Friday, July 31, 2015

Cecil the Lion


People all over the world are up in arms over this photo.

Again.

A rich douche goes on a trophy hunting trip and then kills a majestic beast.

We've seen this play out before.

Right down to the shitty smile and the ensuing death threats.

We have learned the names of the dentist, Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil the Lion with a bow and arrow.

Walter Palmer is a straight-up killer.

He's not a hunter.

He's not a he-man or a great shot.

What he is, is the most-hated man around the world right now, because everyone is extremely up in arms with that pose.

People hate his smile and people hate the death on the face of a lion.

Here we go:

I'm not a hunter and I just don't understand it.

I get the fact that there are folks who hunt deer and then eat what they kill. I understand that those who love hunting treat it as I treat golf. It's a relaxing thing. It's supposedly a difficult thing to do and those who do it well are really proud of their efforts.

That's all fine with me.

This guy, however, I just don't get at all.

These are the supposed acts of a hunt like that:

1). The guy pays a fortune.

2). The hunt isn't really a hunt...the animals are doped up worse than a Bill Cosby victim.

3). The "hunter" is then placed five feet in front of the animal.

4). Murder ensues.

As for the rage?

I was sickened when I saw the photo. Absolutely sickened. I can't even look at it for too long.

I'm not alone.

People just can't handle the slaughter of animals. Watch a movie some time...the bad guy can kill 75 people and no one blinks an eye, but if a horse appears...

...and gets killed.

The movie is ruined.

We can't handle the death of animals who aren't supposed to die in such fashion.

Truthfully though...is there anyone out there on this guy's side?

Cause I'd really like to hear the reason why this photo is awesome.

Absolutely sickens me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

D.B. of the Week - Colin Cowherd

Pedro Martinez wasn't my favorite baseball player of all-time.

Actually, I hated him when he was on the Suck Sux and was throwing a 75-year-old man to the ground.

Poor Don Zimmer.

But Pedro had a great answer when they asked him about this week's D.B. of the Week, Colin Cowherd.

"Who is he?" Pedro asked.

Cowherd was a sports talk show guy from ESPN.

He got fired last week because he made some silly remarks about baseball and the Dominican Republic...basically saying that baseball isn't real complicated if people from the Dominican Republic can understand the complexities of the game.

I'm glad to see Cowherd hitting the road.

He's always been a bombastic moron.

He's always been anti-baseball...telling us how great college and pro football is compared to the M.L.B.

Yeah...he glosses over the fact that former players brains are turned to mush.

He crows about how difficult it is to manage a football game...

...but how simple baseball is.

And I could never take more than 5 minutes of his garbage.

If football was so intricate perhaps genius coaches wouldn't throw the ball on first and one when the Super Bowl is on the line.

Yet...

... there are people defending Cowherd, of course.

What happened to free speech? the morons moan on social media.

Cowherd was free to blast an entire nation of people.

ESPN was free to fire him for it.

My question being:

How can you be so tragically short-sighted?

When will it dawn on people that lumping an entire class of people into in dumb sentence doesn't work?

So.

See you down the road, Colin Cowherd.

Thanks for the heartfelt apology.

Pedro doesn't care.

He doesn't even know who the hell you are.

Even if you did win D.B. of the Week.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Life's A Bitch!


"Life's a Bitch!"

Someone I love dearly sent me that three-word note on Friday as I was trying hard to get back home to get a couple of days rest after a really long week.

We had traded texts about our various aches and pains and notes about how difficult things are sometimes.

"It's about moments," I answered. "Getting to the moments where we laugh."

I've always loved that photo of my Mom and Dad.

I try to imagine what they were laughing about.

It could have been anything.

They made each other laugh for a lot of years.

They made everyone around them laugh.

When I see that photo I think of a day long ago.

A salesperson had shown up at our front door.

Dad didn't want to listen to a sales pitch.

Mom let the lady in.

There was one problem with the entire situation:

The woman had badly crossed eyes.

Regardless, Mom led the woman to the kitchen table and sat across from her.

The woman began to speak.

Dad took the position directly behind the woman.

Where only Mom could see him.

As the woman spoke, Dad crossed his eyes and did a little dance.

Mom tried not to look, but she did.

And when Dad made Mom laugh there wasn't much that could stop her from laughing for a long while.

You can imagine that poor saleslady.

Dad had long since disappeared from his spot behind her.

Mom just sat there, bent over in laughter.

"I really wanted to kill him," Mom says all these years later.

And then she laughs.

Even with Dad no longer beside her...

...she can laugh.

Yeah...life's a bitch.

But it's way too short.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pluto

"If you're seeing a cardiologist, you may want to leave the room," the principal scientist Alan Stern said as he opened up the news conference regarding the discoveries made as the NASA spacecraft returned photos of Pluto.

Man, scientists are geeks!

Stern went on to explain that there are layers of haze!

That the temperatures on Pluto are minus 380 degrees and that ice flows like glaciers!!!

Holy crap...I can hardly settle down!

And now I know that there are reasons why it is mind-boggling to some people to make these discoveries.

(I watch the Big Bang Theory).

But what does any of it mean to any of us?

There are ponds of frozen nitrogen!!!!

An underground ocean might be there!!!

Seriously.

Does any of this change your life?

And here's the thing about that there science stuff.

I ain't smart enough to get it.

It took 9 and a half years for the spacecraft to travel 3 billion miles to get the first close-up look of Pluto.

(When I think of Pluto...you know what I picture in my mind, don't you?)

"To see such recent ice flow activity is simply a dream come true," Stern said.

Really?

That's what he dreams about?

Ice flow on Pluto?

A mountain range that rivals the Rocky Mountains?

What does any of it mean to us?

No one here will ever realize our dreams of learning all about Pluto.

My constant thought being that the money spent for such a set of mind-boggling photos may have been better spent to...oh I don't know...feed some starving people here.

But what the hell do I know?

I'm not smart enough to figure it all out.

I read the articles.

My heart didn't skip even a single beat.

There's ice on Pluto!

My Lord!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The 5th Annual Jeff Fazzolari Thunder Road Memorial Softball Tourney


The donations are coming in!

A Born in the USA Buffalo shirt!


A David Phelps autographed ball! David has donated each and every year...what a guy!


The 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized American Sports plaque!


Another proud to be from the great city of Buffalo shirt!

Baltimore is once again representing hard with Dave Neisser leading the way! Wait until you see the goods Dave is bringing along.

The signed Rowdy Roddy Piper photo is all me!


And most importantly...

...all for Jeff's kids!

Now I'm sure that Wif is going to crush me this year with various tasty things to eat.

Hope to see you there!

The best day of the year.

If you'd like to donate a basket...or an item...just let me know!

I need to work on getting some leg strength...

...if I can't play...

I can guarantee I can eat!

Let's go Lions!

We're ready to celebrate!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

HULK-A-IDIOT RUNNING WILD - D.B. of the Week

Hulk Hogan makes the rounds on the morning talk shows...

...I always thought he was kind of dim-witted.

His entire act is pretty lame, but he made a lot of money running around in his yellow tights.

But he was always sorta' dopey to me.

He easily wins D.B. of the Week this week with his racist rant about a black guy dating his daughter.

And it's not just the brutal sentences he managed to string together that gets him the award.

Let's review:

Steroids - check.

Weird leering at his own daughter - check.

Nasty divorce with full name calling and stories of horrendous behavior - check.

Sleeping with his best friend's wife - check.

Taping it - check.

Acting crazy when the tape was leaked - check.

Suing everyone - check.

Crying for forgiveness - check.

Anyone surprised by the racist rant?

But that's not to say that the Hulkster won't have his backers.

About ten years ago I was at the wrestling matches with my boys.

Thank God that phase ended...

...but it wasn't my boys love for the tough guys that scared me.

It was the grown men who went to the matches and acted as if they were seeing Ali-Frazier.

My boys still laugh about the guy who screamed every imaginable curse word at John Cena.

"I'LL KILL YOU CENA! FIGHT ME, YOU COWARD!!!"

The guy was seated next to his own kids...I wonder about those poor kids...who were trying to crawl under the seat embarrassed by their Dad.

But that's the world where the Hulkster lived.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The WWE dumped Hulk Hogan yesterday after the tape hit the airwaves.

I don't know where the Hulkster goes from here, but one thing is sure:

He can trade in his heavyweight belt for D.B. of the Week.

With Donald Trump at microphones all over the land it isn't easy to wrestle away the D.B. of the Week Honors...

...but the Hulk did it.

Idiotic Behavior Running Wild!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Brother Can You Spare A Dime?


There have been times in my life when I'd lower the window and hand the guy standing on the corner at Teall Avenue in Syracuse a handful of change.

Late yesterday afternoon I didn't even look at him.

And I'm not a miserable enough person who wants to shout out:

"Get a job!"

I don't know that guy's story and deep down I've always felt some compassion.

I just had a very hard week...again...a lot of work...and I didn't feel like being brought down. I knew what his sign said:

Homeless!

War Vet!!

Hungry!!!!

Can you spare a dime????


"We passed him the other day," one of the guys who works in the nearby office said, "And he was talking on an I-phone."

So.

He has a phone.

That doesn't mean he ain't broke.

Yet you hear all the stories of men making good money...tax-free money...and then going to a home anyway...

The 'Homeless' thing is false advertising.

They'll just buy drugs or booze with the money they get.

Perhaps.

But I certainly have given a dime or two to a man standing on the corner elsewhere.

Why?

Well, because it has nothing to do with them, I suppose.

Sometimes I feel compassionate.

If I had over a buck or two I do it not to make that guy rich...

...but just to change my own mood.

It's for me.

Helps me feel a little connected to another human.

"I hate those people," the guy who told me the cell phone story said.

Hate is a strong word.

The beggars certainly irritate me when my mood isn't great...

...but it ain't about them.

Not really.

Friday, July 24, 2015

How's Your Summer Going?

I was at a job meeting today where the discussion turned to a few months down the line and of course, everyone there began to talk about ice...

...and snow and lost workdays.

"Hopefully we'll have a little milder winter," one goofy bastard said.

And it got me thinking about how we are almost done with summer.

What do we have left?

Sixty more good days?

"We only have to worry about the crap conditions for ten months," I said and I got a big laugh, but what can you do?

It's Buffalo!

And it got me thinking...

My summer has been okay.

A few rounds of golf.

Camp Clifford is humming.

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

The Stones were just here.

Bruce is talking new record and tour and...

...The Buffalo Bills are gearing up for a Super Bowl winning year!!!


(That's what the Camp Clifford campers are saying).

The Erie County Fair is in a couple of weeks.

The Softball Tourney in Jeff's memory is just a few weeks away.

(Donations greatly appreciated for the basket raffle!!!)

A few weeks after that is Labor Day...

...and then!

.... and then!!!

Snow!

Ice!!

Falling on my ass!!!

I can hardly wait.

Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Broken Pieces

We interrupt the D.B. of the Week ceremony this week because I'm tired of just giving it to Donald Trump and it has occurred to me that he just might win it every week between now and the election.

Yet he must stay in the race because he's going to make all the other candidates give real answers. He's going to force them away from their canned talks.

It will be great fun.

Yet.

I had a few other thoughts this week.

Check this out:


I spotted that written on a door in downtown Buffalo.

What a beautiful thought, huh?

One of these days someones gonna hug you so hard that. All the broken pieces stick back together.

The bad grammar aside (ending a sentence with 'that'?) it's actually a pretty nice thought.

I'm not sure who the writer was speaking to...

...I wonder if he or she had a specific person in mind.

I'm not quite sure that a hug so hard can make 'all the broken pieces stick back together' but I looked at the door for a long moment...

...and wondered.

I was telling the story of the woman beside me at the Stones concert and the guy I was telling it to said:

"Why do all the great stories seem to happen to you as a writer?"

I wondered about that.

Is it because I'm open to such things?

I wonder how many people have walked by this door downtown and never gave it a second thought.

I can almost see the person who wrote these lines.

I'm thinking of a street person.

A woman....for some reason...I'm thinking it's a middle-aged homeless woman with a chemical-dependency problem.

I'm thinking she has a beer at her feet as she works.

I'm also thinking that she's thinking of someone very specifically.

Someone that she loves.

Someone that has hurt her.

There are broken pieces all around.

I'm hoping there are hugs that put things back together.

What a great door.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Heritage

My brother and his family returned from what looked like a simply amazing trip to Italy.

I commented about how special the place seemed to be and John answered:

"You can really get a sense of our heritage."

And it made me think of the unbelievable nasty debate that is going on in this country right now:

Immigration.

My Dad wasn't a fan of having his heritage denounced.

He would actually fight a man who had the misfortune of uttering a nasty word like:

Dago, or Wop.

"Wop comes from when Italians used to come over to America," Dad explained. "When they were gathered at the Statue of Liberty they would have a sign around their necks:

W.O.P. - With-Out Papers."

I spent a lot of time talking about heritage and tradition with my Dad.

We didn't have the conversation on purpose, or even in a single setting.

We did it over time.

"We should have pasta every Sunday," I remember telling Dad when I was about five-years-old.

"We will. That's what we do in our family."

(Do you know that in my 50 years I have not had pasta on only about four Sundays in my life?)

A tip of the cap to our heritage.

And I know there are certainly problems.

Huge problems.

Rapists and criminals are getting in.

But so are men like those who came across the pond from my family...

...and your family.

People who wanted to escape lives of poverty...

...or crime.

Hardworking men and women who want something more.

People who are W.O.P. who dream of the promised land of America.

This is what is graven on a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty Stands:

The New Colussus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



And that is why immigration isn't quite as simple to me as:

"Don't let anyone in!"

Some of the same folks who want to change the immigration policy beg people to honor the sanctity of the amendments when it comes to other things, like guns...

...you can't have it both ways.

Yeah...

...the policies have been compromised.

People need to follow the proper procedures to enjoy the freedoms of the land.

Yet American can't simply close the doors.

That's not honoring the principles of the country that is made up of all possible heritages.

There's no denying that I'm an American...Born in the USA...through and through...and my children are even more American than me as they are one more generation away from the members of our family who came over...

...some with no papers at all...

...and built a life.

A great life.

One where we have pasta each Sunday.

You can really get a sense of our heritage.

One sentence, spoken by my brother, made me consider all of it.

I'd hate to see walls or a sign on the door that simply says:

CLOSED.

That's not what our forefathers wanted.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Dummy"

So, despite my best efforts not to do it I stepped into a little bit of a political discussion this weekend when I read that Donald Trump had denounced John McCain as a war hero.

As said here before, Donald entertains me.

I've listened to him rant on a lot of subjects and while he can make me laugh...he also makes me think about things from a different angle as well.

Reading that Trump would rather celebrate soldiers who aren't captured...made me a little ill.

I quickly posted that his comments were embarrassing...and I stepped into the slippery slope of a political debate that was, as they all are, misguided.

People who really, really, really want to vote for Trump quickly jumped to the defense of an absolute string of indefensible comments.

Donald called McCain "dummy."

Really.

Dummy.

Remember when you were in the 2nd grade and one of your classmates called you a 'dummy'?

(Come on...it couldn't have only happened to me!)

It was quickly handled by the teacher who reprimanded the other boy.

"We don't call other people names here!"

Seriously.

McCain was a prisoner of war.

He was captured...

...detained...

...and refused to give in.

Then:

He had to put up with Sarah Palin!

Now I don't know enough about why Donald is so angry with McCain.

Immigration?

The horrific treatment of veterans?

Choose better words!

I can hear my beautiful wife saying that to our children as they grew and said goofy things.

Choose better words, Donald.

'Dummy' isn't nice.

In fact, it might be said that someone who might choose to go that route...

....might...

...in fact...

...be a dummy.

McCain should have done it.

He should have tweeted:

"I'm rubber and you're glue."

Monday, July 20, 2015

Van Miller

Growing up in Buffalo meant that you were hearing Van Miller's voice as much as you were hearing the voice of your favorite teacher. Van was everywhere.

A true celebrity in a small-type city, I suppose.

I first remember knowing of Van Miller when he would call the Buffalo Braves games. In fact, I stood within just a couple of feet from him as he walked around in his fur coat and hat on the sidelines, before a game, talking with Dr. Jack Ramsey who was the coach at the time.

Two for McAdoo, when great Bob McAdoo scored.

and just plain:

Randy when Randy Smith hit a jumper.

At 8 or 9 years old you start thinking that announcing a game and doing the play-by-play might be your way into the pros.

(Lord knows my left-hand and playing D wasn't going to do it for a slow, no-jumping, white lad).

But we used to try and announce the games. I recall working with my old buddy, Al DeCarlo, thinking it would be great to be real professional sports announcers.

But Van made it sound easy.

He could always make the person listening or watching feel the excitement.

When he moved onto the games for the Buffalo Bills, Van became a true Buffalo legend. When the Bills got to be good...real good...Van ramped up the excitement with his legendary calls.

The Fandemonium call is one that I'm sure that anyone who lives in Buffalo can call to mind...

...but back to my dream.

I worked on the radio station at Gannon University for awhile.

I quickly learned that I couldn't work up sounding excited when I actually wasn't.

I was a monotone reader of things on the radio and it all came crashing down as I prepared my sports for my afternoon radio show. The guy who was spinning records nonchalantly asked me what I thought of the death of Philadelphia Flyers goalie Pelle Lindbergh.

"It f*&%ing sucks," I said.

"WE'RE ON THE AIR!" He screamed.

I wonder if Van ever had a moment like that.

Anywhoha...

Van Miller's passing this weekend was shocking to me in one respect. Van lived to the ripe old age of 87.

A great life, by all accounts.

Yet when I heard he died I thought of being a 9-year-old kid.

Sitting with Dad.

Watching Ernie D.

Van's voice in my head.

Dad cheering with me.

That's how time works, people.

We remember.

We treasure.

Van will stay alive.

In the heads and hearts of all who listened along.

I finally figured out how Van grew excited by what he was seeing too.

He loved Buffalo sports and the community of people he was talking for.

RIP Van Miller.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Smiles All Around

I stopped in at the kick-ball tournament in memory of Cathy George in the great town of North Collins on Saturday and what amazed me more than anything else was that every single person I talked to...

...was smiling.


As I do each year I stopped to look at the wall that honors the past winners.

And then I bought a few tickets for the outstanding auction:


I even tried to win this:


So I could give it it's proper burning.

But what is cool about growing up in a small town is that you can't truly walk fifty feet without running into a friend....

...and they are great friends, by the way.

I even had an 'in' with the guy who spins records each year.


Rick played Glory Days as soon as he saw me and then he went on a string of Stones hits that nearly made me move like Jagger.

I had some laughs with a whole bunch of people and I watched a little of the very competitive games.

I wish I could've hung around a little longer, but my dopey kids had things happening.

What's awesome is that the event gets bigger and bigger every single year.

Cathy would certainly be smiling at all those who are out there trying to kick the ball.

And...

...she'd fit right in.

Everyone was smiling.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

I Need Advice

I drive around a lot so there's plenty of time to listen to talk radio.

My current playlist looks like this:

Howard and/or Opie & Jim in the morning. Howard is on so rarely these days that I've learned to like Opie & Jim now that the racist Anthony has been kicked to the curb.

By 10 a.m. I switch to either Dan Patrick or um...my beautiful wife laughs at this...Jenny McCarthy.

(Hey I gotta' keep up with what the women are thinking).

By noon I'm a little lost. I usually go to the MLB Station or switch to E-Street Radio for a bit of Bruce.

All in all...I can't live without Sirius radio.

Anywhoha...

On Friday I was a little busy when Jenny ended and I never switched the station to Bruce.

I was trapped listening to Dr. Laura for a moment.

My husband is a sex addict, the woman began.

Who isn't? I thought.

He's NOT an addict! Dr. Laura scolded. But tell me why you think so.

He spends a lot of time on the computer.

Does he neglect you? Laura asked.

Well, no. We have an active sex life, but he has hundreds of porn tapes and he masturbates more than once every day, I'm sure of it.

(Time-Out - would you call a national radio show and go on record to tell the world that your spouse is a masturbating, porn-addicted, piece of garbage?).

Answer that on your own.

So what's the problem? Laura asked. (she's not really a doctor). You're getting yours and he's getting his and then some.

Laura offered that annoying laugh.

Well, the money, the shameless lady said. He did all this on his work computer and now the company wants to be reimbursed. We can't afford to pay off the $7,000 he owes the company.

Time-Out

7 grand!

On his work account!!

Definitely not a genius!!!

So...what pearls of wisdom did Laura offer?

We took away his computer and phone. He's gonna' go visit the local priest and maybe go to therapy, the woman said.

All great things, Laura said.

Time-Out

I quit.

I flipped the station to E-Street Radio.

Bruce was singing She's the One.

I thought about that marriage.

That poor guy.

She took his phone away and zapped his Internet account.

She's gotta' be bashing him over the head with it on a daily basis...hell...she announced it on national radio!

That's enough to drive a guy to a life of porn.

They should have just castrated him.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Story of True Courage

The Caitlyn Jenner ESPY is inspiring a whole lot of debate.

Well, let me tell you a story of courage.

I chronicled the story of Trina Stinson and her sons Anthony and Nick in my book House of Miracles.

Here is the introduction of Anthony and his courageous mother and brother.

That is courage folks!

No disrespect to Caitlyn or her dress...

...Trina (and all those who suffer in anonymity) deserve the ESPY.

Chapter 3 - The Story of Anthony Stinson - Part I

“When you have no choice, mobilize the spirit of courage.” --- Jewish Proverb

There wasn’t a single thing in my life that prepared me to meet Anthony Stinson. My son had been very sick; there was no getting around that. I had suffered as he awaited surgery to remove the tumor in his chest. I wondered what I would do with the rest of my life if each and every one of my prayers weren’t answered. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones. My son, Jake, made a full recovery and is free to enjoy his life. Jake spends hours jumping on the trampoline, wrestling with his brothers, and playing baseball. He runs through the house with reckless abandon and sometimes it’s all I can do to keep from screaming at him to settle down and be quiet. Given Jake’s renewed energy, I certainly wasn’t prepared to meet Anthony Stinson.

When I arrived at the Stinson home, I was greeted with a placard on the front door that screamed: “Oxygen! No Smoking! No Open Flames! Keep Oil and Grease Away!”

I knocked lightly on the door and Anthony’s mother, Trina, opened the door quickly.

Upon seeing me she said, “Oh my God, I forgot you were coming.” A small dog tried to escape between my legs. Trina reached for the animal and caught it. “Come on, Corabell, get in here.”

I had met Trina through The Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo’s Family-Centered Care Program. I had been impressed with her dedication to the program and the fierce, protective love that she had shown when speaking about her sons, Anthony and Nicholas.

“Come in,” Trina said, “but excuse me for one moment.”

Trina escaped into the other room as I stood with my notebook at the ready. Before I’d made more than three steps into the home, a young boy greeted me. “Hi, I’m Nicholas,” he said. “Anthony’s in the living room.”

I smiled at Nicholas and followed him down the short hallway that led to the living room. My heart jumped into my throat as I saw Anthony in the hospital bed in the center of the room. My eyes went directly to the oxygen bottle at the front of the bed, and then I slowly scanned the room, taking in the fully stocked medical facility that served as the family living room. Across from the bed I noticed large letters strung across the wall as if to teach a child the alphabet.

“I’m sorry,” Trina said as she entered the living room. “Some days get real busy around here.”

On the wall underneath the alphabet were two large chalkboards noting the minute-by-minute care necessary to sustain Anthony’s life. I glanced at the medicine that needed to be administered and I even read the words of a warning posted to the nurses that assisted Trina in Anthony’s care. I was doing all I could not to look into the bed.

“You’ve met Nicholas,” Trina said, “And this is Anthony.”

I peered over Trina’s shoulder at Anthony as he lay in the bed. He was hooked to a number of machines, and my eyes instantly went to the trachea tube. “He’s a big boy,” I said.

“Yeah, he’s my baby,” Trina said.

“He’s bigger than me,” Nicholas said. “I’m two years older than him and he weighs more than me.”

Trina lowered the bed rails and sat beside her unresponsive son. “Thank you for doing this,” she said. “It’ll do me good to talk about Anthony and the hospital.”

I suddenly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to just sit in the room staring at what I was seeing. I gulped for air and offered a smile. “I hope I can do your son justice,” I said.

My eyes returned to the wall and the note posted for the nursing staff. I couldn’t help but feel the love in Trina’s printed words: Please, please, please – Always keep the side up on Anthony’s bed, even if you’re sitting in the chair. We take for granted that he doesn’t move, but there have been a few times that, from his back, he stretched and rolled on his side. If the rail were down, he would have fallen out of his bed. One of my biggest fears is to have him fall 3 feet to the ground, not being able to catch himself. It makes me sick to think of, so please, make sure his sides are up at all times.

“So, how do you want to do this?” Trina asked.

It dawned on me that I was just sitting there, trapped in a state of undeniable confusion. I strained for another breath of air. “How about at the beginning?” I asked.

“That would be Nicholas,” Trina said. “Nicholas was born on June 23, 1998. He’s a big help around here, aren’t you?”

Nicholas had strayed a few feet away from the living room, but he was hanging there on the periphery to see if he could add anything about his brother.

“I try to help,” Nicholas said softly. “I counted all the alcohol swabs.”

“Yes! You did,” Trina said. She shared a brief smile with her older son. “He’s a big help,” She whispered. “Anthony was born on June 15, 2000, almost exactly two years later. It was a normal pregnancy, but I was a week-and-a-half early. I had gone through childbirth with Nicholas, so I figured that I knew what I was doing, but the pain was excruciating – way worse than with Nicholas. They finally administered an epidural, which was wonderful. I spent the next couple of hours pushing and joking that I wanted to name my child Anthony Epidural instead of Anthony Thomas. Yet, as it turned out, I had to have an emergency C-section.”

Trina turned to the bed and adjusted Anthony’s covers. “I can remember being panicked about the C-section. I was in shock actually because I had always skipped over the sections about C-sections and I felt so unprepared, but little did I know that it was just the beginning of challenges Anthony and I would face. When they finally delivered Anthony, he was screaming. I held him for the very first time, and I can remember just shaking with joy. It had been a difficult challenge, but I had my reward. I wasn’t able to see Anthony for the first few hours because he was having respiratory and feeding difficulties, but when they finally got me to a room, I asked for a wheelchair because I couldn’t handle being away from him.” Trina gazed into the bed and a slight smile broke across her face. “Anthony had tubes and monitors hooked up to him, and that really was upsetting. I cried, but everyone said he was okay, and I was able to take him home with me.”

There wasn’t any doubt that Trina was replaying every second of the birth. She touched her youngest son’s shoulder and reached around to softly caress the side of his unresponsive face. “The first sign of trouble occurred when Anthony was four months old. I noticed that his eyes were crossing, so I took him to the eye doctor. I’ll never forget it; the ophthalmologist came out and said that Anthony could barely see. I didn’t believe the guy, but later on I realized that what was happening with his brain was affecting his eyesight.”

Trina is an attractive young woman whose face explodes in an expression of whatever emotion she is feeling. I immediately noticed that her dark eyes were dancing with a feeling of distress. “The day when I realized that Anthony was virtually blind was horrifying. He was in a walker and I was standing right in front of him. He must have thought that I left the room because he was yelling for me, and I was just inches from him.” Trina bowed her head and then instinctively turned towards the crib. “It was devastating to me to know that he would never see. They called it cortical visual impairment and declared Anthony legally blind. What it meant to me was that he would never see anything. I don’t know why, but it really bothered me that he would never see an airplane, or a sunset, or his brother.”

Trina turned and checked one of Anthony’s monitors. She casually touched the side of her son’s face, and then her face took on an expression of hopefulness. “Being blind wasn’t the worst thing in the world, though. Over the next few months, I grew used to the idea, determined to make things okay for my boys. Anthony was a big, strong boy, and he was very energetic.”

“Yeah, he used to jump all over me,” Nicholas said.

Trina cautioned Nicholas against interrupting, but I mentioned that it was okay with me. I wanted to hear Nicholas speak of his brother. My words of encouragement brought Nicholas closer to the bed. “Anthony was real strong,” Nicholas said. “He used to knock me over.”

“When Anthony was eight months old, we noticed that he was sort of leaning to one side.” Trina got down off the bed, put the rail into place, and then showed me Anthony’s stance from long ago. “He seemed to be in pain, and every once in awhile he’d just fall over. I was so naive, but you don’t consider the worst. I thought it was an ear infection.”

Trina couldn’t go more than a few moments without looking at the bed. Before long, I found that I was comfortable looking at Anthony in the crib.

“He would wake up crying. He would pull at his hair, like this.” Trina placed her hands on her hair at each temple. “’Hurt Momma! Hurt Momma!’ he would cry.”

“We had inserts placed in his shoes to help him with his balance. God, it seems a lifetime ago.”
“But, he was okay, right?” I asked. I’m sure it was a strange question to Trina, but what I meant was that he was still up and moving and responsive and curious, like a baby should be.

“He had so much spirit,” Trina said. “He was so determined to make things work. That’s why it’s so difficult now, because I knew him before! The loss of his eyesight was tragic, but we were adapting. We got bigger books and we changed things around. He was learning and he was developing. Looking back, maybe it was just false hope, or maybe I was missing something, but I didn’t have a medical degree. I was relying on his doctors, and they couldn’t foresee what was about to happen.”

Thursday, July 16, 2015

D.B. of the Week - Aaron Kromer

All right.

You probably don't know who Aaron Kromer is.

But you will soon.

Not only has Kromer won the coveted D.B. of the Week Award he will or should soon be looking for a job!

Kromer is currently the Offensive Line Coach for YOUR Buffalo Bills.

Problem is...he may not be the coach of that O-line before the week ends.

You see, Kromer had a bit of a problem while on vacation in Florida last week.

The details are a little sketchy, but the story goes something like this:

Some teenage kids "borrowed" the Kromer family beach chairs down in Florida.

Aaron Kromer didn't like that.

He allegedly went on a bit of a rampage, tossing the kids fishing poles into the water and then (this is where the details get sketchy) he got into a fight with the kids.

Kromer pushed one of the kids.

Then Kromer punched one of the kids.

Then Kromer told the kids that if they called the police he'd 'kill their family.'

That is D.B. of the Week behavior every single week.

Listen, I'm not a saint.

Last week I told a story about the neighbor aggravating me as he picked on my kids a bit, but I do know a little bit about doing one thing...

...walking away!

Especially when the fight is about borrowed beach chairs.

Especially if I were to work for the National Football League where you can be suspended for 4 games for maybe, probably having some general knowledge about air being let out of a ball. (But only get 2 or 4 games for decking your fiance or girlfriend).

Kromer should know better.

He's just starting a brand new job!

He pops a kid in the face?

Over a beach chair?

That's just dopey behavior.

And now suppose the Buffalo Bills don't fire him?????

That might be a whole 'nother blog post, don't you think?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

El Chapo

So...we have another jail break, huh?

This one makes the one in New York look like child's play.

How can people dig mile long tunnels from their prison cells without being noticed?

I know there's a lot of downtime for someone in a jail cell, but being free to dig to China?

Turns out, El Chapo is a real tough guy.

An allegedly really bad dude.

El Chapo, which translates to 'Shorty' is a Sinaloa cartel leader and the stories of the drug kingpin's bad acts reads like a laundry list of how to ensure that you have a quick trip to hell when things are finished here.

The Mexican Government is up in arms.

There is a huge reward offered.

The American Government is also under fire, including Donald Trump, who made a whole bunch of comments about Mexicans before the escape and then jumped on the news of the escape as proof that he was right about every racist word that fell from his mouth.

El Chapo isn't laughing.

Following the escape Trump and El Chapo's people traded barbs on social media.

I'm not kidding!

The Donald said that he'd kick El Chapo's ass.

Then El Chapo mentioned that he was not amused and that if Donald didn't calm down...

...well...

bad things might happen.

Lost in all of this is that there is a really bad guy, who had been corralled, is now on the loose.

One of the social media photos showed El Chapo on a plane, drinking a beer.

He has friends.

He's not running through the woods waiting for Shawskank to pick him up.

We may never see El Chapo again.

But I have an idea:

Tell The Donald that we will let him be president if he keeps sending out insults to El Chapo.

That will certainly send El Chapo out of hiding...

...he will chase down Trump.

We can grab El Chapo just before, or immediately after he has his way with The Donald.

All kidding aside:

Get him.

And this time, here's a hint:

Keep an eye on him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Little Break

So the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized American Sports - the New York Yankees - are in first place at the all-star break.

Just like I had it figured.

And after seeing my brother and his family traipsing around Italy...and after seeing the Stones and being inspired...I was happy to take a day off from the usual routine.


It's hard to get a day in the summer but the hours have been long...gotta' do it or burn-out happens.

So Pops and I hit the course.

And man, it was beautiful.

We talked about the Buffalo Bills players being stupid on social media. We hit on their new OL coach punching out a kid on a beach in Florida...

...and we took a few swings.

I achieved par on a couple of early holes and was really having a good time...when I hit my drive on 11 and felt my back go.

I thought of my beautiful wife warning me:

"Why don't you just rest a day?"

I did some deep-knee bends (for me that isn't terribly deep).

"You all right?" Pops asked.

I scored par on the next two holes.

Seriously.

He was laughing at me.

But the summer sky is unbelievable to me.

A day of rest is actually shooting well on a beautiful golf course.

We had lunch at the 19th hole and I ordered a bag of ice for my back.

To be fair, Pops birdied the massive final hole so he was feeling pretty good about things, but his ass got soundly whooped by the guy who keeps it in the fairway.

A perfect mini-break.

The Yanks are off until Friday as well.

No baseball for me.

It's the All-Star break.

We all need down time!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Rape Was Consensual

Camille Cosby went on the offensive this weekend in the defense of her husband, Bill, who has certainly fallen from grace.

In one of the strangest things I've ever heard the longtime wife explained that the drugs and the sex between 50 or so women and her husband was actually consensual.

Come again?

These women who took a drink with the Cos, passed out, woke up with him and them in a state of undress, then felt as if they had been raped or violated...

...were actually in on it?

As Judge Judy says:

If it doesn't make sense, it's not true.

Let's say for a moment that the women did agree to take a drug or two with the pudding dude.

Then they passed out.

Does that mean he could do whatever he wanted?

And now why are these women suddenly changing their stories?

Are any of them getting paid because they had been raped by Bill? (Allegedly).

I get that Camille has been married to him for years and that he afforded her a pretty good living. Although it's harder for me to understand I do also get that sometimes spouses forgive spouses for being unfaithful.

But going to bat for him when, what, 50 women are saying that he drugged them and then raped them when they were passed out?

That's some fierce loyalty there.

What's weird about the entire story is that people just never really wanted to believe that Cosby had been such a vile man.

I think there are still a lot of people out there who hope that it isn't true.

I know he's an old man now.

The courts most likely won't get him as he can't be charged in most of those crimes.

Isn't it time to fade away?

What is she defending anyway?

Does she think there will be another TV series?

The return of Cliff Huxtable?

It's over.

Stick with Bill if you'd like.

But just keep your wild defenses to yourself.

'Cause they're really dumb.



Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Future of Rock & Roll

I'm writing this at 12:53 a.m.

My ears are ringing.

I was simply blown away.


The Stones landed in Buffalo...and I was all set for a trip down memory lane...

...and they just simply blew me away.

I called Jumpin' Jack Flash as the opener.

That might have been the slowest song they played all night.

Sympathy for the Devil?

Are you freaking kidding me?

I kept thinking about how they played it in 69' and the Hell's Angels killed a guy while they were on stage.

Midnight Rambler?

The woman next to me confessed that she had seen the Stones for the first time in '72. She bought her ticket for the show this morning.

Her husband, who was a huge Stones fan had recently died.

She decided to come anyway.

We talked about a lot of things as the show played out. The one thing that we talked about the most is that:

Mick Jagger is an amazing human being.


"That's a long ways that he's running," she said. "He's older than me!"

And me too!

I hardly sat down and I truly did not expect that.

Brown Sugar.

You Can't Always Get What You Want.

Miss You.

Start Me Up.

Happy.

Before they Make Me Run.

Can You Hear Me Knocking!


Are you freaking kidding me???????

One song after another. Mick running. Charlie hammering on the drums. Ronny Wood playing the slide guitar....

...and Keith.


One of my favorite musicians of all-time...Keith.

Riff after riff.

And you know what?

The Buffalo crowd really made me smile.

Everyone was on their game.

We rocked it, bitches!


I just tell you...

...I've seen the future of rock and roll and it looked a lot like the past...

The Rolling Stones are the World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band.

Bruce is a better entertainer and writer...

...but the Stones are incredible.

Just incredible.

Blown away.

They were 100 times better than they were 34 years ago.

And that's simply amazing to me.

"I agree," the woman seated beside me, said. "I wish my husband had seen it."

"He did," I told her. "If there's a heaven, the Stones are in it."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Stones Are Here!


The date was September 27, 1981.

I paid $15 for the ticket and went to the show with my buddies John Cataldo, Tom Ryback and my brother John. I honestly can't believe that my mother let me go.

I was just sixteen years old!

But she was going to have a rough time keeping me away - I was that much of a Stones fan.

In fact, I almost felt like I was a member of the band!


(Thanks Chris).

George Thorogood opened the show and was great. Lonesome George was a revelation, actually. Who knew that he was such a great rocker. The crowd loved him...well, most of the crowd. There was a guy sleeping in the parking lot in a mud puddle - and that surprised a naive kid from a small town.

And I believe that John Cataldo was reading from a novel during George's performance.

Anywhoha...

Journey was next and Cataldo was the only guy who wanted to see them. Poor Journey got booed as the crowd pushed to the stage...waiting for Mick and Keith.

I recall a man trying to cross over the field on one of the wires - he made it. I also recall the stadium announcer begging people to back up away from the stage.

No one was listening.

So Mick came out.

He waved his hand and the crowd took an enormous step back.

And then they were there.

The opened with Under my Thumb and also did Let's Spend the Night Together within the first 3 songs. Then Just My Imagination with Keith's awesome guitar licks in the middle.

I remember we talked about the Stones being old - they were in their late-30's, but Mick never stopped moving. And he is so painfully skinny that it's almost funny. Keith had a cigarette either in his mouth or in the neck of his guitar. He traded riffs with Ronny Wood.

Awesome.

Time is On My Side, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Let it Bleed!, Tumbling Dice, Brown Sugar, Street Fighting Man, Miss You, Start Me Up, Honkey Tonk Woman, Jumpin' Jack Flash.

26 songs in all.

For $15.

The tickets are a lot more now, but as I drove around on Friday, listening to one Stones song after another I thought about that 16-year-old kid that was sitting there.

I thought the Stones were old then!

There's no way you could have convinced me that they would return to the stadium 34 years later.

As a 50-year-old man I'm a little nostalgic about the entire experience.

Mick and Keith and Charlie are going to be playing tomorrow night.

Will they still sound great?

I think so.

Will they still sing a few songs that make me think of love lost, love gained, love missed and love still to come?

I know so.

"Is it sponsored by AARP?" Someone asked me.

"That's way too much money," Someone else said.

I don't think so.

It's only rock and roll...

...but I like it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Bounce

By most accounts, I'm a good guy.

I'm not usually prone to sudden anger and can be fairly level-headed when it comes to confrontation. I can tell you the three instances when I've been angered by virtual strangers.

First.

I was walking into a Blockbuster video store, looking for a Scooby-Doo video for the kid I was holding in my arms. A man cut in front of me and swung open the door just as I was reaching for it.

The door nearly struck my young son and if not for my cat-like reflexes I would have had a bruised kid.

"Excuse me, as&h*le," I mentioned.

The guy immediately apologized, but I walked through that store completely pissed off.

He could've hurt my boy.

Cut to a few years later.

We're eating at a restaurant and two of the kids are joking with one another at the table. A nice family meeting.

Across the way a very heavy man was having dinner with his grandmother, or mother, or someone. It's not important. What is important is that he looked at my son and said very clearly:

"Shut-up!"

He told my son to shut-up!

"Mind your own business," I said.

"It takes a village to raise a kid," he said. "I'm just doing my part."

"Please just eat your dinner," I said.

He started to speak again...directly to my son.

"You say one more word and I'm going to smash your face into your pasta," I said.

That did it.

Cut to Wednesday evening.

I pulled into the driveway after a 14 hour day. My neighbor crossed the street to say 'Hello.' I'd never met the man. We chatted for a couple of minutes about my dogs and then he said this:

"Can you get your kids to play basketball somewhere else?" He asked.

I looked at the hoop that is in the center of my driveway.

"I can't stand the constant bouncing of the ball."

I just looked at the guy.

The kids don't play early in the morning or late at night. They play spirited games with their friends...and with me.

"Are you kidding me?"

"There are other courts where they can play. I hate the bounce, bounce, bounce," he said.

Don't mess with my kids.

"Listen. They're going to play basketball, in their driveway, any time they want. Now get the %$&* out of here before I bounce, bounce, bounce you back to your front door."

I thought of my Dad...or my Mom (for that matter) at that very moment.

Can you believe that guy?

I am half-tempted to go out and shoot hoops right now.

Don't ever mess with my kids!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

D.B. of the Week - Jason Pierre-Paul

Should a grown man be playing with fireworks?

I don't know.

I never actually wanted to do it, but there has to be people who are willing to set them off so that others can enjoy them.

I hardly even look up anymore during a fireworks show.

It was interesting when the kids were young, I suppose, but my kids are actually afraid of their own shadows so they were more scared than excited.

Anywhoha...

The D.B. of the Week this week is New York Giants player Jason Pierre-Paul.

He burned his hands while setting off fireworks and put his new $60 or $70 or $80 million dollar contract extension in peril.

It seems that every year July 5th is the day when we total up the losses of limbs. One poor guy was killed this year when he set off a firework on top of his own head.

I actually felt bad reading that story as he family of the kid was trying to stress that the kid knew enough but that it was an accident.

Yet...I'm a safety guy by trade.

I don't much care for the word 'accident.'

I've never actually seen a true accident in all the years I've been investigating incidents.

But back to J.P.P.

Why is he considered the D.B. of the Week?

Well.

Put it this way...

...if someone was willing to pay me $60 or $70 or $80 million dollars to chase other men who are holding a ball I'd do all that I could to take care of the only thing that makes me a moneymaker.

Hell...I'd eat right.

I'd sleep on a bed that had rails on it so I didn't roll off.

I'd do whatever I could possibly do to stay out of harm's way.

Holding a lit firecracker?

Not a freaking chance in hell!

And I'm sure that J.P.P. feels like holy hell right about now. Not only has he burned his hands (one of them fairly seriously) but the Giants also yanked their huge offer - and who could blame them?

A few years ago a Yankee player lost a big contract because he tore up a knee while playing hoops.

Some of these guys get hurt on skis or shooting themselves in the leg in a nightclub.

I'd be wrapped up in bubble wrap during the off-season.

I wouldn't have a choice.

My beautiful wife - who collects money - would make sure that I could go to work.

I hope J.P.P. recovers.

Even a dopey bastard deserves to continue to perform.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Life's Little Instructions

This is one of those inspirational things that goes around social media - written by a 95-year-old man named William Snell back in 1993. I've actually seen it on posters.

It's pretty good.


Life's Little Instructions

Sing in the shower

Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.

Watch a sunrise at least once a year.

Never refuse homemade brownies.

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Plant a tree on your birthday.

Learn three clean jokes.

Return borrowed vehicles with the tank full.

Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.

Keep it simple.

Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.

Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.

Be forgiving on yourself and others.

Say "thank-you" a lot.

Say "please" a lot.

Avoid negative people.

Wear polished shoes.

Remember other people's birthdays.

Commit yourself to constant improvement.

Have a firm handshake.

Send lots of valentine cards, sign them.

Look people in the eye.

Be the first to say "hello".

Return all things you borrow.

Make new friends but cherish the old ones.

Keep secrets.

Plant flowers every spring.

Have a dog.

Always accept an outstretched hand.

Stop blaming others.

Take responsibility for every area of your lie.

Wave at kids on school buses.

Be there when people need you.

Don't expect life to be fair.

Never underestimate the power of love.

Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.

Don't be afraid to say "I made a mistake."

Don't be afraid to say "I don't know."

Compliment even small improvements.

Keep your promises no matter what.

Marry only for love.

Rekindle old friendships.

Count your blessings.

Call your mother.

And your Dad too, if they happen to still be here.


How many do you honestly do?

Keep score from now on!



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Right Now

I have family members who are big Garth Brooks fans.

I have never really cared for country music, but I do have a secret.

I love the Garth Brooks album that was done by his alter-ego Chris Gaines.

Remember that?

Garth was trying his hand at rock music.

I gave it a chance about 15 years ago or so.

I have it on my i-pod and I love every single song.

Especially this one:

Right Now

Maybe it's the movies, maybe it's the books
Maybe it's the government and all the other crooks
Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's the parents
Maybe it's the gangs, or the colors that we're wearin'

Maybe it's the high schools, maybe it's the teachers
Tattoos,pipe bombs underneath the bleachers
Maybe it's the music, maybe it's the crack
Maybe it's the bible, or could it be the lack

Come on people, now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another, right now...right now

Okay, maybe it's the papers, maybe it's the family
Maybe it's the internet, radio, TV
Maybe it's the president, maybe its the last one
Maybe it's the one before that

Maybe it's the athletes, maybe it's the dads
Maybe it's the sports fans, agents, fads
Maybe it's the homeless, aliens, immigrants
Maybe it's life, don't tell me that it's imminent

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now
You gotta' love one another

Maybe it's the fallout, maybe its the ozone
Maybe it's the chemicals, the radiation, cell phones
Maybe it's the magazines, maybe it's the next page
Lotteries, fast food, bad news, road rage

Maybe it's the unions, big business
Maybe it's the KKK and the skinheads
Maybe it's the daughters, maybe it's the sons
Maybe it's the brothers of the mothers or the guns

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

(You know, if we don't talk about it
It ain't gonna' get better)

We gotta' love one another

(So, whadda say, let's talk)

Maybe it's the parks, maybe it's the sex
Maybe it's the talk shows, maybe it's a reflex
Maybe it's the taxes, maybe it's the system
Judges, lawyers, prisons

Maybe it's the Catholics, maybe it's the Protestants
Maybe it's the addicts, and the hippies and communists
Maybe it's a fashion, maybe it's a trend
Maybe it's the future...

...Maybe it's the end

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weeds

I don't know why it is...but weeds in the yard drive me crazy.

O.K.

I know why it is.

I'm mentally ill and as a kid, we were all tasked with keeping 5 acres neat and organized.

We all became obsessive about it.

I talk to my siblings now...I know we are all suffering with just one weed too many.

Suffice to say, I need things to be clean and organized.

I need control of my surroundings.

Evidently I'm the only one in this house who does.

"Pick some weeds," I tell the campers at Camp Clifford each and every day.

They never seem to get around to it with the eating, and drinking and shooting hoops.

"I picked a few yesterday," Sam will say.

But it's never enough.

I need them all gone.

So on Friday...with a day off staring me in the face...I made a decision to get away from the computer and the phone.

The sun was riding high, not a cloud in the sky.

I started at one end of the house.

Weed after weed.

The i-pod blasting in my ears.

Against the Wind.

She's the One.

There's a real danger of singing with headphones on...you never know how loud you're being until you see the neighbor laugh.

I didn't care.

I swung by the kitchen for a water.

"What's wrong with you?" My beautiful wife asked.

I really needed a day without work...and there I was...busting my ass.

"Gotta' clean things up," I said.

Weed after weed.

Hour after hour.

Finally, one of the campers headed out.

There wasn't a weed to be found.

Sweat pouring down.

"What's wrong with you?" Sam asked.

Nothing.

All clean.

I'm good.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Italia!


Isn't Italy beautiful?

My brother and his family are making the rounds in Italy.

I asked John for meal-by-meal updates and although he sent me a photo of a barbecue beef sandwich and a beer he had at the Toronto airport, he quickly got on board.

"Going to dinner. Be ready," he sent as one text.

And Italy just looks beautiful to me. Look at that presentation of my favorite meats.

Just beautiful.


Of course he sent other photos.

There's the coliseum.

Amazing, right?

This is better.


"How's the sauce?" I asked.

"It ain't Dad's," John texted back.

Looked good anyway...although I would've eaten about 6 servings, it appears.

And as the photos came through I kept thinking:

"Why aren't I doing that?"

"When will I vacation?"


Just beautiful.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th!!!!

A few things about Independence Day.

I actually didn't know many of these.

1. Independence Day commemorates the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, it was not declared a legal holiday until 1941.

2. Fireworks were made in China as early as the 11th century. The Chinese used their pyrotechnic mixtures for war rockets and explosives.

3. Uncle Sam was first popularized during the War of 1812, when the term appeared on supply containers. Believe it or not, the U. S. Congress didn't adopt him as a national symbol until 1961.

4. There are many precise rules for taking care of the American flag. And speaking of flag traditions, we're sorry to report that contrary to legend, historical research has failed to confirm that Betsy Ross sewed the first flag.

5. Not all members of the Continental Congress supported a formal Declaration of Independence, but those who did were passionate about it. One representative rode 80 miles by horseback to reach Philadelphia and break a tie in support of independence.

6. The first two versions of the Liberty Bell were defective and had to be melted down and recast. The third version rang every Fourth of July from 1778 to 1835, when, according to tradition, it cracked as it was being tolled for the death of Chief Justice John Marshall.

7. The American national anthem, the "Star-Spangled Banner," is set to the tune of an English drinking song ("To Anacreon in Heaven").

8. The iron framework of the Statue of Liberty was devised by French engineer Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

9. The patriotic poem "America the Beautiful" was published on July 4, 1895 by Wellesley College professor Katharine Lee Bates.

10. Father of the country and architect of independence George Washington held his first public office at the tender age of 17. He continued in public service until his death in 1799.


Did You Know?

Happy 4th!

Enjoy your family, food, sunshine...

...and independence.

Friday, July 3, 2015

D.B. of the Week - The Donald - Part 3

Donald Trump wanted to talk about immigration.

As he is running for president he certainly has the right to voice his opinion and vocalize his plan.

Donald also made a statement that is shared by a great many people across this land that had as a motto:

Give me your poor, your tired....

What Donald can't do...

...is generalize an entire race of people and label them as violent, drug-smuggling, rapists.

So.

He takes the D.B. of the Week Honors again!

Now some who may read this blog regularly may be saying to themselves:

"There he goes. Bleeding heart, liberal jerk who hates anyone who runs for the GOP side."

Wrong.

I listen to The Donald.

He's been on Howard Stern and Opie and Jim a lot.

He actually makes me laugh because he's so outspoken...on everything...and he doesn't back down.

He's also wildly entertaining with his rebuttals.

But The Donald was wrong again.

"What happened to his freedom of speech?" A whole lot of people voiced on the social media sites.

He can say it.

He wasn't arrested for it...but in this politically correct world...

...he stepped in a pile of poopy.

You can't generalize like that.

When you start a sentence with:

Those people

You're in trouble.

Macy's and NBC want to keep their Hispanic share of their customer base.

The Donald had to go.

And now he's suing everyone?

For something kind of nasty and mean?

About an entire race of people?

Every Mexican coming into the country is raping and drug-smuggling?

The Donald doesn't get around much.

I see a whole bunch of hard-working guys coming over.

I'm not enamored with the fact that they've driven wages down because they're willing to work for next to nothing...but they're working.

Also.

You should enter this country the right way.

Like background checks...I think most Americans are for following proper procedures to uphold American principles.

Oh...some folks aren't for background checks when it comes to guns?

Then...you really can't bitch about not checking other things...can you?

Anywhoha...

...The Donald said some nasty things.

Do some apply?

Perhaps.

Did he attack something that needs reform?

Yepper.

You just can't paint people with a broad...mean-spirited...racist brush.

I know one thing:

It's going to be fun watching him throw his muscle around.

D.B. of the Week 3 times now!

The Donald is Number 1!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My First Visit to Maine

My work career has taken me to a lot of different places.

Some have been very interesting.

I knew two things about the State of Maine:

Lobster and Stephen King.

Not necessarily in that order.


I was stricken with the beauty of the place.

Everything is green.

"Watch for Moose in the Road"

Made me a little nervous.

Then I passed the sign for Kennebunkport and I got a bit of a tickle in my mind.

The place was famous for something, right?

I thought of the Kennedy family and figured that wasn't it...they were also New England folks, but that was Massachusetts, right?

I passed the place but made a note to stop there on the way back.

I was a mile from the exit when I remembered:

The Bush Family has a summer place there!


I stopped anyway.

I chowed down my lobster roll, looking over my shoulder, hoping that W. didn't walk up.

Then I headed towards the ocean, following the signs.

It's a short trip...it's a small, wealthy town.


The beach wasn't great, but I breathed in the air for a moment.

A beautiful day.

Some really big homes.

I read up a little on the Goggle about the town.

It's really small.

But I left having seen it.

I know why someone would get a place up there.

Maine is beautiful.

Moose or not.

I wish I'd found Stephen King lurking around, but hey...I might get back there.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Week On the Run

The prison break got me thinking about having to spend time running through the woods, trying to evade escape.

If it were me they would have found me at the end of the driveway out of the joint saying:

"I got something in my shoe."

I am not a tough guy when it comes to such stuff.

In fact, I really don't get the whole camping gig.

People work hard their whole lives to be able to buy a home where they have heat when it's cold, air conditioning when it's hot, and a soft place to lie down.

And then...

...some people buy a camper and head out into the woods.

To sleep on a smaller, harder bed.

To use a tiny toilet...or pee near a stream.

To smell like a fire.

Nope.

Never got that.

When the kids were young we used to spend a few days at a campsite near an amusement park.

I loved it because I spent a lot of time cooking with a couple of buddies. We drank a lot of beer. Told stories and laughed.

We hardly slept.

My beautiful wife didn't sleep at all.

And that's when I knew it was going to end.

She wasn't enamored with the shared showers or sleeping right beside three dopey kids.

We stopped going.

I thought about those two prisoners running through the woods in a great game of deadly hide and seek.

They were breaking into cabins.

Eating whatever they could find.

Trying to stay a step ahead.

The manhunt wouldn't have lasted very long if my wife and I had performed the daring escape.

"I haven't played Candy Crush in days," my wife would say as they re-cuffed her.

"My back and legs are killing me," I'd mention.

"You only made it 40 feet," the cop would answer.

Back to our cells.

Fun While It Lasted

Welp. They’re coming for the Internet. Yesterday’s vote means that your service provider can slow things down, certain sites may now hav...