Friday, September 30, 2016

Nuns Run Bald

The Bruce book is everything I thought it would be. I can hear his voice telling me the story and while I had heard a lot about his life it is different coming right from him.

One of the parts I really enjoyed was his interaction with the nuns during his Catholic school days.

Bruce got beat-down!

I know the feeling!

There were certainly a few nuns at Holy Spirit who had their absolute fill of me.

I was paddled almost daily because of my wise-mouth. The problem being that I understood the penalty pretty early on and I still mouthed off...

...so even at the tender age of 8...

...I wanted to mouth off...

...damn the consequences!

Bruce also told a story about being an altar boy. In his story he was dragged, faced down, by the priest across the altar...

...with the church filled to the rafters.

He spoke of the audible gasp that went up from his family.

I know the feeling!

I was about 7 or 8 and I was sent out to light 8 candles...before Mass started...

I was holding a single match for way too long.

I lit two of the candles, but the match burned down and got to my fingers. When I felt the burn, I shook my hand and yelped.

The congregation howled!

I heard the priest bellow:

Get in here!

He grabbed my left ear and twisted.

"Are you a retard?" He asked me.

That had been the second time I had been referred to as a 'retard' in my early life. My kindergarten teacher had also mentioned that possibility when I jumped on my locker mates back and left him with about 48 stitches on day one.

But...

...no hard feelings.

As Bruce mentioned:

"I don't participate in all of the services, but I'm still on the team."

I'm still squarely on the team as well, but when someone hammers you with paddles, twisted ears, nasty words, rulers, door knobs and whatever else they can grab to bash you with, you gotta' give it to Bruce's lyric:

Nuns run bald through Vatican Halls, pregnant, pleading Immaculate Conception.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Adios!

So, Big Papi is all done with the Yankees.

Good riddance.

Here's why I despise the guy:

1). He was good.

Yeah, he killed the Yankees with big homers. He would lean in over the dish and just hammer the ball. I remember a huge game in 2004. He was at the dish with the bases loaded and two outs. Kevin Freaking Brown was pitching to him.

No big deal, right. Get him out, get into the dugout. 7 out of 10 times that happens to the great hitters. There was a break as the Yankees pitching coach went to the mound. They showed Brown's face and then Ortiz' face. I remember thinking:

Screwed.

He hammered the first pitch for a bases-clearing double and clapped his fat hands at second.

2). He cheated.

People love to rewrite history.

"I was against the Iraq war."

Easy to say now.

Ortiz failed the same test that A-Rod did. For some reason he announced that he was confused and that he'd find out what the hell happened and get back to us.

That was 12 years ago.

He cheated. A whole bunch of them did. He wants the Hall of Fame. He wants to pretend that he wasn't on that list.

And baseball writers are going along with it.

Cheated.

3). He plays for the Suck Sux

I hate them.

4). They NEVER moved him off the plate!!!

Many a nights I would scream at the television! Dust him!!

He leaned over the plate as if he were eating at a buffet and the Yankees, for some reason, never made him fall on his ass.

My ultimate dream for his last game ever?

Yeah, him rolling around in the dust.

I don't want him hit, mind you, I just want him to have to bail out!

Never saw it.

5). Did I mention that he cheated?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Playing A Game With Divine Intervention

I was only 14 years old when Thurman Munson died in a plane crash. He was the captain of the Yankees and a hero on two of their championship teams.

Of course I loved him and I distinctly recall how I found out:

Mom pulled up at a little league baseball game I was watching (Jim was playing). She rolled down her window and called me over to the car. She had come from home just to tell me because she knew I'd be upset and she didn't want someone else to say it to me.

As it was there were other guys there...friends of mine...so I couldn't CRY in front of them! I do remember that my head hurt from trying NOT to cry!

I didn't want anyone to call me a sissy.

Cut to Sunday morning:

I broke the news to my boys that Jose Fernandez had been killed in a boating accident. Fernandez was wildly respected around here for his ability to throw a ball. We all believed he was one of the best.

Then last night, Dee Gordon of the Marlins hit his first homer of the year. His first one! He hit it into the second deck, rounded the bases, sobbing, and hit the dugout and cried with every single one of his teammates.

No one called him a sissy.

Sam watched the highlight "at least 10 times" he said.

On Tuesday morning Jake sent me a text that showed what Gordon had said about never having hit a ball that far...even in batting practice. He implored his teammates to believe in God.

We talked about the accident.

(I'm a safety guy).

I used the moment to caution them about not taking chances...even when you're having a good time.

It's a horrible tragedy.

The Marlins had 16 men reach base on Monday night.

Fernandez wore #16.

Gordon hit his first homerun.

Bourne, a slow-footed big man, hit his first career triple.

"We had some help out there," Gordon said.

Maybe they did.

When Munson died the Yankees came back from a few runs down in the 9th to beat the Orioles.

Bobby Murcer drove in all 5 runs that night...

...right after he eulogized Munson.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Debates

I can't do it.

I can't listen to any of it.

As a matter of fact, I used to love watching the early morning news shows.

Can't do it anymore.

I didn't watch the debate.

Years ago I got so disturbed during the Biden-Palin that I remember stepping in to where my beautiful wife was watching a show about remodeling houses and saying:

"I want to smash her head off the podium to see if it's hollow."

So I did not put myself through it.

I hate lying.

If there is one thing I hate more than anything in life it's deceitful behavior.

(Maybe the nuns beat that into me).

But when someone tells a known lie right to my face, I get really agitated.

The candidates for the highest office in the land tell more lies than truths.

That's the truth!

And today I won't listen to the recap of any of it.

A Trump fan cornered me the other day and began telling me about how badly we needed Trump to make changes.

It was on a job-site where I was thinking about a hundred other things.

I laughed.

"Why are you laughing, you want Hillary?" He asked.

"Don't matter what I want," I said. "New York will go Democrat in the presidential election."

"Maybe not!" He declared.

"Look it up," I said. "You're all in a lather and Trump isn't winning New York. So, your vote, my vote and his vote don't actually matter."

The guy looked forlorn.

That's the way it is, folks.

Argue all you want.

Try and persuade everyone you see.

New York is blue.

There's little debate.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Missing Conversations

I was shaken by the news of the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

I'd just been talking with Pops about how the Yankees had enough in prospects to go and get him in a trade. He was a talented pitcher.

He was also just a young man.

He lost his life after just twenty-four years.

Tragic.

And the news of his death came less than an hour after I had said 'Good morning' to the photo of my brother that hangs in our finished basement.

I did the sign of the cross and said, "Bruce's book comes out on Tuesday.'

I did this because I knew that I was going to really miss the conversations that we would have about it.

(Jeff loved Bruce more than me if you can believe that!).

But deep down, I've learned to know that some of that is all right because I am still very in tune to what he would think about any situation.

And that's where this becomes a little more positive.

Because I realize that a lot of what Jeff's life generated is still here for the taking.

The tremendous love.

The laughter still ringing in my ears.

The important conversations that taught me the true generosity of his spirit.

All still here.

The same sort of thing happens with the people who shared moments in my life with me.

My high school and college friends.

My siblings.

And that's what is really cool about being alive.

Those conversations aren't really missing.

They're right there.

In our hearts and minds.

The love wins out.

The love always wins.

Death shakes us, for sure, but it doesn't have to endure.

Have those conversations.

Forge ahead with all you have experienced...

...leading you on.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Chaos

Bombs in New York.

Cop Shooting.

Another mass murder at a mall.

On and on we go.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and fell down to the couch on Saturday morning. Another trying work week in the books...two days to get back to walking around shape...put on the morning show and that's what I get.

A recap of absolute chaos.

There was a moment there, as I watched, that it occurred to me that perhaps they were talking about a whole 'other country.

Undeniable unrest.

And why?

We won't have the same reaction to the mall killer in Seattle as we did to the bomber in New York.

He didn't appear to be Muslim.

People keep jumping to one side of the aisle on the cop shootings too.

Was it a book or a gun?

Check this angle.

Let's see if we can make it more inflammatory!

Then in between they promote the Clinton-Trump debate as if it's the second coming of Tyson-Holyfield.

The music and the announcer voice are the same.

As if it's a game.

Then when we hear from them...the words are not measured.

One side or the other.

Who are you rooting for?

It's a joke.

I went to TBS - they were running an episode of Seinfeld.

The one where Kramer has the Merv Griffin set.

Much better.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Brad & Angelina

So sad.

We all know the story.

They were so in love that it caused the breakup of the Jennifer-Brad Marriage.

How did we even live through that?

But all was well. Jennifer landed on her feet, and the Pitt-Jolie coupling resulted in them traveling the world and stamping out poverty.

They had about a dozen kids, kept making movies and looked great.

But now that's over!

Did he cheat?

Did she cheat?

Some say that Brad is broken-hearted...

Others say that Brad doesn't care.

He smokes pot and runs around on her.

He doesn't smoke pot...that much...and he still loves her.

Who knows what to believe!

But more than all that, the first thing that comes to mind is:

Who gives a flying %^%&?

Everyone always says that, as they sneak a look at what the hell happened.

There's no shame, it's human nature.

Yet there isn't a person alive who would admit to wanting to know what went wrong...but something went wrong...and deep down...we want to look at it.

Good luck to those crazy kids.

Enjoy the breakup because a couple of weeks from now we're going to wonder:

Who is Angelina dating?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bruce's Birthday

My sister sent me a text yesterday:

"Just read the Vanity Fair Article on Bruce. I can't wait to read that flipping book!!!"

I know what she means. Before answering her back I went to the books on my i-phone to see if perhaps they had sent me the book early.

After all, today is Bruce's birthday...maybe they let it out early.

But no.

The book was on my phone, but it just showed:

"This item is pre-ordered and will be available on September 27."

"I can't wait either," I answered. "I pre-ordered it."

"Me too," Carrie answered. "And I keep checking to see if it's there early!"

So, we are doing the exact same thing.

The reviews of the autobiography are coming in too and they're talking about Bruce's life with his family.

He raised his children not explaining that Mom and Dad are rock stars.

"Why do they keep bothering you?" His oldest son asked early on.

"I'm like Barney for adults," Bruce answered.

"That guy had a tattoo of you!" His kid said.

A funny exchange.

Happy Birthday, Bruce.

You're better than Barney.

Best news?

He has no plans on quitting.

He keeps giving us presents.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sick or Not?

Returned home to find some sickness floating around.

Sam was feeling lousy even before I left and he evidently was successful in his effort to pass it around.

Kathy was hacking, aching and in deep need of sleep.

Beautiful!

School seems to be the wild card in the start of the sickness garbage. I often think about it on airplanes where people tend to hack up all sorts of stuff in a closed box.

Yet, with all that being said, I can usually fight it off. We all understand that I'm in superb physical condition, but there must be something more to it than that.

(I hate bringing all of this up as it feels like I'm tempting fate)...

...but it usually makes it all the way through the house and I escape.

Hot peppers?

That's my theory.

I put jalapeƱo peppers on my cereal for crying out loud. Two or three times a day I'll be drinking a little milk to try and put out the fire in my mouth...

...but I keep eating them.

I think that research shows that I may be on to something, but a lot of times I feel it and I don't give in.

"I ain't sick."

I talk myself into thinking 'I'm fine.'

But...

...I don't want to sound like a dope. A few years back Donald Trump was on the Opie show and he said, "I've never been sick."

The hosts were laughing at him.

"Nope! Never had the flu. Never had a cold," he said.

Of course, that has to be true, right?

He would never exaggerate something!

I have been sick!

Just hope I get away with it again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Terror

Terror works in a amazing way.

When something happens it terrorizes millions of us and we scream out in absolute fear.

I was listening to the bar owner who turned in the terror suspect. The bar owner was not a white American. Certainly he is a 'good' American though. In his assimilated English he patiently told the story for about the 2,000th time on Tuesday morning.

As he spoke I was thinking that his brown skin, and jilted handle on the language could certainly get him tossed if terrorism-handling is taken to the max.

He also said something profound when told he was a hero.

(I'm paraphrasing).

"I was just being an American. Chinese, Muslim, Mexican, all of us Americans have to work together."

Profound.

One of the other things that always strikes me about these attacks is that when someone gives a measured response to an attack someone screams:

"Why don't we call it what it is? Why don't we call out Ahmed or Abdul, ow whoever?"

Does the label manner?

Those same people scream out when you put the shooters name on television when it's a white, lone wolf guy who shoots up a theatre, or a school, or a church.

So, name them if it's terror and keep them anonymous if they are, what? White?

By the way, there are 100 people killed by the domestic terrorist with a gun than a pipe-making religious zealot.

But of course, I'm against all of the attacks!

I'm against the bomb-makers and the gun-wielding mental patient.

I want my kids to move around this beautiful country not crippled by fear. I have enjoyed that sort of life all of my life.

I've taken planes, trains, buses and subways.

I've never once thought: "Uh-oh, that guy is Mexican or Muslim or Indian, or Chinese. I've never once caught the crazed eye of a regular white dude and thought 'The lights are on but no one is home.'

I look around, but I wonder if I'm observant. I just don't figure it's gonna' happen because the chances of it happening where I am is minimal.

Terror hasn't captured me yet.

The plane I stepped on early this week had less white guys like me on it than anyone else. Truth be told the plane was at least 75% Asian.

If my plane was loaded after all non-American-born people were tossed...I could've slept across three seats.

The answers aren't easy.

I do believe that isolation, fear, hatred of the unknown and reacting in blind rage...

...won't work.

But I appear to be in the minority there.

Line 'em up and attack the ones who look a certain way, or don't speak perfect English with just the right accent is actually the right solution for many.

But that bar owner?

The guy who made the call that captured the suspect?

Yeah.

In that scenario described above...

...would've been dismissed...

...as a terrorist.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Daddy's Home!

On Sunday afternoon I thought about charging my I-pod for my flight out on Monday morning, but I didn't do it because my charger cord had been flat-out stolen.

I knew who the criminal was.

"Was going to charge my I-pod," I said, "but it's missing because of your passive-aggressive need to aggravate me when I'm not even home," I said to said criminal.

"That's just not true," my beautiful wife said. "I steal your things so I can be closer to you while you're on the road."

The missing charger cable then opened an entire discussion about how things roll when I'm not around.

"Melky isn't the same when you aren't here. She's so depressed that she hardly picks up her head."

"See. We know who loves me," I said.

"We're all that way," Kathy said. "We sit in a circle, holding hands, trying not to cry."

But I wanted the real picture.

"It's just more relaxed," Sam said. "Dishes can stay in the sink or in our rooms. We don't feed everyone at the same time each day."

"So it's a mess of disorganization," I said.

"Yep!"

Which, of course, would drive me crazy.

"But we've been talking," Kathy said. "The turnaround has been too quick lately. We need another day to get things cleaned up."

"Tell me how that works," I said.

"Easy. One person goes to the airport. The rest of us clean the house. We've been cutting it close," Kathy said.

God I feel so loved!

Of course, when I come through the door there is some excitement.

Melky and the Pair run to greet me.

Melky does a couple of jumps in that air and races to the box to grab a bone. She then runs through the house...absolute love driving her actions.

The rest meander out a little at a time.

"What's up? Yankees suck," is what I get from Jake.

Sam?

Poor kid is still cleaning.

"How'd it go?" I'll ask him.

"Those two didn't move a muscle."

"You must be glad I'm here," I say.

"Yeah. I can use the help."

Daddy's Home!!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Maybe I'm Wrong

I don't think that the NFL should have allowed Sharper to be on the Hall of Fame Ballot.

I also don't feel that a stadium of people should be cheering for Joe Paterno at Penn State.

Presidential candidates shouldn't make threats against the person running against him.

We shouldn't dismiss people who feel that their race is being short-changed.

Double murderers don't belong on a Wall of Honor.

And you see, those things bother me.

I really believe that the collective 'We' should aspire to be more kind to one another and I don't get why it doesn't bother more people.

I really don't get it!!!

So, perhaps I'm wrong!

I read the article on the Penn State honoring of Paterno. Franco Harris said that while the 2-minute video tribute to Paterno was a good start...

...he thinks that Penn State owes the Paterno family an apology.

Seriously???

He was a good coach. He was a god on that campus...but can't we all agree to stop pretending that he didn't know what Sandusky was doing.

He knew!

He didn't want it to tarnish his legacy...so truth be damned...he ignored it.

The NFL allowed Sharper on the Hall of Fame ballot. The Buffalo Bills leave O.J. on the wall...

...cause they can't be bothered...

...to send a positive message.

This presidential campaign has taken us into the depths of negativity. Ask either candidate about their plan for any subject...

...and they'll answer by calling the other candidate names.

Like they're in 2nd grade!

I'm disgusted by the fact that we do not aspire to be more.

But I'm even more concerned that no one gives two shits anymore.

The collective 'We' has quit trying.

Think about it...

...back just a few elections ago Gary Hart was shamed out of his run for presidency when he was busted having an affair.

Clinton got lambasted for smoking a joint when he was in college. (Not to
mention his other problems that shamed him forever).

Now?

Lies, scandals, mocking people, giving people nicknames, threatening violence, honoring rapists, enablers, murderers!

Why are 'We' handing out free passes?

Seriously.

Am I wrong?

Thinking we should be better than this????

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Life Is About Suffering

Was in line at the convenient store the other day. I had my dollar ready for my paper, and the dogs were waiting patiently in the car (I had promised a rawhide when we got home) and the woman in front of me was talking.

Talk, talk, talking.

But it would've been rude of me to reach around her and plop my dollar on the counter to interrupt her.

Because she was talking about her 19-year-old niece who had unexpectedly slipped into a coma for reasons unknown to any of us or her doctors.

The woman behind the counter was offering support and prayers, but the poor woman was a bit of a mess about all of it.

She was understandably upset.

"My father-in-law just died two months back too," the woman said. "Why do we have to suffer so much just to get through life?"

I almost said: "'Cause that's how it goes."

Almost.

The woman finished up and the woman behind the counter continued to offer prayers.

I wanted to pray for the woman too, but she headed to the door without looking at me.

I placed my dollar on the counter.

"Life is tough," the woman behind the counter said as the poor distressed woman pulled away.

It certainly is tough. No doubt about it. 19-years old is way too young to be battling for your life. Losing a family member is pure torture.

We all have to battle through all sorts of things.

Every single day that we are here.

I didn't have anything brilliant to say at all. I felt a little down after having heard the story.

But I got back to my car.

"I got the paper," I announced to the dogs.

They were fired up.

We headed to the house.

The dogs were running wildly into our home...they went straight to the box where their treats are held (no more honor system).

I gave them one each.

They took off for the top of the stairs.

Happy as hell.

No idea that life is about suffering.

That's what it comes down too.

Enjoying the little moments...pushing the suffering out of your mind.

I hope that kid is all right.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Season Over???

About 6 months ago I was thinking about the fact that the kids are getting old.

I figured that I would do something nice because it won't be all that long before they'll be on with their lives.

So I told them they could find two season tickets to the Bills games. They didn't have to be told twice. They found the seats quickly and the Bills started sending them correspondence.

God were they excited!

Sam was counting down the days to the start of the NFL Season. The Bills season began on September 11.

It may have ended on September 16.

The Bills lost twice.

Looked horrible, actually.

I wasn't watching it on Thursday night. (I was busy torturing myself with the Yankees).

The Bills were just at halftime when I shut it down and tried to go to sleep.

The window was open. I live just 1.4 miles from the stadium. I heard the cheering crowd, the train whistle and I imagine fireworks that they set off when the Bills score (there's some kind of boom).

So, I couldn't get to sleep.

Then I started hearing the sirens. Loud, piercing sirens that scared me.

Did something nasty happen?

All kinds of scenarios played out in my mind.

(Turns out that the sirens were just for the drunken idiots who were smashing into things all around the stadium).

The game ended.

I didn't see more than 3 plays, but I felt bad for the boys.

Then I laid back and listened to even more sirens.

There are usually at least 30 arrests at every home game.

I waited.

Knowing that I couldn't go to sleep until the boys were home safe.

About 45 seconds after I heard their voices...

...I was asleep.

We were all up 5 hours later for work and school.

"Did you have fun at least?" I asked Sam.

"It sucked," he answered. "5 days and the season is over."

Ah well.

We'll get 'em next year!

Friday, September 16, 2016

This Depression

So Springsteen is talking about his life and last year he eluded to the fact that through his life he's suffered with depression.

By all accounts Bruce's had an unbelievable successful life with millions of people all over the world admiring his every move.

He has also remained relevant and productive in a high-profile career. He has a wife and three children.

And he spoke of the depression hitting him, out of nowhere, and lasting a year at a time. There were days when he couldn't lift himself out of bed.

Which is amazing given the energy that Springsteen shows when performing. He works tirelessly.

Perhaps to run from what he's feeling, evidently.

I've known people who have struggled with depression. I think we all know someone like that, but it's hard for most of us to imagine that millions and millions of dollars doesn't help.

But it doesn't.

Of course, Springsteen speaking out about it has not garnered him much sympathy. I made the mistake of reading the comment section that followed the article.

"Aww, poor rich guy is sad!"

"He's a liberal! That's why he's depressed!!"

Personally, I am actually a fairly optimistic person. I honestly don't get too far down in the dumps too often. Like everyone else there are moments, but there are so many wonderful things in life. There really are and while people who suffer with depression know that...they are unable to shake the dark cloud that hovers over them.

And then the clouds lift.

Bruce spoke of hiding it from his kids and needing his wife to get him through the darkest of days. He also spoke of his Dad suffering from it all of his life.

It most certainly makes me feel for people who battle such a disease.

Bruce put a song called "This Depression" on his Wrecking Ball record.

It's an almost painful song to imagine as the narrator is truly battling it.

Now we understand why.

Just hard to imagine that someone who brings so much joy suffers so badly.

Here's hoping that his speaking out about it helps a million people who have that cloud having over their heads.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Catching Up

So, it took two massages, but I have feeling back!

What did I miss?

The mood in Buffalo is a little down. Football fans everywhere were going crazy with anticipation, but alas, the squad looked awful.

But there's hope!

Rex Ryan joined his brother in removing his lap band because "he won more games as a coach when he was fat."

Perfect.

Two big dopes.

I never expected a Yankees pennant race. They were supposed to be done. But here we are, and it feels a lot like 1996 when they won the World Series as underdogs. Not sure if these guys can pull off even a playoff spot, but it's been fun.

Bonus baseball.

Haven't checked in on the stupid presidential race in awhile. Have I missed anything there?

A sharp, brilliant exchange of ideas perhaps?

Thought I saw something about Hillary being loaded into a van.

She sick?

I'm sure Trump wishes her the best.

Compassionate dude there.

The darkness in the morning and the early evening is disconcerting.

Means the cold is gonna' come.

I don't want it!

But the biggest news of all is that we are 12 days away from the Springsteen autobiography.

I've pre-ordered it, but that's not enough...

...he's going to be doing book signings!

I'd pass out if I had a chance to shake his hand and get a signed copy.

I'd also hand him the books he appears in that I've written.

Birthday is coming up.

Maybe I fly to a big city somewhere and stand in line for a couple of days.

That's who should be elected president.

He's the true boss!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

It Only Hurts When I Breathe

There's an old joke that picks up the words of the only survivor of a plane crash in a remote jungle. The rescuers finally get to the guy who is the lone survivor of a horrific plane crash that resulted in a fire that destroyed all the other people on the plane. There are parts of human bodies hanging from the trees and the first rescuer asks the survivor how he's doing:

"It's weird,"  the survivor said. "It only hurts when I laugh."

Well, leading up to the idea that I could golf on back-to-back days I thought, "How bad can it be?"

I would rest and stretch through the two rounds.

Pick up the conversation between me and my buddy yesterday.

Me:  "I can't breathe without pain. I'm such an idiot."

Buddy:  "You looking for me to argue?"

It's hard to work when your only thought is:

"My back hurts."

But here we are!

Guess who is NOT golfing the rest of the year!

And to those of you reading this and thinking:

"He's such an opinionated a-hole."

Just know that I'm a little like the airplane survivor.

But as much as I'm trying to laugh my way though it...

...I haven't laughed yet.

Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Honor System

I bought a bunch of rawhide bones and a few other treats for the dogs.

My beautiful wife watched in horror as I opened the four packages and dumped them into the plastic container where the dogs toys are kept.

"What the hell are you doing?" Said wife asked.

"I'm putting them on the honor system," I said.

"I don't think that's going to work," Kathy said.

Melky was at the box...taking out the bones 3 at a time.

Now I've watched the honor system play out at times. Some of the roadside vegetable stands have a box there. I often wonder if people steal the cukes and tomatoes.

I never would, of course.

About 15 years ago I played in a golf tournament that had a set of clubs as the prize for closest to the pin on a par 3. I was in the 2nd to the last group. I put my ball within a couple of feet. I was fired up!

We watched 2 of the last 4 golfers tee off. They didn't hit the green!

I hustled through the round, knowing I'd won a new set of clubs.

Except I didn't!

One of the last two guys got closer.

Except he didn't!

One of the other guys in the group came up to me at the dinner afterwards.

"That as$&@le stole your clubs," he whispered.

I decided to congratulate the guy on his shot.

"I barely beat you," he said, as he shook my hand!

(He never even hit the green!)

So...a bit later I checked in on the dog box.

Melky had failed the honor system test...

...the container was on the kitchen table.

"I had to put a stop to it," Kathy said. "What made you think that would work?"

Ah well.

At least Melky didn't steal a set of clubs!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Coach Bru-50 miles!!!!

A few years back I was honored at the New England Book Festival for Oh Brother! The Life & Times of Jeff Fazzolari.

I was also asked to be a part of a panel discussion of authors and I forget what the hell we talked about, but there were some great writers up there with me.

There was one other guy up there who was shooting right from the hip...

...and breaking the stones right along with me.

He was kind of the last sort of guys that I'd ever be friends with:

A short, sorta' lumpy (let's be honest) guy from New England who talked with that goofy accent.

So, naturally we had lunch.

Coach John Brubaker is a motivated guy.

He's also really funny.

Halfway through that lunch, as we ate mounds of food, we busted one another's balls so much that we later decided to become arch enemies.

Everyone needs a villain in life.

He's my Lex Luthor.

And despite the fact that he continues to be mostly dim-witted, I'm pretty proud of the dopey bastard this morning.

Yesterday, John led a peaceful march through his beautiful home state of Maine in honor of the police in a Blue Ribbon walk.

John doesn't do anything halfway though...

...it was a march through the state that was not meant to cause any kind of strife or create any sort of void in thinking.

It allowed those who participated to honor the work of the blue while also acknowledging the struggles faced by all races.

Peaceful.

Well-thought-out.

Beautiful.

And while I couldn't help him get it done.

(I ain't walking 50 miles for any purpose).

I did watch in admiration.

He did a great job in raising hope by bringing honor.

Congrats, Bru...

...you did good.

(But you're still a colossal dope).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Are You Patriotic?

Sometimes someone will say something about America that is derogatory.

People will shout them down:

"You don't like it, leave!!"

But 'Never Forgetting' the catastrophe of 9/11 while also discussing, intelligently, some of the failures, on behalf of America, is not being unpatriotic.

Speaking out in frustration, or protesting the violation of basic human rights on a particular...is not unpatriotic.

The very best thing about being an American is that we have the right to sit, stand, kneel, run, hide, sing, cry, call out or hold our hand over our hearts.

Or not.

That's the very best thing.

Knowing that we can freely move across this beautiful nation...enjoying the same rights in California that we enjoy in New York.

That should be for all of us, by the way. No matter what color. Or who we love. Or what we believe.

All of us.

That's awesome.

It should not be taken for granted...

...but a funny thing happened to me as I thought about the people who are free to protest as they would like.

I grew incensed when I considered that someone would be short-sighted enough to do it on September 11.

Some of the people who sat out the National Anthem at some of the senseless ball games...couldn't have possibly felt what I felt on September 11, 2001.

I just remember being so sick to my stomach.

Wanting to just go home and hang with my family.

Fearing what the hell was going on.

Was this World War III?

I had young children...would they even get a chance to live?

I must admit that I had no idea who Bin Laden was before that day.

Call me ignorant or naive...I certainly was. I'm naive today too.

I don't live in constant fear of what I can't control.

My life is better for having been born in America.

I knew that in 2001.

I know it now.

And as I've grown older, I've become more critical of some of the things that happen in this country.

And I've grown more patriotic.

More patriotic while being less impressed by our leadership.

People can do that...

...so next time someone protests a cause that doesn't affect your life, remember that maybe they are doing it because they love the country even more than you might.

Simply waving the flag doesn't make you more patriotic than the guy who is protesting an issue beside you...

...but...

...We should all wave the flag on 9/11...

...and support those who suffered and lost more than we did that day.

If you love the country like you say you do as you protest...

...you should at least rise up for a few minutes and acknowledge the pain.

Or else you're just looking for attention.

Did You Hear I Got A Birdie?

For years now I've been honored to be invited to the Raulli-Militi Open with a whole bunch of great friends from Syracuse.

Years ago we'd play on Friday, eat steaks and then drink beer until late into the night. Then we'd play again on Saturday.

Great courses, a lot of ball-busting and a ton of laughs.

I haven't played in a few years.

I promised to try this year although playing twice in two days was basically impossible. The past few years have been about just trying to get myself loose enough to play a decent round every couple of weeks.

But I really wanted to try!

And then a beautiful thing happened.

It was a 370-yard par 4.

I hit my drive to within 166 yards away. The ball was on an incline.

"Hit it as if it's level ground," John Flynn said.

John is a better golfer than me. I listened.

The shot was in the air, heading for the flag. I heard a lot of congrats come my way. When I got there...the ball was three inches away. I didn't even need my putter.

Tap in birdie.

And then it started.

My mouth.

I mentioned the birdie so often that I told my buddy Jeff:

"You know, sometimes I even get tired of listening to myself."

Jeff laughed.

But I didn't stop mentioning it.

For two days!

Problem being:

I suffered through 27 of the 36 holes.

The night between the rounds wasn't filled with beer-drinking. I laid there in the hotel, stretching, icing and stretching some more.

It didn't work.

I couldn't get loose. My back aches so badly that I stuffed ice down the back of my shorts.

And yet...

...it was worth every minute.

I annoyed my good friends for hours on end. By the time we got in the car to leave every single person there was sick of hearing about my birdie that was almost an eagle.

Even I was tired of me.

So that makes it a good weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Boils, Tumors, Gallstones, Bad Back

What's your ailment?

We all get something, right?

Hung around with a bunch of guys my age and older and it occurred to me that we're all kind of rotting since day one.

We all have something causing us problems. There was a guy last week who was limping badly.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Boil that got infected," he said. "It burst open on my leg. It's infected. It's killing me."

"You're limping too," he said.

"Ahh, back, hip, legs and feet," I said.

Then I turned on the radio and a woman was talking about her mother being diagnosed with a brain tumor that was gonna' wipe the poor lady out.

Sad.

One of the guys on the trip survived cancer. It did my heart good to watch him sip a beer and then order a filet.

He beat it.

Sooner or later it will end.

Heartwarming, right?

As House said: "It don't end peaceful."

But in the meantime, there's a lot of life to be lived.

The Yanks are in the pennant race. God-willing and through a lot of prep work and ice, I've been able to swing the clubs a little.

And now it's getting close to rest time as football starts, it starts to get cooler, and another change of season.

"Why did you come to work?" I asked the guy with the infected boil.

"Same reason you limp around," he answered. "The fuse is burning."

Hope your affliction doesn't keep you down and out.

Time is short!

Friday, September 9, 2016

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Back in 1974 the family moved the Fuzzy show on the road to Largo, Florida as Dad had a big job down there.

I was just 9 years old, but I recall so much about those days.

We had a big pond in our back yard and we all fished and played and turned dark brown in the sun. No sunscreen...four boys in brush cuts...brown.

I also recall Mrs. Hudson...the elderly Southern woman next door...she was always so happy and helpful.

Bernie and Gloria...the black couple that would help watch us and take us to 7/11.

I remember rooting for Henry Aaron, catching fish, going to the beach, hurricane winds one day, and listening to Nixon resign.

I also recall Dad's music.

He had Frank and Dean Martin. He had Roger Miller and Johnny Cash (we'd beg him to play that one) and he had a Perry Como record that included the Glenn Campbell song, By the Time I get to Phoenix.

I remember listening to that song and wondering about that singer...

...so down in the dumps about his love (and life) being over.

And thinking about him starting again.

(I was a weird kid).

But I loved that song.

Lo and behold I read the Vanity Fair piece about Springsteen's new autobiography and his upcoming solo record.

Guess what song is on it:

By the Time I Get to Phoenix.

Pretty cool.

Another free trip down memory lane.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

She Broke Up Again

I don't know much about Taylor Swift.

If I've ever heard one of her songs I didn't know it was her singing it.

I know that a lot of people enjoy her music, though, and that's all fine and dandy. Music is an acquired taste and I'm all for listening to whatever you want...

...but why do I know so much about this kid's love life...

...or lack of love life?

She seems to be always going out with someone new and then enduring a horrible break-up.

I bring this all up today because evidently her newest relationship, which was just three months old, is over.

Now the joke about all of it is that she writes songs all about her bad relationships.

Kanye famously upstaged her at one awards show and everyone felt sorry for poor Taylor Swift.

Hmmm...what else do I know about her?

Matt thinks she's beautiful.

Me?

She looks a little thin and pale to me.

Will she ever find love?

Who knows?

I'm thinking all of this is a little bit of a publicity stunt. How many guys has she dated so far? What is she about 25 years old?

God!

I don't care!!!

But every time I open a news feed...

...there she is!

Poor broken-hearted Taylor.

If she were any good she'd be on E-Street Radio, right?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Middle of the Night

Damn!

I go through the waking up in the middle of the night periodically.

Lately it has been because my legs continue to buzz...even though I relax a lot before going to sleep.

Yet it has happened every other night for the past 6 nights or so.

And there's nothing to do when you wake up like that!

I do ask one question though...what happened before phones?

Because that has been my first grab once I realize that it is going to be a little while before I get back to sleep.

I check Facebook.

The baseball scores.

The Donald-Hil Comedy Show.

Sometimes I even write a blog as I lie there.

(Like this one).

Then I consider trying to fall asleep again the way I had done a few hours before, by reading a few pages in the novel by my bed.

Listen - I don't have it so bad.

I know people who constantly suffer from insomnia.

Every night is an absolute battle.

I can usually sleep straight through the night when I'm feeling all right leg-wise.

But much like when you're an infant there's that desire to cry out when you realize that you can't sleep anymore for a little while.

Ah well.

Being awake in the middle of the night last night means that I'm tired enough to make it all the way through tomorrow night.

Just know that if you get a text from me at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning it might actually be legit.

I do know of some people that I can actually talk to at such an hour...

...couple of friends and a couple of siblings.

But make no mistake:

It Sucks!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Public Nuisance

Relaxed a bit last night by watching an old HBO two-part series called Empire Falls...

...it had a good pace with a good cast and I was kind of struck by the Paul Newman character who was a guy who drove everybody nuts as an old needy man in a small town.

He actually got busted for being a public nuisance after he "got tired of being a private nuisance."

That's pretty funny actually.

I almost want to get hauled in for being a public nuisance.

I imagined the scene:

They couldn't really grab him on any real charge so the two cops who were apprehending him thought:

"Ah hell, he's being a damn nuisance. Let's bring him in."

And through the years I've known some guys, especially because I was born and raised in a small town, who could've been considered a nuisance.

Some of those guys who wandered the streets as we grew were considered to be just colorful guys who maybe had a big problem with the drink they were drowning their troubles in.

I won't mention any names...

...but those guys wandered around and the town kinda' took care of them...

...getting them a beer at the local bar. Maybe giving them a ride here and there. I don't remember them being considered as evil or trouble or mean. I remember them as human beings who were perhaps just a nuisance.

There are a lot of people wandering the streets all over the city and I see them from time-to-time.

I don't know their names anymore, but I still imagine that they are sort of like those old guys we'd watch wander around our small town.

There is a portion of the population now who can't look at the men behind their troubles.

We don't have time anymore for the men behind the worn-out clothes, the mental problems, the drinking problems.

We'd rather just be done with them.

Yet, as I watched Paul Newman pull off being a character in that town I thought of all the wandering old characters in our town...

And I was glad that I never just saw them as a public nuisance.


Monday, September 5, 2016

NFL Preview - 2016

I couldn't be less excited about the start of another football season. The more I read about concussions and the more I watch players get arrested and not suspended or arrested and then suspended...I wonder about the love for that game.

Most games are a colossal bore...but hey...what the hell else is there to do but follow along and bet a little?

So what if the players are permanently maimed!

Are you ready for some football????

(OK...full disclosure...last year I went out on a limb and predicted that Dallas would beat Miami in the Super Bowl...both teams sucked! My kids have not let me forget it...but I'm going to get it absolutely correct this year!!)

NFC Division winners:

Washington, Green Bay, Carolina and Seattle

Wild Cards:

Arizona and the Giants

Explanation:

Definitely not picking Dallas again! I think the two best teams are probably Arizona and Seattle. I wasn't impressed with Carolina at all last year and they ruined me by stinking in the Stupor Bowl and ruining my squares.

NFC Champion:

Green Bay

I said Arizona and Seattle are the two best teams so I'll go out on a limb again this year.

(What do I care?)

AFC Division Winners:

New England, Bengals, Jags and Oakland

AFC Wild Cards:

Kansas City

Pittsburgh

Explanation:

I'm not picking Miami.

Also, Brady is suspended for 4 games in the worst suspension ever in any sport in the history of any game. New England will be pissed and will run away with the AFC Easy.

The hometown team, the Buffalo Bills will continue their mad dash to 20 years without a playoff ceremony. I'm thinking that they eventually throw a big party when they get to the 20-year mark and take Orenthal off the ring of honor.

The Bills had some bad luck in training camp. Who could've thought that the injured guys you drafted actually needed the surgery everyone thought they needed? Or who else could've predicted that the obese, idiotic defensive lineman wouldn't behave after you handed him a hundred million? Worst than that though is their schedule. It's rough! They have a number of home games late in the year...I'm thinking there will be a bunch of $2.00 tickets on StubHub.

Anywhoha...

My boys will be there as they have season tickets. That's the good news. The bad news is that Bills finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs for the 17th straight year. But there's more good news: The Ryan brothers will get fired when it's over.

So...

Super Bowl Matchup:

Green Bay Versus New England

Champs:

New England.

And they don't show up at the trophy presentation.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Little Joe Had A Lot of Hair

Happened to be flipping by MeTV  and Bonanza came on. It was the one where Lorne Greene gets shot in the back and Little Joe has to confront his assailants.

"That dude has a lot of hair," Jake said as he walked in. "How old is this show?"

"The 60's," I said.

"That's ridiculous," Jake answered. "Everyone on the show is dead."

"So," I said. "It's still a good story."

I figured that Jake would wander off, but since he was in the mood to eat a meal in between his meals, he sat down.

Little Joe was pissed, of course, and he spoke of honor and God and doing what was right in the name of all that was great.

"A little corny, don't you think?" Jake asked.

The show was nearing its conclusion but the commercial for Rawhide, which was to follow came on.

"Oh good, black and white," Jake said. "Was this the first show ever. Clint Eastwood's name flashed across the screen.

"He's 3/4s dead too," Jake said.

"Yeah. That's how it works," I said. "You live, do your work and then die."

"But why would you watch this?"

I laughed.

"It brings back memories."

And it does. Nights of everyone sitting around the television because we had the choice of about three shows. There was one television. We all had our favorites.

When we were kids we all liked to actually play Bonanza once in awhile when we were outside. Everyone's favorite was Hoss, but Little Joe was the cool one. We all knew that the guy who played Hoss, Dan Blocker, had died young.

I also remember that I used to be Candy, sometimes, back when we recreated an episode. I didn't like Candy. I didn't even know how he fit into the family scheme.

"It's horrible," Jake said as he watched. "The background isn't even real!"

And it certainly did look more like a television set than a wide open prairie.

"I used to watch it with my Dad," I said. "And you know what he'd say when I talked through the episode?"

"What?" Jake asked.

"He'd say, 'Get the hell out of here!'l

Jake laughed.

We watched Little Joe finish it all up peacefully. Ben got to his feet and hugged his boy for standing up for him.

"Oh, Thank God," Jake said.

Yeah.

Little Joe had a lot of hair.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Labor Day Weekend!

Woo-hoo!!!

We made it.

A three-day weekend.

I hope that you get all three days off so that you can rest up a little.

In fact, I wonder about the guy who made it a five-day week. I'd like to bash his head in with a lunchbox.

How is that fair?

We should have cut it in half, right...

...3 and a half day weeks would've been enough.

To be fair, things got pretty quiet on Friday afternoon. You could tell that most of the people who were out working on Friday were ready to roll.

I received a great call from my butcher earlier in the week.

"Your brother Jim is looking for Porterhouse steaks. You in?"

"YES!!!!!" I answered.

He laughed.

I swung by the shop on Friday afternoon and got the steaks in the marinade before writing my reports for the day and then I received a text from Jake:

"Going to play basketball," he wrote.

"Bah!"

Then Sam joined in:

"I'm going to play too. We'll eat when we get home."

So, we had to wait a little while.

Good thing I had steak for lunch!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2016

So Pretty

When I stopped by the Maid-Rite store in Ankeny, Iowa to get my Loose Meat sandwiches for lunch I was greeted by a bit of a line.

I was fourth in line behind an elderly couple, and a young woman, about 20-25 years old.

The woman turned around and smiled, for some reason. and my first thought was:

"Holy shit, she's pretty!"

(Of course she's no Kathy Fazzolari...but still).

I actually wondered if she was an actress.

After I thought about it for a little while I figured out that she reminded me of Jennifer Beals at Flash Dance age.

When she got to the front of the counter the young guy behind the counter was on his best behavior. He actually got a little giddy as he took the woman's order.

Now I'm not talking out of school here...

...my wife is very good at evaluating when another woman is pretty. We were once on a Subway in New York City when a stunning woman passed by.

I got busted looking and turned to stutter a response to Kathy...she said:

"I looked too."

And that's what happens to people who are that attractive. They get extra looks, more smiles, and extra attention.

(Believe me, I know).

The woman at the Maid-Rite grabbed her number (they hand you a plastic card to put on your table) and she went over and sat down.

The guy who was now supposed to be taking my order was still looking at the woman.

I cleared my throat.

"Sorry, dude," he said.

"No problem," I said, with a smile.

And it wasn't that we were objectifying the poor woman.

She was just plain pretty!

As I left the place with my loose meat sandwiches in hand I thought a little bit about the Jennifer Beals look-alike...

...was her life actually easier because of how she looked...

...or was it a burden of sorts.

There was a study done a few years back that said that attractive people certainly have advantages at work, at school, and everywhere else.

The woman's food was delivered and she headed for the door. I purposely watched every single head in the place turn to watch her leave.

It's interesting to me.

And of course, beauty is only skin deep, right?

"Man," the kid said to me, "She's really pretty."

I laughed.

"I didn't notice," I said.

Then he laughed.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Anthony Weiner

What do you make of this idiot?

Remember him?

He was a senator who was busted for sending photos of his weiner to people who didn't want to see it.

And seriously...who thinks that's a good idea in the first place?

Is that what the kids are doing?

Well, he got stripped of his job in politics because even politicians found him to be creepy...

...(That's hard to do).

Then he drifted off to the world of common work, but his wife hung with him.

He would be getting help...

...he was going to beat the problem (no pun intended)...

...with his strong woman holding him up.

Weiner would be back someday, better than ever.

Yeah.

Well.

That's all out the window now.

Weiner couldn't control himself after all.

He took another photo of himself in a creepy position and it was discovered. His child was seen in the photo.

That takes creepy to a level that most of us simply can't understand.

It was also the straw that broke the camel's back...

...his wife is leaving him.

Of course, Weiner's fall has been chronicled everywhere and people are having a field day with the Weiner jokes on social media...

...but it really made me wonder.

How in the hell can you screw up your one shot at life so badly?

He was in the limelight...he was being groomed to be the top weiner...he threw all of it away so he could send creepy photos of himself to strangers?

How in the hell does that happen?

Then he got another chance!

In his marriage, with a job, in life...

...and he did it again!

With his kid in the picture????

There has to be something more to it other than creepiness.

He has to have something wrong...

...what's the medical term?

A screw loose?

Good luck, dude.

That's a mess.

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