Monday, January 30, 2012

Mindless vs Mental Stimulation

I recently read a report that stated that depression in teenagers is directly related to the amount of time they spend alone listening to music.  At first, I thought this was ridiculous, but the more I read, the more I thought back to high school, the more apparent it became that this was right on the mark.  The article didn't expand into adult life, but I feel that there might be another correlation with stimulation and depression.  That would be mindless versus mental stimulation.

Last night I was talking to someone who made the comment that I'm too "judgy" when it comes to television.  It was regarding a show that I said I didn't like, but after giving it a second chance, found that I like it.  So much that I've seen every episode, which for me is a rarity.  That being said, I don't feel I'm judgy, I just feel that my quiet time needs are different than others.  Back in the 80's, mindless television were shows like Dallas and Dynasty, but in recent years it's become reality TV.  I don't think there is  anything worse to happen to our society ever.  I seriously mean this.

Fans of reality television are basically giving in to a notion that other people's lives are more exciting than theirs.  When I read that more people voted for the winner of the 2008 American Idol show than voted in the presidential election, it scared me.  Is the between the two Davids more important than the leader of our nation?  Sadly, for most, it is. 

Recently I've realized that the people who make comments about this new show Mob Wives are also the people who are writing "FML" every day in their status updates.  They are openly complaining about their relationships, jobs, kids, etc.  The people who make comments about news stories are usually they one's who are listing things that had a positive effect on their day.  I'm not saying there are some crossovers, but it's pretty much one sided.  I'm not saying I'm immune to the reality TV itch.  I do like some cooking competitions and I will admit to getting hooked on The Voice last season.  I do think there was a small difference between the Voice and AI and that is, in my opinion....good singing.  The worst singers on The Voice were better than the best in any of the seasons of American Idol (with one exception....Carrie Underwood).

The thing that bothers me most is that these shows, which are aimed to be nothing more than 30 minutes distractions after a hard day, have become water cooler topics.  People genuinely care about characters like Snooki, Tila Tequila and whatever that Mob Wife's name is.  The Bachelor or Dancing with the Stars is painful to watch.  Sure I tuned in to see Kirstie Alley and it was impressive, but after five minutes I was done.  I'm definitely not going to discuss it the following day.

Now I know people don't always love talking about religion or politics, but why do I know so few people who discuss things that actually involve needing a brain to speak about?  I recently had a conversation with someone about the standards required to pass high school English classes.  We discussed how classic novels aren't necessarily required reading.  I mentioned how 90% of high school student aren't capable of writing a proper essay at a college level and that is due to the lax requirements.  Listening to kids between the ages of 15-25 these days has become painful.  A complete lack of vocabulary skills and sentence structure is ruining our youth.  It's too easy to blame the schools, who are definitely failing, but some blame, if not most, should be placed on the parents.  If kids are allowed to watch morons speak on TV and they try and emulate them, chances are they too will become that way.  Parents need to understand when kids aren't shown that this isn't the way people actually behave, they will follow.  When they see people getting famous for being stupid, they think it's cool.  It's human nature to admire riches and recognition.  It's learned not to accept that stupidity is not an option.

Now, I like sitting back and watching a ballgame.  Cerebral it's not, but when the discussion turns to how today's players compare to those of different eras, then thought, calculations and interpretations are taking place (aka thought).  Now I'm not saying everyone should spend five hours watching the news or reading Pride and Prejudice, but I don't see how people can spend 8-11pm every single night watching mindless crap.  Even worse, letting your kids watch that kind of stuff. 

I'm lucky in that I'm actually friends with a lot of younger people who have their heads on straight, but I am friends with five times as many who don't.  I am friends with those who watch reality TV religiously and I have friends who shutter at the thought of sitting through two minutes of it.  Some of each group is intelligent, average and moronic, but it's definitely not equally spread.  My fear is that we're creating an environment where intelligence is bound to disappear eventually.   It's almost entirely disappeared from prime time television and that's happened in less than twenty years.  How long before it disappears from our youth?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My 25 Favorite Rap Songs

When I was 13 in Brooklyn rap music was a huge part of my life.  While I've always liked all types of music, there has always been something about rap music.  I think it's because rap music means so much more to someone who grew playing basketball in a housing project with actual rappers.  If you took the subway to school, spray painted a wall or spun on a piece of cardboard it takes on something different. While I didn't suffer a poor life like so many of my friends, I saw their world and the music told that story.  When I moved to Westchester, I found it ironic that people with no concept of that world, also liked the same music.  For them it was music, but they didn't know what it was like to live in that world. 

I made a list of about 80 songs and narrowed the list down to the top 25.  You will see many recognizable names, but not necessarily the songs they are most famous for.  You will also notice there is a huge name in the business not mentioned. That name is Jay-Z.  I can honestly say, if I had made a list of my top 100, I don't know if he'd crack it.  I just don't think he's very good.  There are greats who aren't on it either, like A Tribe Called Quest, Sugar Hill Gang, Big Pun, 3rd Bass and while some will find these almost implausible, no Beastie Boys, N.W.A. or Wu-Tang Clan. 

So here it goes, from 25-1 (actually 26, because I couldn't choose between them.

25. Basketball - Kurtis Blow...A laundry list of guys we all wanted to emulate as kids.
25. I Want You - LL Cool J....The first real rap love song.
24. La-di-da-di - Slick Rick & Dougie E. Fresh...usually following The Show - great combo.
23. Six Feet Deep - Geto Boys...Gangster rappers mourn all their fallen friends.
22. Chief Rocka - Lords of the Underground...One of the angriest sounding rap songs ever.
21. Classic - Kanye West, Nas, KRS-One, Rakim & DJ Premier...Ode to old school collaboration.
20. Colors - Ice-T...Theme song to one of the best gang movies ever made.
19. I Got It Made - Special Ed...one of the most underrated rappers ever.
18. They Reminisce over You - Pete Rock and CL Smooth...rap story telling at it's best.
17. Hip-Hop Is Dead - Nas...Iron Butterfly sample with machine gun lyrics.
16. Streets of New York - Kool G Rap & DJ Polo...What Jay-Z wishes he could be.
15. All I Need - Method Man & Mary J. Blige...best rap duet ever.
14. Juicy - Notorious B.I.G....One of the sweetest flowing raps ever.
13. When I'm Gone - Eminem...lesser known song is my personal favorite. 
12. Dear Mama - Tupac Shakur...ode to his mother.
11. Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat) - Digitable Planets...one hit wonders amazing jazzy song.
10. Radio - LL Cool J...He's been around for almost 30 years, but his first hit is his best.
9. Changes - Tupac Shakur...Who would have thought sampling Bruce Hornsby would be this great.
8. One Mic - Nas...slow style with some of the best lyrics ever put down.
7. Bring Your Whole Crew - DMX....First two lines tell you just what you're in for.
6. Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos - Public Enemy...when this came out it shocked the world.
5. Friends - Whodini...Amazing beat and story about trust.
4. Can You Feel It - Fat Boys....gimmicky group's best cut.
3. Follow The Leader - Eric B. & Rakim...best MC ever absolutely kills it with lightening quick rap.
2. Five Minutes Funk - mesmerizing hook with smooth lyrics.
1. Rock Box - Run DMC...the godfather's of rap.  This song is what made a kid who liked The Clash turn into a rap affecienado.  They changed the game over and over.  This song, along with It's Like That and Sucker MC's changed the way people looked at rap.  Was my first favorite rap song and still holds up today.

Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF - It's Not Just For Friday Anymore

TGIF is one of the most annoying little anagrams out there.  It drives me nuts. It really means, thank goodness today I have to work, but later I'll spend twice as much as I normally would because I don't have a significant other and I need to pay for my own drinks, but hopefully I'll get drunk enough to get laid and maybe this time the guy/girl will still be there when I wake up.  Then I'll kill Saturday because I'm hung over or worried I'm pregnant/have an STD.  Then I'll try and make up for feeling like shit Saturday, by partying so hard that Monday feels like an abomination.  TGIF

So I've thought of some more realistic definitions.

On a blind date and you get a text asking how it's going: TGIF - The Girl/Guy Is Fat

When asked about your pregnancy test: TGIF - Thank God I Failed

When you eat something you think is mozzarella: TGIF - Thank God It's Feta

When you show up late to softball and find an empty field - The Game Is Friday

When your joints hurt and you had shellfish - The Gout Is Flaring

When your friend is questioning your hookup - That Girl Is Female?

At Mardi Gras - Tits! Girls! It's Fabulous!

Fun Blind Date - The Girl/Guy Is Freaky

Watching a little guy fight a big guy - This Guy Is Fucked

Important to know when playing golf - The Green Is Firm

Thing I need to remember - Tonic + Gin = I Fight

When something is too good to be true - This Gimmick Is Fishy

and finally

When you finally leave this mad, mad, mad world - Thank God I Finished!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Hoppers (Oscars - sort of)

I am a huge movie buff, but ironically I have no patience to actually go to the movies.  Not that I don't have patience to watch the movie, it's to listen to people talk, text, etc.  I need quiet.  I need peace.  I need to be lost in a movie.  If I want to cry at the end, I don't want to hold back. You can't really do that in the theater.  Well you can, but you know.  So here's the deal.  I'm going to nominate five movies for best picture, best actor and actress and best supporting actor and actress.  Now here's the catch.  The are only going to be movies I've seen for the first time in 2011 (a slow year, about 110-120).  They might not necessarily be new movies, but most are fairly recent. I must admit, 2011 was not a stellar movie year for me.  Hopefully 2012 will be. Please remember, I saw very few movies that actually came out in 2011.

And the nominees are:

Best Supporting Actor
Guy Pearce - Animal Kingdom
Colin Farrell - In Bruges
Jeremy Renner - The Town
Richard Jenkins - Let Me In
Stanley Tucci - Easy A

Winner: Stanley Tucci

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett - Hanna
Siobhan Finnernan -  Boy A
Patricia Clarkson - Easy A
Mylene Jamanoi - Martyrs
Dale Dickey - Winter's Bone

Winner: Dale Dickey

Best Actor
John Hawkes - Winter's Bone
Vincent Cassel - Mesrine
Daniel Day Lewis - Ballad of Jack & Rose
Liam Neeson - Kinsey
David Hyde Pierce - The Perfect Host

Winner: John Hawkes

Best Actress
Chloe Moritz - Let Me In
Camilia Belle - Ballad of Jack & Rose
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom
Emma Stone - Easy A

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Picture
Winter's Bone
Mesrine
The Perfect Host
Martyrs
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

Winner: Winter's Bone

Quickie Blog: Jerk In Supermarket

Sometimes I wish I was the dick I was back in HS.  I'm shopping in Stop and Shop about an hour ago and I am looking at something in one of the aisles.  A father is picking out something and his daughter is on the other end, holding a back of chips.  She's trying to get his attention with yelling, just shaking the back hoping he'll notice.  Just then I hear "Ya, so I said what the fuck, yo, that's bull shit, I hate that bitch." I turn around and there's some 20-something jackass on his cell phone.  The girl, puts the bag back and runs over to her father. The father is just shaking his head.  And that's where it ends. 

Had this been 25 years ago (although the guy probably wouldn't have been on a cell phone in the late 80's), that guy would have had that cell phone against his ear, but it would be because I'd be smashing it against his head.  What happened to people?  And why do I always run into these people?

Egg Creams and Other Brooklyn Eating Traditions

Last night a friend posted on Facebook and a flurry of childhood memories floating into my brain.  She wrote about her craving for an Egg Cream.  The memory of the delicious drink brought a smile to my face and brought back memories of other things, that seem a million miles away.

First off, let me explain something about an Egg Cream.  There is no egg and no ice cream.  It is a Brooklyn invention and there are very strict rules for a traditional egg cream.  First, one part whole milk into a glass.  Secondly, you add two parts seltzer.  Not the bottled stuff, it must be put in via a bar gun or a spray bottle with CO2. Quickly stir to create a froth.  Add the chocolate syrup. For traditional, it must be U-bet, none of that Hershey's shit.  About two tablespoons worth.   Quickly stir to create a brown bottom, a tan middle and a creamy white top.  Drink quickly, as the froth will settle and your moustache will not be proper.  Classic.

I remember the small garden outside our brownstone.  Every year, if only for a week, tulips would grow. Grown men would sneak in, pick one or two and rush home to their girlfriends with their token of affection.  Mom would yell, but was she really mad, it wasn't that kind of time?  An apricot grew in our front yard too.  Yielding, to this day, the best apricots I've had to date.  We'd often trade a few of our bounty with my best friend's family, in exchange for the luscious figs that grew in his backyard.  Two things I don't know if Ive eaten fresh as an adult.

Thoughts go to our milk deliveries.  These weren't necessary in the 70's and 80's, but my parents kept the tradition. Each week two containers of milk in a glass bottle was delivered and every few weeks, the delicious U-Bet Chocolate Syrup would come.  The basis for the aforementioned egg creams.  Every other week our soda supply would come, a half case of ginger ale, a case of siphon topped seltzer bottles and a six pack of Manhattan Special coffee soda.  To this day, my favorite soda ever made.


I remember going to the Italian bakery, Cammareri's (yes, the one from Moonstruck) on a weekend morning, waiting in line and the two old ladies handing me something to gnosh on while my mother order her delicious semolina bread.  The semolina bread was the canvas for the masterpiece that was my standard elementary school lunch.  While others had cold cuts or PB&J's sans crusts, I was different.  Mine, was a huge slice of semolina, cut in half, mayo liberally spread on each side.  Then topped with a few slices of provolone, then topped liberally with thick tomatoes, often coming from our backyard garden. Simple, but perfect. 

I remember going with my mother and brother to Sahadi's.  A middle eastern olive food haven for Brooklynites to this day.  Creamy hummus and baba ganoush filled to the brim and fresh pitas, filled my mother's order.  The greatest coffees I've ever had lined the walls. Then of course, there was my brother, who would maneuver his way through the crowded store and stop in front of their many vats of olives.  This was a different time and paranoia was not not rampant.  The little blond haired, blue eyes boy would dig his hand into the large bins and pull out and olive.  Eat it, maybe spitting the pit into his hand.  Then off to another one. This would repeat itself for a few minutes and he'd discard the pits into my mother's hand.  The owners, more than happy to hand her a napkin and then discard of them.  As time went on, his appearance at the door, would cause a commotion as all the workers would yell "watch out everyone, the Olive Boy is here."  He became as much a staple of the store as they did of the borough. http://sahadis.com/

Saturday afternoons were an event.  Everyone got their allowance that day and trips to the corner store for penny candy (2 cents actually) were a tradition. My first allowance was only 50 cents, so I usually bought about ten pieces of candy, this 10 cent juice that came in a plastic bottle and I put the other 20 cents away for another time. Amazing how back then I was able to save up for the things I wanted.  As I got older it became sodas.  Our other corner deli would occasionally have homemade white chocolate lollipops colored blue and made out of smurf molds.  For a quarter, we could enjoy the owner's wife's delicious creations.

I remember the street fairs, where at a young age, I was enjoying bacalaito, fried chicken or some other ethnic cuisine from our diverse block.  I remember the Raymond's, a lovely Spanish couple, digging in their backyard every July 3rd.  The pit would be set and they would start their fourth of July pig roast.  I don't remember ever having the courage to eat the full animal back then, but I wish I had.  The smells emanating from their yard were amazing.  I remember the commotion of the following evening, where salsa music and laughter could be heard all through the night.  

The next morning, I would get up from my bed.  Groggily look to my right, gaze at the Williamsburg clock tower.  .  I would look down to my left, the remnants of an amazing evening littering the yard.  I knew my birthday was in 24 hours and hoped my party would be as fun as the sounds I head the evening before.  My eyes, would glance upwards, scanning the trees that lined so many backyards, the birds chirping and the hot summer sun shining in my face.  My eyes would reach the top of the trees and off in the distance I would see the peaks of the Twin Towers.  

Many years later, the towers are gone.  So many of the people who made my childhood what it was are too.  Some of the places I went to have changed owners or are no longer there.  Some have simply changed.  A piece of candy is no longer 2 cents and there are no apricots hanging from the tree.  Cammareri's was sold, but a bakery still stands.  I'm sure the two old ladies have long since passed, but there memory was captured on film.  Bars protect the windows of my old home and those that surround it.  The park on the corner isn't what it once was.  The store owners probably don't know every one's name and where they're from. I doubt there are street fairs, with kids playing in the hydrant, breaking only to grab a delicious snack, they would never have in their own home.  Everything is different now and can never be restored to the way it was.  That is life.  But it's nice to know, that something as simple as reading two words can evoke memories of a time of happiness and peace that, in many ways, I'll never see again. All I can do is stir, remember and drink it up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Socialism vs Capitalism

I recently saw this post on a friend's Facebook wall and thought this was fascinating and had to copy it down.  I read it very carefully and thought about it.  It makes complete sense, right?  It completely debunks the myth that Socialism works. Well, yes and no.  I thought about an almost identical situation and thought about the difference.  I'll display my friend's post and then my situation.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.
The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).


After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.. 


The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.



It could not be easier than that.  The story clearly shows the horrors of socialism and how the weak bring down the strong and in the end, we all fail.  So let's take a look at my special education class while attending Manhattan College.   The teacher explained that she graded on a bit of an odd curve, because here tests were very hard.  She graded out of 105 points, not 100.  She added the then added however many points the high score was shy of 100 to the everyone.  She then took the three highest grades of the four exams.  In this system, she explained that everyone had a chance to receive 5 extra points and whatever extra points there were from the high score.  She explained that last year her average was an 81, but it was bumped to an 88 with the points.  Hearing we'd be receiving a B+ made everyone pretty happy.  That was until the first test.  The average score was mid 70's, but there was no bonus, because they high score was a 105.  The following test was harder and the average dipped below 70, with no bonus.  The final test was the hardest and the average was failing, but once again there was no bonus.  On the final day, the teacher explained that more than half the class was averaging in the mid 60's or below.  She explained that only one person was exempt from the final,  The class was breathed a sigh of relief.  She then went on to say that the final was not an actual final, but the fourth test on the newest material.


So all of the sudden this capitalist society, where we all benefit from the hierarchy doing the right thing, had a dilemma.  He could either skip the test and most likely give his classmates an extra 15 points on their exam, which for many would be the difference between an F or D or D or C...or he could test himself to see if he knew the material. Right or wrong, the capitalist did for himself and showed up.  Aced the tests and probably caused a third of the class having to take it again.  The ramifications didn't dawn in him that day.  They never do to a true capitalist.  He didn't just cause six or seven students to fail a class.  He didn't just cause some to possibly lose scholarships or aid.  He didn't only cost them forty five hours of their life.  He cost them money.  He cost them time possibly.  He did so, because he was selfish and he wanted to see that perfect score and he wanted to prove in some selfish way that he was better than them.  Smarter.  Some may still view this as socialist, but it's not, because regardless of how you look at it, you are counting on the top person.  You are hoping their success in some ways trickles down to you. The bottom line is that neither truly works. The only time a system works is when people do these things together.  Could the capitalist have thrown a question here and there, still got his A and passed a little happiness and charity to others?  Of course he could., He could have skipped the final, got an A and everyone would have gained about 7 points on their overall average.  Would this have made him a better person.  That's up to the reader to decide.  

In that silly class on that silly day, the capitalist cost the other 90-95 percent of his class a grade, some money and some financial aid.  On that day, the capitalist felt good about himself,  Proud of HIS achievements and didn't care about the others woes.  He was on top and it's all that mattered.

Today, I feel horrible, because it's not the person I am.





Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Expressions I Hate

The Honeymoon Is Over - This seems to me to be on of the most horrible sayings.  People use this all the time, but what does it say about our views on marriage.  Years of courtship, a big or small wedding and then a trip to some exotic local or sentimental place.  One week later, you're done?  Is the reality of marriage so bad?  Percentages are leaning towards a "yes" and from my experiences talking to most married couples, it's not a joy ride.  It just seems like the commitment to spend your life with someone should be looked upon with more hope than the unrealistic week of sex, sand and sangria.

What Goes Around Comes Around (AKA Karma) - I hate this, because it's not true.  People who do bad things, consistently do bad things and nothing bad ever happens to them.  Then there are most of us, who normally do good things, choose others over ourselves and we get fucked on the regular.  I've saved people from being beaten, being raped, being abducted (I'm not joking either) and probably in some of the cases being killed.  I've done those things more than I've done bad and what do I get.  A life of kicks, square to the nuts, while people who could care less about anyone but themselves have the good life.  This saying isn't as annoying as it is a fallacy. Life is not a boomerang, it's a freaking cannonball and it always seems to be aimed right at my crotch.


Just Give It The Old College Try - Unless I'm trying to bang a classmate this means nothing to me.  I usually sat in class, drooled on myself and then went to work. I was surrounded by miscreants who smelled like PBR and bad weed.  They were dumber than dirt, but usually had access to the test before we took it, so there goes that who trying thing.  College is all about stamina.  Lasting the four or more painfully, excruciatingly boring years and being able to rack up enough debt so that your first job feels insignificant and worthless.  Yes, this is something everyone should always strive for.  Go team!

Conventional Wisdom - Huh?  The average person you come across in your day to day travels is dumber than dirt.  Think about it.  If you have and IQ in the 130 and over range, about 85% of the world is dumber than you.  Sure they can fix a tire faster and make you feel foolish you can't open a jar of apple sauce, but the reality is, when it comes to wisdom, you don't want to be conventional.  If the majority of the public believes it to be true, it's horseshit.  When did thinking for yourself or having a differing impression become a negative.  Conventional Wisdom told us slavery was good, women were not our equals and that gays are sinners.  Yeah, that worked out well.

And the mother of all annoying expressions.

K.I.S.S. or Keep It Simple Stupid - this drives me nuts.  Sure if you're explaining quantum physics to someone who is third grade, you're going to simplify it, but aside from this, it's an excuse for people to now have to learn.  I laugh when people use this when talking about someone explaining some aspect of their home.  People use this when they want to convey they don't have the time or energy to learn something, they just want to be able to use it.  What they really are saying is that they are too lazy to learn something that would probably take them five minutes to master if they didn't feel it was beneath them.  I always loved when I did customer service at my old job and people would  ask why yearly maintenance was necessary.  The second the reasoning was slightly involved, they would stop me and tell me they would hold off for the time being.  Then six months later when their system failed due to some problem that could have been avoided, they claimed they were unaware.  Guess by keeping it simple, they became stupid.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Five Greatest Sporting Events I've Ever Seen

I recently saw a post on a friend's Facebook page listing the five best sporting events they had ever seen.  I immediately starting thinking about Denver's two Super Bowl wins and the Red Sox two World Series championships and figured I'd make a list.  I made a mental note of those games and then started to add to the list and realized my list had become quite different.  Some who know me will probably be shocked at some of my choices, but here it is.  My list of the five greatest sporting events I've ever seen.  I will however make one disclaimer before continuing.  I will not have any events that I didn't see as it happened.  If I were to that, it would be almost impossible not to have the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manilla.  So here it is.

5. September 24, 1994 - The Miracle in Michigan

The Colorado Buffaloes were ranked 7th and Michigan was ranked 4th, but Michigan does not lose at the big house.  Colorado jumped out to a 14-9 halftime lead, only to see Michigan score 17 unanswered points.  The Buffs scored with a little over 2 minute left and then got the ball back.  With a few seconds left in the game, Kordell Stewart threw a ball over 70 yards in the air and it was caught in the end zone by Michael Westrbook. 

I'll never forget that game.  I was a Buffs fan, but even my friend Kenny went ballistic when it happened.  It was one play that will be remembered, but in actuality, the entire game was great.  To this day, I don't know if there was a single play in a game that has rivaled that one.

4. July 5, 2009 Wimbledon Championship

I awoke that Sunday early, just to catch the match.  Roger Federer was going to dispose of Andy Roddick in a little over an hour and I'd be on my way.  My birthday was the next day and this was going to be a little gift to myself.  Seeing the uber-cool Federer spank the smug brat Andy Roddick.   What took place over the next four plus hours was absolutely exhilarating.  If this was a top ten list, the 1980 Bjorn Borg/John McEnroe would have been on the list, but this one is the best I've ever seen.  Federer owned men's tennis and was facing the overrated, over-hyped Roddick and I was anticipating a beat down of epic proportions.  About an hour into the match, Roddick was up a set 7-5 and was playing like a man possessed.  The second set went to Federer in a tie breaker.  7-6 (8-6).  The third set went to Federer also, but again, it was a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-5).  I figured Roddick would crumble, but he didn't, he won the fourth set and in convincing fashion, 6-3.  They went back and forth in the final set and due to a no-tiebreaker rule in the fifth set the match went a little longer.  Federer ended up winning the final set 16-14.  It was also his record breaking 15th grand slam title.  The match broke the record for the most points scored in a final with 77. 

This was the kind of sporting event that brings you to tears.  Federer is my favorite player and I despite Roddick, but at the end, I felt for this guy like I've never felt for an athlete in my life.  You knew while watching it that the loser of that match would never really be the same.  I hate when people compares sports to war, but the trauma caused by this loss surely had to last with Roddick to this day.  For Federer, it just added to his legacy as the best player to ever play the game.

3.  January 1, 1991 - Orange Bowl

The 1990 season was the wackiest season ever for the Colorado Buffaloes.  They had won a game in which they were inadvertently given an extra down.  They played one of the hardest football schedules in the sports history and they leapfrogged the team they were playing in the Orange Bowl the last day of the season.  So going into the game there was a rare (before BCS) matchup of 1 vs 2 for the National Title.  During the game some crazy things happened.  Notre Dame went scored a touchdown, but the extra point was blocked.  Ironically, before the block, there was a note that the kicker was going for his, school record, 73rd consecutive extra point.  Before the half, Colorado's sensational quarterback Darian Hagan hurt his knee.  Colorado somehow managed to take a 10-9 third quarter lead and the teams put on an amazing defensive battle.  With less than a minute left, Colorado was forced to punt.  Raghib "Rocket" Ismael returned the punt 92 yards for a TD.  I remember watching and having this feeling of great sickness come over me.  A great game was going to be lost like this.  Then I heard Bill Walsh's voice, "There's a flag on the play."  The camera moved to the referee and he signaled that there was a clip on the play and the ball was coming back.  There was a sense of relief, but I knew there was still time.  Rick Mirer then threw a pass with second left that was intercepted by Deon Figures. The game was over!  National Champs!

Aside from being a CU fan, this game was special, because of the players that were in it.  I don't remember the exact count, but of the 48 starters (kickers and punters too) there was some staggering number of future NFL players.  I believe the number was 22.  It might be the only sporting event I've ever videotaped and re-watched beginning to end.  It was that good a game.

2. October 17, 2004 - The Comeback

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox gave me a world series championship.   I was at game six of the ALCS, otherwise known as the Bloody Sock game.  Each moment was special and I've seen tons of great baseball games, but the greatest ever was a few days before the Sock game.  It was game four and most had figured the Red Sox were done.  Trailing 3-0 in the series, with two games in Fenway and then the final two in NY, nobody thought it could happen.  It did and this game started it. 

Derek Lowe matched up against the Yankees El Duque.  The Yankees had scored in the first inning in all three previous games, but failed to do so in this one.  They did however take a 2-0 lead in the third when Alex Rodriguez smashed a home run over the monster.  In the fifth, the Sox scored three runs with two outs, capped off by a 2-run single to center by Big Papi.  The Yankees answered in the sixth with two runs and took a one run lead into the eighth.  With the 4-3 lead, the Yankees brought in the incomparable Mariano Rivera for a rare, two inning save. Stick a fork in the Sox, they are done most thought.   He blew through the Sox in the eighth, but gave up a lead off walk to Kevin Millar, who was quickly replaced by pinch runner Brian Roberts.  After multiple checks, Roberts went on the pitch and stole second.  Rivera was rattled and gave up a single later in the at-bat to Bill Meuller which resulted in a blown save and a tie score.  Both teams threatened to score in the 11th, but neither was able to.  In the bottom of the 12th, Manny Ramirez singled and Ortiz followed with a 2-run walk off home run.  I can not remember every being happier watching a baseball game.

1. February 22, 1980 - The Miracle on Ice

There is no other sporting event that had the global impact that this one did.  For anyone my age, this game was so much bigger than just a game.  The Cold War was at it's height and our views of Russia was very hostile.  They were in every way, the enemy.  A lot of people don't realize that this same Russian team beat a U.S. all-start team 6-0 just a few months before this game.  A lot of people forget that the Iran Hostage Crisis was going on and even before this game, there was never a feeling of patriotism throughout this country like this before.  A lot of people don't realize that this game was not shown live.  The game had ended one hour before it was aired at 8pm on a Friday night. A lot of people also forget that this was not the championship game and the Americans needed a come from behind win against Finland to secure the gold.  A loss, could have meant a fourth place finish and no medals.  A lot of people don't realize many things about this game and it's importance.  This was a little over 30 years ago and what made it so special is nobody knew the outcome, despite it being taped.  In today's world, it could never happen like this.

I remember finishing dinner and going upstairs with my parents.  None of us were hockey fans, but this was bigger than hockey.  The Russians scored first, but the American were able to fight back and tie.  With a little over two minutes left in the first, the Russians took the lead, but the Americans got a very lucky rebound and scored with one second left in the first period.  Many viewers are unaware than the irate Russian coach benched his starting goalie, Vladislav Tretiak.  Many consider Tretiak to be the greatest goalie to ever play the game.  The Russians came out and scored early in the second period and the score stayed 3-2 until about 11 minutes left in the game when the Americans tied the game on a power play goal.  A little over a minute later, Mike Euruzione scored the go ahead goal.  The next ten minutes the Americans fought  off the Russians attempts and with second left in the game, commentator Al Michaels, who had only done one other hockey game in his life, uttered the most famous line in sports history, "Do you believe in Miracles? 

I've enjoyed my teams successes and suffered with their failures.  I know things about the players and they families.  I know their numbers and their stats.  What made this so special was it didn't matter who these kids were.  They were nobodies before this game started and they are now household names.  We live in a cynical world and nobody is more cynical than I, but when I look back on that day, I remember goalie Jim Craig, wrapped in Old Glory and at that moment, I was never more proud of my country.  One silly hockey game, played by amatuers, brought an entire country together, if only for a moment.  That was the true miracle and on that winter evening, I believed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Quickie Blog: R.I.P. Joe Paterno

A few months ago, news of Joe Paterno's passing would have devastated me.  One of the most iconic football people of all time, he was the picture of everything a coach should be.  I worshiped Joe Pa and Penn St was one of my favorite teams.  A few months ago, when the news about Jerry Sandusky, a name that was always known to me, came out and ran through PSU like a tornado, I was floored.  I knew in my heart Joe Pa knew nothing.  Then I read the testimony of one of their coaches who witnessed one of the horrid acts committed by coach Sandusky.  I knew, just from the words, that this was true. 

Joe Paterno was a great man.  The key word is was.  He did well for more men than most of us can ever hope to.  He was a man that many look up to.  In every way, he was an inspiration.  The problem is he had an opportunity many of don't have.  He had an opportunity to save people and he chose to be silent.  He had an opportunity to act and he chose not to.  We will never know if it was fear, cowardice or just confusion.  A lot of people dislike me because I speak too much about things people don't want to hear.  A lot of people now dislike Joe Paterno for the exact opposite.

I have been a Penn State fan since as long as I can remember.  I have been a Joe Paterno fan since as long as I can remember. There is one thing I can remember and sadly, that is the day I stopped.  Joe Paterno taught a great number of young men good things.  In his darkest hour, he taught me too. He taught me that I have always been right and one should never be silent about anything that could hurt a child.  It's a cliche to say that children are our future, but imagine what your future would be like if you had to live with the past these kids endured?

R.I.P. Joe Paterno....you were a good man, but could have been great.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Snow Beneath My Feet

Some people like the feel of sand between their toes or to walk in the moist morning grass.  Some like to feel the heat of a warm bath as they first step in or the chill of the ocean's tide.  I love the feel of snow beneath my feet.  Now, I'm a little nuts and yes I took my shoes off for a second, but that's not what I mean.  I love the feeling and the sound of that fresh snow, just as it's falling.  The middle of the night when there are no sounds, but the crunch of it as you take your first step.  It's as if there is nothing else in the world, but you and the snow.  I love watching it float down through a street lite and the bright reflection off the ground. Untouched by any cars, it blankets the street.  The only other moments serene as this, are when one wakes to a morning drizzle from an outdoor porch, the gentle crackle of a dying fire or watching a loved one sleep.  There are so few simple pleasure in life as these. They remind us, well me, that no matter what, life is worth living.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quickie Blog: A Week Of Regrets

I have been in a funk the past week.  I have only been able to shake it for brief spurts, but it keeps coming back. In the back of my mind, I know what is bothering me, but there is no quick fix.  So I want to apologize to those I have hurt in the past.

I regret betting against the Giants.  Not because I know see them as a better team, but because I lost money.

I regret cursing at someone.  Not because curses are bad, but because they took me literally, when I thought I was joking.

I regret not being able to help a friend. Not because I love helping people move furniture, but because I was in pain and couldn't come up with a wacky lie.

I regret not calling my Dad earlier this week.  No funny joke here.

I regret getting mad at someone for ignoring me.  Not because I didn't feel they were ignoring me, but because I left myself open to them reminding me we talked for 40 minutes less than two days ago. I hate being wrong.

I regret having a two hour political debate this morning.  Not because I hate discussing politics, but I should have realized that arguing with room temperature IQ, right wing, racists is a waste of time.

I regret playing upwards of 200 games of words with friends.  Not because it's a waste of time, but because one of my friends kicks my ass daily!  It's killing me.

I regret having impure thoughts about my cousin.  Not because she's my cousin, but because I'm adopted and should have hit that back in the day.

I regret eating an entire loaf of bread in one day?  Not because of the carbs, but because I didn't have a nice Cabernet and some brie to go with it.

I regret telling someone I was thinking about them.  Not because I wasn't really thinking about them, but because I was thinking about them, their best friend and a whole lot of duct tape.

I regret not drinking all week.  Not because I wanted to go out, but it made my mundane life seem utterly pointless.

I regret not buying a cat.  Not because I needed a cat right away, but because there was a sale on cat food and I felt like I should share it with someone.

I regret spreading a rumor about someone on Facebook.  Not because I hurt anyone, but because their dead.

I regret not checking Wikipedia every day.  Not because it's so insightful, but so I could have missed it the other day.

I regret not smoking when I was younger.  Not because it was cool, but I'm envious of people who can cough 24/7 and say "I'm not sick at all."

I regret not fulfilling a promise to someone.  Not because I wanted to do what I said, but because I was fully prepared to hit them with a brick, pad my walls and cuff them to the radiator. 

Finally, I regret not being able to say a proper goodbye to someone.  They were already pregnant, so what's the worst that could have happened?

Lost In The Supermarket

Every week, sometimes twice, I head over to my local supermarket.  Usually I wait til I run out of everything before heading over, but many times I'm need of a certain item and need to restock.  Most people publicly dread the supermarket, but not me.  I freaking love it.  Every time I go it is like a grounded version of Cirque de Soleil.  You have creatures from all walks of life, all socioeconomic backgrounds and frankly largely varied intelligence levels. Those differences make my day.  Whether it be the shoppers or the employees, it is something to bare witness to.  In the next few paragraphs, I am going to summarize my last three trips, but wrap them into one cohesive story.  By cohesive I mean, I will let it flow like the roaring clusterfuck of a river it truly is.

I walked through the somewhat crowded parking lot.  The breeze chilled my cheeks.  I went over my short list again and again in my head.  I'm a guy, so to write it would be to admit, I have failed as a man.  I walked in and felt the euphoria. To me Stop & Shop is like a child walking into F.A.O. Schwartz, but toys have been replaced by boxes, cans and tables of fresh produce.  I stop briefly and pick up my small purple cart and gaze at the sea of purple and gold shirts.  I understand what it must be like to be at an LSU Tigers game and it's game time.

I make my way to the closest destination. Produce.  I grab two plastic bags and start to look over the vine ripened tomatoes.  They look good.  Firm, but not hard.  I throw a bunch of five or six into the bag, then slide over to the avocados. They are on sale today, 4/$5.  I'm saving $3, I'm in the zone.  I feel the first, a little give, into the bag.  I then search for three more, each a little firmer than the last, they will ripen at home.  A woman sees me pressing the last one and as it enters the bag. She says "you want them a little less firm."  I explain that I understand, but the fourth will not be eaten for a few days.  I glance across and see her holding oranges.  I stare directly at her breasts, ignoring the oranges and slowly raise my head.  I ask her "they're firm?"  She smirks, I smile, I walk away.

The thought of her breasts are jogged from my mind as I walk over to the red onions. And elderly woman stands with her cart blocking them as she looks at her list.  I take the time to glance around. a pretty blond, mid to late 30's enters.  She flips her head and her hair flies around.  She heads straight for the butter. She has a family and kids.  This is not an essential unless you do a lot of home cooking. The old lady moves and now I have to make my way past a middle aged man who looks like there might be something a little off.  I start to grab my onion, when a potato rolls against my foot.  I lean down and pick it up.  I hand it to the man, who immediately starts to raise his voice and point "it's not mine, it's not mine."  I place it back.  I turn to walk away...he picks the potato up.

I grab some cheddar and cream cheese.  Then walk to my brand of cottage cheese. It's not on sale. It is every other week. I'll pass this week.  I grab my 2% milk and ponder some grapefruit.  I pass.  I get to the end of the aisle and there is a line for cold cuts.  I am uninterested, but can't see the hummus.  No sale, I pass again.  I make my way past the next two aisles and then turn left.  I make my way down the aisle and come across a woman, pushing a cart. There's a baby bundled up and she sees me.  I know she's not interested, but I'm age appropriate.  She stops and walks around the cart to inspect a product. She's only about 5'5", but with the heals she's taller than me.  Black leather boots up past her knee, skirt barely coming down to meet the boots.  She bends down to inspect the item.  She knows I'm watching.  I know she's gotta baby to take care of and probably two more at school.  I walk by.  I know it bothers her.  This is her play time. The time she goes out and confirms she still has it.  Apparently it, isn't three kids and a husband, which is the it she really has.  I walk a few steps past.  I grab my coffee and some filters.  Three men are gawking now.  It doesn't matter, I ruined this aisle for her.

A rare occurrence.  I run into a guy I know. He immediately asks what I am doing there. I pause, he doesn't realize the error of his ways.  I glance at my items, "just picking up a few things."  He comments on my veggies and I commented on the fact nothing he had in his cart isn't microwavable and he has two kids and a wife.  We agreed to talk later and I was on my way.  I made my way to the paper good aisle and walked towards the toilet paper.  I started to grab a value pack of about 12 rolls and then noticed a very attractive younger woman walking down the aisle. She stopped to grab something and we made eye contact.  I clumsily put down the item and picked up a single roll and threw it in my basket and walked away, saying hi as I passed. There is always that awkward feeling that is so silly that you feel when buying certain things.  Did my move make her think I don't take shits?  I know she does, albeit not with the frequency I do, but in my mind, I thought two things.  She's either going to think I have a large family or I have IBS.  Either way, I was looking cooler than I would have.

I'm now in the frozen food aisle.  I don't usually like stuff like this, but a few months back, I wanted a quick fix and I deplore the local pizzerias in the area. I tried this one called Celeste.  To my surpise, it's actually very tasty.  They have a bunch of varieties and unlike other frozen pizzas, these actually have veggies that taste fresh.  The best thing about them is that they are only $1.25 and almost always on sale for $1.  I usually buy five or six and keep them for when I need a quick lunch or I'm not really hungry for dinner. At anywhere between 390-470 calories, they are also a decent diet solutionSo I walk to the freezer and take two and place them in my cart. All of the sudden, my body is shaken.  Someone has slammed into my shoulder and pushed me out of the way.  My initial reaction is it is my friend playing a joke. Then I turn and there is a large woman, in her 50's and she starts to grab the pizzas and throw them in her cart.  Startled I give her a puzzled look.  "Aren't these just the best?   You can't beat the taste compared to the others and for $1, you just can't beat them. Now they have mushroom, it's amazing.  I always buy ten, whether I need them or not."  I shake my head and start to chuckle.  I've just been physically removed from my spot and now this woman is explaining the wonders of Celeste Pizzas.  I had not option but to laugh.  I smiled at her and she smiled back, turned and walked away.  I gathered myself once again, filled my cart and headed to my next destination.  I was just completely mistreated and somehow this woman made my day.  Amazing.

I swung around the corner and now decided I needed to get out of there.  I grabbed some English Muffins and then walked to the other end and picked up a loaf of Italian bread.  I started to make my way towards the registers and I knew I had too many items for the express lane.  I glanced over and I had three choices.  Angry black girl who gets annoyed and makes you feel like you're bothering her?  Way too happy to be working older black woman who will stop checking items and chat with you?  Or would it be the older white woman who plays twenty questions that even your friends won't ask you.  I went for angry black girl, because she had the new I'm the biggest Glee fan ever teen bagging groceries.  A woman in front of me places her items on the belt and handles her antsy baby.  As her stuff starts to move, I place my items behind hers. A tall young man places his stuff behind mine.  As the woman in front of me is having her stuff bagged every so carefully, she looks at her daughter and says to the young gay kid "the rest is mine, can you just stuff it all in one bag?'  He smiles and says "I love jamming things in...and gives off an effeminate laugh.  He then turns to his angry coworker and yells "tonight I'm gonna Pah-Tay!"  I roll my eyes and she starts to check out my stuff. I walk over and go to give the kid a hand and all of the sudden I see stuff I didn't want. I tell her and she glances at the guy behind me and says "I thought you two were together."  Not sure how to take that I sat "No" and swipe my debit card.  I thank her, thank the kid and walk out.

As I walk home, I think about firm breast woman, old undecided lady, strange potato guy, cute blond soccer mom, the cold cut line, overly sexy for a mom shopping during the day chick, my I don't cook dad friend, the please don't know I shit girl, and finally the lovable staff and my not gay boyfriend.  As I put stuff away and make a sandwich, I think back to the few minutes I got to spend in Neverland and I smile.  I can't wait to return.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

NFL Playoff Predictions

At the beginning of the season I made a complete list of predictions.  Well as of right now, here's how it looks. I was right on seven of the 12 playoff teams.  I was right on four of the eight division winners and correct on three of the four teams to get a first round bye.  Not too shabby.  Especially considering Arizona sucked, SF came out of nowhere, Dallas, Philly and the Jets imploded and Denver shocked the world.  To put it in perspective, I did a lot better than SI's Peter King and he does this for a living.  and I still have both my AFC conference championship game participants left.  Although back in August I picked Baltimore to win. 

Now before I make my predictions. I would like to say I am currently 4-4 picking the playoff games heads up and we won't talk about versus the spread.  So here are my picks.  With some prop predictions.

New England over Baltimore 31-17
New England will come out with guns blazing and go up 21-7 first half.  They'll play a little more conservative in the second and a late Ravens TD makes the score look closer than it is. 
Brady will complete over 20 passes for over 300 yards and 3tds.
Ray Rice will rush for 80+ yards and have two touchdowns.

New York over San Francisco 24 -22
New York will frustrate SF with pressure, especially in the red zone forcing the Niner's to settle for field goals most of the day.  Giant will jump out to a 10-3 lead and never look back. 
Eli will have 300+ yards and two tds.
Alex Smith will struggle, but Gore should be able to punch one in and Akers will have 4FG.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Random & Very Personal Thoughts

I'm fairly convinced about six different people read this now.  I think my opinions, openness and occasional dickishness have turned some off.  I think my blogs about Santa and Jesus (they are technically the same, right?) get to people.  Well here are some things that are floating around my head, that I want to reveal about myself. Kind of a through the years thoughts.

When I was little, my parents put artwork up, but never once hung my report card on the fridge like so many.  The reason?  I was expected to and always got straight As.  To give me credit for what was expected would have devalued the achievement.  It made me realize that education is not a feat, but a requirement.

People laugh at my musical tastes now.  When I was about ten years old, the albums I listened to the most were Jesus Christ Superstar, AC/DC Back in Black, Pink Floyd The Wall, Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Hobbit.

At 13, I romantically kissed a girl for the first time. She was 16.  I was terrified. To this day, I am always terrified of that first kiss.  I also think kissing is more intimate than sex.

I do not speak to any of my five best friends from when I lived in Brooklyn (1970-1985).  I am friends with four of them on Facebook.  I still consider all of them great friends and love them dearly.

From the ages of 16-21, I would have rather gotten in a fight than had sex.  I loved fighting.  It wasn't about winning or losing, it was the adrenaline rush.  Some people need to jump out of a plane or fly down an icy slope to do this.  In my life, I think I've been in at least a hundred fights.  Don't think, even once it was with someone smaller than me.  That "rush" all stopped one day when someone pushed me and I literally destroyed them.  At the time, I felt I was justified, but after that moment, I can count the actual fights I've been in on one hand.

When I was about 26 years old and girlfriend broke up with me.  I never told anyone, not even her, but that night, I took some pills and washed them down with some rum.  I slept for about 20 hours straight.  I don't consider it a suicide attempt, because I knew it wasn't enough to kill myself.  I just wanted to escape.  I woke, up and realized it was stupid.  She is one of the few people to this day I can confide in.

I don't think I have ever been physically scared in my life.  I've almost slipped off a 22 story building.  I have almost drowned twice.  I've been in a few car accidents and in these cases, I don't think my heart beat ever raised once.  That being said, I think when I found out my mother had cancer you could have hooked me up to an EKG an thought I was running a marathon.

I loved my mother's parents more than anyone could ever love anyone in the world.  I probably loved them during my teens, more than my parents.  They were both, about a year apart told they only had a short time to live.  They went into a nursing home and lived for almost ten years.  I didn't visit them once, the entire time. I couldn't bear to see them and them not know who I was.  This tore at me for years until someone I didn't even like at the time heard me tell the story and confronted me. He told me how hard that must have been and how they would have understood. That person is a great friend and it allowed me to move on.  I tried to return the favor to he and his kids when his wife and their mother died a few years ago.  He saw me well after that and said my letter was the most touching thing he and his family had received during their grief. 

About five years ago, I broke someone's heart. To this day, it is probably the biggest mistake I ever made, but I'm happy I made it. I truly believe she is better off now and has a much more fulfilling life than she would have ever had with me.  She is the best person I've ever met and I say that with no hesitation.  We're still very good friends, although it took a while, but I value that and I'm happy to have her in my life.  I just regret the initial pain I caused her.

Since then, I have had my heart broken twice.  It sucks. The feeling is like no other.  The person who has been most supportive is the one who's heart I broke.  She wishes nothing but happiness for me and is sincere.  I don't deserve the friendship she gave me and at times I wonder, with the way I've lived my life, if I'll find that happiness.  She assures me I will.

Finally.  Some of you might have heard of Jim Valvano.  In 1993, while dying of cancer, he made a speech at a sports awards show called the ESPY's.  Every one of my friends saw this and everyone was touched.  During the speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuoVM9nm42E he makes a statement about what we should every day.  He says we should laugh, we should spend time in thought and we should have our emotions bring us to tears.   I'm forty-one years old.  I laugh every single day.  I also try to make others laugh.  I spend lots of time in thought and hope and try to make my friends do this. I also cry every day.  Sometimes tears of sorrow, sometimes of happiness and sometimes just because I am overcome with some sort of emotion.  Valvano explains how if you do this, that's a full day.  Most guys wouldn't want to admit this, but then again, I'm not most people. 

Maybe some of this will be viewed as too personal. Maybe some is silly.  Maybe it's too serious. I don't know.  I never started this blog for others. I started it as therapy.  So if you're one of the six or seven people who read this.  You now know even more about me.  Enjoy!

Temporary ADD

It's been almost six weeks since I watched a movie.  It's been about four weeks since I've sat down and read a magazine article.  The pile is building up, but I keep thinking that reading about Alabama's victory might be a little boring ten days after they won.  It's been two weeks since I watched anything more than an hour on TV without getting up to check something online or talk to someone.  Last night, I spoke on the phone with someone for two hours.  The conversation wasn't necessarily deep or about anything in particular.  It was just two people shooting the shit, as they say.  I hung up and did some stuff online and then headed to bed.  I didn't sleep long.  I never do.  I seem like the Energizer Bunny, but without any real energy. 

My mind is in a million places right now.  It's with a friends mom who is sick. It's with my father and my grandmother.  It's with my brother and his wife and the fact we have put off getting together for three weeks now.  It's with a friend who continues to struggle with issues out of her hands.  It's with a girl I've never met. It's with a friend who means a lot and her struggles.  It's with friends I don't see anymore and friends I don't want to see anymore.  It's with my own day to day struggles and with my day to day triumphs.  It's with the pile of clothes on my floor.  It's with the mail I haven't opened.  It's with a lot of things.  It's with looking too far in to the future, while being stuck in the past.  It's about hoping love finds me, when I know the one I want is lost.  It's with moving on, while stuck in reverse.  It's about thinking about dinner with my morning coffee. It's about dreaming of Sunday on a Tuesday afternoon.  It's about preparing for Spring, while forgetting about Winter.

One of these days, I'm going to have to slow down my mind, speed up my body, and get this under control.  Maybe it starts with watching a movie.  Who knows?

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Curse

A lot of people know about my insomnia, know about the ups and downs in my life.  I'm pretty much an open book and that is fine with me.  I've never been one to have secrets.  I just feel that if people don't like me for who I am, warts and all, then I don't need them in my life.  There are times where I do question the things I tell people, but I feel there is a reason for it.  Many times I feel something I say might make someone feel better about what they have gone through or maybe it's something that might make people more comfortable confiding in me.  I don't honestly know why I do it, it's just who I have become.

Recently I got together with some high school friends and we were reminiscing about some stuff that happened back in school.  Everyone seemed astonished at how much I remembered.  Later that week, while I spoke to someone else they were shocked by my retention of a somewhat insignificant event.   In many ways, I love this ability, because it brings clarity to some situations that need it.  In others, it's a curse.  It's the thing that keeps me awake at night.

I recently saw someone who I thought was an ex-girlfriend.  I hadn't really thought about this person in a while, but immediately, I was overcome with this awful feeling.  I was confused, because I was totally over this person, but for some reason the emotions came running back.  It ended up not being her, but the feelings still lingered.  Then, a few moments later, I ran into another, more recent ex and was overcome again.  The problem isn't that we aren't friends, I consider her a great friend, but I felt overwhelmed.  Both relationships meant a lot to me and were over before they got started, but the problem was I kept thinking of vivid moments.  I ended up ignoring the person and truly hurt their feelings.  I felt and still feel terrible about this. Sincerely awful.  This is why I consider it a curse.

I feel this curse hampers my ability to let things go, to adjust to change and to move on.  When I am mad at someone, my constant memories, remind me not only of what happened, but exactly how I feel.  This has caused me to hold onto grudges for long periods of time.  Sometimes forever.  It  also clouds my mind when the memories are good, because I think of the touches and the smells and fall in love with these people all over again.  I think about times when I was younger trying to impress a girlfriend by cooking her dinner.  The other day, I was walking home on a cold night and it reminded me of a funny tryst I had with an old girlfriend.  I see pictures online of old friends and remember special times I've had with them and it makes me want for those simpler times.  I see a pretty face and remember waking up next to that person.  As I lay down alone those memories haunt me and make me wonder where I went wrong.  The sad thing is many times, I can't remember those reasons why. 

Even know, I'm sitting listening to the sounds of rainwater dripping on a metal gutter and it reminds me of a wonderful evening that I will never get to share again.  I look at a piece of furniture and think back to a silly moment in my life.  I look at a pair of boots and think about my younger days slaving away on freezing cold roofs and loving my life.   I look at a small fan and think about laying in a tiny camp bed, listening to my kids whispering about girls.  I look at an item, I use every day and think about how one day, this item made my entire life brighter.  The problem isn't that I want these memories to fade away, it's that I remember all the emotions that I felt when they happened and I want to feel that way again.  Knowing I can't make these memories my curse.  One I will just have to live with.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Quickie Blog: A Moment

Have you ever shared a moment with someone, not romantically, but just a nice moment, that stayed with you?  It's one of those moments that you appreciated and were happy you had, but in the back of your mind you knew the other person thought it was insignificant. Well, I had one of those moments years ago and it left a lasting impression on me and made me look at the person I shared it with differently.  Recently I was talking to that person and they mentioned that moment.  We had never discussed it before that day.  It made me cherish that moment even more and knowing that it mattered to them, means the world to me.  It's these little things that make life great.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy 70th Mom

On January 13, 1942 a very special person was born.  Wendy Diane was born to Henry and Fan Berzine.  She grew up to be a tall, slender, beautiful woman. She married my father in 1966.  I was adopted in 1970 at four days old and my brother in 1980 at 2 days.  For 62 years, she was a beacon of light in a sometimes dark world.  She not only supplied the glue that bonded out immediate family, but that of every aunt, uncle and cousins family.  Upon her death, the bonds between families was split.  She was that important to everyone.  Most importantly, she was everything in the world, to my father, my brother and myself.

Her final years was one filled with pain and suffering.  She worked almost up until the end.  Health care was a necessity as cancer riddled her body.  She fought hard and on many occasions won the battles, but inevitably, as like so many others, she lost the war. A woman who always handled herself with a certain elegance, it was hard to see her body fall apart right before us.  In her final days, she maintained her sense of humor, her compassion and most of all, she held us together, when we easily could have lost it.  That was who she was.

I remember birthdays in our house.  A monumental affair.  My mother would usually cook our favorite meal and always made us feel like we were kings for the day.  Gifts were always thoughtful in our house.  I  remember one birthday, she had mentioned wanting a certain perfume to a friend.  I went out and looked for it.  I found it and was shocked when I saw the price.  An ounce cost $110.  I bought it without hesitation and couldn't wait to give it to her.  We had our meal and I handed her the gift. She opened it up and was astonished.  She thanked me and kissed me on the forehead (something she did every day).  I noticed this look of concern on her face and was a little upset.  We had cake and she blew out the candles, explaining, as she did nearly every year, that her wish had already come true, because we were there.  My father and I cleaned the table and did the dishes.  They were going to watch a movie and I retired to my bedroom.  As I settled in, there was a knock on the door. My mother came in.  Sat down next to me and said "why are you upset."  I explained that I saw her reaction and felt I had got the wrong thing.  She laughed and said, "This is why we women, don't let you men buy us stuff.  When I say perfume, I wanted the eau de toilette, which just to let you know, costs about $45 and comes in about a 4oz bottle.  You got me the actual perfume, which is more concentrated and being I work in retail I know how much you spent.  You're crazy."  I asked her if she liked it and she said she loved it.  The thing is, if I had known this, I still would have bought her the perfume.  The money wasn't the issue.  It never was, even when none of us had any.

Today, she would have been 70 years old.  I can't even imagine what I would have got her for this. There would definitely have been a card reminding her about her advanced years.  I probably would have attempted to cook or with the help of my father treated her to whatever meal she wanted.  I would have done anything to make her happy.  Over the years, I've met lots of people, fallen in love with some and bonded with others.  I have always been someone who is open, but it's my mother's death that has made me the way I am. An open book.  I used to be a very private person, seldom sharing my thoughts or emotions with anyone.  My mother was the only one who knew the true me. She loved me and guided me.  Knowing my stubbornness, she allowed me to fall, but was always there to pick me up and never said "I told you so."  She allowed me to grow on my own, but made sure I had proper guidance.  Don't mistake being there for someone with guidance.  My mother showed me a path, one that I seldom took in my teen and early twenties, but was quick to show me other paths when I lost my way.  The day she died, I lost my guiding light.  I'm still searching, for even a glimmer.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Panic

A few months back, I was going through a rough patch and someone came along and things got better. One morning I awoke and laid in bed for a while.  Things were looking up.  I was genuinely happy and wanted to do something nice for someone else.  I waited til she woke up and went downstairs and started to make breakfast.  I was thinking about how nice the day before was and felt very calm.  Life was good.

I had some bacon cooking and the kitchen started to get warm.  I opened the back door to get some air.  I took the bacon out and put some toast in the toaster.   I noticed a few beads of sweat gathering on my brow.  I cracked an egg and started to make some omelets.  I took a step back and sweat began to drip from my head onto the floor.  Suddenly, I notice that my chest and back were soaked.  I had this feeling of dizziness, so I sat down.  My shirt was soaked through.  I took it off and prepared the plate.  My hands began to shake.  I tried to hold the plate of food and the coffee without spilling it.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to do.  I quickly ran upstairs, delivered the food and said I'd be right back.  I sat and tried to eat my food.  My hands were trembling to the point where food was falling all over the table.  The sweat was literally pouring off of my.  My entire body was soaked.  I tried to finish my meal and put the dishes into the sink and trying not to drop them I was somehow able to wash them.  My chest felt tight and I was disoriented.   I prayed she didn't come down stairs.  I was sure I was about to die.  I sat down again and tried to steady my hands.  I breathed slowly and closed my eyes.  Seconds later the tightness released from my chest, the sweat stopped running and I slowly felt at ease.  I took a few more breaths and headed upstairs.  I snuck into the bathroom and , dried myself off.  I took a few more breaths and exhaled deeply.

As I entered the bedroom, I was ashamed.  I felt embarrassed.  She asked me what was wrong. I laid down on the bed and just said I needed to relax.  I then explained that I thought I had a panic attack.  I had no concerns for my health, but there was such a feeling of guilt.  I felt as if I showed a vulnerability that I myself didn't know existed within me.  I can't explain the feeling, but I know it was was one of shear panic.  Later in the day, I was home alone.  I showered and thought about the day.  I felt as if I had lost a part of me.  I've always been able to keep my feelings and fears within, but this was not to be controlled.  I also can't explain the emotional after affects.  Complete shame.

Since that day, things haven't been as good and that feeling has come back twice.  Ironically both times were at times of complete calmness.  Once I was with a large group of people and I had to sign my name.  I couldn't write.  I was asked to print my name on an attendance form and there was no way. I scrawled something that vaguely looked like my name.  It dissipated almost immediately and I felt fine shortly after.  I never want to feel that way again and I wouldn't wish the feeling on anyone.  The only emotion worse than sorrow is helplessness.  That bright sunny summer morning was perfect in every other way, but for about five or six minutes, it was one of the darkest moments of my life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Insomnia vs. I Can't Sleep

A lot of people claim to have insomnia, but you have no idea what it is like to only be able to sleep when you're body feels like it is about to shut down.  During the week of Christmas I slept a total of 23 hours.  Six of them coming one evening.  So for the other six nights I slept a total of less than three hours per night.  Combine that with the fact that I took seven hours of naps during the day and that is now down two hours per night.  Pretty scary when you think about it. 

A lot of people offer suggestions and they have worked, so I value them.  The thing is, even with these, I sleep maybe five hours a night.  Recently. I've actually felt my body breaking down. I've been suffering from some physical and mental issues, which have at times been a little scary.  For someone who is of sane mind, to hallucinate due to fatigue is a scary thing.  One morning recently, I started to doze and a noise woke me up.  I looked at the ground and saw a bunch of cords that appeared to be snakes sliding across my floor.  I rubbed my eyes and looked again and was sure they were snakes.  I had to convince myself this was not the case and slowly they became cords again.  I had not been drinking and this was quite scary.  I finally fell asleep and woke up thinking I had slept for three or four hours.  I looked at the clock and 13 minutes had past.  I then couldn't fall asleep again for 26 hours.

The worst part of insomnia is you're never really tired, but your body is.  My mind appears to be alert as ever, but I can feel the aches and pains in my body multiplying.  I know it's unhealthy and I'm well aware of the health risks, the serious risks of not resting one's body.   I try to sleep, but to no avail and laying in bed only wakes me up more.  Usually I'll do something until I feel myself fading and then quickly jump into bed.  Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.  In the summer I went for walks and that occasionally helped, but the cold winter air usually refreshes me so I've stopped.  I'll find something, but who knows.

This gets me back to the subject line. It drives me crazy when someone who normally gets eight or nine hours, has a stressor and only sleeps six and cries insomnia.  I take it a little personal, because I remember those days.  I remember sleeping like a log.  I miss those days.  I miss waking and seizing the day feeling on top of my game, both in body and mind.  Now on those rare occasions I sleep more than four hours, I feel deflated.  Insomnia has changed me chemically.  People who sleep really don't get it.  When you're biggest problem you've ever faced is what color Uggs to wear with your outfit, I don't expect you to understand insomnia.  There was a time recently where I did sleep.  Not long periods of time, but peacefully.  The touch of another human being does wonders for your relaxation, although I'm sure she wouldn't agree, as I move around quite a bit in my sleep. Even then it was four, maybe five hours of peacefulness.  The waking hours brought on stress, but certain things in your life have a calming affect.  I remember years ago, sleeping for nine or ten hours and waking to an empty bed, breakfast waiting!  Good times, but too short lived in retrospect. 

I'll conquer my sleeping demons somehow.  I always manage to survive that which knocks me down.  I may not be able to beat it completely, but I'll adapt and make it a manageable problem.  I may use pills, I may add some extra exercise to my routine and hopefully I'll find that special someone to put my arm around at night.  Maybe all three.  Either way, I'll get through it.  It's not bad habits, it's insomnia.  There is a difference.  A huge difference. Sleep walk a mile in my slippers and you'll know.

Greatest Personal Sports Moments: Part 1

I rarely played organized sports.  For lack of a better reason, let's just say I was a bit of a dick in high school.  I hated authority and I always felt like playing was caving in to the man. My high school in the city had a basketball team, but I was 5'9" and white and 13 in 9th grade and the average freshman in that school was 15 and about 6 feet and usually a little more culturally geared towards playing ball.  That's the PC way of saying they were black.  I was always good at basketball and held my own in gym, but was too young to play varsity.  So my entire high school sports career consisted of about three weeks of football practice before quitting due to a freak injury in gym class and two JV games, one of which I got benched for throwing a ball at the head of one of my teammates.

So what could I possibly have as a highlight with such a brief "career?"  Well a few years after high school I was attending Westchester Community College and saw a flier for a baseball tryout.  I figured this would be fun.  I had coached little league and during a seminar with the local baseball coach, the coach asked me to take a swing at a ball on a tee.  I was about 21 at the time.  He said he wanted everyone to watch and he'd break down the mistakes. I walked up, took one swing and drove the ball across the gym.  The ball sailed high and smacked into the wall with a loud thud.  He asked me to swing again. Same result.  A third time and he said to hold on.  In front of the entire class, he said "you're an ass. I coached a lot of great players, some of who even got drafted by major league baseball and top colleges and that's probably the best swing I've seen.  Not one error I can point out.  We'll talk later about you not playing for me."

I don't remember how old I was when I tried out, but I know I was mid 20's.  The coach came out and there was a buzz surrounding the returning team.  Apparently, they had lost the junior college world series and were returning all but two players.  So there we sat.  Sixty players, many all-county high schoolers and me and one other guy from Eastchester.  Long story short, we were the two that made it.  During the fielding we dominated.  During the throwing neither of us we're the best, but we were accurate.  During the hitting, I was crushing the ball, but it was being thrown about 60 mph.  My fellow Eastchesterian was roping line drives into the outfield with surgeon like precision.  So then came the scrimmage. I was sent into right field.  In the first inning the leadoff guy came to the plate and I was warned by the CF (a returning player) that he had serious wheels.  He was a right so I shaded him towards center.  Big mistake.  He blooped a single right down the line.  I was able to run it down and get the ball in before he could stretch into a double.  The next guy bunted and sacrificed him to second. The coach yelled at the batter and said "why didn't you do that in the world series?"  Everyone laughed.  The next batter was number three.  I saw the center fielder back up.  He said, move back, he's a monster.  I backed up, but only slightly.  Knowing a ball in front would definitely score the run.  The first pitch he hits a ball a mile high and slightly in from where I was.  I knew the runner was going to be off.  I caught the ball about 275 feet from home plate, had my momentum turned towards third base and as I caught it I quickly threw as hard as I could.  The ball was a seed, taking one hop and landing in the third baseman's glove.  The runner stood up and dusted himself off and called time out.  The coach, laughed and said "yeah right, have a seat."  He tried to convince his coach he was safe, but I nailed him.  I was feeling good about myself, but this was just the beginning.

My first at bat I walked on four pitches and then almost got picked off first.  It was embarrassing.  The second at bat, I was the leadoff batter and the coach said "last at-bat, make it count."  The pitcher, whose name escapes me was later drafted by the Kansas City Royals and while never making it to the pros, I did hear he made it to Triple-A.  He was a huge lanky left and had an incredible curveball.  I knew I couldn't hit it.  First pitch, big curve which I swung and missed by about three feet.  Frustration set in.  I knew it was coming.  Second pitch, he throws another.  I swung around my eyes and the ball bounced on the plate.  He was laughing. I was livid.  I step into the box and I knew I couldn't hit it.  The fielders all but sat down.  I called time and walked out.  I tapped my cleats and walked a few steps towards the mound.  I stared at the pitcher and yelled "hey pussy, you know you can't throw anything by me, so keep throwing that candy ass shit.  Show some balls and throw the heat."  I stepped back in the box and the catcher goes "you have no idea what you just did.  Here it comes." My first thought was he was throwing right at my head.  I figured it would hurt but I'd be on base.  I got set.  He wound up and let go of what I was later told was mid 90's heat.  Right on the outside of the plate.  I own the outside of the plate.  I swung and caught it flush and drove it into right field. The ball rose and I knew it was close to going over the fence, but this was a tryout.  I took off as fast as I could and rounded first base just as the ball crashed against a sign hanging in the gap that read 354'. I was more than halfway to second when I saw the fielder get the ball.  Fuck it I thought.  I rounded second and headed for third.  I could see the third base coach screaming for me to slide.  I figured he'd hit the cutoff and the ball would be thrown to the inside of the bag, so I slid to the outside.  Safe by about an inch.  I got up dusted myself off an looked at the pitcher.  If memory serves me right, he told me to go fuck myself.  I was then taken out and the catcher came to me and said "we're a team here, no place for that, but I'm pretty sure, you just made the team."

About an hour later, the scrimmage was over.  The coach called me and the other guy from Eastchester.  He said congrats.  He then told us to drop all but two classes, because he didn't carry full time students on his team.  I explained, I was there for my degree.  He said "you have til noon tomorrow to figure out what you want." The next day at noon, I went to his office. Thanked him for the opportunity and explained I was there for an education.  He smiled  and said "no worries, you weren't playing this year anyway, maybe next.  Plus, you just made that moose from Pelham's day. He's gonna be here for years."  He said "you must have killed it in HS, shocked I never heard about you."  "I never played skip."  He shook his head.  "Hate kids like you." 

Silly, but one of the most rewarding sports moments of my life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

That Time Of Year

As many know, I run an after school club at Quaker Ridge School in Scarsdale.  I've been doing it now for nearly 12 years.  I've worked in other schools, camps and programs and I've always held up a tradition of giving lollipops out on the last class.  When I first started I used to give mini chocolate bars, but one day, I gave them out and a mother complained because her son had a peanut allergy and said I was irresponsible.  I then turned to Charms blow pops and did that for two years.  Then one day a mother told me she thought I was out of line giving children candy with gum inside, because her child is forbidden to chew gum.   Ever since, I have gone to Dum Dum pops.  I figure, it is candy, but they are small, so no harm.  I usually give three to my sports kids and five to my tennis kids. 

So today, like I've done, what feels like hundreds of times, I stopped class about three minutes early and gave them out. I tell the kids at the beginning of the class that I will hand them three and if they want to exchange they have to trade with their classmates, as I don't have time to let each kid select their three.  As is always the case, I have a handful of kids come up saying they didn't like the flavors they received and wanted something different. I tell them to trade.  I also give out one to each sibling who might come in the gym with their parents to pick up their brother or sister. 

So today, my class of 17 was eagerly awaiting their treats.  I called them up one by one and handed them their three lollipops.  Almost immediately the complaints and attempts to trade started.  Seventeen children, two thank yous.  Two!  Last year, out of 56 kids, I got three.  Of the two this year, one was prompted by a parent and one was done on the child's own.  During this moment that looked like an auction at a county fair, a mother approached me.  Her son is new to the school and she was unaware of my tradition.  She watched in horror as the kids complained and begged for exchanges.  She said, "You are too kind, this is appalling.  You don't have to do this and none of them seem grateful.  Typical Scarsdale, they feel entitled."  I laughed and gave her a quick, "this is actually pretty good." One kid, although he didn't thank me, immediately walked over to his sister (before I could offer) and handed her one, then asked his mother if she wanted the other.  Manners might be lacking towards me, but at least he did a nice thing. 

It always shocks me that the children don't thank me.  I remember I taught a class in Rye at the Milton School years ago.  Twenty two kids, about 16 of the children were Japanese.  Every single child, every one, thanked me.  No parents in the gym and all of them.  When I was six or seven years old, if someone handed me something as a treat and didn't thank them, my mother would have taken it out of my hand, handed it back to the person and would say "thank you for your generosity, but he doesn't deserve it."  I thank people for things that are expected.  It's the way I was brought up.  The funny thing is the people who don't are usually the haves and those of us who show respect and courtesy are generally the have nots.  It's the way the world works.

Many parents have told me I should stop this tradition, due to the lack of respect.  I've considered it, but the lollipops have become such a tradition that even some of the teachers have joked when they see me with the bags.  I do it, because for the most part they are great kids. We have fun and they deserve some recognition for their efforts.  I remember last year, I had a class of fifth graders (which is unheard of).  They had been with me every year since kindergarten and one of the kids thanked me and said "I don't know what I'm gonna do next year after school.  I've gone to your class every year for six years, it's gonna be weird.  Plus, we won't get lollipops!"  Made me realize that despite the older guys being wise asses, they value our time.  I recently saw a kid who is about fifteen.  I hadn't seen him in six years, but the first thing he said to me?  "Do you still give out lollipops?"  I laughed and realized then, that the little gesture is going to keep going, regardless of how many thank yous I get.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I Hate NY Sports Fans

Yesterday I sat at the Piper's Kilt watching the football games.  To the left of me were three grown men wearing  Giants jerseys.  Don't get me started on grown men wearing jerseys, as that's a whole other issue I have. During the course of the game they rooted and cheered when the Giants did something good, but they also did something that I am starting to believe is strictly a New York fan thing.  They rooted for penalties.  Not when penalties happened, but on every single incompletion Manning threw they screamed there should have been some sort of penalty.  Every time Bradshaw or Jacobs ran for now gain, they wanted a face mask.  Every time their lineman just missed a sack, they screamed they were held.  After the game, I made an obnoxious comment about how if they stayed they would see me cheer my team on, but at no point would they hear me scream for a penalty.  To me that is chicken shit.

I think this all started in 1996.  The Yankees were playing the Baltimore Orioles in game one of the American League Championship.  Derek Jeter hit a fly ball to right field and as the right fielder was backing up to the wall to catch it, a 12-year-old boy reached over and snatched the ball.  The umpire, standing only a few feet away ruled it a home run.  The hit tied the score and the Yanks eventually won in the 11th.  What if this hadn't had happened.  What if the batter was called out, as he should have been and the Yanks lost.  Most times the team that wins game one wins the series.  Winning game one on the road and the odds increase even more.  So that game, which might have looked insignificant at the time was probably the catalyst for the series.  The Orioles never looked the same and the Yanks took full advantage.  In the media the kid was praised and Yankees fans loved it.  They yelled about home field advantage and how they are the best fans in the world.  It was ironic, because you hadn't heard a peep from them since 1981 before that year.  They went on to one of the best runs in baseball history, but it all started, because of that play.  The thing that always got me angry was that there was a feeling of entitlement that was going around.

During this stretch, I got more abuse than you can imagine.  Being a Red Sox fan it was par for the course, but this sometimes got brutal. The only thing that saved me in the sports world was the Broncos winning two consecutive Super Bowls in the late 90's.  Even then Giants fans gave me shit about 1986 and Jets fans muttered some silliness about Gang Green, who didn't win anything.

As the years have gone on every NY team has been thrown in my face and aside from the Yankees, the reality is they have all pretty much sucked.  The Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and while I am not a Pats fan, I can't help but feel that the stars were aligned on that night, because everything leading up to that spelled doom for the Giants. The Jets have done nothing, the Mets have made one World Series and got smoked by the Yankees.  The Knicks, Rangers and Islanders have all languished in mediocrity, but somehow their fans all talk shit. 

While I agree that the bottom line is championships, winning during the season should count for something.  When my Broncos made the playoffs, Jets fan were convinced their team was better.  How can you be better when my team beat you and we're still playing.  This week the Broncos won an incredible game against the Steelers.  What do Jets fans come back with?  Let's see if you can beat New England!  So we make the playoffs, you don't. We win our first game, you're watching on TV.  We have a chance to be one game from the AFC championship and you guys are thinking about your draft picks.  How was that a better season.  Your QB has a lifetime winning pct almost identical to Tebow in the regular season and if you include the playoffs, but he's serviceable and ours sucks.  The arguments are laughable.

Next weekend there will be a game between the Giants and Packer and another between the Broncos and Patriots.  I can guarantee you there will be good and bad plays in both.  There will be good and bad calls in both.  There will be lots of yelling and lots of cheering, but I can also guarantee one other thing.  Every ball that isn't caught will be a penalty in the eyes of Giants fans.  Every near sack will be a hold.  Every single time a play doesn't go the Giants way, it will be a conspiracy and when my team experiences the same fate, I will frown and then move on.  There will be no yelling or screaming.  I won't say the refs cost me the game. I won't say the fix is in.  I'll also be wearing big boy clothing and not adorning a Jersey with some other grown mans name on it.  I'm a fan, but it's a sport, and while I'm obsessed with the game, I find it hard to worship a man who makes millions of dollars to do what I'd give ten years of my life to be able to do every weekend with my friends.