Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I have one thing to say: If you're here on Christmas, with nothing better to do than read me, God bless you. I wish I had something amazing, to make your day a pleasure, but the best I can offer is a road trip.

Go to the Boston Herald and read my column about basketball and death.

Yeah, I know. They don't usually go together, but they did for me, last week, and... well, it's over there on the website and maybe it will make sense when you see it.

God bless you again,  for liking me enough to come here on Christmas. I like you, too. Now go away.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

M/Sgt Buck Pennington

My good blog buddy, Buck Pennington, has left this plane of existence (he being a retired United States Air Force guy, that phrasing is apt.)

Please go to his blog and say something to his sons, of whom he was very proud (and with good reason.)

I'm going to repeat part of what I wrote over there:

"Although I never had the pleasure of physically being with [Buck], I considered him a very good friend. We've been visiting each other's blogs for five or six years, I would guess, and we seemed to share quite a few opinions (and those we didn't share, we either kept to ourselves or were kind to the other about.)"

I guess that's pretty much the essence of what a good blog friendship - or, really, any friendship - should be.

I'll miss hearing from him. He was a truly nice man. I'll leave the link to his blog on the sidebar (with slight modification to the wording) as there's a lot of good stuff over there that people shouldn't miss.

With the saints give rest, O Christ, to the soul of Buck. Please allow him peace where there is neither sickness nor sorrow nor sighing, but life everlasting. Amen.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Story In The Herald, A Request Right Here

As a writer, you occasionally find that ink doesn't work. You need to plunge your pen into a vein, drawing blood, then use that to scribble your thoughts.

Such was the case with my piece in today's Boston Herald. Once I opened the wound, it flowed.

The story is not one of which I'm particularly proud - and I almost deep-sixed it before finally resolving to send it off - but I figure it might save someone heartache down the road and I don't believe keeping it to myself would have made me feel appreciably better, so...


As always, kind comments and letters to the editor, etc.

And, on the subject of comments, etc., please pray for M/Sgt (retired) Buck Pennington, my buddy from Portales, New Mexico. He has been one of my most faithful when it comes to leaving nice comments at the Herald website, and I wish there was more of some human nature that I could do for him in his current state, but he needs the sort of help God provides. Anything you think might facilitate that... Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Soon, with more.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Request For Prayer

Buck [seated] with his two sons

A very good friend of mine, Buck Pennington, has become ill enough to be hospitalized. Would you please say a prayer for him?

(Buck would probably add "... to The Deity At Hand" and, with his chosen theological assumptions in mind, I won't discourage whatever you do or whomever you direct it toward. I'm sort of a backslidden semi-Catholic with strong Protestant leanings, though, so my choice would be that you direct them to The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by way of Jesus.)

That's about all for today. Thank you for your help.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cut To The Chase

My latest in the Boston Herald.

(But, I absolutely promise, next time I post here it will be to give you something more than a ticket to go somewhere else. Promise! In the meantime, as always, your kind comments and/or letters to the editor will gain you good karma, unless God hates me, which I don't believe He does, so there you go.)

Soon, with (promise!) more better stuff.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

'tis The Season


I've had a longstanding quirk on this blog. I always use a capital letter to lead off every word in the headline. I know it's wrong. Words such as "the" and "of" and "for" are supposed to be given with a small letter leading off (unless it's the first letter in the entire title.) I don't know exactly why I adopted that weird standard, but I did and I figure why change it?

(I mean, aside from the fact that it makes me look illiterate. My usual closer is illiterate, so what difference would it make?)

There is, however, no way to capitalize "'tis" without it looking entirely idiotic.

(Nor is there a way to enclose it in quotation marks without pretty much losing the apostrophe that makes 'tis was it is.)

Now, obviously, I could have foregone all of this twadlle via the simple expedient of rewriting the headline, but all of this twaddle is needed because otherwise there wouldn't be much of anything else here. I felt that if I just showed up again with another link to one of my newspaper columns, and gave you no further value, you'd probably say something such as, "Damn you, Sully! All you ever do on this blog these days is tell me to go someplace else to read what in hell you have to say!"

I can't say I would have blamed you for cursing me out. That IS pretty much all I do on this blog now. As a matter of fact, here's where I do it again!

Please go read my column in today's Boston Herald!

See? And I also usually include some sort of plea for you to do me a favor on top of that, such as asking you to leave a nice comment or even write a letter to the editor, like this...

Please leave a nice comment or even write a letter to the editor!

I have become the sluggiest of slugs and you deserve better. Unfortunately, you won't be getting anything better today, and you've come this far, so why not go read my column in today's Boston Herald and leave a nice comment (or even write a letter to the editor) so your trip here won't be a total waste, hmmmmmm?

(You won't find out why I decided "'tis" would be a good word to use here unless you go there, so aren't you just itching all over now? I know I am, but that's because I haven't bathed in three days.)

(Oh! Here comes the illiterate closer...)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am, of course, wishing YOU a Happy Thanksgiving. On top of that, though, it's a nice one for me, professionally. My piece about Thanksgiving shopping was published in the Los Angeles Times, thus making me (when taking into account my semi-regular appearances in the Boston Herald) a coast-to-coast crank.

As usual, anything nice you have to say, at the website or - may you get an extra drumstick! - via a letter to the editor, is appreciated. If you disagree with what I have to say and you keep your pumpkin piehole closed about it, that would also be a nice thing :-)

[Boycott Black Thursday is a great site for best up-to-the-minute news on the issue]

So, once again, a Very Happy Thanksgiving to you. I'm always thankful to have you as a reader.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Comes First

Since I've often been all about Thanksgiving, some of you were probably wondering when I was going to write a post about it this year. If you were wondering, I thank you for thinking about it and here it is.

I made a conscious effort to NOT post about Thanksgiving. I wanted to see what was happening without being clouded by thoughts of what was happening as a result of anything here.

I still kept plugging away on Facebook (on my own personal page and at THANKSGIVING COMES FIRST, a page I manage there - ) and I get the feeling that there may be a tipping point being reached, one way or the other. There are boatloads of people who are fed up with the commercialization of Christmas and the incursion of store openings on Thanksgiving itself. I mean, some folks are seriously angry now. That's a good thing. And there are lots of stores specifically advertising that they will be closed on Thanksgiving, another good sign. On the other hand, stores are opening earlier than last year (when they opened earlier than the year before that) so...

I have the feeling we're either going to see Thanksgiving completely obliterated as a holiday in the next few years or else we'll see it become a thing that people are so pissed about that there might even be legislation passed to save it. I'm not thrilled with either of those options - I'd prefer that it work solely via the public opinion being so strong that retailers back off and pay the respect they ought to, to both the holiday and their employees - but, if I have to choose one or the other, I'll gladly see the legislation, thanks.

The other thing I did was try to have an op-ed published, which I was successful in doing a couple of times previously. I'm happy to report I was able to sell one this year, too. It hasn't appeared yet, but it will publish either on Thanksgiving day itself or the Tuesday before, in the Los Angeles Times (which, as much as I love my semi-permanent home at The Boston Herald, is a much larger audience and I'm stoked. We're talking about the 4th largest newspaper in the country, with a total average circulation of well over 500,000 in both print and digital editions.)

So there you go. That's what I've been up to insofar as Thanksgiving is concerned. I'll be back to point you at the L.A. Times when I'm published (unless it's on Thanksgiving itself, ironically, because I don't work on Thanksgiving and that includes blogging or computing of any sort. Maybe if I catch it before I go to bed and consider the three hour time difference...)

Meanwhile, keep up the good fight. If you're on Facebook, change your profile picture to the orange button shown above. Doing so makes every post or comment a statement of how you feel. If you blog about Thanksgiving, please let me know; I love to read your stuff. Some of the best things I've ever read on the internet were blog posts about what Thanksgiving means to people.

If I don't talk to you before the day itself, I wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving. Eat much, show love, and don't forget to say "Thank you!"

Oh, one last thing: Here's the latest list of "naughty and nice" stores. If you care about this thing, do NOT shop at the naughty stores. And I don't mean just now. I mean from now on, unless they change their ways. That is THE most effective thing you can do to make the situation better.

Soon, with more better stuffing.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

What A Gyp!

I express my sentiments, concerning the most recent elections, at The Boston Herald. As you might gather from the title here, my sentiments there are not entirely cheerful.

Here! Go There!

If you would express your sentiments (that is, if you like me and want to see me smile) I'd appreciate it.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Jim Sullivan, Writer

A few weeks back, I had a story published in the Boston Herald concerning the closure of Suffolk Downs, the East Boston racetrack that was a fixture of the sporting scene around these parts.

Here's a link to the newspaper article (although I believe the piece has been archived, so you may not be able to see the whole thing. If you missed it, and want to read it, drop me a line and I'll e-mail you a copy.)

A television reporter in Australia, Lisa Millar of ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation), contacted me. She liked the story and wanted to include me in a feature she was doing on the downturn in the fortunes of thoroughbred racing in America. I was to meet her at Suffolk on closing day. I did meet her and they filmed me answering a couple of questions. The piece has finally run on Australian TV. I thought you might like to see it, so here it is.

(I show up at around the one-minute mark. They edited me well; I come off as mostly sane. I think my favorite part is the identifier given under my face. It says, "Jim Sullivan, Writer", which more-or-less gives credence to the fact that I am one of those. That was a thrill - and certainly preferable to "Jim Sullivan, Lifelong Lunatic Gambler".)

Hmmmmm... It seems I don't rightly know how to embed their video here. It may not be possible, actually. I suppose there are all sorts of copyright laws involved. Anyway, here's a link to it. Go there and see my face combined with lovely Australian voice-overs!

Jim at the races via Australian TV!

Soon, with less bettor stuff.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Blowing Up Your Bedroom

I'm proud to tell you I have a rather big piece in the December issue of Discover magazine. They even have a photo of me on the cover!

Well, OK, that's not really a photo of me; it's a graphic representation of what I look like underneath my skin after 43 years of smoking. But I was telling you the truth about having a big piece in this issue and I am on the cover (or, at least, my writing is touted there. It's the "Toys That Changed Science" feature, down there at the bottom left, and it's a semi-serious semi-humorous look at old chemistry sets and such.)

(As is usually the case, I would have made it more humorous than serious. I lost three or four good jokes in the editing process. This is a science magazine, though, and the editors keep me reigned in because that keeps the general public from finding out what a dope I am, which would probably be bad for business. For instance, I think I tried to slip in variations of the title of this piece - Blowing Up Your Bedroom - five or six times, in various ways, because that's mostly what I thought of whenever I played with a chemistry set. I think every one of those "blowing up" references was excised. This is probably a good thing, since we don't want to encourage any child to think as dangerously and haphazardly as I did, but I still wish one of them got through because I'm a dope.)

So, I would suggest you go and buy a copy now. As a matter of fact, not only would I suggest it, I am suggesting it. Hey, look! Here's a link to their website! Discover Magazine!

(Since it's not past Thanksgiving yet, I can't tell you that a subscription would make a dandy gift for the young scientist in your life. I think it probably would, though.)

Below is the sort of thing I wouldn't be able to say on their pages because it's entirely illiterate. Discover is entirely non-illiterate (which is bad news for me but great news for you if you buy it, which I'm sure you will.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Short Game

The other night, the Boston Celtics played a 44-minute exhibition game against the Brooklyn Nets. Since NBA games are usually 48 minutes in length, this was puzzling. Why did they do that? Apparently, the folks in charge of professional basketball feel the younger generation are being lost because they don't have the attention span for longer games. They're thinking of shortening the games in an effort to lure more fans.

It's Marketing 101 to give people more as an enticement, not less. Whichever business school graduated the genius behind this harebrained idea should be stripped of its certification immediately. Take this ploy to a logical conclusion and you'd have to believe that customers will give you the most money when you deliver no product at all.

(Well, OK, that's often true in government, so maybe it's possible in sports.)

I'm amazed at the so-called fans of a sport who will defend shorter games. Quite a few supposed baseball fans have been decrying the length of baseball games. They keep advocating ways to speed up and shorten the game. I look at those folks the same way I'd look at a person who professes love for someone but then says he wishes he didn't have to spend so much damn time with her.

I know some younger fans of baseball will find this hard to believe, but there used to be these things called “doubleheaders”. Not just two games in one day; they still have those occasionally, played one in daylight and one at night, separate admissions for both. What I'm talking about is two games in one day, played back-to-back and requiring only ONE admission. It was the best bargain in sport. You got to spend 7 or 8 hours at the ballpark for the same price as one game on any other day. It wasn't a travail. It wasn't something to be endured. It wasn't a whole bunch of people in a hurry constantly looking at their watches and moaning about how long it was taking while they fretted about missing the next thing they wanted to do. It was a ballpark, often full of kids – that is, future fans - who appreciated a bargain.

If you find that hard to believe, try this on for size. The Celtics used to offer their fans basketball doubleheaders. It wasn't the Celts playing two games in a row – basketball is a bit too strenuous for that – but there would be a game, before the home team played, involving either two other NBA teams or the Harlem Globetrotters and their Washington Generals patsies.

And now they're offering not two games, but one shorter game in an attempt to build their fan base. If it works, I expect we'll someday see PGA golf tournaments on putt-putt courses, hockey games where first goal wins, and soccer games consisting only of a tie-breaking shootout. I do believe, though, that there's one area where this idea of shortening things to make them more valuable might work: political campaigns. Can we get the NBA marketing team to work on that?

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Time Capsule

So, this was something I submitted for publication in a Boston newspaper, but it was not run. This was because of one reason or the other.

One Reason - It was submitted a little late to be scheduled during a timeframe when it would still be current.

The Other - The editor didn't like it.

Well, hell, it couldn't be that. Anyway, it's fairly Boston-centric, but I'm sure all of you - from Boston or not - will get the gist of it. And my tears from it not being published will be dried via your wonderfully kind-hearted and complimentary comments.

Either that or I've submitted it to you just a little late.


The other day, while repairs were being done on the lion and unicorn from atop the Old State House, a time capsule from 1901 was found inside of the lion's head. The stuff in that time capsule will be sorted out; as of my writing, we don't know everything in there. The most interesting thing to me, however, is the plan to encase a new time capsule for future historians to find. The Bostonian Society is actively soliciting suggestions as to what should go in it.

First, I think we should concentrate on things that are now extant but which may not be when this new time capsule is opened. The Constitution, for instance. We should probably enclose some sort of proofs that it wasn't just a work of fiction dreamed up by utopian crackpots, but was actually the guiding force behind an oddly successful country known as The United States of America. I'm not sure what those proofs would be, though. Maybe news reports showing the Supreme Court dopeslapping elected officials who tried to ignore it? Do we have any of those handy?

Some money would probably be interesting to those who crack open our time capsule. What with debit cards, internet transactions, and other cashless ways to purchase, they may not know what money is aside from lovely portraits of some guys with bizarre taste in hairstyles. We won't explain the truncated pyramid with a floating eye; let them try to figure it out same as us.

That painting by Norman Rockwell showing a family gathered around a dining table for Thanksgiving might be an interesting curiosity. I rather doubt Thanksgiving will still be a holiday by then (at least, not if Macy's has anything to say about it.)

We might consider including a cell phone, along with some photos of what happened when our citizens used such devices to text while driving. There should also be some photos showing people camping out for days in front of stores in order to buy the things, then throw in a few photos of Soviet citizens lining up to purchase toilet paper in the 1960s. Let our descendants decide which was the more interesting human behavior.

I think a copy of this year's ballot, with four referendum questions, would be a good thing to include, with the following explanation: “We used to let our people vote to include or not include certain things in the law. Then our legislators ignored that vote unless they agreed with it anyway.” Attach the results of the 2000 vote to lower the state income tax rate to 5%, just in case nobody believes that statement.

Finally, we should think about including some bacon cheeseburgers, booze and cigarettes since they may all be outlawed by then in the quest to lower government health care costs. But, knowing human nature, I'd lay even money the guy who opens the time capsule will take a belt, chow down and light up before looking at the rest of the things.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Have You Ever Ridden The T?

Have you ever ridden the T?

If so, then you'll know that I'm giving folks 100% unvarnished stone-cold good advice in my latest piece for The Boston Herald.

Or maybe it's a big pack of lies. Or it might just be my usual crap - some truth, some lies, some allegedly funny stuff, a couple of pip pips, a bit of barbecue and what have you. But you have to read the piece to decide, so why not go and do that right now?

Soon, with more (probably lengthier, with fewer links per square inch) stuff.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

A Worthy Cause This Sunday

I'd like you to try a little experiment. Don't move, in any way, for just one minute.

Aggravating, isn't it? If you have an itch, you can't scratch it. Something in your eye? Too bad. Nose running? Tough.

You now have some idea of what Chad Larivee has been going through since July 29th.

Chad is a 43-year-old Taunton firefighter with a wife and three kids. He spent eight years as a hoseman, routinely entering burning buildings. More recently, he drove Taunton's Engine 1, the city's busiest pumper. During the past 17 years, he put his life on the line. That's what firefighters do. But, while helping a fellow jake with some roof repair on his day off, Chad fell 30 feet from a ladder and suffered a severe spinal cord injury. He was immediately paralyzed.

He was medflighted to Rhode Island Hospital, where he underwent 9 hours of surgery. After almost a month in their ICU, eating via a feeding tube and unable to speak because of a tracheotomy, he was moved to Spaulding Rehab in Charlestown. He remains there today, doing the hard work to try and regain some mobility. Currently, he is a tetraplegic. He has limited left arm movement only.

Since the injury, Chad's fellow firefighters say he has remained tremendously upbeat despite his troubles. And they'd know because they've been there for him. In Rhode Island, there was always at least one of the Taunton crew by his bedside 24/7. At Spaulding, a Taunton firefighter stays overnight, every night – 10pm to 6am – so Chad never wakes up alone. They scratch those itches and do whatever else is physically needed. Some firefighters in Worcester known as “The Ramp Gang”, assisted by their brothers from Taunton, Scituate, Franklin and Northbridge, donated their time and skills to build Chad an ADA-compliant wheelchair ramp at his home. It is hoped Chad will be able to return home in November.

But there's a lot more work needed and the funds to do that work are staggering. Chad will need a specialized wheelchair and a chair van, a residential elevator, a mounted lift in his home, conversion of his bathroom and other spaces. It will cost hundreds of thousands and none of that specialty equipment is covered via insurance.

To raise what's needed, his friends in Taunton have set up a fundraising event on Sunday October 12th. Starting at noon, at The Jockey Club in Raynham, there will be five live bands; fun games like jump houses, bowling and face painting for kids (children 12 and under get in free); food and drinks; some superb items up for bid via auction (for example, all-expenses-paid trips to San Diego to see the Patriots play the Chargers or to California for the USC – Notre Dame game.) And you won't miss the Pats game if you go; you can see them take on the Buffalo Bills via a huge projector. More information is available at!blog/c35h (or, if you can't make it that day and the spirit moves you, you can make a donation anyway.)

I'll be there on Sunday. I hope you will, too.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Final Day At The Downs

If you were here on Friday, you know I was going to attend the final day of live horse racing at Suffolk Downs. If (for some unfathomable reason) you weren't here on Friday, here's the why of it.

I'm happy to report that MY WIFE and I did, indeed, go there on Saturday. I met up with the crew from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. They were very nice and I think the interview I did went well. I was informed that it will likely air sometime in the next two weeks. When it does, I'll provide some way for you to view it (unless I view it first and I see that I came across as a total idiot, in which case I'll deny everything I've said on both Friday and today.)

Some of you may be wondering if I made any money betting the ponies on that last day.

As might be divined from the illustration, the answer is no. I lost a few bucks. I am happy to report, however, that the very last bet I made at Suffolk Downs was a winner.

It was an overcast and rainy day, not the most pleasant imaginable for autumn in New England. The track was muddy and it drizzled off and on for most of the time we were there. It got to the fifth race (of nine) and I said to MY WIFE, "This is the last one for us if I don't cash."

It wasn't because we would have been out of money; I want that to be clear. It was just that I wasn't getting much of a thrill from the whole experience. I had been psyched for meeting the Australians and doing the interview, but after that it was just mostly a depressing scene. It was the last day, after all, and most of the workers there on that day were losing their jobs tomorrow. The crowd was larger than it had been for years, but, again, that was because it was the last day, forever, for thoroughbred horse racing in New England. Had the place been closing without advance notice, the crowd would have been half the size. As I say, it was overcast and dreary. And I hadn't picked a winner yet. Had I been spectacularly successful, it would have seemed sunnier.

So we watched the fifth race and my horse, Get Back Jack, led from wire-to-wire. He paid $9.20 to win. I had five dollars on his nose and so I went to the window to cash my $23.00 ticket. I decided My Dad would be proud of me if I walked away with the winnings from that final race instead of maybe blowing it back trying to get fully even on the final four races. MY WIFE was amenable to whatever I wished, bless her, and so we left. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in walking away a winner the final time out (even if one is a loser overall.)

Speaking of losers, I'll tell you a funny story involving my softball teammate and friend, Big Jay Atton. He called me on Saturday morning and left a message. He asked me when I was going to the track. He works somewhat nearby to Suffolk Downs, so I imagined he might get off work and come on over. I called him back and got his answering service. I told him to call me back. He did, again leaving me a message. We were playing phone tag and now I was it.

So, I called him back. He answered, saying "Hello, Jim Sullivan!" I said hello. He asked me what time we were going. I started telling him what our plans were. He interrupted me and asked me a question. I spoke. He interrupted again. I started speaking again and then he says, "Nah, this is just my voice mail message. Leave a message." And I heard a "BEEP".

The bastard had recorded a message, using my name, and had totally suckered me. I left him an obscene recording, while laughing.

As it turns out, he didn't get back to me after that message and apparently he showed up at the track himself but never spotted us. He got all indignant about it on Facebook. We would have loved to have met him there - the Australian TV crew might have made him a star in Oz, as well; you never know - but it didn't happen. Well, shoot, I'm about 5' 10" and MY WIFE is 5' 1", so we can duck under the radar in a big crowd, but if he had called me back and told me he was definitely going to be there, our chances of spotting him, at 6' 7", would have been much better. Oh, well. I would have introduced him to the Australians as a former jockey just to see the look on their faces.

Soon, with more better stuff (or more bettor stuff, but not at Suffolk.)

P.S. Got the photo from this place. Since I lost money overall, I hope it's OK. A lawsuit would make neither of us any money.

Friday, October 03, 2014

My 15 Minutes Will Begin In Australia

Last time you were here, you were directed to a story of mine in the Boston Herald that talked about Suffolk Downs, a racetrack in East Boston.

(I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the last time you were here was when Bush was still president. If so, thanks for coming back and where the hell have you been?)

In any case, Suffolk was the scene of one of My Dad's major triumphs in life and it will be closing its doors forever on Saturday. I mentioned in the story that I would be going to the track on that final day.

The newspaper piece was seen by a reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, one Lisa Millar. She liked the piece and contacted me. She was going to be in town covering another story and thought it might be worth her while to also do a story about Suffolk Downs closing. It seems Australians are quite enamored of horse racing and the closure of some American tracks, mostly due to competition from casinos and other faster-paced gambling ventures, might prove interesting to them.

The upshot of it is I'm meeting her tomorrow at the track and she'll have me on-camera to answer a few questions about Suffolk and the piece I wrote.

In 1968, Andy Warhol said, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." It appears the future is now and my 15 minutes will begin in Australia.

Soon, with more better stuff.

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 , but if it turns out I'm mistaken, I may end up doing hard labor...]

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Roddy Goes To The Shop

And you go to the Boston Herald, if you want to read about it.

(Aw, go on. You know you want to.)

Roddy, at home after his outpatient procedure

As always, kind comments are much appreciated (by both myself and Roddy, as all proceeds from the column have gone into his general repair fund.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thoughts Upon The Passing Of Don Pardo

Don Pardo passed away this past week at age 96.

The Boston Herald has seen fit to publish a few of my thoughts concerning his death (as well as some general rambling concerning how what we hear on-air reflects society as a whole.) Please go to their website (or, if you like the heft and feel of actual paper, buy a copy from your local newsstand!) As always, kind comments will keep you in my prayers while unkind comments will also keep you in my prayers (because I'm a Christian, but the prayers won't be quite so fervent.)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In Memoriam

I was very saddened - heartbroken - to find out that the wife of a very good blog buddy, Skip O'Brien, passed away today. Sharon (Grandma Skip, as she was known on his blog) passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

 Skip & Sharon in the Public Gardens in Boston - Make Way for Ducklings statues

My only physical meeting with these two lovely and loving people came on a softball diamond in Boston. When you consider that they lived in the San Francisco area, it becomes an odd story that speaks for their willingness to go out of their way to give someone a nice little thrill.

It was 2012. My Sunday fast-pitch team, the Bombers, were in the playoffs. We were involved in the semi-final series against our arch rivals, the Titans. You have to understand my mindset when I get on a softball diamond. I'm focused on the game. Whatever other people are around will register in my mind, but generally in an off-hand way only. Near the end of the first game, I noticed a few people in the little stands behind home plate. I thought to myself that it was nice some folks who enjoyed softball had come out to see our games that day, but I didn't think I recognized any of them.

Between games, I looked at the people again. I thought I had seen Big Jay Atton chatting up two of them and I wondered if they might be related to the Attons in some way. As I looked at this man and woman sitting there, they both gave me big smiles. I smiled back. I turned away, but then something finally clicked inside my pea brain and I turned back to look again. They must have seen the light dawning on marblehead and the semi-confused look on my mug. They both laughed, most especially the man with the big mustache. Then it all came together. I was looking at folks known, on Skip's blog, as Uncle Skip and Grandma Skip.

 The best fans we had in 2012

See, I knew they were going to be in Boston on a vacation trip, but our plans to meet up had been bollixed by some extreme car trouble I had that week. Undaunted, and knowing I was playing ball that Sunday morning, they made the trip from their hotel in downtown Boston - via two trains and two buses, I believe, and then a rather healthy walk - to Smith Field in Brighton where the games were. And then they just sat there patiently, watching the games and not bothering my game face, until I recognized them.

It is definitely the farthest anyone has traveled to see my sorry ass play ball. I was extremely touched by the trouble they went to do this nice thing.

After the games were over - we had our asses handed to us that day, I'm sorry to say; I would have loved some better examples of our play for some people who came so far to see us - Sharon was kind enough to take some shots of the team and of me with a good friend.

 I'm disgustingly drenched in sweat here, but Skip insisted I put my arm around his shoulders.

Bombers, 2012 (photo by Sharon O'Brien)

I gave them a ride back to their hotel after the games, but since I was so sweaty and nasty I declined an invite for lunch. What I wouldn't give for an hour over a nice meal with her now...

God our Father,
Your power brings us to birth,
Your providence guides our lives,
and by Your command we return to dust.

Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,
their lives change but do not end.
I pray in hope for my friend, Sharon, and her loving husband, Skip.

In company with Christ,
Who died and now lives,
may she rejoice in Your kingdom,
where all our tears are wiped away.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Now What Do I Do?

There's the old joke about the dog who chases cars. If he catches one, what's he going to do with it?

Yesterday, I finally became a member of a championship team. Now what do I do?

The Bombers beat the Titans, 11 - 3 and 7 - 6, to win the championship of our mens fastpitch softball league.

L to R:
Front row - Ron Aquino, Brad Cole, some old fart, Brian Pacheco, Fast Freddie Goodman
Second Row - Joe Baszkiewicz, Ron Johnson, M. J. McCabe, Pat Atton
Back Row - Billy Botting, Big Jay Atton, Bobby Botting, Jimmy Botting, Mark Preziosi, Jack Atton
[not pictured - Robby Costello, Garrett Hauck, Marc Montesano, Steve Stalcup, Dave Nutter]

I've been chasing this particular car for 50 years, basically. I started playing ball (baseball) when I was 7. I played Little League, CYO, on neighborhood teams and briefly in high school. Then I changed over to softball. I really can't count how many different leagues I've played in, small-time tournaments I was a part of, company teams I helped to form, and times the season ended without winning the final game. For the Bombers part of the chase, it was 20 years of close but no cigar.

Hey! Here's Robby Costello! That old fart from the first photo seems to have snuck in here, too...

I'm still stunned. I'm so used to walking off the field at the end of each year being the gracious loser that I'm kind of at a loss for how to act. It was the same way yesterday. When game two ended, I was very happy but I didn't know what to do. I took off my mask and walked in a daze toward my teammates, smiling, until outfielder M. J. McCabe grabbed me with both arms and hoisted me up in the air. Then the rest of the day had that same aspect, as though I was looking down on the world from a higher place than normal. Thanks, M. J.; that was exactly what I needed at that moment in order for it to feel real.

As was the case for much of the year, Brian Pacheco (Cheeks) was the man who did the pitching. It was my pleasure to catch all 14 innings of his artful work and he deserves every bit of praise his teammates gave him. He set a number of team records this year in the pitching categories and he also beat out Brad Cole by a few percentage points for the team batting average title. But yesterday, the man who put a charge into the team early, and never stopped, was shortstop Mark Preziosi.

After Cheeks threw a scoreless top of the first, Jimmy Botting drew a walk to lead off for us. Pat Atton followed with a single. Preziosi stepped to the plate and proceeded to hit an absolute bomb for a three-run homer. We all exploded off the bench to greet him at home as he stepped on the plate to make it 3 - 0 Bombers. Brad Cole was next and he singled, followed by Cheeks with another single. Billy Botting then cranked his team-leading eighth home run of the year to make it 6 - 0 and that was all the scoring we needed for that game. In all, the first eight of our batters reached via hit or walk and, despite being the past champions they have been for many a year, you could see some shoulders slumping on the Titans. We scored another four in the second inning (the big blow was a three-run shot by M. J. McCabe) and coasted to the win, 11 - 3. Preziosi ended the game four-for-four, with three doubles added to his home run. It was a monster performance at the plate and he was almost as good in the field, hoovering up everything hit his way.

Mark Preziosi

Game two was a different sort of beast. The Titans saved their ace pitcher to begin that game (he had arrived during the second inning of game one, but they held him back for game two since the score was already 10 - 0 in our favor. The strategy, a good one, was to have him be fresh and possibly outlast a tiring Cheeks if they could force a third game (or maybe Jack Atton, if Cheeks couldn't throw another one.)

We were the visitors for game two, so we batted first. And again, Preziosi set the tone. After two quick outs, he hammered another one to center field to give us the 1 - 0 lead. Please believe me when I tell you I've never seen a guy hit five balls in succession with the authority he did yesterday. Five at-bats, all bombs and lasers, for two home runs and three doubles. He ended his day with a long fly out (the Titan outfield was playing him somewhere in Cambridge by that time) and, having seen enough, they walked him intentionally in his final trip to the plate. Combined with his excellent work at shortstop, I think it might be the best single day performance I've ever seen for the Bombers by a position player, especially when factoring in that it came during the championship series.

The Titans were the defending champions, though, and they were not going to lay down and die. Their leadoff man put a charge into one and tied the game, 1 - 1. Both pitchers were on and that's how it stayed until the bottom of the fourth.

The Titans scored three in the fourth to take a 4 - 1 lead. In times past, this is where the Bombers might have let down and come apart. Not this day. In the top of the fifth, we answered with seven of our next eight hitters reaching base (aided, in a couple of instances, by some fielding miscues from the normally sound Titans defense) and, by the time they got out of the inning, we had reclaimed the lead at 7 - 4.

Back came the Titans with two in the bottom of the fifth, leaving us clinging to a precarious 7 - 6 lead.

They played good defense and had solid pitching for the 6th and 7th, allowing us a lone harmless single in those two frames. For us, Cheeks battled through a couple of errors and a walk to get out of the 6th scoreless (he was also battling a strained hamstring, which we tried to hide on our bench and meant, in all likelihood, that he wouldn't be able to do a third game; it seemed touch-and-go for a short time whether he'd be able to answer the bell for the final two innings, but he toughed it out with ice and guts.)

Bottom of the seventh, we're hanging onto the one-run lead. Three outs for the championship. The Titans first batter, top of their order, singles. He's forced at second, leaving a man on first with one out. Topher, their third batter and a mainstay on many a championship squad, strokes a solid line drive, but Brad Cole at third base is right in the path of it. He snares it for out number two, briefly considers trying to get the double play on the man scampering back to first, but makes the right decision - not chancing an errant throw to put a man in scoring position - and stops himself at the last moment. Two out. Cheeks was squeezed a bit on the next man, giving up a walk, the tying run to second and winning run to first, with Kenny Bean - a big clutch performer, including yesterday (3 for 5, and a walk) - waiting on-deck and the last man we wanted up with a chance to win the game for his team. But he got the final batter to ground to - fittingly - Mark Preziosi, who forced the trailing runner at second for the final out.

And there I was, standing at home plate, Frankenmask in hand...

Frankenmask (three or four rolls of duct tape previously.)

... watching my teammates jump around and yell, then walking towards them until M. J. intercepted me and lifted me in the air. Other congratulations followed - big hugs, a vigorous rub of my bald head from Jack Atton, and then, after we had gone through the handshake line with the Titans (who showed great class in defeat, many of them stopping for a moment and looking me straight in the eye and saying, "Congratulations, Sully. You guys deserved it.") I got the nicest, but most shocking, moment I've ever had on a ballfield. While I was standing by our bench, looking out at the field and still getting used to how good it felt to win the final game, I received a drenching of ice and ice cold water over my head, a cooler full of the stuff. It was like the Gatorade showers after a championship football game. I was soaked. And I was extremely touched that they they poured it on ME.

Some more subtle celebrations followed. For one thing, I got a very satisfying smooch from MY WIFE. Then Mark Preziosi came over and handed me the ball with which he had made the final out. I said, "No, Mark, you were immense today. Game ball to you." He refused, handing it back. It was a sweet gesture and I appreciated it. Someone - maybe Billy Botting? - suggested everybody sign the ball. I signed it, then everybody else did, and I was saying things like, "This will have a cherished place on my mantle." But, as the last signatures were being put on it, I saw Ronnie Johnson leaving the field. I called out to him to come back. And I told the guys to give the ball to him.

The ball, presumably at Ron's home with his uniforms

Ronnie and I are the only two who have been on this Bombers team for the entire 20 years of its existence. And I was getting a lot more attention because I've done self-promotion, always talking about never winning a championship, but without Ronnie there literally would be no Bombers team. Back in April of 1995, he was enough of a good guy and a softball lifer to put together an expansion team when asked to do so by the then league commissioner. He had been on another team that folded the year before. We all answered an ad in the "Sports Plus" section of the Boston Globe, coming out to a field in Brighton for a tryout. Some of us were decent players, but the best of the lot were picked off by that louse of a commissioner before Ronnie was able to get to the field. Ronnie was left with what that bastard didn't want. We went 6 and 21 that first year, finishing 8th of 8 teams. Without Ronnie leading the team in most offensive categories, and carrying us on his back, we might not have won a single game. He was that good a hitter back in the day. And without his willingness to take on the responsibility of the team, I'm not sitting here today typing this.

(Funny story that I love: Years later, as Ron and I were sitting around after a game and reminiscing, we got to talking about that first tryout. His previous team had been called the Bowdoin Bombers, mostly - maybe all - black. He said he got out of his car at the tryout and his first thought was, "Who are all these white guys?" Until he brought on a pitcher from his previous team, Jimmy Jackson - who threw some great ball for seriously bad teams, and whose win-loss percentage was always better than the team as a whole - Ron was the only black player, and our coach to boot. I will never give him anything less than major props for taking on that role. That he has since gone on for 20 years, with myself and then Jack Atton as his coach, without ever - not once - voicing a complaint or doing anything less than being a team guy, speaks volumes about that man's character and class.)

Time to wrap this up. Everybody on the team this year did something worthwhile and valuable to get us the championship, from Dave Nutter, who played one game, to Jimmy and Billy Botting, who played every inning of all of them. I mean that sincerely. But three guys deserve just a little more praise, so here goes.

Big Jay Atton was our ace for a long time. He almost singlehandedly carried us across the finish line in 2010 when we were short five of our best players in the finals. This year, he was injured for most of the season and couldn't play. But, the one time we needed him badly, in the final regular season game, he pitched one of the guttiest games I've ever witnessed. We needed a victory to clinch first and Cheeks was unavailable that week. Jay stepped in, tossed us to a 6 - 4 victory, and we finished first. As we've since found out - and he didn't know it that day, either - he was pitching with a blood clot in his lung. Utterly exhausted - he couldn't even tie his own shoe at one point and had to have Pat Atton do it for him - he gave us everything he had that day and then collapsed on the bench afterward. I'm maybe making it sound melodramatic, but it's the truth. I've never seen a player leave more of himself on the field than I did that day.

Cheeks was a monster all year. That he didn't get a victory in every game he pitched (he had one loss and one tie in his 13 decisions) was our fault, not his. Every single time a game was on the line, he got better. In addition, he continually got big hits and fielded his position superbly. That I got to catch 10 or 11 of his gems is a career highlight for me.

Finally, Jack Atton.

What can I say? He made all the right moves as manager, made some clutch contributions when he played, and never let his ego get in the way of his decisions. He recruited the players we needed, made sure everybody knew they were a valuable component of the whole, and did all the little things that a team needs but sometimes takes for granted (managing the money, toting the equipment, designing and buying the uniforms, knowing the rules, negotiating with the commissioner, a full cooler of Gatorade for every game, and so forth.) Here's to you, Jack, you handsome bastard!

So, to get back to the question at the beginning of this, now what do I do? I'm not sure, but I know I've been doing a lot of smiling since yesterday. Maybe that's all I need to do.

Soon, with more better stuff.