Archive for the ‘musings’ Category

Hockey Coach Versus Baseball Coach

May 19, 2017

I love the sport of baseball.  I grew up playing it in the park and
then one day I spent the night at a friend’s house and went with him
to his little league practice.  The coach of that team told my mom he
would pay my fee if she would let me play.  I wasn’t on my way to the
Dodgers but I was slightly above average and a good pitcher.  When I
go to see my stepson, it brings me back to those days.  My stepson
plays baseball and ice hockey.  I happen to be his hockey coach and so
when I sit in the stands and watch the ball game, I try to just take
it in.
The baseball coach is a local dad who often holds a Starbucks
purchased mug with a top.  Draped over the top of the mug are two or
three tags attached to tea bags.  He sits in the dug out and
encourages kids who are swinging at definite balls and not strikes.
“Good cut, babe…  Don’t help him out now.  Wait for your pitch…  Good
swing now.”
My girlfriend laughed at my coaching style with junior high aged boys
and giggled at the rah-rah nature of  the baseball coach.  Here is how
my pregame speech goes.
Big G is bullying kids in the locker room.  It is all verbal but
nonetheless.  I is the son of my assistant.  His hair is down to his
shoulders and his dad is bald.  I is prone to fucking off before games
too.  I and Big G are not anywhere near dressed for the game.  I come
twenty minutes before the game and give my disclaimer.
“For those of you not dressed in the next few minutes and out in the
hallway stickhandling, you can sit the entire first period.  You think
I’m bullshiting you?  Five minutes…”
Miraculously they are all dressed and taking turns warming up their
hands with a weighted ball.  I take a racquet ball and throw it off of
the wall for the goalie to get warmed up.  When the Zamboni hits the
ice, we go back to the locker room for the final pep talk before
hitting the ice.
“These little bastards have the same access to the league website as
you.  They see you are undefeated and are not going to come in here
and not try.  They know they will have to try harder than ever to beat
the best team in the league.  This is like tug of war.  You pull fast
and hard and get them face first in the shit…  How do you end a
fistfight most of the time?  Who knows?”
One of the guys whose nut hadn’t dropped yet answers.  He is four
feet tall with hair down to his shoulders and has a smile like Jack
Nicholson in The Shining.  He leads the team in penalty minutes and is
the one most likely to hit someone hard.  E is the son of Argentinian
immigrants.  He plays violin and is sadistic.  E answers first.
“Throw the first punch…”
“That’s it…  You hit first, while they’re trying to get their shit
together, you’ve already landed a blow.  Get that first goal.  Fucking
bury them and then we can just play catch when it is running time.
Are we clear?  Remember…  Your goalie is a boy with goalie equipment
and not a goalie.  He just started this sport and it will be your job
to pretend like you have an empty net behind you…  Recap…  No shots,
punch first, pull them face down in the shit…  When you have them by
the nuts, squeeze hard.”
The first period was listless.  The team looked at an under 500 team
and felt that a half speed effort would be enough.  The speech between
the first and second period went like this…
“You all are skating like a bunch of zombies…  Chip the puck into the
neutral zone, gain the centerline, dump it deep and fore check like
you might kill them.  You’re all waddling in like you’re walking out
to right field.  You give their D a chance to get the puck and make a
smart option, they will.  Take that time from them…  Wake up or I will
find 5 guys willing to play this game the way it should be played and
the rest of you can sit and watch.”
Big G tied up the center in a face off in the other team’s zone.  It
is a designed play where the center is tied up and the Defense walks
in and shoots the puck.  We scored on that.  An astute ref would call
interference.  Most of the time they don’t.  The game was close until
the third period and then we broke it open.  Kids got the puck in
deep, worked it back to the point and crashed the net.  After the game
I gave my post game speech.
“We should have buried this team.  They should have had the puck much
less than they did.  You guys forgot how to push yourselves but
tomorrow at practice, we are going to take a little time and remember
to push hard.  You’re tired, the puck squeaks out to the neutral zone,
your gassed and on a break away.  That’s where you find it within you
to finish.  I’m going to help you with that tomorrow.  I don’t want to
hear you have baseball or ballet or whatever.  Your ballet coach
doesn’t give a shit about me and I don’t give a damn about them.
Baseball is barely a sport.  Be here tomorrow.”
C, my stepson had a baseball game the day after the practice.  His
jovial coach gave his post game speech after the team got spanked
18-2.  I’m not going to judge him.  We all have our ways.  I could
hear the post-game talk from the dug out.
“Guys…  I saw some really positive things tonight.  We have to work
on our hitting, fielding, catching and pitching.  I’m not going to lie
to you all.  This was a rough game.  It will get better.  Keep your
chins up.  See you all at practice.”
Was it because a fat child was put at first base that could not bend
far enough to field ground balls?  Was it because the coach’s son
walked in ten runs?  Maybe it was that kids didn’t know how many outs
there were, dropped third strikes, missed cutoff men and a gross
inability to catch and hit.  In the car, the question was posed to me-
how would you have handled this loss?  Answer- a whole lot different.

Nashville and Ottawa- How does that sound to you?

Slapshot quote of the day- “When I yank it everyone with the exception
of my wife will be running for the exits…”

Trying to Remember…

May 12, 2017
I brought a photo album that my grandmother put together over to where
she now lives which is a waiting room for death.  Assisted living is
what they call it.  It was nursing and convalescent when I was a boy.
You walk in and a room full of old people look up to see if you are
the person that they have been waiting and hoping to see.  I’m not the
guy they been waiting to see.
So my grandmother has essentially been my mother my whole life and my
mom was kind of like a mom and not like a mom at the same time.
Anyone 16 years old, should never have a child and so I don’t totally
blame her for lapses.  I go to see my grandmother when I can.  Within
the last three years, her husband died, her dogs were put to sleep and
her house was sold.  Dementia has been taking hold of her and it get’s
stronger all the time.
“Did you see my mother wandering the hallway?  She’s got two guys
that she runs around with and if they ever catch her with the other,
there’s gonna be a fight.”
“No, grandma…  I didn’t see her…  I brought this nice photo album of
your garden and your dogs.”
She looked at it as if she had never seen it before.  She thought the
dogs looked cute.  A Bassett Hound and a Dachshund, both became
adopted pets which I initially purchased for my adult daughter when
she was a girl.  It got me to thinking, how will I chronicle my life?
Nobody takes pictures anymore and presents a slideshow on Christmas or
Easter.  You take pictures on your phone and upload it to social media
and when your phone falls in the shitter, those pics are gone forever.
The only thing I hate more than taking pictures, is being in pictures.
So putting together photo albums like my grandmother did going back to
her youth, World War II, the birth of my dad and uncle, my life and
then my children’s youth, won’t be possible.  I guess I’ll need to
write shit down and let one of my kids read this stuff back to me and
ask if this stuff really happened.  I’ve had an interesting life but
then again, a lot of people have also.  They can write their own
fucking blog.  This one is mine.
To look at me, you might not guess right off that I play ice hockey .
After a few minutes, you might notice scars on my face and a cracked
front tooth and wonder how I got so beat up around the face.  Some
people ask.  Most never do.  You might never guess that I have an
upright bass and play Ska/Reggae music, sing and write the music I
play.  I am fluent in French and have surprised a few people when the
French language is spoken and I join in.  I really don’t like French
culture, French people and I’ve never really wanted to go to France.
I’ve used it on visits to Martinique and Quebec.  I have three
children.  Two by a woman of African descent by way of Cuba and one by
the other by way of Jamaica.  I know you’re thinking… Ah yes.  Black
women, Reggae…  Of course.  The woman I’m with now is white and blonde
and I’m not liberal in my political views.  With that said, let’s talk
about hockey.
B texted me and told me that for sure there were going to be two
goalies at the rink near downtown.  He’s a cop on the night shift and
I own a restaurant/bar so we play pick-up hockey during the day time.
We usually play at a rink near the airport but I decided to meet him
out at the rink just west of downtown.  The Zamboni guy whose name I
never learned, recognized me and asked me where I’ve been.  I used to
play at the rink two to three times a week.  I found skates that were
more to my liking and so I stopped going to the downtown rink.
“Everyone is at J’s skate…  You know that.  Nobody comes here on
Wednesdays.  Just then M walked in.  M, is a bus driver and is black
and a goalie.  He is a virtual Rain Man with statistics of all hockey,
NHL and minor league.  He has a voice like the Chef from South Park.
He could sing, Old Man River, with his deep baritone voice.  Next
walked in B and his friend K.  K just finished playing midgets about a
year ago.  K has good hands and a quick shot.  I talked to him about
playing juniors in the past while sitting on the bench, waiting for
our shift.  K says that he just wants to get on with life and that he
doesn’t think that juniors will lead him anywhere.  One more guy
showed up and so I decided to stay.  Two on two half ice with a
goalie.  A good work out with a lot of passing and turning.  My game
is one of passing.  I believe that there can never be enough passing.
Good things come from passing.  There is a time when one should pass
and when one has to pass.  Those that know the difference are good and
smart hockey players.  K and I played against B and young guy wearing
a practice jersey from a USHL team.  He was young, average height, had
a good shot, good speed and good hands.  He was probably no better
than K.  I covered B and K covered the USHL kid.  I passed and dropped
down to create a cycle in the corner.  If you’re not familiar with a
cycle, picture that you have the puck and you’re skating towards the
goalie.  Rather than shoot the puck at the goalie, you make a right or
left turn and skate up the boards towards the blue line.  You then
look over your shoulder and drop the puck behind you along the boards
to your team mate that is coming up the boards behind you.  You make
that pass and then circle back so that you’re now following the guy
who was just following you.  He can drop it again or cut to the net
and get a pass on his way to the net.  I did this over and over and
scored a bunch of times.  I wondered how a kid from the USHL and B who
has played over twenty years since he was a kindergartener, could not
pick up on what I was doing.  We wore ourselves out doing this for
about an hour.  I looked up in the stands and little four and five
year olds were watching us.  I looked up to a small boy sitting next
to his mother and asked him if he was faster than me.  The mother
smiled and the boy nodded.
The weather was just warm enough to lay my equipment out in the
backyard.  Nothing is better to kill the stink and sweat of wet hockey
equipment better than the sun.  It’s not a fact, just my opinion.  I
walked over to a little Mexican restaurant with the newspaper and had
huevos rancheros…  The newspaper opinion section was down on Trump for
firing the head of the FBI.  The whole Democratic Party is calling for
a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s involvement with the
Russians and the Russian’s involvement with our election.  Interesting
to note that the same politicians who were astounded by James Comey’s
firing, were all calling for his head back when he was investigating
Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, use of a private server with
government business.  Today, Trump is painted to be just like Nixon.
Nixon wanted the special prosecutor fired and had to fire someone who
refused to do the firing on his behalf.  Nixon found a man named Bork
who fired the special prosecutor.  Bork was shot down as a supreme
court justice nominee due mostly to being the hatchet man for Nixon.
So Trump fired a man the Democrats felt  had done too much and that
the Republicans felt had not done enough.  Sometimes when you’re a
nice guy, it backfires and everyone hates your and finds you inept.
Better to be respected than loved.
I finished lunch, went back to the restaurant and got ready for the
night.  Washed left over dishes from the night before, bar and dinner
dishes.  Washed the floor, set tables and then went upstairs to my
apartment and practiced the bass in preparation for a gig Friday night
at my own place.  I had a rather quiet Groupon night.  Two young Asian
girls as cute as could be.  They’ll need to be carded for the next
thirty years since they look like junior high girls now.  They had a
charcuterie plate and a few empanadas and giggled a lot through their
chatter.  Another couple sat at the bar and agonized over which wine
to buy.
“What can you tell me about this wine?”
I make up plausible bullshit.  Truth is that 95% of the people who
come in cannot tell the difference in any of the wines.  They sniff,
they swirl and it’s all something they learned in Napa.  The husband
was chubby and kind of pushy.
“What do you have that’s a special?”
I’m always ready for that question.
“Everything on the menu is really special to me…”
I know what he meant.  Looking for something for next to nothing with
his Groupon.  His hips were wider than his shoulders and he was sort
of a whiny bitch.  His wife talked to him about the fact that he stole
her pillow a few times during the night.  I’m behind the bar and feel
compelled to ask at least one question.  His wife answers while he
studied his phone.  She seemed nice and genuine and out of his league.
That happens a lot.
The last table was a chubby woman across from a MILF.  The MILF
looked like she just got done with a yoga class.  The chubby woman
looked frumpy and looked at her friend while ordering instead of
making eye contact with me.  They ate a little, drank a little, paid
their bill and then sat for an extra hour.  I often wonder what  women
can talk about one on one for over two hours.  I was just happy as
hell that it wasn’t a Thursday because Thursday night I go to play
hockey after closing up and two women loitering for an extra hour is a
definite hockey cock block.
They left and I turned off all the lights to the bar and put on the
Anaheim/Edmonton game and ate and had some wine.  When one of the
Anaheim skaters skated in front of his net, in front of his goalie and
the Edmonton forechecker shuffleboarded the shot past the Anaheim
goalie who was just standing their like a scare crow, I thought
Edmonton was on it’s way.  On paper, they have almost what Edmonton
had beck in the eighties with Gretsky, Messier, Coffey and Grant Fuhr.
The Ducks woke up and crushed Edmonton in the second period and
stymied them in the third…  Dommage.  I’m hoping for Ottawa but feel
like Pittsburg is going to repeat.
Slapshot line of the day- Maurice, you make sick when you talk like that..

Happy Birthday to the White Earth

May 9, 2017

Percy sat in the room with a smile, looking unlike all the others in the room.
Eloise didn’t want her father, who was an assistant to the assistant
to the director of the EPA to discuss the fact that he had voted for
Trump and in a sense, was working for Trump.  She wanted no political
topics, discussions or debates to take place during the party for
their child who was turning one year old.  Little Sarah Mordecai
Terreblanche-Arnofsky.  The name Arnofsky, Jewish and Russian in
origin was the last name of the father, but not the husband of little
Sarah Mordecai’s mother.  Terreblanche, a French name, came from
France, then in the Acadia region of Canada then all the way down to
Louisiana where Eloise was born and raised along with her parents and
their parent’s parents before them.  And the name in English
translates to “White Earth”.  Oh and Mordecai?  Eloise and her husband
did not want to steer their biologically female daughter towards
acceptance of female identity.   They both feel that one day, Sarah
Mordecai should choose what gender she wants to be.  The gifts were
all neutral, most homemade gluten-free and vegan sweets.  The cake was
not really a cake but a bowl of honey mixed with picked fruit and
granola.  One of the Moroccans in attendance brought the recipe over
from North Africa.  In fact three men were playing dissonant sounding
Arabic music in a room with a hookah.
Percy poured himself a glass of wine, went out to the balcony and
looked over towards San Francisco from the condo he paid for in
Oakland.  Percy walked into the living room where all the young people
with their toddlers were sitting on the floor with their children.  A
young couple with ratty, matted dreadlocked hair wore shirts that read
“Resist!” in large letters, their small child also had on an onesie
with the same word on it.   Rainbows, Black lives Matter, Oakland is a
sanctuary shirts.  The guests ate vegan pizza, smelled of some sort of
oil and body odor.  Music indigenous to the middle east played.
Everyone was young and very militant.
Percy went to Oakland Coliseum to watch the A’s play a baseball game
earlier that weekend.  He wore a green and yellow shirt with a green
A’s hat.  The television in the living room had no volume on a
baseball game was on.  Percy ate carrot sticks and watched the game.
A young man in a beard, who shook his head a lot up and down, pulled
down at his beard and decided to engage Percy in conversation.
“I’m guessing this whole things ain’t your scene, man…  Everyone was
on edge wondering who the square was.  Maybe ICE.  Maybe FBI”
“Oh, I don’t know, young man… Square things can be a little round at
times…  You’re close.  I’m with the EPA”
The young guy laughed at the levity and tapped Percy’s knee in
approval thinking that Percy was only joking about being from the EPA.
Percy wasn’t joking.
“I looked at your whole get up man, and I was intrigued.  I mean
like, I just needed to know where you’re coming from, your bag, your
perspective.  You’re wearing baseball stuff and all.  I’m looking at
you and I’m thinking you look like the type that might have voted for
Trump…  So did you?  Are you part of the NRA?  Are you against a
woman’s right to have abortions?  Do you deny global warming?”
Percy lifted his glass of wine like he was toasting the young man,
took a drink, tilted his head to the side, adjusted his horn rimmed
glasses and gave a cryptic answer that only drew the young man more to
him.
“  Sonny…  I’m working with a realtor as we speak.  I’m trying to
find prime land on the equator on Mars.  I want a warm spot like
Phoenix…  You know like a balmy minus 10… Did you know?  No, you
couldn’t possibly know…  Anyway…I was raised in a house by a black
lady back in the early seventies who did all the cooking.  She had a
wide space between her two front teeth and she had bout twenty cats
running round the place.  If you wanted to finish your food, you
didn’t dare give a crumb to the cats til you were done.  If you did,
them cats would be all over you.  I had a mom and several men that
were suitors of some sort that courted my mom.  We lived in a home
where everyone contributed something and we ate together and the
adults hated the war and Nixon…  Did you ever live in a house like
that?  These were real Hippies.  They fucked each other in a loving
way, took a lot of dope and shared.  The music was good and people
really hated the president, the government and the establishment.  Can
you dig that a square like me was raised like that?  When you were a
tadpole in your daddy’s nutsack, my mom wore no bra, slept with
colored men with real Afros and wanted equal rights for women…  Now
this is the truth.  No bullshit, young fellow…  If abortion had been
legal in Illinois in 1965, I would not be sitting here talking to you
right now.  Yes sir…  I’m the son of a true, died in the wool, love
child.  She was only 15 at the time, if you can fathom that deep
thought…  Remember that nothingness is an experienced reality and
existence is transitory and fragile.
The young bearded man forgot that he had asked Percy whom he had
voted for and went on to describe an upper middle class upbringing in
a gated subdivision.
“Wow, young man.  That is truly a white milk, middle class,
homogenous, vitamin D, insulated life you lead.  Do you remember the
first black person you saw in real life?”
“It was probably at Dodger’s stadium in third grade…”
“Far out, man… I grew up practically a poor black child although you
would not know it to look at me…I grew up listening to Smokey Robinson
and Sly and the Family Stone.  We had a thing going on not unlike
Jonestown in Guyana.   Very cult like not unlike what is happening
today.  Free speech is acceptable as long as I agree with what you’re
saying,,,  Color didn’t matter.  Status didn’t matter…  You know, man?
People dying in Afghanistan and Iraq since before you could grow
whiskers and nobody cares if those young guys trying to make to the
end so that they can get their dough and go to college.  Nobody
protests the fact that we’re in a state of constant war.  Trump is the
problem…  Right?”
“Right on, man…  You said it!”
“Let it be soon, don’t hesitate…  Make it now, don’t wait.  Open your
heart and let my love come in.  I want a moment to stop when I can
fill your heart more love and more joy than age or time could ever
destroy…”
“That is some deep fucking shit, bro…”
“Yeah?  You can thank Smokey for that one…  Thing is that once the
war ended and people came home, shit began to fall apart.  Everyone
was worried about their shit…  It’s cool to take a stand when you have
food and shelter.  When you don’t have that shit…  Well, now…  It’s
survival of the fittest.  Origin of species, only the strong survive
and so on…  That’s just how it is.  A fire breaks out in this condo,
who lives?  Those with the best fight or flight response.  There are
people dying of famine in refegee camps in Africa…  Children dying and
some chubby white dude trying to win a Pulitzer is snapping off photos
of a kid about to die…”
“You’re one deep motherfucker…  Really man.  I mean, you show up here
and I think you’re going to be about as flat as the wall over here and
you’re deep as the ocean…  Keep talking , man.  I dig your vibe…  Do
you smoke?”
“The young man lit a joint and held it out to share with Percy.
“Not anymore, son.  I only smoke salmon now…  Where was I?  Old
people have issues with short-term memory loss.  Could have years of
smoking doobies as a youngster.”
Percy paused to hug his daughter who walked by with the baby in tow.
The young bearded man begged Percy to continue to talk.
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he
is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give life a
meaning.  Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees and
that has nothing to do with submission or some homosexual
tendencies…  I’m cool with whatever you’re into, man… Freedom is
what we do with what is done to us… Putting your business in the
street, talking out loud… You better bring the chick around to the
sad, sad truth… The dirty lowdown.”
Percy mixed Boz Scaggs with Sartre and looked the young man into his
eyes like he was way out there.  The young man had no idea that the
old man was just yanking his chain, pulling his leg, putting him on.
After the Moroccan treat and ice cream, presents and singing, Happy
Birthday, Percy decided it was time to leave his daughter’s home that
he paid for.  Percy made it possible for his daughter to teach
philosophy at a junior college and still have a nice place to live
with her boyfriend whose job it was to try and stop ICE agents from
gathering up and deporting illegal aliens.  Undocumented…  You know
what I mean.
The young bearded man followed Percy out to a rented convertible car
and asked how he felt about President Trump.  Percy revved up the
engine on the rented eight cylinder Dodge…  A huge gas-guzzler.
“Son…  When you bought the boat and you’re rowing the boat, you’ll
take offense to those that will coast at your expense…  Just remember
this- Richard Nixon might have been the best suited man to have ever
been given the job of president…  Think about that and wonder why I
would say such a thing…  Some writers I know are damned devils.  From
them I say don’t believe the hype.  Their pens and pads I’ll snatch
coz I’ve had it…  Don’t … Don’t believe the hype… Peace be with you…
Man…”

The Emperor’s New Clothes or F#ck the Cubs

October 28, 2016

Gil and Gail packed up their deviled eggs and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that they bought while in New Zealand and headed over to their friends Tom and Tam. It was a beautiful fall night more like summer than fall with a full moon. The event was a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. Tom, a huge Cubs fan, set up a television outside in front of a fire pit and a trampoline off in the distance.
Gil was born and raised in Los Angeles and was a life long Dodgers fan stranded in the midwest. He walked past a teacher’s union lawn sign and three different lawn signs for Hillary Clinton and a giant blue W painted on a plain white background to signify a win for the Chicago Cubs on the way to Tom and Gail’s backyard. Gail and Tam really liked one another. They met at a Pilates class and became great friends. They watched the Kardashians together at different homes and texted about it at night. Their sons played youth hockey together and Gil was the hockey coach. Gil was quiet owner of an ice hockey pro shop who played hockey, sold hockey and played hockey four to five days a week. Gil and Tammy’s son was thin and good-looking, fast and capable at being a scoring threat at every game. Tom and Tam’s son had man boobs and hips wider than his shoulders. The bookish son of Tom and Tam was slow and had a weak shot. Gil took their son as a favor to his wife who really wanted a friend up in the stands to sit with at games. Tom was jealous that Gil was in good shape and was a good skater and coach. Tom couldn’t skate but was wealthy and had season tickets to all Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks games. Tom was a partner at a law firm and drove a Range Rover and a Corvette with personalized Cubs and Blackhawks Illinois license plates. One license said PWR PLAY 69 and the other said LUV CUB 69. Gil had no hair, was built and had a half missing tooth much like the hockey great Alex Ovechkin and a face full of scars from years of playing ice hockey without facial protection. Gil refused to wear a cage or a half shield while playing and looked like a rough neck. Tom wore black horned rimmed glasses and had looked like an LL Bean model in front of his $5000.00 built in backyard grill, 50 inch television exclusively for the backyard and excellent sound system. A band from the 1980’s called Haircut 100 blared through the speakers while the ball teams silently  took batting practice. Gil stood with a bowl of deviled eggs in a LA Dodgers hat and shirt. Tom wore a Cubs hat with a T-shirt that had a large W on it. He was cooking filet mignon, he offered Gil a beer. Gil declined as he was gluten-free. It irritated Gil when Tom would offer him a beer. Even though Gil had declined dozens of times, Tom would still offer a beer to Gil. Gil had Ceiliaks disease which prevented him from processing gluten properly.
“Tam remembered and purchased a gluten-free, lesbian safe beer for you from Trader Joe’s… You can be like every other man around this town watching this game tonight and start the night properly with a beer.”
Gil opened the beer, tapped it against the bottle Tom was holding and talked about their son’s hockey team. Gil was careful not to say too much and let Tom comment on the high and low points of the season.
“The goalie is brutal… It is truly a testament to your defense that we’ve been in every game. Do you put your best skaters on defense always?”
Gil took a drink of his beer and pondered the best answer to a question he didn’t care to answer truthfully. Gil felt that it was a good idea to be as cryptic as possible with parents when it came to playing time, position and lines. Gil played Tom and Tam’s son on the first line even though he was a slow, tentative, ineffective player. It was a political move to appease his wife who was considering her friend’s feelings.
“I try to find a balance…”
“That is a beautifully scripted answer, coach. People try to figure out where you’re coming from. They want to know if there is something deeper to your tactics. I think mystery comes off as deep but I think I have you figured out, coach…”
“Tommy… This is a night all about baseball. I’m ready to take the night off of hockey. A full moon, great fucking weather, good food, booze and the Dodgers poised to make a California boy proud…”
Beer turned to scotch and then to wine. Bottles and bottles. Blue cheese on choice steaks with gluten-free pasta. It was a night to remember. A clear, full moon and August like weather in October. The game turned ugly for Gil. The Dodgers tanked and were getting crushed by the Cubs. It was a debacle not unlike when Gil was young and the Dodgers would lose every year to the Yankees. It might have been a moment of hurt pride that caused Gil to change from a good-natured fan to a critical observer of the type of man he disdained- bragging, rich, unathletic, pudgy Chicago fan. The Dodgers were losing by a touch down when Tom lit a cigar and laughed at the score between innings. Gil told Gail that he wanted to leave. she was having a great time without having to watch her children and she did not want to cut the night short and return home yet. The game ended with a huge Cubs win. Tam put on a song that harkened back to Burt Bacharach buy a band called Cousteau. No relation to Jacques called, The Last Good Day of the Year.
There’s something there
Among the fallen fruit and flowers, won’t rest
Only minutes, only hours unless
Now the morning breaks in showers, I guess
We’ll remember this all of our lives
On the last good day of the year
Gil sat and looked at the full moon as a gentle breeze blew through the leaves in the trees that were ready to turn colors and fall. Tom was going on and on about the Cubs and then switched to politics. After a beer, a scotch and many glasses of wine, Gil was ready to speak freely, uninhibited or reserved. Tom was taken by surprise.
“Fuck you. Fuck the Cubs, fuck unions, fuck Hillary and fat kids who really don’t want to play ice hockey… Enjoy your win you fucking pompous asshole. I hope Hillary gets the same fucking treatment Nixon got for the minor shit he did compared to that cunt.”
Gil knew that his wife hated the word cunt and that most women had a thing against the word. Both Tam and Gail gasped and tried to get Gil to calm down. It only made him angrier.
“You want to let all the Mexicans in? All the Syrians? Every fucking moderate who makes their wife cover their whole fucking face like a goddamn Ninja? Fuck you and your W shirt and Hillary lawn sign… Your kid is going to wind up with heart disease by high school if you don’t discover the word no. No you can’t eat whatever you want and drink sugary bullshit. Your son has bitch tits… I know that might be harsh to hear but you can thank the Cubs and Hillary. Bitch fucking tits on a 10-year-old and why? Because you can’t say no to him? You wanna know why my kid is fast? Because he eats yogurt instead of gummy worms and fucking Doritos…”
” I think you’re angry Tom…”
“Yes, I am. When unathletic fucks like you gloat, I get mad. You don’t know dick about how to really win and it falls into your lap tonight and you’re like a fucking scientist about baseball. Yes… The fast capable kids play defense on my teams and really I believe your son would be happier with a hot dog and a drink up in the stands next to you than forechecking. You got season tickets and you want your little son of sam to play like Kane or Toews.”
Gail came up and hugged Gil and put her hand over his mouth. Gil pushed Gail away in a way that let her know that he was not done. Tom had enough drinks to stand up to Gil and he did.
“You’re mad that the Dodgers lost and that Trump is about to go down in flames. Too many people do not buy into the Hitleresque bullshit spewed by Trump. Mexicans are the paste that holds this country together. Who is going to do the shit they do for the money they make? Big strong, stupid, flag waving, tear-in-the-eye patriot who hates anything not white. You’re the big hockey coach but you weren’t quite good enough to make it so what do you do? You coach.”
Gil took a step towards Tom with the thought to give Tom a smack. Tom sneered and raised his chin as if to say, “smack me! I don’t give a shit.”
“You know something, fuckface? I won’t ever apologize for being white. I won’t ever apologize for not blindly trusting people who hate me. Vote for whoever you fucking want. Why do we all got to know who it is? Why not put up a lawn sign that says you need a little blue pill and porn to make it with your old lady? You know what? All I need is a little text telling me to get home fast and my dick hurts to be cramped up in my jeans knowing that it’s going between my old lady’s legs just as soon as possible. You like baseball analogies? I’m the fucking closer who doesn’t need a warm up pitch. Put me in cold and I’ll finish the game…”
The women left the two men alone who were about to come to blows. Tom was about to rebut Gil when the women put on a song from the 1980’s from their youth. It was a Sinead O’Connor song called The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the light of the moon, the two men watched their rather fit middle-aged wives sing and bounce on the trampoline naked slathered in coconut oil. The oil glistened off of their breasts. The men stopped fighting and looked on at their wives without saying a word. Tom poured a glass of wine for himself and Gil. The men stripped down to nothing and joined the ladies on the trampoline on probably the last good day of the year. The song played on repeat while they made love or something resembling love beside one another.
Everyone can see what’s going on
They laugh `cause they know they’re untouchable
Not because what I said was wrong
Whatever it may bring
I will live by my own policies
I will sleep with a clear conscience
I will sleep in peace
Maybe it sounds mean
But I really don’t think so
You asked for the truth and I told you
Through their own words
They will be exposed
They’ve got a severe case of
The emperor’s new clothes

240 and Counting

July 4, 2016

Independence- 240 years and the descendants celebrate with wings, malt liquor and parades.  Bill of Rights and the rights of the dead, a bullet piercing the side of the head somewhere on the west side, south side, Chicago’s apartheid red line zone where the tourists never go.  But I digress- this is a process of processed food, entertainment and education.  Back when we were all English and white, on paper the ideas seemed right- Liberty and justice for all… or maybe some or none.  Manifest destiny, all for you and me from sea to shining sea.  You’re free above this line and slave below this one.  A war between brothers and in the end freedom with an asterisk- there was a fix.  You give us the presidency and we’ll look the other way for nearly a 100 years til someone refuses to give up a seat, sit where they want when they choose to eat, vote, protest and integrate, separate but equal became the Civil War sequel.  Well I’ve jumped ahead again.  The Kaiser, Sarajevo, trench warfare, mustard gas the rise of the working class.  Comrades in a sea of red, the Czar was dead.  The treaty left them angry and needy after reparations of Versailles a charismatic character, a director, a rector sold the scape goat- many die and why?  A bomb to stop a war and within a few years a little more and a truce that lasts til this day.

Unbridled growth and prosperity, suburbs and the interstate, sock hops and roller skates.  We liked Ike and then came JFK, Bay of Pigs, assassins and then LBJ and the KKK.  Just advisors to advise those who love and cherish democracy, imperial imposition of freedom for Vietnam.  Baby killers, draft dodgers, free love, and women’s lib.  Drugs and Nixon, the fix was in.  Watergate, oil crisis, a cancer on the presidency, end the war with dignity.  Ford, Carter Reagan- morning again in America.  This aggression will not stand- draw a line in the sand, new world order, Perot, Clinton, stained dress, Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill congressional hearings on the hill.  W, 9-11, weapons of mass destruction, mission accomplished, quagmire, Afghanistan/Taliban=Vietnam, Obama, Osama, Arab spring, ISIS, crisis of confidence, we’ll build a wall for our defense, terrorists, xenophobia, first woman presidential candidate, with shadows of doubt…  Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot… Wait!  This just in…  Citizen Trump

Yelping the 2016 Presidential Candidates

January 14, 2016

Republican presidential candidates -***** – I give the current cast of candidates five stars. I believe it is about time to think outside the box and outside the beltway. Career politicians- you’ve been served. Somebody has to stand up properly to the Iranians, North Koreans, Chinese and work with Russia for sane solutions. I think Vlad understands what deposing another dictator in the middle east will get us and it isn’t democracy. Trump is saying the things that many in this country think but do not dare say for fear of being labelled a backwards racist. We need to bring in throngs of Syrians just so our women can be fondled, robbed and raped at the Superbowl? Build a wall to keep us safe from everything. It’s a scary world and we had all better start taking notice. Would it be wrong to have morals and scrupples again?

1/2*- Unbelievable everyday that the media reports on the ridiculous things Trump says and does. Is this how Hitler made it? It’s like having your racist, drunk uncle show up to a family party and everyone is amused by the shocking things he will inevitably say. Maybe you’re not for Trump. Oh but there are others nearly as ludicrous. And starring Grandpa Munster as Ted Cruz. I say send him back to Canada and let him read nursery ryhmes to the Parliment in lieu of getting anything passed. Uncle Ben Carson, seeking to become the house Negro for the overseer Republican establishment. Marco! Rubio! Sorry, I can’t see you because I’m swimming with my eyes shut through this sea of blind reactionism. I know there are others still hanging on to the idea that they will be discovered and suddenly surge fifty points and become the front runner. Not even their spouses take them seriously. I ran a fortune 500 company, I was the governor of a state that was happy to get rid of me, my dad ran for president therefore I should do the same, yes but my brother and dad we’re presidents! We are a nation of shallow, short attention span people who get their news in sound bites and bullshit via the internet but really who is taking these idiots seriously other than ancient white people who remember the good old days when everyone was white who was somebody and gosh golly- all the presidents were men and white. Most Episcopalian too.

Democratic presidential candidates- *****- I’m not sure at this moment how I will vote but it is certainly a breath of fresh air to have sane, intelligent and civilized candidates who understand that our enemy is not a religion and that people who live in this country are not going anywhere. The elephant in the room is race relations and how the police target people of color on a daily basis. We have more to worry about within our borders than outside of them. Does anyone want to go back to the good ole Bush days? I think not. We are still recovering from the near collapse of our system under Republicans who were lead around by banks and Wall Street on all fours with ball gags in their mouthes. Bernie is not their slave and I think that speaks to the numbers of people out there that are ready for someone who is more of a third party candidate than the run-of-the-mill Democrats. Unemployment at 5%, low interest rates. Things were not this good in 2008. Whether we ultimately elect Hillary or Bernie, America will be in good hands. I’m waiting to see how things go in Iowa and New Hampshire before making a choice. Like the president said last night- we are the most powerful nation in the world and the state of the union is good!

1/2*- I kept trying to give the current list of Democratic presidential candidates no stars or less than that and this damn site won’t let me. Rome is burning and Bernie is playing the violin while Hillary plays cello. So your husband was president and you opted to look the other way on a slew of his indescretions that would get a raised eye brow from the other Bill- Bill Cosby. Benghazi, classified documents floating unsecured and Nixon had to resign? Pinocchio lies so much and so often she doesn’t even know when she’s lying. As long as we get more imbedded potential terrorists into this country in the form of refugees, I’ll go to bed feeling safe that the Iranians won’t make a bomb and use it against us so they can continue to fight proxy wars and terrorize the west. Don’t really care if your president is woman? Think that maybe she is not necessarily the heir to the throne exactly? Maybe you’d like an old time hippy communist who wants to dig deeper into your pockets to tax further and redistribute any wealth this nation might have. Yes comrade, there is a Vermont and if you let him, Bernie will turn the nation into one big Vermont- neo hippy, tree hugging, no deoderant wearing, gluten free, lesbian safe world where we are all use the same gender neutral bathrooms but men would have to sit when they piss so as to not be mysoginistic pigs. Yes everything and everyone equal but maybe some just a tad bit more equal as we will need some among us to run the new politburo. Eight more years of this silliness and we will be practicing Sharia Law and have a St. Lous style arch at the Mexican border that reads, ” Work makes you Free”. That’s if we haven’t been bombed out of our misery first. If Trump isn’t the answer, the right questions are not being posed. Come on!

I believe

February 3, 2015

A friend from high school who does a lot of theater in New York called me and left me a cryptic message on my voice mail. “Hey it’s me…  Call me, I need you to do me a favor.”  I was intrigued.  This is a guy that I was friends with as a teenager who taught me two songs to play on an upright bass for a variety show in high school.  The songs were Oh Boy and Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly.  It was like sedated Rockabilly and I loved the idea of entering the contest with wannabe Hair band lovers with spandex and Marshall Stacks and no sense of dynamics. We grew up and moved on and he does theater and so he came to Chicago and asked me to write something sincere about what I believe about what I believe.  I stood in a dark theater with three other men and they filmed this.  It played as a hologram over the weekend on Friday and Saturday.  I was all set to make the pilgrimage to downtown Chicago via train on Sunday to view what I did and others when the extreme weather killed it. A snow storm.  I will never see what I did and what others came up with.  My buddy texted me to tell me that mine was good.  He use the word “ringer”.  I spoke from the heart and it was a fun exercise in thinking about things that matter and so this is what I came up with.  Somewhere in New York City, my high school friend Richard Maxwell is doing his thing.  I am honored that he came to town and thought about having me do something with him that mattered to him.  Thanks, Rich.  Here are my thoughts and my side notes added later.

I believe the best days are spontaneous- When you think things are going to be ordinary and mundane, something totally unexpected happens. You meet someone you fall in love with or have one night with that leaves you feeling good about yourself and humanity. You find a hundred dollar bill rolling around in the wind or an extra burger in your take out bag.

I believe holidays with family are good- provided we don’t discuss religion or politics or have to listen to Uncle Asshole only talk and never have him allow others to talk or question anyone on what has happened between Easter and Thanksgiving.

I believe that I want to believe in something after life- Yes… I don’t want to get to the end and see a sign at the end of the tunnel of light that says- “Thanks for your cooperation in keeping order and stability on Earth during your stay. The whole god thing was designed to keep you in line… Sort of like Santa keeps kids in line.” Everlasting hell tends to keep people from killing and aping each other every two seconds.

I believe the most memorable days of life is witnessing the birth and death of someone you love- I was present for the births of my three kids and the death of the most influential person in my life. Being at the gate to welcome them and see them off is the strongest thing you can be apart of.

I believe life is short and gets shorter with age- At 20, I thought that old people were 30 and that I would live to be 40 maybe. I drove fast with out seat belts or helmets and just could not think of anything that could kill me. I was going to live forever.

I believe Americans are shallow- Not all but most. If it makes you feel better, I can speak French but think the French are pompous and their culture is overblown and not the benchmark.

I believe Nixon was the most knowledgable president in my life- Nixon was a smart man who let his paranoia get the best of him. Having Henry Kissinger in his ear probably didn’t help either.

I believe if Fidel Castro had made it into professional baseball, Cuba would have never become communist- If Fidel was as good as Roberto Clemente and made a good buck playing baseball, he wouldn’t have given a fuck what happened in Havana. “Well if I can’t make it playing baseball in America, I’m going to be a dictator that sticks his thumb up America’s ass”

I believe the Cold War was a better era- Reagan, Gorby, west coast hard core punk, Magnum PI… Come on, that was some good shit. You were either with us or against us and the whole globe was divided into allies or foes and if you really paid attention, you could see modern day slavery on the television via live feeds from places like Soweto during unrest in South Africa and never stop to think that the American south was in the same boat just twenty years earlier.

I believe ice hockey is the best sport there is- firstly learn to skate. Then put a stick in your hand. Then control a little disc while keeping your head up so as to see what is coming at you so that you don’t get obliterated. Pass the disc to someone and then get open so that the guy you just passed to can pass back before he gets smacked. It is soccer with hitting and knives on your feet. If you can speak the language, you understand best what is happening. If you never played, your missing out.

I believe you have to exercize to lose or maintain weight- from the “duh” files. Staple your stomach, just eat grapefruits, sit home and watch bullshit on television and somehow it just happens that your look like that smiling chick on the lame stomach machine that only works if you are losing more calories than taking in.

I believe eating well will keep you healthy- um this too… Eat shit and look like shit. Eat well and look good.

I believe old age will not be fun- I’ve yet to meet an old person who said that they love losing most of the people they new from their youth, like depending on strangers and offspring who are annoyed with them, like taking a cocktail of medicine just to make it to the next day, like getting slower, less autonomous and unable to stop pissing in their pants. I don’t believe I’ll beat the curve either.

I believe H.L. Mencken was the greatest American writer- check him out if you haven’t heard of him. He will make you laugh and appreciate really good writing.

I believe I am capable of deep love- and this has nothing to do with just getting a woman to cum but occasionally I strike oil there.  Love is getting donuts for the little fuckers on a Saturday morning, holding hands with the little one while ice skating, making them laugh during a family meal, watching television at the end of a hard day with that person who knows you unlike anyone else and still loves you. It is at moments like that while watching hockey highlights that I like to say, ” I know I joke around quite a bit and am rarely serious but I want you to know that I love you… Please don’t expect me to say this sappy shit too often though. It just weakens the phrase for days when you will really need it.”

I believe I have been a good father- As adults, the big ones still text and have meals with me. I suspect when they start spawning their own kids, they’ll appreciate my efforts even more.

I believe I am a good undiscovered writer- I don’t have time to blow smoke up someone’s ass at some workshop weekend in nowhere Florida, listening to people who got discovered just to learn that their wife had a friend who is married to someone who is a literary agent… Oh, that’s how you got discovered… I know a few mechanics and plumbers and so I just post short shit while I work on longer shit and hope my wife makes friends with someone who knows someone who will find merit in my shit and feed it through the eye of the needle.

I believe I am a good ice hockey player… for my age- I can still keep up with the youngsters. Part of the secret is being intelligent and knowing what you can get away with. Gordie Howe played until the age of 53 professionally. I still have time to be called up.

I believe I am a good bass player- Not everyone I know can play bass. Not everyone I know who plays bass can play a stand up bass. Not everyone I know who can play a stand up bass can sing and play. Of those that can sing and play the stand up bass, not many can play for three hours straight without pissing.

I believe I am in good shape- I can take of my shirt and not apologize

I believe I am a nice person- To those I think will respect and appreciate it and not just look at a kind gesture as a sign of weakness.

I believe i have a bad temper- I have been in a few fist fights. I have broken things that meant something to me including my hands from punching things that don’t give.

I believe in democracy- I don’t know what we have exactly but it’s good to know I will not be put in front of a Sunday afternoon tribunal and stone to death for poking fun at the government or god.

I believe vacations are necessary- Yes… If you got stuck in the snow this past week, you like to think and believe there is something nice out there where you won’t die from the elements if you get locked out. Sand, sun, ocean somewhere away from Americans.

I believe day time television is stupid- Is it any wonder terrorists pick up American feeds and conclude that they need to put us out of our misery.

je crois que c’est possible pour moi de converser en Francais- pouquoi? Peut-etre un jour je voudrais habiter en Quebec. A jouer hockey et parler Francais un petit peu.

I believe most people can be nice- yes… They have the ability within them

I believe there is evil- yes, they have this within them to and like a reverse gear on a car, we all have transmissions within us that can be shifted at a moment’s notice.

I believe the eighties weren’t that bad- no mortgage, no bills, unending supply of food, sleep til noon on weekends, work for beer and concert tickets only. If I could visit for a few weeks, I would go today.

I believe landlines are necessary- no service when you need to make a call sucks. You shouldn’t need to point your phone towards Mecca on a mountain top to make a call or be heard.

I believe organic is a gimmick- I think everything is eventually going to kill me. Even the good shit.

I believe there should be a viable third party to represent the people of the United States- Yes. You get two choices like two doors with brick walls behind them. We keep opening the same two doors thinking that the wall behind it might somehow not be there.

I believe Chicago is a great place to live- I also am quite fond of Detroit which I visit very often for music. Los Angeles is also good to go back to and remember what it was to be young and have my whole life ahead of me.

I believe that Lake Michigan looks like an ocean- It really does.

I believe the best era to live in was the 1950’s- no wars after Ike took over, the suburbs and interstate system was created, one car, two vacations, jobs, pensions and good looking clothes.

I believe it is necessary to be hugged occasionally- yes but not too much please.

I believe in love at first sight- when you know you know.

I believe the New England Patriots cheated- The whole country except the state of Massachutes thinks this too.

I believe it doesn’t matter if the New England Patriots cheated- with all the starvation in the world, does it really fucking matter?

I believe children are important- No jokes here. They are truly a gift if you have one. Enjoy them, they grow up fast and then milk you of resouces without any remorse.

I believe racism still lives- It is the elephant in the country and occasionally things happen that bring attention to it.

I believe every racist makes acceptions- any white person who ever says, “I have this black friend” is the hint. The fact that they have only one acceptable friend of color is because he or she is just a little bit unlike the rest of those people.

I believe wine tastes better than beer- especially American beer. Mule piss in a glass and if it is lite beer it is mule piss sans the calories.

I believe every war after World War II was avoidable- Great Britain dismantled their kingdom after World War II and said, ” ere you go, mate… ave the world. You can be the most powerful nation in the world and stick your bloody fingers up the arses of anyone you bloody well feel deserves it as long as it can be justified for the sake of freedom and democracy” and we’ve deluded ourselves ever since.

I believe men should open doors for women- I know you can do this shit for yourselves but momma taught me this is how it should be. Don’t try to undo this. The next generation will have you doing everything for yourselves.

I believe dying is scary- I try never to think about it in depth. My grandfather who was funnier than me, smarter than me and better looking than me used to say, “there’s no good way out of this”

I believe there is never enough time to do all the things I want to do.- Life is like Disneyland. You cannot do everything there in one day. Do what you can and try to be happy with it.

Random Stuff to End The Year

December 30, 2014

We are 15 years from Y2K. There are kids about to drive that never lived prior to 2000.

When someone says, “with all due respect”, they’re an asshole that is politely telling you that you’re an asshole.

If you shoot and kill your relative who unexpectedly enters your home, that is collateral damage… You know- friendly fire.

If nothing was said prior to beginning a statement, don’t start a sentence with “so”.

When an elected official tells you to be patient, what they mean is that they want you to get distracted and forget about the problem. Example- Iran is damn near close to having a nuclear weapon- let’s be patient and let sanctions send a message that we are seeking common ground with reasonable people who believe the Holocaust never happened- Meanwhile back at the ranch-White cops killing black men, protests, gas prices drop, Ebola, no Ebola, North Korea leader talking crazy and voila- important shit is buried. Just be patient.

TMZ- DMZ-GOP-FOP-NRA-NFL-NHL-NBA-NPR-OMG-JFK-LBJ-KKK-MLK-FDR-FFS- For fuck’s sake

I vote for just a simple “Hello” in 2015. What’s up, wad-up, how are you, how have you been, what’s new? Nobody wants to really know so why ask?

Election commercials are due just about any time beginning in 2015. Hillary will continue to ruin the country. Mitt has no idea what 99% of Americans are doing. Be red. Be Blue. This is America where you can choose whatever you want. As long is it is Democrat or Republican.

Is Isis-Isil like Kaddafi/Gaddafi, Beijing/Peking? It’s important to use the correct acronym when trying to describe those that are extreme for extremists.

Have a Happy New Year. Keep hope alive that this next year will be better than the last. You’ll be richer, thinner, happier and vacation more, worry less and take the time to enjoy this thing they call life.