Monday, October 31, 2016

Gotta' Do It

I'm not sure that I will surprise anyone with this post, but there are just 8 days until the presidential election and since I'm honest, to a fault, with this blog...

...I need to say what I feel.'s the worst choice ever.

It truly is. It's an election that could result with the president-elect facing criminal charges somewhere down the line...either way.

In the end it's all about what you want to believe, I suppose and this is what I believe.

1). Donald Trump is not qualified to be the president. He is completely unprepared to handle the job as a leader, as a human being, or as a man who understands the laws of the land. When he was informed that he was insulting a gold star family he had to ask what made someone a gold star.

I heard someone mention that if you were to need a root canal you wouldn't go to a person who claimed that he thinks he can do it, you'd go to someone who knew HOW to do it.

Trump has no idea what the job entails.

2). I am also of the opinion that Trump is not a brilliant businessman as so many who tout his candidacy believe him to be.

The bankruptcies, the inheritance, the skirting taxes, the connection to Russia, the fact that his products are Made in China, his use of illegal immigrants as cheap labor, his horrible treatment of workers...

...all speak to his reputation as a con-man.

Now, I'm not the one saying that.

Other rich men say it. I listened to 3 CEO's (Home Depot, an Oil Tycoon, and Warren Buffet) and they spoke of paying taxes, giving to charity, trying to take care of their employees. To a man they despised what Trump had said about not paying taxes.

"That doesn't make him smart," one man said. "It makes him despicable."

3). Not all men believe that women are simply there for a man's amusement. Trump does. He always has. I've listened to his shit for years. Now to be honest, some of his garbage was done on shows that were meant to entertain, but even when next to Howard Stern he was cringe-worthy. What he said on that bus wasn't locker room was a 59-year-old man acting like a 12-year-old boy to try and impress the guy he was talking to. It wasn't funny. It was creepy, and how he spoke to any number of people was also horrific. Calling people a fat pig. Arguing with female reporters. Juvenile behavior. Unworthy of the office.

4). His America First talk is a lot of what some want to hear and to be perfectly honest, I feel that America would be better off not being the protector of all. We have people who suffer here and we need to take care of them, but giving tax breaks to the rich won't help them. Yet what is dangerous are the threats that Trump has thrown out to "go it alone."

America has a role in the world. We can't simply default on loans, back out of treaties, attack the families of potential terrorists, or, of course, nuke who we want to nuke. Not to mention the ties to Russia or the money that he may or may not owe to China.

Scary stuff.

5). Crooked. We've heard a lot about Clinton as a crooked human and while the money made by any and all politicians is more than disconcerting, I might argue that Trump may be the most crooked human being ever. I am concerned by what I've read about his career from day one. Bad deals. The worst deals. Not caring who or what he leaves in his wake. If he is elected president I am truly concerned that he may spend the last couple of years of his term in a prison.

6). His temperament. At 3 am he is on Twitter fighting with a former Miss America contestant because he believed that she deserved his scorn because she gained weight and embarrassed the pageant. Seriously? He is not secure enough to not get caught up in something so trivial?

7). The disabled reporter. That's where it ended for me. He mocked a disabled man. There are people claiming that he wasn't really mocking the guy, but he knew the man. He was trying to be funny. There was the flap with John McCain too, the Gold Star fight, the Megyn Kelly argument, the rigged talk and on and on.

So, I will vote for Clinton.

Not without misgivings, mind you. Her shrill voice. Her poor, reckless, above-the-law attitude. Her Wall Street connections.

I hate it.

But she knows how to do the root canal.

She is qualified, like it or not.

Will she be the best president ever?

Probably not.

But Trump?

I'm afraid that if he wins...

...he'll be the LAST president.

I honestly feel that is entirely possible.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Worst Song Ever

I was reading an article that said that Imagine, by John Lennon may be the most hated song of all-time.

I find that hard to believe. I actually love the song, but critics of the song noted that Lennon was rich and isolated and was asking the rest of the world to give up everything and share.

That's silly. An artist doesn't actually write a song, or paint a picture, or write a book thinking about the money that may or may not be involved. I've never written a single sentence thinking:

"This will or won't sell."

Don't care at all, honestly.


The article got me thinking about songs I can't stand:

"Say What You Want to Say," by John Mayer comes to mind. He says the same thing over and over and over...never saying what he needs to say.

I also always cringed when Duran Duran came on...nearly broke my neck one night trying to switch off "Hungry Like A Wolf."

There are a couple of Don Henley songs I hate.

"Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Seger is horrendous... me.

And those are artists that I really like.

But what gets me is that some guy on Twitter is tabulating all the songs that people hate...

...and there are great songs on the least.

"Stairway to Heaven"?

A lot of people HATE IT!!!

Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, The Beatles, The Stones...

...they all have songs on the list.

I didn't see any Bruce in the top 100...nor should I!! song...that makes my skin crawl?

The one song that makes me want to veer off the road and crash into a bridge abutment?

I'd have to go with:

"The Wind Beneath My Wings".



Hate it!!

How about you?

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I Hate Pumpkins

Was never actually a fan of Halloween.

Even as a kid I thought it was sort of stupid, and my kids were never into it either. When they were young we had to force them out the door and down the street to get candy.

I needed them to grab at least a few Reese's cups!

In fact, the only time I can think that trick or treating was fun was when we went during our college years. 3 or 4 big stiffs, knocking on doors in a blatant attempt to grab candy from the good people of Erie, Pa.

Most of the people laughed and gave us something! One guy gave us a beer!

But I think that I'm not enamored with Halloween because I'm not much of a fan of pumpkins.

This year I'm really looking forward to big, round, orange things leaving my life for good in early November.

But back to pumpkins!

I don't eat or drink anything that is pumpkin flavored!

No pumpkin drinks!

No pumpkin pie.


As for the ghosts, witches, goblins (whatever they hell they are)...


That's not to say that I'll turn the lights out. I'll grab a bag of candy and wait by the door for the kids to show up...

...but they won't because my dog scares them...

...Melky hates Halloween too.

Everything orange will be gone soon!

I hope!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Sleep Depravation

Ran into a guy who is a recent first-time Dad.

"How's your sleep going?" I asked.

He just grunted, grumbled and groaned.

Was out on the sites on Thursday when the school called to let me know that Sam hadn't showed up. He rarely misses school, but when he does I know why.

"Miss your alarm?" I asked.

"Only by five hours," he answered. "I was beat."

So, I decided to check in on my beautiful wife, who was on her 3rd day of starting a 5 a.m. shift.

She gets up at 3:45!

"Tired?" I asked.

"Oh God!" She answered.

And to top it all off, I was exhausted as well.

An early meeting in Buffalo, a flight out, report-writing, buzzing legs...

...blah, blah, blah...

...and my even the 50 hairs on the top of my head were screaming out for rest.

It's weird, but the older you get the less sleep you actually need.

So they say.

I try my best to go to bed at the same time, and wake up at the same time, but not all sleep is the same, right?

Some mornings I wake refreshed. Other days, after a solid 6 or 7, I get up tired, just thinking about when I can return to bed.

I still try and close the office for a nap on Saturday but some weeks its tough to just get there!

Ah well, it could be worse!

I could still be chasing kids around.

As much beauty as they brought into our lives...

...they still robbed me of sleep...

...and I still haven't gotten over it.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

NFL Sucks Again!!!

So Josh Brown is looking for a job.

Only because the New York Giants finally cut him.

But the Giants aren't off the hook either.

Their owner went on and on about how there would be zero tolerance for any sort of domestic violence issues.

The NFL ran a whole bunch of public service announcements showing women who were victims of domestic abuse.

NO MORE! The League Cried Out!!!

And we all remember why, right?

Because Ray Rice knocked his wife out in an elevator.

The NFL heard about it and suspended him for a couple of games.

Then we saw the video.

Ray Rice hasn't been allowed back in the league. He was suspended for a year, went on a world-wide apology tour, prompted the NFL's get tough response, and has been seemingly black-balled from participating.

So onto Josh Brown!

At the Pro Bowl he allegedly stalked his wife and children. He was drunk. His wife was afraid for her life and the lives of their children.

She was so afraid that she contacted league officials and asked to have her room this rabid animal couldn't find her!

Yeah! The league knew about it!

So did the Giants!

After the smoke cleared they issued their tough response:

The Giants signed him to a contract extension!

The NFL suspended him for 1 game!

One damn game!!! this day and age...nothing remains can't even brag about sexual assault anymore without getting busted by an open mic.

More Josh Brown information hit the airwaves.

The NFL looks putrid again! The Giants look stupid, to say the least.

I have a question:

The league spent millions of dollars and suspended the greatest quarterback of all-time in a 2-year investigation that ended with them having "maybe", "perhaps" "Might have happened" proof about:

Taking freaking air out of the ball!

But a cowering woman, with her children, makes the league change her room two times...after calling the officials on this madman 19 times!!! for taunting, abusing and threatening and perhaps striking her and they want to wait until all the information is available????

And they suspend him for one freaking game?????


Every week they give me a reason not to even want to see a minute of one of their stupid games.

Goodell is more worried about the falling ratings.

Okay, I'm done shouting...

...but damn...

what the hell does the NFL have against women?

Josh Brown admitted to physically, mentally and emotionally abusing his wife.

Someone will sign him.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Principal

In a lower Manhattan school yesterday a young principal came upon a student that was blasting music through a set of headphones.

The principal asked the student to turn the music down.

The kid pretended not to hear.

The principal reached for the headphones on the kids ears and the kid blasted him...

...knocking the principal out cold.

The kid just kept on punching, beating the principal, badly, as other members of the student body watched...with some yelling out their approval.

The principal is recovering and the student was arrested, of course, but the story horrified me.

I couldn't have imagined even looking sideways at our school principal!

In fact, seeing the principal in the halls was akin to what it feels like, as an adult, to having a police car slide in behind me in traffic:

"What did I do?"

I would smile and wave as I walked by:

"Hi, Mr. Valone or Hi, Principal McDonough."

I'd often get, in response, "Good morning, Fuzzy, are you behaving?"

Sometimes I was!

Yet I was always respectful and I was always kind of in awe. Poor guy was watching the whole school!

I actually only was called before the principal ONCE in a disciplinary manner. My buddy Al and I had skipped out to take his sick Mom to a doctor appointment. We got busted when we were spotted by the driver's ed teacher at Burger King.

Mr. Nicholson called me in.

"Three nights of detention, Fuzz and the misconduct report has to go home."

"Mom and Dad know," I said. "I told them why I left. If you had a heart you'd bury the detention too."

Mr. Nicholson laughed.

I never saw detention.

I even helped him pick some teams on his football pool.

The very next Monday I was summoned to the office over the morning announcements.

I was so nervous heading down there!

Mr. Nicholson closed the door...

...and handed me the next weeks football pool.

"I did good last week," he said.

And that's the story of how I put my feet up on a principal's desk.

"Get your feet down!" Mr. Nicholson said.

We both laughed.

I hope that poor guy in Manhattan is okay.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

There's Nothing to Eat

"There's Nothing To Eat!!!"

I really wish I had a dime for every time I've heard that through the years:

And we spend a fortune on food for these hooligans.

They just eat and eat and eat and eat.

Sam eats some sort of chicken each and every night...

...the chicken fingers, or chicken fries, or barbecued chicken is usually bathed in Frank's Red Hot Sauce.

Every night!

Usually within 2 hours of dinner.

You know what he eats immediately after dinner...

...for dessert?

A bowl of S'mores cereal!

What is also unbelievable is that there is usually a run to somewhere for something other than what we have here.


They eat a football field of pizza.


They turn up their noses at anything that isn't a porterhouse.


A cow would be nice...but I ain't milking it.

Which calls to mind my poor parents.

As much as my kids eat...

...they were not even close to what we ate as children.

Mom was talking about cooking 30 stuffed pork chops for us as we grew - for one setting!

We usually cooked 4-5 pounds of pasta on Sunday.

Four to Freaking Five Pounds!

A few weeks ago I was in the meat market. The same owner is in his spot behind the counter and he loves when me or my brothers stop by.

"You and Jim spend a lot of money in here," he told me on my last trip in. "But to be honest, you don't make a patch on your Dad's ass. The first time I checked him out here I thought he worked in a hotel restaurant. He told me that he was 'just feeding the family.'"

We both laughed.

"Thousands and thousands of dollars," Ed said. "He told me every time: My kids are pigs."

I know the feeling.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians?

The World Series matchup is set. 

Will the Cubbies win and break the 108-year skid?

Or will the Indians get that 68-year monkey off their back?

The photo above is a shot of Bob Newhart, a Chicago fan, celebrating with his grandkids.

Newhart has been a fan for all of his life and I doubt if he can remember when the Cubs last made the series in 1945. His grandkids have no idea what the big deal is all about, right?

But that's what is cool.

I told a little story about Grandpa Fuzzy laying down the law to me back in 1974. I loved Henry Aaron and that Atlanta Braves team - Evans, Aaron, Baker, Garr, Davy Johnson.

They hit a lot of homers...Hammerin' Hank was the king (still is).

"We're Yankees fans," Grandpa if he were telling me that we were Christians...carried a whole lot of meaning.

Been a Yankees fan since.

And I have been blessed with a bunch of titles.

Yet there are long-suffering fans all around me.

Indians fans, Bills fans, some Cubs fans, Sabres fans.

Everyone has suffered for too long!

"If the Indians don't win at least they won the American League Championship," Jake said.

I decided to let Jake in on why people hate Yankees fans.

"When the Yankees lost in the series a few times, I never even acknowledged that the season was good. If they didn't win the Series I didn't even break out those stupid ALCS shirts."

Yes...both the Cubs and Indians have a lot to be proud of as the series gets under way.

But one of them will lose...

...and the streak will continue.

One fan base will continue to suffer!

And as a devoted Yankees fan...

...that brings me joy for some reason!

It should be a fun series.

I have predicted everything wrong all the way through.

But here you go...

...Cubs in 6.


The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series.

But just to show you what a mess I am when the Yankees aren't involved.

I'm rooting for Cleveland.

The Tribe 2016

Oh yea!

P.S. : I've always loved Bob Newhart.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Why So Angry?

There's a whole lot of anger everywhere you turn, right?

Political platforms are designed around tapping into that anger and serving it up in a world of promises that will be broken.

And some of the anger is warranted I suppose. Things cost too much. People feel cheated. They don't see the hope, but man, there's too much anger.

I was in traffic the other day. The guy in front of me came to a dead stop at a green light. Luckily, I braked in time, but I threw my hands up in the air in a show of disbelief at his move. He was moving again instantly but he had seen my hands in the air because he gave me the finger.  He had been confused by something, made a wrong move and a full minute later he just kept pumping the finger in the air as I went past him on the right. I caught his eyes for a moment and he was so freaking angry! He was in an all-out rage!

I waved as I passed in an effort to show that I was all right with HIS mistake and he kept pumping that finger out at me.


Later that same day I was in a convenience store. A woman was trying to pay for her purchase but the credit card machine was on the fritz. She had to actually put the card in a few times to get it to work...

...and then she went absolutely off on the cashier.

I was left with the cashier after the angry woman stormed out.

"What was I supposed to do?" The exasperated cashier asked.

We were both a little shaken by how nasty the lady had been.

And it kind of dawned on me.

There's too much damn anger!!

We've all been cut off in traffic. We've all had to wait to line at the store, the bank or wherever.

Do we have to be so vile to one another?

What purpose does it serve to dress-down someone else, or flip the guy off?

Just remember:

Life isn't a cakewalk for anyone.

Everyone struggles from time to time.

Let's all relax a little bit!

Be kind.

Tolerate the annoyances.

Easy to say...

...hard to do all the time.

Maybe it was just a bad day, but the anger seems to be all around, doesn't it?

Life is what you make it.

Try and have a little fun!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Your Phone Is Ringing

Having a real rough go of it with the phones.

As we last talked about, I was working with a phone that had a cracked front.

No big deal...

...but then the home button disappeared.

"I can fix that," Jake said.

He put a button on the phone that allowed me to move around.

I could deal with that.

But then I was using my headphones on a trip and I broke the headphone tip off in the port.


But then the phone rang and I was able to talk to the other person on speaker!

I couldn't live with that.

So, I consulted the family maintenance department and the head of the department said that she could start a claim that would get me a new phone...

...I had the insurance.

It would only cost me $200!

"Do it!" I said.

We got the phone. I waited patiently as all my new stuff was added.

The next day I went to sites...

...all excited!

I could talk, navigate and take photos.


I dropped it.

3 hours after putting it into action... was shattered.


Thankfully we hadn't yet sent the first phone back so I was able to nurse it through the week.

Phone #2 was repaired.

It only cost me $140.00 more!

"We can't afford $340 a month for your phones," the head of maintenance explained.

Wish me luck!

Friday, October 21, 2016


Alec Baldwin has been doing a pretty good job of imitating Donald Trump on SNL.

He's going to have plenty of material after the 3rd debate.
First off, Trump invited Obama's half-brother and Sarah Palin... so hopefully Tina Fey will be there.

Secondly, he kept yelling out "WRONG!" while Clinton was talking.

Look, this has turned into a first-rate comedy show and it would most likely be hysterical if we weren't just days away from electing a president.

And after all this time I can say that I finally found some common ground with Donald.

I used to play my brother Jeff in video games.

Actually I was there for his amusement. He would simply annihilate me no matter what the game was.

"My controller is broke!"

"My seat sucks!"

"I can't see!!"

"You found a glitch!"

One excuse after another that would allow me to take a beating and leave with my head held high.

I wouldn't lose...

...I would get cheated out of it!

I can't wait for this to end, frankly.

Yet I must say that I'm wondering what world we will be living in on November 9th.

The same world, probably... with half the country acting nasty and mean and the other half acting mean and nasty.

Yet we need Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin to be front and center telling out "WRONG!"

One more thing I really want to end very soon:

The ass-kissers in the Trump campaign referring to him as 'Mr. Trump.'

Enough with the extreme show of respect...

...for the dude who respects no one.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The News!!!

Melania Trump was asked what she thought when she heard the old tape. Her first response was (she said):

"Donald, the language is inappropriate."

Who actually believes that it went down like that?

I can imagine what Kathy might say!

"The language is inappropriate" might take a back seat to "Get the hell out of my house, you creepy bastard."

She went on to explain that the poor 59-year-old guy was egged on by Billy Bush.


She has to start watching who her senior citizen hangs out with...bad influences can stunt the growth of an adolescent mind.

And to be fair and balanced:

Don't you think that Hillary needs an IT guy?

She certainly comes across as someone, like me, who is challenged by technology. I can imagine asking my wife or kids.

"Why is there a big 'C' on all the damn documents? Does that stand for Clifford?"

How about the guy who shot at Zimmerman getting 20 years?

Isn't it ironic?

Zimmerman showed up to chastise the guy about being reckless with human life.

How about the dude who was being interviewed and flat-out stated his attentions to kill Clinton if she became president?

If you didn't see that interview, look it up.

Guy might be the dumbest human ever!

He was pressed by the reporter and he made a complete ass of himself by saying:

"I'll be a patriot if I have to."


Watching a lot of baseball around here.

My kids are also fired up about the Bills and Sabres.

Yet I must be completely lost at living life because I can't understand how or why anyone would watch an NFL, NHL or NBA game and think that baseball is boring.

The baseball games have been epically entertaining and although I have watched very little football this year...

...I have often spent the latter portions of the games wondering:

"How much freaking time is left in this garbage?"

That's some of the news from here.

Anyone else sick of the election coverage, or hearing from a friend about how he or she will ruin us forever?

Whole bunch of nastiness.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Horrific Behavior

Reading the Sunday paper.

Guy in Buffalo received a feature article in the Buffalo News because he has a noose hanging from the porch rafters just below his Trump Mafia sign. Some of his neighbors are peeved because they see the noose as having racial overtones.

The guy said that he doesn't mean to be racial. His rambling, nonsensical explanation of the noose did not sway me.

I was reading a bit of Twitter during the Bills home game. Watching as little football as I ever have, but when they're playing a mile from the house it's difficult to ignore everything.

There was a 9-second clip of people playing a game called "Hit the Muslim."

A dummy dressed up to look like Colin Kapernick was shown being drilled by a woman.

Not easy to see which one is the dummy.

"Buffalo being Buffalo!" The comment section declared.

That's embarrassing.

Not to be undone there was another video of a woman, her pants at her knees, guy behind her....mouth in motion on her backside.

More whooping and hollering in the comment section.

"Bills fans having fun tailgating!!!"


How can you you live with being a participant in such an activity?

Will those people wake up ashamed??

We now have a presidential candidate screaming that the election is "rigged". There appears a better than average chance that the contest is over.

Yet the "I'm being cheated talk" is not just sour grapes.

It's dangerous!

Extremely dangerous.

"We have to be ready for a revolution!" One man put out there for all the world to see. "I have my weapons ready. We need to shoot black kids in the back."


Is writing something like that not a crime?

Are not all of the items mentioned illegal?

Isn't the candidate now inviting violence?

The candidate who is opposing him must go to prison?

That's 3rd world stuff.

All of it is.

Although one man's crime is another man's fun, I suppose.

"I've lived a long time," my Mom said as we spoke on Saturday morning. "I've never been more disgusted by what I've been seeing."

Me neither.

It should be stopped.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

52 Freaking Years Old!!!

I'm not whining, Pops!

And even if I am, leave me alone...'s my 52nd birthday!!!

Truth be told though, I had a very bad weekend.

My legs were numb for a full 48-hours. I did my best to stay off of them as much as possible.

And watching shows, reading, getting up just enough to get meals ready...

...I considered how much life has changed in the past 7 years.

"Happy Birthday!" Someone texted me. "There's no difference between 25 and 52! It's all the same in your mind!!!"

Bull poop!

But let's take stock.

There was a woman speaking at a recent corporate event. She lost her ability to see...due to diabetes complications at the young age of 28.

She learned new things about living. She showed us technological devices that allowed her to choose her clothing, write her checks, live her life.

I've learned a lot of new things at 52.

How to rest, how to stretch, how to get back in shape so I can get back to work.

There's plenty to be grateful for.

I have a family that helps...

...people who love me.

Dogs who get fired up! Just to see me!!

I have a good job.

I still have a lot of fun.

52 isn't 25.

But I have no complaints.

No regrets!

Another year in the books!

48 more to go!

Monday, October 17, 2016

"I Don't Care About Your Feelings!"

The title of this blog is a tee-shirt being worn by some fans of one of the presidential candidates.

There is an additional word in there, ending in 'ing' between 'Your' and 'Feelings'.

And that right there might be the absolute theme of this entire campaign.

It is also the true shame of the matter.

We have to get rid of the political correctness!

I've heard that shouted from the mountaintops.

Don't get your feelings hurt if I call you a name that is meant to be demeaning!

What gets me about that is that it is coming from the same people who don't care for the fact that someone says 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas'.

So what are the rules?

We can call someone fat, stupid, gay, Islamic, Muslim, pigs, whores, bitches and worse?

But put 'X-Mas' on a greeting and you're off my friends list?

I never got the nastiness attached to the fact that someone gets in trouble for saying something absolutely nasty.

A few years ago Jonah Hill, who makes his living as a comedian, was verbally attacked by a fan.

He attacked back by shouting a homophobic slur that was extremely common years and years ago. My friends, family, everyone used the exact same word to joke about one another.

The term is demeaning to a group of people. We understand that now. Hill was rightfully hammered for shouting the word. It's a word that my kids now know is not to be used.

"This political correct crap sucks!" 

People screamed as Hill apologized to anyone and everyone for saying such a thing. Hill, to his credit, understood that he had offended people. He was extremely sincere in his apology. He explained that he hadn't meant it to be demeaning to anyone other than the guy who had angered him.

News Flash!

We should care about one another's feelings!

One presidential candidate making fun of another candidates physical appearance isn't right.

A group of people making fun of someone else's religion, who they love, or how they feel isn't right!

Calling someone a 'fat pig' in pure anger, isn't right!

The nastiness of this campaign is something that will live on for years and years.

When I was first married my Dad told me:

"When you are arguing don't say something so nasty that it can't really be taken back."

We are saying things that can't be taken back...and justifying pining for political troublesome.

"If she wins we have to grab our assault rifles and exercise our 2nd amendment rights!"

I saw that sentence written on a social media Twitter feed.

That's horrible!

There have been a lot of names thrown around during this election season.

Some of those words can't be taken back.

Will we survive?

It actually all depends on one thing:

Caring about each other's feelings.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Four-Eyed Dork

So, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon I received this little gem from my great friend, Maria.

I started laughing!

Because I thought of so many things all at once.

Yes, that is me.

Think 1973...about 9 years old...shortly after it became known that I needed glasses.

Mom picked out those glasses for me.

"You look so smart," she said.

"He looks like Clark Kent," said Corinne.

"Smart? He looks like the ugly dude from 'My Three Sons,'" said John.

I recall being devastated in that eye glass store.

"The other kids might call you four eyes," the optician said. "Four eyes are better than two!"

I begged Mom not to do it to me.

"I can't stop looking at it!" Maria said as she sent the photo over.

My confidence was shot.

It still is.

But, of course, the best was waiting at home where Dad was.

"What in the hell are you doing to that kid?" He asked Mom once he took a good look at me.

There's a confidence builder!

Mom laughed!!!

She actually laughed!

"He looks cute," she said.

Where in the hell? What in the hell? How in the hell?

Did she see cute in that look?????

Those glasses died a painful death.

Not to say that I didn't wear them...I did...I needed to see.

"People's eyes often improve," he said. "The more you wear them the better chance you have that you'll not need them for too long."

Lying bastard!

I wore them so I could never be seen wearing them!

Corinne used to laugh at those glasses.


"He looks so dorky," she would very often say.


I don't see it!

One grand thing did come from it though.

It taught me not to give two shits about the way I looked...


"You have hot sauce on your shirt," my 55-year-old lunch friend to me said the other day. 

There was another guy along for lunch.

"You think he cares?" the other guy said.

I should've told them all about the glasses...

...and the lesson Mom taught me so many years ago:

"They aren't laughing with you...

...they're laughing at you!"

Thanks for the laugh, Maria.

I have a feeling I just might be seeing even more of this photo.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Crazy Ass Week

It's wild what a mess things can be in a 7-day span.

A week ago I returned from a trip to New England that saw me visit Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Last weekend went good. I made braciole on Sunday, watched a little of that lousy debate and got ready to roll.

Then delayed flights, a flat tire on a rental car and my cell phone officially shit the bed once and for all as my headphone jack broke off in the port and I could only talk on speaker. I had a cracked face and had to put a button on the face so I could get back to the home screen.

Yet I was in Kansas, Georgia, Minneapolis, Missouri and Iowa... I couldn't get it fixed because I don't know how to set it up! I would have to nurse it through.

Return flight wasn't bad but I got in my beautiful wife's car at the airport curb.

"Why didn't you bring my car?" I asked.

"The battery is dead, I think and the oil light was coming on."

I didn't handle that news well, because I had an early morning meeting on Wednesday.

Day 3 of horrible sleep...still nursing the bum phone! $250 to get the car fixed!

But Syracuse and back on Thursday!

Yet the new phone was ordered.

Another long day on Friday.

Angst, aggravation, chaos, phone calls through the speaker, texts, buzzes, emails, numb, sore, pain and then mercifully we reached the end of the day on Friday.

10 states visited, 84 hours of work-related activities, a broken-down car, a busted phone, a woman on one flight with horrible gas, horrific presidential garbage, baseball games running late, Eichel gets hurt!

"Where's the UPS guy with my phone?"

He showed up at 5:00 on the nose and told my wife to tell me:

"The Yankees suck!"

I knew the guy!!

I handed over the broken phone.

An hour or so later Kathy handed me the new phone all ready to go.

It's all back together now. I kept looking for the broken crap.

It was almost as if I missed it, but now, everything  is forgotten now as I sit back and type this blog.

I made it!!!

(Happy Birthday to my buddy, Jeffy Renaldo! Love you, buddy! Thought you'd like to hear me piss and moan for your big day!)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Way to Go Zimmy!

Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

It's a controversial decision to be sure, as Zimmy isn't the classical type of choice for such an honor. He's a folk singer, a songwriter.

How is that literature?

I saw one snob say that he didn't deserve the prize because there have been plenty of times through the years when Dylan actually stole the ideas for his songs from books and the such.

One critic said that Dylan being chosen was a dumbing down of literature.

I beg to differ, actually.

The first vinyl album I ever purchased with my own money was "Slow Train Coming."

I played that disc until it was worn to a nub. I love every song on that record. I bought it in cassette form, cd and then on I-tunes. I still crank every song.

That's not even my favorite Dylan record.

"He sucks!" I've heard plenty of times from people who were caught listening to Dylan with me.

"He's a poet," I would always respond. "Listen to the words!"

And that's where the beauty of Bob Dylan lies.

He's a terrific writer.

Google any number of Dylan songs if you can't stand the sound of his voice (and he is an acquired taste).

Dylan was an important voice in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and even now.

I don't know if he stole his "ideas".

I can tell you as a writer that things aren't really stolen, but they are borrowed and expanded on. I've borrowed a lot of ideas through the years.

I'm all for Dylan being honored.

I'd also argue that Springsteen is the greatest writer over the last 30 years or so and I have learned more from listening to them, and READING them than many other of the classic writers.

Is it literature?

Maybe not.

But I may listen to "Tangled Up In Blue" tomorrow and marvel at the way that song is put together.

One word after another... a very tight space.

Not a single word wasted.

And that's writing!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baseball Playoffs!

The 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized American Sports, the New York Yankees, didn't make the playoffs this year.

But that hasn't stopped me from watching.

And the other night when the Indians were clinging to a one-run lead and there were two outs and the Red Sux got a runner on...

...I was texting Sam.

"This is intense!" He wrote.

The next batter walked.

The place was rocking.

"How is football better than this?" I wrote back.

It's our running argument, but I defy anyone to tell me that there is anything more intense than the late innings of a playoff baseball game.

The Cubbies came back late to beat the Giants and win the series.

The ALCS is going to be great:

Indians versus Blue Jays

I hate the Toronto team so I will be rooting hard.

As for the National League?

I'm looking for the Cubs to NOT win!

"It's been 108 years!" Sam said. "Why don't you want them to win?"

"Because I like a good losing streak," I said. "If they lose this year they still have all the stories written about them:

Bartman...the goat.

The story continues!!

Then again, I have one huge reason not to see the Tribe win it all:


My brother-in-law is rabid.

Not a rabid fan, mind you, just rabid!

I call him Mr.Zero because he's never seen one of his teams win anything.

I like that nickname.

So, I'm going for the winner of the Dodgers-Nationals series.

Even though I don't like either of those teams!!

Damn! I miss the Yankees in there...

...but I'll be watching...

...because it's an amazing sport!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ken Bone

Did you see the guy in the red sweater at the 2nd Presidential Garbage the other night?

At least he was entertaining!

And his name was Ken Bone... perfect is that?

First off, you have to give Bone a lot of credit for sitting through that. I honestly could only watch about 5 minutes.

It was actually the most uncomfortable thing I've ever seen on television and my beautiful wife likes to watch those medical shows that give you an ongoing surgery.

The debate was worse than watching a live bowel surgery!

Trump was waking around like he was the bad dude in a WWE match...he was staring at her, interrupting and lying to justify.

Clinton was speaking in that shrill voice, smiling uncontrollably and lying to justify.

70-year old people were having a discussion about who is sexually less moral...

...and then we got Ken Bone!!!

It's hard to fathom what this "race" has been...

...but Ken Bone will be famous for a little while.

He was wearing the big red sweater because he tore his pants earlier in the day.

His face is cartoonish.

His name is great.

And Ken Bone will make the rounds.

One of the Red Sux pitchers left him tickets for game 3 of the playoffs.

(Lucky it wasn't game 4, am I right Suck Sux fans?)

(Bye-bye Big Papi...out with a whimper!)

The lesson here is that guys like Ken Bone is what is cool about America. There has been a whole lot of hammering away at groups of people during this presidential race (which has been epically embarrassing) but the individual American...

...taken one by one... pretty cool.

We're a diverse group of people.

We split our pants.

We weigh a little much.

We try and laugh and live and make money.

We all just want to have a little fun, make a little money, get our kids educated, watch some sports, drink some beer and live in peace.

In all our glory.

Ken Bone was a cool story out of a bad gathering of so-called leaders.

He is a reminder of our individuality!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sometimes You're the Bug

The seats are small on Delta Airlines.

I'm not small.

I'm also beginning to understand that there are people who are a lot bigger than me...

It's the luck of the draw!

I wasn't lucky on Monday.

And it makes you think of the song about sometimes being the windshield and sometimes being the bug.

Let's go through my day.

I took my seat, big guy, really big guy is coming down the aisle (not here, I'm thinking). "Excuse me, I have that one," he says.

I couldn't read on the trip because I didn't have enough room to hold up the book. So I put my headphones on. They didn't work!

I sat like a statue and made it to Atlanta. My gate was close to where we landed! I got a water, opened my book, (a half hour to relax). I glanced up at the screen: "Minneapolis" said the sign.

"Isn't this the Kansas City gate?" I asked.

"That gate has been changed to C32."

I was at A3.

I made the 5 mile walk. Boarded the plane, tight seat, an even bigger human came down the aisle.

"Not here," I thought.

"Excuse me," she said.


"It's only an hour and a half," I told myself.

She proceeded to break least 7 times on the way to KC...I couldn't prove it was her...but trust me.

I rented the car.

5 miles into my trip to the first site I noticed that there was a little triangle flashing:

"Low air pressure."

2 minutes later I was on the side of the road with a Missouri cop, waiting on AAA.

16 hours after waking up in Buffalo...

...4 states later...

I pulled into the hotel in Ankeny, Iowa.

I gave her my credit card.

"It says you have to call," she said.

I talked to the robot and then the credit card woman:

"We just wanted to be sure it was you, for security purposes," she said. "We're looking out for you. Losing your card would make for a bad day."

"Lady, you have no idea," I said.

Back home tonight!

Please pray for me.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Watch What You Say!

The Trump tape is a little scary, right?

The people justifying the remarks have started one of the arguments by saying:

"Who hasn't said a horrible thing in their life?"

"Men talk like that all the time!"

There's a tad of truth to some of that, right?

We have all made stupid comments that are meant to be funny, or condescending, or immature, or whatever.

I suppose that's true.

But that's not exactly what that was.

(Splitting hairs, right? But his remarks were predatory).'s not about that garbage anyways.

It's about the total lack of any sort of privacy anywhere...ever.

The fundamental question isn't about if he should or shouldn't have said it, but the audio was crystal clear on a conversation that Trump and Billy Bush never had any idea would ever be out there.

Big brother isn't only watching...he's listening too.

Being alone isn't possible anymore.

As the words of the tape hit my ear I thought about the "locker room banter" that I've been party to over the years.

Certainly I've heard all sorts of degrading things about all sorts of men and women. I have a few buddies who make me laugh (and vice-versa) with all kinds of things that would sound horrible on CNN.

(Again...wasn't about that).

And my life has certainly changed in regard to my love of and appreciation of the women in my life.

The respect that I've had for the women in my life is almost too much to quantify. I once had a woman at one of my book signings say:

"All the women in all of your books are strong, smart and absolutely admired."

"You write what you know," I said.

When you put the locker room crap aside...the respect stays. A 59-year-old man speaking in such a manner is damaged.

But again...

...should his crass words have been out there?

Bottom line...'s the world we live in.

So, the next time you're being an idiot for fun & games...consider where you're standing...

...people are listening.

Sunday, October 9, 2016


When this is all over...

...and I'm fairly sure it will be all said and done in November...

...the Trump era will be a fascinating campaign to digest.

Will there be a lasting effect?

I don't much care for politics on social media. There is no changing of the mind. No one is really listening to the other person.

Minds are made up. All the angst does it torture people who used to be friends.

But it's a disservice to NOT talk about what the hell is going on.

People who don't believe in abhorant behavior are in the awkward position of defending that behavior.

People who believe that Bill Clinton's time in office was a national embarrassment are now DEFENDING their candidate by saying that Clinton did it.

So, it was okay then?

Or it's okay now?

The other amazing thing is how low the bar has now been set. How will future elections be handled? Will outrage over inhaling pot be a news story ever again?

Appears that nothing is off the table now.

I'm also concerned about who runs next.

It can be anyone now, right?


Former felons?


The office is forever tarnished. When I was a kid there was a simple respect afforded to the leaders. Perhaps some of that was misguided, but we didn't know. We considered the president to be above our level of intelligence.

There was some security.

Certainly there has been a shift. Not all of it can be blamed on these two candidates. There had been a hill that we were sliding down.

Obama took unbelievable amounts of grief.

Remember when someone threw a shoe at George W. and there was anger because no matter what, the office of the presidency must be respected?

That's out the window.

In January, the job will have gotten much tougher.

There's no way that there is not a great divide.

My 19-year old son walked by the other day. I was curious.

"What do you think of what Trump said?"

"Don't think about it," he said. "He's garbage."

Let's just hope...

...for the good of the country...

...that somehow there is, someday, an ounce of respect again.

It's fascinating, isn't it?

It's also horrifically sad.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

That Should Do it


I was on a plane when I received a text from a buddy:

"See the Trump news today?"

I hadn't.

I was listening to baseball as I drove from site to site. I was reading and writing in the airport gate area.

I had burned out on the daily stupidity a long time ago.

"He was caught on tape saying horrible things about women."

I still wasn't alarmed. Hadn't we been through that before?

"He can't be hurt by anything he says or does," I said.

"This one's a doozy."

And yet I didn't rush right to Twitter. Instead I waited until I was on Jet Blue. I flipped the channel to CNN.

They were playing the tape. They only beeped the two worst words.

I was thoroughly disgusted.

Locker room banter?

He was a 59-year old man!

Sounded like a 14-year old boy!!

And yet...

...I flipped the channel.

There was a woman supporting him!

Saying that "boys will be boys" sort of.

"That's horrible," I texted my buddy.

"Despicable," he answered.

I stopped short of saying deplorable.

But I'm disgusted.

If you can somehow cast a vote for him...

...God help you.

Don't preach Christianity to me...

...that's for sure.

Friday, October 7, 2016


We like to watch series after series on Netflix.

We recently needed a new one and this was the conversation we had:

My beautiful wife: "Now what?"

Me: "You're in charge of entertaining me."

My beautiful wife: "I've grown weary of that."

I was looking down at my phone as she clicked through the choices. My head snapped up quickly when I heard the music:

"Got yourself a gun."

The Sopranos!!!

Ultimate entertainment!

We watched 3 straight episodes that night.

A few more the next night.

"Look at how great of an actor he was," I said at one point.

I laughed at the Italian phrases. We marveled at the manipulation of his mother, the conflicted angst of his wife.

Meadow. Silvio. Paulie. Anthony Jr., Big Pussy, Melfi


We watched the shows right up until bed and then I saw Gandolfini in my dreams.

I can't watch the show without appreciating everything about my Italian heritage. There's a lot of Dad in there, a lot of Grandpa Fuzzy...

...some of my brothers.

We laughed.

"I've seen it all and yet I'm hanging on every word," I said.

"It's great," Kathy said.

Looks like the entertainment of Cliff will continue...

...despite the weariness.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It's Criminal!!!

I was on my way away from a job on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. I was in a hurry to get to the next one.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man in a wheelchair. Evidently he lived in the nursing home that was across the way.

He was a double amputee.

He was also rolling my way.

I heard him call for me.

"Son, what are you doing on that job?" He called out.

"I'm just visiting," I said.

"Do you work at the job?" He asked.

"Kind of, I'm the safety guy," I said.

The old man was now within ten feet of me. I immediately considered that he was about 80 years old.

"So, you don't work," he said, with a laugh.

I laughed too. He wasn't being mean about it.

"Why I ask," he said, "Is because I asked a few guys from there how much money they're making, per hour. Do you know that some of them are making just $15 an hour?"

We watched a guy lug a bundle of shingles across the roof deck.

"That's probably about right," I said.

"THAT'S CRIMINAL!" the guy yelled out. "I retired 29 years ago. I made $18.50 an hour when I left!"

I knew that he was right. I had made more than $20 per hour as a construction laborer back in 1983.

"That's the going rate," I said.

"How in the hell does that happen?" The man asked. "What happened?"

"The money didn't trickle down," I said.

He laughed.

"It really upsets me," He said. "I'm 94 years old and I shouldn't give two shits anymore, but I feel so bad for those guys. They're humping! They work hard!!"

He was exactly right.

"Criminal!" He said.

The man was about to roll away.

I didn't have a lot to say because he already seemed pretty upset and I didn't want to aggravate him any further.

"The bastards," He said. "I'm kind of glad I'm gonna' be dead soon. This is bullshit!"

He rolled away.

It might have been funny...

...but it wasn't funny.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Send in the Clowns

What in the hell is going on with the clowns?

I honestly don't know.

I always think about reading all about it, but every time I find the story I only read the first paragraph.

 It doesn't seem to hold my interest.

What I've gathered though is that clowns are showing up all around the country and some people think they're up to bad news.

Hasn't anything gone down yet?

I hadn't heard that they'd done anything more than scared people.

I'm trying to remember if there's anything in the past that makes me think much about clowns, but I don't have any recollection of ever having been entertained by a clown.

It's all rather silly, isn't it?

Let's just hope that it stays peaceful.

Anything might happen in this day and age, right?

Like Kim Kardashian being robbed at gunpoint in France.

They got $10 milllion in jewelry.

Is that what she was wearing?

Doing nothing other than porn tapes pays well, huh?

Excuse me if I'm a tad skeptical anyways.

How does that happen?

She has heavy security, right? Where we they?

Could it be that perhaps it was all a setup?

For attention? I know that they are real careful with their privacy.

So, why am I talking about clowns and Kim Kardashian?

Because I just can't even consider talking about Trump-Clinton.

Clowns and Kanye and Kim actually make more sense that garbage.

I think we can all agree on that.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Born to Run - The Official Review

There really aren't any celebrities who I'd be thrilled to meet.

With the exception of two:

Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp.

I've actually met quite a few other celebrities and while it was interesting...they were just men and women who I'd seen on television, or in the news.

(Although the Pamela Anderson moment was exceptional, and signing books with the Fonz was epically cool.)

But I had a chance to meet Bruce a little bit in his autobiography, Born to Run.

I knew some of the stories.

There have been a number of other Bruce books...all sort of tell the tale.

Yet, this was a chance to actually hear the words from the man himself.

The drive, the work ethic, the love of music, the concerts, the writing, the deep pain of living.

It's funny, but I can recall exactly which record store I was in when all of Bruce's records came out through the years.

I remember listening to Darkness for the first time with Digger and Doug...the first listen through of Badlands just blowing me away.

I was 12.

I recall playing Backstreets for my brother John and letting him listen to the words to get him hooked. Me, John and Tom drove from North Collins to Hamburg to pick up Born in the USA. John was singing the song without ever having heard it before, way off-key, reading the words.

The first concert with John, Tom and Kellie. The show changed everything I was ever thinking about up to that point.

Jim and I saw him in Mountain View, California, Fluffy and me in Toronto, me and Rosie in Long Island and Washington. With my sister, Carrie and sister-in-laws and friends...all over the damn place!

Bruce has a cool million just off the Fuzzy's!

I have now seen 33 shows...most of them with my beautiful wife, and family...always family. A shared love.

I picked up the Ghost of Tom Joad at one in the morning. I was 20th in line. There was a line for the after midnight release. My brother Jeff was third in that same line. I remember how he skipped out of that store.

And Bruce has always been there for me!

He saved me about a month after Jeff was stolen from us in Albany.

Bruce flat-out saved me that night.

So, you see, reading the book was sort of a religious experience for me.

Then, Mom called.

We talked about his interview on Colbert.

She enjoyed it and she spoke about how his values, growing up, seemed to mirror the values that my parents taught us.

"That's why we love him!" I explained.

So, what did I think of the book?

Well, I think you can guess.

Thank God Bruce's Mom bought him that guitar.

I look forward to the next 10 albums, 20 interviews and 30 shows.

He did what he set out to do... people live their lives a little.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Did Hell Freeze Over?

By late last night, Sam mentioned, at least 70 times, that the Bills won.

He'd walk up and say:

"By the way, the Bills beat New England."

They had done the improbable...

...gone to New England and shut out the Patriots.

I didn't catch any of the game, but man he was fired up!

I'm a little confused over our taxes...

...thought it was my duty to pay....

...turns out I'm just stupid!

Cheating the system at the bottom is the sign of a dirtbag...

....robbing the system blind at the top makes you smart?

What garbage.

Seems to me that if you're living in a gold house you can contribute a little.

The debate is Pence versus Kaine.


It would take me about 20 minutes to figure out who they were if they walked into my house.

I won't be watching.

The SNL stuff was pretty good.

Damn, Alec Baldwin is funny. His Trump was pretty dead-on. Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin will always be the best....but Baldwin did a lot of stuff right.

Watched the Mel Gibson movie.

I'd thought about banning him for his drunken real life racism...but shrugged it off. He was a dope. What can you do?

The movie was good.

He's great in action movies and there were a couple of scenes in the movie where he made fun of the idiot he had been in real life.

What else?

Oh yeah.

"The Bills Won."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fall is in the Air

Opened my eyes on Saturday morning. It was past 7 a.m.

I rarely sleep in so late.

There was a light rain and the cool air was blowing into the room. Melky lifted her square head as if to see if I was still breathing. Sleeping past 7???

The date was the first thing that registered.

October 1.

My nephew Tony's birthday!

17 days until I turn 52 years old.

Time just flies by and I thought of all the past October days that were crushing because I was worried about the Yankees.

No playoffs this year, but they did okay. Changing of the guard. I can live with it.

I wore a light jacket on Friday morning. The first jacket of the year.

"7 months of crap, now," one of the guys on the site said.

For many of us, fall is one of the better times of the year. The crispness in the air. The ability to slow down a little.

I actually laid there for a few minutes...

...taking stock.

3 months left in the year.

Rest, baseball playoffs, cool air, birthday.

"You ready, Melk?" I asked.

Her head was at the window. Her nose was twitching.

If she could talk she might've said it to me.

"Fall is in the air, dude."

Hope the snow is about 5 months off.

Doubt it!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Putting On Weight?

Saw a guy I hadn't seen in some time.

"You're looking good," he said. "Little bigger than you used to be."

I gave him a two word answer. The second word was 'You'.

The first word wasn't 'Thank.'

Hardly know the guy...

He laughed, but I wondered:

"What makes people say such things to others?"

I thought of it a little longer when I once again was horrified by something one of the political candidates said about a beauty queen.

Miss Piggy???

I bust people's chops from time to time. My buddies and me go back and forth constantly.

Nothing is off-limits and it is something I'd never take personally...

...but malicious intent is malicious intent and when it's someone that you hardly know?

That doesn't feel right.

A few months back I was listening to one of the morning radio shows. They had audio of an older, male newscaster who was bantering with a young, female weather person.

That usual garbage banter back and forth, but the weather lady struck a nerve as she teased the old guy:

"Just because you can't get a date on a Saturday night," she teased, with a laugh.

"I can't get a date?" The old dog asked. "I can't get a date?"

 His face was turning red and he was slamming his papers on the desk. All in the matter of seconds.

"Well, just cause you're the town whore, doesn't mean you can make fun of me."

I laughed.

Found it at home online and watched it a few more times. The guy ended up getting fired!

I think the woman kind of asked for it.

Now, I'm sure there's more to the story. It obviously wasn't just good-natured banter.

Yet I've always wondered about people who say vile, mean, angry things to folks they hardly know.

Calling people fat?

Bashing someone for not being able to get a date?

Listen...we've all done it at one time or another and felt bad for it, hopefully!

Someone who does it over and over though is doing it to make themselves feel better. It's all about insecurity.

Exactly what we're looking for in a leader, right?

I would've answered him if I'd been that former beauty queen.

"That hurts coming from a fat, Orange dude."


I was ordering lunch on the road and one of the choices was a meatball sub. I wanted to eat something a little healthier than that, but I as...