Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Like A Hurricane

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

My boys need a long rest now!

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

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

...so they were thrilled.

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

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

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

He made them laugh too.

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

"What????"

"Just looking at your eyebrows," he said.

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

"Am I aggravating you?" He asked.

He smiled even wider.

"Get lost!"

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

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

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

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

We love when he visits, of course.

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

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

I know the feeling well!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Are You Afraid Of?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think people are tired of talking about it.

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

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

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

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

It was addressed to The Children of Satan.



The letter reads:

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

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

He speaks for some.

And that's scary.




Monday, November 28, 2016

Mannequin Challenge

I have to admit.

I don't actually get this one.

People freeze in place and someone takes the photos?

Is that fun?

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

I honestly started to get pissed.

Finally Al broke character and they all laughed again.

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

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

And then...the crazy thing happened.

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

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

So that's okay, I guess.

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

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

The mannequin game.

Weird.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

It Happens In Threes

So we have the first two.

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

And

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not sure if that's a fact.

As for Fidel.

He was the face of evil for us as kids.

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

He made it to 90!!!

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

He hung in there.

And split the headlines with Carol Brady.

Is it just me who finds that a little odd?

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

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

It seems to work that way.

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

That's kinda' sad, right?

Sadder than Castro checking out.

That's for sure.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Kids

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

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

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

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

"Good flips," I said.

(What else do you say to cartwheels?)

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

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

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

I pointed to the twenty-somethings:

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

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

(All in one shot).

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

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

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

I turned to the little child in front of me.

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

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

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

"See you later!" She said.

I laughed.

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

Thankful along the way.

Wish I could do a cartwheel.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Birthday to My Mommy!

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

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

My mother is a remarkable human being...

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

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

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

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

Bruce's Dad may have resented it.

My parents never did.

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

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

The circle of life.

The moments are what it's all about.

And today is Mom's birthday!

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

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

Through hard work.

Unwavering dedication.

Profound love.

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

...she never thought about much.

Straight ahead strength.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

We love you!

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

Your love brings the light.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to All

It's been an odd year..

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

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

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

Be Thankful for that.

We all have people who love us.

All of us.

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

Be Thankful for those who love you.

And for those you love.

Many of the people reading this today...

...are going to eat too much today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Thankful  you aren't on that team.

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

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

And Be Thankful.

Life goes by too quickly.

It's a truly painful ride...

... if you aren't Thankful.

Be Thankful for what you have...

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hamilton

Nope.

I don't have tickets to the play.

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

I heard something about a politician stopping by.

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

It's a post about the theater!

Famously I was in two plays in college.

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

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

Ah well...that play went well.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anywhoha...

I've also seen two plays.

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

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

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

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

It wasn't my fault!!!

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

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

He was louder than her.

It struck me funny.

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

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

...she laughed.

Pretty much everyone laughed except for my date.

Ah well.

I hope Bruce and Patti had a better time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Happy Birthday John!!

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

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

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

We were sharing stories about growing up:

All the greatest hits.

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

One of Jake's friends was here...

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

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

John was my first friend in this life.

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

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

...with him in my heart...

...every single day.

Love you, brother!

Have a great day!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

From 70 to 30

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

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

Bah!!

Well, we had a good run!

It's nearly the end of November.

Now I curse the cold until May.

That's a long time, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Duh.

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

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

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

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

Yeah.

People in Buffalo get cold too.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Shut-Up & Sing

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

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

What happened to telling it like it is?

Or

Getting rid of political correctness?

Thought the loss of civility was the rallying cry?

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

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

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

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

...can't have a voice?

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

Whenever a statement is made these days someone shouts back:

"We don't care what you think!"

Well, don't listen then.

But they can't say it?

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

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

And that is really going to happen now..

A lot.

So let's get the rules straight:

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

That's it.

Bigly protested about people speaking out.

Bigly needs to know that it will continue to happen.

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

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Married Life

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

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

I turned to my beautiful wife:

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

Kathy thought about it for a moment:

"Nope!" She said.

We also have a running battle going with her shoes.

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

I kick her shoes out of the way.

That aggravates her to no end.

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

Yep.

I've been kicking her shoes for 20 years.

She puts them right back there.

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

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

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

"Why? Are you crazy?" He asked.

I laughed.

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

"You did," I said.

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

Sam didn't know what to say.

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

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

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

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

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

She laughed.

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

She thought about it for a split-second:

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

I'm going to kick her shoes today.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Floppy Needs A Day

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

He needed a day off.

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

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

...and he needs a day already?

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

...in June!!!

Hey Floppy...take a nap!

Why does it aggravate me?

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

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

SO THEY COULD SEE FLOPPY BOUNCE A BALL!

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

You don't care????

You need rest???

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

Some days I can't even walk.

But I go.

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

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

He's that freaking tired???

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

Garbage!

Michael Kay was talking about it on his show.

He made a great point:

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

"We're still charging you for the porterhouse.

It's garbage.

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

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

Remember when Floppy said "That's retarded."

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

And he holds a press conference over "posse?"

11 games in...

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

At Least We Didn't Have to Climb A Pole


Saw this phone in an office today.

Doesn't it look weird?

When I looked at it my mind did a trick.

I thought about calling a girl back in high school.

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

"I need the phone!"

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

"Who are you talking to?"

Dialing the phone was a whole 'nother thing.

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

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

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

What the hell did we talk about so long?

Everything seemed so important!

What was really frustrating was the busy signal.

"Who is she talking to?"

I showed the boys the photo.

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

We didn't carry them!

Actually, we could get lost!

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

...the phone would ring.

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

David Spade was doing his comedy the other day.

He said that he lost his phone for ten hours.

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

Looking at the phone I almost longed for the day.

Almost.

What a weird looking contraption.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Your Engine Fell Out"

I am not mechanically inclined.

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

No clue.

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

I put it in his windshield washer thingy.

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

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

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

I drove to the first job...

...the knocking was getting louder.

I drove to the second job...

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

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

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

I ignored it.

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

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

I drove to the mechanic's shop.

He test drove it.

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

I laughed.

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

"Is that bad?"

"It ain't good?"

"How does it happen?"

"No idea!"

So, how'd your day go?

The engine fell out of my freaking car!!

Brubaker!!!

...you bastard!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Unrest

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

I don't much care for civil unrest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The Donald pulled it out," he said.

I grunted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes unrest is required...

...before we can rest again.

All of us.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Long Walk Home

Bruce Does One:

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

Long Walk Home

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

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

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

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

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

It's gonna' be a long walk home.

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

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

It's gonna' be a long walk home.

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

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

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

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Bethlehem Steel Burns Down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was actually beautiful.

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

I laughed.

"Are you freaking kidding me?"

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

I laughed again.

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

So what was in the air?

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

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

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

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

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

We do now.

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

Will we continue to do that?

Is it even possible to bring the manufacturing jobs back?

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

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

"Real weird," Kathy agreed.

She had spent about 15 years working in that building.

Everything eventually crumbles.

Onward and upward.

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


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Returning to the World

Well, not exactly.

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

I took it!

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

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

Nothing.

Let's get great, right.

You know what no one is doing at all?

Listening to someone else's point of view.

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

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

I saw what I saw.

Understood what I understood.

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

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

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

I had to argue the other side of the argument.

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

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

...it didn't change my mind.

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

Not tolerable.

How do I switch gears?

How do so many others suddenly accept what is unacceptable?

I still don't know.

But the sun comes up.

Hope springs eternal.

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

...because of the people.

Some of the people are unsure.

Others are thrilled.

Life goes on.

We'll be all right.

I think back to The Grapes of Wrath.

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

"We move on."

And as Tom is leaving his mother asks him:

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

He says and I'm paraphrasing:

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

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

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

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

We have plenty of checks and balances.

We'll need 'em.

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Social Media Blackout

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

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

...checking Facebook and Twitter

(Saying 'No Kidding, Really'?)

...then I read news stories.

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

...and then finally go to sports.

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

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

Except for the last two days.

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

I can't do it!

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

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

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

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

...I turn down the volume.

I've actually felt pretty good too.

Why worry about it?

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

Maybe never.

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

What a long, strange year it has been.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stunned

This election was so highly toxic from day one that there was certainly going to be heavy smoke on the morning after.



There were also bound to be hurt feelings.



To be honest, I listened to all the people talk about how the choices were horrific...
...then I listened to people celebrating as if the Cubs had broken the 108-year curse.

I was beyond tired (as many were on Wednesday).

Last thing I wanted to hear was political talk. Just wanted to gaze out into the stars and wonder what it all means.



I spent a little time considering my boys...

...and the America they will know.

Will it always be so divided?

To those who reached out to me yesterday...

...the process of what went down on Tuesday night will take me time to digest.

A whole bunch of people are in the same boat.

More than half the country...voted the other way.

It didn't have to be this negative.

It doesn't have to be this divisive.

Whether you feel like a winner or a loser.

No matter which way you argued...

...if you did...

...you lost.

America lost because it was so bitter, so nasty, so vile that it will be hard to come back from.

As an American we should all unify behind the leader, but that sort of went out the window in 2008, didn't it?

Pretty hard for that group of people to preach acceptance the day after the election, isn't it?

Maybe everyone will get there.

It doesn't have to be horrible...

But yesterday it was.

Not because of the selection so much as the division of the United States of America.

Sadly, it just...

...was.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Politics Free

Not mentioning a word about the winner or loser.

Catch the football game on Monday night?

It was actually a good game!

That rarely happens in the NFL...

...but lo and behold:

It was marred by a horrific call by a horrible referee crew.

I was on the road...texting with my highly aggravated boys.

"It might be fixed," Sam said. "Seattle was favored by 6."

When you have people questioning your sport...well, that ain't good.

I know a whole lot of people who aren't watching anymore because some of the people are kneeling during the anthem.

I know others who stopped watching because of the concussions.

An expert stated last week that the NFL will be gone in 20 years.

Not sure about that, but there are cracks in the shield.

I have been spending my Sundays doing imitations of some of the Italian dishes that Dad and Jeff perfected.

I certainly wish I could pick up the phone and ask about some of the secrets, but the world knows that me, along with all of my siblings, can cook it up.

I stuffed some meatballs this past Sunday and before my beautiful wife left to meet my mother for Bingo (Mom won!) I gave Kathy a meatball.

She was eating it and I looked over and she was smiling...almost a laugh.

"What?" I asked.

"Its gourmet," she said. "I'm tasting 7 different things."

I laughed.

I used to just marvel at dishes that Dad and Jeff served up.

I tried my own sample meatball...

...I had nailed it!

Now I gotta' figure out next weeks' dinner.

Help me out, Pops, what's next?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Impossible Dream

"Don't ever talk politics or religion at a party."

I remember my mother saying that once. I was just a kid. I couldn't figure out why anyone would fight about it. Politics, maybe, but who didn't think God was watching?

Now the dream seems impossible.

How do we all avoid arguing, arguing, arguing?

Here's the thing:

"I have great friends on both side of the political "fight".

Of those people some I can talk to extensively about any and all subjects without there ever being anything close to an argument. Those close friends can call me "bleeding heart" or "liberal" without either of us blinking an eye.

We're close. We understand one another intellectually and we know, deep down, that on most issues, we're a lot closer than further apart.

We accept the differences, respect the gap, and love the banter.

Where the "talk" has gotten out of hand is the dialogue between those we don't know at all.

Everyone is equal in the comment section on a social media post.

An intellectual and a radicalist can post one after another...

...common ground be damned!

That argument will slip into an abyss of name-calling and hate.

I have some hope for the day after this horrible election:

I really hope and pray that there will be compromise reached.

Even as I wrote that...I understood how impossible that would be.

It's going to get worse, isn't it?

We are in serious trouble here, aren't we?

I hope I'm wrong...

...I want us to all get along!

But what do I know?

I'm just old bleeding heart!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Tomorrow is the Big Day

Thank God it's almost over.

For the past week or so I have simply hid any posts that had anything do with either of the esteemed presidential candidates.

No more reason about it.

No more discussing it.

No more trying to convince anyone of anything.

And I'm curious of course, to glance at the predictions of who might win...

...but I'm not about to turn on the talking heads to see what they think.

What is going to happen is going to happen and the people on the losing side are going to be angry and the people on the winning side will feel vindicated.

But no one should feel vindicated.

Not the fans of either candidate. Not the all-encompassing media, none of the leaders of the parties.

Because the entire show was a national embarrassment.

Think back to the start...

...count the mistakes made.

We have another country heavily involved in our election!

One miserable moment after another as the candidates were dragggd through mud so deep that they were filthy within the first two weeks.

If anything comes of this putrid election season...

...here's hoping that it's the simple fact...

...that how we elect our leaders must be changed!

And make no mistake...

...it was about money.

They needed to keep it close...

...so the media played up one candidate and played down the other.

If you're still enraptured...

...God Bless.

I'll go to bed early tomorrow night.

And deal with the mess the next day.

I don't care what happens.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Shit Sandwich

A San Antonio police officer was fired earlier this week.

He allegedly put shit between two slices of bread, put it into a container and handed it to a homeless man.

Obviously he's a vile, disgusting human being who doubtlessly thought he was the funniest guy ever.

Yet I wasn't surprised at all.

The guy is obviously just one guy and it's dangerous to condemn many for the actions of one, but overall...

...we aren't very compassionate anymore, are we?

The rhetoric is hateful...

...across the board.

And I don't get it, really.

There are a whole lot of people out there who are bashing those they feel are below them somehow.

There are also a whole bunch of people who feel that even though they're struggling to get ahead, that they're somehow a lot better than those who are suffering even more.

A whole bunch of people out there who believe that they're one break away from being super rich somehow...

...then they can look down on even more people!!

When I was a kid we went to church each morning.

We used to always sing a song called "Whatsoever You Do."

I still know a lot of the words to that song.

"Whatsoever you do the least of your brothers, you do to me."

The "me" in the song is Jesus, right?

That cop wasn't singing that song, that's for sure.

There are a whole group of people who've never heard it either.

Plenty of judgment is passed on those who suffer to grab their little piece of the dream that someone else has for them.

"I saw a guy in a store with food stamps buying potato chips!" Someone wrote on Facebook a while back.

(Must've been the potato chip policeman).

Problem being...

...that song makes you feel a word that is foreign to a whole bunch of people...

...and that cop, specifically.

Compassion.

Try it.

Judging others as to how you perceive they should live...

...sucks.

You just don't have all the information.

We're all guilty of it from time-to-time, right?

Unfortunately some people have decided to make "Zero Compassion" a rallying cry.

America wasn't built that way.

I really feel sorry for that cop.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Old Friends

Social media certainly helps bring old friends together.

A couple of years back I re-connected with an old college buddy, Tony Mullens. We went back and forth, arguing about how good Floppy James is.

Tony is a fan.

I'm not.

And back in college we connected while playing basketball.

Believe it or not, Tony was better than me.

He could run, jump and dribble the ball. Tony played with my buddy Chris in the A-league.

I played with a bunch of our mutual friends in the B-league. Both of our teams made it to the finals in our respective divisions.

I can't remember if they won.

We definitely lost in the championship game...by a ton.

Anywhoha...

Tony was in town to visit family. He sent me a message and we made a plan to grab breakfast. I decided to surprise him so I invited Chris to come along as a surprise.

And two steps in the door, after shaking Tony's hand for the first time in 30 years, we started talking...

...as if we'd seen one another a week ago.

That's what's amazing about old friendships.

You pick right up where you left off.

We chatted easily...Chris joined us and soon we were talking about all the guys we knew back then.

"I stopped playing basketball around the age of 46," Chris said.

"Me too," Tony said, "but I still run."

"I can't do anything anymore," I said. "I'm a wreck. Just golf and that's only if I rest first."

And that got us started on our injuries through the years, but for a little while there, we were young again.

Story after story.

The Glory Days at Gannon University.

"We have to organize a reunion back at school. It would be good to see everyone again."

But...

...you can't go back.

And you don't really have to...

...because the old friendships are all still intact.

That's what the easy conversation and the laughs told me.

I bought the breakfast because Floppy the Crybaby won the title.

We're gonna' run that bet back...

...no way they beat Golden State this year.

Friday, November 4, 2016

The Cubbies!

Watching the World Series Game 7 was a real experience.

I was texting at least 6 people as the game went along...almost like watching the game all in the same room.

I thought about the days of old when the world stopped so that the World Series games would be played.

Yankees - Giants or Yankees-Dodgers or Yankees- Pirates or Yankees-Cards

(You get the pattern).

Everyone listening on the radio.

This is the new...everyone stops to watch.

Tweeting back and forth, texting from room-to-room.

A few observations:

1). My father-in-law didn't get his title.

All those Cubs fans finally saw the streak busted, but Indians fans have been waiting since 1948 too.

I felt bad for their fans.

2). TV is Ruining Sports.

Why didn't that game start at 7 p.m.?

Everyone knew it was going to rain by 11 p.m.

When the tarp came on, I cursed Fox and MLB - if we wanted to see the end we were look at a 1 a.m. finish.

Back in those old days the games were played in the afternoons.

We can't get one afternoon game just for the fun of it?

3). Joe Buck aggravates me to no end.

I muted him again.

He is just bad for baseball.

We all hate him.

What will it take to get him fired?

4). Both managers were lousy.

Madden clearly abused Chapman.

Miller and Allen were both gone in a tie game.

The final batter of the game...with the tying run on was Michael Martinez.

Never heard of him.

I think they managed scared.

5). Baseball is the best.

The drama was intense.

A late homer by an old veteran to get the Indians off the mat.

The Cubs got off the mat to win.

Fans were crying.

Players were crying.

It was nuts!

And it actually wasn't a well-played game.

But the Cubs won!

It looked weird on the television screen.

Like something from a movie.

The Cubs?

Seriously?

World Champs!

What a season.

Awesome!



Thursday, November 3, 2016

Game Seven!

I'll never forget the moment when Luis Gonzalez bloop landed at the edge of the infield dirt allowing the Arizona Diamondbacks to beat Mariano Rivera and the Yankees in 2001.

I'll also never forget the sentence I said right before that happened.

"Why the hell does Torre have the infield in?"

That game ended late - the morning of when Jake was about to undergo an operation that would save his life.

Was I sad?

I wanted the Yankees to win their fourth in a row, of course, but given what we had to go through the next day...

...it allowed me to understand that sports is simply an amusement and not all that important.

Tell that to the guy who paid $19,800 per ticket for the chance to see the Indians and the Cubs play Game 7!

 Grand per ticket!!!!

First off, I love the Yankees...I love Bruce...

...I would never pay a thousand dollars to see either.

My father-in-law stopped by the house on Wednesday morning.

"Are you nervous?" I asked.

My father-in-law saw the Indians win in 1948.

He's been waiting for another one ever since.

He's watched thousands and thousands of innings.

"I'm happy they've made it this far," he said.

No he isn't!

The worst I ever felt after a sporting event was when the Bills lost to the Giants in the Norwide game.

I could barely pick my head up that day.

As the preparations began for Cubs-Indians on Wednesday I didn't think much about the fans of the winning team.

Losing hurts more than winning feels good.

Thank God I didn't have a dog in the fight.

But I'd be remiss if I didn't say it:

Baseball is the greatest game ever invented!


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Escape Artist


Harry Houdini died on November 1, 1926.

I found it pretty amazing that it was so long ago, and as usual, I saw something and wanted to learn a little more about the guy.

He died from an appendicitis...

...and a bit of stupidity.

He was supposed to be at the hospital, but he was too stubborn to go so he went to his show while running a temperature of about 104.

That wasn't the stupid part.

Despite the fact that he also was suffering from a broken ankle at the time he played a little game with a guy in his dressing room before the show.

He let the guy punch him in the stomach a number of times because he was trying to prove that he could take the guy's best punch.

Then he told the guy that it hurt only because he wasn't able to stand and distribute his weight properly.

He was 52-years old at the time of his death...

...same age as me.

I'm not letting anyone punch me in the stomach.

'Cause it'll hurt!

Yet, by all accounts, Houdini was an amazing escape artist. His best acts are well-chronicled and he was very protective of his act. He'd sue people who tried to question him, or copy him.

He was ornery.

But think of it...

...we all know him.

"Who do I look like, Houdini?"

As kids we all knew parts of the story, right?

He's been dead for 90 years!

That's pretty cool.

He was amazing, right?

But what a way to go out!

Punch me!




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Game Day Experience

Last year the Pats came to town and the boys were fired up about knocking them off their perch atop the AFC East.

Didn't work out that way...I was picking them up early because New England had a 3-touchdown lead.

"Come get us!" Sam had texted.

Yet this week the boys were less fired up.

The Bills are hurting and Brady is back.

"I'm not coming home early this year," Sam said. "Cause the Bills are going to be killing them!"

"I won't pick you up if you text then," I said.

"Don't worry about it!"

Kathy dropped the boys off so they could enjoy the game day experience and we settled in to watched The Sopranos before the game was set to begin.

I got a text.

"I don't have my ticket!!!" Sam.

It was just 15 minutes before game time...so I got in the car and picked out a spot to meet him.

(Leaving for a game without a ticket is a pure Kathy move).

The game day experience amazes me...

...old men, kids, men, women, children...

All dressed up in red, white and blue...

...all fired up and full of promise.

The grills are going. Groups of people tossing the football and playing corn hole. There's definitely evidence of alcohol being consumed.

Sam looked miserable already. The rain was relentless.

"Thanks," He said as I handed him the ticket.

"Good luck," I answered.

"We're gonna' kill them!"

I laughed.

Mom and Kathy headed to Bingo. I worked on the pasta...had the game on for a moment and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that someone had tossed...

...a sex toy...on the field????

Could it be?

I went to Twitter to check it out.

Yep...it could be!

"What would make someone do that?" I wondered.

Years ago I went to a ton of games...had a lot of fun...the rain was coming down...it would take a lot of money to get me to go there now.

"Come get us!" Sam texted, late in the 3rd. "Please don't say 'No.' I'm cold."

I laughed.

The game was still in the middle of the 4th as they sat down on the couch and promptly switched the channel...

...to the Sabres game.

"We don't have to go for another 3 weeks now," Sam said.

"Have to go?" I asked.

"Today sucked," he said. "Tired of getting beat by Brady."

I let them off the hook...didn't even tease them much.

The Sabres scored.

"At least the Sabres are good," Jake said.

Maybe!

Fifty-Three

Today's my 53rd birthday. "You don't look a day over 70." I heard that already a couple of times this week, and I had ...