Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thought Drake's Was A Coffee Cake

During the week, we all have to get up early around Camp Clifford.

My beautiful wife works a shift that starts at 5 a.m. and I'm usually out of bed at various times in the middle of the night.

And I have never once had to chase one of my kids out of bed to face their responsibilities of work or school.

They get up and go.

But I appear to be the only one who is not pissed about it.

"You have way too much energy in the morning," Sam has said on many days.

Friday was a little bit strange.

Jake was up and dressed by the time I hit the stairs at six.

He looked wide awake too.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Drake's album dropped."

"The coffee cake guy?"

Jake missed it completely.

"And it's awesome," he said.

Drake appears to be the Springsteen of the youth.

Apparently they had been waiting some time for the album to drop.

"You got it already."

"It dropped at 2 a.m.,...couple of clicks," he said.

"Excellent," I said. "I'll have to grab it tonight."

Jake knew I was joking.

I wouldn't stop Drake for a conversation if he happened to deliver my mail to the house one day.

"Thanks," I'd say. "Have a nice day."

But Jake and Sam and Quinn and even dopey Matt were beyond excited.

"Greatest record ever made," Matt said as I broached the subject later on.

And then Jake swung by with some of the lyrics.

"I know you'd rather read the lyric than listen to the beats," he said.

Truthfully, he shows me a lot of rap lyrics...there are clever rhymes, but there are also obscure references, a tremendous amount of boasting, some clever curse words and it all seems too busy to me...

...but then Jake did make me listen to a bit of the "music."

Not an instrument being used...all created on a computer.

I try not to be disparaging because I enjoy the fact that they are listening, reading, singing along...something...music is a gift to all.

"Some of it is okay," I said.

Which was like my Dad, listening to Frank and Dino, tell me that there was merit to Pink Floyd.

But...

...when it is all said and done...

...I'd rather have the coffee cakes.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Old Love

Went for lunch yesterday and was joined by a good buddy.

As we were chatting about saving the world in our jobs as construction safety guys I noticed that my buddy kept glancing at the table over my shoulder.

"What's up?"

"There's an old couple behind us," he said. "They are showing their love. Public displays of affection."

"Old?" I asked.

"Real old," he said.

"They must not be married," I answered.

There's a bit of discomfort when you want to turn all the way around and take in the scene, but I pretended to look out the window.

They were old!

"You think it's an affair?" my buddy asked.

"Has to be," I said. "If I tried to sit next to Kathy in a booth instead of across from her she'd probably punch me."

"And he keeps leaning in and kissing her cheek or holding her hand."

I laughed.

"Yeah, that isn't happening for me anymore," I said.

"Me neither," my buddy said.

He's been married longer than me.

I watched as the old dog got up to get drinks for himself and his gal.

While he was at the drink stand she took the paper off of his straw for him.

Together they got their drinks ready and then they each bit into their food at the exact same moment.

How lovely.

"Yeah. They haven't been together long," I said. "There's no way that they are that in love if they've been hanging out for years and years. We're at the stage in our marriage where my wife does shit on purpose just to aggravate me."

My buddy laughed.

"You're right."

We kept glancing back at the couple who was obviously enjoying spending time with one another.

I wish I knew the back story.

My over/under on the length of their relationship is about three months.

But good for them...

...they seemed to have found love late in life.


Three months from now they'll be sitting across from one another.

"Can you get my straw ready?" He'll ask.

"Are your fingers broken?" She'll respond.

Hold her hand as long as you can.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Uh, I'm Not Pregnant"

Was speaking with a first-time mother-to be.

The young woman was definitely on the pregnant side, but it is a little weird to ask...

...because:

Back a while ago my beautiful wife asked a woman in a bar:

"When are you due?"

The woman replied with:

"Uh, I'm not pregnant."

My wife tried to shuffle her way out of it by quickly asking about the kids that the woman did have.

Then she doubled-down:

"Sometimes it's difficult to lose the baby weight. How long has it been?"

The woman said:

"13 years."

I was horrified.

I escaped to the bathroom only to be joined by two men who entered in near-tears.

"Did you hear that broad ask Megan about being pregnant?" The first guy said.

The second guy was laughing so hard that he couldn't answer.

I didn't bother to add to their conversation.

Anywhoha...

I did have the guts to ask.

"How far along?" I asked.

"Six months," the young lady answered.

(Thank God).

"That went fast for me," I said.

(That's funny).

She didn't laugh. Her face told me that she was wondering what the hell I said.

Yet she was off and talking...about how excited she was...and how awesome it would be.

And I thought of the moments of my children and seeing them for the first time.

"Living proof that God exists," I said.

The new Mom was happy to hear that.

But then I hit her with part of my stand-up act.

"About six months from now you're going to be standing in the middle of your kitchen, in the middle of the night and that kid is gonna' be screaming and you're gonna' wonder, 'why the hell was I so excited about this shit?'"

She laughed.

"I want you to think about me when it happens," I said. "But it's gonna' happen."

"But it's all worth it, right?" She asked with hopefulness filling her eyes.

"My youngest kid is only 15," I said. "I haven't made up my mind yet."

She laughed again.

What a cool part of life.

Better than asking a not pregnant woman when the baby is coming.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Live Streaming

I heard a line in a radio commercial that got me thinking...

...about an idea for a book.

I kicked the line around as a title for a book and then my mind got moving.

I saw the main character.

Then the secondary characters.

And then the brainstorm hit.

The entire plot line.

I didn't have a brand new black notebook with me, but I did have my phone and a notes section.

I was typing into it so quickly that I didn't hear the first announcement to board the plane.

What if!

Back years ago my sister Carrie Lynn was great at doing the plot lines with me...

...she'd say...

"You need to make her flawed in some way."

Or...

"Have him give her something that she cherishes. Then when she loses it!"

All great stuff.

The best part about writing something new.

I was energized.

I sat on the plane and just kept doing the 'What if.'

The notes section was filling up quickly.

I have to get a black notebook.

I have to get a black notebook!

I have to get a black notebook!!

And by the time we landed I had filled the entire notes section.

They were all so alive by the end of the flight.

"You're a little crazy," I considered.

Hope I can pull it all off somehow.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

He Was Amazing!

There was certainly a moment, after the death of Prince when I thought to myself:

"This is going to get a little crazy."

The tributes.

The kind words.

The endless playing of the songs.

And there was a moment when I decided to put on an episode of Judge Judy rather than hear from the people who were being interviewed who were just clamoring to let the world know that:

"Prince was perfect."

People want to have their moment to say goodbye...

...they want to say kind words.

Genius.

Funny.

Brilliant.

Kind.

All words that seemingly fit the entertainer...

...but I was waiting for it.

"ALL RIGHT! ENOUGH WITH THE PRINCE CRAP!!"

Someone finally posted such a message.

Then there were people who were quick to point out that:

HE SUCKED ANYWAY!

I sort of find that kind of stuff fascinating.

You didn't like him?

Don't comment.

You're tired of reading about it?

Don't read about it!

It was bound to get tiresome, but how is it going to stay out of the news?

He died young, of strange circumstances.

He was a chart-topper.

(Okay, I'm tired of hearing Purple Rain, but I just stop listening to it a few notes in).

But why so angry?

He was a newsmaker.

He will be mourned by a lot of people.

The tributes will continue for a little while longer...

...and then Prince's career will be evaluated in specials or on shows...

...that you don't need to watch.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Kelly Ripa Needs Me

I can do that job!

The show would have to be called Fuzzy & Ripa, but we could make it work.

I'd tell her about what she needs to fatten up a little bit too.

Yet Kelly Ripa is in the news this week because Michael Strahan up and quit his job as her co-host.

Then news broke that they hardly got along anyways and that his leaving wasn't all that much of a surprise to anyone...

...except poor Kelly.

She had no idea!

So, rather than go into work and put on a bold face she essentially called in sick for a week.

She's due back tomorrow.

Where she will have to sit there and yuk it up with Michael...

...even though she wants to choke him.

So, why not bring me in???

I'm ready!

We may have to move the show to cable as the F-word may eventually slip out, but they have delay buttons for that sort of crap, don't they?

(I'm a little concerned that there will now be memes of me and Kelly seated side-by-side as Chris Colantino takes shots at me daily)

But I'm willing to suffer for my art.

I'd be funnier than Michael.

I don't have the big gap in my teeth, but I could go out there with a chew in...

...Anywhoha...

I watched Kelly & Michael every day when I was off with the hip injury.

I loved her energy.

She's no Kathy Fazzolari, mind you...

...but Fuzzy and Ripa.

It could work.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Bucky F&*$ing Dent


I finished reading the book Bucky F&*$ing Dent that was written by the actor (and I guess writer) David Duchovny.

I heard him speaking about the book on a radio show and decided to grab it.

Duchovny explained that he was in the New England area and he heard two Bostonians talking about the game in 1978 to settle the AL East. The guys were roofers and when they got into the discussion one mentioned:

Bucky F&*$ing Dent.

As writing ideas go...it was all Duchovny needed to get started.

The book was really good...I enjoyed the characters and the baseball talk throughout.

I also liked it because I recalled every single minute of that day so long ago.

I even remember the day before...

...I was listening to the Yankees play the lowly Indians.

All they had to do was win and they would eliminate the Sux.

They got hammered.

I was 13 years old.

I was pissed!!

Mostly because the game to settle it all would be played on Monday afternoon...and I had school and a soccer game immediately following it.

I hated soccer but was on the team because I liked the coach.

"I'm skipping the soccer game," I announced.

"You aren't skipping anything," Mom said. "You signed up. You have to show up."

I was miserable!

"You'll be home for the end of the game."

I tried Dad...but he sided with Mom:

"You have to do what you said you'd do."

(Those two really ruined me as I became the most responsible adult ever!).

So I went to the game...

...I had a tiny transistor radio.

I knew my coach would let me listen during the soccer game because he was also a Yankees fan.

Except he wanted to listen to the game too!

I had the radio through the first few innings.

Boston 2 New York 0 was the score in the middle innings when Coach Loretto grabbed the radio from me and sent me into the game.

I was kicking and screaming...but I went into the game and never really drifted from the sideline much.

"Fuzzy!" Coach yelled out across the field, "Bucky Dent just hit a three-run homer!"

I thought he was messing with me.

Dent didn't hit homers!

I ran straight off the field as the ball went rolling by. Coach Loretto was laughing. We shared the radio bud for a moment.

It was true!

Mercifully the soccer game ended.

I made my way home.

Reggie hit a homer to make it New York 5 Boston 2 but there was still time left.

As we pulled into the driveway I was struck by a strange sight:

Dad's car was home!

I raced to the house.

Dad was sitting in the living room watching Goose Gossage try to hold on in the 9th.

"Why aren't you working?" I asked.

"I'm sick," Dad said.

We both laughed.

Goose hung on, retiring Yaz on a popup to Nettles.

Yankees 5 Red Sox 4.

Two weeks later they won the World Series for the 22nd time.

So, to David Duchovny...

...thanks for the memory!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Curt Schilling: Fired!!!

So, ESPN finally did it.

After suspending Schilling for his meme on Muslims in which he couldn't disguise his hatred, he was finally let go when he offered his invaluable intelligence on the transgender issues that some people face.

It doesn't matter much what he said, but first off, his 1st amendment rights were not violated.

The government did not swoop in, gather his big, goofy ass and send him off to a prison.

He was fired by his employer.

For conduct that was most likely not allowed in the contract he signed.

That happens every single day.

To people not as famous as fake-bloody-sock boy.

Hell, he blocked me on Twitter for something I said about his financial failings that cost the state of Rhode Island millions so if he's all about not being offended...

Schilling loves attention.

He lives for the moments when we are speaking his name.

I'm hoping never to have to comment again.

Back about a year ago he posted something about his daughter. A bunch of fans were nasty to them. The 'fans' were straight up idiots. The remarks were horribly insensitive.

Doesn't Curt get it?

That some of his remarks are insensitive to people he doesn't know?

He posted a photo of a man who was comically dressed as a woman and there was hate speech attached.

He didn't create the meme...

...but he posted it.

Along with his highly valued spin on it.

ESPN had looked the other way twice.

(He had also posted about one of the presidential candidates being buried under a jail).

Adios, Curt.

I always knew the sock had paint on it.

'Cause you bent down to tie your shoe every 3rd pitch.

We get it.

You're the greatest.

Everyone who's different than you sucks.

Hope you aren't signing up for unemployment in Rhode Island.

They might garnish your wage.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Prince's Death

The news broke at around noon yesterday.

Like for a whole bunch of people my age there was a real sense of disbelief.

Prince died.

Now I'm not going to pretend that I was fanatical about his music, but I certainly knew all the hits and I immediately thought about seeing Purple Rain back when I was in college.

It was a great movie.

But he put out 38 records and I don't know more than 20 songs by name.

So, I wasn't a super fan by any stretch of the imagination, but it shook me quite a bit.

Perhaps because he was a star of my late childhood.

More likely it's because a sudden death of a young man is scary for all of us.

Did he really die of the flu?

Are our lives really that fragile?

Perhaps his death won't be all that mysterious when it all shakes out.

And yea, our lives are that fragile.

That is a little of what truly brought me down.

There is so much wasted energy in all of our lives.

We worry about so many little things that aren't really worthy of our time.

I was driving a long way and I listened to hours of the coverage of his death.

(I must've heard Purple Rain 70 times).

Every program summarized Prince's life's work.

There was speculation about his death.

And it continued to shake me.

It ends. That's it.

And we all face that fate.

When you straight up give death a lot of time in the thought of just a normal day, you don't dwell on some of those mundane, ridiculous aspects of life.

I thought about my life's work and how I am happy with how it has all played out for me on a personal and professional level.

Not a lot of regret.

I thought of those I have lost and how five more minutes of time would be worth every single dime I could make from here on out.

I considered my family... knowing that I've given them all the best parts of me (and some of the other parts)...

...again, no regrets.

And I've had fun.

Life has not always been easy, but there has been a lot of fun.

There is fear when you consider that a 57-year old man can just drop.

But it happens every day.

Just open the local newspaper.

And the fear comes from the fact that it's out there for all of us.

So live.

Laugh and love.

Cliché, I know.

But that's all there is.

R.I.P. Purple Dude.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Chicago Airport

Sitting in terminal K.

The place is a city in and of itself. Want a burrito? Chinese Food? Mickey D's?

There's a bookstore and a cold stone creamery.

People from every continent are represented...walking along...no signs of prejudice or hate.

And we all know how great an airport terminal is to just people watch.

I listened to a Dad and his son talk about the Cubbies.

This is the year.

The kid has no idea what it has felt like not to win...or the curse of the bully goat.

A woman walking two steps in front of me abruptly changed her mind about the direction she was going and turned straight into me.

She apologized.

I grunted.

Looking for a core to plug in my phone so it could recharge for the rest of the trip.

Wondering how I'd recharge.

I took some shots in the hip that clouded my mind and made sleep impossible. The hip feels better but I could be a member of the cast of the walking dead.

They are making the gate announcements.

Soon they'll be telling me how to operate the seatbelt.

"Fly safe," everyone always says.

I have no control.

Just hope I don't have to figure out the oxygen mask. I'm a little challenged on the mechanical side.

Trust that the travel will be safe.

Uh-oh, back to people watching:

There's a guy eating a burrito that's as big as a small puppy.

That would be me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What the Hell Is Wrong With People?

I'm sure I can go a whole bunch of different ways with this one.

--- I can talk about the guy who lied at the sperm bank and committed fraud of epic proportions.

--- I can certainly mention the woman who had a gun in her hand with a toddler in the room and when the toddler startled her, she shot the kid in the hand.

(Where are the good toddlers with their guns?)

--- I could even dabble in the visit of one of the presidential candidates who mentioned the brave people of 7/11.

Or who told us that we will win, win and win until we are sick of winning and got loud cheers.

But for the purposes of this exercise I will mention the fans of Philadelphia.

(Drop the blog Gag, and stop reading right here).

The Flyers organization gave out a token for their long-time owner Ed Snider. It was done to honor a truly good guy in sports.

You know what the great fans of Philadelphia did with their treasured gifts?

They littered the ice with them when a call went against them in a series where they are completely over-matched anyways.

These are the same fans who booed Santa Claus.

They put a jail at their football stadium.

They regularly pummel the fans of the opposing teams.

Yet it is not all about the Philly people.

A Dodger fan almost killed a Giants fan.

There are at least a dozen arrests in my neighborhood whenever the Football Frackers play.

What is wrong with people?

Now...I can see Pops shaking his head at me and whispering hypocrite...

...yeah...I used to go to the games and drink a bunch of beers and act like a dopey bastard...

...but I never did something like what happens at games now.

The Bills fans go viral every week as they flop onto their drunken asses.

Players and refs are verbally attacked.

It's crazy!

And now they honor the owner by pelting the opposing players with the tokens they were given as a special piece.

What the hell is wrong with people?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Bionic Woman


I used to be in love with Jamie Sommers.

She was the Bionic Woman, of course, and she had that little dalliance with the Six Million Dollar Man...but make no mistake...

...she was Clifford's first love.

What was weird about the show was that it was on right when I was figuring out that women are really sweet to look at.

Plus Jamie was so strong...she had a really amazing right arm...she could hear shit from miles away and she could run up to 60 mph...

...can you imagine how handy she would have been around Camp Clifford?

The show was great.

I know that my siblings all loved it.

I believe that Carrie and Jeff had marathon days of watching both of the shows.

Oscar Goldman was the man, too!

He was always there for Steve Austin and Jamie Sommers.

Oscar got shit done!!

The reason why this all came to the forefront was because someone posted the photo on Facebook.

My heart stirred.

I wondered if the show "stands up".

Columbo still stands up.

Rockford still holds up.

Bonanza is still great.

I'm wondering about the bionic ones.

I might have to check things out.

It has to be available somewhere, right?

Jamie.

Remember when she sang 'Feelings'?

I'm sure Carrie remembers.

She was crying over losing Steve Austin.

I was happy!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Trump Is Here!!!

The old great Orange one has arrived!

Donald is in Buffalo and there have been 23,000 tickets distributed so far.

I don't have one.

What the hell goes on at a political rally anyways?

It's not like he's breaking out Born in the U.S.A. of Rocking in the Free World.

Those rock stars won't let him play their music.

Will there be warm-up speeches?

Is that when the bouncers beat up the black people?

When does the Donald go on stage?

There are so many questions, but I have a few of the answers.

Donald will tell us about America and how we have been losing and soon we will be winning so much that the smiles won't come off our faces.

It's a little like Chevy Chase telling his family:

"We're gonna' have so much fun you'll be whistling zippy-do-dah out of your assholes."

Great changes are coming, America!

We're gonna' have jobs!

Plenty of low-paying jobs because we don't care for that minimum wage thingy!

We're gonna' have great healthcare...

...right after we disable the healthcare plan that is in place.

We're gonna' make the Middle East a parking lot...

...but first we're gonna' kick everyone out first, wait until they get home, then blow 'em up!!

Winning!

We're gonna' be tired of winning!!

I'm tired of any and all political talk.

A guy called my house on Saturday night.

He asked me if I was voting for Bernie, or leaning to Trump.

I didn't answer him at all.

He kept trying to get me to say something that he could write down.

"Will you vote for Bernie?"

"No idea."

"Will you vote?"

"Yep."

"Are you leaning towards Donald Trump?"

"Maybe."

My beautiful wife laughed.

"Why didn't you tell him the truth?" She asked.

"Why should I be the only one telling the truth," I asked.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Ryan LaMarre!

Boston Red Sox player Ryan LaMarre came through big for the Thunder Road Jeff Fazzolari Memorial Softball Tournament that is coming up in August.

Check this out:


How did I get four signed items by a Red Sox player?

Well...

...that's pretty interesting.

I made a friend on Twitter - Tom Ratchford.

Tom is a great guy...he loves baseball and especially the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized Sports.

Yet Tom is also a great fan of the up and coming Sox player Ryan LaMarre.

One day we were trading tweets about Ryan's spring training game against the Yankees.

Tom was in the crowd...and he was not wearing his Yankees gear.

He was rooting for the Yankees, quietly, as he sat and also rooted for Ryan to have a great game.

Ryan hit a homer!

I jumped in and made mention that I was happy for Ryan but that he better not hit homers against the Yankees when it really mattered.

Then I thought about the benefit.

I asked Tom if Ryan might donate some items for the tourney.

A couple of hours later I had my answer:

Sure!!

And Ryan went over and above expectations...

...two signed balls and two signed batting gloves.

Damn!

He's a Red Sux player!!

And I really, really like him!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Beeps, Buzzes, Chimes & Bells

There was a day about 5 years ago when I left my phone at home.

I drove about an hour to an appointment before I knew that it was missing...

...and by the time I discovered my mistake...

...I couldn't go back.

I was on the road without my phone!

Dear Lord!!

I thought about that on Friday afternoon as my phone rang.

(It doesn't actually ring...instead it plays Street Fighting Man by the Stones).

But I answered it.

While I was talking to someone about a work-related problem I heard a buzz in the background.

Incoming text.

Then the damn thing buzzed again.

I took the phone away from my ear long enough to read a notification from ESPN about Adrian Beltre agreeing to a contract extension with the Texas Rangers.

Back to the call!

Another beep.

My beautiful wife trying to touch base.

The damn guy was trying to talk my ear off.

I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying.

Why would the Rangers extend Beltre? He's nearly 40!

Another buzz.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???

An update from CNN on who the pollsters thought won the debate.

The original text buzzed again.

(Just in case I'd missed it!)

"You still there?" the guy actually talking asked.

"For a minute," I said. "Because I'm ready to roll down the window and throw this phone as far as I can."

"Yeah, what's going on?"

"Evidently someone flashed my number on a billboard because everyone has called me at once."

"I'll let you go." he said, finally.

I was pulled off to the side of the road.

When the call went dead I saw all the notifications.

2 texts, 4 emails, 2 notifications, 6 Facebook notices and 1 missed call.

I ignored them all.

I threw the phone on the floor of the passenger side.

I turned up the radio and drove to the next stop.

Thank God we are all able to stay connected.

Every second of every day.

Remember the days when you could get lost at the bar?

"Tell her I'm not here!"...

...would be called out every time the phone behind the bar would ring.

That's never gonna' happen again.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hoop Talk


Back when I lived out in California I had a casual interest in the Golden State Warriors.

I rooted for them but they were awful...it was a little like being home in Buffalo, hoping the home team could win.

I even had a couple of Warriors shirts and hats.

Of course, they won the title last year and this year they were even better...

...winning an incredible 73 of 82 games.

That's amazing.

I watch some basketball because of the kids...who love it.

I watch mostly to root against LeBron, or Floppy the Crybaby as he's called here at Camp Clifford.

Stephen Curry is a tremendous shooter.

Reminds me of me as a younger man.

Now the pressure is really on the Warriors. They have to bring home the hardware as the kids say and that isn't a done deal. The Spurs and even Floppy's team have a chance.

"Who are your top five greatest basketball players ever," Jake asked as soon as I walked in the door from work.

"Wilt, Bird, Jordan, Jabbar and Ernie D.," I said.

Jake laughed.

Then he began arguing with Sam about it.

Jake had Kobe on his list and Sam was talking Floppy.

"There were a lot of great players," I said.

I was talking about Jerry West and Walt Frazier.

"How about Curry? He gonna' make it?"

Jake has shown me clips of Curry nailing shots from the parking lot.

"He's one of the best shooters ever," I said.

73 and 9.

Now they have to back it up.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A Huge Secret

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert had a big secret.

Hastert was a coach and a teacher in the town of Yorkville, Illinois.

Evidently, and admittedly Hastert molested some young boys while he was there, before leaving for the State Legislature in the early 1980's.

For years and years Hastert was in the national light as a well-respected politician who was second in line to the office of President of the United States.

The entire community was extremely proud of Hastert's career.

Well...

...almost the entire community.

There were boys left in the wake who knew the secret.

Boys who suffered at the control of a sick mind.

"Mr. Hastert acknowledges that as a young man he committed transgressions for which he is profoundly sorry."

That is what his vile lawyer said.

First off, Hastert wasn't all that young.

The use of young man makes it sound like he was experimenting a little bit as he became an adult.

HE MOLESTED CHILDREN!

One of whom died of AIDS after living a highly confused life after his spirit had been robbed of him.

And the use of the word 'transgressions'????

Like he slipped and fell onto four kids who just happened to be naked at the time.

This man belongs in a cage for the rest of his days!

The article that I read on it said that Hastert is hoping that the life he led will allow him to pay some restitution to his 'victims' and serve a sentence that begins and ends with probation.

God help us if that happens.

I stared at a photo of Hastert standing beside Cheney as Bush made a speech.

He wore a look of resolute determination as the President spoke.

I looked for a hint of perversion behind those eyes.

How did he live his life after that?

He showed up at the funeral of the young man who had died of AIDS.

He showed up at the funeral!!

How arrogant can one be?

That was in 1995.

The sister of the man confronted him.

He didn't deny it.

He slimed away like a slug.

Later, when the heat was turned on...he called the authorities and claimed that there was a plot to extort money from him.

He called the authorities!!!

There's a special place in the hell that he so believes in for him.

Probation?

If he gets it I'm going to be severely pissed.

Transgressions!

Unbelievable.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Changing Baseball

Remember when Pete Rose bowled over Ray Fosse in the All-Star Game?

Rose was coming around third.

Fosse was blocking the plate.

Rose hammered him and was safe at the plate.

Fosse suffered a busted shoulder and never regained his All-Star form.

Rose always called it a 'good baseball play'.

It won't ever happen again.

The blocking the plate rules have changed.

Cut to last year's playoffs.

Chase Utley threw a slide at second base.

He broke the leg of the Mets Shortstop Reuben Tejada.

It was a garbage slide.

Utley thought it was a 'good baseball play.'

The rule has changed for the 2016 season.

Everyone is in agreement that the rule is stupid.

I'm not a huge fan of replay.

It sounded like a good idea knowing that an ump couldn't cost a kid a perfect game with an absolutely horrendous call at first...

...or that a homer could be ruled fair when an ump blew it.

But it's gone too far.

Now a runner holds the tag on the guy sliding into second. If the guy (who is clearly safe) lifts his spike a quarter of an inch off the bag to dust himself off and the tag remains, the runner is out.

Garbage.

(Unless it happens in favor of the Yankees).

But garbage.

And the bat-flipping, grandstanding, celebrating by dragging a dead parrot around the bases...

...I am an old guy...

I hate it.

Why are they messing with my game?

Stop it!

We still need good baseball plays...

...free of orchestrated celebrations!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

He's Your Son

Parenting is a crazy endeavor.

As a kid, you don't even begin to recognize what you're putting your Mom and Dad through, of course, but as a parent, you have just enough knowledge to know exactly when your kids are messing something up.

Yet the real tricky part is that your kids are little mini-mes of you and the beautiful wife.

Thankfully we are blessed with the ability to easily distinguish which characteristics that our kids display being to which one of us.

For instance.

There is one clean bedroom in the house.

It's mine.

It's easy to point out that each of the children followed the example of one of their parents.

Not mine.

And then there is the ability of one of our children to just go with the flow.

That's Sam.

He is not following my example in the above example.

Sam has a lovely personality that is not prone to displays of extreme emotion. If something makes him mad it's hard for us to know, because he moves on.

Yet Sam is now being called Little Clifford around the house because he has a tendency to nudge the others (who are captured in a life of pure leisure) to do a few of the things around the house that need to be done on a daily basis.

"He's starting to act like you when you're out of town," my beautiful wife said.

"And that's because the other two act like you," I said.

(Not a brillant remark).

And of course there are a whole bunch of moments when I catch myself acting just like my parents...

...when I sing to the dogs...that's pure Mom...

...when I bellow any name to get someone into the room to grab me a water, or turn on the television...that's Dad.

As a parent it is comforting to know that a little bit of you moves on down the line.

Somewhere...

...sometime...

One of our children is going to perform an act...

...reprimand one of their kids...

(perhaps one named Clifford)

And they're gonna' think...

"I just sounded like the old man."

And that will be really cool.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Bob O.

I have a good friend.

He's another safety dude.

Bob Overhoff, the safety manager at LP Ciminelli.

Well, this week Bob received a safety award.

The Edward J. Waring Award for safety excellence through the years.

He really, really, really deserved the award and I'm proud of the goofy bastard.

You see, Bob and I have worked in concert for years and years.

Back about 20 years ago we worked together.

(Sorry, Bob, I have to tell the story).

We were in a busy office when a salesman came by looking for Bob.

"Is Bob Overhoff here?" the man had the extreme misfortune of asking me.

"He's over there," I said. "The guy who looks like he's wearing a moose suit."

Through the years, we have laughed a lot.

Also, there aren't too many days that go by when we don't send a message that is all about safety of the guys we work with.

Bob watches my guys.

I watch his.

Together we have made a difference out there.

But this is about Bob!

"That Overhoff is a good dude," one guy who works with my masonry crew said. "He's approachable. He cares about us."

And I know Bob well enough to know that the guys in the field mean more to him than any award he can ever receive.

Bob has made a difference.

In a lot of lives.

Including mine.

Congrats, Moose.

Long-time coming!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Rocky Balboa Is Old

Watch Creed last night.

A fine edition to the Rocky series.

The acting was good. The fight scenes were great.

Like every movie in the Rocky Series...

...I enjoyed it.

But my mind wandered a little as the movie unfolded.

I saw the first Rocky when I was back in junior high school.

There had never really been such a movie although Raging Bull was a great boxing movie.

But Rocky had something.

By the time Rocky II and Rocky III rolled around, Stallone was in the prime of his life.

I distinctly recall seeing Rocky III with a girl and my ever-present buddy Jeff Renaldo and his date.

My date asked me, as we were leaving the theatre about my physical aspirations.

"Why can't you get some muscles?" She asked.

"I don't want muscles," I answered.

We both laughed.

The years flew by.

But when you go back to a Rocky movie...

...time sort of stands still.

In Creed the Stallone character talks about getting older.

"Time is undefeated," he mentions.

That blows!

Why do we have to get older???

But we do.

And each phase of life brings its own challenges.

Every girl since that date back in 1982 has asked the same question about the muscles.

I don't want 'em.

And now I'll never have them.

But as the movie went along I thought about all of the things that happened since I first saw Rocky Balboa on the big screen.

An entire life has unfolded.

The Balboa character references the happiness, the sadness, the top of the mountain and the valley floor.

We watched him live and we watched him fail.

Just as we all have.

I hope there's ten more movies in the franchise.

Somehow.

I hope I'm going to a premiere for the movie about Rocky's grandchild's first fight...

...in about 2040.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Anti-Discrimination: Great Job, Bruce!

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

What if people suddenly didn't think that pasta-eating, Yankees-loving, family men didn't deserve their rights?

I'd be in trouble.

I have chosen to live my life as a Yankees fan, as a pasta lover, and as a straight man with a wife and kids.

Do I do it because God told me that I can't be gay?

Or because I believe that God thought that Red Sox fans belong in hell?

Or because of one of the commandments that said 'Thou must eat linguine and clam sauce.'

No.

I lived my life as it naturally unfolded.

There are things I believe in that you don't.

There are things you believe in that I don't.

Laws should not be written that strip either of us of our rights.

Anti-discrimination.

There should not be laws on the books that strip the rights of Americans.

Right, gun owners?

But what is funny about it...is that some of those same people screaming about rights in that situation are quite comfortable stripping away the rights of people in the gay community.

God help you if you're one of those people.

Hypocrite is a word that can be easily looked up.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band canceled a concert in North Carolina that was scheduled for Sunday.

I mention Bruce and all the members of the E-Street Band because anyone who are fans of them know exactly where their members stand.

Little Steven stood up for the rights of people in South Africa in the 80's.

Check the lyrics for Born in the U.S.A. sometime.

Listen to the Nebraska record.

Listen to the song Streets of Philadelphia.

Or 41 Shots.

Or the Ghost of Tom Joad.

Bruce stands up for what he believes in.

What he believes in more than anything else is the right of the individual to make a life for themselves in America free of discrimination and inequality.

I feel comfortable putting those words in Bruce's mouth because he has been singing them to me for the last 40 + years.

I read the words announcing the postponement.

I know that Bruce and the E-Street Band Members hated doing that.

But the point had to be made.

Bruce once famously closed a show by saying:

"No one wins unless everyone wins."

He stands for the rights of human beings.

Let the Bruce-bashing begin!

I've never been more proud of my one true hero.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Masters

Did you see the kids of the professional golfers playing around on the greens?

Some of those kids were rolling in putts that Pops couldn't bottom out in 4.

And then their fathers were working on the par 3 course...

...there were something like 9 hole-in-ones.

Can't I have a hole-in-one this year, God?

I'm hoping to play fairly regularly, but work and my stupid, useless legs will have a say in the manner.

I golfed in air casts a few times last year!

I didn't get close to a hole in one.

And these jerks are rolling them in at will.

Ah well...we all have our talents.

But I don't get to watch a lot of the Tournament on television.

I usually just follow along on the phone because every single time I try to watch golf on television one of the geniuses around here will say something clever like:

"How bored do you have to be to watch golf?"

Golf is a great sport to play and I try like hell to tell my kids how much fun they'd have if they tried it...

...but nothing so far.

I don't get it.

They'll play hoops until it's dark, but they don't want anything to do with golf.

Their loss.

I started playing at 16 years old...and while I have never got great at it...I've enjoyed every single round.

It relaxes me.

And that might startle some of the Grape Apes who have watched me lose my s*it when I can't roll a putt in on the back nine at Eden Valley...

...but those pros might 5-putt a hole up there.

Ahh, the Masters.

No Tiger, but it will still be endlessly interesting to me.

Golf is back!

Even though they're calling for snow and single digits here in Buffalo.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Still Sickening

We watched the last episode of the O.J. Simpson series on FX.

First the Hollywood part.

The acting was great. Travolta did a good job with Shapiro. Theo Huxtable was a good A.C. Cowlings. The actors who played Lance Ito, Chris Darden and Johnnie Cochran were almost dead ringers for the real life people.

Ross Gellar as Robert Kardashian was spot on as well.

Sarah Paulson was really, really great as Marcia Clark.

But Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. was disconcerting as the two men don't look even a little alike.

Yet...

...none of that crap is important.

I'm glad they did it though because time took away some of the revulsion of the case.

I distinctly recall where I was when the verdict came down.

I was at work, of course, but I was standing next to a man, Ron Eberle, who would be dead within a year or so. He was a good guy, but like me, he wasn't at all surprised when the words 'Not Guilty' were announced.

"Sickening," he said.

On that day we had watched people celebrate the verdict as if O.J. had just scored a touchdown.

A lot of people here in Buffalo still say the following when the subject of the murders comes up:

"He was a great player, though."

And I made a personal vow...

...I would never go to a professional football game at the Ralph...

...unless they took O.J.'s name off the wall of honor.

They won't.

So you won't see me there.

Because as much publicity as the O.J. case got then and as much as it is getting now...

...the fact that he chopped the heads off of two people...

...is really still sickening to me.

The reminder that he was found 'Not Guilty' because of the smokescreens set up...

Ugh.

Sickening.

I hope they gave some of the money the series generated to the Goldman and the Brown families.

They probably didn't though.

Because the whole thing is sickening.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Perfect Moment

Life is pretty stingy with the perfect moments.

In fact we usually trudge along, moving the rock from one place to the next, not even appreciating the great times.

On Monday night a great sports moment became a great father-son moment.

Cut way back to 1977.

Reggie had just hit his 3rd home run into the New York night.

The Yankees were going to win the World Series for the first time in years.

My 13th birthday.

I was sitting with my Dad that night.

I can still feel how happy he was.

We shared a couple of huge salami sandwiches.

And I remember that moment through time as if it happened ten minutes ago.

During the course of this college basketball season I watched the Villanova Wildcats play at least 25 basketball games.

My son, Sam, is their biggest fan and it has been that way for at least ten years.

He has Villanova shirts.

He dreams of playing for them.

(Won't happen, but he's sure it might).

And the time of their game was like a weekly call-out.

"I get the big t.v. at 1 on Saturday! 'Nova is on!!"

Week after week.

And we all teased him a little about his crazy love, but down deep, I wanted 'Nova to win.

I really wanted them to win so my son would be happy.

I didn't know how much until Monday night.

I decided to watch the game in bed.

My hip is really barking.

But he was standing right in front of the television and they were all yelling...

...I would check in on them as the game wore on.

Yet, with 5 minutes left and 'Nova up 10, I decided to go down and see his face as they clinched it.

But it got wild!

The Tar Heels player hit a crazy shot with just about 5 seconds to tie it.

Sam took it okay, but the room was dead quiet as they went to time out.

He was thinking overtime, but he said:

"Arch!"

In Sam's mind, the excellent point guard, Ryan Arcidiacono, was going to be the star.

And Arch did dribble the ball up the floor and in a perfect basketball moment delivered a pass to Kris Jenkins (another favorite of ours), who buried the 3 as the buzzer sounded.

A simply perfect basketball moment.

I stood straight up and pumped my fist.

I let out a yell!

(I don't demonstrate much when my team wins!)

Sam took three running steps to the other side of the room, screamed "Let's Go!!!! Big Smoove!!! (Jenkins' nickname)" and as he ran by...

...reached out and embraced me.

We yelled loudly as Jake and our extra son, Quinn, looked on in mild amusement.

And perfect moments are there for the taking.

It's a sporting event...

...no need to put too much into it.

Unless you've been cheering with your boy.

Then it's something more.

And it couldn't have happened in any other way.

Pro sports is becoming a real headache to me with the crime and the money and the this and that...

...and college sports is certainly big business...

...but that was a great team win by a hardworking bunch.

Not a bad lesson to share with Sam.

"Big Smoove!!!"

Indeed!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

7 More Months to Go!

Anyone fatigued with the coverage of the presidential election?

Let's recap.

Mexicans are rapists.

E-mail accounts can be deleted.

Clinton couldn't keep her man happy...how can she manage the country?

Bernie is a communist.

Cruz somehow slept with five women.

All Muslims have to go.

Mexico won't pay for the f%^&Ing wall.

McCain isn't a war hero.

Abortion? What abortion?

I'm all for it...or against it...or something.

Jeb's mother denounced him.

Christie looks lost.

Now.

Think about the fact that we have seven months left!

What can we look forward to?

Will it be Trump versus Clinton?

Will the GOP have a battle in the summer because everyone hates Trump except for the millions who are voting for him?

Will Clinton get the nomination even though all the states are feeling the Bern?

Will Bernie even be around by November?

So many questions.

Americans are arguing themselves silly.

The rest of the world appears to be laughing.

As a wise one mentioned the other day...

...the World Series winner will be crowned before the election is even in the books!

I'm tired of it already!!

How about you?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Let's Make A Video!

Did you see the story about the Los Angeles Laker players who decided to make a video.

D'Angelo Russell decided to interview Nick Young.

He asked him about being unfaithful...

...well the subject got there anyway...

...and Young spilled the beans (stealing an expression from the Great Orange One).

There was a problem with it.

Young had a girlfriend.

'Had' being the important word.

Because somehow, the playful interview found it's way onto the Internet and as happens...it was grabbed and shared and sent and analyzed.

Nick Young's girlfriend was able to watch it play from start to finish.

Young and Russell had been good friends.

(There's that 'Had' word again).

Anywhoha...

It's all kind of funny to those of us who are just sitting back wondering about how two people could be so stupid.

Young for telling on himself

and

Russell for letting it get out.

The two men then had to step on a basketball court and play as teammates.

How do you think that went?

The Lakers are about 14 and 400 anyway so it didn't really matter, but even wide open I don't think Young is gonna' pass the ball to Russell.

I tried to use it as a training tool for my boys.

"You see," I said to Jake. "Everything is captured on-line."

"Yeah, if you're a moron," Jake answered.

Good talk.

Lessons learned?

When the compulsion to make a video hits you...make sure that you know who's holding the camera.

And

Don't cheat on your girl and then announce it.

(We're all the better for having followed this sad story).

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I Bought New Socks!

I go for work on my back, hips, feet on a weekly basis.

For the last three weeks or so I've had to make a joke because when I take off my shoes there's a huge hole in one or more of my socks.

Good news!

I bought 8 new pair!!

(I'm really quite an idiot).

The week has been fun.

Johnny and Sam are taunting, laughing, teasing, laughing, EATING, yelling, laughing, and playing.

Man...

...it's so much what I had every day with my brother, Jeff...

...and while it's sad...

...I've been able to share some of the moments with Johnny now.

I told him a couple of stories where Jeff got me good.

The April's Fools joke where he got me to call the zoo and ask for Mr. Fox.

A couple of the Florida stories.

It's tough.

Life is tough.

But the laughter rings out anyway, right?

Sam and Johnny and Jake and Johnny are simply 'Fuzzy' laughing all week.

And that's awesome.

Villanova is going to be playing for the National Championship on Monday night and that may not be the biggest story in the world, but Sam is on the verge of a title.

The boys all have their favorite teams and they root hard for them.

A title for Sam would give him 2.

His Buffalo-loving and Oakland-loving brothers are stuck at the number that they'll probably stay at:0.

Sam won with the '09 Yankees.

What else?

Sum-Ting-Wong

I'm not sure when my Dad said that first, but he used to say it when there was something out of the ordinary. I think it came from a movie somewhere.

I woke up on Sunday morning and with my first step out of bed I mentioned it to Paris.

"Sum-Ting-Wong."

Shooting pain in that left hip.

Different pain today.

Life is tough.

Maybe it's the new socks.



Saturday, April 2, 2016

Blood On Blood

Bruce has a song on the terrific Nebraska record that has a chorus:

"Nothing feels better than blood on blood."

Another lyric states:

"Man turns his back on his family; well he just ain't no good."

I thought about that a lot this week as we hosted a visitor.

My nephew Johnny made the trip to our home so that he could spend time with his cousin, and best buddy, Sam.

He also hung around with Matt, Jake and Jake's ever-present buddy Quinn.

In fact, it all started a little shaky as I got up for work on Wednesday morning. I lead the entourage of dogs into the living room where Johnny, Sam and Quinn sat watching an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

"Morning sunshine," Johnny said.

It was 5:30 in the morning!

"Why are you idiots up?" I asked.

"We just woke up," Sam offered.

But, of course, I knew better. They were coming off a night of video games, television shows and laughter.

I returned home about 14 hours later.

Sam and Johnny were shooting hoops in the driveway.

"I'm ready to block your shot, old man," Johnny said.

I could hardly walk over to him.

He tossed me the ball.

I tried to stretch as I brought the ball up.

I moved to my favorite spot on the court and really concentrated, nailing the 15-footer.

"All day," I said.

Johnny approached me.

He's nearly 6-feet tall already.

"I can block your shot," he said.

"I can't move," I protested.

(My legs were barking!).

But I dribbled and turned my back to him.

"My shot can't be blocked," I taunted.

He went for it, but I took a couple of huge steps backwards and shot the ball over his outstretched hand, bouncing it off the rim.

We repeated the action about 4 more times and even though I wasn't jumping and certainly wasn't running, my two steps back allowed me to get the ball over him.

He had no idea that I had perfected my fadeaway 30 years earlier as I tried to beat his Dad in a one-on-one.

Jeff had unbelievably long arms and the only way I could shoot over him was by stepping back.

"I can't block it!" Johnny yelled.

Sam took it all in, laughing.

"Come on...one-on-one," Johnny tried.

"I can't play a game," I said.

"We'll get you a wheelchair," he chided.

And back and forth we went.

I had taken my five shots...I was heading to the house...I scooped the ball up and brought it back to take one final shot and Johnny lunged at me.

He got the ball with the tip of his index finger.

"I blocked it! I blocked it! The shot that can't be blocked was blocked!"

I stumbled towards the house as he taunted me the entire way.

That was the first day!

We laughed.

The boys were thick as thieves.

"It's awesome that they're so close," Kathy said as we watched them head off into their rooms with fistfuls of chicken fingers.

Yep.

Nothing feels better than blood on blood.

(He barely got a finger on the shot!)

Friday, April 1, 2016

"I Blew My Leg Off"

It's amazing what people are doing to become somewhat famous.

Viral videos are all the rage and the dumber you can be, the more hits you get.

Take the story of David Pressley, a guy from Georgia.

Pressley did a public service announcement after he made his video to let the world know that safety around explosives is necessary.

Self-knowledge is a funny thing because it usually comes immediately after you've severely f*&$ed something up.

Pressley filled his riding lawnmower with three pounds of explosives.

Then he grabbed his high-powered rifle and positioned himself a little ways away because he wasn't sure how it was all going to go.

Then he got a little closer because nothing seemed to be happening.

His next shot blew up the lawnmower.

I listened to the audio of the incident because he was filming it so that he could be a star.

I heard the rifle shot.

Then the explosion.

Then Pressley say...

...very clearly:

"I blew my leg off."

He did too.

Then we hear the public service announcement.

I believe the voice belonged to Pressley.

He said:

"People got to be careful. These explosives ain't no joke."

Isn't that lovely?

I am a safety man.

Every single day I walk around, watching people work. I evaluate site conditions and write detailed reports about what might hurt someone.

For Pressley I'm imagining that I might write something like this:

"The employee was instructed not to fill up his lawnmower with explosives. He was further instructed not to aim his high-powered rifle at the explosive-filled piece of equipment. Finally, this dumb mother-#$#%% was instructed not to pull the trigger."

Pressley was genuine in his warning to everyone who was watching his video.

Take heed, people.

Don't shoot your explosive-filled lawn mower.

Phew...Thank God I told you!

I Found His Blankie

Before Jake was even out the door I decided that the room he was leaving behind needed to be cleaned up. It was pretty much an exercise in...