Friday, March 31, 2017

Spicy!!!

I have a confession to make:

I listen to Sean Spicer do his White House Briefings every day.

He has the absolute worst job in the history of politics, and I find his daily struggling to be almost comical.

Confession number 2:

I kind of like the guy.

He tries his best to answer questions that are almost unanswerable and my favorite part of each day's briefing is when he finishes his prepared statement that is usually well-written and talks about the rights and wrongs of society and how the group is handling the challenges.

I can see why Saturday Night Live plucked his daily briefings for comedy gold.

Poor Spicey will say something like:

"The president yesterday met with ____ to discuss the global policies that shift toward peace and care and overall happiness in a difficult time."

Then he hesitates and takes a huge gulp, straining for air.

"Now I'll take some questions."

The first reporter will say:

"There was just a tweet about what you just said. The president says that everyone should go to hell and shut their mouths."

Another gulp.

"I'll let the tweet speak for itself, but I don't think he meant it the way you think he means it."

And his voice cracks like a pre-pubescent teen.

His face goes red.

I actually don't get to see it all the time, but it plays good on radio as well.

Yesterday he was on as the (failing) New York Times broke a story about Nunes being briefed before he briefed the White House about the briefing they gave him.

"Well, that's assuming that the reporting is accurate."

What is absolutely fascinating about it is that he has to put a spin on things in real time...

...he can twist a sentence around until no one knows what the hell he's talking about.

He can make a blatant lie show some sense of truth.

He smiles and tries to make things light.

"Is it true that the world is about to collapse?" A reporter might ask.

"That might be nice," He'll try, with a smile.

No one else will laugh.

"Okay then. Next question."

Poor Spicey.

I don't know what they're paying that guy, but he needs a raise.

And I defy you to listen to him and not think of Melissa McCarthy.

It can't be done!




Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ed & Dan

A few years back we were thinking of St. Bonaventure as a school for Matt.

Matt and my beautiful wife were selling me a bit of a story on how much it would cost per year. I happened to be whining about it on a job and one of the superintendents, Ed, explained exactly how much it would cost. Ed had a child that was just about finished with her four years in Olean.

"I'm just about finished up," Ed told me at the time. "My daughter is graduating and then getting married in a couple of years, and I'll be done. All the kids educated and out of the house. Time to have some fun and save some money. Just a few more years of work."

A couple of years later, Ed found out that he had cancer.

He called me three months ago to share some good news. He had walked his daughter down the aisle and despite having to retire a little early, he was doing good.

"Cancer free!" He exclaimed.

Ed died three weeks ago.

Around the same time I went to a job and found that the usual superintendent, Dan, wasn't there.

"You didn't hear?" His replacement, Bill, asked. "Dan has cancer. It's very aggressive. They're harvesting his stem cells and he's on heavy doses of chemo."

I called Dan.

"I'm doing great," he said. "I'll fight, you know it. The docs know what they're doing. I'll be back before you know it."

Yesterday I stopped by Dan's job again. Once more Bill filled me in.

"Have you seen Dan?" He asked.

I shook my head.

"He's lost about a hundred pounds."

I thought of Ed.

I considered Dan's kids.

"His daughter is getting married in September," Bill said. "All Dan wants to do is walk her down the aisle."

"Son-of-a-bitch," I said.

"Great parting gifts we get for playing, huh?" Bill asked.

Bill saw me limping as we made it across the site.

"How are you? How's the hip? The back?"

"I'm all right," I said. "Dan and Ed...damn."

"Yeah."

"Damn," Bill said.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rocco DiGiovanni

The brain is a weird thing.

Evidently it was time for me to dream about a guy I knew 29 years ago when I was working in New Haven, Connecticut.

The names of the people in our office?

Joe DeGaetano, Rocco DiGiovanni, Billy Talamalli and Cliff Fazzolari.

We were loud!

We ate pasta for lunch.

We laughed a lot.

I don't know why...I hadn't thought of that crew in awhile...but clear as day, when I woke, I saw the face of Rocco in front of me.

Perhaps it's because I was thinking of my nephew, Rocco, or maybe it was on the heels of having seen old high school friends, but I saw Rocco D as clear as if he were standing right in front of me.

I was 23 back then. Everyone else in that office was closer to 30.

They're all pushing 60.

(Hopefully).

We were extremely thrilled when we finished that job. I remember the topping-out party.

Joe, as the leader, had a rule:

You couldn't leave the office unless you had one beer with him to unwind. Sometimes, we didn't feel like having a beer with him, and now, beer on the job would result in the yanking of coverage...

...but not back then.

I really wonder what all of them are doing now.

I hoped they had happy, healthy days. I know that they were all married back then and Rocco had just started his family.

He's probably a grandpa now.

In my dream, though, he was just 30.

And he was eating a big bowl of rigatoni with peppers.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Leggings

So, United was in hot water over the weekend because a couple of kids were restricted from flying because they were not dressed appropriately for free travel as per their travel companion program.

Kind of amazing to me, actually.

I've done a lot of plane traveling over the last few years.

I've seen things, man.

Bad things.

There are people wearing leggings who shouldn't be wearing them. Of course, when worn properly, I don't care.

It seems to me that most people travel as comfortably dressed as they can. I'm always in sweatpants, and a tee-shirt with the laces on my shoes loose.

Comfort.

And yeah, I've seen some people traveling dressed as minimally as they can. To be called out for it, they must have been scantily dressed.

Who knows?

There is outrage though.

"Discrimination against women!!!"

"If men can't look at women without going crazy it's the man's fault!!!"

I'm sure United will run damage control and it'll go away somehow.

But, again, some person responsibility is required.

They start banning mustard-stained, loose fitting clothes with untied shoes...

...then we're gonna' have a real problem.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Back to School

Went out for dinner & drinks (water for me) for Jim's birthday.

We laughed so hard at dinner telling stories about Dad, Jeff and growing up in the big house on the hill that we decided that we better leave the dining area because other people were trying to eat.

My face hurt from laughing...

...but duty calls and I had to get the chicken fingers home to Kathy and the boys who were settling in for the basketball games.

I was literally leaving when I spotted an old friend...

...someone I had graduated high school with...

...and I remembered that there was an impromptu gathering scheduled through Facebook.

The funny thing is that the girls who knew me back in 1982 were well aware what I was thinking in 2017.

"You aren't going to come back!"

I was laughing because it was true!

I had no intention of returning.

Yet, on the way home, I decided that I wanted to pay the past a visit.

I was so glad that I did!

I grew up in a small town. Eighty-three of us in the graduating class. We all knew everything about one another back then.

Who liked who...

...who didn't want to go out with me.

Visiting the past in a situation like that is kind of like putting on a pair of comfortable old shoes.

More laughs.

I don't quite talk as much as I did last night.

There was some talk of regret, a few mentions of the pains of today, but a whole bunch of storytelling...

...and laughing.

I've alluded to it before, but those things that happen in the course of our lives shape the people that we become. Growing old allows you the wisdom to see those days of angst through clear glasses.

And we all had glasses!

And less hair.

And we're all hurting in one way or another.

"What amazes me is how quickly it all flies by."

Many have raised their families and are now concentrating on grandkids.

Love, death, marriages, divorces, bouts of extreme happiness and utter sadness...

From mountain tops to the valley floor, but somehow, for a few hours, we're 16 years old again.

Laughing, sharing and feeling good about how it has played out so far.

So glad I went back.

Great to see everyone again.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tired of Winning?

Twelve rounds of golf into Agent Orange's presidency and this is where we are at:

1). Two Muslim bans shut down by the courts.

A big lesson here. There are 3 branches of government. It doesn't become law by decree. It actually has to make sense and it takes more into consideration than the fact that brown people bad and white people good.

2). The mentally ill get to keep their gun rights.

See. Things did get done.

The fact that every time there is a mass shooting we hear about how we need to fix the mental health problem. We did! We armed them!!

3). Repeal & Replace on Day 1!!!

Nope.

I honestly thought, after hearing about the disaster of Obamacare that the great, wonderful plan would  be a piece of cake.

They gave it a great try. 17 days. Couldn't even get enough votes in the house. Ah well, who wants to go golfing???

4). Flynn, Sessions, Manafort and Russians dropping like flies.

As if all the excitement of failing legislation isn't enough...there's the whole treason talk.

I actually was chilled by the headline regarding the FBI investigations regarding potential collusion with a foreign government.

This is stuff of a Homeland plot...

...without the stunning Claire Danes being involved.

Here's the thing, gang:

It will be found out!

Sooner or later someone will talk to save their own bacon. If it happened saying:

"It's fake news! I have nothing to do with Russia!"

Won't cut it.

Especially when there is footage of you saying:

"I make a lot of money in Russia."

I must admit though:

It's been wildly entertaining.

SNL is great.

The Saturday morning unhinged tweets are exciting.

Melania appearing on camera as if she's being held hostage!

And plenty of golf!!!

We only have 3 years and 10 months left...

...maybe.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jim

Growing older is weird when you think of it in context of your siblings.

Jim is 49 today.

Of course, all of the memories go back to when you're just little kids.

One Christmas we fought over a view master.

We used to be pitted against one another in boxing matches.

We were teammates in the 2 on 2 basketball games in the backyard. 

And here we are, all the years later...

...still talking, still making sausage, eating big dinners, busting each other's chops.

We decided to all get together tonight...

...dinner...

...a few drinks.

Maybe some old stories and certainly a lot of laughs.

Happy Birthday,  brother.

We love you.

You can have the view master back.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Art Is Better Than the Artist

Steven Van Zandt, Silvio from the Sopranos, and the guitarist from E Street was asked about Chuck Berry and the alleged underage girl charges that were levied against him.

"The art is always better than the artist," he said. "There are no exceptions."

Steven is right, of course.

At first glance, it appears that he is diminishing the charges against Berry, but he did no such thing.

He was letting everyone know that the art that is created seems perfect, but the artist never is.

That's the equivalent of Kathy telling people that:

"He's much better on paper."

Which, is true, of course.

The words are very often carefully considered. You put your best foot forward.

Bruce recently did his autobiography and while he came off great, he didn't pull any punches when he spoke about his behavior at times. He was very honest about his shortcomings while married for the first time, and that is often a shock to people who expect their heroes to be perfect.

Perfection doesn't exist!

Of course, that is not to minimize the questionable actions of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis or even Prince and Elvis - guys who died too young by kind of destroying themselves.

Does the fact that Elvis was isolated and alone and in all kinds of pain diminish from Jailhouse Rock?

The art is always better than the artist.

I thought it would be interesting to hear about Chuck Berry and listen to all those who praised him...

...it's no secret that he was difficult.

He kind of tarnished his image with his behavior...

...but does it make 'You Can Never Tell' any less awesome?

I usually can make the distinction...

...there is only one artist who I sell short in this regard, and that's Michael Jackson.

His songs were great.

The allegations against him turned me way off though.

I can't hear the first note of his songs and not think about the underage boys.

Maybe that's not fair...

...but what can you do?

I'm better on paper too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dine & Dash

There's a guy out there working a scam on women.

This is how it works:

He goes on a dating site and charms a woman. He asks her out on a date, and meets her at a fancy place.

He tells her to order whatever she wants, and he proceeds to go off the top of the menu.

They eat and converse.

When he's just about done, he grabs his cell phone and mentions that it's a call he has to take. He excuses himself from the table, and flat-out takes off.

Leaving his date with the check.

Whoa!

Why didn't I think of that?

He has pulled it off so far, getting away with it at least three times!

And here's the worst part:

It's not really a crime!

He didn't enter into a contract to buy the meal.

The woman, the only one left at the table, has to cover it.

Genius.

The latest woman to get scammed in this manner said that he ordered a bottle of wine, had a Caesar salad and a jumbo shrimp cocktail, a bowl of soup, and a steak and baked potato.

They were having a nice chat.

He got the call with just a half of the potato left on his plate.

15 minutes later the waiter came to the table and asked if she would like the check.

"I'm waiting on my date," she said. "He went to make a call."

"That guy left," the waiter said.

She texted him, of course, asking if he was all right.

He didn't answer.

Whoa Again!

What a dopey bastard.

But it is kinda' funny.

Past Lives

Was listening to Jenny McCarthy on Tuesday and she had a bit of an off-beat guest on.

First off, I like listening to Jenny, but it's a little shocking, at times, because she has all women co-hosts, and it's crazy to listen to women talk about sex in such an open forum.

And they call men pigs.

Anywhoha...

Jenny's guest was talking about...

...get this...

how she became convinced that her son was Lou Gehrig in his past life.

Color me skeptical!

The mother (and I didn't catch her name) said that she figured it all out when she took her son to a Yankees-Red Sux game and he was telling her about remembering what life was like when he was big like Dad and playing ball all time time.

He distinctly remembered riding on elevators, and trains, and was put-off by a photo of Babe Ruth...

...who, the kid said, treated him poorly.

Come on, now!

But the woman wasn't just messing around.

She believes that her son - who was three years old when he figured it all out - is Lou Freaking Gehrig!

What if the kid had told her that he remembers being Mr. Ed in his past life?

He was three years old!

You give what they say, at three, validation?

At three, Jake and Sam both believed that they were going to play in the NBA.

(Sam might not yet be totally convinced that he won't).

But what if I had taken them serious at that age and started contacting the Celtics and the Lakers?

What strikes me about it is that I really feel for that kid now.

His mother is going around the country telling people that he lived a past life and was one of the greatest hitters of all-time.

And how about the poor kid's father?

Can you imagine listening to that bull crap every day?

Once her son mentioned that he didn't care for Babe Ruth she started researching everything and she eventually went to some guy who validated all of it for her.

Now she's pedaling a book and a movie about it.

Lou Gehrig?

What are the chances that the kid remembers that he was reincarnated, and lo and behold, was a famous person?

What if he had told her that he remembered he was Antwain the school janitor from the 1920's?

Jenny was listening to her...

...explaining that it was absolutely amazing!

Good thing I wasn't the host.

I would've been calling the authorities to take the lady away.

That poor kid.




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Played A Guitar Like Ringing A Bell

My Dad had Chuck Berry's greatest hits record.

He used to put in on every now and again and as little kids we laughed a lot at "My Ding A Ling."

But that wasn't my favorite.

I liked Johnny B. Goode.

It was just an exciting song.

It caught you; shook you; and hammered your senses.

I still have it on my I-pod along with two or three others.

He could play a guitar just like ringing a bell.

My Dad liked him better than Elvis.

So, I kinda' always had a soft spot in my heart for Chuck Berry. The Rolling Stones, my favorite band as a teen, played a whole bunch of Chuck's tunes.

There are a whole bunch of stories out there about Chuck being a rough guy to deal with. His personal life was rough.

Some of the guys who idolized him, talked of meeting him, and coming away less than thrilled with the interaction.

I thought of that immediately after hearing of his death, but I kept going back to my Dad, singing the song.

And laughing at 'My Ding-a-Ling."

He lived a good, long life.

Twitter was alive with tributes.

Bruce sent out a few nice words, so did Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronny Wood.

Elvis was the King, but Chuck Berry was the Big Daddy of them All.

His influence will last a good long time.

Even if he was a bit off-putting now and again.

RIP...

...Go Johnny Go.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Some Rules

Trying to fathom how Meals on Wheels is a bad thing.

Sometimes there are breaches of etiquette that are so appalling to me, and I think of it in the context of the nuns, who beat the loyalties into me

Isn't your word what matters?

You lie blatantly, or go back on your personal vows because it's too tough, or not convenient for your own selfish agenda?

Can't fathom that.

A few hard and fast rules I try and live by

 (Because of those nuns!)

1). Be nice.

To as many people as you can. This one isn't always easy, but try and be as cordial as you can to as many people as possible.

Even when they're blatant idiots.

2). Put yourself last sometimes.

This is easier than you might think as a decent human, but harder than you think as a selfish human, and we all have the capabilities to be equal parts each. As a Dad, I come in last a lot around here. I am more than willing to do that.

When others see you doing that for them they sometimes let you be first.

The key is to see it from someone else's eyes a lot of the time.

3). Grace

As children we are blessed to be born with an unending supply of grace. We lose it along the way. Life beats it out of you, but you still catch glimpses...

...in the eyes of your children...

...in the heart of your spouse...

...in the cherished memories of youth.

Grab it.

Hold onto as much grace as you can.

4). Say it.

If you want to say something to someone, say it!

Whether it's standing up for yourself, or telling someone how much you care.

Tell them!

Regret comes in a lot of forms. I lost people to death. I could honestly stand before them, knowing that they knew how much I loved them.

Holding onto something that needs to be said will eat a hole in your heart.

5). It's Okay to Be Wrong.

I laugh at myself a lot.

I can be an idiot.

I often say something that is later proven to be complete garbage.

I own it.

There has to be accountability. No one is perfect. If you screw up, stand up.

"I blew it," goes a long way.

So.

There you go.

Just getting a few things off my chest.

We're all just striving to do the right things (I hope)

Some rules for some of it.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

NCAA First Weekend

The boys went to the games in Buffalo on Thursday, and after a sweaty first half for 'Nova (Sam's favorite team), a great time was had by all.

We got our brackets in too, and that was a little rough on me because some of the people who entered their brackets decided that I would cover their entrance fee.

(Sam, Jake, Quinn, Johnny and Kathy felt that I would like to assist them with their entries).

Lovely.

I didn't get to see a lot of the Thursday games, but there was a buzz around our home:

Jake had 16 picks correct...

...out of 16.

"I did an answer key for the rest of you idiots," he texted me.

Yet, I know my son.

"You do realize that you will miss a couple tomorrow," I said.

"Why do I have to?" He asked.

Because it's March Madness!!

The end came in late afternoon on Friday.

Michigan won a thriller of a game 92-91 to end Jake's dream of perfection.

(He finished 28-4 in the first round).

And through it all, on Friday night, Sam controlled the remote so that we didn't see any commercials or miss a single dribble).

"The first day is better than Christmas," Sam said.

And it is approaching that level for me...

...because it's almost as expensive!

I was just a few points off the lead in the bracket pool.

If there's a god of college hoops...

...I'll get my entry fees back.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Climbing Mt. Everest

Caught a radio interview with a guy who just reached the summit of Mount Everest.

He broke it all down for us, and as he spoke, my skin sort of crawled.

He was caught in an avalanche on an earlier climb, so his second attempt had him quitting because of PTSD. It was his description of being trapped in the avalanche that made me cringe.

He talked of the snow hitting him like a freight train and trapping him in a rolling ball that made it tough to breathe because the snow filled up his nose and mouth.

He went up there a third time.

And finally made it!

It's a 40-hour ordeal.

The climb up is 8 hours of climbing in the 40-hour period. You can't just walk straight up because it would kill you.

So a little at a time.

He talked of seeing the mummified bodies of the climbers that didn't make it.

Then he described how cold he got at certain points.

Obviously I am no longer a candidate to make the climb at the age of 52 with a busted up body.

But at the peak of my athletic abilities (shut up, Pops) I wouldn't want to go even 200 feet in the air.

(I take that back...I did the walk-up Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, but that was easy).

Anywhoha...

This dude made it to the top.

He thought he'd die a bunch of times...

...and when he got there he found that his phone battery had died!

He took one selfie of him at the top, but that was it.

Then he mentioned that 80% of the deaths happen on the descent!!

Can you imagine??

You make it all the way up...

...then freeze to death getting down!

I felt good for the guy.

I really did, but if I want to see the summit...

...I'll look at his selfie.

Nice and warm on my couch.

Much safer, right?

And I'm a safety man!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Wife

March Madness Day 2 is cheating my beautiful wife out of some of the attention she deserves on her birthday.

We aren't doing it on purpose!

It always makes me think back about 23 years to Kathy's Birthday, before we were married. Hell, before we were even dating. She didn't even know where I lived.

It was also Day 2 of the tourney and it was also a Friday night.

I went to happy hour after work...had a few beers with my co-workers and then I went back to my lonely apartment to catch up on the games that had already been played and was fired up for the rest of the games.

I had my blue pen and my red pen.

My friends and my brother were just a phone call away.

All hoops!

All night!

The doorbell rang.

It had never rang before...and I think, in all the rest of the time I lived there, it ever rang again.

Kathy was standing there.

"Come back out and have a drink with me on my birthday," she said.

"How did you know which apartment I lived in?" I asked. "There are eight apartments."

"I guessed," she said.

I was holding the copies of my brackets. I could hear the 7:00 games starting. The last thing I wanted to do was leave the television set that night.

But I bet you can guess that I went.

Me and the boys were picking our brackets the other night. We were going back and forth about who was going to win.

Kathy was listening in.

"What about my birthday?" She asked.

The boys laughed.

"Wanna' go to dinner Friday night?" Kathy asked me.

The boys waited for the answer.

We had planned on watching all the games together.

Bet you can guess that I'm going out to dinner on Friday night.

Of course, I am.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful wife.

Glad she picked the right apartment.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Denzel

Been thinking about it awhile...

...Denzel Washington is the best actor going.

How did he not win the best actor award for his work in Fences?

They must've read the wrong envelope for that one too. I watched the Casey Affleck one too, and it just isn't close.

When we watched Fences I told my beautiful wife that I had no idea how he even memorized all of it...

...and Viola Davis was great too.

Terrific movie from word one to the end.

"He's never in a bad movie," Kathy also mentioned.

Which is certainly true.

But how the hell did he not win???

Every once in awhile we'll catch a movie and when the credits roll I'll think, "How the hell did that movie get made?"

Fences was a perfect movie...

...great characters.

Terrific acting.

A smart story about life, love, regret, commitment and strength.

If you haven't seen it...

...see it.

You can thank me later.

Denzel should've won.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Pushing His Kids

LaVar Ball has three kids who are currently playing basketball. His son, Lonzo, is a star at UCLA.

His dad thinks that Lonzo is a better shooter than Steph Curry.

Nothing like putting pressure on the kid.

LaVar also told the world that Lonzo will only play for the Lakers.

But it gets better...

...his two younger children are already high school stars. One of the kids scored 92 points in a game this year and that sounds impressive until you see video of how he did it.

He never went past half-court.

He scored all the points on layups, as his team helped him pad his stats.

Dear Old Dad recently told the world that he would've crushed Michael Jordan in a one-on-one. That was in the same interview where he said that he wants a one Billion dollar shoe deal for his kids.

One Billion!

He said that he'd take $100 million over ten years if that's how they wanted to pay him.

My boys have showed me the footage of the Ball children playing the game.

They think the father is funny.

I watched the video as a Dad.

I wasn't enamored with Dear Old Dad.

He told the world that he was using his children for a pay day and that he forced them into playing non-stop so they'd be the greatest players ever.

I think of Todd Marinovich and Johnny Manziel...

...kids who were forced into it...

...played great in college...

And flamed out in emotional messes.

Maybe the Ball kids will make it, and maybe LaVar will get his billion dollars.

I'd rather have kids who grow up to be well-adjusted.

LaVar is putting a target on his own kid's backs.

Good luck to all of them.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hair Cut

Clint Frazier is a Yankees prospect.

In fact, many people believe that he will be a big star in the Bronx someday.

He came to the team sporting a different look...

...red, curly hair.

Long! Red, curly hair.

It became a story.

Will the Yankees make him cut his hair?

When George was running the team he installed a policy. Short hair and no facial hair.

Didn't matter who it was either...

...Mattingly had to get a hair cut!!!

So did Clint Frazier.

He sat in the barber chair last week and the media covered it.

The kid said all the right things...

...he's all about the team.

I actually like the fact that they look presentable. Years ago when they battled the Sux those guys looked horrible with their long hair and huge beards and filthy helmets.

Perhaps the Yankees should relax their rules...

...but they haven't yet.

Frazier looks better now.

Hope he hits 40!

Ten Years Burning Down the Road

Ever since I heard Born in the U.S.A. back in 1983 I have thought about the one line in the song:

"Ten years burning down the road, got nowhere to run, nowhere to go."

I often think ahead.

Through the years I've always set milestones out there.

Where do I want to be?

What do I want to accomplish?

A lot of people don't think too far ahead, and that drives me nuts.

If you use the lefty reliever for six outs on Tuesday, you can't use him again until Friday!

You have to plan ahead.

Do you flush three games to win one?

Anywhoha...

Lately I've been thinking about ten years burning down the road.

I'll be an unfathomable 62 and a half years old. (God Willing).

Will I be walking okay?

Right now I'm getting used to the fact that I can not go more than 14 days without a leg and hip massage.

The rest of the massage is out the window...it takes the full hour to get my legs moving.

I've grown used to it.

Will I still be able to climb ladders?

Will we afford the healthcare?

The crazy idea that rates have to be raised on people between 50 and 64 is concerning to me.

We went without Kathy's health insurance as a nurse a few years ago. We had to pay double our house payment for coverage.

Double our house payment!

We will most likely need to be covered during the ten years coming up.

There are people who lost every dollar of their financial future due to an illness. Doesn't seem fair to work your whole life...and bam!

At 62, at the very least I'll be considering retirement...

Will the retirement age be 80 by the time I get there?

Lots of elderly people working as greeters at Wal-Mart these days.

I don't think I'd make much of a greeter.

Ten years burning down the road.

Nowhere to run?

Nowhere to go?

Ah hell.

Take 'em as they come, right?




Monday, March 13, 2017

Heavy Snow

What a weird winter.

Here in Buffalo we've seen just one storm this year...

...27 inches in three hours and caught in the car for a few hours.

If you would've told me that would be it for the winter I would've taken it.

We actually had a couple of days in the 70's and a half dozen in the 60's.

That's all great.

Then last week we had high winds that caused all kinds of damage - people were without power for a few days - our lights didn't flicker once.

We got lucky.

On Sunday morning I glanced out the window to see the blanket of white.

"Melky doesn't like snow," I mentioned.

Melky agreed.

The quick drive to grab the paper and the woman behind the desk broke the bad news.

"There's a winter storm watch," she said. "7 to 14 inches between Monday and Wednesday."

We both groaned.

I actually think this is the worst type of storm. We believe that we are done and bam...

...get the Carhartt back out.

Back in February we were all dreaming of a early start to the golf season.

The Yankees are 13-3 in the pre-season.

Summer is coming!

Then this!

Hoping that none of us get stuck in the car this time around.

7 to 14 inches of snow!

Lovely.

Melky doesn't like storms.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

All Hoops All the Time

Sam was up late the other night watching basketball tournament games. He evidently needed to know the scores from the west coast games or he couldn't sleep.

I ran into him at 6:30 in the morning as he was waiting on the school bus.

"'Nova plays at noon," he said.

"Do you have another thought in your head?" I asked.

"Nope."

When I got home from work there was another game on the big television.

"Games are on until midnight," he said.

And March Madness hasn't even started yet!

The selection show is today. The games start on Thursday. They're here in Buffalo on Thursday and Saturday.

"How much are the tickets?" I asked.

Sam clicked his phone a couple of times and sighed.

"Too expensive," he announced.

I let him think about it.

"The thing about it is that Villanova will definitely be here."

I asked him how much it might set me back. He told me. Then he announced, once more, that it was just too much money.

I didn't comment.

The next day, I sent him a text.

"You can get two tickets for all the games," I wrote. Then I gave him and Jake a list of things I expected done around the house.

They were working hard when I returned home.

I bent and bought the tickets because I thought of the fact that ten years from now there will be NCAA games and I won't be the center of their betting or watching the games.

Sure we'll always share such a connection, but it won't be long before they'll be out of here, buying the tickets on their own.

"Thank you!" Sam texted back.

We haven't figured out who is going to what game, but in the end if Sam and Jake watch every dribble together and leave me home, I'm good with that too.

I shared the NCAA with my brothers and friends for years and years. We still talk about every close game and upset.

"This is the best sports event of the year," Sam mentioned.

Yes it is.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

It's Driving Me Batty!

I don't want to pay attention to politics.

I hate politics, actually.

I don't want to think about it, chat about it, write about it, listen to it, or certainly argue about ANY of it!

But here we are!

Millions may lose their health insurance, or so the headlines shouted.

A billions-dollar wall?

Four weekends of golf, and a attorney general working as a doorman at a pay-for-play resort?

Russia.

Tweets...

...My God, the tweets!

And I can't help it!

I read for fun...

...and the sad, bitter, nasty chaos of the arguments are all over my timeline.

Articles about Putin and Al Franken and Obama.

Absolute chaos is muddying up the mind of a man who's only goal each and every day is ORDER!!!

Batty, I tell you!

I really wonder what it's all doing to the collective psyche of our country.

I try not to comment.

I do send a tweet to the president every day.

He hasn't answered...yet.

But I'm pissing in the wind with all of this.'

It doesn't matter. None of it will change, no matter who thinks what about any issue. The healthcare CEO's will get a tax break as the elderly lose coverage...

...whether I like that or not.

Ben Carson will talk about unwilling immigrants...

...Comrade Orange will talk about conspiracy after conspiracy.

Then we'll move on to more chaos!

Batty!!!

When does baseball start?

March Madness is coming at the right time.

I need the order of the tourney.

The chaos is killing me.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Healthcare

It's this weeks hot topic.

And it's mind-boggling.

The movement afoot is to repeal and replace Obamacare.

That's what everyone and their brother mentioned in their stump speeches.

"It's a disaster!"

"Day one it will be repealed!!"

Except...doing so would strip 20 million of their insurance....

...many of which...

...voted for Agent Orange.

Big problem!!

So, you can't just rob people of their healthcare!!

Here's what bothers me...

...should bother everyone, actually.

Why does the new plan have a provision that allows insurance CEO's a tax break?

Some of them are making about $17 million a year.

You're going to kick millions of people out of the program at the same time the rich dogs get a break???

😷🤒🤧🤢

Yet, that's not the worst part to my mind.

Every single time there is a mass shooting I am told that it's not a gun problem, but rather, a mental health problem.

You know what's not covered under the Trumpdontcareplan?

Yeah, mental health!!!

You know where mental health WAS discussed?

In the gun discussion!!!

The mentally disturbed's gun rights were upheld...

...so the mentally ill can buy guns, but they aren't covered by the healthcare plan that might stop them from exercising those gun rights?

I must be missing something here.

Can someone explain some of this to me???

I try and read both sides.

Oh, one final disturbing thing.

Medicaid and good healthcare will be more costly and harder to obtain for people falling between the ages of 50-64.

I'm in that group for a little while yet. A couple of reports stated that a 64-year old might be on the hook for care that might cost him about 70% of his income.

70%!!!

That's the eating dog food neighborhood!

I understand that there were issues with the Affordable Care Act. Changes were required. Couldn't they just take Obama's name off it (that's all they really wanted anyway) and simply left the people who were finally getting healthcare alone??

The lesson it's taking me a long time to learn:

If the argument boils down to morality versus profit...

...profit always wins.

😭


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Love Changes

In a couple of months, we'll be celebrating twenty years of wedded bliss.

"We laugh beneath the covers and count the wrinkles and the grays."

There isn't a lot that is much of a surprise twenty years in.

"I knew you were going to say that," Kathy said the other night as we were watching a movie. "You're so predictable."

I suppose.

How can it not be a little predictable and a little redundant after 20 years, or 7,300 days?

Especially since I am a man of absolute routine.

I also reflect a lot as well.

Twenty years.

Has the love changed?

Of course it has!

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times with the same person," Mignon McLaughlin

"Do you have to go out of town?" My mother-in-law asked.

"Home all week," I said.

"That's good," she answered.

"Not if you ask my family," I said. "They enjoy when I'm gone."

"Pressure is off!" Kathy said as she walked by.

"I used to love when my husband was out of town for a week," my mother-in-law, who has been married about 60 years said.

Everyone laughed.

"Yep, that's what happens," I said. "Can't wait to get rid of me."

On Saturday night Kathy walked by, looking tired after being on her feet all day.

"Come on, let's go out," I said.

"You go out," she answered. "I'm not going anywhere."

I didn't want to go anywhere either, but I figured I'd aggravate a little.

"Come on, we'll go dancing."

"Find a girlfriend to take dancing," she said.

We laughed.

Things change.

Of course we'd go out on a Saturday 20 years ago.

(there still wasn't dancing on my part, though).

Yeah, there are days when you're kinda' thrilled that the other one isn't there. We were out west recently and when we arrived home Kathy said:

"All I want for tomorrow is to get away from you."

And that's how it goes.

Just working on a dream, right?

I do a little skit about marriage in my comedy act, saying that the priest should be required, by law, to lay it all on the line for a young couple.

He should turn to the groom and say:

"You like dish-pan hands? How do you feel about folding laundry?"

He should ask her:

"Do you enjoy listening to constant pissing and moaning?"

It's all part of the gig.

"What's your husband doing today?" I asked my mother-in-law.

"Watching television; sitting on his ass."

I laughed again.

The love has changed a lot of times for them.

The house is haunted and the ride gets rough...gotta' learn to live with what you can't rise above.

That's the secret to nearly 22,000 days.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Carrie! Carrie!! Carrie!!!


Today is Carrie's birthday.

We don't see each other every day like we did as kids, but we do have a lot of fun when we're all together. 

Easy fun.

Carrie's children are great...funny, happy, smart, respectful, beautiful kids...

...like Carrie was as a child.

It's funny, but I see a lot of similarities between Carrie as a kid and Sam as a kid.

The youngest always takes a beating!

As we grew Carrie was everyone's maid. She did the dishes. She ran from room-to-room gathering whatever was needed.

"Carrie!"

We all needed Carrie to get something for us.

She never bitched about it.

We have the same thing going on at my house now.

"Sam!"

It takes a special person to be able to deal with it, and Sam is a lot like his aunt.

He runs all around the house keeping us in water, lemonade and phone chargers.

The other:

"Carrie! Carrie!! Carrie!!!" ...

...chant happened when the poor girl was less than 10-years old.

The entire family would chant her name at the kitchen table...

...until she'd cry.

(Yeah, we were assholes!).

But we all love our little sis!

Happy Birthday, Carrie!

You were a wonderful child...and you're a wonderful mother!

Carrie! Carrie!! Carrie!!!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As the World Turns

What in the name of holy hell is going on with the Bidens?

Hunter Biden is now dating Haille Biden who used to be married to Beau Biden, Hunter's brother who died young.

Hunter's wife Kathleen is upset that her husband is now hanging with his sister-in-law and she said that he spent the family money on booze, drugs and hookers.

How's that sound?

There was a statement released by Joe who explained that the family was 100% behind the new relationship.

Okay then!

Nothing to see here.

I actually read the articles about it a couple of times just trying to get the names straight. That's what happens when everyone in the story has the same surname.

It must be difficult to live your life in the public eye, but no matter who you are or how much money you have, it's a little weird to hook up with your sister-in-law.

There are kids involved.

Isn't it confusing for them?

Do they now start calling Aunt Haille...Mom?

Or is their father now their uncle?

I'm sure that they'll all work it out...

...and the news will be there to watch it all play out.

Joe Biden was the guy that a lot of people wanted to oppose Clinton and perhaps take the presidency from Comrade Donny.

He didn't run because of his need to be there for his family.

I guess he wasn't telling an alternative fact.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Politicians

What a disgusting group they are, right?

There have been a whole bunch of scandals lately, and there have been a number of hastily caused press conferences that are meant to get out ahead of the trouble.

I find it fascinating.

There are so many lies, and the arguments that they make to slime their way out of trouble (or try to) are flimsy, at best.

In fact, some may call them lies...

...or alternative facts.

And talk about bad memories.

Most can't recall things that happened just a few months back.

Politician: "I didn't meet with Russians."

Reporter: "We have proof."

Politician: "Oh. That's right. It was a casual meeting."

Reporter: "We heard there were two meetings. What were you discussing with a Russian spy?"

Politician: "Oh, nothing much. We both like to do the Word Search in the paper. We must've talked about that."

Reporter: "Did you mention collusion, or the election or the Ukraine?"

Politician: "The Ukraine! That sounds familiar. We kicked that around for a minute. I would've mentioned it, but it wasn't a big deal. That's why both of those meetings slipped my mind. Believe me. I'm a truth-teller. I don't even know how to lie."

Reporter: "Is that a lie?"

Politician: "No comment."

The thing that gets me about all of it is that it must be exhausting!

How do you remember who you've deceived and who you haven't?

I know a guy who has a reputation for embellishing. The word in the social circles is:

"You have to listen to him because every once in a blue moon he tells the truth."

That's the way it is with politicians.

How in the hell can anyone exist in such a manner?

One lie after another.

Deceit.

Deny, deny, deny.

Garbage stories...

...both sides do it...

...skillfully.

And it's pathetic.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Thumb-Nail Sketch

I was sitting in Logan Airport with an hour and a half before my flight. I headed to a bank of open chairs at a gate that didn't have a flight going out.

I was reading, and thinking of closing my eyes for a few minutes.

It was a good plan.

My eyes were closed when a guy in a suit sat in the same row of seats...4 seats down. I opened my eyes and he nodded.

I nodded back...closed my eyes again.

He opened a lap top, put in a ear piece and dialed up a coworker.

I listened to his side of the conversation.

"Blah, blah, blah...okay, give me a thumb-nail sketch of what you're thinking."

Then the guy went off on a long rant of bullshit.

"We'll run it up the flagpole."

"It is what it is."

"It's a team concept."

"We have to think out of the box."

"We can have a conference call to work out the kinks."

"We'll trouble-shoot it, let some time pass, and get a bead on it."

"It'll all work out if we work together."

He hung up.

I hated him.

His entire call sounded like absolute garbage to me. Just gibberish.

Then he sneezed.

Made another call.

This one was personal.

"Hi baby. I still feel awful. I took some Day-Quil. No. Still working. I'm hoping I'm still not contagious!"

He laughed.

Then he sneezed...

...and I had enough.

I packed up all my crap and headed away.

There were now 5 rows of chairs between us and about half the room.

I felt his eyes on me.

He knew I left the area because of him.

Moments later he was dialing another number.

"Give me a thumb-nail sketch on it."

What a dork.

I hoped his cold got worse.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Eight Long Years

In some ways it's been an eternity.

On other days it seems as if it's been just a minute.

March 4, 2009.

The day we lost my brother, Jeff.

I can't even think about the month of March most of the year. It's too hard to swallow it. Even 8 years later.

I still shake my head in disbelief.

A few days ago, I received a text from Johnny.

"Hey, I'm finally reading Oh Brother!" He wrote. "I read 100 pages in study hall. It's great. I remember some of it. This must've been hard on all of you."

I almost couldn't respond.

That beautiful boy...those beautiful kids...

...lost their Dad...

...and Johnny mentioned about how much it must've hurt US!

"Your Dad was an unbelievably great guy," I finally answered. "I wrote that so you would remember. I miss your Dad every single day."

Johnny then sent me the 8-ball game that can be played via text.

He smoked me in four straight games.

"We'll play again on Friday night," he said. "And I'm coming up for Easter break."

"Send me the dates," I said. "I'll get your plane ticket."

Still shaking my head in disbelief.

And yet the love survives.

And flourishes.

The love survives.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Shield

We found a lot of episodes of a good show.

The Shield was on for a lot of years starting in 2003. I never saw a single episode.

Television watching is pretty amazing these days.

Remember when there were only about 3 stations?

If you missed a show, you missed it!

There wasn't calling it up on-demand.

No such thing as DVR.

Yet now you can call up 88 episodes of a show that ended ten years ago.

Pretty amazing.

As for The Shield...

...it's a great show.

High drama...rooting for the bad guy...bad guys, good guys, and a little who fall on both sides of that line.

It makes me wonder if they'll ever stop making shows about cops and robbers.

Probably not.

As a society we all want the violence to end...

...but man, we do like to watch it all play out, don't we?

I remind myself that it's only television, but the reason why the show is good...

...is because it mirrors real life.

And that's pretty scary.

You haven't seen it?

Apple TV, baby!

But it's probably on 7 different formats.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

JCM

Mellencamp was on Howard Stern yesterday.

The good news is that he has a new record out at the end of April. The even better news is that the interview was great.

Howard started the interview by asking Mellencamp if he minded being compared to Springsteen.

"There's no comparison," he said. "Springsteen is a way better songwriter. I'm not in the same league."

And yet...I think I'd have a lot of fun (maybe just as much fun) talking to Mellencamp as Bruce.

Some of the revelations:

1). He never cared about money.

"I feel like I have to create something new every day."

2). He hates some of his own hit songs including "This Time I think I'm in Love."

Which is one of the first songs of his I loved.

3). Speaking of not liking his songs:

He turns his song off it comes on the radio. He doesn't watch himself on television and never even listens to his new records after he finishes working on them.

"Couple of takes. Done with it."

When Howard pressed him on it, saying that he should enjoy himself more he said:

"Ah, leave me alone. It's almost over."

4). He says women hate him.

He recently broke up with Christy Brinkley. Meg Ryan was his girl for a long while. He says that she can't stand him now.

"That's what I do to them. They all end up hating me."

He says he's done with them now. "Men like me but women don't. I figure it would be all right to be gay, but I can't figure out the sexual part of it."

5). He got busted for wearing Tupperware on his head rather than a helmet.

They brought their bikes to Florida but were unaware of the helmet laws.

So they improvised.

6). He was asked, by the head of Columbia records why he sang with, and allowed black people in his songs and in his videos.

"That's enough with the n$&@&rs," the big shot said.

"Get me out of that contract," he told his lawyer. "I'm all done with them."

7). He'd rather paint than sing.

He never wanted to be a pop singer.

He actually went to NYC to enroll in art school.

I can't wait for the record.

One of my heroes because he's the Lil' Bastard.

And one of my favorite lines of his:

"I never wanted to be famous. I just wanted a nap every day."

Exactly.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Can't Keep Up!

The Oscars flub.

The transgender kid winning the wrestling title.

Kellyanne Conjob sitting on the White House couch like a 4-year-old.

Russia.

Crooked media!!!

Bomb threats on Jewish Centers.

Racist killings.

Immigrants being deported.

Repealing healthcare.

Fighting ISIS

Nerve gas assassinations.

I can't even keep up anymore!

Then we have the hourly tweets.

The paranoia.

That's all we know about winning!

I'm so tired of winning I can't believe it.

Even George W. chimed in and said that there's too much divisiveness.

But...

...the real story is the envelope and how Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway couldn't figure out:

Best Actress:

Emma Stone in La La Land

Wasn't:

Best Picture:

Moonlight.

Or whatever the hell it was.

Personally I think it was a publicity stunt...

...or a result of a crooked media trying to steal the thunder from the Russian scandal because the transgender kid, who might've been an immigrant, tried to bomb a Jewish Center because the cabinet wasn't being filled fast enough because of Putin.

Bastards.

Extend the Netting!!

During the Wednesday afternoon Yankees game, Todd Frazier ripped a line drive into the crowd above the third base dugout. The ball, which ...