Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Twenty Years

I didn't have a lot of relationships prior to marriage that lasted much longer than twenty days.

So, to be sitting here twenty years into wedded bliss is pretty amazing.

And 20 is a nice round number that makes you think back.

We were married in right field at the North Collins Town Park. When lifetime friend, the Honorable Ward Weiser, said:

"Have you come here freely, and soberly."

All the guys in my wedding party laughed.

And what a wedding party it was...

...I had a whole bunch of best men.

Then the party started...

...and it rained harder than I've ever seen it rain.

It rained for hours and hours and the reception turned into a Springsteen-filled frat party.

And there was sunshine.

Three kids and two dogs made the years fly by fast.

The great times took us to the highest of peaks...

...the tragedies took us down to the valley floor.

And that's the thing about a long relationship.

It's not easy.

It isn't for the feint of heart.

Day in and day out.

Being pissed off, but always finding a way back to the moment when you stood there and said "I do."

Back when I was dating and the poor girls couldn't run away fast enough because I didn't want to put in any effort, I often wondered if I would ever be married.

When Jake got sick early on and we battled through it, together...

...the most horrible of circumstances...

I understood that the partnership was solid.

As we stood before Ward that day I turned to Kathy and said:

"Twenty and out. Like a prison term."

She laughed.

Our 4th, five-year-deal is up.

A good friend of mine sent me a text to say 'Happy Anniversary."

He wrote:

"You're one of the only other couples we know who appear to still like each other."

We do.

(Most of the time).

Guess I'm re-upping and my beautiful wife appears to be pretty comfortable too.

So.

Another 5-year deal is on the horizon.

Happy Anniversary to my beautiful wife.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jared, Jared, Jared

What's the spin this time?

That's what I was most concerned with once I heard that Agent 🍊 and his son-in-law were back in the news for Russia 🇷🇺 problems.

This has certainly dogged the administration since day one and it appears that it is getting worse, not better.

It depends on how you want to interpret the news, but it appears that the news is going to continue to be leaked because there are a whole bunch of enemies of the chaos.

There's a moment, each time, when I think:

"This is big! Sooner or later someone is going to have to explain it."

But there is no explanation forthcoming.

There's silence, and then there is a fight back.

And the explanation is usually tough to fathom.

Sunday morning brought some of the spin via the Orange 🍊 dude's twitter.

"Fake news!"

"Leaks!!"

Some of the talking heads who crucified the Democratic candidate for looking at her email at home are now saying:

"Having a back channel to Russia isn't necessarily a bad thing."

Really?

Hmmmm...

Then the best of all spins:

"Jared wanted privacy because he was tying to get the Russia-Syria problem solved."

A private citizen...

...working back channels...

...lying about every single meeting he ever had...

...was doing it all for the good of mankind???

👌

I've been saying it since the election...

...it can't be sustained.

Americans don't want to live their lives on edge, all the time, every single day.

I don't know where it goes or how it all gets cleaned up, but the excuses have to get a little more palatable.

Or there really will be big trouble.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

I've always loved this weekend.

When I was a kid there were barbecues each day and it was officially when the garden got planted.

A lot of work, ton of family time, plenty of beer, and three days off.

As a youngster we always went to the parade, and men from town, who we knew as friends of Mom and Dad were in uniform, saluting, marching.

They looked really serious.

Of course, as you age, you learn more about the sacrifices of those who went to war. Even those who came home were changed forever.

What strikes me about Memorial Day these days is that I understand that I didn't serve...

...never even considered doing that...

...and I feel a little guilty, honestly.

I sympathize with the men and women who were killed in wars that were a tad misguided.

But the kids who died in those wars weren't to blame for the decisions that were made to get them there.

I know one other thing to be certain:

If some of these people worked for another government in an effort to line their own pockets, they disgraced the memory of all who died for our freedom.

Let that sink in when you choose to excuse the already established proof or cooperation with Russia.

And so, on Memorial Day I feel indebted to those who gave their lives.

We are all enjoying the day off, to be sure, but a little of the time must be spent in admiration of what is most certainly bravery.

I couldn't imagine any of it, for me or my children.

Going off to war to fight for the freedoms we all enjoy...

...sad to say:

I wouldn't have been very good at all.

And what pains me even more?

The people who return are not actually treated very well.

They suffer.

They struggle to make ends meet.

They kill themselves.

And no matter how many patriotic songs we play, or how many times (when running for office) our politicians say:

"Nobody loves the vets more than me."

It's time to stand up for them.

And not vote to NOT help them.

They stood up for us...

...didn't they?

It seems that it's the least that those of us who didn't have the stomach for it can do.

I wish...that it was all different, but that's what the day is all about.

Remembering.

Appreciating.

And hoping and praying that the suffering ends.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

What's Up With Dreams?

Did you ever wake up from a dream and think:

"What the hell was that?"

It happened to me the other night.

I'm talking waking in the middle of the night, (because I had to pee) I rarely make it through a whole night without getting up once.

And I instantly gathered the facts of the dream that I had seemingly just finished.

I was on a construction site.

(No big stretch).

There were two pretty girls from high school there.

(I haven't seen either of these girls this century).

They were making fun of me.

(Like they did in high school).

We were all getting ready to leave the job, but we had to wait for one other guy.

(Apparently it was to be a double-date).

"What are we waiting for?" I called out.

"Pence," Lisa said. "He's in the shitter."

(Mike Pence emerged a moment later).

That was it!

What the hell does that mean???

I laughed as it all came back to me.

"Mike Pence? WTF?" I thought as I laid back down to 😴

My usual double-date partner back in high school was Jeffy.

Is he somehow Mike Pence in my dreams?

Why were the two pretty girls, in their 1982 forms, there with me on my construction project???

The only thing that made sense to me is that they were making fun of me...

...and, oh yeah, Pence in the shitter...

...that makes a little sense too.

Dreams are messed up!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beat the Press

I imagine that if you had asked my ten-year-old self what I wanted to be when I grew up I might have said:

Newspaper Columnist.

Perhaps that is why I write this blog every day.

As a kid I read the daily paper from cover to cover, and my favorite parts were the columns. Thankfully, we had good columnists in the Courier-Express and the Buffalo News.

10-year old Clifford would've mentioned that news reporters were cool.

Clark Kent was a reporter...

...what more proof do you need???

So, you might guess that I'm not enamored with the all-out attack on the crooked media, or lying media, or fake media, or stupid media, or liberal media...

...or whatever else you want to call it.

The name-calling crap seems awfully juvenile to me anyway, and I know that it seems horribly slanted when the news about you isn't good.

Yet, the press or media or news people are extremely important to the fabric of our nation.

That's why we can't have politicians trashing them, constantly, mentally or physically.

A Montana politician body-slammed a reporter the other day for asking a question about healthcare. The politician hated the question, so he physically man-handled the reporter.

It's too bad it wasn't Clark Kent.

I've been on both sides of the media game. I've read, watched and took in every possible medium, and I've also been on television (the camera adds ten pounds) and in the newspaper.

It is a lot weirder than people think, and the talent is odd. They certainly enjoy the attention they get.

But all in all, the experiences were great.

That's the thing.

The same people attacking the media are also people who use them.

Trump used to use a fake name as his own publicist. He knows the game. He also understands that if the story is bad...

...he best get out in front of it and destroy the person telling it.

Which is horrible.

Lois Lane would be pissed!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Overdose

It's happening all over the country, right?

Young adults dying on the streets because of heroin.

One after another.

A couple of weeks ago a kid was found in one of the port-a-lavs on a local job site. The man who was tasked to clean the toilets found the kid.

Lifeless.

He shot himself up at work and it killed him.

The next day, on another site, syringes were found in another portable toilets. Luckily that shoot-up went a little better, I guess.

But it shook me a lot.

It's one thing to read about it...

...when it's that close.

Damn!

As per usual the news of the day was debated back and forth on the sites throughout the region.

"We used to drink beer," one guy said.

"On Saturday night," another guy added.

"I don't much get this."

Nobody does, but it comes down to the fact that it's readily available and cheap. What's more, it's not at all like beer.

It needs to be sustained.

So the needles are being found on the construction sites, in the schools, and in every other area.

Big trouble!

"Beer wasn't life threatening," the first guy said.

Other than the drunk driving of people back in the day he's probably right, but I don't have any answers.

Lives over before they get started.

In the worst of all places.

Just horrible.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Getting There

"Your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold. Sometimes I feel so weak I just wanna' explode."

Not one of Bruce's most optimistic of lines, but I think of it now and again when I get a little fatigued.

I have a job that calls for action...

...lots of phone calls and plenty of places to visit. I joke with co-workers saying that when the phone rings, and you're a safety guy it's usually not someone saying:

"We're doing great over here!"

Nah, it's usually an emergency, and the fact that there are so many different things to look at and think about, makes it eternally interesting.

I couldn't imagine sitting in a cubicle.

But I also know when I need a mental health day.

A round of golf?

It hasn't happened yet.

Back-to-back days of nothing?

Well, there's good news!

A holiday weekend coming up.

Our wedding anniversary too.

Twenty years.

Who'da' thunk?

So, I always wonder about the guy that Bruce was singing about in that song.

The next line is:

"Explode and tear this whole town apart, take a knife and cut this pain from my heart."

Really down!

But there's good news...

...it's from The Promised Land...

A song of eternal hope!

Just a couple of more work days.

We'll all get there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sitting Ducks

On Monday afternoon news broke of multiple fatalities at a Ariana Grande concert in Manchester U.K.

My heart sank, of course.

It's a horribly dangerous world.

I must admit that I've thought about it before.

Back in the 1990's I went to the Bills playoff game at the stadium. This was during the first Iraq war. We all had to go through metal detectors for the first time.

It was hard to believe, actually...

...and was wildly inconvenient because we'd never had to do that before.

Now, of course, there are metal detectors everywhere. You can't get into a courthouse or Federal building without placing all your belongings into a bowl and stepping through metal detectors.

At the airports we all have to remove our shoes because of that one goofy shoe bomber. You can't even bring a freaking razor or more than 3 ounces of deodorant.

We can never be too safe, right?

When I went to the Kansas City-Yankees game last week I was at the entrance 15 minutes before first pitch. We were all gathered in one spot...

...hundreds and hundreds of us.

...sitting ducks.

It entered my mind.

I got to the front of the line. Everything out of my pockets, stepped through the turnstiles and received a quick frisk.

Used to it now.

It's no longer shocking to be evaluated, and that's probably a good thing.

And yet, it happens.

Large groups of people are sitting ducks now because there are small groups of terrorists killing people in the name of religion?

Tell me how that makes any freaking sense!!!

We live in a different world now, and I'm pretty sure it won't ever go back to the way it once was.

Thoughts and prayers appears to be all that we have left.

Those poor people.

Out to have a good time.

Murdered.

Sitting ducks.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Madoff Movie

We caught the HBO movie with DeNiro playing the part of Bernie Madoff.

First off, the acting was great. I had recently seen the Comedian with DeNiro and as I was watching Madoff I kept trying to sync both performances. He's such a great actor. Michelle Pfeiffer as Ruth was stunning as well.

I felt a little torn as the movie humanized Madoff a little bit. Even one second of feeling bad for him was way too much!

He stole billions of dollars from people.

Hard-working, honest people.

It appeared that he justified it in his own mind as having preyed on the greedy, which he most certainly did, but he also wiped out pension funds, life-savings, and people in his own family.

He obliterated existences and he did it without conscience.

He didn't even know why he was doing it after a while. It was a game of poker and he truly didn't even ante up with his own money.

Sociopath!

And every time one of these scandals hits...

...it infuriates me.

The robber barons who caused the bank collapse were never punished.

The multi-millionaires pulling down 8-figure bonuses think they deserve it...

...and they go home and watch their wide-screen televisions, consider the working poor as dregs on our society...

...and never look back.

I suppose that Madoff and guys like him (and while his robbery was unique, there are plenty like him) aren't the ones who bother me the most!!

Nope.

I'm more bothered by the people who think that guys who steal for a living while wearing fancy suits are somehow entitled to do so.

While men who work two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads, and get assistance to help pay the light bill, are somehow pathetic.

I don't much care for people who look down their noses at those people.

And here's the rub:

We are all a lot closer to that second group than the first.

Yet it's funny, but people who have a tiny bit of the American dream are prone to look down upon those who are struggling.

They generalize:

"Get a better job!"

They patronize:

"Do without your phone!"

And they fail to look sideways at the millions walking out the door, carried to summer homes by the very wealthy

"Get rid of Obamacare!"

So we can give a tax cut to the rich????

Makes no sense.

You wonder how Madoff was able to pull it off for so long?

Yeah, our system allowed for him to pillage the poor.

And we're working hard to strip the regulations so another guy just like him can do it again...

...and blame the money problems on the people who don't have any.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Chris Cornell

I didn't know too much about the rock group Soundgarden.

They were a little after college for me, so while I heard some of their songs...

...they weren't on my music list.

I did hear their lead singer speak a few times, though, and he actually played live on one of the radio shows.

Talented guy with a distinctive voice. I even thought about investigating their greatest hits, but never did.

Soundgarden was still playing live.

They played the other night in Detroit, and after the show Chris Cornell, the lead singer and face of the band, called home, spoke to his wife (he was slurring his words), and then he hung himself in his hotel bathroom.

It caught my attention.

First off, he was 52 (same as me) and the human moment of his phone call home really bothered me. He had three children. His wife said that he kept saying "I'm so tired."

She sent someone to check on him and they found him too late.

Damn.

He was successful in his field. He had a family and was beloved.

Why?

There are stories floating about his meds causing him problems...

...depression and suicidal thoughts...

You hear that trumpeted in the disclaimers about this medication or that.

Shame.

May he get some rest.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Blurting Stuff Out

I know how Donald feels.

Evidently, his mouth got him into a bit of trouble when he was showing the Russians around his new office.

He mentioned 'nutjob' and firing the guy who was investigating him because he was feeling pressure.

I don't think the pressure is off now.

And I think of Ralph Kramden saying:

"Me and my big mouth."

Been there!

Plenty of times!!

I think that my very worst example of this surrounds the death of a friend of mine back about twenty-five years ago.

Ron was a decent guy who had a lot of bad luck. Whenever he missed a day of work I would have to sit in for him.

It happened quite a bit, but he was a relatively young man and he always bounced back. We busted each other's chops quite a bit so when he called me one Friday, after missing three days of work, I said:

"Are you coming back to work? We have a pool going on what day you're going to buy it."

He laughed.

"And what is gonna' take you out."

"I feel better," he said. "But I'm thinking it'll be my heart and a few days ago I thought it might be relatively soon."

"Oh good!" I said. "That's what I have."

Ron laughed.

It was my last conversation with him.

He died the next day.

Three days later I was pretty shook up. I went to his wake, and stepped up in front of his grieving family.

"I'm Cliff. I worked with Ron. I'm so sorry," I said.

"Are you the guy who started the pool?" Ron's wife asked.

That was the exact moment when I knew exactly what Trump felt like when he learned that his Comey comment was out in the public.

I wanted to crawl in with Ron!!

"Well," his wife said. "Rest assured that Ron thought that was funny as hell. He was telling everyone on Friday. He really enjoyed working with you."

I felt badly about my dopey remark for a lot of years...

...Donnie might too.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Twenty Years

Ran into a guy who I met twenty years ago.

Weird to imagine that so much time has passed, and the twenty year anniversary of things is hitting me hard because 1997 happens to be the year I was married, and became a Dad, and moved into my current home...

...and a lot of other things.

And it's weird when you think back to those days.

I was 32.

I felt good!!

"Imagine how quick it went and then imagine twenty years from now," my buddy said. "You'll be 72 in the blink of an eye."

Damn!

And I think about all the living packed into the twenty years.

Kids, dogs, four Yankee titles (on average), zero Bills playoff appearances, five presidential elections...

Laughs, tears...

...passes and fails.

A lot happens in two decades worth of time!

The milestones will be different.

The next twenty will probably be filled with weddings of our kids, grandkids, hopefully retirement...

...things slowing down.

Unless we blow the whole thing up.

Then I'm not quite so sure what comes next...

...but gotta' see what happens, right?

"I can't believe I've known your dumb ass for twenty years," my friend said. "Same stupid old jokes."

"You wouldn't change a thing," I said.

He laughed.

"That's the thing about the past," he said. "You can't stay stuck there."


Friday, May 19, 2017

"How'd the Car Work For You?"

One of the real hassles of moving around the country comes at the car rental counter.

I arrived in Iowa to a smiling, pimple-faced kid.

"We actually only have one vehicle," he said.

I thought of Seinfeld saying:

"You know how to take reservations. You don't know how to keep reservations."

"It's a Grand Caravan," he said.

(I have no idea which car is which).

"Does it have Sirius?" I asked.

"Yes!" He said.

"Fine."

The Grand Caravan is a freaking mini-van. I threw my crap in it and drove to the hotel. In the morning I made a discovery:

The Sirius radio didn't work.

I called the rental counter. I'm not real good at talking to customer service but I got it done without any F-bombs. They sent a new signal.

"Give it 15 minutes," he said.

An hour later, I called back. Again I tried to stay in control. They sent the signal again. No go. I called again. I wasn't thrilled about a 4-hour drive through Iowa, flipping channels between soybean and 🌽 talk.

"We can trade it out, just swing by the airport."

It would cost me a half an hour, but it would be worth it.

"You called about the radio, right?"

"Yes," I said, happy that he remembered. Hopefully this would go smoothly.

"Well, one problem. We don't have a car available right now. We should have one in 15-20 minutes. How's your trip going so far?"

He was smiling.

"How's my trip going so far? Dude," I said. "I didn't fly halfway across the country to shoot the shit and play let's rent a shitty car for two hours with you."

His smile faded and he ducked into the back room.

"Hi!" A young woman said. "I hear we are having some problems!"

Her smile was nauseating.

"WE ARE HAVING BIG-ASS PROBLEMS!"

There was an old man hanging by the counter. He started talking very softly to me, asking me questions about my life.

I knew he was trying to distract me and get me to relax.

And it worked.

I finally settled into a piece of crap car, but at least it had Sirius.

Guess what?

It never worked!!!

I returned the car in Kansas City.

"How'd the car work for you?" The pimple-faced kid asked.

"It was absolutely horrendous," I said.

But hey, I can tell you how the 🌽 and soybean futures are looking.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Yankees 7 Royals 1

The monthly trip is a bit nutty. A lot of states, a bunch of sites, thousands of air miles and hundreds of road miles, but I saw the baseball schedule.

Of course I did!

I love ⚾️ and in April I checked the Yankees trips to Kansas City. There was just one!!

But luckily I was on schedule to make the visits when the Yankees arrived.

Sam did the work. He found the ticket online and I didn't even look at it until I got there. I was down the left field line a little. Actually a lot closer to third than the wall.

I sat beside two guys who go to every single Royals game. When I told them I was visiting from New York State you'd think I slapped them.

"Could be a 12-10 game," the guy said. "C.C. stinks."

I laughed.

C.C. didn't stink and four innings into the game the Yankees were up 5-0.

They weren't talking to me much, but I didn't care...

...I was busy.

Just relaxing.

I love being outside just watching ⚾️. It was a beautiful night with clear skies and a warm breeze blowing through. It was also nurse's night so there were a lot of young women bantering about, wearing baseball caps.

There was food, of course. Kansas City brisket doesn't suck.

And CC just kept putting up zeroes.

Yet Kansas City fans stay until the very last pitch.

One other thing got me during the game.

They always put up the photo of the guy at-bat with his stats and his important information.

It was Chase Headley who got to me.

He's considered one of the older Yankees.

He actually looks my age!

I was two years out of high school when he was born!!!

I kept staring at the 1984 as his year of birth.

I'm 20 years older than one of the old dudes!

I couldn't drink like I used to when he was born!!

What the hell happened???

Then it hit me:

My dream of playing centerfield for the Yankees is apparently over.

But I still dream when I'm there.

The two Royals guys checked out in the top of the 9th.

They didn't say goodbye.

C.C. Stinks, my ass!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Too Much

I was watching a news show as the host said:

"We have breaking news. The president is tweeting."

There was a tweet explaining why he blurted out classified information to Russia.

It was only half of a defiant tweet that said, basically, "I can do what I want and I don't care what you think."

But the newscasters were waiting.

And while we all waited ten minutes for him to finish the tweet and I thought:

"This is too much."

Every single day there's a major crisis.

Breaking news hour by hour.

Absolute incompetence.

Policy procedures are debated as lies or just flat out wrong moves.

There are threats that everyone might get fired today. We hear talks of impeachment and sealed indictments and true unease.

I made a mistake and tweeted in response to the classified information leak.

I was jumped by a whole bunch of people I don't know.

"Fake news!"

"What about Clinton?"

Too much.

I announced that I was done responding and these fellow Americans, none of whom I know...

...sent me nasty notes.

There will be more before the week is out, before another trip to another country club for another round of golf that is passed off as a working meeting.

Way too much!!

And the average everyday American is heading off to work, wondering what can happen next, or if there will be more breaking news about possible Russian influence.

Since January the collapse of the government is an itch that can't be scratched. The past breaking news can't be addressed before the next disaster hits.

Maybe the goal is chaos.

Sounds like that is Russia's goal for our way of governing.

Did they find a willing ally?

Because this is just too much.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Up Before the Dawn

It struck me at 4:15 that I was all done sleeping.

These are weird days. Been going on awhile so I'm used to it, but if I don't get a massage, my legs buzz incessantly and I can't sleep.

We blew it by not calling for a massage earlier in the week. By the time we tried, all the Moms had the appointments.

So, I was wide awake at 4:15.

Which isn't so bad.

The window was open so there was a cool breeze coming through. Melky was snoring beside me, and  before the tasks of the new day arrived in my mind I got to think about the past glories of yesterday.

The sauce was good.

Kathy had a nice Mother's Day and I spent a couple of hours with my Mom. Just me and her talking about everything. My Mother-In-Law is feeling better, and my father-in-law inhaled more pasta than me!

And we watched the Jeter ceremony and so many things rushed through my mind. When Mattingly was on the big board with his message, I choked up, thinking of the past games I watched with Dad and my brothers.

And there was a clip of Jeter hitting the walk off homerun on November 1 and they showed his Dad in the crowd. Jeter's pop simply flashed a thumbs-up to his boy, and the father-son aspect of baseball made me choke up again.

A simple thumbs-up from Dad.

My Dad was good at doing that for us, and I make sure to do the same for my kids.

The birds started chirping as I considered the tasks for the upcoming day.

Work.

Always a lot of work ahead.

We push ourselves in all sorts of directions. I often wonder about what it might feel like to slow down someday, but not today. Not this week.

More to do.

As the light of the day bursts through the window there's plenty to be thankful for.

Buzzing legs and all.

A touch.

A smile.

A big dish of pasta with people you love.

A walk-off homerun.

The singing birds.

A thumbs-up.

For two hours, I laid in bed just thinking, and thanking...

...listening to Melky snore.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Number 2

Joe Torre said it best.

"Derek wasn't the most talented player all the time, but he showed up every day, and he worked hard."

Sunday was a fun day.

I watched the Jeter Budweiser commercial a couple of times, showing it to my Mom (who cried) and my Mother-In-Law (who also cried).

Jeter's career spanned a lot of the happy times in our lives.

I got married months after the first of the five titles.

We watched every inning of every game during those years. The boys would have the game on their television. I'd have it on and Kathy would be watching it in her room.

They beat the Mets the year Sam was born. Sam counts it as a title won by his favorite teams.

The Flip (which I think is the greatest baseball play ever) happened days before Jake was operated on.

The dive into the stands happened as A-Rod, the guy getting paid a lot more and was closer to the ball, raised his hands as Jeter sped by him and smashed his face into the seats.

In 2009 I really needed a championship.

If it's the last one I ever see them win...

...I'm good.

And they did.

I put a note on Facebook on Sunday morning.

"I watched about two thousand of his games, caught at least eight thousand at-bats, and I was never mad at him."

Jeter started one season at about 2 for 30.

This was after four of the titles and we were at a game against Boston. We were seated in the 4th row right by first base.

Jeter grounded out.

There was a spattering of boos!

(Not from me).

An obviously native New Yorker turned around.

"Who the f&$@ is booing him????" The guy screamed.

"You don't boo the Captain!"

"Are you fu$&@ng kidding me?"

"It's Derek F$&@ng Jeter!!"

"Idiots!!"

So, I settled in to watch the first game of the doubleheader. My father-in-law joined me.

"It's gonna' rain out," he said.

"It's not gonna' rain," I said. "It's Jeter Day."

It stopped raining, but the Astros took a 6-4 lead.

"They lose this it'll be 4 straight," my father-in-law said.

"They aren't going to lose. It's Jeter day."

The Yankees won 11-6.

I always felt honored to watch the Yankees when Jeter was there.

It was an honor to watch him honored too.

He showed up.

Everyday.




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

My very first memory was of standing in the kitchen of my parents home, watching my mother work.

I was about four years old.

"What're you doing?" Mom asked.

"Just watching you work," I said.

"Did you know you're my buddy?" Mom asked.

I see that little, nothing, conversation play out. I see it so clearly. As a kid, surrounded by the craziness of hanging with the rest of the Fuzzy clan...

...it just stands out in my memory bank.

It's come to mean a lot to me.

Just seeing Mom bust her ass. She did that every day! Even now I'll call her and she'll say, "I'm cleaning the house."

Thankfully, my beautiful wife and my wonderful mother are now good buddies. They hit the Bingo Hall on Sunday, nearly every week, and then I put a big dish of pasta in front of her.

"It's way too much," she says, every week.

"Eat what you can and I'll make you a to-go dish."

We eat, talk, laugh a little and think about those beautiful memories.

This week, I also had the chance to see my wife as a sentimental Mom.

Sam actually put on pants and dressed up real nice for his Junior Prom. I just arrived at home as he was hustling out of the house. I mentioned a few things to him about my prom memories, but it was most certainly a Mom moment.

A half hour later Kathy sent me a few photos.

Sam wasn't smiling. He looked highly uncomfortable!

"He's adorable," Kathy noted.

I knew what she was thinking before she even said a word.

She was happy, but also a little upset.

Her baby was dressed up for the prom.

"Time went so fast," She said, a little later in the evening.

It certainly did.

Yet I know the impact of having little moments with a great Mom.

Some day, a long time away, Sam will recall some such moment, and he will realize just how fortunate he was.

Just to be around his Mom.

Happy Mother's Day!

To Mom.

To Kathy.

To all you Mothers!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Red Is Red

I was watching a cable news show the other night. The talking head kept saying: "Its simple, red is red."

And then he'd tell a blatant lie to prove his point.


Red is red and blue is blue

Day after day, they'll lie to you.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west

I'll tell you a truth or a lie

Which ever fits best.

Day after day and night after night

I'll tell you what I need for you to believe is right.

To build the charade and further my way

My lips move, but don't watch what I say.

A lie is a lie, the truth is the truth

What's red is blue, what's blue is red

We'll confuse it all inside your head.

Day after day and night after night

We'll lie to you and tell you we're right

Yet loose lips, sink ships

So there will come a day

When all the liars are forced away.

Because red is red and blue is blue

And soon America

Will be done with you.

Friday, May 12, 2017

To Do Lists

My life has always been about writing things down, organizing my thoughts, and working efficiently, juggling a whole lot of things effectively.

I usually have the week planned out, in my mind by Sunday night, and I'm a little surprised when it doesn't go down as I think it might.

I actually keep a list in my car, write down one word for each report that needs to be writtten when I get home, and then cut the paper into notes after each report is written.

This week has been hell.

Our mower broke down and so did our dryer.

And with each passing day, with tasks still on my daily to-do list...

...I was completely off my game.

Then my mother-in-law came down under the weather for a few days, and the whole routine went straight out the window.

"The chaos is killing me!" I said at one point early in the week.

My beautiful wife, on the other hand, lives with the motto:

"Why do it today if you can put it off until tomorrow."

Some clashing.

But there was a moment when we decided to try and get a couple of loads of wash done before we ordered a new machine.

We were seated on the floor at the basement duct taping...

...yeah...

...duct taping...

The bottom of the washer together.

All the lists, the routines and the feeling of fighting chaos went out the window.

I started laughing.

"This is ridiculous!"

Kathy was laughing too.

The machine was up and running.

"Tomorrow we get a mower!" She said.

I'm gonna' put 'Get Sam to mow the lawn' back on the to-do list.

I hope!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Kinda' Funny?

Comey is out.

He was fired by a guy whose team was being investigated by Comey.

Where else could you fire the guy who was looking into whether or not you should be fired?

But it gets better.

The recommendation to fire Comey was made by a man who had to recuse himself because he forgot to tell the truth about the thing that Comey was investigating.

And you know what really makes it hysterical?

The reason why Comey was fired!

It was because the guy being investigated now didn't like the way that Comey investigated his political opponent!

Trump said that he needs more 'fair and balanced' when it comes to accusations of misconduct.

That's coming from the guy who led the 'Lock her up chants!' Because of using unsecured email sources.

I can't stop laughing.

The entire thing is now playing out on droids and laptops that have zero security on them at every golf clubhouse along the East Coast.

Speaking of which, Trumper Woods has now played 23 rounds of golf since taking the job.

I've yet to play!

Haven't even hit the range!!

I had to laugh though, as this past weekend, the tweet arrived early. He said that he was staying at his New Jersey resort because he had a lot of big meetings, and it was less expensive for him to head there instead of New York (where his wife is hiding).

Two hours later he was in a sand trap.

Ever notice that he's always swinging out of the rough or from a trap?

"Is he a good golfer?" One celebrity who played with him was asked.

"He writes down a good score," the guy said.

That's funny.

He would never lie...

...obviously!

I remember my parents talking about watergate.

Something tells me that my kids are going to remember us talking about this.

It needs a catchy name though.

How about Pee-Pee Gate?

(There's smoke about it all being a coverup to hide a tape of golden showers).

Not kidding.

Told you that it's 😂

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Break Down Dead Ahead

Saw a photo of Brad Pitt somewhere.

"He's getting old," I thought.

Hey, even guys know that Brad Pitt is pretty, but his eyes looked drawn, there was grey...wrinkles.

And life is weird because in your head you always feel the same. When you see a guy miss an open jump shot while playing basketball you say:

"I could've hit that! He was wide open!!"

"It was an NBA three," Sam reminded me. "You would've only got it halfway there."

Church is a great place to see all the stages of life. I really enjoy the community of it all and Sunday, during what was a First Communion Mass I saw children, married couples with kids, the middle-aged, and, of course, some members of the older generation.

There's an older gentleman who sits in the row directly behind me. He sings in a deep baritone, but sings softly enough...his wife beside him singing as well, and I imagine all that they've seen. They've probably been married for 50 years...

...and they've seen it all. They've been through all the breakdowns that life offers and they come out on the other side...

...singing.

And there is always a crying baby somewhere.

I watched an anxious 30-something Dad, bouncing the kid on his hip, bending to pick up a toy, shooting an annoyed look at Mom, and finally smiling when the kid quieted.

Those days are behind me as well, but they were well lived days.

One of the kids did the second reading.

A loud, confident kid, letting the world know that "God is righteous!"

Everyone snickered when she punched the last word.

Somewhere there were proud parents out there.

So, Brad Pitt looks a little older.

I feel quite a bit older...

...and we all start the breakdown the minute after we take our first gulp of air.

Nothing wrong with breaking down.

As long as you fit the living in.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Frat Life

Over the weekend I had the extreme misfortune of reading about the death of Timothy Piazza, a Penn State student who fell down a flight of stairs after drinking way too much at a frat event.

Although badly injured his "brothers" did supposedly nothing to help, instead allegedly doing their best to cover up the fall and the extreme discomfort of the dying boy.

A horrendous story.

One that is repeated all over other campuses.

I pledged a frat back in 1984.

I never became a frat brother.

They wanted me to, but I flat-out quit after one of the guys who was to be a "brother" spit tobacco chew in my face because I didn't know his hometown.

It was actually a heroic effort on my part.

The new pledges - I think there were six of us - were called to a lineup where we were to answers questions about the members of the frat.

We were supposed to know everything about every brother including hometowns, mother's names, pet names...

...just everything.

The lineup started and was going well until a guy walked in the room wearing a coat that belonged to every member.

I never saw the guy before in my life. He walked straight to me.

"What's my name?" He shouted in my face.

I glanced at the jacket where his name was written out.

"Tom," I said.

"Tom what?" He screamed.

"Tom Petty?" I asked.

He spit in my face.

Now I knew that swinging at him would not end well, but I took a deep breath, turned away, walked up the stairs and out of the house. I was about a week away from being accepted as a full member.

I wasn't chased, but the president of the frat (a really good guy) caught up with me.

"Come on back," he said. "We really want you to join."

"Done!" I said.

The president followed me back to the dorm. We talked for awhile, but I explained to him that I could not understand why I would do such a thing. I didn't want to ever be friends with a guy who might do such a thing. I didn't need such bullshit.

I never went back either.

I heard horror stories about hell night. I saw guys so intoxicated that I worried for their health...and I was no choir boy...

...but I knew when something was horribly wrong or simply stupid.

A lot of kids don't.

Timothy Piazza should've been saved.

What a waste.

All for bullshit.

Monday, May 8, 2017

It Just Keeps Raining

A week ago Sunday I watched the boys get up rather casually.

"You better get the lawn mowed," I said. "They're calling for a lot of rain this week."

"Relax," I was told. "We'll get 'er done."

Around mid-day I was a tad annoyed and casually voiced my dismay.

"Fine!" Sam yelled out. "I'm gonna' do it."

Minutes later we heard the mower going.

A little while after that I said:

"Is that ☔️?"

"That's a lot of rain," Kathy answered.

Sam came running in...he was soaked to the bone.

"Not good," he said. "I mowed HALF of the front yard. It looks ridiculous."

It rained all day Monday and Tuesday.

On Wednesday there was a small window to get the rest of the front yard mowed and Sam did it, but halfway through the backyard...

Rain ☔️ ☔️ ☔️

Then the mower broke.

I met poor, soaked Sam in the backyard.

"Now what?"

"The hell with it," I said.

It's supposed to snow a little tomorrow.

The yard looks absolutely ridiculous.

"They are saying that it's gonna' be like this for a couple more weeks," Kathy annnounced.

Terrific.

We're only about 90 days away from the weather turning to 💩 as fall threatens.

Let it ☔️

The hell with it.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Beer In the Rose Garden

So, much to the dismay of about 24 million Americans the healthcare debate has raged on...

...and actually resulted in a bill getting through the house.

"I'll be honest, Wolf, I didn't read it," said a rep from New York.

Yeah, that damn reading is hard!

Why would you read it if you're on that side of the aisle?

It gets rid of Obama's name...

...all they need to know!

And the reporting states that it's just a huge tax cut for the rich, at the expense of the poor.

Which is good too...

...for some, I suppose.

Those who are for the bill say that the "fake news" is spreading rumors and that the bill might be good for all.

Guess we'll know for sure if they read it.

Yet the most tone-deaf of all things that transpired was the beer party in the rose garden to celebrate the passage of a bill that they didn't read that might actually result in the deaths of people who won't be able to participate in trying to save their own lives.

"Paul Ryan is giddy," one report read.

So, they gathered to toast their accomplishment as doctors, hospitals and insurers started to pass judgement on all of it.

"Disaster!"

I can imagine the giddy lawmakers chugging the beer and clanking their bottles.

"Can't afford healthcare..

...you deserve what you get!"

What's the opposite of giddy?

Ashamed?

Cause that's where I'm at...

...even admitting that I haven't read it yet.

Millions of people are scared and threatened?

Yeah.

No beer for me.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Godzilla

The Yankees have been a whole lot of fun this year.

"I'm excited to see the kids play," Pops said, before the season started, and that's what it was all about.

The changing of the guard.

And make no mistake about it, it will never be quite as fun as it was back in 1977 & 1978 or 1996 through about 2004.

I was a kid in 1977. I was excited to watch with my brothers, sisters and my parents.

The Mattingly Era was fun, but they just couldn't get over the hump, but there were some good teams then.

1996-2001 was Yankees heaven, of course, and when they won it all in 1996, they were the underdogs with young guys.

And then people started talking about Hideki Matsui as the next Yankees great.

Godzilla...

...we were told.

Godzilla wasn't the monster everyone thought.

He was a good player (despite what my brother Jeff said "Matsui is a c&$@s$&k$&").

Jeff was just expecting a 50-homer, gigantic hitter of absolute bombs.

Well, there is a Godzilla on the team now.

Have you seen Aaron Judge punish a ball??

He's 6'8" tall and weighs 280 pounds.

I saw him from about 15' away as he stood in them on-deck circle in Kansas City last season.

He struck out a few times that night and I thought:

"He's not going to make it. Too big. Too much of a strike zone. Too loopy of a swing."

I know that Judge would be Jeff's absolute favorite.

He's a masher!!

He's what Godzilla looks like in a baseball uniform.

Yet, on Tuesday night (after already homering once) I watched him battle a pitcher to a full count.

"He can't hit another one," I thought, but I couldn't look away.

He blasted it about 400' and before the ball landed...

...I started feeling a little concerned.

Because baseball will eventually get the kid...

...he will regress.

The game isn't this easy.

There will be a prolonged slump and people will be asking "what's wrong with Judge?"

It's gotta' happen, right?

But in the meantime, Godzilla is here and it won't ever be as fun as it once was...

...but make no mistake...

It's still a little fun!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Obie Dziedzic - #1 Fan

At every single Bruce Springsteen concert since the early 1970's two tickets, front row center have been set aside for Bruce's number one fan, Obie Dziedzic.

She passed away early this week.

Yet, the story is incredibly touching.

Bruce wasn't a star when he met Obie. He was a struggling musician. Just 18 years old, living here and there, playing anywhere...

...for enough money to eat, sleep and find the next gig.

It was love at first sight for Obie. She knew that he'd be a star.

So she became his friend.

Fed him, sewed his clothes, went to the drive-in movies with him.

And Bruce never forgot it.

Not when he hit it rich and made the big time.

He always left those tickets.

She wasn't always there, obviously, but when she did attend she would play a little game, wondering when Bruce would notice that she was in the crowd.

He would glance to those seats before playing the first note, smile and point if she was there.

If Obie couldn't make it, those two seats would be taken to the street and handed to fans who couldn't get in that night.

Obie was happy about that...

...she was thrilled for those who got to see Bruce from her seats.

She attended her last concert in September of 2016 in Boston.

After the show she said the same thing that all the Bruce fans always say immediately following one of his shows:

"That was his best one yet."

RIP to Obie.

The number one fan....

...I've seen Bruce 32 times.

She attended hundreds and hundreds of shows.

During Devils & Dust, from the stage, Bruce saw that Obie was there. He told the story about how she helped him pick the ending for 'Racing in the Street'.

He thanked her and said "I love you, Obie, very much."

Obie didn't do interviews because she said she never wanted to say something that might hurt Bruce.

What a great story.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Racial Taunts, Andrew Jackson & Jimmy Kimmel

Fenway Park fans taunted Adam Jones, a black outfielder, with the Baltimore Orioles.

They threw peanuts at him.

Screamed horrible things.

It's 2017, are you kidding me???

Of course, some of these problems were supposed to be solved by the civil war. A war that appeared to your president to have not been necessary. He could've avoided the war that abolished slavery.

After all, Andrew Jackson, his hero (who was a great guy) was against the civil war ever even happening...

...despite the fact that he DIED 16 years before it happened.

I guess American History wasn't part of the Trump University offerings.

Could be an honest mistake, I guess.

I mean why should a president need to know such a tough-to-look-up-thing-that's-easily-solved-by-reading-something!

Anything!!

What a national embarrassment.

And there is another vote coming on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act although the new bill being pushed hasn't been figured out yet.

Jimmy Kimmel did a very heartfelt testimony about the need to keep healthcare intact, somewhat, for children who will be left out in the cold by a plan that kicks poor people to the curb.

It was quickly dismissed by some on the other side of the aisle who said:

"Why should I pay for someone else's care?"

I don't get it!

Are we that sickened by people who can't even afford to live?

Why is it okay for someone to be paid $17,000 an hour...

...but it's disgusting to pay a living wage for a denigrating job.

The class warfare is disgusting.

There aren't just a few people that need help...

...they don't want handouts.

They are working...

...but the math doesn't work!

Healthcare costs are out of reach. College costs are out of reach. The American dream is a nightmare.

Enough of the rant.

I'm going to read a history book.

There's a lot I need to learn about that soothsayer, Andrew Jackson.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A Little Too Close

What an amazing medical world that we live in.

That's the thing we forget when we argue back and forth about who deserves what in terms of healthcare. We all certainly want 2017 healthcare...

...and 1960 prices.

Not debating anything!!! I know big pharma has sucked the eyeballs out of the common man, but...

...when it all works out, it's good.

I was struggling with the groin and hip again and I was going through my day a few weeks ago when I thought about a procedure from last year.

I made a call.

It would take a few weeks to get me in, but I'd find relief eventually. It would just take a few needles to the groin. Wish I could say it sounds worse than it is.

The doc used ultrasound to find the heavy inflammation in the tendon and she marked the area with a pen. It was dangerously close to the most private of all areas.

We talked about the rain

"Gotta numb it up good. It's in a tough spot."

"Here comes the needle."

The numbing shot hurt...

...and then the weirdness started.

We all know what Novocain feels like after the dentist chair.

Think of that numbness all the way up and down your leg and, uh, umm, elsewhere.

Moments later I sat for a minute to get a clear head and then I stood, and almost tipped over.

"Stay off of it today," Doc said. "I hope it allows you to golf this year."

I took a step.

So weird!

"Are you okay? Stay off!"

"Doesn't feel like I have a choice!"

I laid in bed with the two dogs and we watched Law & Order and worked with the laptop.

12 hours later I walked with just minor discomfort.

2017 healthcare.

50 years ago I would've been in a wheelchair.

Gotta' look at the bright spot, huh...

...when they're putting needles in your groin.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

13 Reasons Why

So, my beautiful wife found another Netflix series to watch.

It's right up her alley...

...high school kids with all of their angst.

She loves those types of shows.

Me?

Not so much.

But I meandered it and caught a few minutes of the dialogue. I had read the book about a year ago.

The book was interesting, but not great. A student kills herself and leaves behind audio tapes of the reason why. The other students have to deal with the guilt.

I hadn't heard much about the book when it was out.

But the Netflix series is getting a lot of press.

People are upset that it has seemed to glamorize suicide. There are folks protesting it because they're afraid that it will give kids ideas.

Suicide has been a weird spot for me. Like millions of others I knew someone who killed himself. A good guy too. He always seemed happy. He had a lot to live for, a couple of kids and a wife.

He also suffered from chronic, extreme back pain.

At 45 years old, he had enough.

For years after he shot himself I struggled to understand why, but I never solved the mystery. In fact, I think of him now and again and I wonder:

Could I have helped?

Could anyone have helped him, or was he doomed to such a fate?

I can see why the show is doing well, but I said what has always been said.

"The book was better."

The entire suicide question will always be a difficult subject to address.

That's also why it's so sad, because the people who loved the victim...

...even the people on the periphery...

...feel guilty.

And it can't truly be handled unless the person actually seeks out help.

I miss my old friend.

I wonder what his life could've been.

A permanent solution to temporary problems.

Hopefully the series doesn't glamorize it...

...because nothing glamorous about it.

Monday, May 1, 2017

🤢 Nasty 🤢

Melky had a rough Saturday.

Seems that the garbage was overflowing a bit on Saturday morning, but I had a early talk to give so I had to take off.

Melky got to the garbage before the boys did, and they would've gotten away with it too if it wasn't for the nasty odor rising from the spot above Melky as we tried to watch a movie.

We were working with spray, candles and hourly trips outside, but it wasn't going very well.

Melky's digestion was way off!

So...

Saturday night sleeping was:

Awake at 1:00, 4:00, 5:30 and finally out of bed around 07:30.

Rough!

"Why does a dog just eat as much as they possibly can?" Jake asked. "If there were three bags of garbage there she would've eaten all three."

I imagine.

Sometimes we do what we shouldn't be doing just because it seems like fun at the time. Melky wasn't real worried about why she was going to smell like later as she worked her way through everything.

Sunday was a little better.

The cloud dissipated from the middle of the living room.

Back on regular eating habits before the end of the night.

I'm thinking I won't have to say much about the garbage being emptied on a routine basis.

Everyone suffered.

The Week In Review

1). Geez, raise your hand if you haven't sexually assaulted someone. What kills me about it is: It's fine if the guy is R/D or i...