Sunday, November 30, 2014

Your Life Is Now

The kids were at our home on Thanksgiving evening. Not just our kids either, but a couple of their friends. I sort of sat back and took in the scene. I had consumed a fairly healthy portion of food - my mother's stuffing being the highlight again - and I was content to sit there and listen.

The same sort of stupid stuff we were doing as kids. The boys were talking sports, telling jokes and laughing. Once in awhile they'd ask me to chime in and I tried to make them laugh. Kathy was out shopping and I was just listening; thinking...your life is now.

There were discussions about how the schooling was going. Matt was actually on the computer doing work of some sort. The high school age kids were talking about how they were gonna' own the world someday.

As they should be.

I know I've used these lyrics before, but they deserve to be repeated when you're thinking about the kids.

Your Life is Now - Mellencamp

See the moon roll across the stars
See the seasons turn like a heart
Your father's days are lost to you
This is your time here to do what you will do

Your life is now.
Your life is now.
Your life is now

In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

Will you teach your children to tell the truth?
Will you take the high road if you could choose?
Do you believe you're a victim of a great compromise?
'Cause I believe you could change your mind and change your life

Your life is now.
Your life is now.
Your life is now.

In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

Will you teach your children to tell the truth?
This is your time here to do what you will do

Your life is now.
Your life is now.
Your life is now.

In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Topping Eyewitness News.

What's going on?

It's been about a week since I've seen a photo of Kim Kardashian's ass.

Not really missing it.

1). Man, the Bill Cosby story is out of control, huh? Who would've ever suspected it? If even half of the stories are true, or have even a shred of truth about them then he's a real creep, huh?

Most of the dialogue goes like this:

Women were captured by his fame, agreed to have a drink with him, then woke up to find him on them, or around them after they'd been assaulted in some manner.

And then they never mentioned it again until this past week or so.

Are they all conspiring to bring him down?

Is he a completely innocent man?

It's just really sad....another fallen hero.

2). I cringe to watch the news out of Ferguson as well.

The answer to what one feels as blatant racism is to get yourself a new Apple product, I suppose....or to burn down your own town.

I never really understood the destruction of your own environment to prove a point. The talking heads are preaching for calm, but hoping for shots of mayhem...and people are giving it to them.

I hope that it's all over now, but I'm pretty sure that we haven't seen the end of it.

And someone gave out the address of the cop who was involved?

The need to create news is just out of control.

3). So, there's an immigration policy out there for consideration now, huh?

And it's being met with threats of shutting down the government, impeachment, and all around disdain.

Well, here's an idea...propose something else, vote on it and get it passed.

Everyone in the entire country believes that something needs to be done. We shouldn't be shooting the guy who actually tried. Start the conversation. Without going into particulars or beliefs here, I vote for progressive action...not political infighting.

You know what will happen though?

Yeah.

Politics.

4). Snow.

Something tells me that this winner is going to be a real doozy.

The 90 inches of snow a couple of weeks back aside, I'm thinking we have real problems when winter actually begins a few weeks from now. We were heading home after Thanksgiving dinner and the snow was coming at me sideways. It was really dark. I could only see about 4 feet in front of the car. I put my hazard lights on and Matt commented that it was a real 'safety guy' sort of thing to do.

And all I kept thinking was that I really hated it.

I hate shoveling it.

I hate driving in it.

I hate being cold.

And it's gonna' keep coming.

5). Shopping

"So, what do you want for Christmas?"

The question comes each year.

My answer is the same.

"Nothing."

"You have any books you want? Any music that you need?"

Here's a surprise for you.

I buy the stuff I want when I want it.

I've already read the new Stephen King book.

I've already bought the Bob Seger, John Mellencamp and U2 records.

"Come on! Tell me one thing you want?" My beautiful wife asks.

"World peace," I answer. "Get me world peace."

I bet I get new socks and underwear.

Good enough.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Darryl Talley's Story


By now most everyone in Buffalo has read the excellent Buffalo News story written by Tim Graham about former Bills linebacker Darryl Talley.

Talley is "Broken and Broke".

People cheered Talley for his toughness. He was a good player on the Bills Super Bowl teams. He didn't miss work. He hit hard. He thinks he had his bell rung hundreds of times. He saw a little light show each time he took the huge hit.

So.

He knew the risks, right?

He got paid great money.

He's on his own after he retires.

We all have problems.

Except I have been screaming about the evils of the NFL for the better part of a couple of years.

How many Darryl Talley's are there?

Right now! Right now!

Tony Romo is back in the line up after hearing that he had fractures in his back. The Cowboys are good this year. They need Romo to play. The docs said it'll be fine. The owner talks about Romo being tough. Romo eats it up. He's a competitor. The doc said he's good to go!

20 years from now, perhaps, Romo is home. He can't walk 30 feet without pain. He is completely forgotten by the employer. Fans are saying that he was stupid for not making the right choice. His toughness is no longer questioned because no one cares!

No one cares!

Entertain us! I have money on the game!! You're on my fantasy team! Suck it up, Cutler! Get out there!! Your team needs you!!

I feel bad for all of the guys who left the game in tatters. The league is saying all the right things now. They're pretending that they're treating concussions perfectly now. They don't admit that they were lying back when Talley was playing.

We just didn't have all the information.

Really?

You needed thirty years of study to tell you that ramming your head into things 40 times a week could have consequences?

You needed to hear from the medical community to know for certain that waking up a guy with smelling salts, shooting him up with painkillers, and tapping him on the ass wasn't the actual way to treat a guy who was unconscious?

That's not even mentioning the people who have been paralyzed, or had their legs snapped in two.

"These guys are tough!"

The NFL's Greatest Hits!!

All packaged and sold.

And Talley can't get medical insurance unless another player pays the premium for him.

Sad.

The Bills response?

They put Talley on the wall of honor...next to Orenthal.

They didn't really return the phone calls.

Because that's what the NFL has told them to do.

Don't acknowledge it or we'll be paying for all the damn guys we maimed!

We need to keep every single dime! We don't steal nearly enough from the fans, the cheerleaders or the breast cancer awareness day we do every year!!

Hell, we're a not for profit league! What are we supposed to do to help? Our commish is only making 35 million a year...is he supposed to live in poverty?

You want us to pay taxes and medical insurance?

Don't look too long, fans.

Talley has problems. They're his problems.

Good luck..

...Thanks for the memories.

...You'll be fine.

Don't pull a Duerson or a Seau!

That would really make us sad.

Until the next game starts.

(The NFL is evil).

End of rant.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

D.B. of the Week will return next week - there are plenty of candidates - In the meantime - Have a great Thanksgiving - here are a few quotes on the subject:

"If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily." -Gerald Good

"The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!" -Henry Ward Beecher

"Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action." - W.J. Cameron

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice." -Meister Eckhart

"Praise God even when you don't understand what He is doing." -Henry Jacobsen

"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." -Irv Kupcinet

"Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow." -Edward Sandford Martin

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude." -E.P. Powell

"For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving." -W.T. Purkiser

"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence." -Erma Bombeck

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Watch It Burn

There are so many things that just sadden me about the Ferguson, Missouri news.

I'm sad that Michael Brown had to die.

And that Darren Wilson made the decision to shoot him.

I'm also sad that some believe that Brown died simply because he was black.

It's even worse that there are scores of people who don't believe or trust those who are there to supposedly protect.

I'm sad that there are crooked cops, and men who rob stores.

But what's even more sad is that those parents lost their child to what was a split-second decision made by their son as well as a split-second decision made by an officer of law.

The wrong decision?

Perhaps.

A life and death decision?

Obviously.

A racially motivated one?

Depends on where you sit.

I'm very sad about the fact that the media initially reported non-truths and half-truths when the story initially broke in August. I have a feeling that irresponsible "reporting" had something to do with the anger.

Michael Brown was never shot in the back while he was in full retreat.

The facts show that...but there are people out there who still believe that is exactly what happened.

I'm sad that there were talking heads on immediately after the verdict, giving their venom-filled cry that was further designed to inflame the anger.

Our instant gratification society does not allow for thoughtful digestion of what may or may not be the facts.

If we are truly interested in stopping violence we need to make a concerted effort in not being amused by it.

I'm really sad that violence is celebrated...

...and that trust is gone...

...and that hatred is allowed to fester...

...and that we may be further away from finding common ground than when we were in the 60's.

I'm sad that people feel it necessary to loot and burn and attack.

That's not a form of protest...

...it's just more hate.

Most of all, I'm sad that we are here, watching it burn...

...and that we've lived all this time...

...and haven't learned one damn thing about what it means to live.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!


My Mom loves to smile.

It's her birthday today and I hope she smiles all day long.

Mom has taught me so many things and while I am prone to acting like Dad from time-to-time I inherited her personality.

Which is mostly good!

Mom is the reason I ever published a book.

She taught me to love reading.

Mom is also the reason I sing to my dogs and treat them as if they were human and truly understand everything I say to them.

Mom's the reason why I work so hard.

Dad was also a tireless worker too, but Mom never even let a sock hit the floor. It was washed, folded and back in the drawer almost immediately.

And Mom has taught me to try and smile through the wicked parts of life.

My faith mirrors her faith.

Day after day.

Suck it up and tough it out and do the best you can.

My Mom taught me that.

Happy Birthday.

We love you.

P.S. - Happy Birthday Johnny C. - you'll never get top billing on 11/25.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Comes Apart

Everything that is built will most certainly one day crumble.

That was on my mind as the storm passed through.

We were at green grass.

Then we were buried.

We all watched from the window as the world of white outside was created.

Flake by flake we had a brand new reality.

And it's weird.

All the things we take for granted were put on hold.

Just getting up and running to the corner to rent a movie was impossible.

And with this storm there was a real ebb and flow to it.

We knew when we were getting more. We were told when it would stop.

We would watch what had been built by cold air passing over a warm lake...

...come apart again.

There was everything in play during the down time.

Frustration was tempered by patience.

Aggravation disappeared when Sam laughed or Jake showed me a video of a great hockey goal, or we watched another episode of Homeland.

We were together and safe and still whole.

Hopelessness was lost in the fact that there was still hope.

"Buffalo is used to this," people said on the news.

(Not true).

"Buffalo bands together and grits their teeth and clears the snow."

(Normally...this time...we were tested).

By Friday morning the icicles were dripping.

I knocked a few of the bigger ones clear of the back porch.

It's starting to crumble.

But it would crumble slowly.

People started posting photos of their clean drives and their vehicles out of the snowed in places.

"I hate those people," I said with a laugh.

"We'll get out eventually," he said. "I hope."

Man, the dope's that there's still hope. (Bruce lyric).

There have been 13 deaths so far.

The news anchors are keeping track. Just a number that's going up.

"Hopefully that number stays low," one of the anchors said.

13 lives that had been fully whole came apart.

It was 13 too high.

"You have to watch when you shovel," Kathy said. "People in their 50's are having heart attacks."

She wasn't being funny.

I watched a lot of the storm's coming apart from the window.

I couldn't see out the window just a few days ago...but now...hope...the back-up alarm of the plows...people actually walking down the street...the dogs moving more than 5 feet out the door.

Even the dogs sensing that the wallop was nearing a conclusion.

Thankfully the storm came apart before we did.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trapped!

Day 6 of operation stuck in my freaking home.

It's weird, but people really hate the government most every day of the year, but man, when service is needed...

The first thing our County Executive did was name the storm something really stupid - Storm Knife or something dumb like that.

It didn't catch on.

Then there were people worried about the people stranded in their cars along the Thruway...a perfectly reasonable response. There were folks stuck for days in their cars.

I can't imagine.

The main roads were cleared fairly quickly but the bans stayed in place so that the plows and emergency vehicles could start helping people clear themselves out.

Here is what we saw of the plow...

On Wednesday the plow came down the road...clearing snow...pushing it...into a virtual mountain...then stopped pushing it...

...yep, right in front of my house...where the plow got stuck.

Huge plow.

Stuck.

The driver was screaming out his window. I decided that pushing his vehicle was a bit beyond my pay grade.

But help was on the way!

A loader came by and hooked to the plow. The back end of the plow got free and the plow and the loader left.

"They know we're stranded here!" I said. "They'll save us."

24 hours later the loader was back.

The guy scooped a huge scoop of snow and put it in reverse.

"They're clearing it," Kathy announced.

The guy backed down the street.

That was 30 hours ago.

He took one scoop.

Yet my boys got a huge rush of ambition. They headed out and shoveled and shoveled and shoveled. I took my turn. I watched Kathy shovel and then fall down in her stint.

(Sam thought that was real funny).

And still here we are.

But I'm not one of the people who is complaining too harshly about what the town, county and government aren't doing for me.

I'm sure that there are men and women working 22 hour days to try and clear this mess.

We just haven't been fully taken care of yet.

What has been supremely frustrating to me is that I have a mind that is intent on getting things done, but it's not a matter of just getting out there and throwing snow until we're down to dry pavement.

It can't be moved by hand.

The snow is too compacted for the snow blower.

The mountain is too high.

Yet the whine is all in what I can't do.

"Ten years ago," I started to say.

But I'm not sure that is even true.

My legs are like lead.

The warm up and the rain are on the way.

"We move on to phase 2," the County Executive said. "Now we have to worry about the flooding."

We're still in phase 1 over here!!!

Because I'm trapped!

But I know someday I'll walk out of here again.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Brother John

My brother John is 51 years old today.

Pretty weird to write that because he was the guy I hung around with most back when we were two and three.

We were always together, then, of course, and while 'work to do and bills to pay' gets in the way...it's more about the time going quickly.

That's what blows my mind about writing out the simple fact that he's 51 years old today.

Seems fitting that we come up with a John story, right?

Two things about my older brother:

1). He's always been waaaaayyyy stronger than me.

Which wouldn't be so disconcerting if it weren't for fact #2.

2). He's always been waaaaayyyy faster than me.

So, cut to a time when I was about 18 years old.

John had been in the basement of my parents' home doing work on a project...not sure what it was

...I didn't stick around to find out.

Unbeknownst to me John had been struggling to finish said project because the switch that controlled the lights to the basement was located at the top of the stairs and my younger brother, Jeff (of course), had been playing a bit of a game with John.

He'd shut off the switch.

John would yell.

The switch would come on.

Except, also unbeknownst to me...Jeff got bored with the prank and quit.

I entered the house.

Saw the lights were on...switched them off..and didn't turn them back on.

"WHO JUST TURNED OUT THE LIGHTS?" John screamed.

"I did!" I said...perhaps a bit too forcefully because he came charging up the stairs.

I wasn't sticking around to plead my innocence.

I ran from the house.

Uh.

He runs faster.

Out through the back yard I turned to gauge my problem...

...he was closing fast.

I ducked behind the garage...John was telling me what he was going to do to my pretty face when he caught me...and then...and then...I saw it.

Dad had a scaffold section that was partially erected in the back yard...as I ran past...with John just mere feet from me...I yanked on the scaffold section.

I kept running.

I braced for the tackle...the wild thumping...the begging for mercy...

...And nothing happened.

I turned.

John was on the ground.

Beneath the scaffold.

"You better run to Buffalo!" He yelled.

I heard laughter in his voice.

I edged my way back towards him.

He was laughing.

"You ass%&*E! You hit me in the back with it."

I explained that I'd only turned the light off once.

"JEFF!" We both said.

But he still punched me once, in the left arm, for good measure.

That was 32 years ago.

I just got all the feeling back.

Happy Birthday, bro.

We love you.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Stranded

Every time there's a major snow event you hear the horror stories.

People stuck in their cars.

Men dropping dead as they try and clear the snow out of their driveways.

We all want the ability to move freely.

When it is suddenly taken away from us we lose it...and do things we maybe shouldn't be doing.

I remember a few years ago when the woman across the way was out trying to shovel in front of her garage...we're talking three to five feet...

"I have to get to my hair appointment," she said.

The woman knew Moses. I'm talking...in her 90's.

"There's no hair appointment today," I said.

She was an absolute mess, but I got her back into the house where she waited out the storm.

Now everyone knows that I'm a cautious guy...I'm a safety man, for crying out loud...not to mention a giant wimp...

But I don't take that one chance that is gonna bite me.

The snow will melt eventually, right?

(I'm not sure with this current batch).

The house is warm.

We have pasta.

Everyone is safe.

Why push the envelope?

"We have to start clearing it," my beautiful wife said on Wednesday as the announcement of the 6th death came across the wire.

"Why? We have more coming."

"But we need to get out someday!"

Perhaps.

Yet trying to move 5 feet of snow so that you can get your car out to drive down streets that are closed?

I didn't see the point.

This too shall pass.

And if it doesn't...

...well, someone will be by to find us...

Stranded is better than gone.

The clean-out begins today.

I hope To God!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

D.B. of the Week - Bill Cosby

Seems like this one was a long-time-coming.

Good old Jello-pudding-Bill has allegedly been a real D.B. for the better part of his adult life.

And what galls me about it is that he is also a preacher of sorts.

Cosby has spent a lot of time telling us how to be good parents, telling black people how to rise out of poverty, telling other comedians not to swear...

...and in the meantime he's been mentoring young girls and reportedly being sexually deviant with them.

Allegedly.

Of course, a lot of this stuff happened a while ago, or so those who are making the accusations say.

Still, Cosby has spent the week saying that he won't dignify such charges with a response.

And perhaps he shouldn't because he has never been officially charged in the matter (that I know of), but the whole thing stinks.

Once again because Cosby has spent his life telling us how to live.

I don't know if what they're saying is true. Another comedian made the claim during a comedy act. The mainstream media caught up with it and blew it sky-high.

Perhaps Cosby has made amends.

Maybe he doesn't owe anyone an answer, but if half of what they are saying is true...

...damn...

D.B.

Of course people laughed every week when Cliff Huxtable was Dad #1. The show was a teaching moment for all of us and when you watch back it was sort of a lecture.

His comedy act is also a lecture of sorts.

And that's not to say that I don't like the guy's work. I always thought that he was mildly amusing, but rape?

They're talking that he may have taken advantage of a whole lot of young girls.

While being married to the lovely Camille?

And what happens when an icon is threatened with such questions of poor behavior is that a lot of people just turn away. Hell, O.J. still has his supporters here in Buffalo because he could run with a ball.

But I don't feel like turning away.

If it's true...even a little bit...he should have to answer for it.

He should also be forever known as one of the D.B.'s of the week.

Hey, hey, hey it's Sexual-Deviant Cosby?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm Not Talking


The view of the backyard - this was taken before expected round two - where a whole lot of snow is supposed to pile on top.


Poor Paris. She was just looking for a spot to pee.


The front yard.

How in the hell are we supposed to move this?

Where should we put it?

Unbelievable.

Simply unreal.

Here We Go! Just Absurd!!


Woke up to a dusting of snow on Saturday morning.

On Sunday the driveway was a sheet of ice and there was a report going around that we were going to see from one to two feet of snow between Monday evening and Wednesday morning.

"Don't fret," I remarked on one Facebook post. "It's only for 8 months of so."

Then I added:

"If our sports teams weren't awesome we'd all be leaving this area."

You know...

...My usual aggravation-inducing-crap.

But truthfully, I was in a deep sense of dread. I go out in the stuff on a daily basis. My toes get cold. My hands freeze. The driving sucks. Worrying about the kids getting home in a blizzard is brutal.

Who needs it?

And I dream of a day when I will be in Arizona when the big snow hits. I'll be worried about setting up a tee time as my Western New York friends are shoveling snow.

On that same Facebook post, of course, there were comments by people who said:

"I love the snow!"

"It's the best time of the year!"

Really?

You like putting on 4 layers of clothes?

You enjoy scraping the car windshield with your bank card because you can't find the freaking scraper?

Spinning off the thruway is fun for you?

"I love going hiking in the snow!"

"I love skiing!!

"I have the snowmobile out!!!"

How do I answer those people?

Electric blanket.

Episodes of Homeland.

A plate of pasta.

And then the storm really began at around 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

By noon at least 3 and probably closer to 4 feet of snow had buried us.

The dogs wouldn't go out.

There was no sense in trying to clear any of it because it just kept falling.

"This is it! We're going to be buried. We're doomed!"

The more we joked, the worse it got until it reached the point of absolute danger.

4 dead.

Dozens stranded in their cars.

People without power.

And the news telling us that there will be more.

Perhaps 100 inches of snow before it's all said and done?

I can't even pretend to think that I'll be out of the house on Wednesday.

It's not even a remote possibility.

See you in May?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Shot to the Pair-Pair

So, we have a dog living with Addison's disease.

You'd never know it.

Since her little expensive trip to the vets Paris has done her usual dancing around the house. She's always awake, always ready for the trips in the car.

But we knew it was coming.

She'd have to get a shot that would keep her jumping up and down - doing the 'Pair-Pair'.

Of course, care of all things living in this house comes down to the resident nurse. My beautiful wife was going to have to get the medicine, read the overviews and finally, administer the shot.

That was the course of action that 'we' decided on and I almost stepped in a huge pile when I said:

"Are you sure you can give her the shot?"

That would sort of be like her asking me if I could write a five-page paper.

"I give shots every day. I've given thousands of them. Of course I can give it to her."

Still, I was nervous for the dog. I don't know all the other people she has to stick with a needle.

I know the Pair-Pair.

Sam was all about helping, of course.

He's been the one who's given Paris her daily oral medication during the week. (I get the weekends because I'm up about 5 hours before he is).

"Let's do this!" he said excitedly on Saturday afternoon.

Neither Kathy or I were quite as excited.

We had one huge problem.

Kathy went to the floor to check Paris' side for the spot to give the shot and Melky got down off the couch and tried to intervene. Melky is aware of everything. No one, and I mean no one, is going to do something weird on her watch. She sensed that Paris was going to receive some healthcare.

Sam was able to draw Melky up and out of the room with a couple of cheese nips.

Melky cares, of course, but cheese nips win.

So we were ready.

I was on the floor in front of Paris so that she could see me. Sam was feeding her peanut butter on a spoon to distract her even further. Kathy was searching for the muscle.

"Is this it?" she asked.

"You asking me?" I said. "I don't have a freaking clue."

"I'm just talking my way through it," Kathy said.

Sam administered another taste of peanut butter.

"Why don't we take her to the vet for the first one?" I asked.

"I already drew it," Kathy answered. "Here goes nothing."

I'm glad the dog can't fully understand. Could you imagine the doc saying 'Well, here goes nothing' right before doing something to you?

But of course, Kathy was right on the money.

Paris never even flinched.

Three minutes later she was jumping up to say 'hello.'

28 days until the next one.

"That was fun," Sam said.

Yep.

A real blast.

Nurse Kathy with the perfect shot!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Beach Story Revisited

The whole Kim Kardashian nude photos story has people talking. Is she disgusting? Is she without talent? Is the photo real?

Well, let me tell you. I have a story about what these 'stars' look like up close.

My beautiful wife never really goes with me to book signings or talks or events.

She went to the first couple and laughed when I spoke, but then the jokes got old to her. So I was on my own.

"I've heard your shit," she said.

Except for two events.

The first was an event where the former Buffalo Sabres gathered. We spent a large part of that evening talking to Pat LaFontaine, Gilbert Perrault, Jim Lorentz and Craig Ramsey.

Kathy has photos with each and she wore Rammer's Stanley Cup ring for about half the evening.

"What if she steals it?" I asked Ramsey as we drank at the bar.

"I'll just beat the hell out of you," he answered.

The second event was a book launch party in Miami for House of Miracles.

"We're going!" she announced.

So, Kathy got to work on picking the hotel. We flew down for the event, but had some time to head to the beach first.

"Oh my God!" I yelled, pointing.

The women were walking by without shirts.

A topless beach.

Boys from little old North Collins, trained at the ping-pong paddled hands of nuns, with altar boy on the lengthy resume, wasn't ready to see such a thing!

"Get over it," my wife said.

We went to the party.

It was a lavish event that ended with us on the roof of the penthouse over-looking Miami. We were hob-knobbing with a crew from Publisher's Weekly, other authors and a couple of movie producers.

Great food.

Too much booze.

The next morning we were back on the beach. We didn't have a single thing to do all day except lie in the sun. It was 90 degrees. Our chairs were positioned near the pool, with the ocean just too far away to walk to.

I headed to the pool to cool off and as I turned a corner, hardly even looking at the shirtless ladies before me, I was brought to a sudden halt by the sight of two women on their beach chairs.

I try and describe these two ladies, but I never do them justice. They were topless, to be sure, but they were on their stomachs. They were oiled up. They were bronze.

Oh Dear Lord! I thought.

I dunked myself in the pool and followed the same path to our chairs.

"You have to see those two girls over there," I said to my wife upon return. "They made me scared to be a man."

She laughed.

Ten minutes later she was back from her walk to the pool.

"Those girls are stunning," she said.

I made the trip to the pool a few more times before I settled in for a nap.

(Napping in the Florida sun, without sun screen, was a highly stupid move, by the way).

When I woke up Kathy was sitting on her chair eating a sandwich.

"You didn't get me anything?" I asked. "Nope. And you also missed a bikini contest. There were about 20 girls from a faraway land. They were beautiful."

"You didn't wake me up to look at hot chicks?"

I was near tears when Kathy shouted out:

"Look!"

The two woman...who were on those chairs...who had scared me with their mere presence...stood to leave...and one was...without mistake...Pam Anderson.

She strolled out the gate of the place and we thought about chasing her down...but didn't.

"I was inches from her near-naked body!" I said.

"Big deal," Kathy said.

"Well I know why she's a millionaire."

Kathy was still unimpressed.

"It would've been nice to meet her," I said.

Another shrug.

"I'll tell you one thing," I said. "It's all right here." I pointed to my right temple. "I can conjure up that image anytime I want to."

"You're an idiot."

Maybe so.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Way Too Sad

Sometimes you pick up the newspaper and read a story that's just way too much to comprehend because you can put yourself there, within the story, and feel the true heartbreak.

The story that broke mid-week about the 18-year old, first year college student from Buffalo was like that. The total story hasn't come out yet, but there has been wide speculation that Nolan Burch died after drinking too much at a West Virginia University frat party.

God Bless his poor family.

Yet there was so much that went through my mind as I read it all through in the Buffalo News.

I have three boys hanging around these parts.

I know how they will be pressed into possibly drinking when we are not around.

It scares the hell out of me because I also know that I was smack dab in the middle of that sort of thing back about 30 years ago.

It's rough.

Where to begin?

I drank a lot in college. We had a great time and I wouldn't change much about the experience.

Was I stupid?

Unbelievably so.

Was I ever in danger?

Certainly.

Yet I pledged a frat for a couple of weeks. Do you know why I quit?

Because I thought it was stupid that these guys were treating me like dog crap and forcing me to do things I didn't want to do. In fact, I remember the exact moment when I told them to stick their frat up their collective asses.

A kid came into the pledge meeting. He was wearing a members jacket. The name on the left near his heart read, 'Tom'. Other than that I had no idea who he was. I'd never seen him before. I had been instructed to know the name of every brother in that house. I recall the wave of panic that swept through me as he made his way down the line and stood before me. I was half-drunk, but I was there enough to know that he was going to abuse me.

"WHAT'S MY NAME?" HE SCREAMED.

"Tom," I answered.

"TOM WHAT?" HE SCREAMED AGAIN.

"Tom, sir?"

He spit a mouthful of tobacco juice in my face.

The only reaction I had was to step out of line, walk up the stairs and out of the house. I was walking down the street away from the frat house and one of the older brothers - a guy I genuinely liked - came out to walk with me. He told me that it was all about discipline and fear and proving yourself worthy. He begged me not to quit. He said it'd get easier.

I quit.

And years and years later, with the boys reaching their formative years under my roof, I made another decision.

I quit drinking all together.

I remember the moment when I made that decision. I wasn't even drinking. It was a Saturday afternoon. Sam was watching me make dinner. I made a motion with my hands, and he wasn't saying anything. He just made the same sort of motion.

They're watching me. They're imitating me.

There had been plenty of recent sadness in my life. Sadness that seemed impossible to cope with without drinking. But they were watching closely. I had to show them that there was another way around the problems that life brings.

I quit.

Now it's their turn.

They have to go out into a world that is extremely off-kilter. They have to make decisions. Quick decisions. About how they're going to stand up to the pressures.

Will they do it right every time?

Probably not.

And that scares us beyond belief, but hopefully there's enough there to stop the world from spitting in their face.

That poor family.

Say a prayer for them if you have a chance.

It's a cruel world.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Men? What Do You Say?


I really didn't want to do this because it is exactly what Kim wants me to do:

Talk about her massive ass.

First off, I don't believe it.

I've seen photos of this girl just walking around the streets. Her ass isn't that big. That photo looks like a cartoon. Like when Bugs hits someone with a hammer and the body part swells up to huge proportions.

Yet what got me writing about it was a simple question that was posed to me on Facebook.

Do men find this attractive?

I tried my best to avoid answering the question by saying:

"I'm an ass man. When I walk down the street people say, 'he's an ass, man.'"

That's an old Rodney Dangerfield joke and it has served me well through the years, but the fine woman of Facebook wouldn't let me off the hook.

You didn't answer the question.

So, men...is it attractive?

I answered by saying that it was 'interesting.'

Still not good enough.

I then tried to say that 'men are pigs' and therefore, we do, in fact, enjoy such a photo, regardless of whether or not it is fake.

I then tried to explain that Kim was basically a pornographic moron.

But is she really a moron?

Word on the street is that she got paid $43 million to take the naked photos, and Lord knows everyone and their brother has looked at the photo.

So...maybe she isn't so dumb.

Yet how much would you have to be paid to pose nude for the entire world to see?

Most of the women I know wouldn't accept any amount of money to em-bare-ass themselves.

Most of the women I know also don't have an ass the size of my Ford Escape.

So, we aren't going to solve the questions raised here...other than the main one that has been posed:

Do men find this attractive?

I think so.

I do think so.

Boys?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Making Conversation

So...

Have you been able to get a glance of Kim Kardashian's huge, oiled up butt on the cover of that magazine?

It's crazy that she's a bazzillionaire while we toil in relative obscurity, isn't it?

Starting to get back into the routine after my trip out of Western New York and again I have a whole bunch of observations about people in general to share with you:

1). Small talk is miserable with total strangers.

"So where you from?"

"What do you do?"

I have learned to avoid a lot of it on planes by simply putting on my headphones and closing my eyes. I really don't want to go over all of it.

As luck might have it, the mid-50's guy and the mid-40's lady seated across the aisle from me were all about exchanging their information. The lady was so animated about what she did and why she was important to all workings of society that I had to turn up the volume on my i-pod just to tune out her excited chatter.

You'd think her data input job was the beginnings of the research needed to cure cancer. They talked the entire way from Kansas City to Detroit.

I hope he got her number.

2). Some people just don't care.

The worst part about the confined space of the plane is that you're exposed to people doing all sorts of vile crap. Everyone is coughing, sneezing and yes...in one case in particular...farting.

No one claimed it, of course, but there were three instances where I opened my eyes wide based on what I was smelling.

I looked at the guy beside me. He looked back at me. We both looked over the seat at the portly gentlemen who was eating a sub that he brought along for the ride.

Slob.

3). The corny jokes over the loud speakers gotta' go.

How many times has a frequent traveler heard something like this on a plane bound for Detroit?

"Welcome to this non-stop flight to Cleveland."

There's a pause.

"No...no...we're really going to Detroit!"

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Then every three minutes the pilot breaks in and tells you how high you are, how fast you're going and what he named the cloud on the left side of the plane. He tells us of the fantastic glass of water the flight attendant will give you as she rams that massive cart into the knee you have sticking out in the aisle because the son-of-a-bitch next to you is forced to sit on your freaking lap and to top it off he's a sneezing, coughing, farting mess.

Then as you leave they ask if you've enjoyed the flight.

"It was terrific," I said as I headed for the terminal...

...where...

4). Some idiot has stopped in the middle of the aisle to tie his shoe, adjust his bag, answer a text message or stretch to the heavens.

This guy is absolutely oblivious to the fact that there are two hundred people behind him wanting to use the same passageway to get to the stupid food court where they'll serve you a ham sandwich...made three days ago...for ten bucks.

"This is where you had to stop?" I asked one such guy.

He didn't answer.

Audibly.

He gave me the finger.

I laughed.

5). Finally, we all gather around the baggage carousel and wait for our bag to come off.

I have horrible luggage (go figure) that looks like nobody else's bag. I have a hardhat and boots in it so it gets stretched a bit and there is a tear in the side.

Yet we stand there and watch things come off, one by one.

"You have my bag!" One lady yelled at an elderly gentleman.

He then went on a thirty sentence explanation about why he thought it was his bag and that he wasn't really trying to steal hers and she just blew the old dude off completely.

And around and around the belt went.

I edged closer to the belt when I saw my big blue bag heading towards me.

"Where you coming from?" the guy beside me asked.

"Weren't you on the same plane?" I asked.

He didn't answer me.

I hadn't meant to be short with him, of course, it just struck me as a fairly dumb question.

Besides I had to run off to the magazine stand so I could get a copy of the magazine with the photo of Kim's big ass.

Not really.

Just making conversation.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

D.B. of the Week - Kurt Busch - The Outlaw


I know a lot of people who watch NASCAR.

I'm a fan of the sport for one day - the day of the Daytona 500 - and each year I vow to follow the standings a little more, but I never do.

People say that baseball is boring, but man, so is watching cars go around in a circle for hours and hours.

We are waiting for the crashes.

These days we are also waiting for the fights.

I don't really know much about this Kurt Busch dude, but it seems that every time I hear his name it has something to do with him being a D.B.

Fighting with other drivers.

Getting suspended.

Arguing about rules or etiquette.

And now, he's under suspicion for allegedly beating up his girlfriend.

Busch supposedly rammed her head against a wall.

They broke up, but somehow or another they were still together at the track. An argument started and it ended when he allegedly hammered her.

D.B.

Of course this particular offense is troublesome. Ray Rice flattened his girlfriend. I suppose that if we had video of the Busch attack there would be more outrage.

Yet it's the attacks on women that aren't videotaped that are the most troublesome.

Every day in this great country of ours a whole bunch of men beat a whole bunch of women.

Think about that!

When the story was breaking on Rice I had a chance to talk with my boys about it.

"You'll get mad sometimes," I said. "And it may even cross your mind that you are completely justified in your anger, but that's a rule that can't ever be broken. Walk away."

As men we know this rule.

Or I should say that real men do.

Evidently D.B's don't.

Enjoy the award, Kurt.

You're a real outlaw.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Seven Hundred Pounds

I had to hit the road for a couple of days.

Back to Kansas City where they are still pissing and moaning about the World Series loss.

I had to bring it up to the guys I know out there, but being from Buffalo they quickly reminded me that the Chiefs had just beat the Bills.

So, that lost a bit of steam.

Yet traveling around is not good for diet, rest, or my ability to tolerate total strangers.

Shall we recap?

I went to a Mexican Restaurant for lunch on Monday.

A huge burrito.

The guy who was with me asked me if I had ever tried fried ice cream.

God it's good.

Of course that night I had to get a good Kansas City steak. That was served with a couple of florets of broccoli so I was feeling good.

This is crazy, I thought. I need to eat better or I'm going to weight 700 pounds by the time this trip is over.

And I almost made it.

I had fruit for breakfast the next morning.

I skipped lunch.

And then I walked around the Detroit airport looking for something good to eat. I even sat down in a Japanese restaurant thinking there had to be healthy choices on that menu, but I couldn't make heads or tails of what the hell they served, so I left.

Ate a slice of pizza and nearly made it by Mrs. Fields cookie store.

"How much are the peanut butter chocolate brownies?" I asked.

"$3.75," she said.

I had a five-dollar bill in my hand.

There was a skinny guy on my right shoulder saying 'No!'

The rest of me didn't give a crap.

I forked over the five.

God.

It was good.

It was, fortunately, the last thing I ate on the trip, but I felt miserable after I ate it.

So glad to finally be home.

"We're having a good dinner tomorrow," I said.

Fried ice cream and peanut butter brownies.

No wonder all the people you see at the airport look like hippos.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Golden Gate Bridge


It's weird but I often speak about San Francisco around our house. I always say the same thing:

"It's the most beautiful city in the country."

Of course, my wife and kids look at me a little strange as they have other thoughts about the city. They think of the 49ers or the Giants or gays.

The outside perception doesn't always match.

Yet I remember writing a letter back home to an old college friend and telling her that "everywhere you look there's a post card."

The view from the Golden Gate bridge, of course, being extremely post card worthy.

Yet there are two distinct stories that I recall about that bridge.

1). I arrived in San Francisco with my mother. Dad picked us up at the airport and just for a couple of weeks we were the only three out there. College had ended for me in May and the plan was for me to stay with Dad for a few weeks until the rest of the kids were done with school.

We were driving across the bridge in the old Ford Galaxy. A huge car with a tremendous sprawling backseat. I was back there with my nose pressed to the glass as I tried to take in the mesmerizing sites as we crossed the famous bridge for the first time.

Both Mom and Dad were smoking cigarettes. Dad was pointing out where Alcatraz was. Mom had finished her smoke. She flicked it out her window...

...and it blew back into mine.

"Oh shit," she said.

The smoke was on the floor where Dad had stuffed a whole bunch of scrap work papers.

The papers were suddenly smoking too.

I was hopping up and down to try and put out the fire.

Dad was driving and yelling.

Mom was leaning over the seat trying to point out where the smoking butt was.

I finally stomped out the small fire.

All three of us missed the scenic ride over.

I can remember asking Dad to turn around so I could look around.

"Don't worry about it," he said. "The house is in Mill Valley. The job is in San Francisco. You'll get sick of looking at the sites."

But I never did.

As many times as we crossed that bridge, I always searched out all the beauty, even through the fog that rolled in most mornings.

2). It was a Sunday morning. This time it was just me and Dad in the car. We were working overtime at the job.

"How much money do you have?" Dad asked.

"Not a nickel," I said proudly.

Dad's face showed alarm.

"You're making two grand a week, where's your money?"

"I never cashed my check," I said.

"Me neither," he answered. "And it's gonna' be a problem."

"Why?" I asked.

We were just getting to the entrance to the bridge.

"Cause we have just enough gas to cross the bridge."

We laughed.

As it turned out, we just barely had enough gas to do that. We crossed the bridge and the car started to sputter. We were on a road with a decent sized incline. Dad coasted down it and pulled to the side of the road.

Now remember: We hadn't even dreamed of a cell phone by then.

"Do you have a dime for a phone call?" Dad asked.

"Nothing!" I said.

He dug around in his pockets. We looked through the garbage on the floor.

"Go ask that guy for a dime," Dad said, pointing to a clearly homeless man who was sitting against a building enjoying the morning fog.

"Are you freaking kidding me?" I asked. "We made over five grand this week and you want me to ask a homeless guy to borrow a dime?"

We started laughing in the car.

We just kept laughing as we stood outside the car deciding which of us was going to ask the guy.

Finally, Dad did.

And here's the funny part.

The guy had a dime!

He fished it out the front pocket of his torn jeans and flipped it to Dad.

A half an hour later a man from work brought us a few gallons of gas. Dad borrowed a twenty off our co-worker, walked across the street and handed it to the homeless guy.

So.

There you have it.

The stuff that comes to mind when I see a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I get the 'I left my heart in San Francisco' stuff.

And I'm smiling as I write this because it made me think of laughing with Dad.

Monday, November 10, 2014

America the Beautiful?

Saw a statement attributed to Willie Nelson. Supposedly he said that the song America the Beautiful used to make him feel patriotic. He sings a beautiful rendition of it.

He said that now it makes him a little sick to his stomach.

Homeland is a fictional show.

The plot line covers a bombing of a school in the Middle East where a lot of innocent children died. It's fictional, to be sure, but if you think a little, it makes you sick to think that it has somewhere happened in real life.

Newsflash: America isn't always right when it comes to war.

The recent elections threw the Democrats aside. That's sort of inconsequential because as I looked at the map as to how folks voted I was sure of one thing:

There's a tremendous difference in thinking between the red and blue. The united part of it all seems a bit impossible. The hate between the two parties of people - who are actually on the same side of things, or are supposed to be - is real.

That's a bit of what makes Willie's stomach churn.

And as I write that I'm thinking that if what Willie Nelson had said gets much traction there will be people out there who call him something clever like:

Libtard.

Or they'll tell him to take his pot-smoking-ass the hell out of the country if he doesn't love it anymore.

But that's not what Willie means, I don't think.

The song speaks of the beauty from one coast to another.

Are we obliterating that beauty?

Are we killing off the natural resources?

Will fracking ruin our drinking water?

Are we consuming so much that we don't care about whether or not the country stays beautiful?

Why are we murdering our fellow citizens at such an alarming rate?

Why do people still struggle to find food here?

I don't have the answers to any of those questions.

Yet I know what Willie means. I can feel the acid rising.

Does that make me a libtard too?

Of course, the great divide has us thinking of answers on both the red and blue sides.

But are we too far gone to make the right choices?

I still believe that America is infinitely beautiful. I have no desire to even travel anywhere else.

I have been on the beaches of Miami. I have crossed the Golden Gate a thousand times. I go to New York City a couple of times a year. From L.A. to N.Y. and all the spaces in between I think of the beauty within.

Yet America is more than just a plot of land.

It's about the people who wander the streets, fish in the streams, ski down the mountains.

And still have the freedom to find liberty and happiness.

Still a beautiful place to be and perhaps my angst is all just because I'm more cognizant of some of the scary parts of it.

Perhaps we will still prosper above all else.

My stomach doesn't exactly churn when I hear Willie or anyone else sing America the Beautiful, but down deep I hope that we figure a whole bunch of things out.

Quickly.

Before we throw up all over ourselves.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

August 13, 1997


So, Karen sold her copy of Waldorf & Juli.

My cousin Maryann bought it the other day, from an Internet site. Since I once sold it to Karen at least my beautiful cousin didn't pay too much to get her hands on it.

Seems Karen wasn't thrilled having a signed copy.

But...it got me thinking.

Where did this Karen, who I certainly don't recall, see me?

I went to my trusty journal for the day.

August 13, 1997.

Jake was just two months old.

I had just quit my job of 8 years to take the same job that I have now.

We were newly married. We were looking for a house. I was playing a lot of video games with Matt as we tried to figure out how to handle the two kids and the dog.

Waldorf & Juli was off to a stunning start.

A lot of copies were being sold.

The Buffalo News had run a huge feature story.

I was showing up all over to do book signings.

I remember those days well, of course.

My Uncle Lenny had commented:

"A book, a wife and kids all in a few months. What the hell were you doing until now?"

We were also playing softball.

The Lions were in the championship round against the Fox's Den. A win in the 2 out of 3 and we'd win our 3rd straight championship.

Karen bought her copy of Waldorf & Juli at a book signing at the University at Buffalo. I remember the signing for two reasons:

1). I had to skip Game 2 of the championship series. My useless teammates lost without me so there would be a Game 3. (which we also lost).

and

2). I was greeted at the U.B. signing by the Head of the English Department. He was real standoffish.

"I'm skeptical about the book release," he said when I shook his hand. "I've been trying for years to get a book published. How'd you get this done?"

I had no answer for the guy.

He lead me to the stage.

I spoke for thirty minutes to a crowd of a couple hundred in the auditorium. I told a bunch of funny stories. I also told them of losing a friend in a car accident.

I sold a lot of books after the talk.

Karen was in the line to greet me.

So was the professor.

"Now I know how you did it," he said as he shook my hand again. "Would you mind if I called you some time when I get stuck?"

I gave him my number and he did bother me for a long while afterwards. As far as I know he's never published anything.

As for Waldorf & Juli?

The bottom fell out just a few weeks later.

My publisher had sunk a lot of money into a book about Princess Diana. Diana was supposed to promote it.

Diana died just a few weeks after this signing.

My publisher pulled the plug on everything.

The thousands of copies of Waldorf & Juli that had been printed were stolen. Someone called me from somewhere out west.

"I have 500 copies of the book I'll sell back to you," he said.

God I wish that I would have bought them.

So...there it is Maryann...enjoy the story.

Karen sucks!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The First Casualty


That's a real bunker.

I set off to a job way the hell out there in a town called Youngstown. There are hundreds and hundreds of acres that are sort of just sitting out there now.

The United States Army had previously used the land for the training of soldiers.

I was on the property because one of my contractors is in the process of taking down a few buildings.

We walked around a little and one of the site people filled me in a bit on some of the history including setting off missiles, the training grounds, and he even took me into one of the bunkers that had been used to store some things.

All really cool stuff.

"I like this sort of history," I said to a friend of mine who was along for the tour.

"Yeah, you'd have been a hell of a soldier," he commented.

We both laughed.

Because we know how poorly I would have fared in such an environment.

"Your platoon leader would give you an instruction and you'd break down why it seems like a lousy idea to you. You'd give him thirty-four reasons on why it just didn't work for you."

We laughed again.

"Can you imagine me in war time?" I asked.

"The first casualty," he said.

"Yep. I'd be shot in the back just as soon as the action starts," I said. "I'd be running away."

"And the bullets would be shot from about seven guns that were held by guys who are supposed to be on your side."

More laughter.

Probably true.

We looked around at the bunker.

The concrete walls and ceiling were a true marvel to us.

"Could you imagine being holed up in here for long?" he asked.

"I've been having a hissy fit all week because my e-mail isn't working properly," I said.

"Yep. One hell of a soldier."

The first casualty.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ready To Strangle

My week has been made a lot less enjoyable by one simple fact:

I can't send out an email from my home office.

Sound like fun?

It started on Monday.

I gathered the 15 emails I needed to send, loaded them on a flash drive, went to Kinko's and sent them.

It continued on Tuesday. Time Warner was consulted and you all know how helpful they are.

"You should be set," I was told.

Didn't work.

I gathered the 18 emails I needed to send, loaded them on a flash drive, went to Kinko's and sent them.

We tried some fixes.

"I fixed it!" Kathy said on Wednesday.

I wrote a whole bunch of reports.

It didn't work.

I gathered the 22 emails I needed to send, loaded them on a flash drive, went to Kinko's and sent them.

By Thursday there were no more problems.

"You have to log on a different way, but no problems."

I wrote my reports, happy that there were no more trips to Kinko's.

It didn't work.

I gathered the 17 emails I needed to send, loaded them on a flash drive, went to Kinko's and sent them.

It's now Friday morning.

I'm heading to work, knowing that it'll be just fine by the time I get home.

Seriously.

I'm ready to strangle something.

Isn't life fun?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

D.B. of the Week: Dog Abuser

Recently I was reading the good Stephen King novel: Mr. Mercedes.

In the story the villain was plotting to poison a dog.

Never mind that the same villain had killed people early on, I was upset that he just might kill the dog. It drove me nuts for a lot of pages.

Cut to Tuesday morning and the City section of the Buffalo News.

There was a story about 15 dogs on the side of the road in Arcade.

15 dogs!

Just dumped there like garbage.

6 of the dogs were less than 2 months old.

The rest of the dogs were adult dogs...all beautiful animals...

...just discarded.

I have a couple of friends who post photos of dogs that need rescuing.

I know others who actually participate and take in the dogs until they are able to find suitable homes.

Then there are others.

Real D.B.'s, of course.

Straight up miserable excuses for human beings who beat, kill, abuse, discard and torture defenseless animals.

How freaking low can you go?

As I write these words my two dogs are on my bed, waiting for me to hit the on-switch on the electric blanket.

They just had a ride.

They just ate a Pupp-aroni.

Everything is good.

I read the dog abandonment story a couple of times before I shredded the paper.

Miserable people.

Let's hope that all of those dogs somehow find a home. They were picked up by animal control and will most likely make their way to the SPCA.

What a way to go.

To have the absolute misfortune to get hooked up with a real D.B.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Writing New Stuff

I took up following Charles Buckowski on Twitter.

He was the author who wrote a whole bunch of books while absolutely hammered. His biggest claim to fame was the book and movie, Barfly.

I read a lot of his stuff through the years and I'm happy to see his thoughts, from beyond the grave, now, on Twitter.

He speaks a lot about the writing process and how impossible it is not to write.

I get that, boy!

I've been working on a few things...I always am, truthfully.

I keep the ideas at the front of my mind as I go through the day and if I'm clearheaded some of the plot will come to me as I drive, or climb a ladder, or listen to my beautiful wife tell me about her day.

It's always sitting right there.

Yet...there are moments when it becomes discouraging as well.

When the plot gets stuck in the mud and you aren't sure where to go.

That was happening with me so I went outside the haunted house that is my head and sent the story thus far to a couple of faithful readers.

One of them said something that made me think...and I didn't feel great about it...but knew there was thinking to do.

Then I went to sleep for the night.

As I have a tendency to do, I woke up in the middle of the night.

And the next 50 pages of the idea were sitting right there.

The 'What If' had become reality.

I struggled out of bed and grabbed the black notebook so I could just jot down a couple of notes. I wanted to go back to sleep, but I knew that if I didn't write down a couple of key words I could wake up in the morning...

...and it would all be gone.

Funny how the mind works.

(There's an aside here...sometimes the thoughts you have just upon waking sound real good as you're on the pillow, but then you wake up and consider it and you think, 'Damn, that's dumb!').

Not this time.

The plot move was perfect.

The new material is just sitting there.

Now I just gotta' type it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ready to Vote?

So, how many phone calls have you received lately? Dopes asking you to consider voting for them because they're better than the other dopes.

I'll vote, of course, but I can't say that I'm all fired up about it.

I get news fatigue to be honest:

Like with this Ebola nurse, Kaci Hickox.

We all know who she is, right?

She is refusing to be quarantined despite the fact that there have been others who've come down with the disease when they believed they were clear.

She's trying to tell all of America to shut the hell up. She knows she's fine.

Well, let's hope that she is...but you're telling me that you can't lay low for three weeks?

Three weeks away from everyone seems like a great idea.

What about Brittany Manyard?

She died over the weekend...because she had the right to die and she did it to stay clear of the misery that brain cancer would bring her.

Everyone is wondering if that's a thing that needs to be considered for each and every one of us.

Do we have the right to choose to die with dignity, and can we make our own decision on it?

I'm really confused here.

Remember I'm a Catholic boy...former altar boy...who was taught that it's God's choice when we live and die.

On the other hand...

...we put dogs down when they are suffering.

I wonder.

I'd probably fight to the very last breath, but I certainly don't feel right speaking for her. Yet people will be dropping all over this great land if we allow them all to make their own choice on the matter.

"This hang-nail is killing me. I'm out!"

Crazy subject.

We have been watching Homeland.

I'm a big Claire Danes fan. She's really pretty, if you ask me. She's also a great actress and the show is truly interesting.

But I got a little pissy when her character hooked up with a guy in the show.

"Not a fan of this," I said.

My beautiful wife was lost by my statement.

"She shouldn't be with Brody."

"Why not?" Kathy asked, still perplexed.

"She's cheating on me!"

"You're an idiot," she reminded me.

Yeah!

But I get to vote!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Chris Rock on SNL

I'm a big Chris Rock fan.

I also really enjoy stand-up comedy.

Chris Rock opened up Saturday Night Live this week with a few jokes that touched on subjects that really tend to ratchet people up:

Terrorism - 9/11 and the Boston Marathon

Religion - commercializing Christmas

Guns - We shouldn't own a race car.

Well, judging by the reactions of some people you would've thought that Chris Rock said that he was for terrorism, hated Jesus, and wanted every single gun out of every single hand.

He didn't.

In fact, comedy is such a thing...it's making the routine seem ridiculous...it's making the absurd seem normal...it's about exaggerating...it's about talking about what people don't wanna' talk about...it's about feeling uncomfortable as you're listening.

I had absolutely no problem with the monologue.

I laughed at a number of the jokes.

But man, there were a lot of people, 'up in arms' so to speak.

That's what is wrong these days.

Everyone is so thin-skinned.

Everyone feigns horror.

For cripes sake...he's a comedian!

He tells jokes.

What are the off-limit subjects?

His gun stuff was funny as hell.

He spoke of regulating guns enough to keep machine guns out of people's hands and he received death threats. When he learned of the death threats he thought, 'damn, I need a gun.'

Good stuff.

People are talking about Chris Rock taking away their 2nd amendment rights!

Really?

I joke about a lot of stuff.

I say things about people I love.

I drive my wife and kids crazy with lines...just in this blog that they supposedly said.

They get it!

"I'm a character in the play running through his mind," my beautiful wife says.

Right!

Chris Rock did not say that he enjoyed 9/11 or the Boston Marathon.

He told a joke about being afraid to return to big buildings.

He told another about not running 26 miles.

Those subjects are forever off-limits?

Check the charity efforts of the man immediately following the terrorist attacks. He isn't for terrorism. He doesn't want your guns.

He's telling jokes!

So, I guess I don't get it.

We used to have Archie Bunker.

Now we have a whole bunch of people pretending to be offended.

Silly.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Courtney Cox-Celebrity Name Game

There's a moment in the day when it all settles down.

The best hour for me is between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. - I hang with the boys a little. We argue sports and we catch a little television.

Well, we stumbled on a game show called Celebrity Name Game and since it's hosted by Craig Ferguson, who is a funny dude, we got sucked in to watching it.

We've laughed out loud each night.

"The whole hour goes fast," Sam said.

It does, but it's also an hour that I have started to cherish because Sam doesn't hold anything back when he laughs and it makes me laugh to hear him laugh.

Jake and Kathy have also watched the show with us...and they've laughed as well.

So...good times.

Anyway, I was on Twitter when I saw Courtney Cox had a post about something. I knew she was the executive producer of the show so I typed a few words.

"We enjoy Celebrity Name Game. It's a funny show."

Or something like that.

She responded:

"Thank you for telling me! Yay!!"

I thought that was cool and showed the boys.

I also hit retweet and then told my beautiful wife that Courtney Cox wanted me and that it wouldn't be long now before she swooped in on out beautiful little home and whisked me away to Hollywood for a life of leisure.

"As long as you two idiots send money back to me...who cares?"

Ah, the woman really loves me!

Yet...that was it...

...except I kept getting Twitter notices.

(Which doesn't happen often).

People favoriting the comment that Courtney wrote to me.

People retweeting the comment.

Again.

Again.

And again.

"What a mess," I said to the woman who stands to gain millions when Courtney and I stop this charade and finally hook up.

"Just because she's a celebrity people are all over the fact that she responded."

"That is weird," Kathy said.

"What a way to live! Every time you type a few words hundreds of people jump on it."

"She is a big star," Kathy said.

"And she answered me!" I responded.

Oh, Courtney.

(Hopefully she doesn't glance at my photo).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Technology & Stuff

Did you happen to see the poor slob who presented the car to the Giants Madison Bumgarner after game 7 of the World Series?

The guy looked like Rob Ford.

He spoke like Chris Farley when he was doing the motivational speaker skit on SNL.

He was sweating.

He was looking down at his note cards.

He was a bumbling...

...stumbling...

...dope.

(I wish I knew how to attach a YouTube video, but I don't. Look it up. I can't do everything).

Yet the guy was from Chevrolet. He was handed the mic as the commish, Bumgarner Erin Andrews and millions of others looked on.

Then he flat-out made an ass of himself with his inability to speak.

And it's always made me real uncomfortable to watch a bad speaker.

I always, always, always want to be the guy on the microphone. I absolutely love it, actually.

(My wife says I'm an attention whore).

Yet I think it's fun to make a roomful of people laugh.

I was at a wedding recently when the best man absolutely killed it in his speech to his brother. AJ Renaldo had great timing, was perfect with his dramatic pauses, and was well-prepared.

The gathering loved it.

The bride and groom loved it.

Mom and Dad were proud.

As I watched the dope on on the mic suffer through during the World Series presentation I could only think of his family busting his chops about it.

Truth be told, the first time I was on television it got me for a split-second.

The lights are hot.

Everyone is looking at you.

During my tense moment the host had said:

"Hi Cliff!"

I said:

"Humanna-hummana."

Then a split-second thought went through my tiny brain:

"My brother Jeff is gonna' tear me a new ass if I don't suck it up here."

Luckily I did just fine, but when the phone call came in immediately following the appearance Jeff said:

"Were you nervous for a second, pussycat?"

That cured me of it forever.

I do feel for the poor guy from Chevy.

He was brutal.

He actually was describing the car at one point and he said:

"Humanna-hummana, it has, um, uh, duh, good technology and stuff."

Funny stuff.

Heather Heyer

She was a 32-year old woman who wanted to protest the white supremacists in her town. She got killed for her stance. And it's pretty...