Monday, August 31, 2015

Just Plain Mean

Was chatting with my mother on Saturday morning and while we never really discussed politics much as I was growing up the conversation swung around to Donald Trump.

"Maybe I'm an old lady," Mom said, "But it seems like everyone is just plain mean now."

I laughed.

Trump has always been a little mean, that's for sure, but I like the fact that it's not lost on some people. Calling someone names isn't 'telling it like it is'...

...but it wasn't a political discussion by any means.

Just an observation.

And it brings me back to common professional courtesy.

I was sort of blown away this week by a purely selfish act by a co-worker.

But the conversation with Mom sort of reverberated.

'It seems like everyone is just plain mean now.'

And perhaps it's always been that way.

The business world is cut-throat. There's a lot of greed out there. It's a me-me-me world.

I suggested as much to my mother.

"People weren't always like that," Mom said. "I remember once when your Dad was offered another job. His boss called him in and begged him to stay, but told him that he'd understand because we had such a big family. Dad stayed with the guy even though he got less money in the long run. He was loyal."

And I don't know...

...I'm 50 and I feel cynical already.

People are mean.

How can someone tell you about the Bible and then call a country of people rapists...or call a comedian a 'big, fat slob.'

'This guy is dumb'. 'That guy is a moron.'

Mean, mean, mean.

We have people shooting cops in the back.

Men shooting people on camera.

And then the message boards filled with hate back and forth:

Libtard.

Redneck.

Communist.

And worse...much worse...

The comments sections on any subject, any time of the day...are filled with hatred...

...and people being mean.

"I'm happy that I lived in the generation I did," Mom said. "People are just horrible to each other now."

"And they do it in the Name of God," I said.

Mom laughed.

"I guess I just don't understand," she said.

Me neither.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Waldorf & Juli - Summer Reading Review by My Beautiful Niece Paige!

My beautiful niece, Paige came up to me during her recent visit and let me know that she had finished reading Waldorf & Juli as her summer reading assignment. The one thing she said was: "Write a Waldorf & Juli II, please."

And it is really weird. It was a book that I wrote while I was writing another book, Desperation.

Desperation had a really heavy feel to it and I decided to play around with Waldorf & Juli.

I actually ended up finishing and publishing Waldorf & Juli first because once I started writing it I couldn't stop...because it was fun.

But reading Paige's review I grew a little sad...because I had forgotten the plot.

I forgot what it was about!

Paige also included a couple of quotes in her review and as I read them through I thought, 'Damn, that's pretty good.'

But what is really great is Paige's effort here!

A book I wrote before she was born! And now she's asking for a sequel!

Thank you, Paige...love you!



Journal Entry #1: Summary

Beginning:

Waldorf loves Juli and Juli loves Waldorf. They each love each other so much they decide to get married, but they fight...a lot. The fighting soon begins to ease once they welcome a new member of the Smith family; a dog named Sam. After a couple months, Juli gets pregnant and has a beautiful baby boy named Jeffrey, and Waldorf and Juli are as happy as they were when they were when they fell in love.

Quote (Page 163):”I was just thinking that he might be crying, and I couldn’t stop his pain”… “It’s okay,’ I said, brushing her hair softly with the side of my hand. “I’m here to watch out for him too.” I said. “I know you are,” Juli said softly. “Promise me that nothing bad will ever happen to him.” I hesitated. That was a hell of a promise. “I’ll build a moat to protect him,” I said. “Perfect,” she said. She had never spoken such a true word. The world was just perfect.
Analysis/ Explanation: This quote is important because it shows the relationship and love between Waldorf and Juli, and the affect it has on Jeffrey. For example, they both adore each other so much, that they make a promise to each other, themselves and Jeffrey, that they will always protect him and love him like great parents do.

Middle:

Jeffrey is 5, and he is going to kindergarten. Waldorf goes into work and in the middle of the day gets a call from Jeffrey’s school about Jeffrey hurting another kid so badly, that the kid needed stitches. When Waldorf and Juli get to the school to talk with the teacher, Juli gets into an argument with the teacher, because the teacher called Jeffrey retarded. Waldorf talks to the principal, and Jeffrey is switched to a different class. Juli gets pregnant again, and wakes up in the middle of the night, and calmly says to Waldorf, “My water broke.” For some reason, Juli wanted to take a shower, and in the bathroom, saw blood instead of water. One of Waldorf’s best friends, George, takes Jeffrey. The baby is healthy. The baby’s name is Carrie Lynn.
Quote (Page 220): “Waldorf!” Juli cried out… “It’s blood!” she was already crying. “Jesus,” I said… “The baby,” I said. “Please god I hope the baby’s okay.”

Analysis/Explanation: This quote brings one of the main problems in the story, and it is important because it leads to other problems, like Juli getting sick and being depressed, which leads to her making bad choices.

End:

Juli recovers, but feels deeply depressed, so she goes to her parents’ house for a weekend, and she still is depressed when she comes back. Juli and Waldorf see a therapist, and Waldorf gets mad, because he thinks it’s ridiculous. Two years later, Juli recovers a little but not fully. Then, Waldorf has a heart attack and almost dies. Juli is very sweet to him and takes care of him when he feels better and comes home. He can’t have coffee, and has to have grapefruit for breakfast. Juli tells Waldorf to come home early so she can tell him something. When Waldorf gets home, Juli and George tell him that when Juli went to her “parents,” she actually went to George for advice, and ended up sleeping with him. Waldorf couldn’t believe it. He loved Juli with all of his heart and soul. He needed alone time to think. He stormed out of the house, George and Juli, Juli crying, behind him. He turned around once, and slugged George in the mouth. He goes to a hotel bar, and talks to a nice bartender named Noelle. He gets drunk, but after a lot of tears, Noelle told him to be a man, and to go home. The next morning, Juli slips a note under his door at the hotel, asking him to forgive her and to come home. Waldorf checks out of the hotel and goes to a restaurant. There, Juli sits down next to Waldorf and they make up, and Waldorf goes home, to his family.

Quote (Pages 302,303,314):”I can’t live with it anymore,” Juli screamed... “Forget it,” I said. “You stay here. I’m leaving.” Juli screamed. She was actually rolling on the floor, begging for forgiveness… “I’ll never be able to tell you how sorry I am,” she said. “Just tell me that you’ve always loved me,” I said. “I’ve always loved you,” she whispered. She started to cry. “God I missed you,” She leaned across the table. “I can’t live without you,” she said. I held her to me. I couldn’t live without her either. “History is history,” I said. “The future is perfect.”

Analysis/Explanation: This quote is important because it shows that it’s not always easy to forgive people, but sometimes it is the right thing to do, and that strengthened Waldorf and Juli’s relationship. Also, forgiveness was the solution to one of the main problems in the story.


Journal Entry #2: Diction and Tone

Quote #1 (Pages 158,159): The first passing of gas came blessed with the audio portion and it came to be best described as a booming crash type sound… The stink soon followed. Being the understanding husband that I am, I left the room… I looked to the dog. “Why the hell don’t you let her outside?” He seemed to ask with his eyes. The thought struck me funny, and I laughed out loud… Just as I had exited the room, I turned back to catch a glimpse of the scampering dog. If that dog had been blessed with such an ability, he would’ve been holding his front paw over his nose.

Describe the feeling: Holding his front paw over his nose= Juli smelled so bad Waldorf thought Sam wanted to plug his nose. He seemed to ask with his eyes= The dog can’t speak so Waldorf thinks the look in his eyes tells him something. Passing of gas/audio portion; Juli farted and it sounded like a booming crash.

Tone:

This passage could be described as humorous as Juli farted and Waldorf thought the dog was asking him to make it stop.
Quote #2 (Page 161): It was about a thousand degrees in the delivery room… “Come on, Waldorf,” I coaxed. Come on, buddy get some guts.” I was pounding my fist into my hand. “This is it,” I said. “This is game time. Don’t fumble the ball. Don’t swing and miss. Get in there, be brave, be strong. Do it.” I actually clapped my hands together and made for the door.
Describe the feeling: Thousand degrees in the delivery room= It isn’t a thousand degrees in the delivery room but it is warm and Waldorf is panicky so it feels like a thousand degrees. This is game time= Waldorf is telling himself that his wife is actually delivering his baby, it’s the real deal. Don’t swing and miss= Waldorf is telling himself to go back in the delivery room and to not miss his baby being born.

Tone:

This passage could be described as serious yet humorous because Waldorf is seriously trying to prepare himself for the life ahead of him, but it is humorous because he is comparing having to prepare for his baby being born to sports.
Quote #3 (Page 292): “I don’t know where he gets it,” I said, laughing. “It’s not funny,” Juli said. “Our kid thinks he’s a construction worker. I heard him yelling at Carrie this afternoon too. He said, Cut the shit, you son-of-a-bitch.” “I’ll talk to him,” I said. “Waldorf, we don’t use that kind of language. Where does he get it from?” “Probably other kids.” I said. “Where is he?” “In his room. I told him not to come out until he learned how to speak like a little gentleman.”
Describe the feeling: Construction worker= Juli compared Jeffrey to a construction worker because they say some bad words out loud and so does Jeffrey. Little gentleman= Jeffrey has to stop swearing and behave before he can come out of his room. Don’t know where he gets it= Waldorf is kidding/ being sarcastic, and is saying (since Juli and Waldorf sometimes cuss in front of Jeffrey), that Jeffrey leaned bad language from them.

Tone: This passage could be described as frustrating, because the parents don’t know why Jeffrey is behaving the way he is.


Journal Entry #3: Characterization

Quote (Page 214): “It doesn’t have to be this way,” I said. “You can get him to stop hitting you.” The mark on the side of her face had swelled to the size of a golf ball. She was bleeding from her nose, and it almost felt as though I was getting through to her. Those deep brown eyes began to fill with tears, and she seemed to be contemplating her next move. “I love him,” she said. I felt my jaw drop in shock.

Characterization: Waldorf meets a girl at the DMV and she keeps getting hit by her boyfriend. Waldorf seems helpful because even though he doesn’t know this girl he wants to help her and he knows that she will never be happy if she keeps letting her boyfriend hit her.

Quote (Page 302): “Now I’m supposed to forget that George is the biggest scum on the planet?”… “It wasn’t cheap and sleazy,” George said. “We’re friends that care about one another.”… “George, how could you do it?”… “It was the biggest mistake of my life,” he said. We were just a foot apart… “It was a long time ago,” George said. “Whether or not you know it, it’s already getting better.”

Characterization: George seems selfish because he knew that Juli cheated on Waldorf with him, but he keeps asking Waldorf to forgive him and move on like it isn’t hurting Waldorf.

Quote (Page 184): “Don’t be so uptight about it,” Juli said. “Have a sense of humor about it. You always have chest pains and headaches, and it’s all because you can just never laugh it off.”

Characterization: Juli seems optimistic because she looks at the good side and is telling Waldorf to do the same in order to be happy.

Journal Entry #4: Theme Statement

The novel Waldorf and Juli by Clifford Fazzolari explores the idea of love by focusing on humor, marriage and family and teaches the reader that even through difficult times, love always prevails.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Thousand Beautiful Things

Spent the week really scrambling.

Some work adjustments that need to be made.

Lingering back pain and travel.

Watching and reading about shootings that have now gone live.

Listening to people fight for the gun that was used in the shooting.

And in the middle of it all I was on an airplane when the voice of the unbelievable Annie Lennox filled my ear. I had bought her Naked record and placed it on my i-pod and instead of listening to the guy across the aisle on the plane slurp a plate of noodles...I heard Annie.


A Thousand Beautiful Things.

Every day I write the list
Of reasons why I still believe they do exist
(a thousand beautiful things)

And even though it's hard to see
The glass is full and not half empty
(a thousand beautiful things)

So, light me up like the sun
To cool down with your rain
I never want to close my eyes again
Never close my eyes
Never close my eyes

I thank you for the air to breathe
The heart to beat
The eyes to see again
(a thousand beautiful things)

And all the things that's been and done
The battle's won
The good and bad in everyone
(this is mine to remember)

So,
Here I go again
Singin' by your window
Pickin' up the pieces of what's left to find

The world was meant for you and me
To figure out our destiny
(a thousand beautiful things)

To live
To die
To breathe
To sleep
To try to make your life complete
(yes yes)

So
Light me up like the sun
To cool down with your rain
I never want to close my eyes again

Never close my eyes
Never close my eyes
That is everything I have to say
(that's all I have to say)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Royal Treatment


My boy Sam set me up.

I knew that I'd be making a trip to Kansas City for work and I asked Sam to find me a seat at the Royals-Orioles game.

He put me in the front row - mid-way between first base and the left field foul pole.

The first seat!

Now being that I was traveling alone some might wonder if I'd feel comfortable seated by myself at a ballgame.


I love baseball.

If there was an MLB team in my town I'd be at every game.

The pace is perfect.

People are smiling.

The sun is shining.

I watched every single pitch...mostly because I didn't want to take a line drive off my melon.


I love the stadium and the people in Kansas City.

I remembered Reggie hammering one into the fountain off Al Hrabosky.

I sat beside a Dad and his three daughters. They were really well-behaved and the Dad knew his baseball. He wasn't thrilled that I'm a Yankee fan, but who the hell is?

A great night.

The bonus being that the Royals pounded the Orioles 8 to 3.

Hi Switala's!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

D.B.'s of the Week - The Duggars

Is this family going to go away now?

Or will they continue to apologize...

...and preach?

Poor misguided Josh.

First the pesky 'molesting his sisters' revelations...

...then the Ashley Madison account and the 'unfortunate' cheating that he did on his wife.

All the while telling the world about the sins of others.

Anna is gonna' hang with him, by the way.

After all...love is about forgiveness.

Perhaps they can all teach us something.

D.B.'s of the Week.

The thing is:

Josh is obviously a bit of a mess, right?

But I feel a certain amount of true sadness with this story because...

...there are going to be people out there screaming about the path of redemption that the family will now take their followers on.

Word is that they're 'praying around the clock' to get through the crisis.

Good for them.

They're such an inspiration!

(sarcasm alert).

Yet it's all just gossip...

...and I'm not really interested in the fact that Josh and Anna are going to find new spirituality in their blessed journey of marital bliss.

But don't preach anymore.

Don't even talk anymore.

People aren't buying it.

Go off and live your lives.

Pray for a month straight...

...or stop praying altogether...that's your decision.

Just remember...

...you won the D.B. of the Week Award as a family.

And you earned it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back Pain and Travel

I received the email exactly one minute before the woman at the counter broke the bad news:

"The plane that we'll be taking is still on the ground in Buffalo."

The guy seated beside me actually groaned.

"Every damn time I take this flight they delay it," he said.

We were scheduled to leave in a timely manner. Enough time for me to actually make it home in time to see the 27-Time World Champion New York Yankees strive for number 28. Now I'd be listening to the start of the game on my phone...in a hard seat...next to an angry, heavyset man who suddenly wanted to talk.

"The thing that gets me is that they never say their sorry," I said.

"Cause they ain't," he answered. "They don't care."

Despite the groans at the announcement everyone at the gate went back to their phones, their paperbacks and their silent rage.

"I gotta' move around," I said. "My back is in knots."

I tried stretching a little, wondering if I had enough phone juice to listen to the Yankee game through my headphones.

How I wish that I had stretched a little longer!

Five hours after I was supposed to be home I pulled into the driveway at my home.

The place was dark.

I needed to sleep fast because the next work day was staring me in the face.

My first step out of the car told me that the knot in my back was a real problem, but I didn't do anything about it except go to bed.

I cursed the airlines some more.

There were about 100 of us on that plane.

We all had things planned.

All of our plans changed for a reason we had to accept.

Ah well, we live in a day and age where we can fly freely across the country. A bit of inconvenience is expected.

I fell asleep.

And when I woke the next morning, the back pain was beyond comprehension.

Now when I say this, you must understand that it's not my usual whine about my health.

"I shouldn't be going," I said to Melky who was watching me try to get dressed.

But she was ready for her ride to get the paper.

That's the thing about all of it. There are still things to do, people to see, work to manage, dogs to take bye-bye.

Stumbling through my day is less painful than listening to myself wonder how the world is existing without me if I were to call in lame.

"You should be at the emergency room," my client told me upon seeing me later in the week.

I went to a job site instead.

"Why?" a co-worker asked.

"The one place where I felt the best today was on the site," I answered.

"You're mentally ill," he responded.

He waited a moment.

"But that's pretty well established isn't it?"

I suppose.

Damn airlines.

At least the Yankees won.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Poor

I had an absolutely infuriating discussion about the poor in this country...with someone who is of the opinion that:

Anyone who is struggling financially in this country is just plain lazy.

There are more than 50 million people in this country who are considered poor.

Fifty Million!

They're all just plain lazy?

Let's consider what has gone up in cost this country...steadily over the past thirty years:

The price of food.

The price of housing.

College costs.

Medical costs.

Transportation costs.

In some cases, the cost of certain things has increased dramatically.

Want to better yourself and head off to college?

Pay $600 for a book.

Yet...to be fair...let's consider what has remained stagnant:

Wages.

Yet what really got to me as I discussed these items with a guy who is a friend was that I was simply unable to understand how he can:

1). Be against raising wages for a guy who is doing menial labor...

and

2). Be for absurd wages for CEO's, heads of corporations and those in the banking industry.

"They're taking the risks!" He screamed.

Really?

It's more of a risk knowing that you may not make the rent because your check doesn't cover your basic needs.

"Get a better job!" the guy screamed. "I did."

We don't all have the same opportunities, sadly.

And here is what I really believe:

A man's time is worth something.

Even if you believe that they are 'stupid, lazy', 'uneducated' 'non-important' members of society.

There are way too many people falling through the cracks and simply being labeled as a worthless scumbag.

And there will be more because people need to feel included.

Yeah...there are a lot of folks who need to get up and off their asses, but the number of people who are poor is going to continue to grow.

It's basic math.

If you can't bring in enough to cover basic costs...

...there have always been people who have needed our help...our grace.

We used to help them.

"You know what the main problem is?" My friend said. "We have lost our Christian values."

That's what he said!

A guy who spent an hour telling me that 50 million people are worthless...

...is preaching Christian values.

Amazing.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Energy of Children

My niece's daughter was unstoppable at a party this past weekend. I'm thinking that Avery is just about one year-old, little more, little less, because she was crawling around...but crawling quickly.

(By the way...I have no idea how old any kid is...ever. I often ask my own kids what grades they're in).

But we laughed a little as Avery moved through the grass on her way to the Bocce ball court. Her dad put her down and she smiled and began moving. Minutes later she was getting near the court.

As relentless as the rain.

"Put her in the woods," I said.

"Just trying to get five minutes of peace," he said.

And my mind played tricks on me back to those days.

"Can you change his diaper?" Kathy would ask.

I hated that particular direction.

Widely known fact is that I'm not great with tasks that involve my brain telling my hands which way to move.

Some might even say that I'm clumsy.

"He put the diaper on backwards once," my beautiful wife always says.

And I suppose that was true.

I do know that I always wondered why I had to even try it.

"You change the diaper," I'd say. "It takes you thirty seconds and it takes me eleven minutes and me and the kid are covered in shit at the end."

So.

I didn't change a whole lot of diapers.

Maybe twenty or thirty out of three kids.

Of course, Avery eventually made it to the side of the court and her Dad had to get up.

But there was a long pause as Avery held her position and her face contorted.

"She's pooping!" her Mom, who was engaged in the actual game, called out.

"Not it!" Avery's Dad yelled out.

"Oh, you're changing it," I whispered.

Moments later he was off, muttering all the way about the fact that he'd just changed one a week ago.

I thought about having to change a diaper these days.

Not going to happen.

You hear that boys?

Don't be bringing grand kids around here over the next twenty years and actually think that I'm gonna' help out.

Avery's Dad was back about eleven minutes later.

I didn't have the heart to bust his balls.

But I did turn to him with a bit of a smirk.

"Don't start," he said.

Poor bastard.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Disrespected Millionaire, Tim Tebow & The Donald

There's so much to hold your interest these days, right?

We have a Donald sighting each and every day.

He says whatever he wants, offends women, entire races of people, even Heidi Klum (who is no longer a 10), backtracks, double-speaks, refuses to apologize...

...and becomes more popular by the minute.

On the other side Hillary tries to make the email thing not stink but can't seem to answer it to anyone's satisfaction.

The good news is that we only have another 14 months to hear from the gathering of people who want to be the next president!!

Who believes that that might just become a tad unbearable?

Back to Donald for a moment...

"Heidi Klum is no longer a 10?"

Is he running for president of the 7th grade?

I think we worked on ranking the girls in our 7th grade class...it even felt sleazy when we did it back then.

Anywhoha...

Marcel Dareus...my favorite Buffalo Bill...see: driving into a restaurant, drug charge, showing up late...is feeling disrespected.

You see, Dareus is due for a pay raise.

The Bills offered him $90 for his time over the next 5 years.

That was a flat-out insult to Dareus!

And you know what's funny?

There were people on social media saying:

He deserves it! He's great!!

(Exact same people, oddly, who don't want to see people in the fast-food industry get enough money to live a life).

Please pay the poor man, right, Pops?

Finally...

Tim Tebow appears to be on the verge of making the Philadelphia Eagles.

Not sure if you heard that anywhere.

Tebow is mentioned on ESPN every now and again, but you have to time it perfectly...

...it's at the top of every hour and every three minutes after that.

Good for Tebow.

I have absolutely nothing against him...make the team...score some touchdowns...hold a vigil at mid-field...tell us all about your Love of God.

But can the announcers give us a little bit of a break?

We don't need show after show after show after show that chronicles his every move.

People don't despise Tim Tebow because he has faith in God.

People just don't want to hear about it every minute of every telecast...

...at least I don't.

I'd have to turn it off, frankly...

...and find The Donald.

You know...

...to balance out the love and the hate.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

So Sorry


Isn't that lovely?

That's my rental car from my trip to Boston.

The driver's side mirror is smashed.

I found it that way when I woke up on Tuesday morning. The car was parked where I'd left it, in the lot, after my trip to Fenway.

The note under the windshield wipers said, in block letters:

SO SORRY!

There were about four or five figures under that...which were recognizable to me as letters in either Chinese or Japanese.

I don't read Chinese or Japanese.

Yet I took the note to the clerk at the car rental place.

She was not capable of reading Chinese or Japanese either.

This is what she said:

"The good news is that it won't cost you much."

Isn't that lovely?

"Why would the guy write the note?" I asked. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?"

The clerk just smiled.

"I kind of enjoyed it," she said.

Isn't that lovely?

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Visit to Fenway Park


Here's a secret:

In 1986 I rooted for the Boston Red Sux to win the World Series.

Yeah...I hated Carter, Hernandez, Strawberry and Gooden that much. Being a Yankees fan, I didn't want to see the Mess win the Series.

But I didn't cry when the Red Sux lost in heartbreaking fashion.

I actually thought it was funny.


I finally visited Fenway to see a game. I had seen Springsteen there...but deep in my heart as a baseball fan I needed to take in a major league game.

That's the Pesky pole there.

I thought of Ted Williams playing there...not to mention Babe Ruth.

I thought of the Yankees beating them in the Bucky F&c*ing Dent Game.


All great stuff.

But...

...sorry to say...

The place looks better than it is.

First off, Cleveland - who is a bad team - pummeled the home team.

Secondly, there are goofy-talking people all wearing Sawx gear.

Thirdly, when you sit in your seat and face forward...

...you aren't looking at the freaking game!

37,000 people have to sit in their tiny seat and turn the other way!

The aisles are crowded.

There's no way out of your seat unless you disturb 30 other people.

But...

...I don't wanna' be mean.

I actually enjoyed the game.

Especially the Suck Sux getting pummeled part.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

D.B. of the Week - Jared the Subway D*&K

So, big fat Jared is going to plead guilty...

...to child pornography charges.

What a despicable thing to plead guilty too.

D.B. of the Week is too good for him.

Jared disgusts me.

And here's the thing:

I always thought he was something of a D.B.

Maybe some of that has to do with the fact that I think Subway sucks...

...but that's a personal choice.

Their bread sucks.

Their cookies suck.

The fact that the measure their plastic meat so you don't get an extra piece, sucks.

The whole three station thing, sucks.

Yuck.

Give me Blimpie's

Give me John & Mary's.

But I wonder...

...Will the Jared situation cause the whole disgusting cookie to crumble?

I suppose that it certainly isn't the fault of the company.

How could they know that the spokesman that they had for years and years is a disgusting slob?

But the problem that Subway has now is that every single person knows that the guy who hawked their sandwiches is guilty of being a despicable slob.

As he was moving around this week someone flashed a photo of Jared with that goofy smile on his face.

We got to see the entire top half of his body.

And he had man-boobs.

D.B. of the Week.

Child porn.

Man boobs.

Enjoy your next Subway sandwich.

I'll be at Blimpie's.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sports Stress

I must admit that I'm a little surprised by the Yankees this year.

I certainly told everyone I knew that they could be good this year, but I'm not quite sure I believed it.

They're old in some areas and young in other areas.

They needed Tex and Beltran and A-Rod all to be good.

They have been.

So, the year is kind of a bonus, right?

Except now that they are this far into the season and still in first, I'm beginning to get stressed about it.

And it's funny, but sports has become a thing that people stress about in their real lives.

When the Yanks were in the bottom of the 9th against the Blue Jays on Friday night...with the winning runs on base...the count full...the batter fouling off pitch after pitch after pitch, I texted a buddy.

"I don't need this much stress."

"You ain't on the payroll," he texted back.

And it's true...nothing you can do about any of it...just watch...and try to enjoy it.

Cut to two days later and the subject of the Bills came up.

"They can win the Super Bowl," one over-zealous party-goer said.

"They don't have a quarterback," I said.

Then everyone jumped in to tell me that I was wrong:

Manuel can be good.

Cassell can manage the game.

Taylor is exciting.


And perhaps the Bills can be a surprise.

Everyone gathered their new jerseys and went to the stadium to watch them practice this past weekend.

$70 a ticket.

$25 to park the car.

All those in attendance Billieving that the playoff-less seasons are behind the Bills.

Sports wasn't quite like this back when I was growing up.

The players weren't held in such high regard.

We didn't base our entire existence on whether they won or lost.

Miller got the strikeout on Friday night and something Uncle George Steinbrenner said came back to me:

"I want to win every game because our fans have better days when we win."

I had a better day on Saturday.

Isn't that odd?

Let's Go Buffalo!

We don't need no stinking quarterback!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last Call

There's a debate going on here in New York State about whether or not the bars should close at 2 a.m. or 4 a.m.

Back about 20 years ago I might have been interested in such a debate.

Not so much anymore.

In fact, I can't even fathom staying up until either 2 or 4.

There are nights when I've already gotten out of bed twice to pee by 4 o'clock.

Yet I'm sure that there are people out there who still actually do care about those extra two hours.

Is it possible that a bar can make a lot of money in those 120 minutes? Aren't people already pissed to the gills by then?

I wonder if they could research how many people found their one true love in those two hours. I'm thinking that the next time it happens will be the first.

"What were you doing until 4 o'clock in the morning?" Mom would ask us if she ever found out that we were out so late.

"Playing darts. Falling down. Those kinds of things."

I'm not quite sure how much of a fuss anyone is going to put up if the state sudden;y says that 2 a.m. is enough.

I have noticed that most people don't even go out until nearly ten o'clock now when they are ready to socialize.

Hell, by ten o'clock Columbo is already over on ME Television.

I never really got that whole going out late vibe.

In fact, I never really was much into the club scene where I suppose that the extra two hours make a difference.

My 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. periods were spent at a dive bar...the jukebox on high...the bartender standing there matching us drink for drink.

No girls waiting for us.

No good reason to think that we wanted or needed one more.

But having one more just in case.

Two o'clock seems to be plenty late for me now.

I'm certain that you could probably wrap up your evening activities by then...

...but what the hell do I know?

Now I'm usually getting up around the time that the guy is crying 'Last Call.'

That is when you know that you're officially an adult:

When you're getting up at roughly the same time when you used to get in.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Punched In the Face

The story goes something like this:

The quarterback and the linebacker were once friends.

They were close enough friends that the linebacker invited the quarterback to an outing and went so far as to buy a plane ticket for the QB.

Except the QB didn't show up...so the LB wanted his $600 back.

The QB wouldn't give it back and dared the LB to do something about it.

Allegedly the LB broke the QB's jaw with one punch.

Sounds pretty stupid, right?

As per usual we kicked the story around here at Camp Clifford.

Half the family thought it was the QB's fault.

I was on his side:

"You can't punch someone in the face when you're mad," I said.

And of course, like most things, I'm right, but there are moments...

...right?

"Your Dad got into fights on the construction site," my wife reminded me. "And your brothers might punch someone."

I digested that.

Certainly true.

"Just cause you're a big wussy," she added.

Uh yeah.

Hard to believe, I know, but I've never been punched by someone in a fit of anger.

I've never thrown a punch either.

I'm not quite sure if I could garner up enough rage to do such a thing...but yeah...there are real men out there.

I keep forgetting that.

But the thing about it is that the punch solved absolutely nothing.

The QB is out for 6-10 weeks.

The LB was cut from the team...but received little punishment as another team (who is trying to set the league record for idiots on a team) signed him immediately.

No one is talking about it anymore.

"How do you not get arrested?" I asked.

"It was just a fight, no big deal."

Just a fight.

I guess I'll never really understand all that tough guy crap.

Being a wussy is less painful.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Lot to Do

The summer goes by really quickly because it seems as if there's a party or two every week.

We had people by for Jake's graduation who were heading off early to their third party of the day.

It brings to mind what my college roommate from Greece once told me:

"You Americans have too many parties," he said. "It's kinda' stupid."

"Shut up and drink your beer," I responded.

By the time that semester wore down he and I weren't the best of friends. Our love for a party and his wanting to study (nerd) clashed a bit.

Oh well...hope he's doing good back in Greece.

Anywhoha...

My role at the party has certainly shifted these days.

The kids were gathering to shoot hoops...they asked me to join them.

"Can you see I can't stand up straight?" I asked.

"You don't look any different to me," one smart-ass kid said and then he proceeded to run at my rim and dunk the ball, shaking the rim and backboard.

"Don't break my hoop!" I yelled and then immediately thought of my father yelling out to us.

I actually chided myself to let them go.

And I retired to the house.

It's a funny thing about your kids...you watch them grow...but you sorta' think that they're a little too goofy to head out into life unless you help them with every little step.

My beautiful wife knows this better than me...

...the temptation to cut up their meat proves too much on most days.

But I watched Jake being gracious as he opened up his cards and met with the family.

I thought about making sure that he would thank his mother for planning it out and working hard to get it done.

I decided to see if he'd do it on his own.

I wasn't worried about it...we've raised good boys...but I wondered.

Yet Jake didn't disappoint.

He thanked us both.

But as I look around at the mess left this morning I almost agree with my ex-roomie...

...too many parties lately!

Can't wait for next weekend.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

18 Again - Jake's Grad Party

Had a dream last week and the presence of some people in it made me realize that I'd been dreaming about 'younger Clifford' - the guy who was about 18 years old.

When I woke from the dream I recalled little bits and pieces of the people from the dream and realized...

...man...

...I was a little dope.

But cut to Friday evening.

My beautiful wife was the only one home with me and we spent the evening watching the Yankees.

The boys were at the Bills pre-season game (which is a little like watching gym class) but we had no mind to take advantage of their being gone.

18 was a long time ago...we were tired from the work week.

Jake, who is 18, had enough good sense to leave the game around halftime and he joined us for the conclusion of the Yankee game.

He showed us clips on his phone featuring a flashy NBA Player.

We got to talking about great moments in sports.

I mentioned Canseco hitting the Hard Rock restaurant at the Sky Dome.

He mentioned Jerry West sinking a three-quarters length shot in the 1970 NBA Finals.

"Tied the score at 104," I think. "West turned to Clyde Frazier and said 'Good D.'"

"You remember it?" Jake asked.

"I was watching it with my Dad," I said. "I remember asking what happened. I was 5. Dad said 'It went in.'"

Jake laughed.

On the screen the Yankees took the lead on a truly epic Carlos Beltran 3-run blast.

Jake, who is not a Yankee fan, hung right in there.

"Beltran is clutch," He said.

We just sat there, trading moments, both agreeing that Mantle's beyond 600-feet home runs are the greatest feats in sports history.

We hit on the fact that his graduation party was set for Saturday and the friends who he'd have over.

(Friends who will appear in his dreams in about 32 years).

"They'll all behave," he said, guessing my next sentence.

The game went to the bottom of the 9th.

2 outs.

2 on.

One-run difference.

Miller for the Yankees versus Tulo for the Jays.

"I don't need this stress," I mentioned during the 12-pitch at-bat.

Miller struck Tulo out...

...finally.

"Yeah, but it's cool when it all works out," Jake said.

It is.

It truly is.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Milk for Two


It seems that every single year we hear something about a mother who is being scorned for breast-feeding in public.

I know that it's done for some reason...evidently there is a breast-feeding awareness month.

Why do we need that?

Aren't we all sort of aware that it is possible to breast-feed?

Anywhoha...

What do you make of that photo?

That's a mother breast-feeding her kid...and the neighbor kid, evidently.

A tad weird, if you ask me.

And I'm just thinking of the future.

What if these two remain friends through the years?

Can you imagine the conversation at the age of 15?

Tommy: Do you wanna' come over to my house?

Billy: Is your Mom gonna' be there?

Tommy: Don't start that shit.

Billy: Remember when she breast-fed me? You think she'd be up to do that again.

Tommy: Not funny, dude.

No matter.

We are now going to have people debating the issue and I guess that's good for the raise the awareness thing, right?

I actually saw a woman breast-feeding her baby somewhere in the past year...an airport, I think.

It didn't bother me.

In fact, I looked away (Those nuns did a number on me).

Yet there are people who want to fight about it.

Breast-feed, don't breast-feed.

I don't care.

Yet it makes me smile because of one Rodney Dangerfield joke:

My mother didn't breast-feed me. She said we were just friends.

It doesn't get much better than that!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

D.B. of the Week - Buffalo's Own Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane is a true celebrity here in Buffalo.

He's won the Stanley Cup a couple of times as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.

He's young and talented at flipping rubber in a net while skating on ice, and is therefore...in this muddled up society...rewarded riches beyond belief.

He lives in a huge house on the lake about five miles from where I'm typing this. He parades the cup around town when he gets his turn with it.

Or he's supposed to.

This time he didn't get a chance to show people the cup here in Buffalo because...

...he was too busy getting D.B. of the Week honors.

Kane, you see, is under investigation for perhaps, allegedly, sexually assaulting a woman in that big house.

You know what bugs me the most about the story?

He didn't do it, My sons all said in unison.

And perhaps he didn't.

But you know why they think he didn't do it?

Because he's talented at flipping rubber into a net while skating on ice.

It's the same mindset that keeps O.J. Simpson on the Buffalo Bills Ring of Honor.

I tell you, Buffalonians say, O.J. may have butchered his wife and the waiter, but man, he could really run.

Crazy.

That is just crazy to me!

Back to this week's D.B. of the Week.

And another reason why I'm aggravated.

Women can be gold-diggers, someone else said. She wants a pay day.

Perhaps.

People lie.

Yet.

The media is scrounging around for stories about it. They interviewed people who saw Kane out at the bar.

There was a woman hanging all over him, someone was quoted as saying.

What the hell does that mean?

That he can rape her?

Bite her?

Leave marks on her that she didn't want?

I certainly apologize to all who feel the need to root for the talented, rubber-flicker on ice.

He shouldn't be in that situation!

Period.

It wasn't quite his fault when he rolled the cabdriver for twenty cents either, right?

Kane plead guilty for that little act about 8 years ago.

We all did stupid things when we were kids, I also heard.

Really?

You allegedly raped someone?

Bill Cosby is funny too.

I'm not quite sure how it will all play out.

Buffalo will certainly be watching.

And rooting for the guy who may have physically assaulted a girl.

We should expect more out of our rubber-shooters, right?

I think he really deserves D.B. of the Week honors?

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Big, Slow People

During the softball tournament my team The Lions put on a hitting clinic.

One guy after another hit a line drive and we hammered the younger, more athletic team that we were playing.

My sons were livid with how it all played out.

"Obviously it's a game that is played better by big, slow people," Matt said.

That's good for a laugh.

"It's about experience," I told them.

For years and years we had played the game, and the mind is a funny thing. The muscle memory experience of having done something over and over and over is always going to beat the guy that's inexperienced at it.

The more you do something the better you get.

We've all heard that through the years.

It's certainly true.

For full disclosure here the opening of the game went like this:

My brother John led it all off with a first pitch home run.

First pitch.

He hammered it over the left-fielders head.

So.

I strolled to the bat hoping that I could hit it further.

I swung and missed. Felt a little like Reggie, I swung so hard.

Then I fouled off two pitches and was called out.

You have to put the third one in play.

Damn!

The hoots and hollers were loud.

But it comes back.

I hit the ball hard every time after that and even hit my own home run...a long shot to center. I didn't even hit the ball that far when I was not so big and not quite as slow.

But what also struck me about the game was the fact that some people are certainly blessed with speed and others are a little slower on the take-off.

I never had foot speed.

"You run like a dump truck," my lightning fast older brother once told me.

He can fly.

His kids can fly.

Jake moves really quickly out of our family.

Sam?

Matt?

They got my speed...poor dopes.

"Can we use a runner for Sam?" Jake asked during the game.

And the thing about experience is that it can sometimes beat youth.

"Did you see the catch Sam made though?" My beautiful wife asked.

Sam is a lefty. He was wearing a right-handed glove.

Long drive to him in the outfield and he made a lunging grab.

Caught the ball in a glove with his off-hand, took the glove off and threw it back to the infield.

Big and slow couldn't have pulled that one off.

But here's a secret for all you young guys...

...big and slow...

...needs a long, long, long rest.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

People Lie

We are watching the series House on Netflix.

I had watched the show plenty when it was on regular television, but had certainly missed the in order aspect to it and since it's always interesting, and usually funny, we decided to give it a go in the moments when there is nothing else to watch.

"Does he remind you of anyone?"

My beautiful wife asked me at one point, definitely referring to my inability to give a straight answer, and perhaps my occasional crankiness.

"Me?" I asked innocently enough.

"Yeah. He can be a real a*&h#$e."

Well, isn't that lovely?

Yet House can also read people and a lot of the times...he pretends not to care for them...but we know he does.

"People lie," he is fond of saying.

I thought of that with the new flap concerning Donald Trump.

"I love Donald! He tells it like it is!" Scream his supporters.

But think of Gregory House here.

People lie.

The tweet he sent out about Megyn Kelly was not innocent as he claims. He knew exactly what he was saying.

He thought it was funny.

When he got blasted for it...he tried to backpedal.

Same thing he did with the McCain flap.

He says something stupid...then lies about it to try and get out of it.

So...he doesn't tell it like it is.

And you know what...

...his numbers went up!

God help us.

But back to House.

Lying is a weird thing, isn't it?

I actually really hate it.

But everyone lies, if you listen to the good doctor.

You can tell when he's lying...his lips move.

You have to listen to him because half the time he's telling the truth.

People lie to each other. They lie on the golf course. They lie in public and in private.

Years ago I used to care about my golf score.

I'd say things like:

"That one doesn't count."

I don't care about it anymore. I'm just happy to be up and moving.

But in the rest of life I don't lie very well.

I have a tendency to laugh when I'm caught.

You know why this all fascinates me though?

Because I kind of agree with House.

People lie.

Especially backpedaling politicians.

All of them for sure!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Overwhelming Love

It's a funny thing about this life, you know?

Most of the time you walk around not truly knowing how it's all going.

You don't quite get to gauge the amount of love that you have in your own life and there are days when our mind tricks us into thinking that we're all alone.

The Fazzolari family is blessed with a reminder...each year...through the hard work of some truly great friends.

Lifelong friends.

And a family that doesn't quit.


We gather in Jeff's name...

...knowing that he would have loved the hell out of the party because everyone there is having a great time.


One of the coolest parts of the day is that we get to play together again.

Our softball team was really good back in the mid-90's.

We can still hit the ball now too!

We just can't, for the most part, run.

So the kids help us there.

But the strange thing about the day is that I'm on the field with guys I've known for 40 years, in most cases, and we still sound the same, rooting for each other.


The big difference is that now we also root just as hard for the other team...because they're also 40 year friends as well.

(Great to see Mark at the game...we battled in little league...just great to see him...and so many others).


And the kids have a blast as well.

There's Rocco and Tony laying claim to a box of baked goods that was won at the auction. Terrie Prime stuns us every single year with the unbelievable prize. The boys couldn't wait to get their hands on the cookies!


As the day wore down...Rick Kibler who provided the sound system...played the exact right note.

Thunder Road

We all gathered and sang.

And cried.

There are a lot of shots of this final moment.

I'm hoping to get my hands on the one that shows every single Fuzzy.

All feeling overwhelmed.

By the love of so many.

Thanks Wif, Diane, Rick, Mary Beth, Larry, Terrie, Kim, Pops, Shannon, Nancy, Brian, Chris, Denise, Paulie, Tammie, the Switala's...and on and on and on...there were people just jumping in to help with the food and to help with the auction.

Oh man...

...how can I possibly do this?

I'm gonna' leave someone out!


It's just overwhelming!

Thank you!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Pepper Party 2015


Well look at that...

Me and Pops finished 1 and 2.

I'm telling you all...it's not an easy task. There are so many great peppers entered and it's all great eating, but the funny thing about finishing second, for me, was that it was tough to get my entry in.

Pops and I and Mikey had spent part of Friday evening coring and stuffing about 500 peppers for the softball tourney.

(Thank you to Bowman Farms! - Best veggies in the land!)

"What're you making?" Pops asked as we started the process.

"I have a bit of an idea," I said.

"I don't," he answered.

Then the bastard turns up at the party with the best pepper, by far.

(I say that he barely nudged me out...but he's not buying it).

(You want the winning recipe? - Ask Him.)

Me?

I stuffed mine with shrimp scampi.

It was the first time I actually followed a recipe and when I ate the extra two I made, I thought:

"Damn. Those are good."

But, the entries are extensive.

I had no idea I actually placed until the judge said my name.

(Just because the judge who announced my name is my Mom...doesn't mean a damn thing, by the way).

But when my name was announced for second...

...guess who raised his damn hands...

...Yeah...

Freaking Popple.

He knew he won.

They didn't even announce it...

...they just nodded at him.

I'm soooooooooo happy for him.

Great party!

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Weekend Is Coming!

So, Jennifer Aniston tied the knot.

Here's hoping that she doesn't get left in the dust again when a new hottie comes along.

Again, though...weird thing when a celeb gets married...like she's off the market and my chance is done.

Oh well...at least we had one good night.

(Way before I met my beautiful wife).

We have a big family weekend coming up this weekend.

First, the pepper party.

I have an inkling of an idea, but it's going to be an uphill battle, I'm afraid. There are way too many good chefs in the family.

I'll let you know.

The one thing that is absolutely certain is that I'm going to eat about 40 stuffed peppers this weekend.

There goes the waist line.

Yet...

I may also be able to run a little of it off at the softball tournament, right?

Maybe not...the legs aren't feeling exceptionally well right now. I will most likely be using the kids to run for me.

Lord knows that I can hit though!

But here's the thing:

I am extremely confident that the weekend will be exceptional and I am confident in that for one reason...

...because my brother Jeff had so many people in his life who loved him beyond comprehension.

I recall the first Memorial Softball Tournament.

I was nervous.

Jan Mathis had launched the idea and I ran all over town...as did a number of other people...working hard to make it happen.

And then it rained.

And I'm not talking a little drizzle.

I'm talking a pounding ran with thunder, lightning and high winds.

That morning I was up at the field early...

...and I was near tears.

We had worked so hard and it was going to be rained out.

As long as I live I will never forget how I felt when I saw the cars coming over the hill and pulling into the parking lot.

"They're still coming!" I said.

And man...did they.

One person after another...

...all offering their love.

All playing in the mud.

All telling us stories...

...and showing their love for our family.

The Weekend is coming!

Man.

It's gonna' be great.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Foot In Mouth

Did you see Kelly Osbourne stuff her entire foot in her mouth as she tried to hammer The Donald for his stance on Mexicans?

She said something like:

"If Mexicans can't cross the border then who is going to clean your toilets?"

Uh, yeah.

Her logic kinda' went off the rails there.

However...

...she is not alone.

Have you ever put your foot in your mouth in embarrassing fashion?

I bet I beat you.

I had an epic disaster of foot in mouth disease and you probably could have guessed such a thing because I'm a classic big mouth.

Yet this one particular one was a doozy and since it was really embarrassing I figured I'd further my embarrassment by sharing it again!

At least it was 20 years ago.

I was working in a family-owned business. Work was really quite busy and as the young guy I was very often moved from one management seat to another. The owner wanted me to learn the entire business so there were days when I would work as a manager of a field office, or as a safety guy, or as a dispatcher, or in accounting or as a clerk of the works on the big projects.

It was never dull.

Well...my least favorite of all these gigs was as a dispatcher.

The phone never stopped ringing.

One idiot after another was on the line.

One problem after another.

People who could not organize their thoughts would call to see if we could help them organize them.

Anywhoha...

I was sitting in the chair for a very long stretch because the head dispatcher...a guy I really liked...was out sick. The days off stretched into a couple of weeks but one Friday afternoon he called me.

Here's the discussion, word for word:

Me: "Are you ever coming back to work?"

Him: "I'm hoping to be there Monday."

Me: "That's good. We thought you were gonna' croak."

Him: "I nearly did."

Me: "Well, I got a pool going and we sold squares on what was going to finally take you out."

Him (laughing): "If I were a betting man I'd go with liver."

Me: "Oh good! That's what I got!!"


We said our goodbyes and I really couldn't wait to see him on Monday.

He died on Sunday afternoon.

Liver failure.

As you might imagine, I was horrified to go to the wake, but since it was a phone call only between the two of us...

...maybe it would never surface....one of us was gone and I wasn't talking about it!

I walked up to the casket.

Me: "I'm Cliff, I worked with Bob (not the real name)."

Her: "I'm Bob's wife. Are you the guy who started the pool on what was going to kill him?"


People you don't understand how I felt at that particular moment.

I wanted to crawl in next to Bob.

His wife started laughing.

"You made his Saturday," she said. "He was telling everyone about that conversation. He thought you were so funny."

Yeah.

Hysterical.

Kelly Osbourne's comments were baby comments!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

No Racists Here

There was a black comedian, the late, great Patrice O'Neal, who made the following observation:

"I've never met a racist."

And why that is such an astute statement is because no man will ever admit to the fact that they discriminate against another man because of the color of their skin.

"I'm not a racist!" Is the rallying cry of every single racist in the land.

I may be a tad naive when it comes to racism.

I tell you, I was really skeptical regarding some of the claims made by some of the men who were bullied by the cops in incidents across this country.

The Sandy Bland situation changed my way of thinking on it a little bit.

What we know for sure:

Bland was heading to a job interview in Texas.

She was stopped in a routine traffic stop for making an illegal lane change.

Bland was yanked out of the car and forced to the ground and multiple officers used excessive force to subdue her.

This wasn't a 300-pound man, folks.

She was charged with 'assault on a public officer' and taken off to jail where within 72 hours she was dead.

Somehow.

Glenn Smith is the sheriff from the county there in Texas. He came out and told us that black lives matter. He was also suspended for racism within the last ten years. He says that Bland committed suicide and that:

He's not a racist!

The black and white cemeteries are separate in that county.

"Make sure that white woman isn't buried next to the black people."

One of the judges said:

"This is the most racist counties in all of the most racist state in the country."

Was it a suicide or not?

I'll let other people figure that out, but what we know for sure is that:

Sandy Bland's life is over after just 28 years.

She was in a jail cell for making an illegal lane change.

The cop who 'fought' with her was placed on administrative leave after the video from his camera dash was reviewed.

You know, part of what Patrice was saying comes to play when we all think like this about such things:

"If she wasn't in trouble with the cops in the first place this might never have happened."

Yeah.

Right.

You never made an illegal lane change.

You can scream that you aren't a racist every single day, but when your actions show otherwise, guess what:

You're a racist.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rest In Pieces

Went to a memorial mass on Sunday for my Dad and my Uncle Jim. I was seated next to my Aunt and when it was time to give the sign of peace I gave her a kiss on the cheek and in a tribute to both Dad and Uncle Jim I said:

"Peace On You!"

It struck my Aunt funny because she had not heard that in a few years and as she turned to my Mom for the sign of peace...she was in a pretty good giggle.

After the mass we talked about some of the rather unique things Dad had to say about God, church and the Bible stories.

"God worked a lot of miracles," Dad once said, "But the one that gets me is when Moses tied his ass to a tree and walked ten miles."

Dad swore that was a Bible story.

Yet Mom and Dad certainly introduced us to the church.

I still go as often as I can...but the one thing that I've learned in later years is to rid myself of the guilt.

The nuns had scared the crap out of us for a lot of years.

I still feel guilty...and I don't do a whole helluva' lot of sinning these days.

Yet before Mass was even over I laughed a little on my own.

Here's the story:

Dad was driving the car over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco for work. It wasn't even 6 a.m. so we were both wiping sleep out of our eyes, knowing that we had a long day of work ahead.

The man on the radio was telling us about a murder in another part of the country.

A man, who was a drug dealer, had been strangled and then, in an effort to hide the body, his killers had chopped his body up and loaded this poor guy into 55-gallon drums.

We both heard the story and then turned to look at one another in a sort of stunned silence.

Suddenly, Dad made a sign of the cross.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"May he rest in pieces," he said.

And that was Dad.

The mass was a celebration of sorts.

As many family members who could showed up and then we all went for coffee.

My Aunt shared my "Peace On You," wish and I told the "Rest in Pieces" tale.

"You guys are too much," My Aunt said. "Rest in Pieces."

Monday, August 3, 2015

Practice...We're Talking About Practice!

I hate this time of year for sports.

Because right now ESPN is all in on showing us who is practicing where when it comes to football.

Seriously.

Practice.

Who reads this crap?

E.J. Manuel overthrew his receiver down the sideline.

That was the lead story here in Buffalo on the day the baseball trade deadline was in full swing.

And I guess I get it.

People are football-crazed despite the fact that it's a horrifically flawed game played by degenerates who are going to be muttering to themselves in a few years, but practice!

Troy Tulowitski was traded from the Rockies to the Blue Jays. Tulo is the best shortstop in the sport. I all but ran down the stairs to get the update and you know what I got?

Johnny Manziel says that he wants to be the number one quarterback of the Browns.

You will note that I am no longer commenting much on the arrests of NFL players.

It bores me to tears.

But you know what else bores me?

The Green Bay Packers still believe they can win the Super Bowl despite a shaky beginning to their training camp.

I'm not kidding!

That was a headline.

How was their training camp shaky?

Someone forget to bring out the water jugs?

One more thing before I go:

"We feel like we have the team to not only go to the playoffs, but win the Super Bowl," Sammy Watkins (paraphrase).

That particular quote is big news every single year.

My sons and I were debating it all back and forth.

"We had the exact same conversation last year!" I said. "When you picked them at 13 and 3!!"

"It's different this year," Sam said.

I know it is.

Because everyone is practicing real hard!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Misty Years Ago

Went to a wake in my hometown this past week.

The thing about meeting at that particular funeral home is that when I arrive I only have one thought in my head:

How quickly can I get out of here?

And the thing about being from a small town where my family is well-known because none of us can ever be confused for being introverted or shy is that it's tough to just navigate my way through the people gathered.

"Which Fuzzy are you?" I usually get from my Mom's and Dad's friends.

"Just say 'Fuzzy'," I say, "We all answer to it."

And it's a lot sad.

Because I only see some of those people at the funeral home these days.

This particular wake was even more strange because the family involved lived in the house across the road from my parents home. I knew everyone in the family from birth, basically.

And I looked across the room and saw them greeting the people from town.

All grey...and wearing glasses...and wearing the years on their faces.

They looked good...mind you...but it was strange...because my mind played a little trick on me.

And I saw a few of them as young kids.

Throwing the ball.

Riding bikes.

Playing King of the Mountain.

And like me...they each have a family of their own.

A lot of days have passed...

...and yet...

...and yet...

There's a moment when the years gone by seem like one long day.

I greeted my friends' Mom. She was seated, and sad. She smiled when she saw me.

"Hi Cliff," she said - she knew exactly which Fuzzy I was - and I took her hand and said I was sorry for her.

But she was smiling through her tears.

"As soon as I saw you," she said. "I thought of you as a 14-year-old riding your bike down the street."

I knew exactly what she was talking about.

The bike in question was actually my sister Corinne's bike.

It didn't have brakes.

I wasn't wearing shoes.

We lived on a huge hill.

"You tried to stop yourself by putting your bare feet on the ground," she said, with a laugh.

"Yeah. That didn't work."

We both smiled, knowing what had happened next.

"And then you just cut the wheel," she said.

"And missed your driveway," I finished.

"And went right over the handlebars into the deep ditch."

We both smiled.

36 years had passed.

How did those days fly by so quickly?

"You Fuzzy kids were never boring," she said.

We shared another couple of minutes together and then I gazed across the room at the more than middle-aged men and women in the room.

They were kids just a moment ago.

And so was I.

As I drove home, I thought a lot about that bike trip to the bottom of the ditch.

And I thought all about the days in between then and now.

It really does seem like just a blink of an eye.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ben & Jen & the Nanny

What's up with these famous dopes?

It's being reported that Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are having troubles and that Jen is suspicious of the nanny...who was giving Ben some loving looks when they were all together with the kids in the Bermudas as the couple contemplated their famous divorce.

Remember when Arnold stooped the maid and got tossed out by Maria?

Now.

I think it's really funny because my beautiful wife has always fancied Ben Affleck as a handsome guy.

(He's no Cliff Fazzolari, obviously).

Yet.

I don't like Ben Affleck.

1). He's a fanatic of the Boston Suck Sux.

In fact, he's gone ape-shit a time or two telling people how much he hates the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized American Sports.

(By the way...do you know how tough that is to type time after time after time?).

Anywhoha...

2). Ben is also a horrible actor.

He's always stiff. Matt Damon took him along for the ride and somehow Ben has become a major star.

3). He's a known gambler and booze-hound.

(OK...I kinda' get that one).

But, Jennifer Garner is a very lovely girl, isn't she?

Word around our house is that she got tired of his gambling and boozing and that he was perhaps chasing woman while being married.

That's not nice.

And now...

...the nanny?

Right under his wife's nose?

Celebrity gossip is weird, isn't it?

Yet when news of the impending divorce came through I texted my wife this:

"Ben Affleck is getting divorced. Do you have anything to do with it?"

She answered with:

"Yeah. So sorry. Good luck."

Well.

Good luck to her and Ben then.

I'm hearing Jennifer Garner is free.

Dilly Dilly

If the wintry blast of this weekend is any indication, I’m going to be watching a lot of television. I don’t want to drive on snowy roads ...