Why rent out my mind when it’s a seller’s market?

It occurs to me that my brain gets more interesting every day. Too bad my long term memory has gone all short term on me. Or is that a good thing? Anyways, here are a few of my favorite thoughts since sitting down to dinner. As Keanu Reeves would say, Vaya Con Dee Ohs.

-Watched the Halloween as per of a Rob Zombie reboot this evening. Fucking A, the man has a genius to him that I crush on madly. His rendition is actually . . . oh  . . how did I refer to it today? Oh yeah. My ‘happy place’. Yep, I’m gonna be residing in the fiery pits on the other side of all this hilarity. Fun people? Hit me up!

-I got one of my best pals (And a huge Tebow hater) to say the following . . . verbatim. “Tim Tebow is God’s homie.” And it only cost me a couple of Heineken big ones to coax it out of him. Okay, maybe you had to be there to get the satisfaction.

-Wait a minute! Ice Cube created a 3 on 3 league? And it starts tonight? In Brooklyn? And . . I’m curently watching it as I write this post . . .

-Deep dish pizza is the best pizza. Yes, this Bronx born son just said that. But hey, I have made both of these pie plates by hand with genuine pizza dough (not the store bought crap), and well . . . deep dish is still winning. I went all Luca Brasi with my sweet Italian sausage version last night. Which is the mafioso way of saying . . . Killed It! 

-The Cubs? Not so much winning going on there. And I think I love that fact more than deep dish.

-And not for nothing, but if the Red Sox win it all this season? Welp, they bought a title. Hey, as a Yankees fan who has been hearing that shit forever . . . it’s all about the fair play of a turnabout.

-Oh shit, I almost forgot. As far as the Rob Zombie masterpiece of a Halloween reboot goes, I can’t stop falling in love again with his music placement. Going with one of my all time favorite Rush songs . . Tom Sawyer? In the truck stop scene? Only a writer on the level of Isaac Newton (Or Quentin Tarantino . . . same diff) would be able to grasp that kind of gravitas. Wow? Meet za.

(Since I have a sweet spot finish for this post, Imma throw one of my favorite Rush spills in right here.)

-Ann Curry, you are my Joe DiMaggio in curls. And please, please, please! Come back!

-Katie Couric? Stay wherever you are.

-That Friday the 13th game I have actually been playing on PS4 . . . kicks. Ass.

-I can’t believe I just said that. Much less . . . meant it.

-And might there be a future post on this Friday the 13th game? Call Vegas right now, and win big with the yes.

-Speaking of . . . What if you would have gone to Vegas, like thirty years ago, and tried to lay money on this here bet? That America’s Father (at the time) Bill Cosby would be known as a sexual predator . . that the saintly Joe Paterno was covering up child rape (he was), and that Donald Trump would be elected President in 2016? Vegas books would’ve been like, “Yeah, and the Raiders are moving to Vegas.” And well, there’s that.

-Just finished watching Season 3 of Fargo, and while I didn’t find it to be the strongest of the entries thus far,  it was still plenty satisfying. Which is why this show is still my favorite. Because its not lazy in the buildup, and it’s not predictable in the end. And if you’re a fan of writing for writing’s sake, you understand.

-The Yankees woeful present tense is still better than what I had imagined for this season. So, nope . . I’m not fluxed. Even the slightest bit.

-And as far as the Red Sox are concerned (because I can’t bring myself to stop brawling with Yawkey Way) . . . I have been in touch with Neil Diamond’s agent, and he is open to a Buffalo Wild Wings dinner. Soooooo . . . that fucker is gonna be mine. Figure out your late innings anthem from here, Beanies!

-I promised myself I wouldn’t fall for a Starbucks drink this summer, so . . . umm. Well, damn you Midnight Mint Mocha and S’Mores fraps!

-I miss smoking every single day. So thank you running, thank you for keeping me from going back.

-Hey, I damn fraps and I give thanks to running. It keeps me even. Because the meds . . . are way more expensive.

-The idea of D Wade joining up with the Cavs next season? I am totally fluxed. Because guess what King James! You only started winning anything after you rented a room in D Wade’s house on South Beach! And yes, that’s how I feel about it.

-Still, if Carmelo joins up with the James Gang, Imma be excited for the Land. Much.

-But D Wade? Please go anywhere else, with the anywhere else meaning the Lakers. Or Heat. Or hells, just hit up Ice Cube.

-When did commercials become philosophy class? Have we become that shallow? Ugh, people!

-I haven’t watched CNN, FOX or MSNBC in over a month now. And to think, once upon a time, politics was my favorite swing. Damn. How times have changed.

-Is Trump still President? Wait . . don’t answer that. I’ve tricked myself into believing Harrison Ford is running things.

-Harrison beat out Michael Douglas in my imaginary (enough) America.  The runoff was decided in a Chopped showdown. Which is no more ridiculous than what actually happened. In fact, it’s much less so.

–If Ice Cube is reading this . . . I can still hit a spot up 3. With much certainty. Just. Saying.

-I bought myself a Harambe stuffed animal yesterday. Because as far as my stuffed animals go, I Never, Ever, Forget.

-Shared a cool story with my son’s girlfriend tonight about how me and some of my peeps once sat outside the Trust Building in Lancaster City, Pa and listened to Ed Kowalczyk of Live do his thing. It was one of my all time favorite free concerts. Right up there with the late great Robert Palmer’s Jones Beach gig, which I took in from the parking lot whilst waiting on my girlfriend back in high school.

-So lemme get this straight. Peter Jennings is dead and Bill O’ Reilly . . oh, never mind. Life ain’t fair.

-Was that too soon? For O’ Reilly?

-Well, it was too soon for Jennings. So let’s call it a tie.

-3 Headed Monsters WIN! Bill Clinton would be proud.

What Would Jesus (yanno . . . Hey Zeus) Do?

The old saying about all politics being local can also be applied to the Cuban sandwich. I first fell in love with this edible masterpiece at the former Broadway Sandwich Shop on Roosevelt Ave in Corona. Muy abuelo would take me there for lunch and I’d get the Cubano with a papaya shake. Once I got wheels, I collected some wonderful memories inside that culinary cathedral under the train tracks.

Needless to say, I take my Cuban sangwich seriously.

It seems every chain restaurant has tried the Cuban sandwich on for size, with mostly forgettable results. Hooters perpetuated a ghastly sacrilege of the Cubano many moons ago. I was on a business trip so I tried it . . . because Hooters. It was the first and only time I let a chain restaurant dupe me on this. Maybe it’s a Cuban thing, because not everyone is so discriminating when it comes to the commercialized come hither of a Cuban copycat.

“Went to Subway yesterday.”

Jane is a favorite work pal of mine, because she has no filter. But something in the way she began this particular conversation had me worried. As in, I had the sneaking suspicion she was about to fuck with my shit. Specifically, the Cuban sandwich.

“Sorry to hear that.” I said.

“It wasn’t bad.”

“It’s Subway, Jane.”

“Me and hubby had the Cuban sandwich . .”

“No you did not, no you did not!” I barked.

Jane began laughing her ass off because she had been there when I had issued an embargo on the Subway Cuban sandwich days earlier during an impromptu huddle. My rants are oftentimes turned into memes throughout the day, and so it was in this instance when I had remarked that “Fidel Castro is crapping in his dead pants” over Subway’s criminal handling of the Cuban.

“It was pretty good.” Jane said.

“Oh my God Janie, good compared to what? A bologna sandwich?”

And that’s when the pile on started happening to me, as another co-worker decided to crash this chat whilst carrying some bad intentions of his own.

“Oh, the Subway Cuban sandwich?” Mike interrupted. It was clear from the smirk on his face that he knew what was going on and was simply looking to apply the finishing touches with an atomic bombed exclamation point. Dude’s got game, I’ll give him that much.

“Don’t even.” I warned.

“It’s good!”

“You know what? The hell with you guys.” I huffed.

“Well if you would make us your famous Cuban sandwich, then maybe we wouldn’t have to rely on Subway.” Mike said, adding insult to these most injurious words.

“Anyway.” Jane chortled.

“For one thing, that’s no excuse for going to Subway. And for another, I’m not your monkey.”

“I can’t cook,” Mike said.

“Well, neither can Subway and that hasn’t stopped them.” I replied.

“You should make Cuban sandwiches.” Jane suggested.

“What? For everyone?” I said.

“Yeah, why not?”

“Great idea Jane.” Mike added.

“No its not, it’s a horrible idea. You have no idea what kind of undertaking it is, to make a legit Cuban sandwich. You don’t just go to the grocery store for sandwich meats and white bread, people!”

“Subway makes it work.” Mike replied.

“Well, I have never had a legit Cuban sandwich so I’m sure it’s much better than Subway.” Jane said.

“And I can give you the recipe.” I said.

“Why not just make them some time?” It was clear Mike wasn’t going to let this go.

“It’s funny, but for someone who can’t cook . . you’re really good at enlisting other people to cook. And for, like . . two hundred people?” I laughed.

“Not everyone is gonna eat it, so you’d be safe if you made it for a hundred and fifty.” Mike said.

“Yeah, make that a hundred and forty nine, because your ass ain’t getting one.” I said.

“That’s cold.” He replied in mock sheepishness.

“You disrespect the Cuban sangwich, that’s what happens.”

“You can just cut them smaller.” Jane said.

“Like sliders. Yeah!” Mike laughed.

“Like nah! Sliders are for quitters. A Cuban sandwich isn’t a 10k run, it’s a marathon.” I argued. “You go big or you get the hell out of the way.”

Mike feigned reaching in his pocket, “I think I have a coupon from Subway. . .”

“I’ll open your jugular with a stapler, I swear to God.” I warned.

Their laughter was a disparaging slap in the face to my culinary senses. And that’s when it occurred to me that I am living in the age of ‘foodies’- a Forrest Gump-like term defined as ‘a person with a particular interest in food’. Which best describes . . . everybody! Sadly, it’s a Food Network world, full of people who dig the porn but just don’t understand the hustle and flow that goes into the deal.

I wonder if this is what the Cuban Missile Crisis felt like.


There’s no crying in baseball, but in softball it’s expected

The great Willie Mays once said of softball, “What the fuck?”

Okay, Willie never said that. But he would have if he had ever played the game, which he didn’t. Because he’s Willie Fucking Mays and he wouldn’t have been caught dead playing the game I affectionately refer to as “marshmallow baseball”. Nope, when Willie strayed from the game he loved, he chose stick ball- the city game-  where every foul ball is promptly followed with death threats from angry tenants.

This isn’t to say that all softball is created equal, because what the Oklahoma Sooners girls did in winning the NCAA title didn’t look anything like softball. Those girls burned the marshmallow, applied some epoxy to it, dressed it in duct tape and kicked some ever loving ass. No lollipop tosses or candelabra posing . . just straight up gangster shit.

As for my band of misfits and the softball tournament we took part in last Sunday, there wasn’t much gangster to us, and there sure as hell was no evidence of Willie Mays.

It was for a good cause (Schreiber Pediatric), which is what I told myself when the alarm went off that morning. And it’s what me and my teammates kept telling ourselves throughout a 17-4 drubbing in which our opponents treated us like pinatas. We actually had a 2-0 lead at one point . . and then they came to bat. This kind of abuse is what keeps human rights agencies in business.

And as if 17-4 wasn’t bad enough? It got worse.

“Okay, let’s regroup guys. We have another game . . . we can do this!” Our captain announced.

“What? You mean we do this again?” I asked.

“It’s double elimination, dude.”

“But we didn’t do this the last time we played.” I argued.

“That’s because Billy gave up.” Replied Rodney, our co-captain.

“Billy was a good captain. He knew when it was time to die.” I said.

This elicited a few laughs, but it did nothing to thwart the possibility of a sequel to our first round horror movie. So we scouted our opposition and as it turned out? They sucked even worse than us. So bad, in fact, that after giving up three touchdowns and getting blanked in their first game, the captain of the team came into our dugout and, well . . he basically surrendered.

“Guys . . we suck.” He began.

He was no Vince Lombardi, but I dig that kind of brutal honesty. Especially when it’s coming from the other team.

Welp, funny thing happened on the way to our cruise into the third round. After taking a commanding lead early on, we spotted them a few runs. We even gave them a run they didn’t earn, which is how confident we had become; how dismissive we were of our first round drubbing. So when we entered the final inning holding to a precarious three run cushion, I wondered aloud whether we might be able to, yanno . . . ask for that run back.

Our pitcher locked down the seventh though. Just kidding, he lobbed a few meatballs that proved indigestible to our opponents anemic bats and that was that. It was such an ugly game that both sides really should have forfeited, but fuck them . . we won!

It was somewhere around 11:30 when I learned that our next game wouldn’t happen until 12:45. Which would give me time to go home, take a shower, eat lunch. And not come back until next June.

Instead, we scouted again. Which was a really shitty idea since both teams were really good. Having a preference as to who we might play would have been like choosing between being water boarded with kerosene or having my balls shaved by fire ants.

The clash of the titans ended in a rout, and the worst part about it is that we were fairly certain we would have gotten pummeled . . . by the losing team. We must have looked like a bunch of emaciated Christians as we took the field to warm up; about to be fed to a club of hungry lions who were going to make us wish we had twisted our collective ankles, or gone blind. And I learned that you can’t invoke the mercy rule before you start playing the game, which is just plain stupid if you ask me.

Ironically, our pregame highlight had nothing to do with alcoholic beverages; a fact I didn’t think was possible in softball. But leave it to Gus, our in-house pastor of all things righteous and soulful. He had recorded a prayer for us to listen to before each game, and it had carried us into the third round . . . against a superior opponent, that was going to deep fry us in runs and eat us for lunch. But really, Gus meant well.

My goals for the match-up were modest ones. I wanted to get a hit, I wanted us to score a run and I didn’t want to hurt myself. That was it. When I dared myself to dream bigger, all I could come up with was this unrealistic scenario where a small aircraft crash landed on our field. If it had to take a few of us with it in order to prevent another ass kicking, so be it. It would have been for the kids, after all.

The problem with this double elimination bullshit is that sooner or later, we had to play a legit team. And our third round opponents, they meant business. They belonged to a softball league that plays every weekend and it showed. No wasted movements, fundamentally spot on, there was no slow to their mo. As a team, we had mastered the art of wasted movement. Our fundamentals had been honed over the course of one lousy practice thanks to a couple of rain outs. The only go to our mo was our captain, who played college ball. Unfortunately for us, we weren’t allowed to give him every at bat.

Team Juggernaut (I forget their name, so why not?) won the coin toss and opted to be the home team. As if it fucking mattered. And the smirks on their faces told us it didn’t really matter, at all.

“Yanno what? Maybe we get our asses kicked here, but fuck them.” I said to my friend Roy.

“I know right? It’s almost like they’re rubbing it in our faces, and we haven’t even played yet.” He agreed.

Don’t get me wrong, they had every right to be confident. But arrogance in softball? That’s like professing to be the world’s best driver because you know how to parallel park. Uh . . no.

We broke up the no hitter in our very first at bat, after which we were dismissed quietly. In the home half of the first, they only managed a single run, which was cause for celebration in our dugout (a quiet celebration, of course). And then the second inning came along, and that my friends, is when disco happened.

I came to bat with a runner on first and one out. Digging into the batter’s box, I summoned my best Dropkick Murphys scowl for the pitcher, because I didn’t fear retaliation. In fact, I welcomed it. You know what they call a brush back pitch in softball? Hilarious.

My morning turned afternoon had already proven infinitely more successful than my first organized softball experience two years earlier, when I failed to pull a single pitch yet somehow managed to pull two muscles. So I figured it was time to make some gravy. I took a hanging curve (because everything in slow pitch softball is a hanging curve) and I slammed it down the third base line. Fair ball. One batter later, we had tied the game at 1-1. Standing on second base, I clapped like a madman as I mouthed my reaction to Roy.

Fuck. Them. 

We kept waiting for their big inning, but it never materialized. We traded the lead early on, we held it late. Our team was coming together in unimaginable ways and we had gotten busy stealing a lot of that confidence the other guys had brought into this tilt. They threw a punch, we countered. They went for the knockout, we deflected. No more wasted movements, we were living the fundamentals and adding some sriracha to them as we moved along. We stopped expecting the worst and we started expecting the very best.

Adversity came in the snippets of intrigue that only a hard fought contest can produce. I reined in one of my younger mates, Corey, when he started talking back to the umpire.

“Don’t fuck with umpire ball sack, he’l throw your ass out and we need you.” I implored him.

It was true, umpire ball sack had it in for us. He had issued a warning to Corey, ordered our captain to change out of his cleats and inspected our bat as if he was making the decisive call in a World Series game. But with each inning and each new intrigue, we were acquiring equity. We were a rag tag bunch of smack talkers who refused to be an appetizer. We were forging our Miracle moments, as if the late Herb Brooks was commanding us to just go out there and do the impossible.

(Okay, it’s softball. And besides, the little guy has spirit.) 

We had gotten in our opponents heads by the time the fifth inning rolled around. Down by a run and with their confidence waning, they stopped swinging for the fences and got desperate. Drawing walks just to get on base, they were able to tie the game at four. They were sweating the outcome. It was pretty sweet to witness such a thing. And that’s how it stayed until the seventh and final frame.

I would love to tell you this underdog story had a fairy tale ending, but that’s not how things played out. The bottom of the seventh went all Longfellow on us. They loaded the bases before the next batter smashed a ground ball through our drawn in infield and into right field . . to yours truly. I scooped up the dying ground ball and I knew my throw was going to be an effort in futility seeing as how the runner was more than three quarters of the way home already, but I threw that sonofabitch anyway. It was one last reminder that we had given them a game, right to the bitter end.

The teams lined up to shake hands and fist bump and I began a chant that caught fire. When our opponents barked “Good game”, I offered back “Damn right.”, and so it went.

Next year . . had arrived.

It’s Not Over Until James Brown Says So

What a difference a year makes.

This time last June, I was rooting my ass off for the Cavaliers to bring a long deserved title back to the city of Cleveland. I blame it on the Believeland phenomenon because I really didn’t give a piping hot pizza bagel about the Cavaliers but for the snake-bitten history of the franchise and its town. Granted, the great Lenny Wilkens not only played for the team, he later coached them. And yes, Lebron’s history with his home town team is now the stuff of legend. But for reals, this organization has given the NBA more cool names than titles. A top five cool names list? On it!

The Cool 5 of Cavaliers Lore 

World B. Free

John “Hot Rod” Williams

Campy Russell

Bingo Smith

Zydrunas Ilgauskas

This time around, I’m more chill. And while I can’t bring myself to pull for the Warriors (It would be like rooting for Brad Pitt to get laid, really), I most certainly can be alright with them winning it all. Because it means Kevin Durant will find himself at the top of the basketball world, and . . depending on how this series goes down, perhaps the new King of his sport. Because if he plays the rest of this series the way he played tonight, who could argue he hasn’t supplanted Lebron as the game’s top player? I wouldn’t.

My allegiance to the Heat and Lakers prevents me from rooting for other teams unless they are prohibitive underdogs, which kinda cancels me out of this series altogether seeing as how these clubs were chalk from the get. I’m not hating on the “threematch” because I happen to dig the drama of a rock opera rivalry with the sexy contrasts. It’s hot and it’s cool. Both! And it’s why I love this game.

Hey, I’ve been in love with the Association ever since I went to see a hot shot young gun by the name of Larry Bird play the Knicks like a rec team at Madison Square Garden. I got to see Bird, McHale and Dennis Johnson, Bernard King and Sugar Ray Richardson that night. And then things got real. Over the years I took in Kareem and Magic and my all time biggest man crush . . Pat Riley, coaching them up. I saw Artis Gilmore, Sydney Moncrief, George Gervin, Adrian Dantley, Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes. Once I got wheels, I trekked down I-95 to Brendan Byrne Arena off Exit 16W where the joint was much less romantic but the patrons were every bit as involved. I took road trips to Philly where my friend George would take me to dinner and a Sixers game at the old Spectrum. A few years later, I was involved with a young lady who was dating a member of the Sixers (The dude was married, but I never could get a name out of her). Lemme tell you, those tickets were like Studio 54 to a young man who loved the game the way I did.

Admittedly, I’m a lapsed fan as far as live proceedings are concerned. I went to one lousy game this year, and watched my Heat get their 13 game winning streak snapped by the Sixers. I’m guessing that was the Karma Police paying me a visit. It’s okay, I deserved it (Even if Pat Riley didn’t.)

As for the Dubs and Cavs, I’m picking Kevin Durant and leaving it right there. He played like the best player in the universe tonight, and I’m loving the idea that the Cavaliers have no blessed idea how to stop him unless they plan on dropping a MOAB on Oracle Arena. Durant was every bit of his bad self, with a karate kick finish. And now he’s played in six Finals games (five with OKC in 2011) and is averaging just a split of a tic under his jersey number 35. He’s that good, and better. And . . and . . and . . if that wasn’t plenty ’nuff, he stared down Rihanna after she yelled ‘Brick!” while he was shooting a free throw. My. Man.

I would love to see KD in a closeout game. And I would love to see who guards him in the most pivotal moments of that game. And I would love it (very much) if Lebron was the guy, because hey, to be the King . . you gots to beat him. And I would really, really love it if last year’s 73 wins needed 35 in order to find redemption. And if that happens, I just might hoop and holler the way I did for Cleveland last June.

I’m very okay with that.

I choose Neil because I simply got no choice

The subject of karaoke came up recently, as in “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to get a group together and go do karaoke?”. To which this embedded reporter replied, rather earnestly “They still do that? . . Sure! Yeah! Let’s!”.

Sure enough, my quaint little town has a place that specializes in the shit. Who knew? And so now I’ve got to write up a to do list that most likely is going to begin and end with Neil Diamond songs. Because karaoke is a kitschy throwback to the musical revolution of the sixties where power to the people was de rigeur and Neil Diamond? He’s a man of the people

A top five favorite Neil Diamond cuts? Oookay why not . . .

Sweet Caroline

Song Sung Blue

Cracklin’ Rosie

Hello Again

Love on the Rocks

Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon

Forever in Blue Jeans

September Morn

I Am, I Said

Cherry Cherry

What? That’s more than five? Of course it’s more than five, this is Neil Diamond we’re talking about here. He’s not going to be contained inside one of my top five lists. And really, I pared it down significantly, because the truth is I could throw down to basically anything he’s ever spun into vinyl. With Neil Diamond, there really is no wrong answer. Maybe America. . maybe that one. As popping as the melody is, and it is pretty triumphal . . Imma say no only because of the theme. It’s no fault of old Neil, mind you. He just happens to be the unwitting victim of my aversion to rock songs about the United States. It’s not about being unpatriotic, it’s just that, these songs rub me as commercial endorsements more than legit get downs.

If I were to give you a top five Karaoke list for yours truly, there would be little concern for overpopulation considering the fact that there are precious few songs to which I will climb on a stage and bare my vocals to complete strangers. Singing in public is one thing, I do it all the time- whilst grocery shopping, working, running, walking in the park on a Saturday. Whatevs. But that’s wholly different from standing up on a stage with props and lights and a digital song sheet staring you down, because at that point it becomes about expectations. See . . when you sing in public, without solicitation, there is a prevailing respect for that kind of rugged improvisation that doesn’t exist on a stage- even a karaoke stage. So while expectations in a karaoke setting are oftentimes lower than Charlie Sheen’s penis, they still matter enough to keep me honest.

Top five karaoke must haves? Como no . . .

The Dock of the Bay- It’s an easy transition for me, with nary a high note to tamper with my harmony.

Sweet Caroline-Same diff. Neil is a most forgiving grader.

September Morn- My grocery shopping Hall of Fame song. Along with Song Sung Blue. Oh Neil . . what you do to me (sigh). . .

Lean on Me- One of my least favorite Bill Withers selections, but imminently singable.

I feel like a Woman!- Totally left field, I know. But it’s one of my favorite car ride songs, like ever. And while I do not possess the feminine wiles to carry this song to its best Gloria Steinem conclusion . . it’s actually a safer bet to break out than you might imagine. If you’re the dude who chooses this hot number to karaoke to, rest assured that the lyrics will cover for a multitude of disharmonious sins. The crowd ain’t gonna be judging your talent . . nope. They’ll be too busy wondering why you chose this song.

When it comes down to it though, it’s going to be Neil. And it’s most likely going to be Sweet Caroline since it just so happens to be one of the best good time songs ever recorded. And I know it six ways to Brooklyn (Neil’s birth place). It will serve me best of all when the lights go hot and the patrons are getting their ten o’clock rowdy on. I’ll take the blues to the corner of Good Times Square and then I’ll just ride the mood to wherever it wants to take me.

My trust in Neil, it rolls like that.

The Irish Post- Last Call

Seneca once opined that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. It was a thought so laden with festive sounding implications that the twin city rock band Semisonic repackaged the quote a few years later and fetched some pop culture notoriety in the doing.

What does a Roman philosopher and a bunch of white kids from Minnesota have to do with the Irish post? Well, they provide cover for my last call. As in, this is the last regular post on Drinks. But I’ll get to that in a moment. And for this particular jaunt, James Joyce has been replaced as the key holder by Rob Zombie. Sooo . . . there’s that.

Lemme start by saying how funny a thing love truly is. And by funny, I mean . . . funny. Let’s face it. Love makes you feel good, do good and want good. For you and for the universe at large. When you got love, you imagine every single love song was pencil scratched into vinyl just for you. When you got love, you think Foreigner is a cosmic ally that was bottle tossed from light years worth of understanding away. When you got love, you possess the 20/20 vision of Stevie Wonder.

Love happens to be a cosmic provision with little to no concern for those mortal souls who find it to be cruel and unfair. Hey, it’s human to take things personally, rather than to seek a broader understanding of the stuff. Most people need love to be what they want it to be. They believe the end of such a significant event signals failure, without ever scrunching their toes up into a ball and stopping on that there mistake before they take a high noon step further. Instead, they keep on stepping until they reach a point of no return from which they find themselves at an impasse with the way things work.

It’s okay. These peeps usually catch up with themselves after bucco fat days where Haagen Daas and Cheetos become staple foods and plots to assassinate Richard Curtis become retirement plans.

To others, love is an acquisition. It’s something they believe will round out their perfectly orchestrated march to stardust. It’s a highfalutin bit of self centered me-speak that is indicative of a time and place where movies and romance novels are taken as blueprints for the real thing. And it is, to be perfectly frank, complete nonsense. Perhaps necessary, as pain pills and vodka are necessary . . but nonsense just the same.

The Holy Day went unanswered for me this year. There was little to no advancement of song or well spoken thoughts. Without benefit of some ninety proof inspiration, there were no clever haikus or misbegotten memes to be had on the 17th. And yanno what? It was plenty fine with me.

Instead, there were several woebegone texts from various members of my hard scrabble posse enlisting their condolences at the cancellation of festivities and asking me to coordinate a New York trip for next year. Which sounds a bit extreme on the face of it, but will happen nonetheless on a majority vote. Hey, if it’s good enough for the Supreme Court, Imma go with it.

So it was that I made my way out on the 18th instead. This wasn’t a makeup consideration, since that would’ve been akin to celebrating the 4th of July in October. I called up Big Papi because I haven’t seen him since our Super Bowl get together and then I texted my friend Brian to see what he was up to since I hadn’t seen him since our last ski outing.

Once upon a time, Brian had a life he believed would never go away. It began as a young man of party going age, when he took his impressive skill set on the slopes and began the wickedly obscene lifestyle of a circuit brat. When the money ran out, he went to work as an architect and he lived the life of Gatsby until his marriage went bad and the white picket fence became a studio apartment.

Turning off married life and moving into the next chapter wasn’t all that difficult for me, seeing as how I’m not entertained by conventions or traditions as much as I’m interested in keeping things quiet in my head and mellow in my soul. For Brian, not so much. He misses his old life every day. He wants for the things he once possessed, and I haven’t the heart to let him in on the fact that he never really had them to begin with.

Brian made the life changing decision a few years back to flip the script on his little black book when it became painfully apparent the life he once knew wasn’t coming back. I have to admit, when he first told me I thought he was joking and I made a rather crude joke that probably would’ve pissed him off if it wasn’t so fucking hilarious.

“How’s the new guy?” I ask as we toast to the St. Patrick’s Day that wasn’t.

“He’s a drama queen.” Brian replies.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” I say.

Big Papi tells Brian he never would’ve guessed and then he proceeds to ask a couple of alcoholically induced questions without being crude or prejudicial in the least, simply because it’s his way. I cut things off by screaming at the big screens that are busy delivering up the wrong final score in the Villanova game.

Big Papi is a frail facsimile of his former self, and the change has come rapidly. It’s increasingly difficult for him to get around and it is fast approaching that time when his strut is gonna be a motorized thing. He’s fifty five going on maybe another ten years if everything goes really well.

Still, he has pipes when it comes to anything sports related. And he’s using them on a group of young fellas who are high fiving each other. I can’t help myself, so I follow this up with the suggestion that they take their celebration to Madison, Wisconsin. I’m not really a Wildcats fan, but for the octane that a little smack talk may provide. The high fiving dissipates, but I’m pretty sure this has more to do with the fact that Brian is six foot too much with a mug that should’ve been cast in Goodfellas.

So there we were, the three of us, bitching about being men of a certain age whilst laughing about it inside the same vast breaths. Big Papi misses the good old days, and so does Brian. I happen to think it’s a waste of time, to miss them. Life is one big series of wins and losses, to which you can answer the uncertainty with swings. In the end, it’s all you got.

Donna and Allie arrive as we’re busy flagging down the waitress for a final round and they hop on the fledgling party bus. Donna is a forty something divorcee and Allie her younger concubine turned full time thing. The first time I met them, I was busy praying to Jesus that I might arrive at the bottom of a black diamond hill with all my necessaries still operational. They behave as if they’ve been married forever, and they’re much more interesting than that.

This is what love looks like in the new age. Everything is on the table, every happily ever after is subject to change. Nothing is as it seems, and to those things that are? Well . . don’t go putting money down on it. And so it was on the St Patrick’s Day celebration that turned into a simple trip to Buffalo Wild Wings the day after. Some decent eats, solid conversation, a few laughs and no bail was required.

As for Drinks? It is officially retired now. Which means not dead, but no longer around on any kind of regular basis. I’ll never delete it because why should I? And I plan on saying how do to my blog peeps from time to time.

This place was where the Irish post came to be. Out of the nowhere of misogynistic pleasures gone haywire. With dreams of hush and simple and a gallivant of primary colors gone sesame street. I turned albatrosses into a Paul Simon version of better. I measured my lack of discipline as per the ten commandments here. And not a soul knew how badly I was failing at them.

I bid you adieu with an adaptation, delivered up Cayman Thorn style.

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. And may God have a wicked sense of humor who just so happens to be golfing buddies with Richard Nixon.

It wouldn’t hurt, is all I’m saying.

Making America Grate Again

I can’t bring myself to do a Trump blog post.

Because it would need to have a satirical payoff (for me), and I just can’t replicate the humor that happens on a weekly, daily and even hourly basis with this guy. I stopped reading opinion pieces on the new President, simply because they all read basically the same way- regardless of political affiliation. The piece begins hopefully enough, before caving in on itself with self inflicted parody.

The entire spectrum has become infected with this disease and unfortunately, Mark Twain isn’t walking through that door.

You have the Fatherland brigade who believe that everything the man does is mandated by a higher power (Who, I can only assume would bear a remarkable resemblance to the love child of Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston). These peeps believe the sins of progress that forged a new age must be erased. If they had their way, contemporary American history would become a Mandela Effect punchline. Then there’s the other side, the Rise Up battalion. Their hearts are in the right place, but their angst is obvious and predictable stuff. They’re incredulous about the fact that a reality show star with a bumper sticker inspired catchphrase is President. And man . . . do I relate. But it’s why I believe all this sturm and drang they’re putting into angry placards now would’ve been much better served in the lead up to November.

Beyond all that chatter, there exists one very simple truth for me. As much as I love to satirize shit, I just can’t find an opening with Trump. Because you can’t satirize satire.

So I breathed a sigh of relief when Alec Baldwin announced he was hanging up his Trump suit in those SNL sketches. Because those sketches, they never really worked. All I saw was a really bad Gene Rayburn impersonation (which is redundant), a really bad wig, and a really bad marriage of two arrogant personalities who’ve proven quite adept at calling women pigs. There was a satirical quality to Baldwin playing the starring role, even if I’m pretty certain the writers weren’t aware of it.

I’m thinking AB should have been spending less time beating up on paparazzi and more time watching film last summer, because this young man? Nailed it. Ya think SNL has a scouting department?

Going green with my Word of the Day

Nyquillian- The chill feeling that takes hold of your body after you visit the great state of Euphoria (City Limits-None). This feeling is achieved with little more (a little, just a little) than the recommended dose of NyQuil Nighttime Relief in the friendly green bottle. It is heightened exponentially when you administer said groovy at the beginning of your day . . . because you were half asleep . . and you thought it was Day Time Relief . . and the shit worked so well that you didn’t think to check until you were showered and dressed. But then you started wondering what in the hell was up with the live feed of John Malkovich’s mind that was running through your brain . . .

I wasn’t about to stay home just because I’d taken the green bottle and was busy hurtling down the rabbit hole and into the creepy, weepy arms of a Nick Waterhouse song. I mean, he was actually in my living room, and he was strumming his guitar whilst pulling Sleeping Pills from his bag of tricks, making my knees weak in the doing. Or maybe it was the NyQuil talking. Imma go with both.

I was fine to go to work, seeing as how the warning label on the bottle was telling me not to drive, operate heavy machinery or do anything else that could be dangerous until I knew how I was going to react to it. And I figured since Nick Waterhouse was working his magic in my living room, my reaction to the shit was nothing short of amazing. All the same, I did my due diligence. I forced myself to read most of the label, figuring if that didn’t put me to sleep I was good to go. I wasn’t going to take any unnecessary chances, seeing as how a DUI rap involving cold meds will fetch you plenty of attention in prison. And they don’t even bother dropping the soap, because why should they?

With Nick Waterhouse having split the scene, I splashed my face with cold water and grabbed my travel mug and then I walked up and down the driveway while my car seats warmed up. I was feeling comfortable, without the numb. Shaken without the slurred. All the mellow, none of the harsh.

Under the weather? You better believe it.


Wherever you go, you’re there

I had one item on my to-do list this morning and it was simpler than Forrest Gump’s diary. Sleep in. That was it. It’s the kind of thing many government agencies do on a daily basis. Walmart employees get promoted for it. And let’s not forget Tyler Perry’s writers . . . those peeps make a killing.

So of fucking course I was up at four thirty in the morning. Epic? Meet fail. I mean, I was more amped than John Belushi playing a game of cocaine chicken. In lieu of tossing and turning, I got up and began practicing my Tang Soo Do moves to Rob Zombie songs. Because nothing says Sunday morning like chowing down on some piping hot Zombie and tricking out back hand strikes. Hey, if you’re gonna fail? Fail hard.

An hour and a half of that later, I felt the words coming on strong. My neurons started going mad Lincoln on me, and from there the shit just got real and plentiful. So I proceeded to spill my thoughts into the keyboard with words once foreign but now quite close to being found. See, I can’t think too much on ideas that pop into my head or it can send me into a panic (without the disco).

I once had a panic attack while constructing ideas in my head, and before I could fetch a plot for the damn thing, I reached for the old Ctrl-Alt-Del in order to keep myself vertical. I can jot ideas down, sure. But I use a short leash for the ideas that come to me, lest they pick up steam and become a rolling thunder which only serves to piss off my finicky brain. This affliction/curse/blessing has taught me one thing. Ideas are nothing.

While this would seem to run counter to what a writer is taught to believe, lemme ‘splain. An idea, all by itself, is a simple part of a larger construct; on its own, it possesses little value. It’s the piecing together, the advancement of ideas into a mosaic that makes for the bloom. You can’t beat yourself up over losing an idea that was floating around inside your head, because those ideas are like kittens . . there are always more of the little critters, and they have sharp claws. It’s helpful to remember that they will find you, not the other way around.

I got to gift wrapping these ideas once I had a blank canvas to paint, because that’s what I consider myself- a glorified gift wrapper, dressing ideas into nice looking words. And so I wrapped, turning smoke into fire, after which I thought to myself . . . Yanno what self? This would be a fun post. And to which I replied, Self  . . . you’re a bloody fucking genius! . . . And from there we just went back and forth debating who exactly was self and who was the other dude. It got very metaphysical and much coffee was needed since I happen to be plum out of Oxycodone and my supplier is pricing real estate in South America in a futile attempt to stay ahead of Trump’s next big idea.

This morning’s inspiration was rocked into being with some marshaled arts and the book of Rob (Zombie).

Glorious thing.

George Bernard Shaw’s Opine, a Split Decision and The Middle

George Bernard Shaw once wrote that youth is wasted on the young.

No. Shit.

It’s not their fault, really. Most of us did the very same thing and acted the very same way once upon a time. Personally, I’m quite impressed with most of the young people I come across. I dig their angst, the cool economy of their ever changing lexicon and most of all . . their smart phone cases. So I’m willing to give them a hall pass on their whiny bitching about early mornings and their curious addiction to those Godawful energy drinks.

The cynicism of a young person is a mostly fabricated tempest seeing as how they do not yet possess the jaded inlay which provides the fuel that stokes the fire that makes for a legitimately pissed off human being- otherwise known as middle age. Put another way; if your wick is still smooth and waxy then you best acquaint yourself with old George’s opine. And quit your bitching.

I spend half my time around people who are much younger than me and I spend the other half of my time around people who pay very close attention to any and all bright lights. As the middle man in this spectrum, I can say with all honesty that bitching transcends a birth certificate. Young people bitch about having to wake up early, while old people bitch about having to be thankful for such a thing.

Alright, this feels like the middle of my post (pun intended) so here’s my movie review. If you have an issue with the totally unprofessional nature of this review, contact Sean Spicer.

Cayman’s Review on Split: 

To those peeps who say M. Night is back, I say the dude never left. Listen, there is a ton of lazy writing out there that gets rewarded with big box office numbers. Any criticism of Shyamalan for his less than stellar performances at the ticket window since his big winner Sixth Sense ignores the ambitious quality of his works. I’m a huge fan who was quick to forgive Lady in the Water, because I know one thing. The dude can write stories. When he comes out to play, it’s gonna be fantastic, be it The Village or The Visit. Both. The former was unfairly panned and the latter put M. back in the good graces of the mainstream movie going public, but rest assured that his fans never left.

Split isn’t about a big twist ending, but man does it have the fingerprints of Hitchcock everywhere you look. See, there’s this guy named Kevin who is playing host to twenty three different people. And oh by the way, they’re inside of him. Hell, I haven’t seen this many people inside one person since Jenna Jamison was still, ahem . . doing movies. James McAvoy as Kevin is, in a word . . . fucking brilliant. I know, that’s two words. And believe me when I tell you he deserves the double down praise. He moves from one person, place and crazy thing to the next at a furious yet diabolically methodical pace. I’m pretty certain his teenage captives (played by Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula and Anya Taylor-Joy) weren’t acting. They seriously were scared shit. I didn’t prepare any sneak treats for this one. The story was the thing.

Anyways . . . being in the middle of these two crazy sides of the same full moon makes me realize how lucky I am to have such a vantage point. I have arrived at a glorious age. On the one hand, I feel much younger than I am (most days), and yet? I can still bitch about, basically . . anything, and it’s expected!

Like, a couple weeks ago I got into a conversation about running with a young (punk) co-worker. I told him about a three mile run I had taken. It was a beautiful run to which I didn’t possess a time stamp because I’m all about the Zen involvement (i.e.-I run slowly, okay?), and I was painting the kind of picture LeRoy Neiman used to rally the guts out of a paintbrush to. And then he proceeded to tell me that he ran a six minute mile the day before. So I ended the conversation with a simple Fuck You. I really did. And he was plenty alright with it . . . downright happy about it, in fact.

Conversely, I found myself in negotiations with a fellow recently who was born in the year of the stock market crash, which resulted in the great depression. It was really kind of frustrating because I had a million Zoloft jokes at the ready and nowhere to go with them.

So this cranky as all get out character gets to talking up this positively righteous piece of furniture. An antique oak chest of drawers, complete with beveled mirror and curlicue accented spins and dovetail work, which is the signature of a craftsman who knew his shit. The old bastard wanted more than I was willing to pay, but he knew I wanted the piece so he was aiming high. What he didn’t know was that I had a buyer in mind who happened to be younger than his entire wardrobe.

You don’t always have to buy low to win the day. And I ended up winning this one, while at the same time making both sides happy. Young. And old. It’s why the middle is a pretty cool place to find myself in. Because I no longer have to be the fastest, and I don’t yet have to drive the hardest bargain. I can be practical with my magic and still come out smiling.

I’d like to think old George would approve.