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Showing posts from January, 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 re…

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 J…

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 jo…

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 - T…

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 brownston…

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 read…

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 n…

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 t…

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 f…

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 wh…

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.  …

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 …

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 …

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 terrifi…

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 thre…

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 …

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.

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 f…

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 wil…

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 Oriol…