Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Day of 2016!

Social media is filled with people saying 'Adios!'...

...to what has been a trying year.

Why do we all collectively agree that 2016 has kind of sucked?

I have a few theories.

1). The Election

The entire thing was exhausting, divisive, aggravating, and irritating. We all hated it. Even the people who got the result that they think they wanted. There were daily fights on Twitter, Facebook, the daily shows, the nightly shows.

I don't think the calendar flipping to 2017 is going to solve the problems that were started because of this, but hopefully we will try.

2). Celebrity Deaths

Bowie, Prince, Michael, Ali, Thicke, Henderson, Fisher, Reynolds...

...I can't even think of all of them!

One after another!!

People we actually grew up watching, listening to...

...celebrities are weird creatures. We all think we know them a little, right? I was shaken by a couple of the deaths, and I don't know why. I still shake my head every time I see Gandolfini on screen.

It just brings people down!

3). Divided!

Black versus white.

Pro-gun versus Anti-Gun

Libtard versus Alt-Right

All of these things have been brewing long before the candidates took sides and brought them all to light.

I am of the mindset that people are a lot closer to agreeing on the issues we face...

...but there is a label for everyone.

I never once believed that I was liberal, conservative, moderate or something else.

Didn't care.

Still don't!

When I think about something I don't consider how it falls into the definition of which party it lines up with.

Yet it appears that others believe I am a libtard.

Whatever.

2016 brought it all to the forefront.

It needs to be solved.

I believe it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Personally?

I didn't release a book because I got lost in writing a second one before I completely finished up the other one.

Unusual, but it's okay.

I was really productive.

They'll come out eventually!

The family is good. Work was productive. Had some laughs.

So, was 2016 all that bad?

Resolutions??

More organized...as always.

Read more. Write more.

Laugh more.

Take a day off now and again!

Less social media.

No political fights.

Stay hungry.

Stay alive!

Happy New Year to All!!!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Wrecks Needs A Job

My buddy Jeffy is happy!

The Bills fired their coach.

Rex Ryan is gone from our lives.

He came in beating on his chest, talking about the D being good, but not good enough.

He'd take it from Number 4 in the league to Number 1.

It was time to build a bully!

Playoffs?

"Get ready! We're going."

Back when we were kids if you shot off your mouth and did well someone would say:

"It's not bragging if you can back it up."

Well, it is bragging if you don't.

Rex got fired.

His bigger brother got fired with him.

Evidently he left town with nothing more to say.

But, don't worry about him. He got three years paid.

He'll show off shooting his mouth off again in a town near you.

You know, I don't even feel a little sorry for him, of course.

I thought he arrived just pedaling hope. I didn't think much of him before he coached his first game for Buffalo.

When he punted on 4th and 2 in a must-win game it was a fitting end...

...he spoke of being a bully....

...he went out like an absolute wimp.

After the game he spoke of his "record" as a defensive genius.

He had just finished a game where a runnning back, for the 3rd time, ran for more than 200 yards on his genius-level D.

And he's still bragging?

Bye-Rex.

Buffalo hardly knew you.

You happy, Jeffy?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Just the Moment In Front of You

I certainly could've and probably should've taken a couple of days off during the Christmas rush.

But I didn't.

"You know me," I said to my beautiful wife. "The troubles start when I think I haven't done enough."

So, I shortened a few days to regular days, but I also cleaned a couple of rooms that needed it...

...and 2016 continued to remind me why I don't like to waste moments.

Carrie Fisher was only 60.

These celebrity deaths seem to remind us:

The Big D comes for all of us.

Prince, Ali, Bowie, Michael, Henderson, Thicke...

...and many more..

Met the Big D this year.

All pretty young too.

All icons in the 80's.

And it pains us to be reminded that all we are actually promised is the moment we're in.

I do a pretty good job of reaching out to old friends.

I make absolutely certain that if my family needs me I try and listen...

...and I'm really a little too intense about making the day count, in one way or another.

Try and make someone smile....

...do something that leaves a mark.

Write a perfect sentence, read a good book.

Something.

Last year my resolution was to use my days off.

I didn't actually do that...

...but I didn't mail many days in either!

We all have an expiration date attached...

...losing all the 80's icons brought it home again.

Damn!

Even the princess!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!

George Michael was only fifty-three.

Heart failure?

Once more, a pop star from my years of waiting for new music. His group WHAM! Was all over the radio and video when I was listening to those things.

None of us actually claimed to like George Michael.

We all thought he was a little weird and the music certainly wasn't rock and roll!

If you even got caught listening to it...

...well, there'd be hell to pay.

But we all somehow heard it a bunch of times anyway, didn't we?

I'm not sure about the WHAM! songs, but he certainly wrote a bunch of good music in the years following his break with the boy band.

He could sing, dance and the girls liked him.

Michael ran into some problems later on. He fell asleep behind the wheel a couple of times.

He came out as gay after he was busted doing something in a Hollywood bathroom.

Then he said something that made a lot of people think a little:

'This is who I am. Take it or leave it.'

Was the essential message.

I kind of admired that, for sure.

When we were kids some of the stars appeared gay to us.

Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Rock Hudson, Liberace...

...for God's sake...

...they denied it.

Even married or had themselves photographed with women...

...so the public didn't shun them.

And perhaps there are still people out there who won't listen to music or watch movies or attend sporting events...

...if they know the participants are gay.

'Take it or leave it.'

Michael stood up and said:

"I don't care if you don't like it."

Good for him.

Live your life.

No one should tell you how to live your days based on their wants, needs or desires.

I mean who cares?

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!...

...still made you tap your feet.

Don't lie about it!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Will There Be Silence?

So, this was the deal.

Sam & Jake got season tickets with the one condition being that should they not qualify for the playoffs this year...

...there would be no talking about how good they will be next year.

Oddly enough we watched the Miami game together.

Sam had enough of freezing his ass off at the stadium and gave up his ticket to Jake's buddy. Jake and his buddy went to the game, but called me to get them before it was over.

"Too damn cold."

There we sat.

The Bills actually looked like they were gonna' lose, then it looked like they'd pull it out.

Win. Lose. Win. Lose.

It was a roller coaster of emotions for the boys.

Me?

"They're gonna' lose," I said.

It's sort of played out the same way for 17 full years now.

I'm the Debbie Downer of the Bills season.

They lost.

Eliminated.

Again.

I decided to try out my winnings.

"How of you think they stack up next year?" I asked Sam.

"I respect your question," He said. "But I will not be commenting on that."

We even had a houseful of people here discussing the Bills over Christmas. Every time the talk turned to next year both Jake and Sam said the same thing:

"We have no comment at this time."

Matt?

"16 and 0 bitches!" He called out.

I didn't actually buy him a ticket...

...didn't think it through.

One more dopey bastard that needs to be silenced.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Post-Christmas Scene

I swear that if it weren't for the garbage truck heading down the road I might've slept until 8:00 for the first time in 30 years.

GARBAGE TRUCK!!!

I jumped into a pair of sweatpants and put on my coat. If the tote didn't make it to the road we'd be buried in garbage for a week!

But the boys surprised me!!

One of them (probably Sam) had delivered street-side.

I surveyed the wreckage back in the house...

...some stray bottles and cans...

...a few tables out of place.

Not bad!

'Course me and my beautiful wife had cleaned a lot of it after the last guest left.

I thought about the kids who had been running around.

One kid copped a screwdriver from somewhere (I don't even know where we keep the screwdrivers).

I gave a couple of them dollar bills and (with all their gifts their parents had purchased) they were thrilled with them.

(I kept finding the crumpled ones on the floor...and had to give it back to them a few times).

The food was well-received.

I stood at the end of the line and looked at their filled plates...pasta was nearly gone...turkey was demolished...and they ate all but a spoonful of the nearly 20 pounds of mashed potatoes I peeled and mashed.

(Pigs).

It goes by so quickly...

...not just the day...

...but the years.

There was beer-pong going on as the party dwindled down.

I wasn't the guy playing...

...I was the guy saying:

"Those idiots better not ruin anything!"

Another Christmas celebration in the books.

One of my greatest friends in the world texted my own words back to me on Christmas morning.

(Well, Bruce's words).

"Merry Christmas! 'You Just Thank the Lord'."

I may rest a little today...

...hope you all get the chance too.

The day after can be rough!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas To All!!!

The expectations of the day are almost too much.

Yet there is a moment when it all clicks, you know.

"Merry Christmas!"

"Happy New Year!!"

"Happy Holidays!!!"

People actually mean it.

And then we get ready for the couple of days where we spread a little bit of cheer, hopefully, within our own families.

Yet Christmas seems to change through the years, doesn't it?

We all recall the excitement of being children and waiting on Santa.

Then there are the teen years where we feel a little guilty...about the presents we receive.

Then we are Santa!

Then we stop caring about presents at all and think of food and drink and a few days off!

I was a little down on Friday...

...out of nowhere, actually, but certainly because it was Dad's birthday.

The "down" moment was just a moment though.

I wouldn't let it take hold.

Because I started thinking about the true meaning of Christmas and I got a little assist from my lifelong buddy, Bruce.

Land of Hope & Dreams came on Sirius.

The Wrecking Ball version...

...with the heartbeat in the background all the way through the song.

And then the Bruce wail at the end:

"You Just Thank the Lord!"

Merry Christmas to All!


Friday, December 23, 2016

So Many Things

There are so many things that I miss about My Dad.

I think of them a little more on his birthday, but it happens most every other day as well.

How many times we laughed together. 

There's a Willie Nelson joke that I told him during his last year. We were standing in the backyard and he looked at me kinda' weird when I started telling the joke and when I nailed the punch line...his laugh was so genuine.

I see that in my head from time to time, and to this day, I feel sad whenever I tell that joke.

(Ask me to tell you the joke in private - was a little racy).

I consider all of his lessons:

Work hard, success will come.

Don't compete with anyone but yourself.

Most people are out for themselves.

So many lessons...all playing over and over in my head.

The Cooking!

Every single time I cut an onion for the sauce I hear him saying: "Cut it small!"

Whenever I put the garlic in the pain: "Don't burn the garlic!"

I recall the day when he finally told me the recipe for pasta and peas.

He still was a way better cook than me...even though I really try!

The December Car Ride:

We worked together in Connecticut - on his birthday we started the drive home and my car was breaking down.

Snow, cold, the heater didn't work.

"I'm thinking it's the solenoid," He said.

"Exactly what I was thinking!" I exclaimed.

He laughed hard again.

Dad sacrificed a lot for all of us.

Everything actually!

But his love was right there on his sleeve for all of us to see, embrace and take into our own hearts.

I hate the fact that he's not here with us.

But he really is.

I share stories with my boys.

Constantly.

I live my life in service to my family...

...because that's what he taught me to do.

Every day of his life.

What a Dad.

How fortunate we were.










Thursday, December 22, 2016

I Actually Miss Christmas Shopping

It's a little hard to get into the spirit of things when you actually have nothing at all to do with the season!

It used to be that I would buy some presents for my parents, my siblings and, of course, my beautiful wife.

Early on in the marriage, Kathy took care of all the other gifts and I was just on the hook for finding something for Mom and Dad, maybe and her.

Then Mom and Dad fell out of my grasp as Kathy always knew what she wanted to get them.

Then I tried buying her clothes one year...

...and I was prohibited from buying her clothes.

So, I would get her one gift.

Then she decided that she didn't need anything that she couldn't buy for herself.

Last year, Sam laughed as I stood with a box on my lap on Christmas morning and handed her a few lottery tickets, and then started tossing twenty dollar bills.

What do you buy someone who wears scrubs to work and sweatpants after that?

Jewelry?

Tickets to the ballet?

"I don't want anything," Kathy announced early on this year. "We're going to Vegas in January. We'll go to dinner and I'll grab a massage there."

So.

Here I sit.

Maybe I'll grab a bag of bones for the dogs and we can celebrate.

But that's the way it goes.

There isn't anything I really need for Christmas either.

Maybe some pork for the sauce that I'm making for Christmas Day.

What else is there?



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Nationally Renowned

In a few weeks I get, as my buddy Pops calls it, an ego boost.

I'm heading off to Vegas to do my annual safety stand-up act in front of a bunch of insurance and construction people.

It is an ego boost because I do try for a healthy amount of laughs, and I have gathered plenty of material to get those hearty chuckles, and I do love doing it...

...but ego might not be my thing, totally.

I saw an ad that was sent out to hype the event.

It spoke of laughter and learning, but there was a bad photo of me...

...and a title that said:

"Nationally Renowned Safety Expert."

Uncomfortable!!

To be fair, I've never considered myself to be anything other than a construction guy.

Most of the success I've had in the field has to do with getting up, day after day after day,  and going to the places where they're working...

...and trying to help...

...with a little laughter mixed in...

...and a lot of documentation.

It's funny, but last week I got trapped in a snowstorm, I drove hundreds of miles and saw a bunch of sites.

My back felt like plywood on Thursday night as I got into the hotel bed. My legs were electrified. I texted my Friday customer.

"Don't look for me early! I'm exhausted!!"

On Friday, early in the morning I stood next to an iron worker foreman as he swung steel in the bitter cold.

I felt good being out there. I've known the foreman for 20 plus years.

His steel erection zone was set up absolutely perfectly...

...a guy doing his job right.

We talked about how old we're getting to be out there...he was banged up and limping.

"I can't imagine ever sitting in an office," he said.

And then, because he was in the crowd last year during my speech he asked me:

"You're going back to Vegas, right?"

"Yeah. Just booked it."

"That's good," he said. "You make a great speech."

That's better than being 'Nationally Renowned', right?

We wished each other a 'Merry Christmas' and then limped off in opposite directions.

Life is about showing up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Tree Is Up!!!

It's not decorated, mind you, but it is standing up much straighter than it has in the last 10 or 15 years.

Sam actually dug the tree out of its place behind the stairs. He dragged it up the stairs in the two pieces, and made the first attempt to stand it up.

It didn't look good.

"How old is that damn tree?" Jake asked.

"I bought it the first year we lived here," I said.

"So it should have been retired 12 years ago."

"Why? It looks good," I said. "We just have to put a Yankees ornament on it."

But there's more!

Kathy actually took about an hour to get the tree standing upright and she flushed it all out.

"How's that?" She asked.

"Lovely," I said.

And it actually does look good!

I thought about the years gone past when we would head off into the woods to grab a tree.

Well, I didn't actually go...

Dad would take either John or Jim...

...and they'd come back with one.

Every year the tree looked better than the last...

"You think we need a real one?" I asked.

"Don't care," Jake said. "Just put some presents under it."

It's not that I don't enjoy Christmas...I do...

...but I never once hung a light, or went all gaga over the tree.

Facebook is a treasure trove of all the trees.

Some folks really go all out.

We're good here!

Our tree has character!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Unpresidented

I've always been a good speller.

That's not a boast, but I know some people, some very "smart" people who really struggle with it.

The secret, of course, is a lot of reading. Normally, when you're reading, you'll see a lot of properly spelled words in a row and your brain will pick up on it.

I enjoy reading. It's one of the great loves of my life. It always has been...

...so spelling words correctly went hand-in-hand.

I often tell the story of being in first grade and the nun was telling a story about the language being weird as she explained that words aren't always spelled as they sound. She chose one such word and asked me how to spell it:

"C-O-L-O-N-E-L", I said.

She almost fell out of her chair and the class laughed.

"How do you know that?" She asked.

I didn't tell her that the Kentucky Colonels were an ABA team that had Artis Gilmore at center. I just shrugged.

She told my Mom that I was a genius.

But you don't have to be a genius to write words down properly. You just have to be careful. If you're going to be president and you want to appear bright by using a big word like 'unprecedented' maybe you should look it up so that you don't jot down 'unpresidented' (which isn't a word) and become the laughingstock of the free world...

...especially after claiming that you "know all the best words."

"He was auto-corrected!" His fans were screaming in his defense.

Auto-CORRECT doesn't work that way.

It actually takes words that you misspell and makes them right. When you make up a word that makes no sense at all, it leaves it there if you actually insist on it by typing it 3 or 4 times.

In my mind I actually put a person (that nun maybe) in the auto-correct chair, shaking her head and thinking, "Donald, Donald, Donald...that's stupid!"

Ah well.

Four years of ridiculing the chief.

Wish I could say that it's...

...unpresidented.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Jeopardy Life

There's so much negativity.

I stumbled across a positive story.

This week a woman, Cindy Stowell, appeared on Jeopardy.

In fact, she just kept winning and winning.

And she didn't get to see the results as she died between the time the shows were taped and were aired.

She didn't care.

It was her plan all along.

Seems that she loved the show, knew she was dying, and wanted to win so that she could donate some money to the research to prevent the disease that killed her:

Cancer.

How could anyone root against a contestant like that?

You'd hope she won a billion, right?

I don't watch the show much.

My brain isn't fast enough to comprehend the question and then put the answer back in the form of a question.

I know some of the answers, mind you, but I just shout them out.

And Alex is a bit smug when someone gets it wrong:

"No! Sodium Chloride is what we were looking for there."

I'm too busy thinking:

"F&$@ Off, Alex," to think about the next question.

But Congrats to this fine woman and the memory that she created for her family and for the money she raised.

She was dealt a bad hand.

She turned it into a full house.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Treason???

Wow.

This is really unsettling, isn't it?

Trump is about a month away from the inauguration and it has turned into a colossal mess, hasn't it?

Here's how he should be handling it.

"The news about Russia possibly interfering in our election is upsetting and needs to be thoroughly investigated as it is a threat to our democracy."

He should also possibly explain that:

"I was not involved in any such tampering and I did not know anything about it."

That would be too easy, right?

We all know that I'm not a fan of Donald as the president.

Yet if that's where he is to sit for four years...

...he has to preserve the integrity.

Trump fights everyone on everything. He won't ever back down, right?

Last week he attacked a food critic who gave a bad review of a Trump restaurant. His attack was like many of his other attacks:

Petty, simplistic, nasty...

...and unbecoming of the seat he's about to sit in.

He's in dangerous territory with the Russian thing though.

What his fighting back leads people, who like him or don't like him, to believe is that:

1). He knew about the tampering.

Or

2). He doesn't believe in the intel.

Or

3). He likes Russia better.

Or

4). He has to protect his money interests.

All four choices are treasonous.

So, he has to get out in front of this.

Someone has to tell him that, and for the first time in about 18 months he has to articulate that he was wrong to take such a stand.

If he doesn't...

...he won't be president.

I believe it's that simple.

Of course, none of this has been simple...

...has it?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Sager...Thicke...White-Outs...Lying Santas

I knew it would be a challenging week.

I was severely overbooked and everything would have to break right for it to be bearable.

Nope!!!

I was on Route 81...a horrible road in the winter...when I saw the dreaded sign:

ACCIDENT AHEAD: PROCEED WITH CAUTION!

Since we were going 8 MPH at the time, and since I couldn't see a damn thing...reckless behavior was out of the question.

I traveled 20 miles in about 2 hours.

During that ride I got a news flash about Craig Sager losing his battle with cancer.

I listened as Gilbert Gottfried (one of my favorite comedians ever) speak of the loss of his friend Alan Thicke.

I also listened to the news about the Santa, who may have lied about a child dying in his arms.

A lying Santa???

Jake texted me about Sager.

"Boy 2016 is ass!" He wrote.

It has been one of the strangest years ever.

A lot of celebrity deaths.

Crazy weather.

A horrific election battle.

"Ass".

"You got that right," I texted back.

Drive safe...stay warm...

...At least Gilbert made me laugh.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

D.B. of the Week - Pastor David Grisham

I have to bring back the DB of the week just for Christmas-time.

Did you hear about Pastor David Grisham who visited a mall in Texas so that he could save the misguided children?

D.B. Grisham had a bull horn and he announced to the children in line that Santa Claus is a fraud perpetrated by their parents.

He kept saying this over and over because he wanted to make sure that the kids...some as young as 3-years old...understood that Christmas is about Jesus...and not some man in a red suit and beard.

I wasn't there with my children, of course, but man this "frosts my ass" (as my college buddy, Fluff, used to say).

Not very-Christian of you, Pastor Dumb-Ass.

As you might expect the religious big mouth wasn't very popular with the parents of the children.

One Dad confronted him, but he kept right on going, yelling that Jesus deserves the love and attention that these heathen children bestow on the fictional present-giver.

Doesn't Pastor Dave sound like a real picnic?

I swear to God!

As I've aged I have really been completely turned off with the people who claim to be Holier Than Thou acting like true pieces o'crap.

How many people can you name who cherry pick aspects of their religion and use it to treat others like absolute dog poop?

I'm sure a bunch of faces popped into your mind.

What was that guy's end game?

To convert children to denounce Santa?

All he did was confuse excited children and anger a whole bunch of parents.

Oh...he got a little attention too.

When confronted he went off on his little rant about the world becoming a bad place because people aren't Jesus-like.

Idiotic!!

He probably should look it up, besides, Santa - Saint Nicolas - was a real dude.

He passed out presents...

...to make people feel a little better about themselves.

He didn't stand like a coward...in a line where excited kids waited for a moment with Santa...

...so he could crush their spirit.

Damn!

Just when I'm working to garner up a little of holiday spirit I have to read about this dude.

I hope Santa poops in his stocking.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

I'm Like A Smart Person

I hate meetings.

I remember working for my Dad years ago and he was running a meeting. He said that his first order of business was to schedule a meeting to figure out why we had to have so many f&$@ing meetings.

Everyone laughed.

I was once invited to a mandatory sales meeting. My boss knew I hated meetings but he made me go. At the end of the meeting he said:

"We're gonna' go around the table and I want a suggestion from everyone."

When he got to me I said:

"We should have food at this meeting."

Last meeting I was invited to.

So, I get Bigly saying that he doesn't want to go to the Intel meetings every day, but...

...doesn't he, like, not know much about the world?

He said that he didn't need the meetings because:

"He's like a smart person."

Like?

A smart person?

Perhaps the intelligence meetings are not truly needed.

Who are we to question the guy who's going to lead the free world?

I recall saying that I'd like to think that the president can beat me in a game of scrabble.

I don't know if that is absolutely necessary in today's world.

Hell, Kanye Kardashian is running next!

Let's just change the rules...

...if you're LIKE a smart person you can bow out of any and all meetings.

Actual smart people want information...

...but LIKE a smart person knows everything already, right?

I get it though.

When you know more than the generals...

...why listen to the generals?

They aren't LIKE smart people.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

17 Years & Counting

It's over.

Such high hopes when Rex rode into town. The team wouldn't be bullied anymore.

He guaranteed the playoffs!!

The Bills missed the playoffs in year one, but never fear!

Rex has a twin brother...

...who looks a little like an elderly, weight-challenged grandma.

They rode a tandem bike for a commercial.

The 2016 Bills were certainly going to make the playoffs and end the drought!!

Well.

The Ryan boys didn't pull it off.

Now it looks as if everyone will be fired...

...including the QB of the future, Tyrod.

He has $30 million attached.

He better not write any new checks.

And you know who suffers?

My poor boys!

Matt barely recalls the Bills last playoff game back in 1999.

Jake was 2.

Sam wasn't here yet.

"We aren't done yet," Sam said when he returned from the game. "9-7 will get us in if everyone else loses three straight."

"You don't give up easy, huh?" Jake asked.

And on Monday, all around Buffalo, the subject was off-limits.

Everyone has been through

 it...

...year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year after year.

And the future looks bleak!

New GM?

New Coach?

New QB?

The coming regime will request patience.

Whoever is hired will be cheered!

The new quarterback will whip Brady's ass!!

75,000 season tickets will be sold.

And that will be that.

Just BILLieve!!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Can't Find the Snow Brush

The dream is over...

...the dream that maybe this year the cold weather wouldn't arrive.

I'm looking forward to the people who now post:

"See! There's no global warming!!"

But...

...I wish there was sometimes.

It's much worse these days.

I absolutely dread the cold.

The extra clothes, the brushing off the car, the waiting for the windows to defrost, poor Melky shivering as she goes for her daily ride.

Hate, hate, hate.

On Sunday morning, after breakfast out for a change, we stopped at a convenient store. It was about 10 a.m. and I was wearing the heavy coat.

"Going to the game?" The clerk asked me.

Bills versus Steelers just around the block.

"Are you kidding me?" I asked. "Sit outside in this?"

You couldn't pay me enough money.

But the idea of lasagna struck me as I headed back to the car.

A blanket on the couch. The game on television. Lasagna. Dogs. Nap.

A little while later I watched as the boys got ready for the game.

"Let's Go!" Sam was cheering.

"You think you'll still be going to Bills games, in the snow, about 35 years from now?" I asked him.

"Of course!" He yelled.

Somehow I doubt it.

The cold has a way of breaking you down.

Not to mention the long playoff drought.

I found the snow brush, by the way.

Yipeeeeee!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

I Blame Ivan Drago

When we were kids the enemy that distracted us the most was the Russians.

We hardly even considered radical Islamist terrorists.

It was billed as Russia versus the United States.

Those fall-out shelters built into our schools?

Those were for the nuclear devastation that would be brought down upon us by our horrible relationship with the Russians.

We were taught to hate them, of course, and the Russian government was a scary threat to our democracy.

We actually beat the Soviet Union in hockey in 1980 and we all rejoiced.

It was more than a hockey game!

We beat the freaking Russians!

And then we met Ivan Drago.

I was actually physically ill when Drago mentioned to Balboa:

"I must break you!"

He had just killed Apollo Creed!

Damn Russians!

But Balboa stunned the world!

His epic speech from the center of the ring told us that we can all get along!

And there was an uneasy peace.

(I still believe it was that speech that brought about stability).

The cold war ended...the region was stabilized...Russia drifted into the background of our fears as we became preoccupied with the damn towel heads!

Yet this is not a history lesson!

Now, Russia was said to have a hand in electing the presidential candidate that they liked better, for their own interests.

(Not because Putin thinks Bigly is brilliant).

Bigly even told the world that he liked the Russian president better than the current United States president.

You know what is weird to me?

Back when I was a kid we were all united when we felt threatened.

We all hated Russia...

...because they threatened us...all of us...conservatives and liberals alike.

We didn't care for the other side of the political aisle back then either...

...but we certainly could all agree on one thing:

Ivan Drago sucked!

So did his big bitch wife!

Now, I'm not so sure.

Some of us are siding with Russia!

Can you believe that???

Now the conservative-liberal fight is so fierce that some people think:

"Eh, Russia probably did have something to do with influencing the election, but my side won, it's okay."

It's not okay!!!!

Doesn't it turn your stomach to think that there might have been an influence?

Doesn't it?

Or were you actually rooting for Balboa to get the shit kicked out of him?

Not me!

Eye of the Tiger, bitches!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Fake News

I was thoroughly annoyed the other night...

...I'm not even sure where I saw it, but a REAL reporter was interviewing a man who claimed to be good at writing FAKE news stories.

The man was bragging about how much money he received to write stories that had half-truths, and outright LIES in them about Clinton during the presidential election.

The man - I didn't even get his stupid name - claimed to have wanted Clinton to win the election, but he was paid handsomely...

...so he wrote FAKE stories, posted them on-line and watched as the world freaked out.

"What a scumbag!" I said to the empty hotel room.

The guy had a smug smile on his LYING face.

His reasoning was that it wasn't up to him to interpret the stories.

He just enjoyed writing the FAKE GARBAGE.

Social media is a MESS.

Go through your timeline on Facebook and Twitter.

There are sensational headlines...

...nasty photos...

...horrified reactions.

And the whole freaking thing might be completely MADE-UP!

All of this is at the forefront, of course, because of the crazed gunman who burst into a pizza joint in Washington, D.C. because he believed that Clinton was operating a child sex ring out of the basement of the place.

Someone wrote that story!

Thousands upon thousands of people believed it!

So, this man got into his car in North Carolina and drove to D.C. and with his legally purchased high-powered firearm he came in firing.

Clinton and her people weren't there!

No child sex ring!

Imagine that.

Yet, what are we going to do about FAKE news.

Not everyone is as crazed as this dude, right?

Isolated incident, right?

WRONG!

People are being DUPED!

Maybe not to the extent of this man, but at least a little...

...by some of it.

Of course, this isn't a one-sided affair.

There are plenty of stories about President Elect P*&%y-Groper...

And his stories are even harder to decipher because the reality is such a MESS, but here's the thing...

...I am a guy who loves to read anything and everything.

I find this to be repulsive and annoying.

I also believe that it is DANGEROUS...

...because our world is now undeniably EXPLOSIVE.

(This is a real story).

Friday, December 9, 2016

To the Moon!

John Glenn had a good run.

95 years and off into orbit.

I was only 4 years old when we finally landed on the moon.

You know what's amazing?

I remember it!

Well, to be fair, I don't remember much, and I should've been more interested in space travel, but I just wasn't.

I never got into it...seemed crazy to me.

Yet I do remember the moon landing in a bit of an image that flashes across my mind.

We were getting yelled at:

"Watch this!" Mom cried out. "They're making history!"

"You can't see anything!" I said. "It's all blurry."

And that is exactly what I remember about it, but I know it's real. I know that the television was set up in the room just off the kitchen in the big house on the hill.

I remember being placed right in front of the television.

Blah!

Yet I've listened to John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin talk about their travels.

They had remarkable lives.

Amazing, actually.

I know for sure I wouldn't have the guts to do anything remotely like that. I don't even like the one hour flights!

Did they have extra space seats?

Oh!

One other thing I remember about 1969...

...TANG!

"The astronauts drink this," Mom said.

It was all right.

RIP John Glenn...

...have a safe trip!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A Lot to Lose

I was on a cramped little plane heading to the Midwest and we were just about halfway through the trip when I started to feel antsy.

Maybe it's the fact that we are all always in touch, but not being connected I started feeling weird.

Just wondering what was going on back home.

And not being able to check in.

I thought back to the years when I was a putrid bachelor...thinking about someday having something that I was deathly afraid to lose.

I'd also suffered loss too...and the fear that hangs over your head...every day since...is enough to drive you crazy if you let it.

And it occurred to me that living your life is about accumulating a whole bunch of love that you are AFRAID to lose.

Life isn't about avoiding loss.

It's about living through it.

The plane touched the ground and I grabbed my phone.

It was freezing cold.

It had slipped below the seat and was against the freezing wall. You know what happens when your phone is cold?

The battery dies.

I turned it on and the charge went from 27% to 4% as I texted my beautiful wife.

I just wanted to shake the antsy feeling.

"Landed," I wrote.

"Cool," she answered.

"How's everything?"

(I couldn't shake it).

"Call me when you get to the hotel."

(That wasn't a POSITIVE response).

"Everything all right?"

(I was afraid to get the answer...but I had to wait...my phone died...and the red plug flashed on the screen).

I held the phone to my arm...to try and get it heated up.

I waited. Waited! Waited!! Waited!!!

Tried to turn it on again.

There was a text:

"We're fine."

I breathed a sigh of relief.

Sometimes you just get scared...

...life does that.

But it has to be lived.

And the more you gather to be afraid to lose...

...the more rich your life really is.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

I Love Stuff Like This


Back in 1980 Bruce was doing a publicity shoot for The River record. He was a star by then, but not a mega-star yet. He was just strolling with his photographer, finding spots, and taking shots.

In this one, a young girl strolled into the line of fire, on her bike. They didn't chase the girl away. In fact, they liked it, and used it for the promotion of the album. 

As the years went by, a lot of Bruce fans began speculating about who the girl was at the phone booth. 

No one knew.


Eventually they tracked her down and last week she met up with the Boss at one of his book events.

They both look a tad older.

That's what 37 years will do!

Yet I kept flipping between the two photos.

She was just a young girl!

Now a more than middle-aged woman!

I'm sure that the time went by like a blink for both.

Of course, Bruce was more than gracious. He always seems to be. The woman said that she had no idea that anything was going on when she pulled her bike up to the phone booth. She wasn't even sure who Bruce was at the time.

A couple of years back I met a friend at a coffee shop.

He was flipping back and forth between two photos on his phone.

He showed the first photo to me and it was of a bright, beautiful young woman.

He prompted me to swipe to the next photo.

I did and was greeted by a husky, middle-aged woman in glasses.

"Those are both photos of my wife!" He said. "30 years apart! That's the same woman!!!"

I laughed.

"Did you ever perform that little trick in front of her?" I asked.

"No," he said. "Because I look worse than she does now."

Bruce and Annmarie still both look good.

Life is a funny old thing, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Birthday Corinne!!

My sister loves taking her nephews out to lunch.

They love going because they're always laughing.

Years and years of laughing together.

That's what's awesome about family and I know that my boys are going to take a little time today to say;

Happy Birthday to Corinne!!

I always tell a story about the days gone past on the birthday of my siblings and with Christmas just around the corner I was thinking about the year when Corinne woke me up about an hour before we were supposed to be up.

We headed down to the basement where Santa had set all the toys up for us.

I knew it was wrong to play with any of the toys yet.

Corinne knew it too, but we were less than 10 years old.

We played, figuring we could get the jump before anyone else woke up.

We got busted.

We had to sit and wait for a few minutes.

It was Christmas though and we weren't punished for too long, but I remember thinking:

"Damn! Why did I listen to her?"

Since that time I've listened to a whole lot of stuff that Corinne has said.

She's mostly pulled me in the right direction.

And my kids love her.

And my wife loves her.

And so do I!

Happy Birthday.

Bruce released his audio book on your birthday, just to mess with you!

I'll pick it up for you if you want!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Stop Tweeting!!!

I have some advice for the dude who got the 2nd most votes in the recent election.

Stop tweeting!!

Alec Baldwin is playing the president-elect on SNL. It happens every week.

The portrayal isn't flattering.

Baldwin (who is a loud liberal in real life) is playing up the fact that the guy who's going to be president for the next 8 months or so has a short attention span.

I saw the opening...it was SNL...the same show that showed Clinton and Lewinsky in all their glory, and even as far back as Gerald Ford (with Chevy Chase poking fun)...SNL does what they do.

So, how does Bigly respond to the fact that he's petty and short of span of attention?

He tweets that he's watching the unwatchable show...

...and that it's horrible!

"Sad."

Stop!!!

Pay attention to the details of the job...

...like not talking to Taiwan...

...when we have an alliance not to recognize them outside of China.

That's a minor detail...

...that has major ramifications.

And I'm not saying that you can't watch television.

You just don't have to comment on everything!

Write it and don't hit send!

Scream it at your golden dog!

Getting made fun of comes with the job.

Every leader back to Washington was made fun of.

I don't imagine that it's fun to be the guy getting hammered, but it's just a comedy show.

Laugh it off.

Turn it off.

Just stop tweeting about it.

'Cause it's just going to get worse.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Same Old Story

I limp into the end of the week these days. It's been that way for awhile.

On Saturday morning I woke up with a headache.

Did a little paperwork, wrote a little and spent some time easing into my favorite 2 hours of the week:

Nap!

I only slept about an hour and 15 minutes, but woke up with a clear head.

Then off to massage to see if I could get my legs working.

On the way home my mind was really clear and (go figure) Bruce was on my radio. During One Step Up I was struck by a line I'd heard a thousand times.

"Sitting in this bar tonight and all I'm thinking, is I'm the same old story, the same old act."

A simple line, really, but full of a wallop.

The guy is trapped in self-pity and has come to the simple realization that he's falling into the old traps that bring him down.

I've heard Bruce talk about it before and it's a fascinating subject because we all do it.

We carry the seeds of our own destruction with us and as we walk along the road in the journey of this life, we spill the seeds.

We even know we're doing it!

"I'm the same old story. The same old act."

You get the impression that he'd like to change the way it's going...

...but he can't.

Now I didn't have any reason, coming off a good week of work, a nap and a massage, to feel like the guy in the song...

It just struck me.

The lies we tell ourselves to make it all work in our minds.

Day in and day out we all find a place of comfort.

Bruce has a song called Leah...where he attacks it...

"With this hand I build and with this I burn."

East of Eden is also a book about it.

Good versus evil within our choices.

I spent the rest of the evening trapped in the single line of that song...breaking it down and thinking it through.

It led me into thinking about a whole new book...

I have one to edit and one to finish...and I was plotting a whole new story.

Off of a single line in a song I've heard over and over and over again for the last 30 years.

Strange.

I know.

But it's how I cope.

The same old story.

The same old act.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Tragic

Yesterday a story hit the news about a former NFL player Joe McKnight who, at the age of 28, was shot to death in a road rage incident in New Orleans.

What a horrible way to die.

The details are a little sketchy but some of the witnesses were saying that McKnight was actually apologizing when he was gunned down.

And this is a story that's going to explode, I fear.

McKnight was a black man. The man who shot him is white. The witnesses also said that he may have said:

"I told you not to mess with me."

Thankfully I've never been tempted to stop my car and confront another driver. Like anyone else, I've been aggravated behind the wheel, but it never actually dawned on me to get out and fight.

Especially in this day and age.

When everyone, supposedly, has a gun.

But here's the rub:

The guy was questioned and released.

Didn't even spend a night in jail.

They may eventually bring charges, but it's strange to me that you can fire 7 shots into another person and be home in time for dinner.

I heard it speculated that it might be another "stand your ground" case, but all are saying that McKnight was not armed.

What a shame.

What will make it worse is that people will soon be lining up behind the issue one way or another.

I thought about the fact that had McKnight not played ball...

...we would've never heard about it.

This kind of thing happens every day.

We have learned to live with it.

Sad.

Friday, December 2, 2016

What Not

Not sure what the hell is going on, but I've heard a lot of people using:

"What Not"

As an expression of speech.

Some of us use different words, from time-to-time as a way to express ourselves, but over the last week or so I've heard "What Not" being used a bunch of times.

My beautiful wife said it a couple of times as she relayed a work story.

"Why are you saying 'What Not'?" I asked.

"I don't know," she answered...and then she went back into the story.

It got me thinking...

...what does "what not" mean in the context of a sentence?

And then I heard to on the radio. I paid attention to what the woman was saying. She was a caller into a program.

"What are you up to?" the host asked.

"I've been watching television, reading a little and 'what not'," the woman said.

In that context it sort of means, etc...

Right?

But you know what is sad?

I don't miss hearing it anymore!

Do me a favor.

Stop saying "what not!"


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Burning the Flag

We have a Bigly debate going on already.

The dude who's gonna' be sitting in the big chair (I think) started the debate by ignoring the fact that the Supreme Court has twice ruled that burning the flag is protected by the constitution in the freedom of expression category.

The people screaming loudly beside the mouth would have no problem if the first amendment was somehow altered are the same dudes who shout "what do you not understand about not infringed" about the second amendment that other people find faulty.

And who said that this wouldn't be fun?

Listen, I have no intention of burning a flag. Like kneeling during the anthem I think it's a little about "look at me", but the number one treasure about being American is that we are free!

Free to express our discomfort in any way that we see fit.

Free to sing "America the Beautiful" from the purple mountain closest to us.

And free not to!

It really isn't all that complicated.

Is it?

I guess what needs to be said is that not everyone thinks like you.

Maybe that's what we all need to recite as a mantra before we say anything in response to every argument.

I KNOW not everyone thinks like me...I also KNOW that those who disagree have the right to be as WRONG as they want to be.

I would NEVER burn a flag.

I don't think much of people who express their aggravation in such a manner. I think it's short-sighted and again, attention-seeking...

...but...

I don't know how they've felt slighted by their country.

In North Korea all citizens are forced to stand, salute and march in step...even if their leaders are oppressing every ounce of individuality out of them.

Is that what we are aspiring to do here?

I hope not.

'Cause if we are, we're in more trouble than we can imagine.

It really is a pretty simple argument.

If you believe in the constitution.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Like A Hurricane

My nephew Johnny was up for a 9-day visit.

My boys need a long rest now!

The last day of the trip resulted in Johnny, shirtless with 6-5 painted on his chest, running up the aisle at the Bills game.

They saw a good game and the Bills got the W...

...so they were thrilled.

15 minutes after the game ended Johnny shoveled in a half a pound of rigatoni with a few meatballs.

During the course of the week they played hoops a lot, they stayed up late, told goofy stories, played video games and watched their favorite shows.

Thankfully, Johnny was also in town for my brother John's birthday, Mom's birthday and Thanksgiving. He also spent time with his cousins, his aunts and uncles.

He made them laugh too.

And he sat beside me on the couch one night, arced his eyebrows and just kept smiling at me until I yelled:

"What????"

"Just looking at your eyebrows," he said.

"Why are you trying to aggravate me?" I asked.

"Am I aggravating you?" He asked.

He smiled even wider.

"Get lost!"

There is so much about Johnny that breaks my heart...

...but every second that he's around...

...let's just say that he's a force of nature.

"He's something," Jake said. "All my friends really like him. He's funny."

We love when he visits, of course.

"You miss Johnny?" Kathy asked Sam just a few hours after he left town.

"Yeah," Sam said. "But I'm tired!"

I know the feeling well!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Are You Afraid Of?

They're trying to figure out if something was wrong with the vote count in the swing states.

That's exciting because who really wanted that election to stop in November?

It was such a wildly wonderful contest that brought out the best in all of us, right?

Now the fighting can continue right up to the January swearing in!!

I've done my best not to read anything about it.

Political talk now gets the Stephen A. Smith treatment...

...as soon as I hear a word I flip the channel.

Yet Thanksgiving went fine because no one actually brought it up.

I think people are tired of talking about it.

I had one passing conversation where someone mentioned that they hadn't actually slept through the night since the election results poured in.

Yet I have had one conversation on Facebook and one of the people in the conversation asked:

"What are libtards afraid of? Can't they give Trump a chance?"

The fact that libtards is a word is disconcerting, but I also stumbled upon a letter that was sent to the CAIR organization in Los Angeles.

It was addressed to The Children of Satan.



The letter reads:

"You Muslims are a vile and filthy people. Your mothers are whores and your fathers are dogs. You are evil. You worship the devil. But your day of reckoning has arrived. There's a new sheriff in town -- President Donald Trump. He's going to cleanse America and make it shine again. And he's going to start with you Muslims. He's going to do to you Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews. You Muslims would be wise to pack your bags and get out of Dodge! This is a great time for patriotic Americans. Long live President Trump and God Bless the USA."

And, of course, that idiot doesn't speak for everyone, but what are some people afraid of?

He speaks for some.

And that's scary.




Monday, November 28, 2016

Mannequin Challenge

I have to admit.

I don't actually get this one.

People freeze in place and someone takes the photos?

Is that fun?

I watched the cast of the Today Show do it and long after they had their little laugh Al Roker just kept doing it. He did it for so long that I started to get irritated at him.

I honestly started to get pissed.

Finally Al broke character and they all laughed again.

Thankfully I haven't been asked to do it yet, but I don't see it happening. I got about 7 calls to do the ice bucket thing too...didn't do it.

I did write a check because I thought that was a decent idea to raise the awareness of ALS, but I wasn't dumping ice over my head.

And then...the crazy thing happened.

I saw a video of Springsteen doing it with his wife.

Of course he was with Obama, DeNiro, Ellen, and Tom Hanks as he got the Medal of Honor.

So that's okay, I guess.

If I'm ever getting a medal hung around my neck by the president of the United States maybe I'd play the goofy game.

But it amazes me that goofy stuff like that catches on.

The mannequin game.

Weird.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Happens In Threes

So we have the first two.

Florence Henderson...the wholesome Mommy on the Brady Bunch

And

Fidel Castro...the communist dictator who survived 638 attempts on his life as he wielded the power that stripped people of their rights and impoverished a nation.

The third death in that particular string will probably fall somewhere in the middle, right?

Carol Brady and Castro were certainly central figures in my early life.

But here's some truth for you: I thought the Brady Bunch sucked. I'd watch it if nothing else was on because Marcia was hot enough, but it was too corny.

I could only imagine what my kids would think if I forced them to watch an episode on TV Land.

Yet there was something about that family-type stuff that was endearing evidently. The show has remained a classic in pop culture and the whole world freaked a little when it was reported that Mom may have stooped Greg.

Not sure if that's a fact.

As for Fidel.

He was the face of evil for us as kids.

We heard about the Bay of Pigs and how Kennedy didn't back down. My parents weren't overly political, but we grew up knowing that Castro was pure garbage.

He made it to 90!!!

They tried to gun him down, poison him, stab, bludgeon and ambush him.

He hung in there.

And split the headlines with Carol Brady.

Is it just me who finds that a little odd?

What is weird about the deaths of people that we knew of while growing up is to see how old they suddenly are when they pass.

And will there be a 3rd celebrity death this coming week?

It seems to work that way.

All I do know is that the middle squares in the Brady Bunch tic-tac-toe board is all filled with X's.

That's kinda' sad, right?

Sadder than Castro checking out.

That's for sure.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Kids

I was watching my nephew's and niece's children play during the Thanksgiving celebration.

One of the little girls...maybe 5 or 6 years old asked me if I wanted to see her do a cartwheel.

I said that I did and she flipped 2 or 3 times, laughing as she did it.

I met my nieces when they were just young girls themselves. I watched them grow to fine young women and loving and adoring mothers.

"Good flips," I said.

(What else do you say to cartwheels?)

And my mind flipped me forward ten years...the young adults will be different, the teenagers seated on the couch would be the girls that were doing the cartwheels.

The old dogs will be the ones yawning. I'll be one of the old dogs, for sure.

"Clifford to the bar!" My brother-in-law called out. "A shot of Jamesons!"

I pointed to the twenty-somethings:

"It's their turn to do the shots!" I said.

But we toasted Mike's Dad, My Dad and Jeff.

(All in one shot).

And I couldn't shake the circle of life thoughts. Being thankful put me in that frame of mind.

As we were leaving I said my goodbyes and turned towards the door.

"Avery wanted a kiss and a hug," my niece said.

I turned to the little child in front of me.

The two-year old had her arms wide open...but she was so close to the ground...

I bent to pick her up and my back creaked and I moaned.

But I lifted her up and she wrapped her little arms around me.

"See you later!" She said.

I laughed.

Was a perfect way to end a party where I spent a few minutes thinking about kids growing to be parents and how parents become grandparents.

Thankful along the way.

Wish I could do a cartwheel.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Birthday to My Mommy!

My Mom and I've spent a lot of time on the phone this year, talking about how weird the world seems now.

My Mom has mentioned, about 50 times that she never thought that it would all come to this...and it's funny, but Mom is full of compassion and she just finds a lot of the discussion odd.

My mother is a remarkable human being...

... it has dawned on me that my work ethic has come from her. That wasn't an easy revelation as Dad was also a tireless worker, but every  day Mom worked, worked, worked and worked some more...

...always keeping her eye on the prize of raising us.

The older you get, the more you understand and the more  I am able to appreciate all that my parents sacrificed for us.

It hit me earlier in the year when Bruce was singing Independence Day...and he mentioned that he understood that his Mom and Dad gave up the life they were living so that he could live.

Bruce's Dad may have resented it.

My parents never did.

They remained dedicated and even at 52 years of age I can still hear the worry in my mother's voice when I have to travel or I work too much.

Over the past few months Mom and Kathy have spent a lot of time together playing Bingo, and even that takes me back to the nights when Mom would go to Bingo with Grandma Fuzzy.

The circle of life.

The moments are what it's all about.

And today is Mom's birthday!

I hope only that every minute of the day and every second of the year is wonderful for her...

...because her and Dad served my life up to me on a silver platter.

Through hard work.

Unwavering dedication.

Profound love.

And all the things that having six children takes away...

...she never thought about much.

Straight ahead strength.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We love you!

The world may seem odd and different, but you haven't wavered at all.

Your love brings the light.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to All

It's been an odd year..

Hopefully this past election hasn't cost you any friends. Remember that when people are arguing politics everyone truly believes that they're 100% right and the other person is a moron.

Here's hoping that there is some common ground where we can all meet.

We live in a place where we can all voice our opinions...as misguided as they might be.

Be Thankful for that.

We all have people who love us.

All of us.

Sometimes we forget that as we battle through the long days, but life is short...time runs out.

Be Thankful for those who love you.

And for those you love.

Many of the people reading this today...

...are going to eat too much today.

Be Thankful for that because there are still too many hungry people out there.

Some of us ignore, or are ashamed of those who are struggling to put food in front of their own children.

Be Thankful that you aren't in that boat...

...and if you have compassion for the less fortunate...instead of believing that they are the dregs of our society...

...Be Thankful for the love in your heart.

If you're able to step away from the table and saunter over to the couch be thankful that you're healthy enough to make the trip.

Think of those who are suffering with health issues that make such a trip a real task.

Be Thankful  you aren't on that team.

Many families, all across this great land, will lift a glass and toast those who are gone too soon.

Be Thankful  that you feel such pain because you'll understand that the love was profound and the memories are a tangible, real thing, that you can cherish in your heart forever.

And Be Thankful.

Life goes by too quickly.

It's a truly painful ride...

... if you aren't Thankful.

Be Thankful for what you have...

...instead of mad about what you don't have.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hamilton

Nope.

I don't have tickets to the play.

Springsteen and his wife caught the play on Sunday, but they didn't even get top billing for audience members this weekend.

I heard something about a politician stopping by.

(Nice little distraction from the fraud stuff...but this isn't a political post).

It's a post about the theater!

Famously I was in two plays in college.

In one my director was a gay man who showed a lot of interest in me as an actor.

"You have to rid yourself of the Italian-New York accent and that walk! I've never seen anyone walk like that!!"

Ah well...that play went well.

The second play was with a beautiful girl sharing the stage with me. She was playing my wife and there was a scene where I had to tell her that he mother died. During rehearsal, I laughed every single time I broke the news.

I laughed because she was such a great actress and she had a pained expression planted on her face...and it made me giggle.

So, on opening night the director made me turn my back to the audience and break the news. I did so while making a face...

...that made my beautiful co-star laugh!

We were talking about the death of her mother and we were both laughing our asses off up there. The best part was that the audience didn't catch on.

(Later I asked her to go catch a real play at the Erie Playhouse. I showed her the two tickets and she took them BOTH...telling me her boyfriend would love it!!)

I hope they've had a long, pain-filled love life.

Anywhoha...

I've also seen two plays.

I saw "Singing in the Rain" with my beautiful wife at Shea's.

The first half was all right, but after intermission I was referring to it as "Singing in the f$&ing Rain."

I also saw "Oklahoma" at a dinner-theater in Baltimore.

It was a first date with a girl I only went on one date with.

It wasn't my fault!!!

During the show there was a mentally-handicapped man in row one. He liked to sing-along.

Every time the lead actress broke into song, so did the young man.

He was louder than her.

It struck me funny.

I tried not to giggle...but I was so uncomfortable that I couldn't stop from laughing and I wasn't alone.

The actress (who was stunningly great) broke into the title song and when the man sang it louder...

...she laughed.

Pretty much everyone laughed except for my date.

Ah well.

I hope Bruce and Patti had a better time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Birthday John!!

It's my brother John's 53rd birthday today...

...wish him a good one if you see him!

It's funny, but John's name came up as I was talking to Johnny and my boys.

We were sharing stories about growing up:

All the greatest hits.

The wrench in the boxing glove, the scaffold on his head as he chased me across the back yard.

One of Jake's friends was here...

"He's tough, huh?" The kid asked. "I'd just run away."

"No!" My nephew John called out. "He'd catch you! He runs like a deer!"

John was my first friend in this life.

We played, fought, competed, drank, laughed and cried together.

I think of him every day and move through the dark...

...with him in my heart...

...every single day.

Love you, brother!

Have a great day!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

From 70 to 30

Driving home from Syracuse on Friday I opened the windows for awhile because the car was a little stuffy.

By Sunday morning Melky was in a constant shiver in the front seat of the car as we headed out to get the newspaper.

Bah!!

Well, we had a good run!

It's nearly the end of November.

Now I curse the cold until May.

That's a long time, right?

In the middle of last week the story of snow flying made the rounds through the construction sites. There are a lot of jobs that are not yet closed in. I even received a call about one project that is just breaking ground!

Years ago, there was a little quiet time where you could work from the office, on the computer, or doing training.

Now...jobs are starting, continuing and finishing.

"It's good to still be busy, right?" One guy said.

"No! I'm cold!!" I answered.

"Shouldn't live in Buffalo," the guy said.

Duh.

It reminded me of a joke that my beautiful sister Carrie used to tell about a baby polar bear who is walking along the water's edge with his father.

"Dad, are you sure I'm a polar bear?"

"Yes!" The Dad answered. "Your Mom told me you asked her the same question. I'm a polar bear. Your mother is a polar bear. Of course you're a polar bear! Why would you ask such a question?"

"'Cause I'm f&$@ing freezing!" The baby polar bear answered.

Yeah.

People in Buffalo get cold too.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Shut-Up & Sing

So Mike Pence went to the play "Hamilton" and was called out from the stage.

Bigly J. Fraudulent, the Commander-in-Thief, chimed in about it and said that people need to be nice.

What happened to telling it like it is?

Or

Getting rid of political correctness?

Thought the loss of civility was the rallying cry?

The cast of Hamilton read a very respectful statement...

...it wasn't like they chanted "Lock Him Up."

I really get perturbed by the "Shut-up and Sing" crowd...especially as it pertains to the old rockers who have earned their voice.

Rock and Roll was formed with protest of social issues in mind. Dylan, Jagger, McCartney, Springsteen, Neil Young, Roger Waters...

...can't have a voice?

All of the above have stood up for what they believe in all of their lives. That's how it works. Their voices need to be heard.

Whenever a statement is made these days someone shouts back:

"We don't care what you think!"

Well, don't listen then.

But they can't say it?

Personally I don't care what a Facebook nobody thinks and maybe there are people who don't care what a guy who writes a blog every day thinks.

But this  is (still) America. We can shout our dissent from every purple mountain.

And that is really going to happen now..

A lot.

So let's get the rules straight:

People can speak...(First Amendment) and speaking out may have consequences, but the government is NOT to infringe on our ability to say what we want when we want to.

That's it.

Bigly protested about people speaking out.

Bigly needs to know that it will continue to happen.

Being thin-skinned will make this a loooooooong two years...

...or however long this takes before he's dragged out of that chair.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Married Life

So, watching the Sopranos the other night and Carmela's mother tearfully says, of her husband:

"I hope I die before he does because I don't want to miss him."

I turned to my beautiful wife:

"That's not your philosophy, is it?" I asked.

Kathy thought about it for a moment:

"Nope!" She said.

We also have a running battle going with her shoes.

Our shoe room is also the room where we keep the dog food. I am tasked with feeding the dogs in the morning so the first thing I see each morning are her shoes kicked off right in front of the pail that holds the dog food.

I kick her shoes out of the way.

That aggravates her to no end.

So where do you think her shoes go the next day?

Yep.

I've been kicking her shoes for 20 years.

She puts them right back there.

And we've even discussed it...and just continued on our Merry way.

The watching of television shows is even more entertaining. Minka Kelly appeared on the screen. I turned to Sam.

"That's the girl I broke up with to go out with your mother," I said.

"Why? Are you crazy?" He asked.

I laughed.

"Seriously?" Kathy asked. "You think someone like her would go out with someone like HIM?"

"You did," I said.

"I was drunk off my ass that entire year!"

Sam didn't know what to say.

"Besides," Kathy said. "She was 5 years old when you went out with her if you dumped her for me."

So, I hadn't thought it all the way through...

...but the shoe can also go on the other foot as well.

"A-Rod is good-looking," she famously said one night when we were watching the Yankees.

"Okay," I said. "Me and A-Rod are standing side-by-side and you have to choose one of us."

She laughed.

"Go ahead, laugh," I said. "What would you tell the boys?"

She thought about it for a split-second:

"Pack your shit, boys, we're moving to the Bronx," she answered.

I'm going to kick her shoes today.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Floppy Needs A Day

In the 11th game of the season Floppy the Crybaby (LeBron James) showed up for his basketball game in Indiana in a suit and tie.

He needed a day off.

He's healthy, mind you, it's just for rest.

11 games in 20 nights...he plays about 35 minutes a night...

...and he needs a day already?

The Cavs say that they want to rest him here and there so they can win a championship...

...in June!!!

Hey Floppy...take a nap!

Why does it aggravate me?

He makes $30 million a year to play 82 games in 7 months.

Meanwhile some father and son in Indiana saved up their money and circled the Cavs game when the schedule came out...

SO THEY COULD SEE FLOPPY BOUNCE A BALL!

Those are the people who pay crazy money so that you can be treated like royalty.

You don't care????

You need rest???

I'm extremely bad at taking days off. In fact, I have to force myself to do it.

Some days I can't even walk.

But I go.

And no one is paying to watch me work, but I'm being paid to do a job.

He couldn't even dress up and take a shot?

He's that freaking tired???

Did the Pacers knock a little bit of money off the gold level prices they charged because King Shit was coming to town?

Garbage!

Michael Kay was talking about it on his show.

He made a great point:

What if you went to a steak house looking for a porterhouse. They let you order it and then they bring  you a hamburger and say:

"We're still charging you for the porterhouse.

It's garbage.

Then his fake rage against Phil Jackson for saying "posse" when talking about Floppy and his friends.

Does he really think Phil Freaking Jackson...a guy who's been in the NBA since 1965 is a racist?

Remember when Floppy said "That's retarded."

He begged for forgivesness saying it was just a wrong word.

And he holds a press conference over "posse?"

11 games in...

...and I already need a rest in thinking about Floppy the Crybaby.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

At Least We Didn't Have to Climb A Pole


Saw this phone in an office today.

Doesn't it look weird?

When I looked at it my mind did a trick.

I thought about calling a girl back in high school.

"How long are you going to be on the phone?"

"I need the phone!"

And the cord never stretched far enough away to get clear of my brothers and sisters.

"Who are you talking to?"

Dialing the phone was a whole 'nother thing.

We'd be happy for the low numbers so you didn't have to dial the zero every single time and if your finger slipped...you'd have to hit the button and start all over again.

What was amazing was that as I stared at the phone the mind trick took me all the way back in time.

I could almost hear the girl's voice in my ear.

What the hell did we talk about so long?

Everything seemed so important!

What was really frustrating was the busy signal.

"Who is she talking to?"

I showed the boys the photo.

"That's a phone?" Sam asked. "How'd you carry it?"

We didn't carry them!

Actually, we could get lost!

Fast-forward to years later and being seated at a bar...

...the phone would ring.

"I'm not here!" A dozen guys would call out.

David Spade was doing his comedy the other day.

He said that he lost his phone for ten hours.

"I didn't know how to drive without looking at it," he said. "What was I supposed to do? Look around? Out the window?"

Looking at the phone I almost longed for the day.

Almost.

What a weird looking contraption.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Your Engine Fell Out"

I am not mechanically inclined.

When I open the hood I may as well be looking at a map of Shanghai.

No clue.

Years ago a coworker asked me to run out and pour some anti-freeze in his car.

I put it in his windshield washer thingy.

"My car is knocking," I said to my beautiful wife last night.

"I heard that," she answered. "What is it?"

"Really?" I asked. "You want my analysis?"

I drove to the first job...

...the knocking was getting louder.

I drove to the second job...

...I could hardly hear the radio over the noise.

"I may not make it home," I texted.

As I drove I saw a mechanics garage...near the 3rd job.

I ignored it.

Went to a job where I knew a guy who knew something about cars. He test-drove it.

"That's f$&ked up," he said as he returned my keys.

I drove to the mechanic's shop.

He test drove it.

"Have you been working on this?" He asked ME!

I laughed.

"The bolts sheared off your engine mount housing and the engine is being held in only by the axle."

"Is that bad?"

"It ain't good?"

"How does it happen?"

"No idea!"

So, how'd your day go?

The engine fell out of my freaking car!!

Brubaker!!!

...you bastard!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Unrest

There's been a lot of footage of a whole bunch of people marching in the streets protesting the vote for president.

I don't much care for civil unrest.

I love that we are allowed to assemble and raise our voices, of course, but I'm OCD to a fault!

I like all the shit in all the right places...

...just ask my beautiful wife and my kids.

Things are supposed to be orderly and organized and then I can rest!

(Which is exactly why I rest so infrequently. Things seldom go where they're supposed to).

But of all the unrest I've seen...

...the spot where I saw the worst unrest was on the face of my 16-year old son, Sam.

Sam has a beautiful heart. He cares about everything! He also really loves peace, and like all children, he craves security.

I saw the unsettled look on his face the morning after the election...and he put it into perspective quickly.

"The Donald pulled it out," he said.

I grunted.

"Hey," he said. "It won't kill us, we're white men."

I glanced back over my shoulder at him and that's where I saw the angst.

I have been thinking about Spurs coach, Greg Popovich and what he said about it being horribly naive to think that the people who cast a vote for Trump are racist.

Of course they are not racist in the traditional sense...

...but they heard and saw racism being spouted as policy...

...and it wasn't a deal-breaker for them.

"He won't really kick out all the non-white people," Sam said, hopefully.

The most important job of my life is to provide security for my family...and they definitely play off of me.

"No," I said. "We'll still have all kinds of people here. This is still America."

And the protests in the street, despite the chaos of the events, puts that front and center.

Sometimes unrest is required...

...before we can rest again.

All of us.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Long Walk Home

Bruce Does One:

The words have been in my head for about a week now.

Long Walk Home

Last night I stood at your doorstep
Trying to figure out what went wrong
You just slipped something into my palm
Then you were gone.

I could smell the same deep green of summer
Above me the night sky was glowin'
In the distance I could see the town where I was born.

It's gonna' be a long walk home
Hey pretty darling, don't wait up for me
Gonna be a long walk home
A long walk home.

In town I passed Sal's grocery
The barbershop on South Street
I looked into their faces
They were all rank strangers to me

The veterans' hall high up on the hill
Stood silent and alone
The diner was shuttered and boarded
With a sign that just said 'Gone.'

It's gonna' be a long walk home.

Here everybody has a neighbor
Everybody has a friend
Everybody has a reason to begin again.

My father said:
 'Son, we're lucky in this town
It's a beautiful place to be born
It just wraps it's arms around you
Nobody crowds you, nobody goes it alone"

It's gonna' be a long walk home.

"You know that flag flying over the courthouse
Means that certain things are set in stone
Who we are and what we'll do
and what we won't."

It's gonna' be a long walk home
Hey pretty darling, don't wait up for me

Gonna be a long walk home
A long walk home.
A long walk home.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bethlehem Steel Burns Down

I was a long ways away when the fire started, but while teaching a safety class, in the middle of the fire prevention part of the class, I received a video of what was happening just about 5 miles from my house.

The huge building that used to be home to Bethlehem Steel, along Route 5, was burning down.

I received a couple of calls from some of the construction guys in the area.

"What do you think is in that dark cloud of smoke?" One guy asked.

"Heaven knows," I said. "They buried everything on that property for a lot of years.

In fact, a few years ago I was driving on the property with an environmental protection agent. We passed by what looked like a body of water.

But it was the brightest blue that you've ever seen.

It was actually beautiful.

"That isn't water," the EPA guy said before I could even say a word. "But a few years ago, I was driving back here and I saw a kid, about ten years old, on a raft in the middle of the pond. The kid's Mom and Dad were sitting on beach chairs at the edge."

I laughed.

"Are you freaking kidding me?"

"Best part was that the old man yelled out 'I'm surprised no one else knows about this beach!'"

I laughed again.

"Six Flags came by and did an environmental study years ago...they were thinking of doing an amusement park here. They said it would cost a billion dollars to fix the place."

So what was in the air?

Yet the burning building on Route 5 was a little sad as well.

Millions of people made their wages there and fed their kids and raised their family.

My father-in-law worked there for years and years.

"Did you really just use the land out there as a chemical dump?" I asked him one time.

"We didn't know any better," He said.

We do now.

We have regulated some of the pollution out of our skies.

Will we continue to do that?

Is it even possible to bring the manufacturing jobs back?

Don't know...seems like the end of an era, for sure.

"It's gonna' look real weird there," I said.

"Real weird," Kathy agreed.

She had spent about 15 years working in that building.

Everything eventually crumbles.

Onward and upward.

Maybe they'll put a roller coaster and a pond there!


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Returning to the World

Well, not exactly.

Received a text from a great friend...he wanted to simply bust my balls about the election.

I took it!

Yet what I didn't do was either watch or think about protesting anything. I see the validity of the protests. I understand it and Americans certainly have the right to raise their voices and shake their fists.

They shouldn't be vandalizing their own neighborhoods though or damaging property. That's a little much, and what will change?

Nothing.

Let's get great, right.

You know what no one is doing at all?

Listening to someone else's point of view.

I had a work situation this week where someone looked at something through their own eyes. What took me a solid 25 minutes to explain was the thoughts and feelings of the OTHER person.

I've been stunned to silence because I can't fully comprehend all that went into the election.

I saw what I saw.

Understood what I understood.

And couldn't see it clearly from the other side.

We had debate class in college. I was tasked with debating about the death penalty.

It wasn't the side of the death penalty debate that I believed in!

I had to argue the other side of the argument.

My heart wasn't into it, but I took up the fight. I actually did a pretty decent job of spelling it all out...

...but even though I battled hard...

...it didn't change my mind.

I will never change my mind about what I heard during the course of the election. Some of what I heard was not forgivable.

Not tolerable.

How do I switch gears?

How do so many others suddenly accept what is unacceptable?

I still don't know.

But the sun comes up.

Hope springs eternal.

What buoys me through the aftermath is that I know that America is the greatest country...

...because of the people.

Some of the people are unsure.

Others are thrilled.

Life goes on.

We'll be all right.

I think back to The Grapes of Wrath.

Tom has just killed a man and he has to leave the family. Tom's father asks Tom's mother what they can possibly due to survive and she says:

"We move on."

And as Tom is leaving his mother asks him:

"Tom how will I know you're all right?"

He says and I'm paraphrasing:

"You'll know Mom because if there's a cop beating a guy, I'll be there. If there are people being treated unfairly I'll be right there in the darkness that surrounds you. I'll fight for what is right. I'll be there."

And that's what is making me get back up...

...some very not fair things have been proposed.

Plenty of people will stand up and fight if horrible ideas are suddenly presented as facts.

We have plenty of checks and balances.

We'll need 'em.

And if fighting back is needed. I'll be there, trying to argue the point from the other side.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Social Media Blackout

Usually after work, dinner and the ride in the car with the doggies I settle in...

...as my beautiful wife gives me the recap on her day I scan social media...

...checking Facebook and Twitter

(Saying 'No Kidding, Really'?)

...then I read news stories.

(Nod my head and say 'uh-huh', or 'Wow')

...and then finally go to sports.

If the conversation is still going on after all that I might actually play a couple of games of bowling as I shake my head in disbelief at the craziness of all that happened to her.

It's actually relaxing to me to catch up on the events of the day.

Except for the last two days.

I have been completely blacked out from anything that has to do with anything that mentions a single word about the election.

I can't do it!

I am not interested in the recapping of the votes...or the plans as the transition is made. I don't want to know 'what happens now' to the losing side.

I am actually pretending that outside of these four walls...and sports...nothing is going on!

Riding from job-to-job I have either listened to E-Street Radio or the MLB station.

If someone mentions anything about the events of Tuesday...

...I turn down the volume.

I've actually felt pretty good too.

Why worry about it?

I'm not quite sure how long it will be before I can read anything about it.

Maybe never.

Hell, I might even get into some of the work stories as Kathy tells them.

What a long, strange year it has been.

I don't think I can actually put together any coherent thoughts on it yet.

Fun While It Lasted

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