98 for the dog to be able to sleep in a cage.

(I pay less than that for an entire hotel room).

12). We don't control anything.

Yeah. I've been learning that lesson over and over.

Yet there was a real fear in our home when Paris wasn't running around the house and when she was really close to leaving us despite the fact that she's just a young dog.

You could feel it in the texts from the boys who were looking for us to make it better.

I could feel it in my own heart.

Sometimes life is just too ridiculous to live - as John Mellencamp once wrote.

But you fight through.

And in the end you don't really mind paying $72 for the person to take the dog out of her luxury suite to go and take a piss.

Ridiculous.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spreading the Fear

So, do you have Ebola yet?

From what I hear it's a foregone conclusion that we're all going to get it, so why not just crumple up now?

There are people out there who truly are trying to spread the fear and if you don't think so just flip on the news.

You'd think that right now it's a disease that is affecting millions here.

And I'm not downplaying it at all.

It sounds absolutely horrible.

But it isn't out of control in the United States, isn't it?

You'd honestly think it was.

I saw a note over the weekend that said 'more people have married Kim Kardashian than have contracted Ebola in the United States.'

If that truly is the case than we aren't in panic mode yet, right? (I'd be more afraid of Kim at this point).

But why I'm so afraid of the disease, is because it is going to truly incite fear into those who are vulnerable to those sorts of things.

There are people all over this great land who fear:

1). Our Own Government

2). The End Times

3). Black People

4). Gay People

5). People Coming For Their Guns

And a lot of other things.

As I type these words there are people hunkered down with the scope of their rifles aiming for the end of their own driveways as they consider how they're gonna' blast their way out when trouble comes a calling.

And now here comes Ebola sauntering down the street.

Grab your gas masks, folks.

But, again, not downplaying it.

Those who are in positions of leadership must be smarter about it and that certainly includes those who are supposedly quarantined for being in contact.

You're one of the nurses involved and you have to go on a fast-food run?

You know you've been exposed and you need to sit down on a Cleveland-bound plane?

And one other question...

...why is it America's problem each and every time?

We hear about people hating Americans, but when the poop hits the fan...

Can America help?

We will help.

We will get it under control.

I'm confident of both of those facts.

So control the fear.

Right?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Relaxing Is Tiresome

My beautiful wife's birthday idea was to get me away for a little while so I wouldn't feel compelled to do something that involved work, and I really believed that it was a good plan that would benefit both of us.

We headed to Peek & Peak a resort that offers golf and skiing - it's just about at the Pa. border, so far enough away. The weather wasn't good for either golf (which I love) or to ski (which I hate).

So we relaxed.

Hot tub, pool, massage at the spa, a couple of movies, and good food.

I actually slept past 8 o'clock on Saturday morning which I don't think I've done in 15 years.

By the time the movie ended in the mid-afternoon between the massage and dinner, I was fighting to keep my eyes open.

"Damn, this being lazy takes up a lot of time," I said.

Yet there were moments when I wanted to do something more.

It truly is hard to get a Fuzzy to settle down for a long spell, but I kept lecturing myself.

"Don't clean the hotel room."

"Don't worry about writing anything."

"Don't answer e-mails."

There were a lot of people who wished me a Happy Birthday and I typed a few thank-you's, but I really didn't have any extended conversations about how weird it was to be turning 50.

It is just a number, and truth be told, I feel okay.

I wish I had new legs, but what can you do? I'll probably just miss the technology where we can change out parts.

I also did a bit of reflecting, and as we are prone to do when the kids aren't around, we talked about them.

And so far, so good. We have pretty decent children. They appear to be growing into thoughtful people and that was the main focus of our job.

I thought back as well, remembering the 50 years and the people who have passed through my life.

I certainly didn't feel like drinking, but as the waiter asked us what we wanted with our dinners it didn't feel right to just order a water.

I got a Jameson's on the rocks.

It was Jeff's shot of choice and unfortunately I've learned to like it a little.

As I sipped the drink and waited on my pasta I watched the rain fall on the windows of the restaurant.

What a miserable day, I thought.

And that thought was quickly replaced by this one:

What a beautiful day.

I raised the glass high and just left it hanging there. Not really sure what to toast, but toasting everything, I suppose.

As the whiskey settled I considered one other thing:

Damn! Being restful is tiring.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Featured Work of the Week - Bob Seger - Ride Out

It's been a pretty good few months for those of us who like music that doesn't have a beat, or horrific language, or the rap voices.

First there was the free U2 record.

Then the Mellencamp record.

Then Melissa Etheridge and now new records by Bob Seger and Neil Young and even freaking Pink Floyd.

It feels like 1988.

I heard about the Seger record and then listened to an interview by the Detroit rocker. I considered purchasing the record with a few clocks of the thumb through I-tunes.

(I still don't like buying records like that, by the way).

And then I thought:

Maybe I'll wait until I hear a couple of tracks.

But I couldn't.

I ordered the record quickly and it downloaded instantly. Within 5 minutes of having the thought I was listening to that old familiar voice.

The songs played one after another.

I liked that one, I thought.

And I repeated that thought 13 straight times.

I like it.

I like it.

I like it.


All good songs with good lyrics and damn his voice is Still the Same.

I thought of what Seger had said during the interview.

He wasn't releasing music because he thought he'd be a big star again.

He's 70 years old!

He wasn't releasing the music because he was dying to go on tour - although he'll be doing that - he was releasing the music because he wanted to and because he thought there were things he still needed to say.

And that's when the music means a little something.

So make a couple of thumb clicks and grab the new Seger record.

It's worth the effort, for sure.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

Fifty-Freaking-Years-Old

It's gonna' take a long while to get used to it.

But I'm 50.

And I suppose that the thing to do today is to think about all of the love in my life.

Great friends.

A tremendous family life - both growing up through the first 30 years - and after the shit hit the fan and my beautiful wife came charging into my life.

My Mom and Dad.

My brothers and sisters.

My beautiful wife and adoring children.

My dogs!

Just surrounded by love every single step of the way.

So, what does 50 tell you?

It tells you that it's a pretty good formula.


So here is me at 50!

I look pretty good, right?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Baseball Playoffs!!!!

There was a point during one of the Royals-Orioles games when it hit me that football is a waaaaaayyyyyy more popular sport than baseball.

And I will never be able to figure that out.

There's a flag on the play!!!

But I get it, I guess (people like to gamble)

But this isn't about football...it's about baseball!

I got over my no Yankees in the playoffs angst quickly because I wanted to watch the games, and because I don't really cry when they lose anymore.

(Okay, I cry a little).

But I thought:

A's over Royals in the Wild Card Game and Pirates over Giants.

Neither of those things happened, but surely Detroit would beat Baltimore, the Angels would sweep the Royals, the Giants would lose to the Nationals and the Dodgers (with their ridiculous payroll) would beat up the Cards.

None of those things happened.

I got every single series wrong!

But Baltimore would finally beat the Royals and the Cards would certainly beat the Giants!!

Uh...nope...the Royals swept the Orioles and the Giants raced to three wins rather quickly.

So, who do I think will win the World Series?

Who cares what I think?????

I'm a dopey bastard!

And the thing that has been amazing about it is that every single game has been a good game. The pitching has been good, the defense has been unreal and there haven't been any really controversial calls that have twisted the outcome of the game.

None of the players have been arrested.

Even Tim McDumbass is gone.

The playoffs have been just about perfect even though I haven't got a single thing right.

Hell, I don't even have to listen to all of the Baltimorons crow about da' O's, hon - because they were swept the hell out...and they can't possibly brag about winning the division, right?

(In Yankee land winning the division and losing in the playoffs is akin to finishing dead last).

But here we are.

One more big series left.

Now if we could just get rid of Joe Buckhead.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

D.B. of the Week - My Vet

Paris is a ball of energy around our house.

Normally.

Despite the fact that she is now 5 years old Paris moves around non-stop. I often have to chase her away from me because she's relentless.

But on Friday we noticed that she was actually sleeping.

Then we noticed that she wasn't eating or drinking anything at all.

Soon enough we were trying to coax her outside.

Then she didn't want to even go for her car ride.

So...off to the vets we went.

Sam is a big-hearted kid and he was infinitely worried. He sat in the room with me as the vet started asking questions. It didn't take long on the initial visit. We were sent home with some antacid pills, basically, and supposedly Paris received a shot in the back room that would have her up and moving in no time.

$284!

But whatever, right? You have to keep the living things alive.

It didn't work.

Paris was worse off on Tuesday morning. Now mind you, she hasn't eaten a single thing or taken more than a sip of water since Friday.

Here comes D.B. of the week:

Vet: So, have you noticed a change in her appetite?

Me: I told you 12 hours ago, she hasn't eaten a thing in 4 days.

Vet: Has she lost weight?

Me: She weighed 47 pounds a month ago. She weighed 43 pounds last night. She weighs 41 today.

Vet: So she has?

I didn't even answer that one.

Vet: When she swallows do you notice a gag reflex or regurgitation?

Me: She has not swallowed anything since Friday.

Vet: So, you haven't noticed anything?

Again. I didn't answer.

Vet: Have you noticed if her bowel movements are strained or if they're runny?

I must have rolled my eyes because the guy looked a bit nervous.

Me: I do not believe that she has had a bowel movement since she hasn't eaten a thing since Friday.

He looks down at his papers for a long while.

Vet: So you started noticing the symptoms on Friday?

Me: Are you for real?

Another person came into the room shortly after that. Evidently I had been speaking with a tech of some sort.

New Vet: So, Paris is having trouble with vomiting, right?

As I write this, Paris is currently in the hospital.

The estimate is for over a grand. She will most likely be in for 1-3 days.

New Vet: We're going to see why she's having trouble swallowing.

Me: That would be great.

Of all the D.B.'s of the week up until now this was the first one that I might have choked had I figured out an exit plan.

Visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. if you'd like to see Pair-Pair.

Donations can be made payable to Kathy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My New I-Phone

First off: Happy Birthday to my buddy, Jeff Renaldo - love you, pal!

Secondly,

My family certainly knows me well.

The one thing that is unchanged around these parts is that I'm not big on change.

Of course, I do use my phone for work and it truly is a huge asset for a lot of other things I enjoy doing like reading news and O also enjoy Twitter and busting on my friends on Facebook.

So it's in my hand a lot of the time.

Yet I had a bit of a problem because if I were to take the upgrade through my provider I was going to lose my data plan. I was resigned to the fact that I'd stay with a 4S for the rest of my life.

Which was okay, I guess, but my beautiful wife and adoring children had a plan to surprise me with the I-Phone 6 for my birthday. They were so excited (and so fearful that I needed a week to get used to the idea of change) that they gave it to me a week early.

I didn't jump for joy when I opened the box and while I certainly appreciated it, and certainly wanted the upgrade there was one thing holding my excitement in check.

Yep.

As soon as I saw the box I started dreading the anxiety that I would feel as my data was switched to the new phone.

It was a truly tangible thing.

And it's awful disconcerting knowing that you can't fully appreciate something because you know the angst it will bring you.

Let me further illustrate it for you.

Do you remember Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets?

That would have been me had my wife not saved me.

People laughed at the fact that he was such a sad sack in that movie, but I watched it with a real lump in my throat, and while I have mostly conquered it...there are moments.

Kathy decided to make the switch with the phones as the Bills game was on this past Sunday. She figured that if I were looking at the screen I'd be less occupied with what she had to do to get my data transferred.

And let me tell you, I did good.

Not a single word of anger.

I waited patiently.

Kathy struggled with a couple of the changes, but not once did I shout out:

JUST FORGET IT! GIVE ME MY OLD PHONE BACK!!

So, here we are.

A new phone.

It's awesome, by the way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What Happened?

On Sunday morning it occurred to me that the lead story in the Buffalo News, for the past ten days, had been the Buffalo Bills or Terry Pegula, or Kim Pegula, or thoughts of the new stadium.

Ten straight days!

In a world where Ebola is torturing people.

In a country that is in how many wars?

In a city where we are third-poorest in the nation.

On the streets where there are murders each and every day.

We are celebrating a couple of billionaires who bought a team that makes millionaires of men who may or may not be suffering permanent head injuries from smashing their noggin into other over-sized chemically enhanced men.

It's crazy to me.

And on Sunday morning I took the dogs for their ride around the neighborhood and watched as a group of 20-something men and women gathered their food and beer, all decked out in their Bills garb, preparing to head for the stadium that sits less than 2 miles from where I'm writing this blog.

They were all laughing and chatting it up and I thought of all the games I went to back when I was their age. I recalled standing at the tunnel that takes you out of the stadium, high-fiving total strangers because the Bills were going to their first Super Bowl, and then their second, and then their third, and then their fourth.

So happy.

I headed into the house.

Matt was at the kitchen table.

It was way too early for him to be up and out of bed on a Sunday morning. He was wearing a Bills shirt. He was arranging his two-mile ride to the big stadium.

"What's your prediction?" I asked.

"Bills are gonna' crush 'em," he said.

Exactly what I thought he'd say.

"You home for dinner?"

"We'll play that by ear."

We didn't get much into the recent NFL difficulties. I didn't bring up my feelings about Ray Rice, or Roger Goodell, or Adrian Beatyourkids.

I did, however, mention what the investigation into the death of Belcher from the Kansas City Chiefs had determined.

Belcher had died from a self-afflicted shotgun wound, just moments after he had murdered his wife. It turned out that his brain had been badly damaged by repeated hits. There was a better than average chance that what had happened was a result of something else.

"Doesn't that bug you about the game?" I asked.

"Not on game day!" He said.

"Have a good time," I said.

"You gonna' watch?"

"Most likely," I answered.

I'm not sure what has happened, but I'm sort of ashamed of being drawn to it.

I really am.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mission Statements

I've had a lot of people asking me if turning 50 is difficult on my already fragile, feeble mind.

"I'd rather do it than not," I told my beautiful wife when she inquired.

Yet there certainly are moments when you do the whole 'taking stock' thing. Life is never perfect, right, but there are moments when you want to say:

I'm doing okay in THAT at least.

I have resigned myself into knowing that I will never not think about things and try to work out the kinks. I truly envy the people who seem to be skating through life without a care in the world.

I suspect that they are also lying.

Still...

...the taking stock thing reared its head as I trudged through an active demolition job. We've already talked about my fascination with finding old newspapers and old discarded parts of life.

Well on Friday I sort of hit a gold mine.

I'm not sure what type of business it was but I stumbled on old discarded human resources files and a bunch of Mission Statements that were completed by the employees who had once gathered there. The first one I picked up caught my immediate attention.

The question asked:

What are tangible and intangible things that you would most like to have in life?

Halfway through the answer, and judging by the neat handwriting I knew that I was dealing with a young woman.

A beautiful home that is bright with lots of windows, she began (quite a detective picking out 'woman' there, huh?).

I want unique furniture and a big backyard with lots of trees and water. I want a happy and successful husband and I want extra wealth. I want more good, fun friends. I want to be a healthy, happy Mom.

Before I poop all over this woman, I guess that those are all things that we all want. Yet the thing that made my stomach turn was that she used the phrase, I want.

There's more:

I want to travel to Europe and Africa and Israel and South America.

I want to take up knitting again.

I want to create beautiful things.

I want to buy a beautiful home.

I want to be a successful business woman who is strong, confident and highly respected.

I want to be beautiful and sexy and kind, smart and humble.

I want to be articulate, interesting, fun, less serious and more carefree.


In the very last paragraph she mentions her husband-to-be.

I want Wayne to be the man he wants to be and to make me happy.

F&*King run, Wayne!

Run until your legs can't carry you any more, and then crawl away and hide in the bush until you don't hear her anymore.

And I'm not being cynical here, but there's a moment in time when life sours a little on such high expectations, and you think to yourself:

1). Mission Statements Are Stupid.

and

2). The Pressure We Put On Ourselves Can Be Crushing.

Now that's not to say that goals are dumb...they aren't. I set a lot of personal goals on a rather routine basis. I just know a few things about doing it as I approach the 5-0.

First:

You can't buy a beautiful home...you build it...by what is inside. The light from the outside is less important than the light burning in the interior.

Second:

Success will find you if you are willing to work hard.

Third:

What people perceive you to be is way less important than what you perceive you to be.

Fourth:

Knitting?

Fifth:

Consistency in behavior will allow you to feel good about the physical wreck that you will eventually become. You certainly waste a lot of time thinking about how you look in a physical sense. You're eventually going to be a train wreck, honey...don't worry about it.

Sixth:

Wayne has a big job ahead of him if you're waiting for him to make you happy. He can't make your dreams come true - but as Bruce once said in the fabulous song - I Wanna' Marry You -

To say I can make your dreams come true would be wrong, but maybe, darlin' I can help them along.

And finally...

Seventh:

When part of the mission falls flat as it probably will:

Forgive yourself.

It's the best way to keep on going.

To dream to dream another day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Featured Work of the Week - M.E. By Melissa Etheridge

I remember when I first heard about Melissa Etheridge. My buddy Tom who lived up the road had the record and he invited us over to listen to it. Tom is the biggest Who fan I know (sorry, Terry) and we would often argue about Who versus the Stones.

Tom played the record with Similar Features on it, for me and my brother John, and we all agreed that Melissa rocked like a man. We all wondered if she was good looking, but as it turned out, she later came out as gay. Didn't matter at all. Good artist.

Soon after we found out she was a Bruce fan as well and she famously sang the line "So Mary climb in," when singing Thunder Road with Bruce. Springsteen laughed.

By chance I was listening to E-Street radio yesterday when Melissa was guest d-j and she talked about all of that stuff back then - she didn't mention Tom. But she also talked about her new song - where she went for the Bruce sound. She nailed it. It's a great song and I was instantly drawn to the line "There's a billion stars out in an endless sky."

Get it. It's good!


I Won't Be Alone Tonight

Gonna put my boots on, pull back my hair
There’s a heartbreak in the night, but I don’t care
Got to find me an angel, one that’s just a little mean
In cheap sunglasses and low rise jeans

I’ve had enough of a stuffed up wall
I’m breaking out tonight that’s all
Don’t owe nobody money as far as I can recall
I, I won’t be alone tonight
The darkness will end and I won’t be alone, won’t be alone tonight
There’s a billion stars out in an endless sky
And I won’t be alone, won’t be alone, won’t be alone tonight

Talking to the mirror, working up my nerve
I say you’ve had much more of this than you deserve
Come on
Come on lift up my head, I gotta take a little chance
I’m gonna meet a beat my feet can dance
I’ve had enough of a one way screen, hours and hours of cheap caffeine
Get me a clean shirt, find me the in-between

Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohhhhhh, Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohhhhhh
Ohh Ohh Oh oh alone, oh oh alone
Oh Oh Oh alone tonight
Made my bed and that's my choice
I just wanna hear another human voice
Screaming pillows and secret tears
Every single night for a hundred million years

But not tonight

I, I won’t be alone tonight
The darkness will end and I won’t be alone, won’t be alone tonight
Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohhhhhh, Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohhhhhh

Ohh Ohh Ohh Ohhhhhh
Won’t be alone tonight
No no no no no
Tonight, tonight, won’t be alone tonight

Saturday, October 11, 2014

In Your Infinite Wisdom

My father was tremendous at arguing.

In fact, he would argue almost anything just to get me to take another look at things.

In doing that he made me consider things I never would have considered, and he also allowed me to become a royal pain in the ass to my own children.

Clayton Kershaw is a pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers and everyone who follows baseball knows that he's the best.

I guess I got sick of hearing my kids sing his praises. I have nothing against Kershaw, mind you, I just hate when anyone who isn't wearing an interlocking NY on his chest gets too much attention.

"He needs to do it in the playoffs," I said to Jake and Sam. "You can't call him the best until he does it when the pressure is on.

During Kershaw's first playoff start this year he was pitching a gem when the bottom fell out.

He gave up 8 runs in the game and I quickly reminded the boys.

3 days later he got beat again.

Sam really didn't want to hear it, but in an effort to make my Dad proud...

...I bashed him over the head with the fact that:

(Let's say it together now).

"Cliff was right and you were wrong."

(OK, I can see how that might get a tad irritating).

It drive Sam absolutely crazy.

Of course he really didn't have much on his side in the way of facts as Kershaw did take a beating, but as he was taught, he wasn't going down meekly.

He argued back.

(His poor kids are going to suffer the same fate).

"Big deal! You throw crap against the wall all day long. Clifford Michael, in his infinite wisdom, was right about Kershaw. Let's all bow down to Clifford Michael, the great genius of the world."

General notes:

(Sam has a theory that everyone's middle name is Michael -he does it in honor of his friend in South Jersey).

I really didn't have an answer to his rebuttal and he just kept going on the same theme:

"Oh great wizard, tell us what is happening next. Oh brilliant man, please share your wisdom with us peons."

I took to calling him "Clayton" every time we passed in the hall.

And eventually everyone started telling us to please just shut up!

God I love to argue.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Past, Present & Future

So, I was shooting the breeze with a doctor friend of mine and we started talking about a hundred years from now and how exciting life will most likely be by then. There will most certainly be unbelievable advancements in technology and who knows?

Maybe we will have figured out how to live by then.

I think of my grandfather's life that spanned the invention of the automobile, the air travel being perfected and on down to all of the advancements in entertainment including television.

What an amazing time to be alive.


But it always fascinates me to look back as well and the gas masks on the kids during the world wars is mind-boggling, isn't it? My parents remember all of the sirens going off when they were children and there had to be a lot of panic involved, right?

I remember the fallout shelter stuff as the nuclear devastation was thoroughly discussed when I was a kid. There are still fallout shelters around and I can't fathom having to live out very long in a vault.

(Especially with my beautiful wife and kids)

You know?

That would be creepy.

Eating freeze-dried stuff.

In a confined area.

I'd run outside about twenty minutes into the apocalypse.

Any-who-ha...

What about the social shifts along the way?

I watch the old television shows because I enjoy the long gowns and the demure look of the women. Men in top hats. Holding doors. Going out dancing.

It all seemed fairly classy.


This is supposedly a man begging his wife for forgiveness just outside of a divorce court.

How many words could you get out of that photo?

I could do a book, I think...

...and that is what is fascinating about the day in front of you.

You can look forward and fantasize.

You can look back and reminisce.

And the day you have...right now...today...is there to be lived.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

D.B. of the Week - Rush Limbaugh

Okay, so the Ebola scare is a hot button issue.

Everyone has an opinion especially since there are people leaving Africa and entering the United States while carrying the disease.

There is a real opportunity to spread fear in the situation.

There are plenty of people out there willing to spread the fear as well. Perhaps travel to the country should be slowed until we have a handle on it...but...

...Up steps Rush Limbaugh to grab the D.B. of the week honors as he addressed the issue.

Do you know why travelers are allowed into the United States while carrying the disease?

Well, according to Rush it's because Obama is working hard to pay back the people of the United States for...

...get this!

Slavery!

Yep, that's the crap that Rush was pedaling this week.

Obama so hates the country that he is allowing planes to come over filled with Ebola patients so that he can finally even the score regarding slavery!

I had to listen to that one a couple of times before I actually believed that it had been said, but it was a true topic of conversation.

Unbelievable.

Yet it speaks to a bigger batch of real D.B.'s...

...political guys who always argue one way.

Now there may be people out there who believe that I can be labeled as a liberal or a Democrat...perhaps...but I am not dumb enough to think that whatever party I root for is always right.

There are a lot of people who don't care what their chosen party does - the other guy is always wrong.

For instance:

Do we negotiate with terrorists?

A while back a deal was brokered to free a captured American.

The social media went nuts!

It was called a huge mistake.

A little while later a captured American was beheaded!

"Why didn't we rescue him?" the same freaking guy screamed.

And that's what I think of when I think of this week's D.B. of the week.

Rush Limbaugh.

I think he could win the award a lot of the time...

...but he's not always wrong.

He was wrong this week.

Slavery.

Holy shit.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Turning 50

I'm in my last ten days in the decade of the 40's.

It's weird to me.

We watch a lot of the Dateline, 48 Hours types of shows and early this week there was an episode concerning a murder that happened on October 18, 1974.

I remembered the day well.

It was my 10th birthday.

It was the worst birthday of my life.

Up to that time and since.

You see, I was on the Little Loop football team that year. Before the season started, I had visions of being a great running back like Orenthal James Simpson of the Buffalo Bills.

What I turned out being was a guy who rode the bus to sit on a bench outside in the cold, drizzling rain.

The highlights of all the games were the orange slices they served at halftime. I'd eat 20 of those as the coaches talked about what we had to do to make up the 3-touchdowns we were behind.

I recall the morning of my 10th birthday.

Me: I'm not going to our game today. It's my birthday.

Mom: Yes you are. You signed up. You aren't quitting.

I remember begging to stay home.

Mom wasn't raising a quitter. I had joined up. She had paid for it. I was going. We had presents and cake for after the game.

Fair enough, I suppose, but I recall pulling out of the school parking lot after the game had ended. It was dark. It was raining. I was cold. I hadn't played even a minute of the game that we had lost handily. My head was pressed to the glass of that cold bus window.

Life sucked.

"It's my birthday," I kept thinking, "and I missed it."

Of course, we opened presents. The cake was shaped like a football. A brown cake with white icing for the laces.

And I open my eyes.

Nearly 40 years later.

What the hell happened?

Where did all the time go?

Still, I'm not really down about any of it.

I've had a full life.

Every day is a day where I am grateful for something.

There are moments that feel like that long bus ride home, to be sure, but the love is still all around me.

And I haven't quit on anything I set out to do...whether I wanted to do it...or whether it needed to be done.

I often think of my Mom on the day of my birth. I sometimes ask her what she remembers about all of it...and she can recall everything...from the first jabs of labor pain on through to choosing my name:

"I told the doctor we were going to name you Clifford and your father said that it sounded like a name for the dog. Our dog's name at the time was Prince, and Dad said:

"Why don't we name the dog Clifford and the kid Prince."

Can you imagine?

I could've been Prince before that little purple guy from Minnesota.

Ah, the possibilities.

And at nearly 50 that's what I still think about.

The possibilities.

I'm nearly halfway home.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

At the Movies

It was a rainy, cold miserable weekend in Buffalo.

"It's gonna' get worse," was what I said to my beautiful wife as we headed to the movie theater to see Gone Girl.

I wasn't thrilled with the movie choice as I'm not a Ben Affleck fan, but that's more about him being a Suck Sux fan and bashing the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized American Sports.

But Gone Girl it was.

I dropped Kathy and Sam at the door and they headed in for tickets. I parked the car a long ways away and made the long walk alone. I broke through the door and went to the food line.

Sam can't watch a movie without a huge blue slushie and some candy. I needed the "small" water for $6. We got a small bag of popcorn too. $22 in damage for that crap and the guy in line was so slow that I wanted to pull him over the counter.

But we were inside.

And you could tell how miserable it was outside by how filled the theater was. By the second preview Kathy moved from beside Sam to beside me.

"Oh, how nice," I said. "My wife wants to sit with me."

"Believe me, it ain't you," she said. "The guy behind me was narrating the previews and he's stupid."

So we settled in.

And yeah, I heard the guy behind us.

He commented on everything.

If a character swore he said "Uh-Oh! That's not nice."

He laughed at times in the movie that called for drama.

And then.

The guy two seats down from me starting digging into the bottom of his popcorn bucket.

I swear to God it was all I could hear for about six minutes.

I had a moments thought of grabbing the bucket out of his hands, pushing it down on his head, and pulling it enough for his head to break through the bottom.

I could almost see the butter dripping down his stupid forehead.

And maybe it was because I didn't love the movie.

"I thought it'd be better," Sam said partway through.

He was on his phone checking the score of the Nationals-Giants game. We watched an inning pass as the movie played and played and played.

Of course, in the end, it was all about the experience of it all. Movies cost a lot of money these days and I still think it's decent entertainment, I suppose. I have no bitches about paying for the experience.

But people that you don't know are truly irritating.

Aren't they?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rolling the Dice

In my job there are plenty of chances to confront people who are doing things that don't make much sense to me. As an inspector who has a little power to discipline I'm always surprised when I see something way out of whack.

A few years ago I walked up on a mason who was setting brick about 35 feet in the air. He was on a scaffold that was not protected. One wrong step and he'd hit the ground. He was a big man - at least 250 pounds. He was working hard.

"What are you doing for fall protection?" I asked from the ground below.

"Bumbles bounce," he said.

I laughed.

Then there was a 19-year-old who stuck his right hand between two guards on a press unit. He had been trying to do the job quickly, un-jamming a stuck piece without de-energizing the equipment. He lost three fingers on his strong hand. I had a chance to interview him months later.

"How much extra money did you make?" I ask.

"60 bucks," he said.

Twenty bucks a finger.

And I've thought about it a lot, of course.

What makes a man take chances?

About 15 years ago I was on a site as we tried to piece together why a man who was 60 feet in the air didn't use his fall restraint.

As you can guess, the man didn't survive.

His days stopped at just 35 years old. He left a wife and a baby at home.

Why?

All through the investigation, which involved the media, OSHA, the employer and the man's co-worker we all just looked at one another and mouthed that one word question.

Why?

Having been in the business of safety now for better than 20 years I ask myself that question on a daily basis.

I ask those I see doing dumb things the question over and over again.

And do you know what I've figured out?

1). People suck.

2). No one likes being told what to do.

3). It's not natural to do it safely.

4). No one believes that it'll happen to them.

5). Everyone thinks they can save a little time if they just do the horribly dumb act quickly.

I have a number of tools in my bag of tricks to try and help these guys make the right decisions every day. I'll often take a photo of a guy doing something moderately stupid. Then I'll call him down to look at the photo.

"What should I do with this?" I'll ask. "Send it in the report to your boss?"

Of course the guy will beg for forgiveness.

"Are you going to think of me the next time you wanna' do something stupid?"

"If you erase it?"

"When's your birthday?" I'll ask.

Then I'll take my time making sure that they see me hit erase.

"I only do that for someone once," I'll say.

And you wonder...

...why do we roll the dice and play easy with our lives?

"Bumbles don't bounce," I yelled back at that guy on that scaffold. "You're gonna' make a huge freaking mess on the sidewalk!"

"I'll get a rail," he said.

And sometimes that's all we really ever need.

Just someone walking by us...

...reminding us that we're being dumb.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Featured Work of the Week: Breaking Bad

Every once in awhile there's a Breaking Bad marathon on these days.

I still watch.

And of all the things in recent memory I am captured by the series and the acting and the suspense. It's been over a year since I viewed the final episode and there's still a part of me that wishes:

There was more.

Vince Gilligan, the show's creator is putting out a new show in February featuring Saul Goodman, but can he repeat it all?

I'm not sure, but I'll be watching.

I also have a couple of sons who run around here telling me that Breaking Bad wasn't as good as Dexter, but try as I might, I can't get on the side of a guy who's butchering people.

Maybe someday we will give it a chance.

But I'm featuring works that strike me, and there were a lot of reasons why Breaking Bad has stuck in my brain.

First off, Walter White.

A man who worked hard and did things the right way and then was hit with the grim reality of it all ending one day, before he wanted it to, and well before he set up his family in the way he envisioned.

His choices were made for him, and while he trudged through daily life, feeling worn out, he needed to take a last stand.

His intentions were honorable, and I believe that was hooked me from day one. Now cooking and selling meth isn't the way out of such a pickle, but I understand it.

And the friendship with Jessie.

There was so much there as you watched the story unfold and as a viewer you began to hope that somehow they'd get out of each and every situation whether it meant killing someone, or lying through their teeth.

There was the moment when Walt plowed his car through the guys ready to kill Jessie.

It was repaid by Jessie confronting Gayle.

As a guy sitting on the couch watching you find yourself saying:

"Gayle has to go!"

You're rooting for things that you'd never do yourself!

There were choices of morality.

Is Skyler a good woman or a bad woman?

How about Hank?

He was dead set against Walter for much of the series, but in a way, you wanted Hank to find the way.

There was so much there.

A year later and I still think about it.

Bryan Cranston was on Howard Stern recently and he spoke in Walter's voice and it sent shivers down my spine.

Was Breaking Bad better than the Soprano's?" Sam asked me as I battled him on the Breaking Bad-Dexter debate.

I thought of Uncle June and Tony and Meadow and the unbelievable acting that was front and center each week.

I considered Cranston versus Gandolfini.

"Breaking Bad is in the conversation," I said. "I remember how I'd wait all week for the Soprano's though. The two best shows ever done."

"You know what I was thinking of the other day?" Sam asked.

"What's that?"

"When Jessie and Walter were trapped in the RV and Hank was right outside the door. I was so nervous. I can't believe that it just popped into my head."

And there you have it, folks.

A great work of art.

Breaking Bad.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Oh My Aching Ass

The poor woman who works at the convenience store suffers from arthritis in her knees.

I have it in my feet.

We have a real tendency to commiserate.

"How are you this morning?" I asked on Friday.

"Oh my aching ass," she said. "I can hardly walk."

We laughed.

I showed her the air casts that I've taken to wear on both feet. I told her about how hopeful I had been about mid-week.

"But it didn't work out," I said.

Yet we aren't the only ones; that's for sure.

"I have it in my hands," the next guy in line said. "There are days when I can't even pick up a pen."

He was filling out lottery tickets. A million dollar prize wouldn't take the pain away.

"Doc says it doesn't go away either," I said.

"Nope," he answered. "Just take the pills and try and survive the side effects."

I paid for my paper and headed for the door. The clerk and the lottery dude went off in another direction about their particular pains and I thought about a line from an old Bob Seger song:

"No one walks between the rain."

And that is it.

Everyone has a pain of some sort, somewhere along the way. Whether it's physical pain, or mental pain, or just an old aching ass it has to be dealt with.

Every day.

"This poor guy," my beautiful wife said as she began to tell me about her work day, "He's in the chair for kidney disease and he told us today that he went to his cancer doctor and was told that he has just 3 months to live. I feel so bad for him."

(How's that for putting foot pain into perspective?)

"How old is he?" I asked, as if three months time was enough if he had reached a certain age.

"70."

"That's not enough."

And just two weeks away from my 50th birthday I started thinking.

Arthritis sucks to be sure.

But so do a whole lot of other things.

Keep kicking back.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Running Scared of Ebola

So we have heard quite a bit about Ebola lately, huh?

I always think to the start of the great Stephen King book, The Stand. ]

The disease in the stand was airborne, of course, and slowly but surely the entire population was brought into the battle.

(That's one of the greatest books released in the last 20 years - loved it!).

Yet we now have a case of a man suffering from Ebola in a Dallas hospital. There were reports that he may have been in other areas as well so...there you go.

Has it started?

We went through it with the bird flu scare. There were other health scares as well.

Do you think this is the way it will all end?

The maniacs who are afraid of everything are certain that we will all be struck with Ebola very shortly.

(And let me tell you, there are plenty of really scared people out there! My God!! There are people hunkered down all over this great land).

There is also a segment of the population who isn't scared at all.

"More people die of the mumps," one guy called in to say. "Who cares? It's the media making it a big deal."

Well, I suppose that I fall somewhere dead in the middle.

('Fall dead in the middle' might not be the best term).

Yet I believe that we will get a handle on it before too long.

At least here in the United States.

But to think of those who are suffering in other regions is really disconcerting because the money won't be there for them. The ebola death is a horrendous way to go.

"What're we doing?" Another caller screamed out. "We can't let these damn people in! Everyone needs to just get out of OUR country RIGHT NOW!"

"That may not be the entire issue," the host said.

"It is!" the guy screamed. "We don't have ebola here! They come up with these horrible diseases and they bring them to our clean country!"

The host just laughed.

They weren't laughing at the end of The Stand.

I'll tell you that much!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

D.B.'s of the Week - Everyone at ESPN

Since the NFL has suffered this year and as some of its members have received the D.B. of the Week Award, you kinda' could've guessed that ESPN wouldn't be far behind.

ESPN and the NFL are partners in the crime of just controlling the minds of the pigskin-loving-freaks that cover this great land.

Watch the coverage of the league on ESPN.

It's absurd.

There's a show on every half hour and the announcers and talking heads are stuck saying the same thing...over and over and over again.

"Step it up to the next level in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE."

"The ball moves fast in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE."

"The coaches work 23 and a half hours a day every week, even in the off-season in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE."

"It's impossible to know if the commissioner saw the tape of one of the athletes in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE knocking out the women in the elevator, but the good people of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE will work tirelessly to make sure that the shield of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE is not damaged."

In other words...ESPN is simply an apologist for the league.

Well, this week, one of the guys who works for them, Bill Simmons, stepped out of line and called Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE...a big freaking liar.

Then Simmons almost dared ESPN to discipline him for the truth that he was saying...

...and they did.

They suspended him for three weeks...

...or a week longer than what Goodell wanted to suspend Ray Rice for knocking out his fiance.

D.B.'s all around there.

Yet what sealed the deal for me was Keith Olbermann going on a rant about Derek Jeter being overrated and basically the worst sports star ever.

Olbermann knew it wasn't true.

ESPN knew it wasn't true.

But they allowed the crap to go on the air because everyone would either defend Jeter, or quote the garbage that Olbermann was spewing.

Olbermann hates the Yankees.

He used to sit front row at the stadium, but shortly after Chuck Knoblauch hit Keith's mother with an errant throw he went on a rampage against the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized Sports.

(My guess is that they wouldn't hire him for something).

I've been in twitter arguments with Olbermann about his hatred...but this time he went way overboard.

Anyway...all of ESPN gets the award this week.

They kiss the ass of the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE every minute of every day.

They suspend a guy for speaking the truth.

And when they have a really great sports story they allow one of their biggest dopes to poop all over it.

Perhaps they can announce the award on their ESPY show.

And then show ten straight dunks as their top ten plays of the day during the NBA season.

(Just an aside...we get it...the big guys can dunk).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Buffalo's Got the Spirit

A long while ago one of my college buddies came to Buffalo for a visit.

He wasn't impressed.

"This place is a shit hole," he said as we headed over the Skyway and into the city.

I wasn't even able to impress him with Niagara Falls either because we ended up in Canada at the ballet instead.

But today I was strolling around the downtown because there is construction on every corner:


And I must say the place is starting to really shape up.

(Of course I'm the one to thank because I've kept all these construction guys safe as they build the joint).

Yet it makes me wonder.

What the hell have we been doing for the past 20 years?

And of course there are still a lot of really beaten down areas.

The abandoned homes on the East side and the West side and the North side and the South side need to be handled, but we are even fancying up the old grain silos:


It's for beer, of course, but that's the sort of town we are.

Yet there is great angst as the football team appears headed down to the place in the toilet where they usually settle and the Sabres are gonna' be horrible as well, but with a new Women & Children's Hospital on the way and with a Solar City coming with the promise of jobs...

...sing along, folks.

Buffalo's got the spirit..talking proud, talking proud.

(Now if Kyle Orton suddenly turns into Johnny Unitas everyone will be happy).

Shit hole no more, Fluff!

Happy Birthday, Brother

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