Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Coincidence ? Higher Power? You Decide!

One of the very interesting things about the relationship between MY WIFE and me is that both of our fathers were born on the same day in the same year. They were also raised relatively close to each other - blocks apart, basically - in the Forest Hills section of Boston. That MY WIFE and I didn't meet until some 32+ years later, and then via an introduction by my mother, makes it all the more interesting.

I mention that fact because today is the birthday for both of our late fathers; also because I have a piece in today's Boston Herald that I want you to go and take a look at. You could do so by clicking here.

MY WIFE's father

My Father

She & Me

But, first, I didn't really explain how this ties together. Sorry. You see, the piece that's in the paper today stars my late dad. It was originally slated to appear on Friday of this week, but my editor decided to move it up to today. September 30th. My father's birthday.

My editor had no idea it was my father's birthday. I did not suggest that it run today; I was happy as a clam to just have the piece run, period, any time she chose. But, she moved it and...

Well, I'm a Christian, so I do believe in a higher power. I believe all things do tie together in some way, although I suspect none of us really will understand the nature and scope of those ties until we move on from this life. But, things like these are just irresistible for the mind to chew on, no?

Soon, with more better stuff.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Here I Am Again! Let's Go Someplace Else!

Years ago, MY WIFE and I were watching Mister Rogers with my niece. We asked her if she liked him. She said "No".

Since the two of us were big Mister Rogers fans, we were shocked. I mean, how could anyone - especially a child - not like Fred Rogers? He was gentle, kind, loving, caring, soft-spoken, the slightest bit endearingly clumsy and he told everyone that they were wonderful and unique. So we had to ask her "Why?"

She said, "Oh... He's nice enough, but as soon as you get to his place he makes you go someplace else."

She had a point. Once he had come in the door and sung his greeting, Fred would often say, "I want to show you such-and-such. Come along to (some person's house or place of business)." And then he'd take you there even if, like our niece, you felt it was impolite to be invited to somebody's house and then have the person who lived there take you elsewhere whether you wanted to go or not.

Well, all of this is a roundabout way of telling you I'm pulling a Fred Rogers on you. I have a piece in today's Boston Herald and I'd like you to read it. So, come on! Let's go to the Boston Herald!

(If you feel I've been impolite, I apologize. If you'd rather read about Fred Rogers, I'm OK with that. But I do have a piece in the Herald, so... please??? Next time I come to your place, you can tell me where to go!)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

15 Goofy Photos (Again)

[I posted the first photograph you see here on Facebook this past Thursday, as part of the "Throwback Thursday" thing that so many do there. It garnered remarks such as "Adorable!" and "You were darling!" and "Too damn cute!" I figure that gives me a right to once again publish this entire piece in which the photo originally appeared. You will soon see that I am neither adorable nor darling nor cute. What I am, is goofy.  Have a few laughs at my expense and you're welcome.]

I have a few shoeboxes at home full of old photographs. I often go through them, looking for something that will spur a memory for a story, and while I was searching for some Christmas photographs, I...

Well, I think I have to face the truth (and, with a face like mine, the truth had better look out.) I am some kind of goofy bastard. At least, if these 15 photographs were the only evidence presented to a jury, I certainly wouldn't be acquitted of the charge. Taken as a whole (and they should probably be buried in one) these pictures belie any claims I might previously have made concerning studliness, athleticism, intelligence, good looks, the ability to dress myself, and just general good taste. They are the 15 photographs that will not be showing up in the glossy centerfold when my biography gets published.

Since a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, I suppose I should just shut up now and let you see them. If I had any brains, of course, I'd burn them. But, as the photos themselves will show, I don't. Here goes!

As you can see, in the photo that graces the very top of this post, I had some misgivings right from the start about allowing myself to be photographed. That showed promise, insofar as my future IQ scores were concerned. This photo shows that I still had a bit of well-founded reticence. However, it also shows... heck, I don't have any idea what else it shows. You can't see the back of the photo, of course, but My Mom wrote on it "Mickey Mouse (Jimmy) Halloween". I guess she included the parenthetical just in case anyone might have thought it was the real Mickey Mouse.

Continuing with the Halloween theme, we see me dressed up as a... uh... traffic cone from a bad Walt Disney acid trip? Actually, if this were a beer bottle costume, I think I could pass for one of the Seven Little Duffs, possibly Sleazy. In any case, I am now allowing my face to be seen in public. This is not good news for the public.

Here we see me desperately trying to force a smile while I hold two of my baby cousins. "Hold" is just the closest relative term, of course, as you can see me stretching out my hands to actually avoid such a thing. I am not a baby person; never have been. I prefer not to know children until they are at least somewhat ambulatory, and I really prefer waiting until they can talk. And I always fear that something horrific will happen if I have to hold a baby. As evidenced by this photo, I have no idea how to hold one. Why somebody thought this would be a good thing to take a photo of, I have no idea. I especially like the precariously positioned iron over the head of my cousin to the left.

Here I am pretending to be diving into a swimming pool. Except, not yet knowing how to swim, I am about seven feet from the end of the diving board because I was afraid of falling off of it into the deep end of the pool. I expect the illusion would have been helped if I had taken off the snazzy sunglasses. Nice bathing suit, though. When MY WIFE first saw this photo, she wasn't sure if I was naked. I prefer to believe that her vision is really bad rather than contemplate what that means concerning my genitals.

If this were just a photo of My Dad, no problem. If this were just a photo of me, no problem (other than my continuing obsession with really fey sunglasses.) But, both of us, in matching father/son shirts? Yikes!

Politically incorrect photo of the day (or possibly the century.) Yes, it used to be considered funny to poke your head through a cut-out in a billboard and laugh at the fact that you were white while the other person, your "twin", was black. After this was taken, I went to a Chinese restaurant, pulled my eyes slanty and ordered Sum Yung Guy.

Donkey. Oh, no - wait. Dorky.



Oops! Spoke too soon!

Get your eyes off of my legs and check out that basketball. Is it possible for a basketball to be more warped than that? No wonder I never made the NBA. I must have been shooting curveballs.

Age? 15.

Place? Ireland.

Condition? Plastered.

My Mom, Dad, and I went to this castle where they re-enacted medieval traditions. You got served big platters of greasy beef, with nothing but a knife and your hands to eat with, while various local actors pretended to be the king, queen, jester, guards, prisoners, and other assorted riff-raff. I remember little of it. The reason for that is because they gave each table huge leather casks of cheap red wine to drink from, all you wanted. And I wanted as much as they were willing to bring.

I was absolutely legless; about twenty six sheets to the wind. By the time my folks realized that I was pouring mug after mug of the stuff down my throat, I had already had about a quart. I have never been more shitfaced in my life (and, believe me, I've tried.) In addition, I woke up the next morning with the absolute mother of all hangovers. I've never had a worse one since (and, again, believe me, I've tried.)

Some folks would have been put off of booze forever by such an experience. Me? I figured I had had the worst of it already, so I might as well enjoy it from then on.

And here, in what may well be the absolutely worst photograph ever taken of me, we see some of the results of that enjoyment. There may be a bottle in a paper sack in my hand; I'm not sure. Notice the groovy facial hair, though. What in HELL was I thinking?

I think it was Buck who once commented that I do "deer in the headlights" better than anybody. Hard to argue with that.


Finally, we have the most recent shot of the bunch. Truth of the matter is that I was just about to post this piece [in 2009] under the title "14 Goofy Photos", and my friend in the office I formerly worked at took this shot. I immediately knew it had to be included.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Hi, Vote For Me!



"Hi, this call is to remind you to vote for Joe Blow for Governor on Tuesday the..."


That's what my newest column in the Boston Herald is about. Why not go and read it?

Robo Calls a Vote Loser for Pols

My previous offer still stands: All who make kind comments (or write nice letters to the editor) will be invited to my place for pizza, tacos and ice cream when I win my Pulitzer.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day

Some of the more astute (and long-suffering) among you may recognize this as a (partial) rerun. A week or so ago, I rewrote it a bit and tried submitting it to a couple of newspapers (no names, but they rhyme with Gerald and Chimes) for inclusion on their pages today. Alas, neither bought it. Since you, however, give me much more than money (unconditional love; forgiveness for writing about softball; the occasional fruitcake) I now foist it once more upon you. Have a great holiday!

Let's hear it for Labor Day, the only holiday specifically created as an excuse to do nothing!

I hear someone saying, "Oh, yeah, wise guy? You don't have to do anything on New Years Day!" Hangovers, my friend. The only reason New Years Day is a holiday is because most everyone gets wasted the night before. You can't expect much the next day except to have them lay on the couch like slugs watching a procession of formerly somewhat important bowl games that now mean nothing at all.

Next on the calendar is Martin Luther King day. Nice guy, but it's also 24 hours of history lessons. Then you get President's Day. This used to be Washington's Birthday, and in some places you also got Lincoln's Birthday off, but now you get a combined day honoring Harding, Taft, Clinton and whichever bozo we elect in 2016. Lots of car shopping, for some damn reason, so let's move on.

Saint Patrick's Day. This is one of those days that isn't really a holiday because you don't get the day off - unless you hold certain government jobs in this state, in which case they call it "Evacuation Day" and you get the day off to admire everyone else going to work wearing something green.

Then comes Memorial Day, which is one of two days specifically set aside to honor folks who served in war. The other is Veterans Day. Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day, a remembrance of peace at the end of World War I. Of course, in those days they didn't number their wars; they just called it The Great War because they didn't expect their children to be stupid enough to have another one. After World War II, folks realized the calendar was likely to get awfully crowded if we took a day off to celebrate the end of every war to end all wars, so it became Veterans Day. For some folks, it is the day you trade off at work so you can have the Friday after Thanksgiving instead.

July 4th! Fireworks! Parades! Speeches! Concerts! Way too busy to even be considered!

Although I'm really fond of Columbus Day - honoring someone utterly mistaken concerning his destination - it has become so politicized in recent years that it doesn't lend itself to total relaxation. Later in the month you get Halloween, nominally for kids but also an excuse for adults to wear silly costumes and drink copiously (which is what most holidays eventually devolve into, by the way.)

Thanksgiving. Eat gigantic amounts of food and watch the Detroit Lions embarrass themselves nationally (as opposed to locally, which they do the rest of the year.) Thanksgiving is followed by Friday After Thanksgiving, which doesn't really have an official name. I've been proposing "Leftovers Day" for some time now. Thus far, nobody with any clout has listened to me (which is probably the very reason they have clout.)

Finally, we get to December. Religious holidays abound. While fun, the weeks beforehand require more work than any other holidays - shopping, wrapping, cursing - and take so much out of you, both mentally and physically, that the day or two you get off don't even come close to giving you enough rest and that's why you get blotto on New Years Eve.

So, let us be thankful for Labor Day. Or not, if that seems like too much work.

[So far as I can tell, the image was free at  http://www.laborday-pictures.com/ , but if it turns out I'm mistaken, I may end up doing hard labor...]

Soon, with more better stuff.