Monday, November 30, 2015

You're Missing A Good Game, Ref!


It's truly rare these days that a football game gets played without some sort of controversy due to a poor call by a ref.

The same old words are spoken.

"We shouldn't be in a position where one call costs us the game."

"The NFL is issuing an apology."

"The play is not reviewable."


Blah, blah, blah, blah.

The team that loses the game bellyaches that they would have won had the refs got this right or that right. The team that wins says, 'Stop your bitching it's a tough game to call.'

So.

Let me chime in.

1). It is a difficult game to call.

The players are moving at breakneck speed on the field. The refs are middle-aged men. The cameras can slow everything down for the fan at home. Therefore you have men, on the field, making a split-second decision that a viewer sees eleven times from twelve different angles.

The refs actually have no chance there.

2). The rules suck.

No one actually knows the rules.

Quick:

What is a catch if you're a wide receiver as opposed to a defender?

What constitutes being out-of-bounds, or in the end zone?

When is a fumble a fumble or a pass?

When is a fumble a fumble or an incomplete catch?

What the hell is a 'football move' after making a catch?

Why can't the ground cause a fumble?

Why does a knee count two times more than an elbow?

No one knows!

Most games now have a bumbling expert in the booth saying, 'Geez, guys, I don't know,' after every close play.

3). The refs are frightened out of their minds.

We were watching a game the other day. The runner got close to the end zone. There were only 4 people on the screen. The runner, the tackler, and two refs.

The play ended.

One ref looked to the other.

They were less than a foot away!

Neither ref made a signal.

Then they conferred.

Then they made a grand gesture of nodding their heads.

Then they signaled touchdown.

Ten minutes later the video review showed that the runner was down two yards before crossing the marker.

4). There's No Consistency

'They're calling it tight.'

'That was an unintentional face-mask.'

'He didn't really mean to hit the punter.'

'You can't touch him after five yards, but he just barely touched him there.'

All of the jumbled rules makes it impossible for a ref to make a call with any sort of consistency. The only thing they constantly do is call the block in the back on a kickoff.

Of course, I am only skimming the surface here.

The game is a freaking mess, actually.

The rules are confusing and they are arbitrary.

The losing teams fans cry about the refs.

The winning teams fans say 'Don't cry, they sucked for both teams.'

The league apologizes.

Says that they'll look into changing the rule after the season.

And yet.

Everyone keeps watching.

Because they're betting.

And they have a fantasy team.

And there's nothing better to do on a Sunday.

Face it.

Football blows.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Still Laughing

There's a great temptation, when we are all together, to go through the greatest hits of the Fazzolari family.

I told the story of meeting a women with Tourette's at the doctor's office.

The poor lady.

We laughed at how startled I was when she screamed in mid-sentence.

Jim told the story about Dad removing a turkey from the oven. The turkey and the pan came flying out and Dad slipped in the grease and hit the ground.

"I broke my ass cooking it," Dad said.

We laugh at the memory of it all.

And it's funny, but you never know when the next big laugh is coming.

We are all big personalities and there's a lot of back and forth.

John told a joke that had all of us shaking our heads and laughing.

Then Jim stole the show with a unique performance that had the people around him in tears of laughter.

And yet.

There was a new entrant.

Jake's line:

"It's a Thanksgiving miracle," brought the house down.

(Jim will have to tell you the complete story).

But the sound of laughter rang through the house.

For a long time.

Full of turkey and settling in around the football game, we were all on the verge of just going to sleep.

When Carrie started to laugh again.

She was simply laughing at something that happened just twenty minutes before.

We didn't have to rehash Jim eating 70 brussel sprouts to win a $1 bet.

(He gagged on each one as he downed the last 15 or so and I have not touched a brussel sprout since, but I did pay him the dollar).

Laughter is great.

Later that night, Kathy who had missed a lot of it asked why we were all laughing so much.

Making memories, I thought.

I told her about Jake imitating Jim announcing a football play.

She laughed.

The Fazzolari laugh meter is still high.

And that's a lot to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Loose Meat

Visited the state of Iowa this past week.

It's funny but the response I get when I mention that is:

Why?

or

How bad is it?

Well.

There's not a lot going on there.

I took a trip from Kansas City to Ankeny which is about 3 hours by rental car. I added satellite radio to my car charge because I didn't want to be scanning from station to station and I figured that the drive might be a tad boring.

It is.

Miles of endless nothing.

A few cows. Watch out for deer signs and just field after field after field with the farmer's daughter type homes about a half mile from the road.

"You should try a loose meat sandwich," my buddy texted me.

I thought of the old Roseanne show and Tom Arnold (a famous guy from Iowa) talking about how great they are.

I don't normally scan the area too closely when I'm in an unfamiliar state and since my drinking days are over I'm no longer looking for the best bar when I'm on the road.

But loose meat?

I made a mental note to look around.

Good old Pops was ready with some of the locations.

He evidently had time to look up the menu at Jethro's Pork Chop Grill and told me about the Maid-Rite stores that sold the loose meat.

I googled each.

For dinner I had a loose meat type sandwich with a side of rattlesnake pasta.

(No, it's not real rattlesnake - it was a mac and cheese type dish with jalapenos and some other spices mixed in).

Good stuff.

But I was still curious about the Maid-Rite phenomenon.

I visited the job and was at the site until nearly lunch time.

I visited Google and the Maid-Rite was within a couple of miles.

Loose Meat Here I come!

The place was busy. It was also clean and well-lit and the red and white interior gave it an old-time diner feel. There were about 40 loose meat choices but I thought I'd go with the original.

I ordered two.

And much like it's name it's just loose hamburger meat on a standard hamburger bun.

I went with everything on it.

Onion, pickle and mustard.

Damn!

Those went down quick!

I kept looking at the menu.

I had a three hour drive left.

Miles of endless nothing.

I returned to the counter.

"They're good," the lady said, "aren't they?"

"Better give me one more."

She laughed.

"I can eat about 6 at a time," she said.

Loose Meat in Iowa.

Tom Arnold was right!

Friday, November 27, 2015

People Who Don't Look Like You

Hanging around in an airport has always been somewhat torturous as the chairs are hard plastic, the food is of the fast variety, there's a lot of walking involved and there are freaking people everywhere!

Freaking people!!

And now that most of them are looking down as they walk, or talking on phones, they can be a tad irritating.

But on a recent trip I was seated in one of the chairs in an isolated area.

I had the i-pod on and therefore I couldn't hear any of the irritating sounds.

I could only watch.

People come in all sorts of interesting shapes and sizes.

Big ones.

Little ones.

Tall ones and short ones.

They are a variety of colors as well.

White, black, brown, beige, off-white, off-brown, red.

They all dress wildly differently.

There's the sweatpants and tee-shirt crowd (of which I am a proud member).

Then there are the business guys.

(They are strangely irritating to me...they talk into their ear pieces, they seem too dolled up to be real guys, and they have way too much fake confidence).

There are girls in yoga pants.

(Some who should be and some who shouldn't).

Women in pant suits and dresses.

Different packaging, I suppose.

And everyone seems intent on getting something done.

Here in America.

Sometimes I turn the i-pod off and listen.

The man from Asia talking in a language I don't have a chance of getting.

A woman from Mexico talking way faster than I can even imagine.

Different traditions.

Unique cultural backgrounds.

I do suppose that being in a crowd of people should make me feel queasy. It seems that any corner I walk around could be the corner that leads to my destruction.

But I'm not afraid.

Not on the plane or at the counter.

Not on the shuttle bus or at the rental car corner.

I kind of enjoy seeing the people who don't look like me mingling.

My agenda has little bearing on them.

Their agenda doesn't really concern me.

Are there reasons why I might fear those who seem different?

Perhaps.

It just never really dawned on me because I think most people are peace-loving, hard-working and tolerant.

I could be wrong.

It might be the very destruction of me.

But I don't care much.

Life would be boring if we all thought and looked the same.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Thanksgiving Story

Stumbled across this message that was written for Thanksgiving Day:

Easy to forget.

Hard to remember.



A Thanksgiving Remembrance - Submitted by Anonymous


My paternal grandmother lived with us.

She would sit in the porch swing and I would stand behind her and brush her beautiful long gray hair.

As I brushed her hair she would tell me her two favorite stories from the Bible. The only thing better was when she would have me snuggle up close to her in the swing as she read to me.

As I child, I surmised that they were just good stories but now as a mother and grandmother I realize she had an ulterior motive - she was teaching me a most valuable lesson - a lesson about kindness and thankfulness.

She often added to the story of the Good Samaritan, "You never pass someone in need even if their skin is not the color of yours." And, "You should never pick and choose who you will be kind to, you just be kind," she would enumerate over and over.

This same instruction came with Manners and Etiquette:

"Know what to do and do it. If you do the same right thing often enough it will become second nature to you." "That way," she would instruct, "You will always know what to do and feel confident doing it."

Sounded complicated as a child but as I grew older I realized what I did automatically, others my age struggled with.

This tutoring soon gave me the understanding that the Kindness lessons and the Manners lessons were synonymous. They both really were practicing the Golden Rule.

Which is simply put:

"Treat others, as you want to be treated and never forget any kindness extended to you."

I also learned as a child growing up that my mother always had a slip of paper fastened to the inside of a cabinet door in the kitchen. It was near the sink where mother was more apt to see it.

At the top of the page were written the words:

"Lest I forget."

There was never a kindness extended to her or our family that was not found listed on her paper.

In November of each year she would in some way once again let the person or persons involved know how grateful she was for their kindness.

Mother often quoted the reminder to us, "Don't remember the kindness you do for another, but never forget kindness done for you."

I am reminded even more of the lessons learned as a child and even some days I find myself missing that spot on grandma's lap and the peace that came with her loving arms around me.

May we each give thanks and remember all kindness given to us.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Birthday Mom!

I love going to breakfast with my Mom.

I've been to hundreds of breakfast outings with my mother and much like going to breakfast with my wife...I could probably order for her.

And then we talk about everything.

Books we've read, people in and around North Collins, kids, siblings, Dad, the dogs...

...anything and everything.

We catch up on everything over coffee and eggs.

Today is Mom's birthday, and if you see her, make sure she knows how special you want her day to be. If you don't see her today...give her a call.

Because she's one amazing lady.

Mom has seen it all through the years.

Kids who drove her crazy.

A husband who loved her like mad...and left way too early.

Grand kids who think she's really funny.

What amazes me the most as we share breakfast or as she eats pasta, or lobster or steak...

...is that she always searches for the best in someone...

...or the funny in the story.

I've said it before...

...no one I've ever met worked harder than my mother.

What's even better than that is that she works hard to find the good.

The story can be really bad, but Mom looks around it and puts a positive spin on it.

People love to be around people who see the world that way.

And I think about that every single day.

There's no way that a blog post can sum it all up for you.

But there's nothing I want more today than for everyone to reach out and make her day a little bit better...

...Because she does that every single day.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We love you!



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Syrian Refugees

I have to be out of my freaking mind to even attempt to make sense of this topic.

In fact, I kind of think that it should be out of my hands...

...and your hands...

We elect officials to make these sorts of decisions and eventually that decision will be made.

And one side or the other will bitch about it.

But since everyone is bitching about it...

...Off we go!

There are people in Syria who are running for their lives.

That can't really be disputed.

They no longer have homes. Some have children. A parent trying to keep a child safe is desperate. If they stay in the country that they lived in...

...they may starve, meet a violent end, or worse, be tortured before either of the first two things happens.

Other nations are making the decision to allow these fleeing refugees into their country...

...or not.

Here in the United States we have often been a place that is a safe haven in such circumstances.

A lot of people are now saying:

F%^K That Noise! We have enough problems!!

Those are the facts.

A lot of people are sticking with the idea that the United States of America should aspire to be the place where people are welcome.

Will the terrorists infiltrate the fleeing refugees, enter our country and terrorize our citizens?

Maybe.

We have suffering vets, homeless people right here.

We have enough problems!

We have people who can't put enough food on their own table.

We don't need to offer any more handouts!

Yet what needs to be answered here is this?

Do we still want to be known as the nation that offers comfort to those who are suffering?

Or will we bury our collective heads in the sand and close the doors?

For those who say, over and over again that this is a Christian nation...is that the Christian thing to do?

(Some are arguing that we have to shut out the refugees while also crying about other people saying 'Holiday Tree' - you can't do both!).

It's not an easy question.

It's causing arguments all over this great country.

Did you notice I used 'great' in the above sentence with country?

What has made America great?

I'm of the opinion that not all nations are great.

America's people make it great.

America aspiring to be more makes it great.

We can shut it all down.

We can certainly turn our back.

It may make us safer.

It may also make us less than great.

I'm not touching it.

I have an opinion.

I'm sure you do too.

But you know what really makes me sad?

We can't even have a truly civil conversation about it.

And a lot of people are suffering because of that.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Remember When

Went to a 50th birthday party over the weekend.

J.C. is nearly there.

Had a great time seeing old friends...

...and I mean old friends.

The kid who had the party was at my 5th birthday party...so the type of party has changed a little bit.

Just a little bit.

We went from birthday cake and ice cream to wild beer-filled parties to...

...the party on Saturday night.

I had a few beers.

Something I rarely do.

We played Family Feud.

(And I let my buddy's sister win because I'm a nice guy).

At 9:20 I yawned mightily...not because the company wasn't great but because it felt like it was 2 in the morning.

We had cake.

And the stories started flowing...

"Remember when this idiot..."

All of the greatest hits came falling out of the closet.

"We were lucky we didn't get killed..."

We put a lot of those stories into the context of our parents and then our own children.

And the people we'd lost along the way.

It's strange, but people who were not in the room were definitely in the room.

We told stories about a buddy who struck a deer while test-driving a sports car.

We laughed about my brother Jeff doing about twenty different things.

We talked about John's Dad and my Dad.

We toasted one another...

...and we toasted all of those birthdays that have passed.

And it certainly occurred to me...

...we weren't just telling stories...

We were still living our lives.

I stopped yawning.

My beautiful wife (who was working a couple of long shifts back-to-back) called me:

"What're you doing? It's nearly 11 o'clock!"

"Laughing," I said.

Some of the talk was about what we're going to do when we stop working so hard.

I'd be okay with doing a lot of what we all did on Saturday night...

...old friends...a couple of drinks...

...and inviting friends who couldn't make it...

...right into the room with us.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Birthday John

There are moments that you remember when it comes to siblings.

Growing up, my brother John and I were always together. Being 11 months apart will do that for you.

I sometimes listen in as my sons debate things back and forth and there's nothing more comforting than to hear them battle back and forth and then laugh.

Nothing feels better than blood on blood.

I recall listening to Springsteen early on and I discovered some of the brilliance of the writing, with my siblings.We were all amazed that Bruce was talking about a lot of the things we were talking about.

We could all see this scenario play out in a close family.

Thankfully none of us were ever trying to escape the law and none of us were of the mindset to commit such a crime, but the family message was clear.

I recall listening to the song early on with my siblings.

Amazing twist.

We all knew that we'd do much the same thing as Joe Roberts does here.

We'd watch the tail-lights disappear.


This is a favorite of John's.

Happy Birthday, brother!


Highway Patrolman - Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska record.

My name is Joe Roberts I work for the state
I'm a sergeant out of Perrineville barracks number Eight
I always done an honest job as honest as I could
I got a brother named Franky and Franky ain't no good

Now ever since we was young kids it's been the same come down
I get a call over the radio Franky's in trouble downtown
Well if it was any other man, I'd put him straight away
But when it's your brother sometimes you look the other way

Me and Franky laughin' and drinkin' nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
Man turns his back on his family well he just ain't no good

Well Franky went in the army back in 1965 I got a farm deferment settled down took Maria for my wife
But them wheat prices kept on droppin' till it was like we were gettin' robbed
Franky came home in '68 and me I took this job

Yea we're laughin' and drinkin' nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin', teach him how to walk that line
Man turns his back on his family he ain't no friend of mine

The night was like any other, I got a call 'bout quarter to nine
There was trouble in a roadhouse out on the Michigan line
There was a kid lyin' on the floor lookin' bad, bleedin' hard from his head.
There was a girl cryin' at a table and it was Frank they said
Well I went out and I jumped in my car and I hit the lights
I must of done a hundred and ten through Michigan county that night

It was out at the crossroads down round Willow bank
Seen a Buick with Ohio plates and behind the wheel was Frank
Well I chased him through them county roads till a sign said Canadian border five miles from here
I pulled over the side of the highway and watched his taillights disappear

Me and Franky laughin' and drinkin' nothin' feels better than blood on blood
Takin' turns dancin' with Maria as the band played "Night of the Johnstown Flood"
I catch him when he's strayin' like any brother would
Man turns his back on his family well he just ain't no good

Friday, November 20, 2015

4 Years - For Uncle Jim - Miss You Buddy

For Uncle Jim

I’m not sure that this is breaking news, but there are some members of the Fuzzy family that have some of the following qualities:

Obnoxious, Loud, Wild, Quick-tempered, emotional, boisterous, impatient, emotional and a tad confrontational.

But loving...

...always very loving.

I was speaking to one such member a long time ago when at the age of 12 I helped my Dad make the sauce. I was chopping up onions and garlic when I said to him:

“You know, Uncle Jim is a really good guy.”

Dad agreed, of course, he thought the world of his little brother.

And through the years I thought a lot about that moment.

How had my Uncle, in the middle of the Fuzzy storm, figured it all out?

There are so many distractions along the way. There are way too many temptations in life that can throw you off your game.

Uncle Jim was always able to stay the course.

How’d he do it?

First off, he had a great love of family. He loved his wife, Aunt Sherry, through all of the years, through the thick and thin, and when the chips were down.

He loved his daughters, Jamie and Kristin with every ounce of strength he could muster, and that happened, in spite of the fact that one of them may or may not have had some of that stubborn Fuzzy blood coursing through her veins.

I’m not going to say which one. (Kristin).

He loved his grandchildren, Dom, AJ and Brandon and was a great grandpa. He turned his car into the swim mobile. He called them sucky-thumby- babies. He teased them about playing so much hockey, telling Dom to find two dead ants to play with him.

He loved them for every second of their lives.

Then there was his love of food:

Tripe, calamari, pork chops, pasta and peas, pasta and beans, pork chops, marinara, pasta and broccoli, pork chops, linguine and clams and pork chops.

Are you catching a theme?

And Italian Sausage.

Every three months or so Uncle Jim, Jim and Paulie would get the ball rolling and we would meet to make the sausage.

Every time we showed up the container that Uncle Jim brought to bring his share of the sausage home in, got bigger. This year he had about an 80-gallon cooler.

We would work, eat, have a few beers and laugh.

And the love of family extended through the sadness.

Over the last few years we have lost some extremely well loved members of this family. Jeff, Dad, Aunt Carolyn…and we’ve been reeling.

Uncle Jim was there for all of us.

He called us with a quick joke or a message. He wanted us to keep smiling and keep moving forward, never forgetting the love. He sent me a note one day that said simply, “I miss my bro today.”

I called him on the phone and before long we were talking about food. Know, with all your heart that he wants every single person here to smile and laugh as much as you can with the time you have.

I know he does.

We talked about it.

Uncle Jim also used faith in God above to fashion his great personality.

His personality traits should be studied at the greatest universities in the world and taught to the general public.

I was in church one time and Uncle Jim was working as an usher. He called himself Frank Barone from the Everybody Loves Raymond Show.

And there was more love.

Sometimes I referred to Uncle Jim as Uncle Billy Joel and he enjoyed that because he always told me that he ‘got his Christie Brinkley’.

And he really meant it.

We should all love our spouses in such a manner.

And there was more family.

Every June the 2 was cause for celebration and happy phone calls were made all through the family. June the 2 should be a national holiday from here on out.

And Uncle Jim believed in heaven and heaven is a better place now. He knew that the way to get there was to work hard, have faith in God’s plan, and eat a good meal.

No more chicken!!! (Sorry, Aunt Sherry)

Uncle Jim battled through a lot of tough times. Certainly things weren’t always smooth, but he battled through, day after day and hour after hour.

He didn’t feel sorry for himself.

He never put it on someone else.

Instead, he forged ahead and asked us to join him in love.

The sadness that we feel now is the price that we have to pay for spending so much time in Uncle Jim’s loving embrace.

We don’t have to feel the separation because he is with us.

He always will be with us.

And back when I was 12 years old, I was completely wrong.

Uncle Jim wasn’t just a good guy.

He was a great man.

And we should all be honored that God allowed us to share his kingdom of days.

Weight Loss

So Jared Fogle's lawyers claimed that his 245-pound weight loss turned him "hyper-sexual" and made him a sex-crazed pedophile?

Did I just type that sentence?

How can a lawyer make such a claim with a straight face?

Did Jared explain that to them?

Did they think it sounded good?

Does it sound plausible to you?

Now I know that lawyers are paid to come up with crazy ideas that might save their clients from going to jail, but how do you even propose such a thing?

Weight loss led you to become a pedophile alcoholic...

...I've sort of heard everything now.

And of course, Jared went the old sympathy route.

Having to be a role model...being in the spotlight...made him do it.

And there are so many clever jokes going around now.

Most of those jokes have to do with Jared getting used to a new sort of foot long, but the sad part of it all is that he was convicted of preying on 16 and 17 year old boys and girls.

Jared lost 245 pounds, allegedly, eating only turkey and veggie Subway sandwiches.

That, in itself, seems disgusting to me...but what he was charged with...truly is disgusting, appalling, sickening and horrifying.

He begged for images of children.

He had over 600 images of children.

He tried to initiate sex with 14 or 15 year old kids.

And then his lawyer stepped into a courtroom and tried to explain that it was all due to his weight loss?

I'm glad that the judge didn't even consider such a defense.

Jared is going away for a long time.

The prison term is said to be about 15 years.

His wife and his own kids are now forever scarred by the choices that he made in his life.

Good riddance.

His own defense lawyer finally broke down and called him 'pathetic'.

That sounds about right.

Sit there and think about it.

The rest of us will forget you quickly.

Pathetic.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Good Guys of the Week - San Diego Padres

This week has been extremely negative.

Everywhere I turn.

The terror attacks in Paris has unleashed a wave of brutality here in the United States.

Evidently the fans of GOP are trying to win the 2012 elections by saying that this administration has detonated the bombs in France.

People on the Democratic side of the aisle are bashing Bush.

Refugees are fleeing from violence and terror and they aren't welcome.

Charlie Sheen has HIV.

So.

I tried real hard not to think about all the D.B.'s running around all over the world.

I wanted to hear something good.

And lo and behold, I stumbled on the story of Matt LaChappa.

LaChappa was once a promising baseball pitcher who was on the verge of the major leagues.

At the age of 20 he suffered a heart attack.

20!

He nearly died.

This was back in 1993.

The San Diego Padres win the good guys of the week award.

Because they still have LaChappa on the team.

Every year they sign LaChappa to a one-year contract.

So that he is still a Padre.

And so they can keep him in their organization so that his medical bills are covered.

Isn't that cool?

Isn't that better than fighting with some idiot on social media over something that can't be changed...

...won't be changed...

...and does nothing to dissuade the anger.

A class move by an organization.

We need more class moves.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Savage

Okay...so was getting into the hot tub the other day and I took off my shirt and said:

"You know how you look at Ryan Gosling with his shirt off? Well, no difference here."

My beautiful wife laughed.

"You really believe that, don't you?"

"I'd kick the living shit out of that little actor," I replied.

She laughed again.

You see, I'm not much for fighting. Let's be honest here, we all know that.

"I'm a lot bigger than him though," I said.

"You've always been bigger than your brother John too. How'd those battles work out?"

I put my shirt back on.

You see, I kind of like watching people fight.

I used to love boxing back in the day before it became so corrupt.

Ali, Frazier, Norton, Holes, Hagler, Hearns, Sugar Ray and then Tyson and Buster Douglas.

Loved a big match.

I don't watch much of the MMA stuff though.

It's much too brutal for my tastes.

In fact, this past weekend I caught a tape of Rhonda Rousey getting absolutely hammered by Holly Holm.

(A little aside...not only couldn't I beat up Ryan Gosling...those two women would put me to sleep in less time than it would take to count me out).

I don't know if you've seen the footage, but Rousey takes a kick to the jaw.

She's absolutely out before she hits the ground...

...and MMA rules, evidently, allow the other fighter to jump on your stomach and throw about 11 more punches into your concussed head.

Savage.

There were 56,000 people in the ring and millions more watching on their mobile devices.

Violence against each other is here to stay, folks.

We love it!

Football serves it up.

MMA doubles that.

Guns, bombs, drone strikes.

More violence, please.

"I'm a lover, not a fighter," I finally said. "I'm sure I'm way better than Gosling on that."

My wife is still laughing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Bruce's Does One - All That Heaven Will Allow

We were kicking around the fact that my mother-in-law now has children who are approaching the age of sixty.

(I won't say which ones - some of them read this)

And I mentioned to my beautiful wife that it would be glorious to see all of our kids hit the sixty mark.

"That's 45 years from now," Kathy said. "Ain't happening. You'd be 96."

And as such discussions go...I felt a twinge of despair.

I most certainly have less than 45 years to go.

I recalled a chat I'd had with one of my doctor buddies:

"It's gonna' suck to miss what happens."

"Maybe we won't," he said.

Yeah.

Maybe.

In the meantime.

I want all the glory that heaven will allow.



All that Heaven Will Allow - Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love

I got a dollar in my pocket
There ain't a cloud up above

I got a picture in a locket
That says baby I love you

Well if you didn't look then boys
Then fellas don't go lookin' now

Well here she comes a-walkin'
All that heaven will allow

Say hey there mister bouncer
Now all I wanna do is dance

But I swear I left my wallet
Back home in my workin' pants

C'mon Slim slip me in man
I'll make it up to you somehow

I can't be late I got a date
With all that heaven will allow

Rain and storm and dark skies
Well now they don't mean a thing

If you got a girl that loves you
And who wants to wear your ring

So c'mon mister trouble
We'll make it through you somehow

We'll fill this house with all the love
All that heaven will allow

Now some may wanna die young man
Young and gloriously

Get it straight now mister
Hey buddy that ain't me

'Cause I got something on my mind
That sets me straight and walkin' proud


And I want all the time
All that heaven will allow

Monday, November 16, 2015

Make it Spicy

I started eating Chinese food back in the early 1980's.

Unfortunately I started eating it at a restaurant in Mill Valley, California where the food was better than any Chinese food I've had since.

Dad was the influence behind trying the Chinese place all those years ago and we went to that particular restaurant at least twice a month for just about a year.

The chefs couldn't possibly prepare our food spicy enough and when the entire crew of Fazzolari's were in there...

...they must have gone through five jars of hot oil.

We had a lot of laughs back then.

There was the day when the waitress introduced us to a Chinese kid who was spending his first day in America.

Dad taught the kid that the English word for 'Hello' was 'F&*k'.

About halfway through our meal that night Dad waved at the kid across the crowded restaurant and the kid yelled out his new found hello.

F&*K! ...

...echoed through the room and the smiling kid was whisked into the back room.

I was a willing participant back then.

We'd try all the new foods.

We'd share our plates, as much as we could, so everyone found what they liked.

Back here in Western New York there are a number of decent Chinese restaurants. I sometimes hit them with my Asian buddy and he orders for me in the native language and he laughs when he tells the chef how spicy I want my food to be. I was once eating at such a place when three of the cooks exited the kitchen and stood by the table to watch me eat the tiny little red peppers.

In broken English one of them said:

"You stomach must be a mess."

Perhaps.

On Friday night we were kicking dinner ideas around.

"The kids want to go to the Mongolian Barbecue."

I took a look at their plates.

A lot of crab legs, ribs and sweet and sour chicken.

I had a coffee cup filled with hot sauce so I could dip the pepper steak in it.

The waitress looked at me kinda' funny.

Then I told the kids about their grandpa trying to teach a young Chinese kid he American word for 'Hello.'

"That was Papa," Matt said.

I fished out a tiny red pepper from the General Tsao's chicken and glanced to the ceiling of the place.

Spicy.

Everything about our lives had spice to it.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Pretty Good Neighborhood

There's an old 80's movie called About Last Night.

Funny movie with Rob Lowe, Jim Belushi and Demi Moore.

Back when it came out my brothers and sisters and I caught it a bunch of times and to this day we all use lines from the film in our everyday lives.

"You're as much fun as a stick."

"What'd'ya' want a dozen roses?"

"Was she a pro?"

Most of those lines came out of Belushi's mouth.

But the one line that sort of also has stuck with me through time has kind of been on replay in my mind since I first heard about the terrorist attacks in France.

Rob Lowe's character is hungover on Thanksgiving Day and he's talking to the know-it-all friend of Demi Moore. She is attacking him for being stuck inside his own head and not caring about anyone but himself.

"What about what is going on in the Middle East?" she asks.

"I live in a pretty good neighborhood," he answers.

The outside world enters my mind through my left hand where I hold my phone.

I started receiving the updates from various news sources.

Most of the updates I get these days is in the form of a tally:

10 shot dead in Anytown, USA.

140 dead in bombing.


I often imagine the terror and it scares the hell out of me...but there is a certain feeling of uselessness that passes like a wave through my mind.

Before I even look at my phone I know what the response will be:

Thoughts and prayers.

followed by:

Bomb the shit out of them.

Then the republicans will hate on Obama and the democrats will hate on Bush.

Lots of rednecks and libtard language going back and forth.

None of it doing anything but further fueling the anger that was initiated by a terrorist group bent on doing just that.

Tough guys and people of infinite peace debating what to do in bad grammar and accusatory tones.

Why bother getting involved in any of the discussion?

"I live in a pretty good neighborhood."

"Terrible what is going on in France," I finally remarked to my beautiful wife.

We were watching an episode of House. The dogs were curled up beside us on the couch. The kids were playing games in the other room. The sounds of their laughter coming through the doors.

"Now what?" Kathy asked.

"Suicide bombers and mass murder," I said.

Kathy didn't answer.

Because there is no answer that will be figured out in our neighborhood.

So.

Leaving the anger out.

No sense in doing anything but commiserate with those who lost loved ones.

Shake our damn heads at the violence.

And watch House.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Aborting Baby Hitler

Ben Carson had to field a stupid question the other day.

"Would you abort Baby Hitler if it was up to you?"

Carson gave the answer that is true to his beliefs on abortion.

Of course he wouldn't.

The reporter who asked the question then cracked that Carson was 'Pro-Hitler.'

You can see the problem with answering such a question, right?

These types of hypothetical questions are tossed around a lot.

Killing Hitler to save a whole bunch of lives might be the right thing to do, but it is not an easy task when you really aren't much into killing, right?

I was reading the sports pages a few weeks back and the reporter asked one of the pro football players here who he'd most like to have a beer with from any time in history.

The guy said:

"Jesus. I heard he was a good dude."

Perhaps the best thing to do is to not answer such questions.

Yet around our house Sam is always trying to play little games.

"We're all on a boat in the ocean and one of us has to go overboard. Who's gone?"

"Your father," my beautiful wife answered.

"Why me?" I asked.

"You're the oldest," she answered.

"And insurance money," Sam added.

Well.

Isn't that lovely?

"He's a given," Sam says. "Who goes next?"

Kathy hates such games.

How can she pick between any of her kids?

But Sam is persistent.

Much like that reporter, he wants the unanswerable question answered.

He'll continue to ask it over and over.

"Who goes overboard?"

"Who?"

"Who?"

"Who?"

Finally my wife tired of it...

"Other than your father going over, I can't answer," she finally said.

Other than your father going over.

Lovely.

I feel Ben Carson's pain.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stray Thoughts

Was on an airplane this week and the stewardess went through the 'how to buckle your seat belt' routine and I casually asked her to slow down because I had missed the instruction.

She growled at me.

Must be she figured that I knew how to do it...so why are they still showing us????

What do we have to do to get rid of Flo from Progressive?

I honestly didn't mind those commercials at first...it was weird...pale looking woman saying goofy crap...

...but now she's singing.

I've had enough of her.

I can do without the 'Chicken Parm you taste so good' commercial too.

That freaking thing sticks in my head for days on end.

The wind is starting to blow.

"Something is coming," one of the workers on the site said.

"8 months of suck," I answered.

Don't you love people who say:

"I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving?"

It works this way every year, people.

September, October, November...

...here comes Thanksgiving...

...and YOU can't believe it.

Was saddened by a baseball player beating his wife...allegedly...Jose Reyes will now face the new code of discipline...

...hopefully they do it better than dumb ass Goodell.

Was really saddened by the sudden death of former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson.

He died at 29 years old and a lot of the signs are pointing to a drug overdose.

That's mind-boggling to me.

Pro athlete.

Millions.

Arm trouble and a loss of a brother...

...doomed him.

Sadness knows no tax bracket.

To recap:

Goodbye Flo.

This end goes into this end until you hear a click.

Chicken Parm you taste so good

(You just sang that)

Cold.

Oh my God it's almost December.

Sad and sadder.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

D.B.'s of the Week - Christmas War People

There is no war on Christmas!

Forget the Starbucks Cups!

Forget the fact that sometimes people write it as X-Mas.

We all know Christ!

We celebrate within the confines of our Christian beliefs free of prejudice.

And the people who fill the social media feeds with venom because they perceive that they are being persecuted for their religuious beliefs...

...are the D.B.'s of the Week!

Every single year...

...people fall for it.

They even brought it to the dopes who are running for president and the big businessman replied with one of the dopiest things I've ever heard a candidate say:

"When I'm president we're all going to be saying 'Merry Christmas'."

Is he going to make that into law?

What the hell is he talking about?

Here it is for the slow-witted:

Christmas is known as the day of Christ's birth...

...for Christians...who celebrate it...

(Evidently from October to March now).

But...this is where it gets tricky...

...some people aren't Christians!

They live in America.

Religion is not a part of the government.

That's important...I might have to repeat it:

Religion is not a part of the government.

But, I, like many of you, am a Christian...who loves Christmas...and celebrates Christ's birth as a part of my faith and beliefs.

I am free to do so!

If I didn't want to...I'm free to do that too!

It doesn't matter to me if Starbucks took ice skaters off their freaking shit coffee cups.

That doesn't mean that I can no longer practice my faith.

You know who thinks there's a war on Christmas?

Sarah Palin.

Any D.B. of the Week who is of the 'My God they're persecuting us as Christians'...

...is agreeing with Sarah Palin!

And if you find yourself agreeing with her...

...you might have a problem!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

We're Number One!!!

Well, Bills fans are Number 1!

A poll was out this past week saying that Bills fans are the Number 1 Drunkest Football Fans in the Country.

First off...

...how do they figure such a thing?

Was it the guy who fell from the third deck to the second sliding down the railing?

Was it the guy who squirts mustard and ketchup at people who want some for their hot dog?

(You have to see the YouTube of that fiasco).

Was it the guy who fell head-long into the RV as he tried to dance around?

Do they count the leftover cans in the lot?

Secondly...

...have you seen the team?

No playoffs for 15 years.

Why wouldn't people drink?

Plus it's usually pretty cold out there!

Now I can't say much because I was young once.

I drank plenty of expensive lousy draft beer at the stadium.

Despite the fact I live about a mile and a half away I have not attended a Bills game since 2003.

I've been two a grand total of two games in the last 20 years...

It's a young man's game.

Because of a few different things.

1). It's cold.

2). Getting in and out is a nightmare.

3). Fans are drunk and dumb.

4). I have pasta on at home and my doggies are here. And I can take a nap when they start losing.

My boys go now, of course, and I think about their safety when they head off in that direction.

They usually walk halfway and my beautiful wife brings them the rest of the way home.

They tell me about the fights.

The drunken people in the snow.

After the game there is a recap of the men and women who get arrested before, during or after the game.

Helluva' way to start the week.

But I do get it.

I don't begrudge anyone.

It was a blast!

And we're Number 1.

Enjoy it Buffalo!

Drunken bastards.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

West Point

Did you know that I went to West Point?

I went there a whole lot, as a matter of fact.

I never received a scholarship to go there, but I was invited in...time and time again...by a construction company that was doing a lot of work there.

I never once didn't value the trip.

West Point is a long ways from Buffalo...but I had to hit the place fairly regularly back about ten years ago.

I didn't see Ben Carson there.

He turned down his full scholarship, evidently.

West Point is an impressive campus.

When I first arrived there I was taken back by the beautiful surroundings.

The tremendous buildings.

The young men and women marching around.

The strict rules of discipline.

The other reason I enjoyed West Point was that it is close enough to make the trip to Yankee Stadium.

I believe I went to at least three games after doing a late afternoon scan of the job site.

I remember one such trip there.

I was walking with Dave...a safety man for the company.

"Look around," I said. "This is the only way two dumb bastards like us are getting in here."

Dave laughed.

"Seems a little excessive, don't you think?" I asked.

I never really understood the need for such overkill when it comes to defending the country.

I am certainly in the minority here because I think that we can probably get along with about half the budget.

But that's another story.

I'm only thinking about West Point because Ben Carson is in the news in regard to turning down a scholarship from there.

What's up with that guy?

Did Joseph build the place as a base to store his donkeys?

Well...in any regard...check out West Point.

It's a beautiful place.

Wait until April though...

...and check the Yankees schedule.

Monday, November 9, 2015

1982 Countdown

Sunday morning meant a quick trip to run some errands around.

80's on 8 on satellite radio was running down the top five songs from this week in 1982.

Right in my wheelhouse.

I graduated from high school in '82.

Ready for the countdown of the top 5?

Number 5:

Eye in the Sky by the Alan Parsons Project.

Do you think I liked that song?

I named a book Eye in the Sky.

I sang along.

Number 4:

Heart Attack by Olivia Newton John.

I must admit that it wasn't one I sang along with. Other than thinking Olivia Newton John was hot...I didn't think much more about it.

Number 3?

Jack & Diane by John Cougar.

He wasn't even John Cougar Mellencamp yet.

Brilliant song.

Life goes on. Long after the thrill of living is gone.

I was looking forward to the top two songs because my head was back in the days of chasing after pretty girls, drinking beer, playing golf and going to parties.

Number 2:

Not a great one. Michael McDonald. I Keep Forgetting.

The song keeps going and going and going and he keeps singing the title line over and over.

Melky was disappointed.

Paris was disappointed.

(An aside...Melky is back to going for daily rides although she is still a little scared that the plastic guy is going to be at the pizza place).

Anywhoha...

Back in 1982...

...our Number One song?

Are you ready Jeff Renaldo?

Who Can it Be Now? by Men at Work.

That's the song that made me write this blog.

I was blessed with a vivid image of Jeffy and me heading to Eden Valley Golf Course and him reaching across to turn up the radio because he loved the sax part of the song.

Music and its relationship to the brain is amazing to me.

I was 18 again.

I was thinking about the girls we were interested in back then.

Just swinging the clubs.

Laughing.

Singing.

Great song.

Melky and Paris seemed to like it too.



Sunday, November 8, 2015

Tunnel of Love

It's funny, but we were kicking around how great the song Tunnel of Love, by Springsteen is.

One of my friends (Kim) listens to it about 30 times a day.

We all listened to it over and over and over again back when it first came out...nearly 30 years ago.

I referenced that one idiot kinda' ruined the opening lyric for me with his wit. My roommate from college, Fluffy (a fat man himself) would always sing:

"Fuzzy sitting on a little stool."

I nearly always sing it that way myself.

But I recall seeing this tour out in Long Island...my other roommate Rosie...called with two dangling tickets and my buddy Tom drove most of the way there and back on Easter weekend.

It was worth the trip.

In the middle of the concert someone turned to me and said:

"Uh-oh, Bruce is getting divorced."

The album is a brilliant look into relationships between men and women.

Brilliant disguise?

Needless to say, the writing is unreal.


Tunnel of Love by Bruce Springsteen

Fat man sitting on a little stool
Takes the money from my hand while his eyes take a walk all over you

Hands me the ticket smiles and whispers good luck
Cuddle up angel cuddle up my little dove

We'll ride down baby into this tunnel of love

I can feel the soft silk of your blouse
And them soft thrills in our little fun house

Then the lights go out and it's just the three of us
You me and all that stuff we're so scared of

Gotta ride down baby into this tunnel of love

There's a crazy mirror showing us both in 5-D
I'm laughing at you you're laughing at me

There's a room of shadows that gets so dark brother
It's easy for two people to lose each other in this tunnel of love

It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love

But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough

And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above

if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love

Saturday, November 7, 2015

They All Matter

Black Lives Matter.

Blue Lives Matter.

Gay Lives Matter Transgender Live Matter.


Been hearing an awful lot of chatter about what life matters the most lately and it is sort of mind-boggling to me.

In fact, it sorta' seems to me that when one group or another starts talking about which lives matter...

...they're kinda' implying that some lives don't matter quite as much.

I've grown weary with the discussion.

Tarantino is in trouble for speaking out against what he perceives as murders carried out by cops. (He didn't say all cops are murderers, by the way).

Black people are in trouble for speaking out against the blue because they don't think that enough people care about the black.

For God's sake, people!

We all know that lives are precious...

...or we should.

But you know what the problem is?

It's not true.

Lives don't seem to matter to some people.

Like it or not there have been disposable type people living all over the city that you live in.

Think about it.

Inner-city murders are relegated to the back pages. I once spoke with a police officer who said:

"We know where the crime is happening. We try and stay away."

We count the murders.

We kind of cheer when there aren't too many in any given month.

And as for the recent bashing of all cops everywhere?

I hate that as well.

I can't even imagine what it would take to do that job on a routine basis.

How can you not fear for your life every single time you pull the car out of the lot?

Guns are everywhere.

Gun laws won't protect a police officer from the criminals who have no respect for laws of any kind...or life in general.

Black Lives Matter.

Blue Lives Matter.

Gay Lives Matter Transgender Live Matter.

All of life matters.

Every creation has a purpose.

To disregard another's life...

...hard to even fathom.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fourteen Years

"Where were you?" I asked Jake as he stood before me with a towel and obviously wet shorts.

"I was out in the garage baking cookies," he said.

So.

We've recently got a hot tub.

I maybe should've put two and two together.

I'm proud of his answer nonetheless.

Jake is a kid with a quick wit.

November 5th is kinda' his day.

Fourteen years ago he underwent a really, really, really, really, really tough surgery to remove a really, really, really, really, really 'big ass tumor' (as he calls it).

The operation was one that he had a good chance of not making it through.

(Thank you Women & Children's Hospital & Dr. Caty & Dr. Levitt)

God was with us that day and despite the fact that there's been a lot of life since...I am relieved to think that November 5th is a great day in the history of our family.

What was funny about it was that I had to work the majority of the day.

I was working on writing reports when I heard Jake going back and forth with Kathy.

Those two have been going back and forth each and every day.

Their bond is remarkable even though one of them presses the other to the limit with quick wit and a stubborn streak.

14 years.

Man.

It goes by so fast.

Jake doesn't ever want to talk about any of it except when he needs to bring it all up to get out of something.

"One of you has to take out the garbage," I'll say.

"I can't," Jake will answer. "I had a big-ass tumor."

He is always able to trump any of the sniffles that the other boys have.

And you know what's really cool?

Watching him play basketball...

...and run...

...and aggravate his mother.

November 5th.

It's a good day.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

D.B.'s of the Week - The National Football League (Again)


Those are D'Angelo Williams' daughters.

They are wearing items designed to bring attention to breast cancer.

They are also taking a good shot at the D.B's of the Week:

The big-shits in the N.F.L. Offices.


You see, Williams was fined for wearing something or other on his uniform while he played a game.

Yeah.

They fined him for not being in uniform.

And my first thought was that the league has to maintain control otherwise every single guy in the league will be wearing something different every weekend to honor this or that.

But what made me decide to bash the league that I think is pure evil personified was because they can make a decision to fine or not fine on a week-to-week basis.

They treated Williams just as they had Stevie Johnson who wore something stupid about being serious or something.

In fact, the NFL doesn't care.

They want everyone's money.

They charged the armed forces for showing up at their games.

They think that the cheerleaders should pay them as well as the halftime super bowl acts.

Pay the money at the door!

They streamed the Bills London game recently and blacked it out across the land (what a game it was too) and they did it because they are always thinking of ways to make more $.

So they can file stupid lawsuits and spend millions to enforce the rules that they discover on a weekly basis.

Speaking of which...

...you know what I now hate?

When the announcers and the players get down on their hands and knees and pray for a guy who is laying motionless on the field.

Do I sound mean?

You know why I hate it?

Because no one is being sincere!

They don't care about the guy laying unconscious on the field.

Just like they don't care about the former players who are wandering from room-to-room, not sure of who they are.

Just like they don't care about victims of breast cancer...

...or domestic violence...

...or cheerleaders...

...or the military.

They only care about the money!

Someone should let Williams' daughters know the reason why too:

Because they're D.B.'s of epic proportions!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Good Boy

I was feeling real impatient on Monday evening.

I had just returned to work and I spent most of the day responding to calls, texts and e-mails and I was a little fed up already.

But I had an appointment to get my back worked on a little and instead of postponing it, as my anxious mind begged me to do, I decided to keep it.

I sat down in the waiting room, hoping that the doctor would call me soon.

Why was the waiting room filled with people?

Couldn't appointments go off at the time they're scheduled for?


I had even left my phone in the car, so I had nothing to do but look around.

"This sucks," I thought.

I plopped into a chair next to a man who was about my age. He was seated across from a boy and a woman. The woman handed the boy a can of pop and he drank it down in a single gulp as the middle aged man beside me looked on anxiously.

The woman was called to her appointment and she turned to Dad:

"You're on duty," she whispered.

The kid then crumpled the empty can and tossed it across the waiting room floor.

The middle-aged man simply got out of the chair and picked up the can. He turned to me as he did so.

"My boy is autistic," he said.

The kid was big.

I didn't want to stare at him, but the Dad was ready to talk.

"He's a good boy, but he has O.C.D. things that make going out a little iffy."

I didn't know what to say to that, but the O.C.D. thing rang a bell.

Dad moved his left arm and the boy got out of the chair and pushed his father's hand a little.

"There's one of them," Dad said. "I have to put my arm in the exact position it was in when I was driving a Crown Victoria with him about twenty years ago."

Dad moved his arm a little and the kid was back up out of the chair to touch him again.

I was at a loss.

"How old is he?" I asked.

"Twenty-five," Dad said.

I offered a bit of a nervous laugh.

"Yeah, it tries my patience," Dad said.

I thought about feeling anxious as I entered the waiting room. I considered that I felt put out for waiting for the doctor.

"It's okay most of the time," Dad said.

"He's a big boy," I said.

"He wouldn't hurt a flea though," Dad tried.

The bathroom near the waiting room came open and the kid jumped up.

"You need the bathroom?" Dad asked.

The boy wasn't waiting. He pulled down his pants before even entering the bathroom.

Dad turned to me and smiled.

"I'll give him a minute," he said, "but if I don't go in there soon he'll come out of there butt-ass naked."

I was at a complete loss.

I also admired the man sitting beside me. He seemed so patient and calm. Of course it was hard for me not to compare it to my own tiny life.

"He's a good boy," the man said.

"He probably allows you to appreciate quiet times," I offered.

Dad laughed again as he headed for the bathroom door.

The receptionist called my name.

"He's a good boy," Dad said once more.

I got a lesson.

God Bless Mom, Dad and the good boy.

God Bless 'em.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Scientology

So, Leah Remini is spilling the beans on Tom Cruise's religion.

Do we still just call him Tom Cruise or is it lord or master or something?

Raise your hand if you think the scientology stuff is a tad weird.

L. Ron Hubbard is the god, right?

But Tom Cruise is like the son of god or something.

Doesn't it have to do with spaceships and aliens?

Ah hell, I don't know.

I guess I'm spouting off again about something I have no idea what the hell is up, but isn't that pretty much what we all do?

Well, Kevin James' wife from King of Queens is pissed.

First off, she was really funny in that show. I especially liked when she attacked him for his weight problems. I'm thinking she called him Fatty McButterpants in one episode and trashing someone for a physical problem is always hilarious.

Like Katie Holmes' braces.

You see, Katie Holmes became entangled in the whole mess when one of the networks said that she'd be dropping by to make fun of lord Tom.

I always thought she was a cute girl who got caught up in a mess and I always sorted rooted for her...until she got her braces and wore them while working on Ray Donovan.

What the hell?

She's like 40 years old.

Couldn't Tom have gotten braces for her when she was an adolescent?

Isn't that when he picked her as mother Mary?

Ah hell, I'm confused.

But Leah is in some real trouble if what they're saying about her leaving the fold is true.

Evidently one of the higher up women disappeared...or so I'm told...never to be heard from again. The woman was kidnapped or some such crap, but that is all alleged to be true.

I'm sure it'll come out in the new testament of the book when Tom gets around to writing it.

But...I shouldn't poke fun.

All religions have some strange elements to them, don't they?

Some may even wonder about the creation story and Adam and Eve and all that.

Yet it seems to me that Leah has a tough road to navigate as she tries to expose everything.

Calling Kevin James names on a television show is one thing...

...messing with the god of all is quite another.

I'm hoping lord Tom takes it easy on her.

Monday, November 2, 2015

I Smiled


My tremendous sister-in-law Lynn sent me a few photos of Sam and Johnny playing a one-on-one down in North Carolina.

As soon as I saw the photos my mind did that grief-memory thing and I flashed back to my childhood.

It was usually John and Jeff against me and Jim.

The match-up was rough because Jeff was the best player out of the four of us and John played defense by punching you in the solar plexus early so that you'd wonder if he was going to do it every other time that you went up for a shot.

I'm not kidding.

He'd hit you in the stomach, taking your wind from you, and as you rolled around on the court like Nancy Kerrigan yelling "Why? Why? Why?" He'd stand over you and say, "You'll think about it next time."

And despite the fact that he wouldn't do it again for the rest of the game, you'd spend all afternoon hurrying your shots before the little maniac got near you.

But both Jim and I could shoot from outside.

So the games were usually intense battles and we won our fair share.

When all four of us weren't around there was always the one-on-one game just like the one Sam and Johnny were engaged in:


We'd call our own fouls.

We'd battle for hours.

Early on I had a real advantage on Jeff who was much younger, but it didn't last long. I recall the very first time that he beat me straight up.

We were out in California in 1987. I was 23 years old. Jeff was 17.

He was taller than me already and despite the fact that he was rail thin, he was strong, and his elbows were like weapons. He'd drive on me and use his elbows to get inside and score.

When he won...21-18...he was thrilled and he was talking plenty.

I was complaining that the ball wasn't properly inflated, or that I had a sore back, or some other such nonsense...

...but I knew.

I would never beat him again.

And I didn't.

Once he got over the hump, he never looked back.


I smiled when I saw the photos.

My boy and his boy battling it out.

Sam says that he won.

I'm sure that when I ask Johnny he'll spin a different yarn.

But winning and losing isn't the important part.

It never was.

Even when I was taking a shot to the center of my chest;

Even when I was rolling on the court in pain;

Even when I lost a game;

I knew.

It was all about the love.

Those games run around my mind in an endless loop of happiness.

Of course I smiled.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cherry Peppers & Anchovies

I was wandering through the produce section looking for jalapenos when I stumbled upon a bin of perfect little red, round cherry peppers.

I instantly thought:

Anchovies!

I headed over to the canned good area and found two little containers of the rolled anchovies.

Perfect!

It wasn't until I returned home and started coring the pepper to place the anchovy inside did it hit me:

Dad!

Death sucks because of the wave of sadness that grips you at those moments. I instantly thought of the last Father's Day that Dad was here.

We had the kids in the car and we were ready to leave.

"Papa wants you to hang on!" Matt was saying from the backseat.

"What is he doing?" I asked.

"He didn't say. He just told me to tell you not to leave."

I glanced at Kathy. She just shrugged. Jake and Sam were calling for us to go.

But we waited.

Finally!

Dad headed to my open driver's side window.

He extended two cans of rolled anchovies to me.

"Happy Father's Day, Pal," He said. "I knew I saved them for you. We're the only two guys who really love these."

"Why are you giving them to me?" I asked.

I was thinking that he should save them for himself. I was also thinking that I can find the anchovy aisle.

"It's for Father's Day. You're a good Dad."

"You're a great Dad," I answered, accepting the present.


I stuffed the cherry peppers with the rolled anchovies all these years later and I considered Dad's gifts to me.

So many gifts!

It was only 9 in the morning when I stuffed every last pepper and placed them on a plate to eat later.

There was no danger of slipping the entire plate into the 'fridge. I don't have a child who would eat anchovies.

But before covering the plate, I took a single stuffed pepper.

"Thanks, Dad," I said to the empty kitchen.

Damn!

It was great.

Fun While It Lasted

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