Friday, April 27, 2007

At It Again.

So I had this dream the other night. I rarely remember my dreams, except the nightmares and I have not had one of those in a very long time, I think. Yeah, so in this dream I met my big brother. Strange, 'cause I don't have a brother. It all started a couple of weeks ago, well, decades ago really. I know, you're getting ready to hate this. I know that for me at least, anything that begins with "it all started" has a tendency to get real boring real fast. I will try to keep it short and sweet. Right now I have to go pick up my daughter at school, after a cigarette of course. After I pick her up I'm going to see about getting a haircut, depends on the line at the barber's. I'll pick this up when I get back. The Parrot is giving me that look. Tom Petty is on the radio singing about "let's the point"..... When I get back I will.

(save as draft)

Okay, yeah so I'm back. Never did get that haircut. Never even drove past the barber's to see how long the line was. Picked my daughter up at school and she was having a problem with her tooth spacer device. The orthodontist installed it yesterday, it will keep her teeth from closing in around existing gaps as her remaining three baby teeth fall out on their own and her twelve year molars come in. Anyway, there was a small burr on one of the two rings that hold this wire device in place. It's a semi-permanent device, not like a retainer. So the orthodontist does not have regular office hours on Friday. I called the emergency number and they called him. He came in and met us at the office. He used a small pneumatic tool and ground the burr down flush, it's all better now. He's a good guy, he's got a nice truck. It's a 1997 Chevy 1/2 ton extended cab with the eight foot bed, 4x4 of course. He's into restoring old buildings, his office is a registered historical landmark. Oh yeah, one other bonus. This guy is from Jersey originally, Hackensack I think. My daughter thinks he's cool, and he is pretty cool, introduces himself by first name, doesn't make you call him Doctor.

(cigarette break)

Well, that was stressful. Trying to make a pot of coffee, heat up some soup for my daughter and keep The Parrot from screaming all at the same time. It's spring, The Parrot gets all fired up in the spring. I didn't get a chance to grab a smoke outside, have to keep The Parrot quiet so my wife can sleep. She's doing an overtime shift tonight. Okay, things are calming down now. Maybe I can sneak out back for a quick smoke.....Quietly..............SHHHHHH.........Like a Ninja.

Alright, where was I? Oh yeah, Tom Petty. I finally threw the blanket over The Parrot's cage, that seems to have worked. Yeah, that dream I was trying to tell you about. It's largely based on a family rumor, a rumor that emanates, perhaps wafts is more appropriate, from one of the many skeletons in my family's musty old collective closet. It's a big closet. It took years, generations even, to build that closet. Many guard the closet, minions of the skeletons lurking within. It's kind of like that scene from that old movie. What is the name of that movie? You know the one, it has a little tiny woman who talks to the ghosts in the TV. She says the following. "Go away from the light" and they throw a tennis ball into the closet or something like that. Well, if you remember when Craig T. Nelson opens that closet door only to come face to face with that monster/demon thing? That's like the closet I'm talking about here.

Everything is about how it all looks. Truth is what you make it. I feel like a traitor for discussing these things, for even thinking about them, so brainwashed was I for so very long. I have to go for now. I'm going to pick this up later. My wife's alarm clock just went off. I would like to be with her for a little while before she goes to the plant for her overtime shift. I have to blog about this stuff, so that it does not infect my writing elsewhere. I've addressed some of the darkness in my first book, that's enough.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


That's right, I spelled that G-L-U-B-S. When my younger daughter was little that's how she said gloves.

"Daddy I need my glubs, it's cold outside".

Light bulbs were "light bubbles" and eyebrows were "eye-brellas" .

We worked out in the yard all day Saturday, just me and her. I bought her some new work gloves, sorry, glubs. She really worked hard, I'm proud of her. We had a nice time together. It was so nice outside, finally. We had The Parrot out on the patio sitting on his perch. We didn't want it to end. We finally came inside when it got too dark to see. We were done working at that point, we were checking out the birds. She loves birds. This white pigeon was sitting on top of the neighbors house, every now and then it would fly around then come back to the neighbors roof. The sun was setting. The sun made that pigeon's wings sparkle as it flew overhead.

Today I was putting some Christmas decorations away. They have been packed back in their respective containers since January. Those containers have been sitting in the front room, the room we really don't use ever since. I know, believe me I know. Hey, better late than never, right? So anyway, I'm carting those containers up into the attic and she's hanging out with me. She's just sitting on one of those big plastic storage bins up in the attic while I haul stuff upstairs. She asks me what's in those two big containers over in the corner? The ones sealed shut with duct tape.

We spent an hour going through them, old army memorabilia and stuff from when I was a cop. I realized that she really does not remember me being a cop. She remembers me being in the wheelchair, she remembers me recovering and going to physical therapy because that went on for a few years but she really does not remember me being a cop. She just knows that I was once. She was two when I got hurt and retired. So we were going through old army stuff, we were going through old cop stuff. She was wearing my old black beret and a BDU top with the patches all sewn on both arms. She had a lot of questions about the army, I answered most and lied about some. She was really digging all the cop stuff. I have a couple old trophies from shooting competitions, one for being the best shot in my class at the academy. She was impressed, I felt kind of proud. She found my old badge holder, the leather device that holds your ribbons and such up above your badge on your dress uniform. It has seven ribbons on it. She asked me what each one was for and I told her, I showed her the written commendations that went along with each one. She read them, she started to cry. I thought she was getting upset so I asked her what's wrong? She said nothing was wrong. She said she was proud of me. She gave me a hug and said she was proud that her daddy was a hero. Wow, I do not consider myself a hero, at all. In fact most cops out there have similar awards, it just goes with the territory. She didn't care, she thinks I'm cool.

Someday she won't think I'm so cool anymore and that's okay. Today she thinks I'm the real deal. I have to admit, it felt pretty good. I will never forget today, I just hope I can live up to it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Walk In The Woods.

Our younger daughter's fifth grade class will be taking a nature walk within the next few weeks. It's on one of those old rail beds that's now been designated a hiking trail. Her class has done this before, this time it's scheduled for a Friday, and since I don't work on Fridays I will be going along as a class parent. I have always enjoyed being involved with the girls and their school related field trips, I have gone along on many of them over the years. I do not get involved in P.T.O./P.T.A. type events and my reasons for volunteering are somewhat selfish and as follows:

(1) I really like being with my kids.

(2) I'm just a little paranoid. Keep in mind, I'm an ex-cop from Jersey. I don't trust anyone
except certain family members and three other people, one of whom is dead.

In light of recent events, horrific and terrifying events, I'm considering taking along a friend on this nature walk. At first I was going to break out my old Kevlar vest from the container in the attic, lock and load a street sweeper 12 gauge and strap a pistol on my belt and a back up on my ankle. I thought that might be a bit extreme, probably scare the children and I'm sure the teachers would not allow it. I don't want to get yelled at by the teachers, I had enough of that when I was a kid. So, the full tactical response is out of the question.

My second thought was to carry a small, easy to conceal handgun in a small holster at the small of my back. (That's a lot of small) A little five shot wheel gun or maybe a .380 auto. Please keep in mind, I am a trained professional. I know a lot of people say that but in my case it's true. My military training and experience was quite extensive, not to mention my training as a cop and a Firearms Instructor. I am qualified, I understand the rules/laws as they apply to the use of deadly force. I am not going to do anything stupid.

My third thought is this. Maybe I will buy one of those TRAC phones up at Wal-Mart. I will have the phone with me on the nature walk. The odds are astronomical that our little group of fifth grade students will be attacked on the trail, a phone will probably be enough.

I just can't help it though, this nagging little feeling in the back of my gut. I know the odds are astronomical, but if it were to happen? I suppose I could use the trees as cover while I advance towards the threat in an attempt to subdue that threat with my pocket knife, or a log, or my hands. I do not want to think about these things. I do not want to carry a weapon on the nature walk with my daughter's class, but...........I do not want anyone to harm the children either.

I hate feeling this way. I hate worrying about these things. There was a time when you only had to worry about the creepy old guy with candy or maybe a drunk driver. I never thought I'd see the day when we had to worry about people, young people, gunning down their classmates. No matter how you feel about gun control, and it is an important topic for discussion, the only form of gun control that is guaranteed to prevent incidents like this is having the ability to hit your target......I have made up my mind.

I will buy the TRAC phone. I will not carry a gun on the fifth grade nature walk. I will not live like that. The odds are in our favor, got a better chance of hitting the lottery. I will not change the way I live, and if by some astronomical chance something does happen? I will get "Ranger" on their ass, or die trying.

19APR07. 1224HRS:

Okay, so it's about twenty-four hours later, this is a revised comment:
So I was talking to my next door neighbor, he's a retired N.C.O., U.S.M.C with well over twenty years active duty under his belt. I discussed my feelings regarding the nature walk. He thinks I'm crazy for not wanting to carry a sidearm. He mentioned black bears, there are a lot of black bears in this area. I told him that I didn't think a handgun would drop a bear. He agreed, it won't, unless you hit him in the head multiple times. He further stated that the noise, the report of the weapon as it's fired would probably scare a bear away, I had to agree because I did that once years ago.

It's a long story, but an overly curious black bear began to act aggressively and I fired one round into the dirt from my 9mm duty weapon that I was carrying on my right hip in a high rise pancake holster under my flannel shirt. The bear ran away. That was years ago, it happened near the Delaware Water Gap in the national park. I was off duty, hiking around with my wife.

So my neighbor has a suggestion. He has a very small .40 calibre pistol, a baby Glock sometimes referred to as a pocket Glock. He will let me borrow it for the nature walk. I will stuff it down in the front pocket of my carpenter jeans, with the larger and roomier pockets than regular cut jeans. I will carry the pistol with a full six round magazine in the magazine well but on an empty chamber with the trigger locked back. That is very safe. The only way that weapon could be discharged would be for me to rack the slide back and let it ride forward, thus feeding a round into the chamber. At that point, the weapon would be in battery, or ready to fire. I'm still going to buy the TRAC phone.

My neighbor pointed something out to me, and I think it's a good point. He said that as a retired police officer, I should be the one to carry. He said there is a reason why many states that do not allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, do allow retired cops to carry. (States like NY and my own native NJ being two examples that come to mind) I believe that a federal law is in place that allows police officers, and retired police officers to carry their sidearms across state lines. The cop must be in compliance with his or her own home states regulations to do so, but it is allowed. My neighbor made one other point, again he was right.

He reminded me that in my own native state of NJ, that shooter at Virginia Tech probably would NOT have been issued a handgun purchase permit. In NJ, in order to buy a handgun you must first apply for, and be issued a Firearms ID card. It is an extensive process that takes weeks or months in some cases. You must be fingerprinted by your local police agency who then forwards those prints to the State Police for an extensive state and national background check. You must sign a medical records release form that allows the police to access any and all of your medical records, with particular attention payed to mental health records. You must provide the names of at least two personal references who are not related to you who are then contacted and asked to provide a written statement regarding your eligibility to own a firearm. The police can refuse to issue a permit if they even think you may not be stable. Okay, let us assume that you have been issued a Firearms ID card, that now includes your name and SSN, along with your right thumb print and a list of scars, marks and tattoos. Now you are eligible to purchase long guns, rifles and shotguns that is, along with ammunition. If you want to purchase a pistol, you have to fill out another application. Since you already have your Firearms ID card then you will probably get your pistol purchase permit. That pistol purchase permit is good for the purchase of ONE pistol and ONE pistol only, it also has an expiration date so that you must use it within a set time or it expires. If you wish to purchase another pistol then you must apply for another pistol purchase permit. the pistol purchase permit takes weeks, sometimes months to be processed as well, and it must go through your local police agency as well as the State Police. I have never known anyone who was a good person with no criminal record to be refused a gun permit in NJ. The system has been in place like that since I was kid, it works. No, it does not prevent criminals from obtaining firearms, no amount of regulation ever will. It does however prevent the spur of the moment impulse gun buy. Like I said, it's a good system, you can buy guns if you want. Legitimate sportsman and citizens who want to keep a gun in their home for protection can and do buy guns in NJ. Maybe, just maybe, the country as a whole should take a look at that.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Beyond Sad.

Virginia Tech.

Pray for them. There are no words.

This world is going crazy.

What is goin' on here?

It's April 17, it's friggin' snowing out, still! I am about to lose my mind here people. I need some sunshine, some workin' outside time, some grillin' on the grill time, some frisbee chuckin' with the dog time, some sidewalk chalk and bubble blowin' time. Whoever keeps doin' the rain dance better knock it off. I will find you, I will say bad things to you. Okay, maybe I wont say bad things because that would be rude but I promise you I'll think bad thoughts! Stop with the rain dancing or the snow dancing or whatever it is yuz are doin', okay?

This has got to be someones fault. This just don't happen like this. Make it stop!

I don't want to go to work this afternoon. I want to have a snack and take a nap on the couch.

I'm thinkin' about, don't make me do it. I ain't afraid you know. I'll do it.

Well that was fun, and stupid. I have to go pack my lunch for work tonight. Got lots to write about, no time to write it. Maybe later on, after work.

Hey Tommy, what's goin' on?.........Yeah, I got that ceiling all taken down. It's pretty cool, revealed the original stuff but now we really have our work cut out for us.....Yeah, I really have to run, I'll fill you in later bro......Right, take it easy man.

1240 HRS:
This is an add to. Yeah, so I fell asleep on the couch last night, woke up at midnight, went upstairs to go to bed. I removed my jeans, found a hole in my left thigh. It was a nail, an old square nail that I must have put in my pocket so the dog would not ingest it.....I just had the best cup of coffee I've had in a long time. Don't know why, it was just real good. Now I'm heading off to the shower, got some dry blood to wash off my leg, maybe slap some medicine on it. Not too worried about tetanus, a little lockjaw would do me some good anyway. Still snowing in these western PA hills. These hills are very pretty, peaceful even. Oh yeah, along with best cup of coffee I've had in some time? I had the best cigarette I've tasted in years. I make my own, got a machine, buy tubes and tobacco at the smoke shop down the street. Anyway, for some reason that cigarette tasted a little bit like a joint. That is something I have not tasted in many years, don't know why it tasted that way, it just did. Kind of weird, mind plays tricks sometimes. I had just called Beetus, my old friend who now lives in warmer climates. He didn't answer, didn't think he would so I left an annoying message, that was my intention. Maybe, just maybe, thinking about Beetus and the old days stirred up something in my dusty old brain. Maybe that's where that cigarette that tasted sort of like a joint came from? Who knows, it's just kind of weird is all I'm sayin'. Time to republish. Is that a real word?

Friday, April 13, 2007

quack quack

This Imus thing, wow. I've been a fan of his since the seventies, anybody remember Moby Worm? I am not surprised that he's been fired, I am not surprised that the Rutgers players have decided to accept his apology....Yeah yeah yeah, freedom of speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment, well?.....It does not say anywhere in that document that we are guaranteed the right to a microphone and sponsors so that we may exercise our right to free speech. What Imus said was wrong. Proctor&Gamble just wants to sell soap. NBC TV and CBS radio just want to sell air time to Proctor&Gamble so that they can sell their soap, it really is that simple.

So, now we are supposed to look at "the root causes"... What "root causes"? Imus has made a lot of money for a lot of years doing what he does best, and what Imus does best is just be himself. I don't know the man but I think it's safe to say that he's probably an asshole. Yes, he does a lot of good work, he is a philanthropist, who also happens to be an asshole. Like I said, I have listened to Imus on the radio and on MSNBC since the mid-seventies, he is funny and rude and I'm glad he's not my neighbor. I also think that he has a good heart, that he carries a lot of demons and that he will try very hard to make amends for his mean spirited comments that were directed at those girls.

I know that Hip-Hop and Rap are being blamed for this but that's a load of bull. You can't blame Snoop for the actions of a man who's been pissing people off since the sixties, besides it's different. How you may ask? Well, I don't know a lot about Hip-Hop and Rap music, but I do know that the objectionable lyrics are rarely directed towards specific individuals, like female college athletes. Imus said what he said and he should have known better. He is a professional broadcaster with decades of experience under his belt and a dedicated crew of professionals around him. He just should have known better.......I think he will be back, on some other network with some other deal. I think that when he does come back he will work towards addressing the larger issues of race and sexism in our society. I know he will do these things if given the chance. I know he will do these things because he said he would. I know this because one thing I have learned about Imus from thirty years of listening to Imus is that he does what he says he's going to do.

The time is now 2:25 PM, coming up at the bottom of the hour I have to go pick up my daughter at school soon, drop her off here and run a few errands, Lou?................

A nice B.B. King bumper plays me off this blog.
"....The thrill is gone......"

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Okay, so this blog I like to read, it's called McBickle Eyes the Transom and you can find it right here on this that we all enjoy so much. I have to add a link to it, I have several blogs that I need to add links for but I'm just kind of stupid when it comes to all things cyberspace. So anyway, it's a good read. The writer is a reporter in N.Y.C., and this writer writes so damn well. When I read this blog sometimes it makes me sad. Sad because I miss the NY/North Jersey area so much. Like I was sayin' in the previous post, when I was bitchin' and cryin' and whining like a little kid who's pissed 'cause he can't get what he wants, economics have a lot to do with it. It's still all my fault. Had I worked harder, had I applied myself and gone to school or something, maybe we would have been able to stay. It's not that it's so bad here, it's just that it's so different.

Okay, so I was a cop, big deal. In 1997 I was injured and had to retire after ten plus years on the job. Like I've said before, nothing dramatic, just a stupid accident. Prior to that I served in the army, worked construction, tended bar and drove trucks. Not necessarily in that order. I stayed in the army reserves and was called to active duty for service in Desert Storm, 1991. Upon my return from S.W.A. and release from active duty I resumed my position as a patrolman in the suburban (just outside of Newark) police department where I had worked before. I subsequently was assigned to the Firearms Unit and was sent to the Firearms Instructor Course and M.O.I., Method Of Instruction. I became a N.J. State Police Training Commission certified Firearms Instructor and in addition to my regular duties I began to teach part time at the police academy. I met my wife in 1993, I was in love with her immediately. We were married less than six months after we met. It was and still is the best decision I ever made.

Our older daughter was four when we married, technically she's my step-daughter but I really hate that term. I asked her if it would be okay if I married her mom, I showed her the ring before I gave it to my wife and she made a card for her. We bought a house in the summer of 1995, not much money down and a VA mortgage. Our younger daughter was born in December of that year, the second best day of my life. When I say second I just mean chronologically, not that it was second best but you know what I mean. Prior to purchasing that house we lived in a carriage house in North Caldwell, that's Soprano country. The house that's used as Tony Soprano's house is in North Caldwell. In the opening credits, when he's driving, the last driving shot is through his windshield as he travels uphill through a cut in some rocks right before he pulls into the driveway. That shot is Mountain Avenue but I digress. Anyway, this carriage house was behind the garage of a rather large ranch house on a quiet dead end street. The place was owned by a well known mentalist/mind reader/magician guy who's been on TV a lot in the NY area. He bought the house for his mother. We lived there rent free and took care of her because he traveled so much. My wife cooked for her, I cut the grass. He was so nice to our older daughter, he gave her this hand crafted jewelry box that he bought for her in Europe. As far as I'm concerned, he's a good guy. His brother is a retired cop from my department, he's one of those legendary old timers that we always heard stories about. Anyway, we got pregnant and bought a house, ready to settle down for the long hall. Things didn't exactly work out that way.

Yeah, so we buy the house in August of 1995, our little one is born in December and two years later I get hurt and it all starts to come apart. So, my pension is forty percent of what I earned, they included my last fourteen months of overtime. I do receive my full benefits with my pension and that's a very good thing. I had several operations, I worked when I could as did my wife to supplement the pension. At that time we also had an ongoing legal battle regarding some custody issues and an insane grandparents rights case but that's another story. Needless to say, it was a very stressful time for our little family. We ultimately prevailed but at quite a cost. Oh yeah, I also was named in a federal lawsuit along with four other guys for an incident that never actually happened. It seems that this guy claimed we threw him down the marble stairs in the courthouse under orders from a judge who watched us do this. He also charged us with kidnapping because we picked him up on a warrant for domestic violence at another county jail when he was released on another domestic violence related charges. The whole thing went to Grand Jury and was no-billed but, the federal courthouse doors are always open. Anyway, this guy represented himself. The judge threw the whole thing out after four days of testimony due to lack of evidence. Actually, she dismissed the case with prejudice. That was fun, sitting in federal court as a defendant while I was recovering from injuries sustained.

So, after all that, with bills mounting and property taxes increasing yet again, we decided to get out of Dodge. I have an army buddy who lives in Missouri so that's where we went. We spent three years there, I wrote my book there and we met some of the nicest people we have ever met in our lives. We also met some pretty crazy people but you get that everywhere. My good friend in Missouri is a true cowboy poet, he loves Broadway show tunes. No, he's not gay. Big ol' Hoss, the kid who took our daughter to his senior prom in his granpaw's brand new F-350 dually crew cab 4x4, he wore a bolo tie and a Stetson hat. He almost got in a fight with the valet parking guy at the prom. Nobody drives his granpaw's brand new F-350 crew cab dually 4x4. The valet parking guy wisely allowed ol' Hoss to park the truck himself. Salt of the earth that boy is. They are still friends, our daughter and Hoss. He raises cattle and he's a welder. He says he might come visit us here in Pennsylvania. Our door is always open to him. Hoss is not his real name but everyone calls him that. We don't have anything against Missouri, it's just a little too far away from home. A two day drive to bring the girls back east for Christmas, I took them to see The Tree. They both really like The City too. They rode the subway with their cousin who lived on the West Side, she's in Soho now.

Three years in the southern plains, learned a lot about Bloody Bill and Jesse James. St. Louis is cool, good food and good music. It was over one hundred miles from where we lived in Boone County. Well, we decided to come back east, get as close as we could get so we ended up here, three hundred miles from the Jersey line. When we sold the house in Missouri my wife had an idea, she said we should try something new. She said we should find homes for the dogs and the birds, we knew plenty of good people who were willing to take them in. Our dogs and our birds are awesome. So her idea was this. She said we should try something new. She said lets sell the house and pay off all the bills. She said we should rent a nice apartment in or near Chicago. She said I could just stay at home, be Mr. Mom and write full time, really give it my best shot. She said she would work and be able to concentrate on her interests as well. I still don't know why but I turned it down. Not a day goes by that I do not regret that decision. So here we are, two hours from Pittsburgh, six hours from Philly (where my sister-in-law lives) watching the snow fall in these very pretty hills and bored to tears. Like I said before, the kids are doing well here and they like it better than Missouri but.......They are both smart, they are both creative and very talented in their own individual ways, they would do well anywhere.

It's nice here. We have met some real good people, some real down to earth hard working people but.......I have to sit and watch my wife go off to work third shift at the powdered metal plant where she runs the presses and comes home covered in grease and powder. She looks like a coal miner after her shift. I work four days a week as a part time Teamster at a wholesale grocery warehouse. I work in the warehouse and sometimes out on The Dock. You have to take what you can get, jobs are few and far between. Jobs that don't require a name tag that is. My wife has a dream too. She has always wanted to try her hand at stand-up, she's even done an open mic thing and got a lot of laughs. That's kind of hard to pursue when you live in the middle of nowhere. Let me tell you something about my wife. She is thirty-eight and she looks twenty-five. She gets carded frequently. She is six foot tall and weighs 135, she's drop dead gorgeous and that's no lie. She could very easily have been a model but her interests never took her in that direction. She fell in love with me, poor baby. She is singularly the most honest person I have ever met and I trust her with my life. Outside of my wife and kids there are three people I can say that about and one of them is dead. These are not idle words.

Yeah, so now I think I can be writer. I've been writing all my life. I was really good at the narrative portion on police reports. I even "ghosted" some for fellow cops from time to time. I wrote a book when we lived in Missouri. Out of the dozens of queries that I have promptly received rejections for, I've gotten one positive response from a small agency. I sent them the first five chapters as per their request, I have heard nothing since last August. I guess I have my answer. I thought about driving to The City and randomly leaving discs with my manuscript on board at strategic locations around town, 'til I saw that episode of Family Guy that is. Brian, he's a dog. He goes to L.A. to become a screen writer. He gets a call from someone pretending to be a famous actor and that person tells him that he read his script that was left on a coffee shop table, he loved it. Then the truth comes out, it's not a famous actor. The laughs are on Brian, and as I watched I actually felt bad for Brian, a cartoon dog. As I watched I realized what a jerk I am for considering the same thing, for thinking it was such an original idea.

Well, anyone who reads this blog has probably gotten bits and pieces of this story, "my story", over the last nine or ten months. This is the first time I put it all down at once. I'm still not sure if I'll post it. If your reading this then you will know the answer. I have to go for now, I've got eggs in the pot. My younger daughter and I are going to decorate them this afternoon. My wife and our older girl off to Jersey to visit my father-in-law in ICU because the docs just removed a football size malignant tumor from his chest cavity, along with a rib and half of his right lung. Now that is reality. Hard core, cold fact, slap you in the face reality. He's the relative I mentioned in the previous post, the guy who just retired. I'm going to shut up now, lately I talk too much.

Silence is golden and diamonds are forever. Hey Tommy, you remember that shit don't you?

Friday, April 06, 2007


Yeah, so it's been one of those days. Friggin' snowing out, cold and windy. I've got one of those pain in the ass head colds, you know the kind. You ain't really sick enough to stay in bed but you feel like crap anyway. So our older daughter needs a wig for her part in the senior variety show at the school this week. She went out and about yesterday with one of her girlfriends looking for a wig. They got lost, never found a wig. Today I looked in the yellow pages and found a place that's located right in the area they were patrolling yesterday, this place had the wig. I asked her why she didn't look in the phone book? She said she asked her friends and looked online, that place wasn't mentioned or listed. Well, we had to drive over there and get the wig. We got the wig. Because it's for a school event, the rental fee is only five bucks for the whole week, not a bad deal.

So while all this was going on, my wife was sleeping 'cause she works third shift and she's goin' in again tonight at midnight for six hours overtime. I took our younger daughter with us on the wig hunt too, we stopped for lunch at this all you can eat buffet place that they had never been to before, and they loved it. It has these really gaudy chandeliers that somehow seem to go with the strip mall decor. They have these colored lights that create a rainbow chain on the ceiling all around each of the four sneeze guard protected buffet tables. Each section in the dining area is divided by a four foot high wall and those walls are topped with glass panels that are decorated with pandas, birds and assorted Asian looking flora. The food is pretty good, and like most Chinese buffet kind of places these days the food varies. I mean it's like this. They will have Chinese dishes, American dishes, Korean dishes, Japanese dishes and Thai dishes all on display for your tasting pleasure under the same Plexiglas sneeze guards. When I was kid growing up in North Jersey, if you went out for Chinese it was just that. I don't recall being treated to such a diverse and varied Oriental smorgasbord. When we would go in to the city (Manhattan) and headed for Chinatown we knew what we were in for. When our crew hung out at Lam's Tavern we knew the Lams were Chinese, like from China. It's kind of sad that so many people do not know the difference. This place we went to for lunch today is staffed mostly with Vietnamese people. To many of the locals in this part of Pennsylvania however, they are all Chinese.

Our girls both use chop sticks, and they use them quite well. Our older daughter mastered the technique at a very early age having been shown by a young man who worked at a Chinese place near our home in New Jersey, she then passed on that skill to her younger sister. That was a real Chinese restaurant, we became friends with the owners who had a son the same age as our younger daughter. She attended his birthday party where we all met his maternal grandparents who spoke very little English. What an interesting and fun day that was. How cool is it for our kids to experience all that culture. I miss New Jersey, sometimes. It has gotten so damned expensive there, we just could not afford to stay there.

I have a relative who recently retired at the age of sixty-five. He has a pension and his house is payed for. He purchased that house in 1967 for thirty grand, it's now worth over half a million dollars because it's in North Jersey very close to the city, has a train stop right down the street. Well, he can't afford to stay there because his property taxes are in excess of $8,000.00 per year. That's right. Eight thousand dollars per year. When we sold our house, a house we had lived in for seven years, our property taxes were three grand a year. When we bought that house seven years prior? Nineteen hundred. Sometimes I really don't like yuppies. I remember what they did to Hoboken all those years ago, and Jersey City, forget about it. Yeah it's great, it looks real nice all gentrified and everything but the regular working class people got nowhere to go except the projects or out of state. Well, the day is goin' to come when all those real estate speculators who drive the prices up out of reach are goin' to have to fix their own toilets and cut their own grass, unless they want to pay the plumber five hundred bucks an hour. Oh wait, they can just hire illegal aliens to do all those jobs that "Americans don't want to do" and pay them near slave wages for their efforts. Never mind, I guess they have a plan. I don't know what I'm bitchin' about. Just sour grapes I guess.

Everything that made New Jersey, you know, Jersey is almost all gone. I doubt if Bruce could write those songs if he were coming up today.

".......the Magic Rat drove his sixty thousand dollar Escalade, over the Jersey state line........"
"Then he parked it at the fancy new mall, the one with the Bloomingdale's, built on what was once the swamps of Jersey......."

".......the Benz door slams, Mary's dressed in the latest DKNY. Like a vision she dances across the imported marble tile floor while the XM Satellite radio plays..................."
".......she said don't roll down the window I don't want the wind to mess up my hair.....she said I just had it done at that new salon and it cost three hundred dollars to get it to look this way........"

Yeah, the gritty and the real is all on it's way out. Bein' replaced with phony. Don't mind me, I'm just gettin' old and cranky. Before you know it I'll be prefacing my statements with; "When I was a boy".........Anyway, I had a real nice time being out with my girls today, they make me look good.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I'm so busy, busy busy busy busy busy doin' nothin'.........Busy busy busy busy busy doin' nothin'.

Same old same, day in day out.......Busy busy busy busy busy doin' nothin'.

Spin around, spin around, spin around, spin around.........Busy doin' nothin'.

Repetition is everything but......................

The glass is still half full.

In ninth grade I tried out for the school play, nervously. I got a part and never went back again. I was scared shitless.

In ninth grade I was voted best hair in the guy category. They gave me an oversize comb with several teeth missing. I did not attend the event....................I was busy.