Sunday, April 30, 2017

Theeeeeeeee Yankeeeees Wiiiiinnn!!

I called out the Yankees in this space when they won just one of their first five.

They're 14 up and 3 down since.

And fun to watch!!

Feels like 1996.

Aaron Judge leads the league in homers.

Luis Severino strikes out 10 a game.

Little guy, Ronald Torreyes, seemingly gets a hit every time up.

Farewell tours for Yankees legends are done...

...time for the new guys!

So, of course, I have been absolutely obnoxious about it.

On Friday night they were losing 9-1 and the two buddies who the the Yankees were quick in the trigger.

"Yankees suck! They're getting killed!!"

I answered, of course, but I was kind of quiet about it...

...and then 9-1 and 11-4 turned into...

14-11 Theeeee Yankeeeees Wiiiiiiiin!!

"Hello, dummies," I texted back.

Dead silence all around.

Damn!

This is fun!!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Road Weary

Set foot in 9 states since Tuesday afternoon, and as per the joys of traveling there were moments.

Nearly grabbed a hotel desk clerk by the necktie and yanked him across the counter because we had discussed room billing three weeks previous and he evidently forgot. He just about received a bruising because he asked me what kind of car I was driving and then said:

"Or did we discuss that 3 weeks ago?"

I answered with:

"Even if we had you have zero recall ability anyway."

I asked him to give me my room key, and requested that he never speak to me again.

I think he's good with that.

There were 4 flights.

They told me how to latch my seatbelt on each one.

I was jammed into 2 seats, but had plenty of room on the other two flights.

Just for fun I also drove approximately 700 miles.

Why people in Boston live there is beyond me. They waste hours and hours of their lives driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

It's nuts!

Slept in 4 different beds.

The highlight of the trip:

The Yankees played the Red Sux.

(I toyed with the idea of going to the game, but see traffic note above. I was trapped in that for 3 solid hours, and that was just before meeting Mr. Happy behind the hotel desk).

So I watched on television.

Boston scored once.

Lost twice.

I entered the construction site in Concord, New Hampshire and greeted the superintendent there.

"I know by your Facebook that people in Buffalo grow tired of your mouth," he said. "It's nice that you pack it for your road trips."

Of course!

It goes with me everywhere!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Empty Garden

No one gets through life unscathed.

You live long enough and you're going to be left here to miss the hell out of someone you love.

It's the least fun thing about being alive, right?

What really sucks about it is when you're caught off-guard and there's something to remind you of that beloved person.

And you stop what you're doing and say, "Man. That sucks."

It happens way too many times with Jeff. Every baseball game, Bruce song, perfectly made dinner...

...just way too many things.

But yesterday, it was my Dad's memory that caught me.

I caught an Elton John song from years gone by...

...a song actually written for John Lennon.

Empty Garden.

Elton was crooning about the Empty Garden and saying "Hey, hey, Johnny."

And I thought of Dad.

John.

I thought of the years gone by and the hours spent in the garden.

Jim threw a rock that dropped Dad to his knees as he tilled the ground. We all ran as fast as we could, thinking we'd all catch hell for the accidental toss that met Dad's forehead.

He actually laughed.

I thought of him standing above me as I planted the peppers.

"They're too close!"

Years and years.

Elton singing about the garden being empty.

The grass has grown over the piece of land at Mom's house...

...the garden is gone.

I was dwelling on that for a couple of days when my phone pinged.

"Took the day off school to plant the garden," Johnny (my nephew texted to me and my brother John). "Peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers!"

So.

The Garden isn't empty.

But, man, the "Hey, hey, Johnny, won't you come out and play."

Yeah.

That hurt for awhile.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Felt Up

I stepped through the scanner at the airport and did the little pose. I stepped out and the young, skinny black kid halted me with his hand and checked the scan.

"Okay," he said. "Do you have anything in your right pocket?"

"No," I said.

I was wearing sweatpants and every once in awhile I get a pat down because the pants bunch up, I guess.

"Would you like to do this here or go to a back room?" He asked.

"Do what?" I asked.

He was snapping on a pair of gloves.

"I need to do a pat down. Do you have anything in your pockets? Last chance."

"I don't," I said. "Do what you have to do."

I watched my bag make it through the scan, along with my shoes and coat.

"Do you have any painful spots?" He asked.

I laughed.

"Go ahead."

I'm not sure what I was expecting but he went up and down each leg and then patted my ass. Just before I said "What the $&&$?"

He went up the inside of my left thigh and I just looked at him as he actually violated the space where things hang.

He then moved to the right inner thigh.

"All good," he said.

I looked at him and he shrugged.

"Doing my job," he said.

And I have to tell you, it pissed me off a bit. It was invasive, embarrassing and absolutely unnecessary.

"I'm curious about that scanner I stepped through," I said. "What good is that if you have to massage me after I step through it."

"You're free to go," he said in his big-boy authoritative voice.

I put my shoes on...

...seething.

The little dope was staring me down.

I was wondering if he would up the search if I asked him another question.

"Have a safe flight," he said.

"Thank you for keeping us safe," I said.

I grabbed my bag and headed towards the gate.

He could've at least bought me a drink.

Ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

🎶 Soothes the Savage Beast

Got in the car on Monday morning and the Sirius radio was set to the 80's station. Bryan Adams was doing "Run to You" and it's a song I hadn't heard in years.

It brought me back to college days and drinking 🍻 with the boys. We played the tunes good and loud and Bryan Adams had a huge record in 1985.

That's really 32 years ago???

It was an old MTV host playing the tunes and even her voice took me back. There was a lot of time spent around the television as the new videos had their 🌎 premiere.

She played Pink Floyd, the Wall.

"How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?"

And it dawned on me that I was having a better day just listening to music rather than the talk shows.

"Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits made me open the windows and sing loudly.

"Guitar George, he knows all the chords."

That gave way to "Roll Me Away" by Bob Seger and my mood was through the roof.

"Staring out at the great divide. I could go east. I could go west. It was all up to me to decide."

"Hold On Loosely" by .38 Special made me think of a young girl who is now a woman over 50.

(Hope she's doing okay!)

I spent the entire day just listening to music and it amazed me that seem to be stuck back in that time frame when it comes to 🎶.

I can't name many songs that have captured my fancy unless it was produced by someone who was in the business prior to 1980.

My boys have tried to introduce me to some of the new stuff, but 👎 I'm stuck in the World of classic rock.

"With or Without You" by U2 was another smashing success.

ZZ Top, Van Halen, Mellencamp, the Stones.

Good mood all day!!

Sure makes the day go by quicker than if I'd been listening to the great Republican-Democratic debate, or the clown 🤡 show that is our new government.

Rock & Roll will never die!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Paint the Garage

The weekend weather was nice enough for there to be a lot of activity around the neighborhood.

Everyone seemingly taking stock in what needs to be done to clean things up after a pretty mild winter.

Our lawn was a mess, first off.

"Where are the dogs?" My beautiful wife asked on Sunday morning.

"Out running in the meadow," I said.

And I thought about Sam trying to push now the yard in a couple of hours. He would get frustrated. He'd miss huge chunks of grass as he tried to rush through it.

"I'm going to mow it," I announced.

"Don't do it!" Kathy said. "It's going to ruin you for the week!"

"I'll take it slow."

And I did. Not that I had much choice. The mower was bogging down with the heavy, wet grass. Sam emerged as I was halfway through, earpiece in hand.

"I can finish," I said. "Clean the garage."

Sam carted out the patio furniture and cleaned up garbage. I finished the yard, all the way looking at the side of the garage that needs to be painted.

So much to do.

Frustrating.

I thought about when we moved into this house and all the work we did to make it decent.

Crossroads now...

...work is here...

...can't do it all.

I headed in after an hour or so.

Ice on everything...

...Yankees left 8 runners on in a one run game!

"We have a lot of work around here," I said to anyone who'd listen.

They weren't really listening!

I need a handyman!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Joanie

If you were a kid born in the 1960's your favorite television show in your young life was most likely Happy Days.

Fonzie was the cool guy that you wanted to be...

...and you most likely had a little crush on Joanie.

Yet it was almost like she was everyone's little sister.

After Happy Days Joanie hooked up with Chachi and we all know that Scott Baio went a little off the wall.

Erin Moran, the actress who played Joanie didn't have much luck either. She kind of disappeared from television and then came the horror stories.

She was homeless, strung out and bitter.

There was talk of alcohol and drug abuse.

She sued for money from those happier days, and she grew alienated from the rest of the cast.

Henry Winkler and Ron Howard made it big time.

How could they let Moran suffer?

She was homeless! They couldn't help her out?

I head Winkler (who might be the nicest guy in show biz) talk about the heartbreak of her life.

They tried to help her...

...they offered her the chance to help herself.

Didn't happen.

Erin Moran was found dead on Saturday afternoon at the age of 56.

Too soon.

She evidently never found peace, but it didn't say what happened to her.

As I thought about some of those episodes, I considered how fleeting fame seems to be. She was the sweetheart on the biggest show in the country at a time when you could only actually see shows on just a few channels.

Millions of people knew her...

...and it didn't her absolutely no good in battling through the rough times.

"Oh Erin," Henry Winkler posted in a tweet. "I hope you find the peace you couldn't find here."

Shortcake.

Seems like yesterday when she was everyone's little sister.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Blinded By Science

Saturday there was a march for science.

Weird, but when I was a kid my Mom made us watch the moon landing, and we spoke of scientists and astronauts as brilliant people who were doing things that were too heady for us regular folk to understand.

There were thoughts of trips to Mars, colonies on the moon and flying cars. We would soon figure out alternative energies, and be able to manage the pollution, and maintain the beauty of a planet that we were fortunate to inhabit.

Now, however, scientists are considered to be weirdos of sorts. Their spouting about climate control, their whining about pollution...

...babies!!!

Libtards!!!

"Leave it alone!"

"It's all just theory!!"

I don't know when it became an argument between religion and science.

Evidently if you think Adam and Eve were alive in the Garden of Eden, you're dead set against the dopes who warn that polluting the world is not good.

I believe that I understand the problem a little.

No one believes that they're below anyone else anymore.

A guy like Einstein would be widely abused these days:

"Freaking nutbag cant even comb his hair and we all know that pie ain't got nuttin' to do with no maths!!"

That above sentence might actually be sent as a text or a tweet these days.

I thought of that when I followed an argument between one of my teachers (who actually has a doctorate in science) and one of his former students who may have eked out a 65 to pass Earth Science.

On line the failed student and the brilliant educator were on equal footing when debating evolution.

"It's called the theory of evolution! You don't believe in God!! That makes you dumb!!!"

Somehow I believe there is room for smart people.

But what the hell do I know?

I'm one of the dopey bastards...

...so they say.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

My Bad

I usually never leave the hotel room when I go out of town. The travel is by design these years because it gets me off my feet for awhile.

Heating pad or ice pack and I'm ready for the days of endless site visits when I'm in Buffalo...

...unless my buddies want to grab dinner.

Well, on this trip, dinner was out as one friend was away, but the other called me as I was watching "The Big Lebowski."

"Come on out. I gotta' grab dinner."

The place was three minutes away from my hotel room. I went.

The atmosphere in the sports bar was lively as the hockey and basketball games were on. The Yankees were off, but a photo of Reggie on the wall spurred a lot of talk about days gone by. I even ordered a beer...something I do about twice a year.

As we talked about the 1978 team a man beside me started to chime in. He was funny and well-informed, and much to my dismay, he also appeared to be visually impaired.

But no one cared...he was making us laugh.

Then he reached for his big glass of beer, and missed...

...the full glass tipped over and shattered, making a tremendous racket. When the bartender came by to clean up the glass he pointed at me and said:

"He did it."

(Told you he was funny).

"No harm," she said to me, as I decided to take the hit for him.

She refilled his beer and turned away. We laughed.

Three seconds later, he reached for the beer again.

And missed.

The beer went head over heels to the floor, and I looked over in shock at the poor man.

"That was my bad," he said.

And I Swear to God, I laughed harder than I've laughed in ten years.

He didn't get another beer.

He was supremely embarrassed, but the harder I laughed the easier it became for him.

We went back to talking about baseball, and I felt badly for him and his limited eye sight.

"That was my bad," I quoted him a little while later.

"Ah, what the hell you gonna' do, right? Life's a bitch."

So glad I went out for an hour.

Friday, April 21, 2017

"I Went Without My Annual Bonus"

I was listening to a CEO from a banking company as he was interviewed on one of the news programs.

The bank had come into some trouble during his reign and 50 or so employees took a fall. The CEO being interviewed (let's call him Mr. Potter) was getting heat because those employees lost their job, but Mr. Potter came through it with a healthy raise...

...about two million per year to a annual salary of $12 million.

"Well, I did take on additional duties," Mr. Potter said. "I had a lot of extra pressure added to my day-to-day."

The interviewer spoke of the bail-out the bank had received and the poor common dopes who were called frauds and lost their jobs.

"A lot of people really suffered during your years at the helm," the interviewer said.

"But the annual bonus I normally received as a part of my package was denied me for two years," Mr. Potter said.

The whine in his voice made me ill.

"But you also received a two million raise in your salary," the interviewer pushed on.

"I had additional duties!" He said angrily.

The interviewer was actually very tenacious.

"Do you feel bad about the people who lost their jobs during that time?"

"I feel bad about a lot of it," Mr. Potter said. "The lost wages for those people and our lost bonuses. A lot of  people really suffered. Yet I'm the man that the board of directors chose to help us through it."

"And they gave you a considerable raise," the interviewer said.

"With added responsibility!" Mr. Potter yelled as he walked away.

Poor guy.

He had to struggle through on a meager $10 million per year...

...without a bonus!

Cat food all around!!

I honestly don't begrudge anyone the money they make. Yet the man was so irritating!

He couldn't understand why the interviewer was so perplexed by the raise in pay.

He had suffered!!!

There was a whole bunch of money stolen back when the regulations were eased.

The government bailed them out.

Everyone seems to be back on solid footing again!

Bonuses all around!!

And they are easing the regs again...

...what could possibly go wrong?


Thursday, April 20, 2017

What A Sad, Sad Life

The American tragedy that was Aaron Hernandez is nearly over.

All that is left is the pain of the destruction that he left in his wake.

Hernandez was a gifted athlete...

...the older I get...

...the more I realize that being a good athlete has zero to do with being a decent human being.

I first learned that when O.J. Simpson just destroyed the childhood adoration of all the Buffalo-born kids.

(But, hey, he's still in the ring of honor!)

Yet, Hernandez is truly a horrific story.

His big troubles began when his Dad died. Aaron was on his way to Florida to play football when he lost his father, and all sense.

At Florida there were troubles. His quarterback there, Tim Tebow (a true All-American boy) tried to help his disturbed teammate, but everyone knew that Aaron would have to find his way, or bad things would happen.

In New England, he found stardom. Robert Kraft, Hoodie, and Tom Brady (the 🐐) all tried a little guidance, but there was too much money, too much fame, and way too little sense.

Hernandez was angry at the world.

He had guns. He had drugs. He fancied himself a gangster of the Scarface variety.

He was convicted of murdering one man.

There were charges on two other deaths.

He beat those charges, but someday we may find out how many people he actually had a hand in killing.

He deserves zero sympathy.

But the tragedy of such a wasted life is not wasted on me.

God Gave him gifts...

...we are all granted gifts of varying degrees.

Aaron Hernandez received the gift and spat at it angrily...

...and he totally destroyed himself.

That all happened a few years back...

...yesterday he just made it official.

Sad.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Scooter & White

On Monday night I was watching the Yankees-White Sox game...

...which is not all that unusual.

I was texting back and forth with Pops and I became involved in a conversation with a couple of Yankees fans on Twitter.

It started innocently enough as we critiqued Al Leiter as the color man with Michael Kay on the YES broadcast.

Soon enough we were chatting about our favorite announcers (Kay, Stone and Sterling in small doses) and we all agreed on who we hate doing baseball (Joe Buck).

Then Rob (a guy I just met on Twitter) mentioned that Scooter and White were the best.

Instantly I was taken back in time to the late 70's and early 80's.

HOLY COW!

I thought of the summer days with my brothers, sisters and Mom and Dad. (And hundreds of friends). We used to watch the games in the garage. The screen door on. Eating cukes and tomatoes.

And laughing at Phil Rizzuto (Scooter) who would entertain us with stories of his wife, Cora.

He'd eat cannoli. He'd talk about leaving early. He'd tell stories right over the action and then he'd say:

"Holy Cow! I missed a homer, White!"

But when Rob mentioned that team I thought about the time that Scooter opened the broadcast by saying:

"Welcome to Yankees baseball, I'm Bill White."

As Bill White burst out laughing beside him.

I was probably about 12 years old when that happened, and I hadn't thought of it in the 40 years since!

And the miracle of miracles???

About 5 seconds after I mentioned it, Rob posted the clip.

And I laughed out loud again.

Scooter was the best.

Those were the days!

(Thanks for the laughs, guys).

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Facebook Live

On Sunday a story broke about a man in Cleveland, Steve Stephens, who recorded himself walking up to an elderly man, (who he didn't seem to know) and pressing a gun to his head...

...shooting the man dead...and letting the recording go for three minutes.

Stephens recorded himself murdering someone.

I suppose that it was only a matter of time.

We all have cameras and video recorders. We can now document every moment of our lives...

...so eventually someone was going to record a murder of someone who was killing just to kill.

I recall the Pennsylvania politician, Bud Dwyer, who killed himself on television.

I saw that footage once.

Over 30 years later and I still can't unsee it!

Yet I'm not surprised by the Stephens report of murder being recorded.

What would surprise you?

We now all get news releases straight to our phone:

"Active shooter reported @ (Pick the city)."

Does that news report even phase you anymore?

In San Bernadino a couple of weeks ago a man shot his estranged wife, and then himself. Prior to taking the cowards way out he also shot two 8-year-old children.

No one even blinked at that story.

Three dead...

...ah well.

What else is happening?

The Syria bombs were dropped, reportedly because our leaders saw images of children being gassed.

Just knowing that kids were being killed as they tried to flee their worn-torn nation wasn't enough...

...the bombs got dropped after the images were seen.

Maybe that will up the ante.

People filming their murders.

Just what we need.

You think we will we ever figure it out?

Yeah.

Me neither.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Neat Stuff

Emma Moreno, of Italy, died recently. She was 117 years old and it's believed that she's the last person born in the 1800's to die. They're all gone now. That's what's weird when you think about it.

All new people.

I was reading the story of Rod Carew and his heart transplant. Carew was an unbelievable hitter during the years when I was growing up. He slapped singles all over the place. He also stole home 8 times in one year.

And as he aged his heart gave out.

Last year he received a new one from a 29-year old athlete, who suffered a fatal aneurism. Konrad Reuland was also a professional athlete having played tight end in the NFL. His death was horrific, but his family got to hear his heart beating again...

...in Carew's chest.

And here is the really neat part:

Konrad had met Carew as a child and had been absolutely thrilled with the chance to meet such a big star.

Konrad's parents communicated it all to the grateful Carew. I hope that kid's heart beats for a long time now.

Another neat thing???

The Yankees have played good ball since I wrote the blog calling them out after their bad first week.

I'm not saying that it's all because of me, but they have a good mix.

It's an interesting team, to be sure.

So, I'm in good shape through the summer.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Message

My buddy Al DeCarlo sent me a message on Good Friday morning:

"Meet you at Holy Spirit Church where we can serve Mass, do stations of the cross and then go shoot hoops in the gym."

My mind shifted to those years...

...2nd grade through 6th grade.

We went to Mass every day during Holy Week. The stations of the cross was eternal as the priest blessed the gathering, raised the insence, and scolded the idiot altar boys who were screwing around the entire time.

Simpler times.

What a disaster the world seems to be from time to time when you see it through adult eyes. North Korea? Syria? Afghanistan?

Dropping the mother of all bombs, wondering about whether a nuke can make it here or not. Hearing that our leader doesn't want anything to do with the Pope...

...cause he doesn't like him.

I hate turmoil and chaos.

That might be what should be written on my tombstone:

"He just wanted everything to be in order."

Won't happen!!

Yet, I was listening to a straight-up atheist the other day. He was wondering why anyone would cling to the idea of a God in the sky in order to find comfort in their own lives.

"It's silly," the guy said. "But whatever."

All of it comes together in my mind on Easter...

...and I consider some of the miracles in my own life.

Minor miracles, really, all presented in the love in my life.

It's easy to get lost in despair and think:

"How can there be a God with so much hate?"

I don't quite look at it through the eyes of the atheist.

Maybe it was the nuns...perhaps my mind was shaped through those stations of the cross...

...because I see it as:

"How can there NOT be a God with so much love in the world?"

Happy Easter!

Enjoy the love in your life.

Disregard the despair.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Let's Play 🏀

My nephew John has been here all week.

Let me catch you up on their schedule:

Sleep in.

Eat.

Play basketball 🏀

Eat.

Joke around.

Play basketball 🏀

"Come on, let's ball," Johnny has asked me every day.

"Those days have passed," I explained.

All week long. The same question, over and over.

On Thursday, after he ate dinner. He looked at the linguine and clams that I made.

"Can I have some?"

"Of course, but you just ate."

He took a half a pound and ate it in about 45 seconds. Then he took the rest out of the fridge, heated it up and finished it.

"Can I ask you a question?"

"I'm not playing basketball 🏀," I said.

"No. Would you make more of that pasta?"

I laughed.

On Friday afternoon I finished up work and heard the ball 🏀 bouncing. I walked out the front door to see my brother John, hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath as he stood between Sam and John.

I took the ball and tried a couple of shots...

...no good!

Then I watched the boys play...

...moving, running, jumping, laughing.

My brother John was laying in the grass, watching too.

It all goes so fast!!

"When are we eating?" Johnny asked.

"If it's anything like the rest of the week every hour on the hour."

Must be nice to be young and hungry!


Friday, April 14, 2017

What's Your Story?

Caught a Twitter blurb about Springsteen's autobiography and an interview that he did to support it.

"I'm working on the story that my ancestors will tell about me."

He says a whole lot of interesting things.

I suppose that every man considers that once he understands that there are less days left in front of the horse than what's in back of the cart.

What else would you be working on after a certain point.

What's your story?

I thought of that the other day as I was driving by a diner in a small town. The man appeared to be about my age.

In the middle of the day, the disheveled man was smoking a cigarette and drinking from a container that was covered up by a paper bag.

His clothes were worn, his face unshaven. He was looking at traffic passing by.

Since there was a long red light in front of me, I glanced over at him, wondering:

"What's his story?"

What would people say about him after he was gone?

And perhaps there was a reason why he was where he was in the middle of the day during working hours. It's not for me to judge how he spends his days. I was just wondering.

After the Syria bombs were dropped into the empty airfield I thought a little about war and the first thing I considered was what my Dad might say should the political discussion get to him:

"If Syria attacks Turkey from the rear do you think Greece would help?"

For some reason that joke stuck in my head. I included it in a Facebook post and the people who knew my Dad really enjoyed it. Then I started mentioning the memory to my Mom and she said:

"I heard him say that about two thousand times."

But in the context of Bruce's quote I thought about how Dad had written the story of his life through his actions and choices.

That's what we all do.

I know what my kids would say about me.

"He works hard. Yankees fan. Likes pasta. Is a pushover for his beautiful wife and kids. Loves his dogs even more."

And there will be some jokes that they are able to recall when something happens in their lives, down the road, years and years from now.

"We won't ever be wondering what you're thinking," Sam told me one day. "Because you wrote everything down."

But even if you don't write a book, or a song...

...your story is there for the telling.

Maybe even a couple of generations from now.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Doubling Up Your Mistakes

I have a couple of close friends who are really good golfers.

(I haven't played yet this year...hope I can...checking on another injection in the hip).

I often ask the good golfers how they stay on top of the mental part of the game. Even with physical difficulties the game can be played well..."old man golf".

"Don't double up on your mistakes," my good pal Robert once told me.

That makes a lot of sense.

A bad shot into the woods is troubling, of course, but pitching it back into the fairway is the smart play.

The problem being that often times after making a mistake there's a true passion to make up for it...

...and you usually end up compounding the problem.

Every golfer 🏌 in the world has spent time in the barrel, or as my main golf partner, Jeffy says:

"I'm 'strug-a-ling'," in his Joe Namath voice.

Since you're golfing in a 4-some there may be one, two, three or all four golfers battling themselves at once. If it's just one guy at a time...the other three will often leave him be.

"Chucky is hacking, leave him alone," is a common sentence.

Golf is a lot like life in that way.

We all make mistakes. Sometimes we double down and make matters a lot worse. Often times we stay in the tail-spin way too long...

...and it's too late to dig yourself out of a bad situation. The round will mercifully come to a close.

"I lost it at 7, found it again at 12, lost it at 14."

Years ago, I was sharing a cart with my friend, Tom. He ended up in the 🌲 🌲 🌲 and he asked me to take a 👀 at his next swing.

"Think I can make it between those two trees?" He asked.

"Sure," I said. 

(When the other guy is thinking of doing something dumb it is always strongly encouraged).

"Just keep it low."

I ducked out of the way in case the ball came bouncing back.

It did.

"$@&!" Tom yelled.

The ball ended behind us.

"May as well try it again," I said. "No guts, no glory."

Tom hit the other 🌲. Then he decided to chip it out.

We finally returned to the golf cart.

"Remember when you hit that tree?" I asked.

I can't even tell you what he said in response.

I was thinking about golf lessons as life lessons.

Sometimes the best thing to do is to acknowledge the error of our ways and take a deep breath and think long and hard about the next move.

Otherwise the ball will find one tree after another, and sooner or later it gets too late in the round to save it.

Stop the 'strug-a-ling' before it gets away from you.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dragged Off A Flight

United Airlines is in a bit of trouble after their security agents literally yanked a guy from his seat to make room for their flight crew members.

The video has gone viral. The man was dragged down the aisle and left bloodied by the encounter.

My thoughts on this are colored by the flights I've been on through the last couple of years.

Flying around the country isn't for the weak.

My main problem with all of it is that no one is pleasant!!!

Are we all considered terrorists until we prove ourselves innocent?

"Take your shoes off! Are your pockets empty?"

All in monotone...all in that mean substitute teacher voice.

"Are your pockets empty?"

I hear for the 3rd time as I wait to pose in the X-ray machine.

I don't even answer after the 2nd time.

Last week I saw that my carry-on bag got pulled aside for inspection. It appears that when I carry my writing notebooks they have to look at them.

Right there the guy went through my bag. He took out the journal book.

"What's this?" He asked.

"A notebook."

"What is it for?" He asked.

"I write in it."

He looked at me as if I were about to be dragged into another room for the anal probe. Then he dug through my clothes and couldn't get the bag zipped because my hard hat has to be positioned properly.

"I'm a good packer, huh?" I said.

He just glared at me.

Whatever.

He was nice enough to let me put my hard hat back.

What's worse is when the delays happen.

Also last week, we waited an hour and a half because the captain couldn't fly again because he needed to be off for 8 hours before his next flight. The gate agent broke that news to me as if it was a legitimate reason why 100 of us would now be late for dinner.

Hire more captains!

Then...

...9 times they tell me that they're 'Sorry for the inconvenience.'

Stop telling me you're sorry...

...just get me home.

So, I'm not surprised that they dragged that poor bastard off by his hair.

Bet they are going to very soon be:

'Extremely sorry for the inconvenience.'

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bah!!!

A week ago Sunday was opening day.

Yankees laid an Easter egg.

No big deal. They haven't won on opening day in 6 years. Tanaka just had a bad day.

"They'll be all right. Bird and Sanchez are going to have big years."

And all seemed fine when they won the next day.

Last season they started real slow. 8-14. It cost them a shot at the playoffs. The win on day 3 went a long way towards calming my fears.

"The kids just gotta' hit," I explained.

Just 3 hits out of Bird, Judge and Sanchez in first 3 games.

"The bullpen is awesome!"

They lost game 4 as the bullpen blew a lead.

"Sanchez hit a bomb, though. He's ready to go on a tear."

But at 1-3 I was starting to hear garbage from the haters.

Bird and Judge were benched for Game 5.

The bullpen blew another lead and to make it all the more miserable, Sanchez got hurt...

...taking a swing.

He's out for at least a couple of weeks.

"How the Stankees doing?" I heard on Sunday morning.

"Going to be a long year!" Another dope tried.

I sent out photos of the past rings.

Talked about the greatest franchise in the history of organized American sports...

...but truthfully I was seething.

Uncle George Steinbrenner was fond of saying that he felt a great responsibility to Yankees fans.

"Our fans have better days when we win," he said.

That is actually true.

"The Yankees won," I will often chide (Hi Kim) my non-Yankees loving children.

Bah!

Let's go!!

One win a week isn't going to cut it!

The stupid Mets and Orioles and Suck Sux fans are getting on my nerves already.

But all you haters, know one thing...

...even when they lose, I'm happy to just be watching baseball!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Horror Movies

We caught a movie about a house that was haunted by the former tenant.

Seems the guy in the attic had murdered his entire family, but it was a pretty nice home so the family purchased it.

The daughter didn't want to move. Mom and Dad were all excited.

Then the fun began.

Little things were out of whack.

Then the guy down the street came up missing.

Daughter warned Dad.

Dad changed the locks:

"It'll be all right, you'll see."

I'm not much of a fan of the genre. The plot is usually the same. The deaths are particularly gory. The so-called adults in the movie make really bad choices.

"I know you saw a man in the attic," Dad says. "I believe you, but we can run off to a hotel room and be scared, or we can stay in our own home and live our lives."

You just know that Dad is dying in the next scene.

Eventually the bad guy will be in hot pursuit, and the damsel in distress will run, screaming. Then she'll fall down and nearly get captured.

It's at this point where I start rooting for the guy doing the chasing.

I just want the screaming to stop.

Of course, I'm sadly disappointed.

Somehow the screaming, confused, tiny little girl will somehow overpower the half-man, half-beast being.

Just one more thing to do.

The bad guy has to die good.

Stake through the heart, pitchfork in the eye. There has to be a big speech too.

"Burn in hell, Satan! That's for doing the anal probe on my mother and for tearing out my father's esophagus!! No one messes with our family."

But they're harmless films, I suppose.

There's something about wanting to be scared out of our minds.

Just don't forget to look under the bed.

Bad guys are real, after all.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

They Got Me Again

Sam & my nephew Johnny are doing a pretty good Cliff-Jeff impression.

"I'm always trying to talk him out of doing stupid stuff," Sam said.

Yeah. I know the feeling.

Once again, when it all comes down, I'm the one who gets burned.

Johnny and I often play billiards on the phone. He takes a shot, sends it to me, and we play a few games in a row.

I hadn't heard from him in awhile.

Until Friday night.

I was in the airport, waiting for the captain to show up so we could leave. I received a text with the billiard table and a message.

"Remember when you said you'd get me a plane ticket for my birthday?"

"Sure," I answered. "When you thinking of coming up?"

I missed my shot and sent the table back.

"Tomorrow," he said in the return text. He had made 3 shots.

I made one, missed my second shot.

"Plane tickets don't actually work like that," I said. "It's pretty expensive to try and buy a ticket the night before."

He made 3 more.

"You'll be all right," he answered.

I made the trip home and Kathy greeted me.

"They're still scheming. We aren't paying that for him to get here."

Johnny was now on the Face-Time making his case.

"Don't you want to see my beautiful face?"  He asked.

"Not for a grand!" Kathy said.

The conversation continued until mid-afternoon on Saturday.

Johnny arrives early Monday morning.

"That's a pretty nice birthday present," he said. "Of course it'll be worth every penny."

Of course.

Now to fill the freezer.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Heart Aches

The nuns did a number on me.

I remember setting one nun a-stutter by asking her:

"Is it still wrong if we kill people in a war?"

I have a great memory.

I remember that she couldn't answer me. She basically made me go sit down.

It's funny, but I was having a conversation with a very right-leaning guy earlier in the week. I directly asked him what he thought about denying refugees sanctuary.

"I don't care about any of those people! I don't want one of them entering MY country!!"

I made like that nun. I knew the conversation was over.

On Friday morning I listened to the reports of the bombing. The news anchors were praising the "beautiful" bombs, and the exacting precision of the strikes.

Made my heart ache.

Then heading over to Facebook and Twitter...

...where the celebrations of the bomb drops were reaching epic proportions.

Look...chemical weapons being used on women and children is horrific. That hurts me too.

Bombing in response?

Well, you can probably guess that I'm not one to cheer that either.

They'll tell us that it was necessary.

We can't spend billions in war weapons and not use some of them.

I even think we'll hear good things about the decisiveness of a man who two years ago was deciding between J.J. Walker and Gilbert Gottfried on a game show.

I changed the channel.

Found a clip of Don Rickles on Johnny Carson.

My aching heart was filled with laughter, for a second.

It's getting so I don't even recognize this country.

Like that nun...

...just stuttering now.



Friday, April 7, 2017

Two-Point-Five-Million

18-Year-Old Romanian model Aleexandra Kefren decided to sell what she had...

...her virginity.

I don't quite know how one goes about selling such a thing, and not getting arrested for prostitution, but I'll play along.

She was looking for a cool million dollars.

She got that.

Then an anonymous bidder decided to get rid of all competition by ponying up a bid of $2.5 million.

I have a few questions.

1). Two and a half million bucks???

2). What does that get you, exactly???

3). Is there a set time????

First off, I don't have that kind of money.

Secondly, she's just a kid.

Thirdly, it's a ton of money for what could, potentially be about twelve seconds of someone's time.

Stuff like this hardly ever works out.

Remember the Demi Moore-Woody Harrelson movie where he sold his wife for a million bucks to Robert Redford (I think).

That one didn't work out.

I imagine that the girl (who is pretty beautiful) believes that she's being awfully clever, but what happens down the road a little bit.

Does she suffer at all with her decision?

I heard one girl talking about it years ago.

(This has happened before).

That girl said:

"Who cares? I would've eventually given it away for free anyway. I may as well make some cash."

I wish I would've thought of such a thing when I was an eligible bachelor.

Perhaps someone might have paid me.

I'm thinking two-point-five is about right...

...but how would you split half a penny?

What a 🌎!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I Have A Solution

Hearing a lot of debate about the next Supreme Court Justice.

The GOP wouldn't even grant Garland a hearing because Obama was in the last year of his presidency..

...then, against all odds, Agent Orange was elected and he chose someone else.

Gorsuch, like Garland, seemed like a perfectly viable option...

...but the Dems won't vote for him because of the Garland thing, and because of that FBI thingy hanging over everyone's head.

So...blah, blah, blah....

More fighting.

Going nuclear (changing the rules) to get him through.

I have an idea.

Judge Judy!!!

We can all agree on her, right???

J.J. Will make sure that some of the stupid in-fighting stops.

Can't you just hear her telling Pelosi or Ryan to:

"Put on your listening ears!!"

Imagine what she'd do with Donny boy.

"You aren't going golfing again! Get your ass back in that chair and do some work!! And stop with the stupid tweeting or whatever it is. You're embarrassing yourself."

Yep.

I like it.

Can I nominate JJ somehow?

No need for a hearing.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Wanna' Bet?

So now we have the Las Vegas Raiders.

That should go well.

54 football players in Vegas for games every other Sunday.

What could go wrong?

They're all so well-behaved.

Yet, Roger Goodell (who maybe the 2nd most hated man in America) has reassured us all by saying:

"The NFL isn't for gambling."

Yeah.

Right.

I don't think anyone has ever bet on a football game, right?

And those fantasy football leagues don't have anything to do with betting.

Years and years ago my Dad infuriated me by always telling me that the NFL is fixed.

"How do they get within a half-a-point of the Vegas line every week?"

I thought Dad was crazy about such a vast conspiracy.

"A billion dollars changes hands every weekend, and you think that's all left for chance?"

I'm sure Dad was just pushing my buttons, but man, you get older, and you wonder.

The Ravens win on Ray Lewis' last day?

Wilson throws it at the one?

Falcons drop back to pass and then fumble when all they have to do is run?

Refs blow calls?

Kickers miss extra points?

Now, I'm still sure it's all on the up and up. How could they pull off something like that?

It's all just a conspiracy theory, right?

The problem is:

Now there will be even more questions...

...as soon as the Raiders fail to cover all hell is gonna' break loose in Sin City.

In the meantime, Goodell should just get himself an office in Henderson, Nevada so he can hand out his one-game suspensions for beating women, and throw the book at the Hall-of-Famers who probably, maybe, might have heard something about a rumor of his ball boy maybe letting a little air out of the ball.

What could go wrong?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Bill O'Reilly

I used to listen to the Bill O'Reilly show every once in a blue moon.

One of the things that was kind of impressive about it was that he turned talking politics into a big business. He usually takes some time during his show to plug his merchandise that can be purchased.

Do people really buy a 'No-Spin' coffee cup?

Yet, he seemed, early on, to be a personable guy and the show held my attention as I drove around.

Then Howard Stern played a tape of O'Reilly dressing down a member of his staff because he didn't understand how they wanted him to end a show.

He screamed, swore and embarrassed the staffer.

"Oh, maybe not such a good guy."

Then a story broke about his family. Then a sexual harassment settlement.

Turns out that's just the tip of the iceberg.

It's being reported now that Fox News has settled 5 sexual harassment claims through the years.

If you work at Fox on the same shift as O'Reilly it appears that you're gonna' get your ass grabbed.

Five times!

If they settled five of them how many were there?

The Human Resources guy is probably a little tired of all of it.

"What did he do now?"

Yet it appears that the Fox News location isn't where you want to work if you're a pretty, young girl.

As it turns out, April is anti-sexual-harassment month.

Donald Trump announced it.

I'm sure O'Reilly will try to not spin it into something else.

It's kind of funny, actually, if it wasn't so hypocritical.

The p***y-grabber and the guy who settled 5 lawsuits are promoting not harassing women.

O'Reilly's spokesman said that a person of his stature is very often accused of doing things.

Comes with the territory, I guess.

Good luck, Bill.

I won't be watching or listening.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Just A Line In the News

In the middle of last week there was a press conference called to alert the citizens that a bad batch of heroin had resulted in seven deaths.

A bad batch.

As opposed to nice clean heroin.

Like clean coal, I guess.

Cut to Sunday and I flipped through the local section and there in the death notices were some of the names of those who died using the heroin.

Average age was 32.

Six men and one woman.

Just gone.

One of the obits noted that heroin was the cause.

It was the first line...

...before the fact that he was loved by many.

Brothers, sisters, Mom, Dad, nieces and nephews.

All cast aside due to the need to get the drug into their body.

It's a scary thing.

Politicians are jumping all over it now, telling us all about how it has to stop.

We've been fighting the war on drugs since the Reagan years.

It's not going well.

A bad batch.

Indeed.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

It's April Already

Funny but it seems that whenever the calendar flips to a new month there will be someone there to say:

 "Damn! It's April already!"

The days seem to fly by the older you get, and the years follow. One after another.

Today is opening day!

The year 2017 has kinda' been moving slowly though. A scandal every day, way too much news!

Normally we don't think much about politics, or how the country is doing..

...knowing that it will move along, whether or not we pay much attention.

I have to admit that now I wake up on Saturday and Sunday wondering if something nasty broke over night.

Like a bad tweet...

...then the reaction to it.

Saturday morning it was all about the Russia scandal with Trump blaming Obama as the walls seemed to be closing in.

"Who knows?" I said to Melky.

She turned over, wagged her tail and went back to sleep.

"Yankees play today!" I reminded her.

That seemed to cheer her up a little...perhaps it was the excitement in my voice.

March Madness is behind us.

It's going to start to warm up.

A cold day now will be greeted with:

"I thought we were done with this garbage."

And before you know it...

...we'll be at the All-Star break.

Even though, for the first time, in a lot of years, the president wouldn't throw out the first pitch.

Buckle up.

Gonna' be a long, strange year.

Have a good week!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

2017 Baseball Preview!

Have you caught any of the spring training news?

You know what team has the best record?

Yeah.

The 27-Time World Champion Greatest Franchise in the History of Organized Sports.

I've been following along and it really feels a lot like 1995 when the kids came up. The Yankees won 4 World Series in 5 years and with any luck, could've won about eight in a row.

Well, the kids got old.

So, Cashman retooled without ever slipping below .500.

What do we have this year?

National League East:

This is a battle between the Mets and the Nationals. If the Mets pitching is great they will win, but pitchers are a fickle bunch. Matz is already hurt again.

I take the Nationals with the Mets getting a Wild Card.

National League Central:

The Cubs.

They won the world series, lost Chapman, but they are still good. I think they win about 95 and that's good enough for the title here.

National League West:

When the Yankees have the highest payroll that's all Yankees fans ever hear about. The Dodgers actually lead the league in dollars spent - by a lot. It should get them the West.I have Kershaw on my fantasy team this year...hope he wins 30!

I'm actually picking the Rockies to make the 2nd Wild Card. They can hit. They even added a hitter in Desmond. Pitch a little and they make it.

National League Champions:     The Nationals

American League West:

I still like the Texas Rangers here but the Mariners and Astros will push them hard. Ah, the hell with it. I finally forgive Cano. The Houston Astros. 

American League Central:

The Indians got to Game 7 of the World Series - hard to get back. I also think they got a few career years last year. I think they lose Miller during the course of the year - his elbow is a time-bomb. So. I'm going with the Tigers to win the division, but the Indians squeak the Wild Card.

American League East:

The Suck Sucks traded for Chris Sale. He's good. He's also 145 pounds and 6'2" - I don't know how he doesn't throw his arm out of the socket on every pitch. They also have David Price and he's already hurting and the Yankees cuff him around the yard every time.

I don't think it will automatically go to the Suck Sux, but on paper it should.

The Yankees, Jays and O's will battle as they do every year. All good teams. None of them are great again. Who do you think I'm leaning towards for the 2nd Wild Card?

Yup.

The 27-Time World Champion New York Yankees will play the Indians in the Wild Card Game.

They'll beat them too.

American League Champions:

Detroit Tigers

World Series Champions:

Detroit Tigers

Their owner spent a couple of billion dollars to win a World Series before he died.

He died a couple of months ago.

Life is never fair.

Because now they're going to win it.

Just have a feeling.








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