Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Olathe, Kansas

It's weird, but from the time when you're a little kid you get these mental images about a state that you've never actually visited.

When I used to think about Kansas, I first thought of basketball because that was where Wilt went to school, and then I thought about fields of nothing.

A couple of years ago I began to visit the state for work...one of the projects is in Olathe.

It's a quiet place.

Schools, restaurants, and decent homes. The people seem nice, and the guys on the job are good workers.

Yet this past week I checked into my hotel in Kansas City and I was watching Modern Family when there was a BREAKING NEWS alert.

I was thinking that perhaps Agent Orange declared war on Canada, or something, but it was all about a shooting.

In Olathe.

About 20 blocks from the job site.

Details were sketchy. It appeared that the Kansas basketball game was on at the tavern, and 3 guys got into some sort of argument and one of them pulled a gun.

The usual way to settle an argument in America in 2017.

But it got worse...the shooter had escaped and a manhunt was under way.

I went to sleep wondering what awaited me in the morning as I headed to the project.

In the morning the news was better. They caught the guy. One man had died, but three had been shot.

But the plot thickened...

Turns out it wasn't just a fight about hoops.

Two of the men who were shot were from India. One brave man had been hit when he came to the defense of the men from India.

The shooter???

He asked the men from India if they were illegal immigrants. When he settled in the Missouri town where he was captured he had told the barkeep in that town that he had shot some Middle-Easterners.

He had also yelled:

"Get out of my country!"

This is America in 2017.

One-third of one percent of the violence in America has been committed by an immigrant from one of the places on the travel ban list.

Read that again!

One-third of one percent.

You know who is being violent?

Guys like the Olathe shooter.

A nice little town.

Now it's known for hate.

"Get out of my country."

Indeed.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Nerve Gas

Pretty crazy the way that the half-brother of Kim Jong Un bought it, huh?

Two women killers came up behind him and wiped a poison on his face that caused him to drop.

One of them got pretty sick just because she had it on her gloved hands.

Crazy shit.

They devised a poison so deadly that if it makes contact with your skin:

Curtains!

That's the stuff of spy movies. I'm sure that Kim Jong Dong, (or whatever his name was) didn't actually believe that such a thing was possible.

A few things come to mind:

1). North Korea doesn't play around.

2). The weapons of map destruction angle of it is disconcerting. They killed him by wiping their hands on his face. What if that weapon was sent out in a cloud where a whole bunch of people are gathered?

3). What's Dennis Rodman doing?

You think he could make some time in his schedule to go back over there and make sure that North Korea is all good with the enormous Orange one?

What is going to happen when the golfer-in-chief sends a nasty tweet to Kim Jong?

I'm sure that there's a whole lot about the spy game that we know nothing about. People being wiped out by someone coming up behind them and wiping their hands across their face.

Ugh.

I gotta' stop reading the news.

One nasty thing after another.

He did that to his half-brother!!

(Allegedly).

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Leave Baseball Alone

MLB is working on trying to "speed" up my game.

Stop it!!!

Last year a team tried to intentionally walk Yankees stud rookie Gary Sanchez. One of the intentional bad pitches got too close and Sanchez hit it for a 2-run double.

That won't happen this year.

MLB is saving 30 seconds by changing something that happens every third or fourth game by making the intentional walk automatic.

Seriously?

The commish is also looking to put in a clock so pitchers throw a pitch every 20 seconds. There's discussions going on to limit the number of pitching changes.

Cut it out!!!

What will be the net result?

Cutting games from 3 hours to 2:56?

Does anyone mention it when it comes to football?

That game has 11 minutes of action in a 4 hour presentation. The bells and whistles amuse their fans.

Baseball fans don't need to be artificially stimulated.

Check it:

Football games that begin at 1 pm are ending at 4:30.

No pace of their play has been discussed.

I enjoy baseball for a lot of reasons unbeknownst to the casual fan. I know every player coming up to the plate 3 innings later. I understand why there is a lefty warming and why he is being replaced a batter later.

I understand that playing every day makes managers make certain decisions.

Leave it alone!!

The commish is taking about pulling kids in.

I get that...

...but my kids love the sport.

They watch a hundred games a year.

It's the greatest game.

Stop making it football.

They need bells and whistles.

'Cause their game sucks.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

At Least 70

I took one of those online quizzes.

They ask 10 questions or so and you give the best answer you can.

"What time do you get up?"

"How do you drink your coffee?"

"Do you frequent bars or clubs?"

"Do you read the newspaper?"

I answered:

Between 5 & 6 a.m., black, no and yes.

There were a few more questions...nothing mind-boggling.

I waited a few seconds and it said:

"You're at least 70."

AT LEAST!!!

Now, I must admit that I've slowed way down over the last 5 years...

...I also admit that I have a lot of aches and pains.

But I still go to work every day and I still can work circles around people 25 years younger.

Does it matter that I now like long television series on Netflix?

Does anyone understand that I'd much rather stay home on the weekends, cooking, hanging with my dogs, maybe golfing a little?

Does that mean I'm old before my time?

Okay, now that I read all the information that my answers provided...

...put it this way...

I can see how they made the mistake.

Yet, it's funny...

I still feel young.

We were talking basketball the other night and there was a lot of bragging going on. We decided to set up a match over the summer.

My boys, Jeff's boys, John, Jim and James.

It probably won't go off exactly as we see it in our minds.

I THINK I can still hit a 20-footer.

Probably not.

How many 70+ year olds do you know who can?

Friday, February 24, 2017

"I'm Watching My Mens"

Way back in 1988 I worked with a construction company that employed a full crew of men from Mexico.

They all worked hard.

Their foreman, Carlos, was a good man who mostly spoke Spanish, but took our kidding about speaking English when he was in the progress meetings. He would struggle with the nuances of the language and we would laugh. He would laugh along with us...

...most of the time.

One day, I was out with the owner of the company and as we drove by the tavern we saw Carlos duck in for a mid-afternoon drink. I decided to have some fun.

"Carlos, where are you?" I asked over the Walkie-Talkie we all carried.

"Upstairs," he lied.

"What're you doing?" I asked.

"I'm watching my mens," he said.

We parked at the front entrance of the tavern and Carlos came running out.

He almost ran smack dab into us.

"Your mens?" The big boss said.

I thought of Carlos during this week.

I also thought of Jose, who I know now...

...I've spent a lot of time trying to get him to perform his job safely.

Jose works hard too.

But for the past few days he hasn't been at work. Neither has his crew.

Evidently they are not completely legal.

(I never asked them).

They were on the projects...I just tried to get them in line.

Now they are going to be leaving, I believe.

It's a complicated issue.

One that should not be tackled in a simplistic manner, but will be, unfortunately.

I'm not ready to argue about any of it.

I'm just telling you that there are millions of people involved. Families will be ripped apart. Industries will be impacted.

Mens will scatter and hide.

"I'm not staying in Mexico," one Mexican man cried as he was deported this week. "This has been my home for the last 22 years."

His kids are here. He has been working here for all those years...not legally in every sense of the word...

...but he was assimilating and...

...he was paying his taxes too.

Evidently, actually paying taxes is for the people who are not smart.

I wonder if Carlos is still here.

If he is, maybe he better lay low.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Milo

Milo is in the news.

Big long last name...

...OK don't feel like looking it up to get the spelling right...

...He ain't worth it.

Milo is the big shot at Breitbart.

He said a lot about whether or not children...

...FREAKING CHILDREN!!!

...are decent sex partners for adults.

I couldn't even get through the reading of the statement.

Milo was talking about it being okay if the 13-year-old appeared to be sexually mature enough as opposed to one who isn't.

The thing about it is that Milo was going to speak at Stanford.

Remember that?

Those damn, filthy liberals protested it and Milo didn't get to speak.

The Tangerine threatened to cut off the Federal funding to the school.

Now this.

The book deal that Milo had was canceled.

Everyone and their brother spoke out against his vile comments and Milo came back with this:

"I'm not going anywhere!"

Well, here's hoping that Milo doesn't get anymore time anywhere.

There are certainly things that we can all agree on, right?

Children are children.

Rape is rape.

Milo is an a**hole.

Breitbart...

...what garbage.

Good thing that no one associated with that hate-filled group doesn't have anything to do with our government, right?

What's that?

President Bannon used to run it?

Horrible.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Easy Like Sunday Morning

The sun has been shining in Buffalo.

Maybe there is a climate change problem coming like all the scientists say (it's just a theory I've been told, by non-scientists) but if it calls in the sun in February...even for a few days...I'll take it at this point.

My Mom and my beautiful wife decided to do Bingo so my day would center around getting the pasta ready.

Perfect.

The hip is bothering me again.

So, lot of time off my feet, hang with the dogs, read a little.

I stayed away from any stories that dealt with the news and especially politics.

Checked out every baseball story I could find.

Ordered a new book for the phone.

A little paperwork...a movie...a new series on television.

Easy.

Sunday has always had a special feel. When we were kids it all centered around dinner. We'd all play ball...everyone was home.

At night we'd all gather in the same room and watch the same shows...

...I keep thinking about The Jeffersons...

...I know they were on Sunday night.

Most likely all we need is the time to decompress and relax. I purposely did it on Sunday.

No pressure.

Family.

Food.

Relax.

Easy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Beat to Death with A Hammer

The 48 Hours this week featured a woman who was beat to death by being struck with a hammer. They figured that she was hit 17 times.

"That's how I want to go," I said.

"With your mouth it's possible," my loving wife said.

We watch a lot of crime shows.

I'm not sure why.

Just seeing what humans do to other humans is mind-boggling, and of course, it's all about the people who are close to the victim.

They news programs usually play it the same way.

The surviving spouse will be on screen talking about how it was love at first sight. We see the wedding photos, the smiling faces...

...Life at its finest.

(Go to commercial).

The narrator tells us about how the marriage may not have been as perfect as friends believed.

The surviving spouse will say:

"I had an affair, but we were working it out. I had been forgiven completely!"

The evidence piles up.

The restaurant bills, the motel receipts, the loud arguments, and then the declaration:

"If someone kills me, it was my spouse."

At this point I'll yell out:

"Ah-ha!"

(Go to commercial).

The narrator tells us about other people who might've wanted her/him dead.

Now we have a real mystery!!!

"You think the husband/wife did it?" Kathy will ask.

"Yep!"

"Why?" She'll ask.

"Because they were married, duh!"

(Go to commercial).

The narrator tells us that we have a stunning break.

The spouse is back.

Crying.

There are twists and turns.

(Back to the wedding photos).

The new evidence shows that husband/wife may indeed have done it.

And then we get to the courtroom.

(Go to commercial).

That's when I fall asleep most weeks.

The next morning I ask:

"Did the husband/wife do it?"

"Yep!"

17 times in the back of the head with a hammer!

Didn't see that coming on the old wedding day, did you?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Keep Punching

My brother John has a signed photo of Rocky Marciano who remains the only heavyweight champion of the world who is undefeated.

49-0.

Rocky signed it:

"Keep Punching."

I think of that autograph a lot.

Life can really work on people.

A couple of weeks ago a buddy of mine told me about the double-shift he was pulling while being deathly sick with the flu.

"Sometimes life is too ridiculous to live," I texted back.

That is a Mellencamp line.

I think of that lyric a lot.

Last week I spent the first three days of the week with buzzing legs. My theory is that when the back muscles get tight the buzzing begins. Massage and rest sometimes takes the buzzing away. It got so bad early on that I used epsom salt and a foot bath as I watched a NetFlix show.

Keep Punching.

Sometimes life is too ridiculous to live.

The foot bath worked!

The buzzing stopped!!

And the ache in my hip started!!!

First job the next day?

A straight ladder to the roof deck.

Keep Punching!

Sometimes life is too ridiculous to live.

But the week came to a close.

The dogs were waiting to go bye-bye.

The kids were looking for fun.

Spring Training Started!

The sun came out in Buffalo!!

Punched my way through it.

So did my buddy with the flu.

So did my beautiful wife and her four straight 5 a.m. days.

The more you punch...

...the less ridiculous it becomes.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Earth Is Flat

Kyrie Irving scored the game-winning basket in the NBA Finals last year.

He also attended Duke University.

Seems like a reasonable guy.

Well, he made news on Friday because on a podcast somewhere he announced that the world is flat.

Wasn't joking either.

He explained that all this circle crap is just garbage that we're fed from an early age, and that it's not a theory. He KNOWS the earth is flat. You know, because it doesn't feel like we're walking on a circular pattern.

Watching Irving in an interview discussing the matter, I almost believed him...

...Except he went into the "fake information" spiel that appears to be all the rage these days.

New rules:

If something is reported that doesn't fit your narrative it doesn't necessarily mean that it is fake.

It might be because YOU are wrong!!!!

Now, Irving appears to truly believe that the earth truly is flat.

He says that he has proof.

He didn't offer any.

I'm unsure as to why THEY (whoever they are) might conspire to trick us all into thinking that the planets are spherical...

...But Irving isn't playing!

It's flat!!!

You shouldn't just take what the teachers tell you at face value!

Just because they're telling you it's not flat doesn't make it not flat!!!

You have to think for yourself!!!!

Okay then...

...Got it!

Thanks, Kyrie!

Watch where you're walking...

...Don't wanna' go over the edge.

I'm thinking it'll be a long drop.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Big Trouble

I am hesitant to do this, but I'm always honest about my day and my thoughts.

On Thursday afternoon I was driving from one site to another and I hit a button on the satellite radio, going from entertainment to news.

The president was giving a press conference.

 I listened for at least a half-an-hour.

"Fake news".

"Landslide."

"I've never had anything to do with Russia."

There were run-on incoherent sentences, belittling people asking questions, telling stories, losing his train of thought and sniffing, sniffing and more sniffing.

I had a bunch of random thoughts:

1). He's on drugs.

He honestly can't go three words without sniffing. It was apparent during the debates, but it is even more apparent when just listening to him on the radio.

2). He talks in circles.

The "answers" are slow in coming. Around and around. When cornered he hammers favorite targets:

The Clintons (who are not involved).

The lying media.

Fake news.

3). He always doubles backs to him.

"Biggest electoral college win since Reagan."

"It's taking the longest time ever to fill my cabinet."

"We've done more than any president ever."

Those are all false statements, but in his world...that's the real news...everything else is FALSE!

4). We're in Big Trouble

He said that his administration is running like a finely tuned machine.

The ban was rolled out perfectly.

Flynn was fired.

His spokesman was reprimanded for doing a Ivanka Trump commercial.

The Navy Seal turned down the NSA appointment.

There is a BREAKING NEWS update every three hours.

Big trouble.

Thankfully I arrived at my final site for the day.

I was glad to get away from the radio.

My stomach was churning.

I replayed the bumbling, stumbling, rambling words over and over.

Big Trouble.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Tax Time

Starting to gather the information so I can take it all down to the accountant so he can sort it all out for me.

I don't know why I get anxious about it every year, but I do.

I'm always afraid that he'll do his magic and tell me that I actually owe money, but we normally don't.

 We usually get a little bit back.

Yet still I worry.

There's been a lot of talk about taxes this year.

Rich people don't pay them because they find loopholes.

Poor people don't pay them because they don't have the money...

...so it's up to the rest of us.

Churches are tax-exempt.

20% of the Fortune 500 companies have figured out how to skip out on them, and the rest of us just don't understand the rules.

Whenever tax talk comes up there's usually a bitch session that follows.

"My taxes are ridiculous!"

"You know how much we pay in school taxes?"

"Taxes are killing us!!"

And I don't think about them until now...

...I drop everything off and wait.

My tax man is great.

He always calls on a Saturday night for some reason.

He always says the same thing:

"Are you sitting down?" He asks.

It's like the moment just before they flip the switch.

"You got a small refund on Federal and an even smaller one on state."

"Oh Thank God!"

I can't imagine what it must feel like to know that you can do whatever it takes to not have to contribute anything at all.

The tax man comes for us all through, right?

We all now know that isn't true and we don't have to provide them to run for the highest office in the land.

But for those not smart enough or not poor enough...

...we sweat it out.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

What the Hell Is Going On?

Flynn was forced to resign because he was found to be lying about talking to Russia.

They asked Agent Orange about it and he lied even though he knew about it awhile ago.

Russia had battle ships close to America's coast.

When the new "leader" met with the Prime Minister of Japan he asked him to see if he could be nicer to Russia because it will be better if everyone gets along with Putin.

Fans of all this garbage are now voting in polls for Russia!!!

I'll ask once for the official record:

What in the hell ia going on???

Listen, I don't care if we just get along with everyone. As a peace-loving, bleeding heart I'm all for peace and tranquility, but does any of this make sense to you?

The Mighty Tangerine has fought with the following people:

Rosie O'Donell, Mark Cuban, the Pope, Obama, Jeb Bush, Hiliary and Bill Clinton, the leader of Australia (an ally), the president of Mexico (ally), all of his wives, Ted Cruz, John McCain, the Chinese, Iraq, Alec Baldwin, Iran, 7 middle eastern nations, refugees, the blacks, the Hispanics, Muslims, gays, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Meryl freaking Streep, Chris Christie, the good humor man, pet lovers, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz...

...and everyone in between!

He hates EVERYONE and EVERYTHING...

...except Putin and Russia!!!

Does that not concern anyone???

Really???

I would love to hear a reasonable explanation for it.

I know it's only been 28 days.

People need time to settle into their jobs...

...but I can't even keep track of all the scandals that we've been through in the time since he was sworn in.

Feel like recapping?

Fought about the size of the crowd, women marched, Muslim ban, voted down in court twice, ObamaCare to be repealed (can't repeal it), Mexico Wall (they won't pay for it)...now it costs too much...we'll get a better deal, Flynn resigns, Hangs up on Australia, three vacations and 54 holes of golf already, North Korea sets off a missile...discussed over dinner, on an unsecured Android, Ivanka bounced from Nordstrom, Conway lies, Spicer lies, lie after lie after lie after lie. Hate-filled words for everyone....

...except Russia!!!

All together now!!

We all love Russia!!!!

What in the hell is going on????,

Vodka for everyone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Big Cupcake

That dude was at a basketball game on Saturday.

The game was out in public.

He was sitting quietly because his team was down 20 and the guy he went to make fun of had about 30 points by that time.

The game was Oklahoma City versus Golden State and I knew all about it because my boys started talking about it on Wednesday.

"We got the big television on Saturday at 8:30," Jake announced.

Saturday at 8:30 is pretty high real estate when it comes to the television. We do watch the occasional movie around then.

"Why's that?" I asked.

"Durant is going back to OKC. It's going to be crazy."

Sam came out of the bedroom wearing a Durant jersey from his days in Oklahoma City.

At least he wasn't in a cupcake uniform.

And my boys were split on why they no longer liked Kevin Durant.

"He wasn't loyal," Jake said.

"I don't like his game," Sam offered.

Yet it was easy to see what the people from OKC thought about their former best player.

They hate him now.

Because he switched jerseys.

Like Seinfeld said:

"We're rooting for laundry."

Durant did a lot of good in that city and state. Kids loved him. His name was everywhere. He gave to local charities.

Then his contract ran out and he was free to play wherever he wanted to play.

He didn't choose Oklahoma.

He went to the team that beat them last year.

Now he's a cupcake.

The cupcake chant echoed through the building.

The guy you see sitting there quietly was very boisterous early on.

Golden State shut them all up, actually.

But more than anything else I thought about that guy getting dressed before the game...

...downing beer, getting the paint applied, spewing verbal hatred at cupcake, downing beer, finding he perfect hood, swearing, downing beer, screaming that OKS 'will beat his ass anyway!'

and then having a beer.

Funny stuff.

"How'd you like the game?" I asked Jake on Sunday morning.

"Was fun. Still don't like Durant."

"Yeah. He's a cupcake."


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

Over the course of the last few weeks I've been grabbing a candy bar for my beautiful wife whenever the thought hits me.

Late last week, I grabbed two of them at a gas station.

It promised to be a chocolate s'mores bar.

I attempted to eat mine after lunch and one bite in I knew that something was wrong with it. The candy tasted old and stale.

Two bites later I got rid of it.

I was headed out of town so I just left Kathy's on the table in her room. She called me when she arrived.

"Oh I got a candy bar. S'mores. sounds good."

I didn't bother to tell her that it wasn't.

I mean, maybe I just got a bad one!

The next day I was driving home, and she called to check in. We were nearly done with the conversation when she said:

"Where'd you get that candy bar?"

I honestly thought she was asking because she found it amazing.

"I don't even know," I said.

"Well don't go back it was horrendous."

I laughed.

I didn't even tell her that I'd had one too. Instead I played the victim.

"I buy something nice for you, in the middle of a busy day, and you call me special to tell me how much it sucked."

I don't remember how the rest of the call went down but at the next stop there was a box of sponge candy...the prime stuff.

Yeah.

I bought it.

I left it on the cupboard and she saw it when she arrived home later on.

"I bought you sponge candy," I said.

"You did not," she answered as she held it in her hands.

And that MY FRIENDS...

...IS EXACTLY HOW VALENTINE'S DAY PLAYED OUT FOR ME EACH AND EVERY YEAR AS I TRIED TO DATE GIRLS.

What a stud.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Good Riddance

Read an obit for a Galveston, Texas man online.

Seems the guy won't be missed much.

The family printed the words for the 74-year old man and ended it with the line:

"I guess it proves that evil does die."

The man, Leslie Chipring, was a real piece of work.

At least his family believed so.

The family made note of his drinking, womanizing, terrorizing, belittling and overall nastiness. The not so kind words also referenced that he enjoyed killing off the family pets.

My favorite line in the remembrance was this one:

"He was sort of smart, but he used his intelligence for his own selfish garbage."

(I'm paraphrasing).

The man, it said, would not be missed and that there would be no service.

His remains would be used in the barn.

Whoa!!!

What a life!!

I sort of laughed at such a nasty turn, but by the time I finished reading it I was sad for his entire family.

The miserable bastard must have been hell on wheels.

You gotta' wonder about such a life.

Most of us want to do something or be someone who makes a mark, or leave a legacy of sorts.

I suppose that being remembered forever as a worthless piece of cow dung is a legacy of sorts, right?

You just wonder what happens there...

...mental illness perhaps?

...getting off on being mean?

Either way, good old Leslie will be long remembered it seems...

...as garbage.

RIP, Leslie.

The family has peace without you.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Knicks

My first recolllection of the NBA involved the 1969-1970 NBA Finals.

I loved the Los Angeles Lakers because of Wilt, Baylor and West.

They got beat by the New York Knicks in 7 games. I remember it really well because my Dad was going for the Knicks with Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed.

I was only 5 years old, but if I close my eyes I can still see the Game 7 final score on our small television screen:

New York 113 
Los Angeles 99

Of course, Wilt and the Lakers soon got revenge, ripping off 33 straight and going 69-13 to win the title during the 71' and 72' season.

Then the Knicks won again in '73-'74 and I appreciated that team.

I actually started to root hard for them when Ewing, Starks and Oakley were there.

But they could never get over the hump and they've been pretty awful for a long while. James Dolan bought the team and brought Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson (a player on the old teams and a 10-time title winner).

It's been a shit show since.

The entire gig hit rock bottom this week.

Oakley bought a ticket behind Dolan.

Perhaps there were a few drinks purchased before the game.

Oakley, evidently, was verbally hammering the owner.

Security got involved.

Oakley went nuts.

Escorted out. 

The television cameras caught it all. The crowd was chanting for Oakley. The fans are tired of losing.

Dolan responded by banning Oakley for life...from MSG.

The entire thing stinks. The Knicks being great would be awesome for basketball and while I may be feeling a bit nostalgic for Clyde, Bradley, Reed and Earl the Pearl.

Obviously Oakley didn't pick a great venue to go after the owner of the team. Yet he will certainly have the fans on his side. During the Knicks 4th straight loss on Friday night, with Dolan sitting there, the fans chanted Oakley's name over and over.

1970 was a long time ago.

The Knicks are evidently still paying for making me sad when I was 5.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trumpertantrum

Jake was a tough baby.

He actually couldn't stand the sight of me.

Either he was held by my beautiful wife or my mother-in-law, or he cried.

Hard!

He was always going nuts actually and as he grew to be a toddler he would show his displeasure by absolutely trashing his room.

"He acts like Keith Moon," I remember telling Kathy.

Like the legendary WHO drummer, Jake would obliterate his sleeping quarters. One day he had everything he owned in the center of his room and luckily he didn't have access to matches or he would've started it all on fire.

We learned the way to deal with it:

"Ignore his rants. He's doing it to get a reaction," Kathy schooled me.

It was hard not to match his insanity with a rant of my own...

...but we did it.

Jake is now a well-tempered young man. He reasons through things and does not go
batshit crazy when things don't break the right way.

Most of us grow in such a fashion, but over the last three weeks we've all been exposed to a colossal baby.

"Sad!"

"Wrong!!"

"I'm being treated unfairly!!"

When all else fails, the leader of the free world calls people names.

"Dumb!"

"Pathetic!!"

"Stupid!!!"

I've tried to employ the same philosophy.

Ignore the rants.

But they come every 3 hours!!!

The Trumpertantrum!!

How long can it go on?

Over/under has to be six months.

Whaaaaaa!!!!

My tweet just buzzed.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Cold & Dark

I'm not a big fan of February.

It's too cold and dark, and the sports world has gone quiet, unless basketball catches your interest...

...or hockey, I suppose.

I don't watch much of either in February. Their seasons are only halfway.

I also am forced to do a lot of talking during these 28 days. Just about every single one of my construction clients does their safety day during February...

...so a lot of time on my feet, talking, telling jokes and stories.

They feed me well!

There is news on the baseball front as pitchers and catchers are packing up their gear to head south.

March Madness has Sam all abuzz and there are games here in Buffalo for round one and Villanova is expected to be here...

...so, as usual, Sam will fire everything up.

What can be done to change the mood of February?

I sure the hell don't want to read the news anymore!

Any ideas???

I'm not going snowmobiling.

I tried to ski down a hill twice...

...didn't go well either time and I can't walk up a flight of stairs without grabbing the handrail now.

So that leaves...

...movies...

...NetFlix...

...reading, writing and food!

That's February!

Embrace the cold and the dark!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Public or Private School

Make no mistake.

It's all about money.

We hear a lot about graduation rates and what is right or wrong for the children.

It's easy to act compassionate about one side or the other on the subject of educating children, but rest assured...

...the money is what is driving things.

I went to public school for kindergarten then spent grades 1-6 at a Catholic school before returning to public school for grades 7-12 and then finishing up my education at a private university.

There was never a time during my educational years where I felt like I was being cheated. We had money available during those years. There were uniforms and equipment for the sports teams. We all got books. Our parents would provide some of the supplies, but there didn't seem to be an eternal battle over every dime.

Maybe there was - I was just a kid!

The teachers worked hard to influence us, and we were expected to work hard.

I'm thinking that the last sentence is still true today. My children have had both good and bad teachers...but the premise hasn't changed.

We pay plenty in school taxes...

...and we have paid plenty for additional things that the kids have needed. When the children were in Catholic school there was a ton of cash handed out.

So. Here we are.

There appears to be a war on the horizon.

Public schools are garbage!!!

We have to do better at making sure kids graduate!!!

The public schools are flush with cash!!!

All those above things have been said out loud lately.

The nomination of DeVos is going to keep the argument on the front burner, and plenty will be said about how "we're only thinking of the children!"

Don't believe it for the second.

The debate is about money.

And how we can bleed it dry...or make a profit off it.

Money!!!

It's all about the green!!!

No matter what type of school you go to, or send your kids too, the money is the key.

Everything else...including the welfare of the children...is simply a pawn in the game.

And that's a damn shame.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saturday Night Live

Not sure about you but I'm really getting tired of winning.

Wonder where the protests will be this weekend.

Maybe it will be in regard to DeVos being confirmed. How do you pay your way to a nomination?

Ah well...sure it'll be great!

Meanwhile, Saturday Night Live is enjoying a real renaissance. I have actually watched all the clips early on Sunday mornings.

(No way I'm up at 11:30 on a Saturday night).

And either way you voted, you had to laugh at Melissa McCarthy doing the Spicer bit this past weekend.

First off, she's a very good comedic actress. Secondly, it was live and she was going full-bore and she simply did not break character for even a second. Not even a smile, and every word delivered with a comical wallop.

I laughed hard.

Then I caught Alec Baldwin doing the president.

He is not a fan of the Orange dude, and he certainly is playing the character over the top...which is how all impressions go...

...but he has taken heat for it.

Which is insane!!!

All during the election we heard about snowflakes whose feelings are hurt because people don't want it told like it is.

(I also hate fake rage).

Yet, I really feel that comedians are off-limits.

Let them do their worst!!

C'mon now...remember Carlin and Pryor and Redd Fox and Buddy Hackett?

Nothing was off-limits!

Belushi, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy, Dana Carvey, Gilda Radner, David Spade, Adam Sandler, Gilbert Gottfried!!!

All very funny people.

Obama got made fun of. So did Reagan, Clinton and the Bushes.

Some of the portrayals were downright mean.

A lot of them were funny.

You know what didn't happpen?

The people who were on the spot...

...didn't cry about it!!

Trumplethinskin is a nickname for the president.

He has earned it by tweeting angrily about Baldwin's character. Spicer also complained that McCarthy was being mean.

Let it go!

Let us laugh a little on Saturday night (or Sunday morning).

Take the fact that you're being made fun of as a badge of honor.

Reggie Jackson was once asked about the boos that were raining down on him when the Yankees were on the road.

"They don't boo nobodies," he said.

Having a sense of humor is important.

Stop being butt-hurt.

Laughing is good for the soul...

...and I don't care who you are...

...the McCarthy skit and many of the Baldwin skits have been laugh-out-loud funny.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Do Your Job

Breaking news:

I have a big mouth.

I was actually looking forward to the Super Bowl because I wanted to see New England win it and I wanted to see Goodell get booed.

I woke up feeling lousy though.

Headache, sinus crap, barking legs.

There were parties to go to...but I was worn out!

We did make it to my brothers which was fun (great eats, laughs) but we were a quiet group moving around.

Except me.

I was giving the family a sermon on why New England was there. (No, not cheating). Preparation, organization and a Do Your Job attitude that allows the unit to function better.

My subtle jabs weren't going over well.

"You like Hoodie cause he's a miserable bastard," my beautiful wife said.

"A miserable bastard...with a goal!" I reminded.

Well, you can imagine how the first half was going for me.

Friends who know I like the Pats and their motto were unmerciful.

The boys were jabbing me with how great the Falcons were.

"New England doesn't look prepared," I said.

It was surprising!

(But I did win the first quarter square...so...oh well).

I was just shocked.

Yet the lesson grows deeper here.

There will be adversity along the way.

Keep doing your job!

Tom Brady never blinked.

His belief in himself, while shaken, wasn't broken.

Same with the miserable bastard:

They got close.

Got the ball back down one score with 3 minutes left.

"Piece of cake," I told the boys.

"Shut up," they told me.

Tie game.

Coin flip goes to Pats.

I think that ten million people groaned.

They knew it was over.

Brady didn't NOT complete a pass on the winning drive.

Everyone on that side did their job.

Precise and organized.

"I knew it," Sam said. "Even when they were down 28-3 I knew they'd be in the confetti."

I felt better.

They did their job.

I slept a little...

...got up to do mine.

By the time I got up...everyone was out of the house already...off to do theirs.

Makes the unit better.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Fashions by Cliff

Had a nice long wait at the gate at Logan Airport.

It's always fun to people watch.

As I am prone to do I got to thinking a little bit about fashion and how well people do or don't dress for travel.

I thought of this because a guy got off his flight all decked out in a suit and tie. He had it all. A tie clip, a snappy scarf.

Looked like a million bucks.

"Dope," I thought.

Now all the people who know me understand that I am a very snappy dresser. I'm certainly up on all the new trends and I take great pride in ensuring that there's not a hair out of place.

Right?

I can't hear you!

Right???

Okay.

I'm a horrendous dresser. I take zero pride in how I might look.

I'm about comfort.

I don't even see the mustard stains until someone mentions them. I haven't slipped a tie over my neck in years. I still, at 52 years old, have no idea how to actually tie a tie. I'm thinking I'll make it to the coffin without ever acquiring that skill.

And no one better put me in there with a tie on.

A Yankee shirt is fine.

I find that people are actually following my lead too.

Most folks are wearing comfy clothes.

There are a lot of people in yoga pants, for instance.

Some people belong in yoga pants.

Some don't.

I know where to draw the line...

...those pants seem comfy.

But I won't pull a pair on anytime soon.

I don't care what people think about my appearance, but I don't need them pointing and laughing either.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Bowl Memories

I didn't always make fun of football.

In fact, I used to really love it.

Today will mark what is at least 40 years of watching the super bowl.

We all watch it.

It consumes our society.

Parties, bets, then the game. Usually everything is so hyped up for the two weeks before that it's impossible to NOT watch.

I recall the first party I went to.

It was for the Eagles and the Raiders in 1980.

We all just wanted to see a good game. It seemed that everyone wanted the Eagles to win because Ron Jaworski was from Buffalo. I didn't care either way. The Raiders hammered them.

In college the parties were more epic.

The games, it seemed were worse.

55-10, 45-10, 35-10....

...the whole country was watching and the games were brutal!

I remember watching Joe Montana lead the 49ers over the Bengals. I watched that one alone. I was living in Connecticut. Game ended on a final drive. Finally a good game.

Watched it alone.

Of course, things got really interesting for Buffalo people in the early 90's.

I distinctly recall how sad I was the day after the loss to the Giants. I knew Norwood would miss it. My buddy Jeff Renaldo watched that one with me at my parents home.

Then the Bills got hammered by Washington. We had rented a hall for that one. A million beers.

Then the Bills got blasted by Dallas. We were playing video games by the middle of the 3rd quarter.

Then the Bills made it back for their 4th straight Super Sunday. The happiness of seeing them take the field in front of the entire country was gone.

They had to win one!!!

Didn't.

Got whipped again!

So...the allure of the big game was lost on me.

Since 1995 it's been all about the squares.

I can't even tell you who won which year.

Pats-Titans was a good game.

Bruce was great at halftime in the one game I barely glanced at in 2009 as Jeff was in the hospital.

There have been some horrible games.

Ray Lewis and Peyton Manning retired after winning.

Some of the games seemed scripted.

I was genuinely happy when Seattle tried to throw it in from the one.

I didn't see Janet Jackson's nip slip. I was in the bathroom.

Lately I have watched the games with my boys.

We all have a rooting interest by game time.

We usually have a pizza or two.

The game rarely lives up to the hype.

We never speak about the concussed former players.

We all agree that football is about the 3rd or 4th best sport...

...and still we watch.

Go Pats!

Come on March Madness and Spring Training!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

I'll Pray For You

I know a lot about praying.

The nuns made sure that we were saying our prayers all the time. We would go to church and then make our way to the classroom where we would start our day with a few prayers.

Through the years I've started the day in prayer, ended the day in prayer and said a few in between.

Yet social media has kind of turned me off to it all because every day we see it played out:

"Thoughts and prayers."

"You're in my prayers."

"Praying for you."

I kinda' wish we had a way of knowing whether someone is honestly doing what they say they're doing.

I also bring it up because Donald the Dope was at a breakfast prayer where he said "the hell with it" while telling a story and then crapped all over the prayer theme by saying he was praying for Arnold, who's rating on the Celebrity Apprentice were "nothing like Trump."

(He was joking about praying for ratings the day after a Navy Seal and an 8-year old died in a failed American raid in Yemen that he signed off on....why waste a prayer on them?)

Anywhoha....

Whenever there is a mass shooting all the people who might do something about stopping mass shootings instead write:

"Thoughts and Prayers."

So, the nuns may not specifically understand it, but I feel that prayer has been cheapened a little.

The final thing on the subject:

I don't feel right announcing who I might be praying for.

I have prayed for comfort, for peace, for understanding, for people suffering and for acceptance.

I have never actually prayed for higher TV ratings though...

...so maybe I'm gonna' go to hell after all.

Super Bowl Predictions

It's all about winning a square or two, right?

Yet there are a whole bunch of side bets that are taken.

Over-under the number of points scored.

Coin flip heads or tails.

What color hoodie will Hoodie wear?

Does Lady Gaga show us a nipple?

Finally, who will win?

What's the final score?

Well...

...as luck might have it, I know all of it before the game begins...

...after all...

I did have the Patriots in the game and I did that before the season even started!!

Aren't I amazing?

(Spoiler alert: they will probably be back next year.)

But here goes:

Hoodie will wear a grey hoodie.

The coin will be tails.

The Falcons will win the toss and defer. The Pats will start with the ball and will be winning 7-0 four minutes later.

The first quarter will end:

Pats 10 Falcons 0

The first half will end:

Pats 20 Falcons 10.

(I have zero-zero for my big square).

Lady Gaga will not show a nip.

She will make a political statement against the Big Orange One.

The over-under is 59, I believe.

That will be shattered.

The MVP will be Tom Brady.

The final score will be Pats 34 Falcons 26.

(Numbers shift at half so I will finish with 4 & 6 or 6 & 4).

So I won't cry if it ends up 36-34 either.

Anywhoha...

Brady & Hoodie get ring #5.

I win every square for each quarter in every pool I enter.

I collect my prize money on Monday.

My beautiful wife steals it all by Tuesday morning.

By Wednesday I'm broke again!

Enjoy the game!!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Black History Month

There was a breakfast at the White House to kick off Black History Month.

The new president's speech will bring tears to your eyes.

Truly.

Tears of laughter.

It appears that the orange one may have mistakenly believed that Frederick Douglass would be making even more contributions in the coming months.

Which would certainly be something since he passed on in 1895.

Yet, the beautiful words about Martin Luther King Jr. more than made up for it.

Donald spoke about the bust of MLK Jr. that was reported to be removed from the room in the White House where it had been positioned during the Obama's years.

Skipping right over the accomplishments of the civil rights icon, the narcissistic chief instead spoke of the fake news that is dogging him.

CNN is a joke. Fox is good.

During the rest of the speech we heard about Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman...

...she evidently built a railroad that traveled under the ground.

Beautiful stuff!!

Yet no epic speech is complete unless some consideration is given to the future.

Ben Carson is gonna' help...

...big league.

Those inner cities...

...where our leader has never been.

Are horrible!!!

Awful!!!

Gonna' get better

Or he's gonna' make 'em fix it.

Lately I have been trying hard to just skip the news.

Things will continue.

People will protest and some will cave. Deals will be made. People will be nominated and there will be countless hours wasted debating who is competent and who is grossly incompetent.

And both sides will do self-serving things that make money for everyone but those of us in the trenches.

So why get down about it?

But I make speeches.

I know how it feels to control a room, make a few points, and highlight what needs to be highlighted.

I was embarrassed to the core after reading the transcript of that speech.

Sloppily done.

No regard to the people he was supposed to be honoring.

Actually unaware of the people who deserved to be recognized.

It's a speech that will truly make you cry.

What a damn shame.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bad Leaders

Years ago I had a boss who led by fear and intimidation.

Joey was the lead foreman in a union crew...there were 7 of us who worked for him.

The guy never had a kind word.

He screamed, belittled and called names.

We all hated him.

When his back was turned we did whatever we could to not do what he wanted us to do.

Joey eventually got himself fired because he was nasty to his boss...which got him fired.

We all rejoiced.

Years later, I worked for another guy who made Joey look like a choir boy. This particular man was actually a millionaire who owned the entire company.

He seemed to get off on making other people miserable.

That's what drove him.

He actually didn't even seem to care about making money. He'd lose money on a deal if he could make more people suffer.

I watched that man call his secretary a "stupid son-of-a-bitch" in front of 30 people. She ran away crying. As she left the building I locked eyes with the guy.

He was smiling.

I often wonder about people trying to lead in such a manner.

I don't see how it can work.

Fear and intimidation doesn't make people want to do a good job for you.

Books are written about what it takes men to lead others.

I've been thinking a lot about leadership this week because I'm seeing the new administration trying to lead via shock, fear, defiance and nastiness.

Will it work?

I don't believe that it can because I've also seen good leadership.

I've watched it all work.

A unit works best when there is a common goal. As a leader the best thing you can do is make people feel as if their contribution is important.

Billy Martin once said that the key to managing people is to keep the ten guys who hate you away from the ten guys who love you.

Maybe that's an effective way.

After all, not everyone will love you, but I'm not sure that the very best way to do it is to get the ten who love you fighting with the ten you hate you.

All that you have then is a completed divided unit.

Perhaps that is the goal here.

A completely divided house.

In any regard...

...that's not leadership.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

He's the Greatest

If the Patriots somehow lose this weekend I'm going to take a lot of garbage.

If I win a square I won't really care, but the thing that drives me nuts is that here in Buffalo, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are roundly hated.

I get it!

The Buffalo Bills have had their brains beat out for a long time.

17 years without playoffs.

And the Pats have also been on the wrong side of the NFL a couple of times.

Cheaters!!!

But put up with my argument for a moment.

The New England Patriots are flat-out amazing.

They have simply dominated a sport that is set up for parity.

They have done it year in and year out...one game at a time with the simple working phrase:

Do Your Job!!!

I started out admiring the things that they did to prepare for a game.

Then I marveled at Brady putting the ball in the right spot...time after time after time...then Hoodie made me laugh with his pre and post game conferences.

I slowly became a fan of the way they played. Even though they're from Boston (where I hate the freaking suck sux).

But then I wanted to get under the skin of everyone around here.

So I bought a Pats hat.

(That almost got me killed at the Christmas party).

They win at least 10 games every year.

They are prepared.

Always.

They don't care who hates them.

Which annoys everyone, right?

But here's the thing...and I tell my kids the same thing all the time...watch a brilliant performer and appreciate the brilliance...even if you hate them.

I was never a Michael Jordan fan.

I don't much care for Floppy the Crybaby.

Wayne Gretzky used to score three a game against the beloved Sabres.

But I appreciated them!

Tom Brady is called every possible name here in Buffalo. 

Last year after the Denver game, when he got up every time after being hit 23 times, and almost winning the game without a line or a RB...

...there was a photo of him in a ballerina dress.

Call him all the names you want...

... but if  he stands in the confetti this year...

call him one other name:

G.O.A.T.

Dilly Dilly

If the wintry blast of this weekend is any indication, I’m going to be watching a lot of television. I don’t want to drive on snowy roads ...