Thursday, June 30, 2016

Is America Great?

I'm starting to kind of like Iowa.

When I first started coming here for work I would cringe at the long, boring drive from Kansas City to Ankeny.

"Nothing but barns, 'Jesus loves you' signs and corn. I'm begging for a cow."

But maybe it's the green, or passing an intersecting road and being able to see for 20 miles. Perhaps it's the laid-back attitude of the workers.

Or maybe it's the loose meat.

But the place has grown on me.

And I had a fleeting thought yesterday as I passed by a beautiful field with an old solid barn on the property.

"America is pretty great."

Like anything else, life is about perception and how you feel at any given moment. There was a terrorist attack in Turkey. I don't really understand Brexit. The clown show presidential election is in full swing...but life looks okay just outside the window...in Iowa!

One of the neat things about the area is that you can see the whole sky. The incoming storms are clearly defined as the dark clouds press down.

The rain seems to come harder out here, and while I haven't yet seen a bad wind event I can imagine it.

"We like watching the twisters roll in," one Midwesterner told me on one visit.

"Really? That's what you do for fun?" I asked.

But when you think about the simple things in the context of the more complex life we supposedly live elsewhere...

...a lot of it feels great.

There are immigrants here too.

Not sure if they're legal or illegal, but the one guy perched near a fall hazard couldn't speak English. I found that my voice got louder as I yelled at him in English.

"We gotta' get rid of these people," he said, "but there won't be anyone working then."

So the questions and problems stretch all across the land.

The answers don't.

"You enjoy living here?" I asked one of the guys I've become friendly with.

"It's a shithole," he said. "And it's getting worse."

We all see the warts, I guess.

I wonder what those who are in America for just a short time believe.

I can almost imagine their texts back home:

"America is great, but everyone here is so mad about nothing!"

That's what I'm thinking.

Maybe the corn fields are making me crazy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

You Shoot Like A Girl

Guess I'm going with old basketball war stories this week.

Let's start by saying I loved playing that game. As a kid I practiced shooting every day. Even in the winter I would shovel off the court and go out and shoot.

I have three boys who do that sort of thing now.

Yet I should have also worked on dribbling...especially with my left hand...

...ah well...next life.

Yet I played enough and was on teams through high school, in rec leagues in college and logged quite a bit of court time after college.

I could shoot.

I stunk at everything else.

Yet the death of Pat Summitt made me think of women's basketball and my brush with that world.

I was living in Baltimore and I had the sort of summer that movies are made about. I hung with great friends (and family) and went to O's games. We'd cook out by the pool and play tennis and hoops.

Well...the lifeguard at the pool at the complex was a beautiful girl and we became fast friends. She'd beat me in tennis, but as slow as I've been all my life, that wasn't a big deal.

"You should play Rosemary in a one-on-one in hoops," someone said one day.

"I'd kill her," I answered. "I'm 6'...she's 5'4". How would she score?"

I have a big mouth

Rose finally heard enough.

"Let's play," she said. "But no one gets to watch. We'll report back to you."

So, off we went.

Basket out, game to 21.

I took an early lead with a couple of long shots, but then I missed.

Rose had the ball for the next half hour.

If I tried to defend her she went flying by. If I played off her she'd bury the shot.

I had a late flurry to make it look good, but she won:

21-15.

"I lost to a girl," I kept saying.

On the way back to poolside Rose came up with a plan:

"Let's say you won."

"Why?" I asked.

"'Cause it embarrasses me."

"You're embarrassed???" I asked.

A couple of weeks later I was seated in the job trailer at the construction site and when I turned the page on the college basketball preview I saw a familiar face:

Rose.

She was second in the nation in scoring at West Virginia.

I immediately called her.

"Why didn't you tell me?" I asked.

"'Cause you would've chickened out," she said.

Pat Summitt was a great coach.

Women can play hoops!

I'm a believer!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

North Collins Versus The Buffalo Bills


First off, I know the photo is sideways.

Cause that's how the game went.

North Collins High School brought in the players from the Buffalo Bills.

I'm not sure who arranged the exhibition game, but I was honored to be asked to play...

...and we thought we could win!

We had Chris Heinold and Big Wif!

We could handle their size!!

We also had a whole bunch of guys who were still playing rec-league ball on a regular basis.

We were all less than 30 years old and we were deep!



My buddy Chris sent me the photo yesterday and my mind immediately clicked to the first play of the game.

Chris would most certainly win the tip and we would be ready.

We sent my brother Jeff down the wing and his job was go nail the 3 and get the pro-Bills crowd on our side.

I drew up the play and it worked perfectly.

Chris tapped it to Joe who made a great pass to Jeff as he headed for the spot in the corner.



A perfect air ball!

Chris and I were laughing so hard that we had no chance on getting back on D and Jeff offered us both a double finger salute... which made us laugh even harder.

The game got out of hand quickly.

Chris Walsh, the former kick returner, was hitting shots from half court. I was trying to guard Pete Metzelaars and that was a little like guarding a wall.

Midway through the game I went up for a rebound against a huge man who played offensive line on the Super Bowl teams...

...he ended up on top of me...

...and the game announcer, PJ Griffin yelled, "Hey, get off Fuzzy!"

All in all it was great fun.

Yet the photo brought so much back.

We were so young!

We had hair!!

I remember talking to Chris Walsh late in the game.

"I thought we'd give you a better game," I said.

"We're professional athletes," he reminded me.

"I bet we can out drink you guys," I said.

Walsh laughed.

"No doubt in my mind," he said. "You guys are beautiful."

We certainly would've downed more beers than them.

So, honestly, I believe we actually won!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Fact Checking Politicians & No Gun Action

Every so often there's a speech.

After the speech there's this thing called "fact-checking."

I always read those recaps.

Trump made a speech the other day that was 90% inaccurate.

90%!!!

During the recap there was a throw-away sentence that said:

"We all know that all politicians lie."

Why is that acceptable?

And 90%???

Of course, that article could've been filled with lies too. Yet what is horrible about all of it is that people listen to those lies and then pass them off as truths. I plan on fact-checking Hillary too...

...who is mostly known for being dishonest.

And you know what is even more dishonest than all of that is?

The hypocrites who tweet out their "Thoughts and Prayers" after a mass shooting.

If you're thinking and praying...

...do something!!!

Any damn thing!!

You don't think there's a gun problem than do something else!

There's some kind of damn problem!!

There is a mass murder problem in this country!

It's not about immigrants when the shooter was born here.

It's not about Muslims only when a number of killers have been disenfranchised white kids.

But it's about some damn thing!

Stop sitting on your asses and waiting for the next one.

Think up something.

Thoughts and prayers just aren't working!

And neither is lying.

Figure the shit out.

We're all sick of it.

Gun lovers and non gun lovers alike.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Congrats To Emily!


The major frustration of a really frustrating week was that I couldn't be where I needed to be on Friday afternoon and evening.

I missed my buddy Emily's graduation party!

Yet, there are some of the Cataldo's for you!

It's funny, but I distinctly recall the first time I met John. His parents were visiting my parents back about 45 years ago.

We played some sort of goofy game, running all around the big house on Shirley Road...and I told my brothers:

"He's a good guy."

During the crazy fun years immediately following college we all hung out and Mary was always my drinking partner.

We all watched one another start our families.

Just living.

Great, fun living with lifelong friends.

Cut to last July...

...I'm leaving the Stones concert when Emily shoots me a text about how great the show was.

We talked Rock and Roll.

We have talked politics.

She saw Bruce and immediately understood the passion...

...and I'm fond of telling both John and Mary that they have wonderful children.

Which really does my heart well!

So...

...the hip shots messed me up!

But I usually miss the parties anyway!

Years ago a group of my friends threw a surprise party in my honor when I returned from California...

...I didn't go!

But this was different.

I really wanted to be there because I am absolutely convinced of the future star that will shine over Emily's head for years and years and years.

Congrats, kid.

I'm so proud that my great friends provided more great friends for me...you and your sis are the best...

...and Yankees fans to boot!

Go and get 'em!

The sky is the limit!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Happy Birthday Salvadork!

Sam doesn't care for being included in the blogs because:

"You make us sound wimpy."

We all know it's because my kids are all a tad wimpy, but that's neither here nor there.

It's Sam's 16th birthday!

And did I tell you how tough he is????

He's a rough and tumble guy.

Men fear him and women want to be near him!

Yet, Sam has had a rough week on this, his birthday week because:

Derrick Rose got traded from his favorite team, the Chicago Bulls to the New York Knicks

But did Sam cry?

Hell no! Cause he's tough!!

He scares the hell out of me!

I'll tell you that much. We all cower in fear when he enters a room!

But Happy Birthday, boy.

Despite how much you frighten me with your undeniable feats of strength, I must tell you that we all appreciate all you do around here...

...for all of us.

For the dogs.

You're a great kid and we're proud of you.

Now...

...please don't beat me up!

Tough guy.

Happy Birthday!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Sit-In

I see that the House Democrats are having a sit-in to protest the inaction on gun control.

Not willing to get into that whole debate, but it seems to me that the sit-in isn't all that much different than the sit-ins that have been going on in congress, by House and Senate GOP since about shortly after the 2008 elections.

There are just some signs for this one.

There have been a whole lot of people doing a whole lot of sitting on their asses for a long time now.

The Supreme Court judge died.

"We ain't doing nothing!"

They announced that!

Perhaps we can take another 'Vote out Obamacare vote.'

And whatever...it's our fault...we let them all get away with all of it!

I'm here to talk about getting paid for a job where you basically are paid to sit there.

I remember a buddy who took a job testing mattresses back in the day.

Evidently they tested his brain as he relaxed.

He got fired.

He kept showing up in stages of intoxication and they couldn't get much of anything from his brain waves.

(I often wonder where Fig is now.)

I also had a buddy who sat in a lighthouse all summer at night. He loved it. He read and probably slept and most likely ate like a guy going to the chair.

(I know where J.C. Is now - it worked out okay).

But the king of all the sloths was an equipment operator I knew in Baltimore.

This guy got his job because the union put him on after a hearing. He never once did an ounce of work!

Every morning I would ask him if he would run a piece of equipment.

He'd say 'not comfortable' with that.

Then he would read the newspaper.

And take his 15-minute break.

Then do word jumble puzzles.

Eat a big lunch.

Take a little nap to his afternoon break.

Stroll outside the trailer - usually with his hard hat off - then head home for the day.

He did that for two months!

On his last day I handed him his severance check and told him he was a piece of poop.

He laughed.

"That's the way the world works, kid!"

Unfortunately it appears that he was right.

SMDH!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Is There Life Before Death?

I was just a youngster when I saw a severely broken-down, disheveled man walking along the streets where I grew up. By all accounts the man was a good enough guy, but he had a severe drinking problem and every day was spent in the pursuit of whatever he could drink. I'd often see that beat-up guy and even at ten or eleven years old I would think:

He got one life and he blew it!

Which may not have been completely fair, but I still think of that.

Because every waking moment I have in my life is spent in the pursuit of not doing that!

And yet you wonder.

Is this all there is?

Well...

...kind of!

That's why there is an intensity to all I do. This intensity sort of infuriates people around me, every once in awhile!

"You did that half-assed," I'll tell the boys.

I had to get cortisone shots this week. Two sets of them. I had each procedure fairly early in the morning and my thought both times was:

"How much work can I get done before this stiffens up my back (which always happens) and I can't work anymore?"

Kathy touched base after each appointment.

"Are you coming home?"

"I have a few sites to get?"

"Of course you do."

And the pressure, of course, is internal.

I told a buddy of mine:

"Every day has to be productive!"

He answered:

"Getting better is progress!"

But maybe it all goes back to that guy I saw on the streets where I grew. I simply cannot fathom whiling away my time!

My idea for the year is to release two books by the end of the year. I have one in the vault and recently I've spent the time in the airport waiting areas writing something else, longhand, into my black notebook.

Too ambitious?

Maybe!

But there has to be life before death!

Maybe a psychologist would have a field day with that, but this past week was a good one.

I spent an afternoon with my family and I was having an easy conversation with my sister and during that talk I was actually thinking:

"This is great!"

When I stand over my ball at the third tee (which won't happen for awhile now) and gleefully think:

"The sun is on my face."

Even getting the cortisone shots I considered:

"I can get where I need to go today."

So.

Life before death?

You gotta' force the issue!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Happy Birthday to Jeff!!!

It's Jeff's birthday.

There are just so many times, during the course of a normal day, when I will simply shake my head.

Life cheated all of us of his presence.

Just flat-out cheated!

By life.

And through it all, I have not been able to figure out how to lessen much of the pain of that.

Yes.

Life goes on.

There isn't much of a choice.

You just have to suck it all up...

...shake your damn head...

...and try to live your life to honor his life.

Happy Birthday!

I am really unclear about how I can celebrate, but I know one thing for sure:

Celebrate is the word that personifies my brother.

Jeff was a walking celebration.

He treated a couple hundred days a year as if they were someone's birthday...

...and he loved with his whole heart.

So.

Raise a glass.

Sing a song.

Think of something that made me laugh.

I'll do all of those things.

And I'll celebrate Jeff's life.

(Like I do every day).

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

So Now What?

Cleveland finally has a championship.

They were partying hard and there will be a huge parade.

But how does it change anyone's life?

I love sports...

...I am a lot less interested in some aspects of it because of the money involved, because those guys are treated like royalty, and because going so ape-shit over these athletes is a little crazy when you think about it.

Absolutely crazy!

Yet, it is an amusing distraction.

So what happens now?

Cleveland fans go on social media and rip everyone else.

Golden State fans will go on and bitch.

LeBron's blocked shot will go down in history...

...and then he might walk as he is a free agent.

If he does will Cleveland hate him again?

I have a bunch of cut-aways from the NBA Finals:

1). I don't really love watching professional basketball.

They travel. The officials can't possibly officiate the game without being abused. Some times they call a foul automatically when a guy heads to the basket. Other times they let you get absolutely hammered out there and there's no whistle.

A game can turn on one call. (Green shouldn't have been suspended).

And I don't think there can ever be a game (like the NFL) without the losing team's fans crying.

Baseball simply is not that dependent upon the calls that are made.

You can get used to an umpire who has a bad strike zone.

2). The announcers drive me crazy:

Especially when they start talking about how great one player is..."Brilliant" is thrown around way too much for a guy...who is putting a ball..in a basket.

Amazing, stupendous, awesome, athletic...

...all good words.

Brilliant shouldn't be applied.

My other bitch about the announcing?

One of those dudes kept saying:

"He can really score the basketball."

What the hell else could he have possibly scored?

"The basketball" doesn't need to be in that sentence.

3). How much more praise can we possibly give LeBron now?

The guy is an egomaniac already.

I listened to exactly one of his post-game interviews.

He told me about how hard he worked. How much he studied. How he left his heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears (Thank God he didn't keep talking about bodily fluids after that) on the floor.

I know.

It's a great accomplishment for him and the city.

But lets keep it in perspective, huh?

Nobody will.

Enjoy it.

A World Championship dominating the news is way better than hearing from a political candidate, or God help us, a shooting...

...Way to go Cleveland.

...Way to go Pittsburgh.

Now Let's Go Yankees!

Monday, June 20, 2016

I Eat Crow

I was wrong!!!

Yep.

I said it.

Cleveland has their championship.

Congrats to their fans.

LeBron James is one of the greatest players ever.

But I'm not wrong...

...without a battle.

I still have to shoot off my BIG mouth, right?

Well, Al DeCarlo, my nephew, Johnny and my college buddy, Tony Mullins...

...take heed in knowing that:

You were right.

Big mouth was wrong!!!

But do I now like Floppy the Crybaby???

Not by a long shot!

I do like LeBron though.

And there's a difference.

When he plays the game without whining and flopping all over the floor like a fish that you just pulled into the boat, he's special.

I'll save you the description of him when he doesn't.

And on Monday morning I woke to a text from my son, Jake, about "The Best Press Conference Ever!"

I watched J.R. Smith...a guy I had wrongly dismissed as a 'bad guy' (not without reason) as he thanked his Mom and Dad, tearfully.

Best press conference ever https://twitter.com/kennyducey/status/744744009159966720

And it made me proud that my son recognized a great move like that.

Congrats, J.R.

And Al, Johnny, Tony and Cleveland.

Congrats LeBron...

...if Floppy shows up...

...punch him in the face!

I was wrong!!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!!

I think of all the lessons learned, courtesy of my Dad...

...who was an exceptional guy.

1). Work hard. No one owes you a thing. I often think of this as I continue to get up and go into work. Dad was a huge fan of showing up. And shutting up. And listening.

I earn my living in the construction business even though I can't put a cardboard box together. I went into that business primarily because that's where Dad was...and to work with him...was special. I watched how he ran a meeting with humor and sincerity. I still work that way...and when I use one of his lines...I smile.

2). Show your kids how to respect a woman.

Mom and Dad had some epic moments, and last week Mom and me talked about 'how they never, ever fought.'

Mom laughed.

They battled to be sure...but we always knew that they were in it together. Dad guided us in that regard as well.

'Make sure you tell your mother 'Thank you,' he would say.

3). Be careful when dealing with others.

Dad actually told me that 95% of the people you meet are cheating ass&@$es who will screw you at every turn...but I got his point.

Some days his estimate appears high. Other times it appears low. But it taught me to be cautious. Dad gave everyone a chance though and although crazy things came out of the mouths of that generation, he was never prejudiced in his actions.

Everyone had the same chance with him. He worked for a Japanese businessman in California. He employed men and women of all races. We even watched the gay parade from the hotel in San Francisco...

It was foreign to his way of thinking...but he treated all fairly.

So.

Those are just 3 of the thousand of lessons Dad provided.

Me with my boys?

The same lessons!

I am proud of my boys.

It's an honor to be their Dad.

I will celebrate all of those things today.

I prepared myself to golf today with three other great Dads.

I feel a little like the tin man most days...

...and being a Dad is hard work...

...but just as my Dad always felt:

It's worth every bump, bruise, moan, groan and nearly every dollar I've ever earned.

I'm a Dad!

And that's really cool!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Meat Loaf Hits the Deck

I'm glad that rocker Meat Loaf appears to be all right!

I've always enjoyed his music and loved, loved, loved Bat Out of Hell 3.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking through a job site and there was some hip-hop music on. The lyrics were horrific as I heard the N-word and the F-word about thirty times as I headed down the hallway.

(Do I sound like a cranky old dude?)

Well, I acted like one:

"Turn that shit down!" I yelled.

One of the young kids installing the drywall did so and said:

"Sorry, SIR."

"What's the name of that song, 'F$&k You?" I asked.

The kid laughed.

"It is a little rough."

We chatted a moment. I asked him to tell me the top 5 songs and name the artists.

He started rattling off a couple and another kid joined him and added a couple more.

"What happened to me?" I asked. "I've never heard any of the songs or heard any of the 'artists'.

Cut to Friday:

Classic rock on the way home.

Asia - Only Time Will Tell

The Who - You Better You Bet

Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good.

Pink Floyd - Hey You

Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back in Town

That's a waaaaaaaayyyy better top 5!!

I was singing all the words. The volume was to the max.

I once asked my kids about rock and roll...

...How could they not like it????

"A lot of those songs repeat the words over and over," Matt said.

"They're dinosaurs," Jake added.

"They sing too slow," Sam finished up.

But man!

"Listen to the words," I argued. "And they can all actually PLAY a musical instrument!"

The kids these days!!

They don't care!!!

Thank God Meat Loaf will be okay.

I can sing the hell out of "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad".

"I want you, I want you. I need you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna' love and don't be sad, don't be sad, 'cause two out of three ain't bad."

Epic!

Way better than "F$&k You!"

Friday, June 17, 2016

Devastating Week

Years ago I was on a golf course in Tampa, Florida. I had, unfortunately, hit my ball close to the lake, but I was happy to have found it.

I yelled to my buddy, Chris Miller, saying:

"I found it!"

"You better hit it quickly," he said and then he pointed to a spot just behind me.

"You got company."

I turned to see an alligator about 20' away.

There wasn't a practice swing.

I hammered my ball and ran.

Chris was laughing. I was scared out of my mind!

I also recall once asking my brother, Jeff if he knew the difference between a crocodile and an alligator. He said:

"One will see you later" while the other will "see you in a little while."

The devastating week continues.

I can't even comprehend that poor family and their loss. A two-year old boy gets killed. The frantic father watched it happen.

Of course, the blame game started.

Were the parents negligent?

Is the park to blame?

Why was the kid that close to the water?

None of it matters, really. Knowing why won't change anything for that poor family.

God help them.

I hope to never ever see a gator, or a crocodile again...

...and I still don't know the difference.

I think Jeff was unclear on the subject.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Beauty

After venting a little bit in yesterday's blog I spent a pretty peaceful day in the calm beauty of the New England states.

They talk a little funny up here, and they definitely have a baseball problem (and most of the Buffalomorons) would believe a football problem...

...but there's beauty up here.

(Not to mention chowdah and lobster rolls)

...especially a whole lot of beauty in Maine.

I drove for three hours, looking at the green all around me. There are a whole bunch of glances that could be captured on post cards.

And I barely thought about the ugly of the news across this great land.

Will we ever figure anything out?

As you can probably tell by yesterday's post I am pretty doubtful, but as I traveled Maine Route 1 I purposely considered all that has been great in my life.

(It's a pretty good exercise to do such a thing).

I first thought of singing to my dogs!

Yep.

Before the wife, kids, friends, siblings...

...before any of that.

Because your dogs have the grace that we all search for every day. Melky and Paris actually cry with excitement when they see me for the first time after a couple of days away.

They just feel the joy.

They don't think of constant threats in the neighborhood. They want and crave happiness...that's all.

From there I contemplated my beautiful wife and my adoring children and how they laugh...at one another...or together, at each other.

Trying to capture the laughter of someone in your mind will make you smile every time.

And then the memories...

...they're all free.

A long time buddy sent me a text about a long ago softball game. I was catching. He was pitching. The bases loaded and there were two outs. The score was tied.

A tense moment!

The batter hit a shot back to the mound and my buddy grabbed it. I came out in front of the plate and he looked at me.

"Throw it to first!" I yelled.

"Shut the $&@" up," he answered.

And then he threw the ball towards me.

The ball arrived a split-second before the runner.

Luckily I caught it.

Even more fortunate was that I held onto it as the runner from third hammered into me.

"A classic moment!" My buddy texted.

I laughed out loud at the memory.

And I thought of the beauty of life.

All free!

All in the confines of your mind!!

Keep the ugly out!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

WE SUCK!!!!

I am really irritated.

Really, really pissed off about the collective WE.

What the hell is wrong with us????

49 people suffer a violent death...

...and how do WE respond?

By attacking each other on social media.

I've been reading all the whining, arguing, stupid shit that we bring to light after every one of these horrific "tragedies".

Well...here's some news for you!!

WE SUCK!!

Typing out:

"Spoons don't make you fat, you libtard," doesn't help!

Writing:

"The 2nd amendment was for muskets!!"

Doesn't further the argument.

There shouldn't be an argument!!!

There should be people, working in concert, trying to figure out how to figure it out!

I saw one guy's post that said:

"A Muslim walks into a gay bar and says 'Shots for Everyone!'"

Then this guy writes:

"Too soon? LOL!"

What the hell is wrong with people???

People lost their lives. The ones who were there that night will never truly recover. They were partying one minute, then crawling through blood the next."

Before the place was even cleaned out one idiot after another took to their keyboards and assigned blame, and called names, and argued...

...spewing hatred in every single direction.

It was a massacre!!!

Young men and women took gunshots to every part of their body!

Imagine the pain.

Just imagine it...

...before you start arguing for or against the weapon he used. Or before you take to your bully pulpit to bash the political candidate you hate!

I'm done with it.

No more!

I'm not arguing one way or another because nothing is going to change.

Stop kidding yourself.

It won't.

Because we can't stop acting like brilliant, horrendous, assholes for long enough to let the people who died on the floor of that club get into the ground.

Spew the garbage if you want.

It's all out of fear.

We're afraid that America is the mess that it is.

And if you think it's that way because we stopped spanking our kids, or because we let gays live their lives, or because of corporate greed, or lazy welfare recipients, or because there are too many guns, or not enough guns, because of the black guy, or Dick Cheney or....

...what-f$&&ing ever!!!

When you type your next sentence...

...consider the people who die on our streets every night...

...and then think if you can help.

(Here's a hint: yelling who you hate won't help).

WE SUCK!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What Can Be Said?

"You gotta' be kidding me," my buddy Jeff said.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

We were on the 4th hole of the golf course.

I was just trying to get the legs, back and hip all working in concert.

"Shooting in Orlando," he said.

"I don't even want to know about it," my buddy John chimed in. "What else is happening?"

And as sad as that is...

...it's as sad as it is.

Are you shocked?

Saddened, certainly...

...but not shocked.

This is America in the 21st Century.

We have decided that this is as good as it gets...

...just hope it isn't your city.

And there was a moment when we all stood on the 12th green and looked back at the fairway where we had all dubbed our way up.

None of us were in much of a mood after playing the challenging hole.

But in the context of the shooting...

...playing with a barking back and numb feet...

...hanging with three great guys...

I looked back and said:

"That's beautiful."

John heard me.

He wasn't exactly smiling as he had just put one in the glimmering water.

"It really is," he said.

And we both took it in.

I may have even taken a deep breath.

"I don't even want to know about it," John had said.

I thought of that mostly as I took in the scenery.

That's just where we are at.

Sad.

No longer shocked.

Take in the beauty.

You never know what might happen...

...right where you live.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Happy Birthday Jake!

My boy is 19 today.

It is so hard to believe.

But I was in the chair at the breast cancer race and he came running in...

...sweating profusely.

"Twenty-eight minutes," He said. "I saw the huge clock in front of me and I challenged myself to make it before 10:30."

Jake wins a lot of challenges.

And I am as proud of him as I can be.

He's funny.

He's smart.

He can play all the sports.

He's passionate and I know how much he loves his mother, his brothers, his dogs and the fact that his life is right there for the taking.

But most of all, I am thrilled to death that I enjoy the company of all my boys.

You know, it's kind of funny, but when they were young I would always say:

"The mule stops doing all the work when you all hit 18. You're on your own!"

(I never actually meant it, but it sounds good).

But now that my boys are all getting there...growing into adulthood...

...I'm struck by the fear that they won't be near us every single day.

They can stay until they're 50 if they want!

Why go anywhere?

I'll keep buying the pop and the chicken fingers...stick around!

For their birthdays this year I broke down and bought Jake and Sam season tickets to the Bills games.

We made a pact of sorts:

"If the Bills make the playoffs you have to spring for the playoff tickets," Sam said.

"And if they don't, you can't sit here next year and tell me how good they are and I don't have to buy seasons next year."

"Deal," they both agreed.

But I have a feeling...

...that next year at this time we'll be debating how good the Bills are going to be.

And we'll be watching games together...

...and getting on each other's nerves...

...and laughing.

We laugh a lot!

Have a great day, J-Cup.

We are proud of you and we love you!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Long Live The Queen!


My boys don't much care for mornings on the weekends.

On Friday night we were watching Floppy the Crybaby throw a big fit as he lost and I said:

"How are you guys going to get up in the morning for the Breast Cancer Race?"

"It's for Aunt Cor," Sam said. "We'll be ready to roll."

And on Saturday morning I was still a bit concerned, but I heard the shower going...

...Sam was up.

"What about Jake?" I called out.

"Right here," he said.

Wow!

They love their Aunt and feeling good about helping out.

The entire race sort of got on us quickly this year, but they were ready to go.

Jake finished the run in just about 28 minutes.

I, of course, spent that time with my legs between two chairs as I tried to chase some of the numbness from the work week, but I was proud of my boys.

"Where's Sam?" I asked a sweating, panting Jake.

"He says he's going to finish dead last this year."

Sam strolled in about an hour later...

...no sweat.

Holding candy and a Mountain Dew.

"How was it?"

"Rough," Sam said.

And the hits just keep coming for The Queen of the Queen Team.

The team garnered the top prize for donations and I haven't even included mine yet!

It's coming Queen!

So proud of your efforts!!




Saturday, June 11, 2016

Are They Still Playing Hockey?

With apologies to Gordie Howe...

...is anyone still watching the Stanley Cup Finals?

The Sabres have been done playing for two months and the playoffs are still going on.

I think its the Penguins (who everyone outside of Pittsburgh hates because of Cindy Crosby) and the Sharks (who are so anonymous that I wouldn't be able to name three of them if you held a gun to my head).

And I'm a sports fan!!!!

I wouldn't have missed a hockey game twenty years ago.

I watched the Sabres play 82 games a year.

I argued that hockey was the best game to watch live and that the hockey players were the most down-to-earth of all the big-time sports stars.

What the hell happened?

I'll break it down for you:

1). The game is boring now.

There is way too much in the way of clutching and grabbing. No one has any idea what the stars look like. They don't market the league very well and their commish is a colossal bore.


2). It's very hard to score.

The goalies are wearing mattress pads. When the puck crosses the line the entire other team gets into goalie position in front of the goalie. So there are five guys playing goalie.

When the puck finally goes into the net everyone is surprised.

3). There is way less fighting.

I never liked fighting, but back when I was a kid there were fighters on every team. I think it's a good thing that the fighting is going away because a lot of those enforcers have been hammered into la-la-land.

But it has taken away from the excitement of the game.

4). Where are the games?

Do they even have a national television contract?

Maybe I'm missing the boat on this one, but I don't think that the Stanley Cup Finals has received much attention. I listen to sports on ESPN Radio...this is about what they have to say:

"The Sharks won last night...it's 3 games to 2 now. Pittsburgh will try to close it out in Game 6."

That's it!

Even Gordie Howe didn't stick around to see how it all played out.

But hockey was a great game.

I can fix it!

Make the nets bigger - the goalies are too big.

Make the pads smaller - it will stop people from playing goalie.

Make it 4 on 4 - the rinks are small with all those big horses running around.

Blow the whistle on the clutching and grabbing.

The game was meant to be played with speed and grace.

I miss hockey!

It's a bore now.

(This one is dedicated to Gag...who will now tell me that baseball is boring).

Gag is a silly, silly man.





Friday, June 10, 2016

Bristol Palin Got Married

Don't you love when love works out?

Actually, "The future is as bright as Alaska's midnight sun."

That's what the brilliant Mom said about the nuptials for those two crazy kids.

And when Sarah Palin speaks, we all listen, right?

Let's recap.

Bristol and Dakota Meyer have certainly had their ups and downs.

This, despite, the family values example of her mother (who may or may not have slept with an NBA Star while still married to her snowmobiling husband, who last we heard was still recuperating from his horrific snowmobile accident).

I'm not making any of this crap up!

Bristol did a tour where she spoke of family values and spoke of how important family is and how everything needs to be stable for a child. Along with Mom they lectured the American public on getting back to the days when family was the focal point of all that was right in America.

Then she got pregnant.

Then Bristol and Dakota had a child.

Then they set a wedding date.

The wedding (last year) was canceled a week before it was supposed to happen.

Then the big fight started.

Meyer filed a lawsuit seeking joint custody of his kid.

(He wasn't interested in the first child that Bristol had out of wedlock with her former beau Levi Johnston).

(Don't you miss poor Levi?)

Anywhoha...

Love has found its way!

Just when the lawsuit was ready to go off...

...the two crazy kids headed off and got married!

Isn't that beautiful?

Yeah...like the midnight sun in Alaska.

Good luck to those crazy kids and their lucky children...

...I'm sure they'll be just fine.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

No Yankees Game!

I'm supposed to be in New York today.

My ticket for tonight's Yankees game won't be in my hand tonight. I'm not sure if anyone will be sitting in that seat.

Of course, I'm a little disappointed.

One of my long-term clients had me out the NYC a few weeks ago. I had a two hour speech out there in May and when I was done they asked me if I would do the same talk, to a different group, on June 9th.

"Yeah...if you get me a ticket to a Yankees game," I said.

They did!

Then Tuesday morning they emailed me to tell me it was all postponed.

I must admit that I almost cried.

Anytime that you're on the verge of seeing the 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized American Sports...

... You get excited!

Plus they are playing the Angels.

Trout and Pujols!

But, alas, I have been on the road a lot lately. Being home for a full week was also quite appealing.

I broke the news to my family.

"You still have the plane ticket, can't you go anyways?" Sam asked.

"So you're going to be home ALL WEEK?" Jake asked.

Funny.

My family is funny!

"Can you check your schedule and see what works for you in July?" The client asked.

"YOU check the schedule," I said. "I'm not attending if the Yankees are on the road," I said.

There was laughter on the other end of the line.

"Oh, we could probably get you there if we promise another night out at an Italian Restaurant."

Probably.

So.

Watch the game tonight.

There will probably be a no-hitter or something.

At least my family is happy I'm home, right?

Right!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Twenty Minutes of Action????

We live in a society where people fake outrage on nearly every subject imaginable.

People become outraged over Chris Rock jokes, for crying out loud...

...and forget it when it comes to the political candidates.

The candidate that you like may say racist things, or mishandle confidential emails, but the outrage isn't complete unless it's the person you hate.

But there was true cause for outrage today.

Dan Turner is an idiot.

You know who he is?

The father of Brock Turner...the Stanford swimmer who was found guilty of sexual assault.

That man had the gall to write, in defense of his son, that the kid's future should not be ruined because of "Twenty Minutes of Action."

Brock Turner was convicted of attacking an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

There was plenty of evidence that he had raped the woman...

...effectively changing her life forever.

But Dan Turner is not alone as the idiot here.

Because the judge bought it.

Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Brock to 6 months in jail...

...not prison, mind you, but just the lockup.

6 months, probation and registering as a sex offender for a violent rape of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.

We have a long ways to go in the treatment of women in this country.

Bill Cosby allegedly drugged and molested women for years and years. There had to be more than a few people along the way who gave a wink and a nod.

One of the presidential candidates bashed a female news anchor this year by saying she had "blood coming out of her eyes or out of her wherever."

That same candidate has downgraded women at every turn and it gets the classic locker room treatment.

Boys will be boys.

And the father of a rapist downplays it by calling it "20 minutes of action."

And the male judge takes that side saying that they really should think about not ruining the boys life over it.

What a joke.

Someday.

Soon.

We should start thinking about the lives of the women who get ruined in these cases.

If we can't get tough when someone rapes someone when can we?

Sometimes 20 minutes of action...

...is plenty.

Shame on all involved here...

...except for the woman who was treated like garbage.

Literally treated like garbage.

That's enough to be outraged about.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Maybe You're Not Fat...

...maybe you're just bloated."

That's the hook for a new commercial that has been playing on Sirius Radio.

Over and over and over again.

And every single time I think:

"How stupid!"

But I don't turn it quickly enough and I hear the reasoning.

"That spare tire you have hanging over your belt might simply be toxic sludge that you can easily get rid of if you just eat our powder."

I'm picturing about a 600-pounder sitting there going:

"I KNEW IT!!! I am really just a skinny guy trapped inside this shell of toxic sludge!"

But, you know what?

They will sell a ton of that stuff...

...whether it's toxic itself or not.

Because they are preying upon people's fears.

The commercial then goes on to say:

"If your belly is getting too flat, too quickly, just take a little less of our miracle product."

I know a few things about weight control.

When I was a senior in college I took a weight management class.

The grade for the class was determined by how much weight you lost.

I forget the specifics but it was something along the line of:

Lose 0-5 pounds - D
6-9 pounds - C
10-14 pounds - B
Over 15 - A

We would get to the class, jump a little rope, get our reading assignment and take the rest of the week out in the big bad world.

I was a senior!

We drank beer every night!!

I gained 11 pounds before I dropped the class.

Little did I know, I wasn't getting fatter...

...I was just retaining toxic sludge.

Managing weight.

Please!

There's a hole in your face, just below your nose...

...stop trying to fill it.

It's kinda' simple.

Me?

I'm just a little bloated.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Throwing Your Cell Phone At Your Spouse

So what do we all make of Johnny Depp and his young, now finished marriage?

His wife, actress Amber Heard, filed the divorce papers with a beat-up face. She claims that the bruises came from Depp's cell phone.

You can tell he's rich...I-phones aren't cheap. Tossing them around is risky.

But the story gets worse.

Heard claimed that she feared for her life and that Depp came close to smothering her with a pillow as well.

All of it is obviously extremely disturbing.

There is no reason...ever...to hit a woman.

Period.

And yet it is done all across this land on a daily basis. Whether Depp did what he is accused of doing is up for debate and it will be sorted out in all the rags and entertainment shows for the next year.

Heard claims that their 15-month marriage was filled with fear.

She also has asked for quite a bit of compensation for her pain.

It always kills me when the expenses of the rich are put out in public for us peasants to see.

Evidently Heard is a big eater.

She claimed that her expenses include $2,000 a month for groceries and another 2 G's for eating out. Then she asked for about ten grand a month for miscellaneous expenses.

Pops and me couldn't do 4 grand a month for food.

We have 5 people living here and we spend about a quarter of the monthly stipend. Four of the five of us are men.

98-pound Amber Heard spends $4 grand a month on food!!

Now as far as Depp is concerned, I always thought that he was a tad off. Have you ever heard him interviewed?

Weird.

Yet weird and wife-beater is hugely different.

Perhaps he was trying to get her to stop eating so much.

(That joke had to be made...sorry).

Yet rich people are odd.

I hope the allegations aren't true.

And if they are...Depp needs more than a divorce...

...he needs a cage.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A Legend


Muhammad Ali once said:

"I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world."

He was certainly loved.

He was also roundly hated for quite awhile...and even today...the day after his death...because he stood up for what he believed in and was the world's most famous objector to the Viet Nam war.

"Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing."

I grew up in the 1970's.

It was impossible not to have an opinion on Ali.

Impossible!

That's a fact.

Ali was on television all time time. He was the most famous man in the world. He boxed, he sang, he danced. He spoke about political things. He was a Muslim and he even changed his name.

We still have plenty of bias about the things we don't know, right?

Ali was loved?

Certainly. But he was also hated. There wasn't a man or woman alive who didn't know of him.

My viewpoint?

I rooted against him every single time he fought a big fight. I loved Frazier, and Norton and Foreman.

Ali was too pretty.

But man, he was great.

He was entertaining.

He made me laugh.

As an adult he made me think.

I read a lot about him, of course.

He was well aware that he was black, Muslim and despised by those who did not comprehend what it means to be different than them.

(Sadly there are millions like that still hanging around).

He was a civil rights hero.

A humanitarian.

A thinker.

A Parkinson's battler.

And then a boxer.

The Greatest?

Put the entire package together and you just have to say yes.

He may have been knocked cold by Rocky Marciano or Frazier...or any of the other greats...

...but all told...

He was way more than just a fighter.

R.I.P. Champ

Ali stood up for himself..in every single scenario.

That's awesome.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Journalism

I really admire Dan Rather.

It blows my mind that he was on the scene for Kennedy's assassination and then proceeded to be front and center in our lives for years and years and years.

I've heard him interviewed a number of times and have always found him fascinating. To think that he got railroaded out of his job, for doing his job, is shameful.

He had his legacy battered because he tried to ask questions about George W's record with the military.

Those questions still have not been answered.

Yet Rather took the high road.

A couple of days ago he stood up again and wrote a note about Donald Trump going off on the hateful media...

...because they asked questions about the money that he pledged for veterans.

A couple of things here:

1). The Donald said he wanted to give the money without fanfare, but he was the one who announced his gift, tweeted about it, bragged about it in stump speeches and then...

...didn't actually deliver it.

Until the media held his feet to the fire.

On the day they brought their questions he actually wrote the check.

Which is all good.

It's good that money went to vets.

It's good that the media asked the questions.

It's even better that they weren't bullied into not asking those questions.

That is what journalism is supposed to be about...

...hold the mighty accountable!

Anywhoha...

Dan Rather was once again the voice of reason on the subject.

Yeah, the media stinks at times. They certainly make the high and mighty uncomfortable...

...but their job is an important one.

And I'm not sure it is as one-sided as some might think. The Donald certainly loves the media to present his message, or to tweet his logic.

You can't have it both ways, right?

I sincerely hope that the tough questions continue to be asked and when it becomes too tough...

...tough!

Keep asking!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Harambe

Took me a little while to process the death of the silverback gorilla Harambe at the Zoo.

(And to those who cry that there's not enough time to worry about a 'stupid gorilla' when we have ISIS to worry about...get over it...some people can consider two stories at once).

Listen, it's a sad story.

I work in a field where tragic things happen even though there are a million safeguards.

The zoo enclosure was up to code.

I'm not a huge fan of humans enclosing animals that belong in the wild, but there is a zoo in every city. How are we going to stop that?

Should the parents have been watching the kid better?

Well, of course, but Seattle should've run the ball in from the one as well...

...Monday morning quarterbacking is easy.

Perhaps they were good parents who had a moment of weakness. Should their lives be ruined over it?

Could they have shot a tranquilizer dart instead?

Listen to those who work with the animals...

...the dart may have agitated Harambe...

...causing him to kill the child.

How about slices of pineapple?

Could they have lured Harambe away?

Again, there was a huge risk.

What if it hadn't worked and we were now looking at live video of the kid being torn limb from limb?

(And there would have been plenty of video and everyone would've watched it and broken it down for entertainment purposes).

Harambe...a beautiful creature...lost his life instead.

A horrible decision.

But the one that had to be made.

I'm hoping that some good comes of it.

I'm glad that the parents didn't lose their child that day over a horrible mistake.

But most of all, I feel for those who grieve the loss of the beautiful silverback.

He wasn't just a stupid monkey (as some have classified him on social media) and it is okay for people to grieve his loss...

...like I said, it was a tragedy.

Sometimes finding someone to blame over it is the real crime.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June the 2!

There will be pork chops...

...Uncle Jim!

Plenty of pork chops!!

And I know the calls are coming.

From all the members of my family and I'm including Pops...

...who will check in first, I imagine.

And although I don't drink at all anymore...

...I will also raise a Miller Light today for Uncle Jim.

You know, it's funny, but life is certainly all about minutes to memories and I have to tell the story of Uncle Jim eating with us on one quiet summer Saturday afternoon on June the 2.

Jeff had lost the annual football bet.

"I'm not buying dinner out," he told me. "I'm cooking it instead."

I didn't have any problem with that.

He was the best chef in town anyway.

"Millie is stopping by too and I called Uncle Jim."

I didn't have a problem with that either. Chris Miller is one of my long-time friends and any time that Uncle Jim was there the party was better.

Jeff served a beef tenderloin that was stuffed with crab meat.

We all received our own roast.

There was pasta, and steamed veggies and there was also a large cucumber and tomato salad.

But there was a slight problem...

...Uncle Jim was late, so we waited.

"Where is he?" I asked. "I'm starving!"

Yet just as I said it the screen door slammed and Uncle Jim entered.

"Sorry," he said. "Aunt Sherrie ordered a pizza for dinner."

"You picked it up for her?" I asked.

"And ate two pieces," he said.

We all laughed.

We laughed even harder too as we watched Uncle Jim eat.

I swear to God, I recall that afternoon as the afternoon when I consumed the most food ever at a single sitting.

(And that's saying a lot).

I was stuffed to the gills.

"Who's finishing the cukes," Uncle Jim said.

"Not me," I answered.

"Me either," Said Chris.

And Uncle Jim then uttered the famous phrase.

A June the 2 phrase for the ages.

"Candy asses," he said, as he scooped up all that remained in the bowl.

Happy June the 2!

And to those no longer here...

..they're here...

...they're here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Some Rules For You

I see this written every so often and always read it through to the end...

...it's a pretty good list to live by.

It's not easy!

Small Stuff

Live beneath your means

Return everything you borrow

Stop blaming other people.

Admit when you've made a mistake.

Give clothes you don't wear to charity.

Do something nice, try not to get caught.

Listen more and talk less.

Every day take a 30-minute walk

Strive for excellence, not perfection.

Be on time.

Don't make excuses.

Don't argue.

Get organized.

Be kind to people.

Be kind to unkind people.

Let someone cut ahead of you in line.

Take time to be alone.

Cultivate good manners.

Be humble.

Realize and accept that life is unfair.

Know when to keep your mouth shut.

Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.

Learn from the past, plan for the future, live in the present.

Don't sweat the small stuff.

It's all small stuff.






Week In Review

Spicy 🌶 out!! How can we not be disappointed? I'm thinking that SNL will get one more episode out of it. They have to do something ...