Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Letter to March

Usually I wait until the month has finished and try to be a little retrospective. To be honest, I was going to blog about health care reform and then thought to myself. Nobody cares. Everyone wants to know what you did this month. They can't wait. All four of them are waiting with baited breath.

Well March was absolutely crazy in many ways. I worked about 90 hours the whole month. Bad weather, bad economy, bad habits all played a huge role in my inactivity in making money. That being said, it also featured a month where I spent money like a madman. Mostly on beverages. I can't in recent memory, remember a month where I ate less and drank more. I'm not proud, but it's my fucking blog and I need to vent. The beginning of the month I went out more than a few nights out of sheer boredom. Then St. Paddy's day hit and that night started a two week bender the likes of which not too many people have seen. This is the second day in the last fourteen I have not had a drink. The first four days of the March Madness (and Paddy's) saw me spend approximately fifty-five hours inside of different bars. That number is staggering, but even worse when you figure one of those five days I was only out for a little under two hours. Not all of this was spent drinking. In between sips, there were some good conversations, some good food and some great dancing. OK, well drunken dancing is always good dancing.

March let me reunite with a friend who I haven't seen in twelve years. The two of us and a friend of hers met up in the city, had drinks, and actually ran into friends of mine from Westchester. We all ended up hanging out together and had a great time. Some great games took place (UNI Fight!) and while I saw my brackets crumble, I still had a great time. The night didn't end there. I ended up hanging out til the wee hours, saw another friend I hadn't seen in a bit and it was good to see her too, although maybe not in her mind, but as I've discussed before, I don't get women. Never have, never will.

March also saw the opening of a friend's restaurant, The Quarry, which in reality was a more of a move than an opening. All signs seem to point to it being a great move. The place is buzzing, the food is still great, if not better and the nightlife is ten times more active and lively. I wish him all the luck in the world. He's got great people there and I know he'll do well. I just hope he let's me sample the fresh crab cakes when he makes them again! If you haven't been to the new place in Tuckahoe, you definitely should.

If there is one complaint I've had with March it's the lack of work. Nobody is really to blame. The weather was either dismal or too nice to get the phones ringing. The economy and the health care bill seems to have everyone scared to spend a cent, even though the reality is, unless you are selling or buying a house, nothing has really changed in four years. Hopefully April showers will shower me with some cash. I'm not greedy, I just want to be able to work five days a week and get some money in the bank.

March you have been one of mixed emotions and whiskey. Paddy's made a triumphant return to the states, and I've probably drank about three bottles since it has. Coors Light has lost the snow caps on it's Rocky Mountains, because I've drank them away. Stolichnaya gave me shares of stock.

March also saw me start trying to cure my insomnia. No, not with alcohol, but with melatonin. While I have read it's rare, of course this writer has developed the odd side effect of horrible, vivid nightmares. The odd thing is that I truly look forward to them. In an odd way it's my little movie. I've turned into a werewolf and fought other werewolves? I've had my sexual partner dragged away by a serpent. I've high-fived someone and crushed my hand against a wall (literally). I've been bitten by bugs, snakes, animals, you name it. Oddly, I love it. I know it's a dream, at times it scares me, but it's fun. Somewhat like a roller coaster for your mind.

March also left me with one glaring question. Who would steal a picture of me wearing a tiara from Piper's Kilt? Seriously, what person looks at that picture, taped to the wall and says "I need to have that?" I want to meet that person. Something tells me they might just be a little more fucked in the head than I am.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taking Your Kids Out To Eat!

Let me state that for the record, that I am not a parent. I was however, a child at one time. In the past few weeks I've spent a lot of time out watching the disintegration of parenting as we know it. Especially when it comes to restaurants. I remember when I was younger, my parents took me everywhere. If they went out to eat and it wasn't going to be a late night, I went with them. Sometimes I'd have a babysitter if they were going to a movie or a show, but in general, if it was strictly out to eat, I'd go with them. They would include me in conversations, as would any other diners we happened to be with and it was never a problem. I remember almost always seeing other children no matter where we went. This is not the case anymore.

I walked through a restaurant the other night and noticed about half of the twenty-five tables had children. Only one of the tables had a child that was not either watching a DVD, playing some handheld device or listening to an Ipod. This to me is quite disappointing. I relish in the memories of meals eaten out at restaurants with my parents. I remember feeling so grown up. Those moments are so special. I remember waiters playing with me. I remember them being impressed by my food knowledge and palette. I sometimes remember waking up in bed the next morning, not even remembering falling asleep in the car on the way home. The one thing I never remember was my parents needing a distraction to keep me occupied. What has changed in thirty plus years that make children so difficult to deal with?

I realize we live in a technological age, but that is not enough of an excuse. How could one generation lose sight of the importance of family time? Would that child really be unable to sit and talk? Would they not be satisfied with the sights and sounds that are going on around them? Wouldn't the anticipation of the meal itself be enough? Maybe not. I've seen what most kids eat today, I've asked them. Pizza, mac & cheese and chicken nuggets. It's all kids say when I ask them what they like to eat. Some adventurous kids will throw in a burger or some other pasta dish. The most daring will even mention sushi, but one more question always reveals they like the California rolls. I remember being so excited going out. My parents would tell me the types of things that would be on the menu and I'd salivate just thinking about dishes such as clams casino, escargot or some crazy Chinese dish with bamboo shoots. I remember loving the grandeur of places such as Gage & Tollner's (pictured) or the homey feel of tiny local joints we discovered while vacationing in Maine or Connecticut. The excitement of getting dressed and going with my parents for dinner was enough to keep me occupied.

So where did it all go wrong? Can we blame portable DVD players? Can we blame handheld games? Is it society? Is it the ever popular and over diagnosed ADHD? Or is it that we as a country have become lazy? We have become a society that clicks and walks away. We balance our checking accounts in seconds. We are addicted to the drive-thru. We have self checkout, because some people just don't have the patience to wait in line for someone to do a job. We rush everywhere. We beep when the light turns green. We push our way through doors and we don't say thank you or excuse me. We don't do any of the things our parents did. We don't do any of the things we did as children. I see and hear it all. I see people get frustrated having to wait for a table for twenty minutes, then grab the waiter by the arm because they ordered their food fifteen minutes before and it hasn't arrived. Then I see these same people leaving fifteen minutes after that. Dinner accomplished. I remember going to dinner with my parents at 7:00 and getting home at 10:30. There was no rushing. Dining out was an event. Now it is nothing more than a chore. The sad part is that when Mario crashes or the the bad guys win, our youth is watching us, listening and learning. They are having these horrible habits ingrained into them. So if we've fallen so far in one generation. What will happen to their kids? Will there even be restaurants? Or will there be a pill to make us feel we ate so we don't have to bother?

We had three rules in our house when it came to dining in. Eat what was on your plate, tell everyone about your day and no television. We had to one rule when dining out. Enjoy yourself and your company. No matter how old they might be.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Random Thoughts While I Eat Lunch

Just some things I've been thinking about lately.

If I ever get hit by a vehicle, I really hope it's an ambulance.

Have you ever stood at a corner of an intersection and heard the beeps that tell blind people when it is safe to cross? How the hell do they know which direction is safe? I can see and I can't figure it out half the time.

Despite the fact that everyone makes fun of the Jersey Shore, I still see people with that spray on tan.

If you want to know the real problem with unemployment, go to an office and ask the guy next to you covered in paint how his workday was.

Why are cereal boxes twice as big as when I was a kid, but have the same amount in them and no toy.

Has anyone ever seen a bird and a bee fucking? If you have, please tell me about it. If I ever have kids I wanna know what to say.

Why do they call it a two way mirror when regardless of which side you're on, you can only see one way?

Have you ever listened to rock stations on the radio? Apparently between 1965 and 1980 there were only 15 songs.

I love when people complain about the cost of coffee. I bought a lb of coffee and it makes approximately 90 cups. The way I make it, it makes about 50. At $2.99 lb it costs me 6 cents a cup. Screw you Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks!

Finally, when was the last time you saw kids playing ball in the street or in a playground? And we're worried about health care now?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Greatest Movie Line Ever

We've all heard Rhett Butler's famous line of "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" from Gone With the Wind or The Terminators famous, "I'll be back." These are lines that we all remember. They have become part of pop culture. Many times they are humorous and become jargon we use frequently. I'm not talking about those lines. I'm talking about the lines you hear while watching a movie and instantly you want to meet the guy who wrote them and shake hands with brilliance. I also believe that a line taken in context or the action that comes before it or after it can be just as powerful. In Oldboy, when Dae-Su says "I want to eat something alive," then eats a baby octopus and tears it apart with his teeth and hands, while the tentacles grab onto part of his face. These are the things that resonate in your mind, years after seeing a movie.

I've heard many lines that I have loved. Many have touched my heart. Many have been last lines of movies. Some have been the main scene of the film. Some may have started the movie. We remember lines from movies, sometimes because of a mood we're in, or a state of mind. Maybe it touches us in a way others can not understand. Maybe the feeling is mutual. I remember watching Lars and the Real Girl when the therapist helping Lars speaks openly about herself and states "Sometimes I get so lonely I forget what day it is, and how to spell my name." I remember exhaling and feeling as if it was one of the most real moments ever caught on film. Here is this professional, basically telling her patient, it's OK to feel isolated. It's a line I will never forget.

Some lines are funny. The movie Clerks was filled with one liners that I personally will never forget, but one of the most memorable comes when Dante learns from his girlfriend (who said she hasn't slept with many people) that she has performed fellatio on thirty-seven different people. As she leaves he screams "Hey, try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot!" It isn't the funniest line, but the whole scene demonstrates man's insecurities and there constant fascination with their beau's past lovers. It's human nature and we all want to know, until we find out. Myself included.

I could go on forever with classic lines and funny quips, but I'm going to cut to the chase and give you my favorite line of all-time. If you would like to see the entire scene. click on the link

During a conversation between Jack Horner & Floyd Gondolli in Boogie Nights, Floyd is trying to convince Jack to go to videotape. Jack is very against this and while he starts to get heated Floyd stops him and during his explanation he releases this gem "I like simple pleasures, like butter in my ass and lollipops in my mouth. That's just me, that's just something I enjoy. Call me crazy, call me a pervert, that's just what I like." The greatest part of this scene is that during it, a character named the Colonel can be seen laughing in the background and they left it in the movie. To me this just might be the greatest line ever uttered in a film. I have seen this movie multiple times, but this is the line that makes the movie for me. Call me crazy, call me a pervert, that's just me, that's just something I enjoy.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ten Things I'm Really Getting Fed Up With

OK, I've been writing about the real me a lot lately and I'm sure the four people who read this are thrilled with that, but it's about time I griped about some shit that has really been getting under my skin. We all love lists, so here's my current top ten list.

1. People who repeat the same stories over and over again - I like to drink. I occasionally run into someone I saw the night before in a drunken stupor and start to recant a story I already told them. They stop me and I apologize for my drunken memory loss. Why do some people feel it necessary to continue their story when you tell them. Or, what about those people who always do it. It makes me wonder if they have done anything else in their lives other than these few things. Just go out, run in traffic and then if you make it back, tell me about that.

2. Cell phone conversations in public that are too loud - I know I don't and I'm pretty sure nobody else cares about your plans for later in the evening. I even wonder if the person on the other end cares. If my friends called me to tell me what they were doing and didn't invite me, I'd ask them politely to go fuck themselves. Unless it's to some nudie bar or a date, I don't need this information. I especially don't need it when I don't know you. So go outside or talk in a low voice and ramble about your useless plans.

3. People's late excuses - listen, if you're late by five minutes, I don't care. If you're late by 20 minutes, I'm assuming there is a reason. Please, once you arrive, I don't need a twenty minute story about why you're twenty minutes late. Just tell me you're sorry and go about your day. Why do people think it's necessary to describe traffic? Where the hell do these people think I'm from?

4. Girls who wear revealing shirts but get mad when you stare at their boobs - Are they serious? I realize during a conversation it's not polite to stare, but if I'm sitting at a bar and you're sitting across from me and every time you move I'm about a centimeter away from seeing nipple, I'm gonna stare. Even if I'm in a conversation, don't give me that "my eyes are up here" because I know where they are, but they aren't hanging out like they have a life of their own and if they were I'd stare at that too!

5. Guys with sports jersey's that have their names on the back - I know in our minds we're all closet major leaguers, but just get the players name on it. You went through the trouble of spending $200 on an authentic Derek Jeter jersey and then you turn around and it says "Smith." It just looks stupid. Even worse is the nickname thing. Oh, I love the Beltran jersey "Crusher." Oh and misspelling a word as a nickname to make it phonetically correct is just annoying. Ok Krusher!

6. UGGS - hated them before in an earlier post, hate them now. Honestly, I'm not really interested in finding out, but when people say they are really warm and then wear them on 60 degree days, I'm thinking. Wow, it must be nice to get her home so when she takes off her shoes it smells like the New York Knicks laundry basket. Plus, unless you're ice fishing they really don't go with anything.

7. People who tell me I didn't understand a movie, because I didn't like it and they did - Listen I watch more movies than almost anyone not getting paid to watch movies. I'm pretty sure I'm smarter than most people (yes that's conceited but I have tests to prove it, haha). So don't tell me that because I disliked The Hangover, I didn't get the jokes. A four-year-old would get the jokes, and that is why I didn't like it. When I didn't like Shawshank Redemption people told me it's because I didn't get it. What's not to get? Guy is wrongfully imprisoned, he does what he needs to to survive, he never gives up, he escapes, he meets his buddy on a beach. End of a very hollywoodesque story. What I hated especially was all the religious symbolism, but most of those who questioned me didn't even pick up on that. So who didn't understand the movie? Would those same people who questioned my understanding ever be able to understand Papillion or La Grande Illusion or even all the intricacies of O Brother Where Art Thou?

8. This never ending squabble I have with people about the news - I understand you. I get it. You are republican and by law you have to hate the NY Times and MSNBC and must watch FOXNews because it's the only news channel that caters to what you want to hear. I truly understand this. What I don't understand is how people watch shows that say right off the bat they are opinion shows and not news. They spin charts and graphs and misquote people almost every second they speak and people regurgitate this dreck as facts, because the stations motto is "fair and balanced." No news is fair and balanced, because they need to make money. All news shows now cater to a specific audience. What I laugh at is that people will say to me that they don't read the times because it's so liberal. So you read the News? The Post? Our country is involved in two wars and every day the headlines are about Tiger Woods' penis. Even FOXNews didn't waste much time on this one. Here's a thought. Watch them both, or go on their websites. Then say to yourself, how could two stories about the same event or issue be so vastly different. Then do some more research and find out what the truth is, or at least what the facts are. Then make educated decisions based on your findings. I'll be damned if I'm going to have anyone tell me how to think. Unfortunately people are too lazy to learn on a day to day basis.

9. Commercials where the girl is way out of the guys league - what's with this? Every commercial seems to have some aging, slightly bald guy with this beautifully fit woman who is easily 10 years younger than him. Sure this happens on occasions, but pretty much when couples get married, you say, I get it. Very rarely, unless the guy is a rock star or pro athlete will you see what you see on TV.

10. Not having a computer at home - If I was home, I'd be watching TV, eating and probably sitting in my boxers. Unfortunately I'm at work, no other sounds but the rain pelting the window, starving, and due to some silly work related dress code, I'm fully dressed. One of these days, I'll get the damn laptop.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

He Don't Got Game

I sometimes wonder why I can say absolutely anything to perfect strangers when I know that there are really no emotional repercussions or opportunities. I can compliment, offend, tease, whatever the situation does or doesn't call for, I can proceed without caution and usually say the right thing. Usually it's a light joke or maybe an over-the-top statement, but I usually nail it.

This past weekend I was having a grand old time when two chairs opened up in between myself and the group of ladies I was hanging out with. We had been going back and forth joking, sometimes lewd comments, but all kept in good taste with no real intent. A nice couple sat down between us and within about five minutes I turned to the guy and said "Wait, you're going out? How the fuck did you get her?" He laughed, she laughed, everyone laughed and it was soon known that I was harmlessly flirting and nothing was being done maliciously. Later in the night, the young lady stretched in her chair, revealing a lovely and shapely silhouette and I turned to her beau and said "earmuffs." He half-heartily covered his ears and I asked her if she could stretch again. She actually thought it was cute and sweet. I'm sure if he'd been my size and I'd been his, the statement wouldn't have occurred, but who knows, I'm a goof at times.

Sure alcohol plays parts in these tails, but honestly, I never go into a situation thinking anything wrong. I know my boundaries and while, sure there are times I wish I was about 10 years younger and in the shape I was in 20 years ago, I have more fun now than I did then. I sometimes think I have more fun when there is no attachment. When that bond isn't there. Just a few nights ago, as I stumbled home from a fun night. A car came up the hill and it was a girl and her brother who I'd previously been hanging out with. She's quite adorable and when she said she was coming back to go out, I felt obliged. A fun night, from what I remember was had, and she told me the following day that her brother and her had argued, in a large part due to the excessive amount of shots I proceeded to feed him. This was followed by her asking if I'd danced with her mom lately. In the past few weeks, I've danced four times. Once with a girl who was out with her boyfriend, once with an obviously married woman, once with a friend's mother and the final time, I must say, I was doing something between the Irish jig and epileptic seizure. I'm sure from onlookers faces, it was more the latter.

So why is it that I can be so free. So funny and charming when I know there is nothing to lose, or to gain, but I freeze up when there might be something on the line. I get emotional. I say way too much at times. I pour my heart out when all that is wanted is a little joke or maybe a caress of the arm. I get way too serious and inevitably I blow it. In the past twenty years, I've basically had three quite long relationships. All good, all bad, all ended. I have nothing but good things to say about all three ladies and even some of the shorter relationships, I am thankful for the opportunity to know those people.

I sometimes think maybe I'm too smart for my own good. Maybe I'm not smart enough. I obviously don't have the physical attributes to come across with too much bravado, but I'm not shy. I am not outwardly open, but I do like to initiate conversation. I sometimes think to myself that the person is out-of-my-league, but then I'm reminded of what Justin's father on once told him, "That woman was sexy...Out of your league? Son. Let women figure out why they won't screw you, don't do it for them." It's funny, but it is human nature for us to look at someone, at their clothing, their car, and decide immediately if they are worth pursuing or more so, if we have a chance.

When I was about ten years younger I worked at a camp. I was told that one night the 15-year-old girls all sat and voted for the guy they would date and the guy they'd like to, well you know. These were kids. Sadly they were talking about the staff. They made their choices and word got out who they had little crushes on. One of the counselors came up to me and told me a secret "she said, they almost all said you were the one that was marriage material." I laughed, because at the time, I was in mental disarray. I didn't know my ass from elbow and had ruined a possible relationship the summer before by dwelling and giving way too much information about myself when the other party just wanted me to kiss them. I think back at that and laugh. Now, ten, maybe even twelve years later, I'm far from marriage material. I live paycheck to paycheck, eat and drink too much, am way too obsessed with classic cinema and way too little obsessed with cleaning my apartment (which by the way is the size of a postage stamp). I am good with kids, this I know. I've worked with kids in one way or another for 20 years. Usually coaching sports, etc. Some women like that. They are called married. I've flirted with the married ones but eventually get scared off and rightfully so. I do have morals. Sometimes alcohol and sexual desire can make someone question those morals, but as to date, I've yet to cross that boundary. Some say it's guilt free. I question that. I value the sanctity of marriage, just not the ridiculous religious extras. Any document, that's not a will that has death in it, should immediately be discarded.

So where does this leave me? Alone forever? I doubt it. I do feel I have a lot to offer. Maybe not financially, but in other ways, and who knows. Maybe money isn't the key to happiness. Maybe marriage isn't the key to happiness. There's something about finishing a day of work. Leaving kids who are laughing, yelling, some even crying. Knowing that whatever emotion they portray now, I'll be home alone watching some wondeful foreign film or out watching a game. Maybe I'll be making someone laugh, maybe I'll be making someone think. Maybe someone will be thinking that this is someone they want to know better. I don't understand the game of life. I definitely don't understand the game of love. The problem with love is that it works or you lose at the buzzer. There is no in between. I just wish I could be the person I am when it doesn't matter, when it actually does. Then I'd have, as the "kids" are saying, GAME!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Society Is Screwed (50 years of proof)

If anyone has wondered if we're fucked, here's a little look at the last fifty years as it compares to today.

In 1960, The American Heart Association links smoking to heart disease. Today, almost everyone I know smokes or smoked at one time.

In 1965, J.K. Rowling was born. Today, only 35% of high school seniors read at the appropriate level. Books like hers are why.

In 1970, I was born. Today, somehow, I am still alive.

In 1975, unemployment rates hit record highs prompting President Ford (R) to announce a recession. Today, republicans blame the recession on Jimmy Carter who became president in 1976.

In 1980, the Iran-Iraq War started. Today we are fighting the country we backed in that war, even though we also gave arms to the country they were fighting.

In 1985, British scientists discover a hole in the ozone layer. Today, Global warming is a myth...right?

In 1990, The Hubble Telescope was set into orbit. Today, 850,000+ school years of public college could be been given (for free) to students in need using the cost to buld and maintain it.

In 1995, two Earthquakes measuring 7.3 & 7.6 made big news. So far in two and a half months we've had 14 this year and four have been over 7.0 with one being 8.8

In 2000, Fifty-One million Americans watched the finale of Survivor. Today, over 100 million Americans admit to not reading, watching or going on the Internet to get the news on a regular basis.

In 2005, Pope John Paul II dies and reports were that tens of thousands of devout Americans watched his memorial. Today, 31 million devout Americans watched Michael Jackson's memorial.

In 2010, I'm thinking the Mayans might have been on to something.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Greatest Time Of Year

Some people's emotions and feelings change with the seasons. I know summer people who are downright suicidal in the winter months. They lock themselves inside and barely see daylight, only to blossom again come spring. Much has been made about the weather lately and the past few 50 degree days have really brought out the smiles in most of us. Weather doesn't do it for me. I'm somewhat controlled by another higher power. This power lasts just one month. It doesn't start at the beginning of a month, but smack dab in the middle of one and ends in the middle of another. It is truly when I am at my happiest.

It usually starts around the middle of the third week of March. St. Paddy's day will kick off my happy season and for some reason that just feels right. It will then be followed by four straight days of college basketball. March Madness will be three 12 hour days of a hard court frenzy followed by one slightly short day. By the end of this five day swing, my liver and kidneys, along with my eyes will be begging me to relax. But it doesn't end. After week one's 48 games, it is followed with twelve games of superior talent, all in four days. Just when you think it can't get any better, the following week has three games on two nights. The finale is always on a Monday and is almost always a great game. Here's the best part of this time. Sandwiched in between these two nights of mayhem is opening day of the baseball season. If anything can bring out the little boy in all of us, it's this day. The fresh cut grass, the clean uniforms, that first pitch and the sound of the bat crushing that first home run. There is nothing quite like it. Just when you're getting ready to relax and take a breather from this onslaught of sporting euphoria. The Masters rolls in. One of the most exciting and prestigious golf tournaments wraps up my own personal mental shangri-la.

After this month, I will sit back enjoy the games from time to time, but there is something about this little time every year that holds a place for me. It makes me forget my problems, if only temporarily. We all need this. Some people go on cruises or sit in the sun. Some go for long runs or fishing. For me, it's a much easier to attain happiness. I just turn on the TV, grab a cold one and soak in the moments. Every year something wonderful happens. Every year, for one month. I know it will never let me down. Know it for a fact!

Hey Whore!

You would think that this is the start of an angry blog. One where I chastise someone who has jilted me. Someone who has torn my heart right from my chest, smashed it to the floor and stomped every ounce of blood from it. Well, unfortunately this is a happy tale. This is one about friendship. A true friendship. The subject line is how I greet her almost every time I see her. Like I said, true friendship!

When I moved to Eastchester in 1985, I started making friends with a group of guys who loved to play sports as much as I did. Every day after school, we'd join at Anne Hutchinson for basketball games. On the weekends, we'd play football or softball depending on the weather. We probably played 500 games during the course of 1985-1988. On most of those occasions, we had two spectators. My friends Billy's sister and our friend Linda. Usually their spectating involved snide remarks about us, mocking our poor performances and in my case, playing on the obvious infatuation I had with Linda.

Linda was everything I liked in a girl when I was fifteen. She was pretty, smart and she had great tits. Call me shallow, but at fifteen, I cared about two things. Sports and Breasts. Sadly, I think it was in that order. Linda and I became good friends and we'd spend many hours together and many more on the phone. We never ran out of things to talk about and as the time went on, my infatuation grew. I would spend hours at her house with her and her very attractive and nicely endowed sisters. They would flirt with me and joke about how I was always there. The problem was, I was shy. I could never muster the courage to ask the simple question. Would you go out with me? The years went by and high school became one of those things I abhorred, but throughout it all, I had Linda as a friend. It was the one thing I could count on. She was older than me, but we spoke almost every day. I don't know when it was, but one day or night I mustered the courage to ask her the vital question. I think I got through the second word, when she yelled out "NO." My hopes and dreams were crushed. I was beside myself. The strange thing was that it was almost a relief. We joked about the incident later and I even gave her a cartoon about the moment. It was weird. We were weird.

She and I were a strange duo. We'd laugh at movies like Platoon and the end of Seven. We'd take great pleasure in seeing others pain....not serious mental anguish, but funny stuff, like people falling, nut shots, etc. She and I got each other. We always did and always will. There may have been a time when I was dating someone and she was raising her kids that she and I lost touch, but there was nothing that ever really broke our connection. There was something about the fact that we understood each others humor that always brought us back to each other. People to this day look in horror when overhearing some of the things we say to each other. They question if we're really that mean to each other all the time, but we don't see it as being mean. It's our plutonic foreplay. Back in the day, I'd probably tackle her after a joke, all the while just trying to cop a feel (and don't judge me, she knew damn well what I was doing and still persisted in her verbal abuse). We hang out more now than in the recent past. We have mutual friends who have sort of gotten used to it, although I do wonder if some of her close friends don't think I overdo it at times.

I've known her for twenty-five years. I'm still attracted to her, but in a different way than before. I used to think about her all the time and it was always in a lewd setting, dim lights and probably a ball gag was involved, because I knew if there ever did come a time when anything happened, she would inevitably ruin it with jokes. She's the kind of person who no matter how long we go without talking, we are never at a loss for words. I've met lots of people over the past twenty-five years ago and my close friends I think of as family. Sometimes when I'm with a person romantically I question my feelings. Maybe it's not a romantic feeling, but I know I love her with all my heart. She's a special person. A good mother. She's everything I want in a woman still to this day. She's funny, she's intelligent and most of all, she's got a great rack. Honestly, when it comes down to it, what else is there. Oh and did I mention the best part. She's a whore (just not with me).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pictures of Pets

Everyone of us at point or another has had a pet. Remember when you were little you'd grab the dog's tale and when you got older, granny would tell you about how funny it was? Well what she forgot to remind you, and you're softer than mush mind already forgot, was that the first few times you did this, Fido bit your little hand. Not a big bite. Just enough to tell you, "hey fuck-O, that's my tail, how do you like it when Mommy shoves that glass rod up your ass (if you remember rectal thermometers, your parents were cruel like mine and refused to buy the oral one). That's why I don't have Vaseline in the house. The memories make me black out. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than waking up in the bathroom with your pants down and an open jar of Vaseline in your hand. I don't care how dry your skin is. Where was I? Oh yeah the family pet.

I remember looking through old albums and other than a few candid shots, the family pet appeared in pictures by accident. Usually his/her tail would be in the screen as mom tried to take a picture on Christmas morning. You playing with the bubble wrap instead of the shitty jack-in-the-box they got you. Oh and by the way, Mom & Dad, I'm a little kid, when I turn the handle and the pretty box makes beautiful music, the last fucking thing I expect is a freaky looking clown to jump out and stop the music. This is why kids hate clowns, there is no other logical explanation. Anyway, your dog was just about as freaked out as you and then in the middle of bubble wrap love, you reach over and grab his snout. He sneers, Dad grabs a newspaper or some other object ready to protect you and he whimpers away. After a few months of this, he gets the idea and succumbs to your tortures.

Seriously, dogs are usually good with kids, except the ones who you read about who eat them. I used to know people who had a dog named Chief. This dog was huge and scared the shit out of everyone, but I would come over and the dog would lie down and I would curl up next to him and fall asleep. He never moved unless someone he didn't know would come near by, then he'd just growl. My own dog was also protective, but in a different way. My dog Velya was a Siberian Husky who bit absolutely everyone, but me. She bit my father so bad he needed stitches and almost severed tendons. She actually bit a few mailmen. I believe she bit all four of my grandparents and then finally she bit a friend of my parents nose off. Ironically, that time it wasn't her fault. Sort of. I loved that dog, but you know what? I never felt compelled to show everyone I knew a picture of her. Not because I didn't love her. Not because she wasn't beautiful. Nope, the reason why was simple. It was my dog, why the fuck would anyone else care.

Facebook has brought to light a new kind of hysteria. Pet pictures. They are all over the place. One of my friends even started a Facebook page for her dog. Aw, isn't that cute? No it's not. It's downright frustrating. Sure I joined, I like dogs, I like her, and I like to have stuff to put in the old memory bank to make fun of people about. The truth is, our love for our pets is unconditional, but to be completely honest, I don't like your pets. Not even a little. They smell funny, they make me sneeze and they aren't nearly as cute as you think they are. Sure it's cute when they give you those wet little kisses, but you know what, you're staying home, you social outcast and you already smell like the damn dog. I'm going out and don't feel like smelling like Alpo breath.

The one thing that I can never understand is the photographs. When you are pointing your camera/phone at your dog because he's making a face (he's not really making a face, he only has one) what exactly are you thinking? Your friends won't be able to control themselves with excitement as you show them? People want to see this? No, they really don't. Unless your dog is attacking Michael Vick or licking his own balls, I don't want to see a picture. I don't want to see pictures of the other two instances either, because honestly, they'll just make me jealous.

I am not asking you to hate your pet. Love them with all your might. Love them like family. Dress them up in little outfits that you know they love. Dress them up as famous people. Do whatever the hell you want. Feel free to snap away, feel free to channel Bob Ross' spirit and paint a happy little tree with your little dog pissing against it for all I care. But for the love of god, keep the damn photographs to yourself, because as nice as your friends are, when it comes down to it, they don't care if that dog is in your lap or in your General Tso's chicken. Honestly!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Island CD

We've all been asked the question. What movies, what music, what foods would you pick if you were on an island, so here it goes. I'm gonna start some lists of my personal picks. I'm going to start with music. I'm going to make it a little difficult on myself. I'm going to limit it to ten songs. Not CD's, that would be too difficult. So ten songs I'd be stuck listening to day after day, waiting for the ship to find me, playing with my volleyball and avoiding smoke monsters. This is tough to think of. Anyone who has been fortunate or unfortunate enough to be stuck with me at the bar, knows I love me some Spice Girls, some T.I. and some Hanson, but would they make the top ten list? You'll have to wait and see.

Now this list is also a little different in that it's my island list. It's not like a driving CD where you want to crank Born To Be Wild and hit the gas. Nope, these are songs that mean something to me. They might even take me back to a special time or place. If I'm stuck on an island, my memories would be very important to me. So here it goes. Oh and by the way, these are in no particular order, so don't scream that I like MMMBop more than Wannabee.

1. Angels - Robbie Williams. This songs brings a little smile and a little tear to my eye. It reminds me of being on a bus, coming back from a day off while working at Pierce Camp Birchmont. Usually music would accompany it, but not always, sometimes it took nothing more than Jared asking Simon in his best British accent, "Simon, sing us a song." Simon would start and by the end, the entire bus was singing along. We'd sing this, American Pie, Omaha, and another song that will make the list. This song just makes me happy in so many ways.

2. Brandy (You're a fine girl) - Looking Glass. The first time I ever heard this song was during a karaoke night at Rockwell's in Tuckahoe. I loved it and asked the guy who sung it. I had never heard of them, but every time I hear this song, it just makes me smile. Recently, I was scouring and found a cover of it performed by Red Hot Chili Peppers. It blew me away. I actually think it's better than the original. Just an amazing song. It reminds me of a simpler time in my life.

3. Three Little Birds - Bob Marley. Another of the songs we sung on the bus. There's just something about hearing this song in the morning that starts the day right. I used to play it on a Sunday morning after a rough night of drinking. Maybe something was stressing me and I needed something light to help. Something about Marley telling me not to worry, a warm cup of coffee and a day of nothing to do. It's just perfect for the island.

4. Blue, Red and Grey - The Who (Pete Townsend solo). Once again reminds me of Birchmont. It's a love song about how some people like different parts of the day, but he loves every minute of the day as long as his love is part of it. The ukulele just goes so perfectly with the song and the line "some people have to have the sultry evenings, cocktails in the blue, red and grey, but I love every minute of the day" is one of my all-time favorite lines. On the album, Who by Numbers, this light song ends and goes right into How Many Friends, another incredible song. Probably my second favorite Who song.

5. Last Kiss - J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers. Most of you probably know it from Pearl Jam, which is a version I truly despise. It's actually a very sad song about a guy losing his girlfriend in a car crash and how he has to be good, so he can get to heaven to see her again. If you listen carefully to the words, it's nearly impossible not to get a little misty-eyed. So why is this song important to me? Well, when I first heard this song I was about 22. I was dating a girl and she found an album it was on. Yes an actual record. It was actually on WCBS greatest songs of all-time and she found a record store that sold it. We both went and I purchased the four record collection. Every song on it was wonderful, but this one always holds a place. When you're young and in love, everything seems so insignificant, but as you get older you realize to cherish those moments, even as memories.

6. Carmina Burana - Carl Orff. OK, so it's not technically a song since it's classical, but who cares, this is my CD, not yours. If you've never heard it, or think you haven't, I bet you have. If not, click on this link It features the lovely Michelle Kwan skating to this odd choice for an ice skater, but it works wonderfully. It's so in your face and so powerful, the only thing I can compare it to is a thunderstorm. It starts slowly, but then grows in intensity. Oddly enough, another one of my favorite pieces is Musica Poetica by Orff which is the exact opposite. It's a gentle, tender piece that is featured at the end of Badlands and True Romance.

7. Rock Box - Run DMC. Now I love old school rap. I have always liked rap and there are hundreds of songs that would do for this CD. I kept thinking about the songs I can listen to over and over again. Dead and Gone by T.I. and Justin Timberlake is my current favorite. Follow the Leader by Eric B. & Rakim is probably the best actual rapping ever recorded. Tupac and Biggie have so many catchy riffs that I can listen to over and over again. I mean Changes and Juicy are probably two of my favorite songs ever. So why this song? The first rap album I ever bought was Run-DMC's first album. The hard rock guitar and the spitfire lyrics caught my attention immediately. Long before Walk This Way would get little white kids all over the country into rap, this song was the anthem. This album and this song defined my early adolescence. It was two young black men rapping with a hard guitar track behind it. It almost was out of place in the rap world and in many ways mirrored my life. The little white kid hanging in the hood listening to rap. Long before Eminem made it cool.

8. Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath. Sure there are better songs. N.I.B. is probably my favorite, but I can't listen to it over and over. Iron Man was the most popular for a long time and I still love it. War Pigs is not only a great song, but is a great story, but I will never forget when I first bought this album. I had owned Paranoid first and went out to get this album. I remember turning it on and this was the first song. You hear rain, thunder and then a church bell, then the eerie music starts. It just slowly draws you in and then Ozzy belts out "What is this that stands before me, figure in black which points at me, turn around quick and start to run, find out I'm the chosen one...OH NOOOOOO!." Holy Shit! Literally! This is the kind of song you would actually feel comfortable in a cemetery listening to. This song just blows me away every single time I hear it We now see Ozzy as a shaking, mumbling mess, but back then, he was the Prince of Darkness. What makes this song even more amazing is that it came out at a time where there was no heavy metal. This was truly the first heavy metal song some people ever heard. Oh, and Led Zeppelin fans can kiss my ass. Zeppelin wasn't metal.

9. Straight To Hell - The Clash. The Clash are my favorite rock band ever. The Who and The Stones are close, but nobody ever really comes close to The Clash. They were my childhood. I learned to rebel with The Clash. They might not have been the best musicians, but for me there was nothing better. It also takes my mind back to the days of St. Ann's in Brooklyn. A very happy time in my life. Everyone was healthy, happy, I even enjoyed school back then. I remember when I first bought Combat Rock. I got it because of Rock The Casbah and Should I Stay Or Should I Go, but then I heard this and it transformed me. The song goes from speaking about immigrants and their dealing with racism, then to Vietnamese children who were fathered by American soldiers during the war, then about the American dream seen through these children's eyes, and then finally, about how difficult it is for immigrants all over the world. The song is so incredibly powerful and moving, but subject matter aside, it actually reminds me of a wonderful time in my life. When M.I.A. sampled it for Paper Planes, I was surprised and overjoyed. Especially since their song is pretty damn good.

So how do I end this CD? There are so many great songs and artists. Could I spend my days on an Island without Johnny Cash, Sinead O'Connor or Iron Maiden? A week without a Madonna song? There are also so many one hit wonders I'm missing. No Rolling Stones? How could I not have Wild Horses, Sympathy for the Devil or Angie? No, I need something that sends shivers down my spine. A band who has tons of songs I love, but I need a song I can rock out to, but listen to the lyrics and it can make me think of those I've lost along the way, one way or another. I don't believe in heaven and hell, but number ten is all about seeing someone you miss again.

10. When The Angels Sing - Social Distortion. How could a song which repeats the same words almost every other line be so good. I don't know, but I've listened to this song hundreds of times and it just makes me think that maybe, just maybe, those who I've lost along the way, might be in a better place. Like Mike Ness says "Who am I to question when it all comes down?"

So there it is. My Island CD. A mix of quiet songs, some loud, some quiet by bands known for being loud and some are just songs that take me to special places in my memories. I don't take photographs, I take mental snapshots. I don't need a picture to tell me who was there, what kind of day it was, or what I was wearing. Those things are filed away and sometimes you hear a song, smell a scent, or feel a certain way, and we flip through those albums in our mind and they let our emotions go to places only we know. We can share the experiences, but we can't share how they affected us. That's for us to know, to feel, to remember. That is living. No picture can describe that.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ode To Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss you are so dead,
Your fucking rhymes stuck in my head.
I did not want green eggs and ham,
I have no friends that I call Sam.

You gave us books that kids could read,
The ones who love them all smoke weed.
I didn't care about cat's or fish,
unless the latter was in my dish.

You told us Horton heard a who,
I really don't know what to do.
When I slam your book it makes a clap,
maybe it's because they were all crap.

Just kidding Dr. S, I love all your shit. Especially the later stuff like his classic on where kids come from "mommy had you because daddy banged her, now he wishes he used a wire hanger." Or who could forget his story about the oldest child feeling neglected "There would not be any kids that followed, if only your mother occasionally swallowed." Finally, my personal favorite about Horton's life before he hatched the egg "Horton's friend were in utter shock, when they got a look at his giant cock."

OK, some of those last one's are made up, but don't call me sick, Dr. Seuss is the one who wrote a children's book about an Elephant and a bird having a baby.

Letter to February

Well the short month started with that furry little fucker and for once it seems his premonition about winter was correct. The month was filled with snowfall and some chilly nights. The winter also, as it does, brought some discontent. Work was about as slow as it's ever been. I felt lucky to have worked about 80 hours this entire month. It could have been worse. In many ways it felt worse. It seems when I don't work I spend more time going out, partying it up, if you can call it a party. Watching curling, sucking back drinks like it's a job, and repeating familiar conversations over and over isn't the kind of party most would want an invite for. Maybe the loneliness of not having that person to hold has taken over. Maybe it's just that I am not as different from others as I see myself. Sometime I glance down the bar, the broken spirit of an elderly man, who at one time had everything to gain, but settled for easy. Who knows? In this economy do we really have the opportunities that our elders had?

The month wasn't all bad or was it. The Super Bowl proved about as exciting as an enema. Two teams I couldn't care less about, no money won, although a glimmer of hope, there was, if only briefly. Too many days ended with me sitting where I am right now, in my office, shop, workplace, whatever you want to call it. Sitting using the computer as the fear of buying a new one was very present in my financial situation. I tell myself this lie, but the money I spent on my daily excursions to see if Lindsay Vonn would win, even though the Internet had told me she had lost hours earlier, took over. I probably spent as much in tipping bartenders and waiters as I would have on a fancy new laptop. This is what became the norm in February.

The icy snows fell more frequently than last year. The complaints of neighbors bellowed through phone lines and corridors. I smirked, smarter than them. Parked where I could easily back out, my shoveling, scraping, and workload minimized by my foresight. Stories of hours spent digging, hurt me in ways, made me laugh in others. The kind of laugh you release upon seeing someone fall, once you have confirmed they aren't hurt.

The shortest month seems to have changed me. They all do. I'm more soured on where I am in my life. Location, money, achievements. The kids keep me going. The things they say, the actions, the smiles as they leave. Maybe a held hand, maybe a hug, maybe a thank you, uninitiated by mom or dad. These are why I live the life I do. I can't walk away from them. I sometimes think about doing anything, in a place where it's warm, or even cold. Living in a different place. Maybe a more understanding place. Maybe a place where there's a little variety. Maybe play bingo with some old-timers on Tuesday, some classic B&W films at a local library or Elk's lodge. Who knows?

I got myself back into films. Thank you February for that. I'm obsessed with films. I don't have any thoughts of acting or directing, but would love to write a screenplay. One day I tell myself, but I know it won't start in February. What would I write about. The thoughts in my head, might not translate to a good movie. I know it would be an odd movie, but would it be good. Despite what people might think, it wouldn't be a comedy. It would probably be the darkest thing anyone had ever seen. Do I want to reveal my innermost thoughts. To you February , No. Maybe to March. We'll see. March Madness begins for everyone on March 18th. Sometimes I think mine started ages ago. Or is this normal? We'll see.