Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I loose, even when I win.

The Philadelphia Eagles, my hometown football team, have the Philly fans all stirred up and talking Super Bowl ( pa-lease ).
You see, they brought in a new coach who has a new gimmick, I mean system and new training ideas.
Ok, great.

His system is a fast moving offense that does not huddle, they just get back up to line and run another play right away. Chip Kelly, the coach, figures that whoever runs the most plays has a better chance to win. 
He monitors the players sleep habits, not with curfew checks but with sleep monitors on their body's when they go nite-nite. After every practice, each player gives him a urine sample so he can see if they are properly hydrated. Just let me say this, Vince Lombardi is doing back flips in his grave.

After having been a rabid Eagles fan for all of my life, I'm tired. I'm almost 60, so assuming I came out of the womb singing the Eagles fight song, I have been disappointed 60 times. They have never won a Super Bowl. They came close a few times. I just don't believe that our quarterback, whose name escapes me most days will be the one to bring this city a Super Bowl. I have accepted the fact that I will probably live the rest of my life without ever seeing a parade down Broad Street.

So, I'm just refusing to get swept up in this new wave craziness, but not everyone  feels like I do.
My brother, for example, is driving the Super Bowl bus. 

So, last night, the Eagles played on Monday night. Big national audience. I am grateful I am on the boat and away from Philly so I wouldn't have to experience the euphoria that surely was taking place on our Sports Talk radio station. When the game started, my brother and I texted back and forth, each of us with a good measure of sarcasm thrown in.  As the game went, the Indianapolis Colts took a commanding lead and I was busy loading up my notebook with sarcastic shots I was sure I would be using when the game ended.

I sat in front of my computer and watched as the Eagles made a comeback. I was sticking needles in my eyes when with 3 seconds left in the game, which was tied, the Eagles kicker calmly booted one right threw the goal posts for a win.

I just can't win.

Friday, September 12, 2014

First round knock out.

Nothing unblocks my writers block like a good left hook to the face. I mean really, have you followed this Ray Rice story at all?

For those who haven't, Ray Rice is/was employed by the National Football League. The employees of that league are high testosteroned, highly motivated world class athletes. Ray Rice was one such employee.

His employment ended the other day when a video surfaced of Ray, throwing a left hook that would make Mike Tyson proud, into the face of his then fiancé and dropping her like a rock. You would think that that would have ended that relationship, right? You would be wrong if that's what you thought. She is now his wife.

Anyway, when this story broke a couple of months ago, all the video showed was Ray, dragging his wife's still unconscious form out of the elevator and into the hall way. He was given a 2 game suspension by the league commissioner. People went bonkers. Women's groups had a meltdown.

More recently, the whole video was released, showing us all  why this woman was unconscious when we saw her in video #1. She was punched in the face by a professional athlete!! This came as no surprise to me. It was reported that the couple was have a "spat" that evening. I was pretty sure she wasn't napping when her lifeless looking form was dragged unceremoniously across the threshold of the elevator. So now, Mr. commissioner of the NFL is all indignant and suspends the player INDEFINITELY!

Here's the curious and disconcerting thing about this. The commissioner SAW THE WHOLE VIDEO at the time he suspended him 2 games. It wasn't until the public saw the video that he acted, handing out a more sensible punishment. The commissioner has been everywhere on TV saying he did not know the extent of the disturbance. This has been going on for weeks. Four different sources, one being the Associated Press says the commish knew all about this back in April. Hey Mr. commissioner, lier lier, pants on fire. He better get his resume in order, because women's groups are now like lions looking at a piece of raw meat. They're hungry. God bless the women because most of the males are acting like idiots. For instance, while interviewing his former teammates they all sounded the same, "We support Ray and his wife, he's my friend, I'm there for him...."BLA_BLA_BLA.

Guess what, if a friend of mine cold cocks his fiancé, game over folks. He is no longer my friend. You support your friends in many situations, financial crisis, drinking problem, went back to drugs, whatever. Someone, any male that punches a woman in the face, gets no support from me. I wanted to hear one of his teammates say something like, "I thought I knew him, I can't believe he did that. How could he? I'd like to punch him in the face myself." You know, anything like that. But I haven't heard that or anything close to that by ANYONE. It just blows me away.

The Baltimore Ravens, the team he played for, was told by Ray Rice himself. When this story first broke, he told his bosses he got in an argument with his fiancé
 and punched her. Why didn't they immediately fire him? Cut him from the team? Where were their morals?

Some women are still wearing Ray Rice team jerseys. That surprises me.

Yesterday Ray said, "I am in good spirits and I'm staying strong for my wife."


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Date Night

She looks like a nice enough person, don't you think?

From the photo below, you wouldn't think my wife
had an evil bone in her body, would you?

But than how could she come up to me
and dump this pile of extra, unused maybe out dated phone chargers
and similar technological tools and say,
"Could you straighten all this out?"

As I write this the pile is still there.

Anyway, last night we headed out to Longwood Gardens
to help celebrate the fact that the open air theatre pictured below
has been the venue for artists of all kinds for 100 years.

It's pretty amazing.

 Last night we watched a performance by a local Mexican dance group.
They were fantastic.

Usually when you go to a stage performance at almost any location,
they have curtains off to the side of the stage
where the performers will go behind while they await their next act.
Do you know what I'm talking about?

At the open air theatre at Longwood Gardens
the "curtains" are replaced by these hedges pictured below,
and the performers run in between the hedges.

It's pretty cool.

After the performance by the dance group
we walked through the gardens to another location
where we caught the Folk music act
by a Brooklyn NY based group.

They were great.
I bought their CD.
10 bucks.
Can't beat that.

We wrapped up the night with a bit of salsa dancing on our back deck.

A pretty good way to spend a pleasant summer evening.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Just Memories Are Left....

Last week I needed a piece of wood, a very small piece of wood to complete a project I was working on.
I wanted this piece to be different, old, something with character, something not found at the local Lowes.

I came across a company named Keystone Vintage Lumber. All they do is deal with reclaimed wood. I like the idea. 
( The wood flooring in our house came from an old Mill in Reading PA. but enough about how cool we are!)

Keystone is presently located in a building that in more prosperous times was melting steel and making fasteners.  Back in 1882 it was called Philadelphia nut and bolt company. In the early 1900's it became "Bethlehem Steel."
In 1985 the steel company closed and now most buildings sit vacant, except for a few businesses like my lumber company

I took a ride around the place after picking up my piece of wood, that was previously part of the structure of a mushroom house, and took some photos.

For some reason I find abandoned buildings like these very interesting........

I can't look at them without imagining what it was like there when the steel plant was in full swing, probably employing a good percentage of the people who lived nearby.

Imagine how many workers walked through this door in it's heyday.

And where did that door lead to...........

I wonder.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nixon on Nixon

Have you seen it?

The HBO documentary, "Nixon on Nixon"?
You do remember Tricky Dick, don't you?

Pictured above is my Dad ( on the left ) with President Nixon ( on the right ) and a national news correspondent ( in the center ) whose name escapes me. Dad hanging with the about name dropping, huh? 

Let me preface this rant by saying I never thought I could be surprised again by what a politician did or does. I understand politics is a dirty business, even though I believe that most people who choose to serve their community, State or Country start out with good intentions.

After watching this documentary, and hearing for myself the voice of Mr. Nixon as he attacked various ethnic and religious groups or anyone else who basically got in his way, it is evident he left whatever good intentions he may have had at the threshold of the West Wing entrance.

This documentary plays the secret recordings from the oval office during Mr. Nixon's tenure as the big cheese of the United States. You hear his voice. This stuff isn't made up.

Let me be clear. Nixon was one LOW human being. While already knowing, before I watched the documentary, that politicians in general are a bit suspect, I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY by what I heard. I went on line to search for a synonym for "low life," that would sufficiently describe this particular human being, and I was unsuccessful. Suffice is to say that Nixon "played dirty."

He routinely called FBI director J.Edgar Hoover to have him target a particular person. Hoover readily agreed.

The IRS was also a tool Nixon used against his enemies, which were numerous in his mind.

He went on a lengthy rant about Jewish people when Daniel Elsburg gave "The Pentagon Papers" to the New York Times to publish. I won't even repeat the derogatory statements he was making.

Hey you Catholics, don't feel left out, you were attacked too.

Women? Oh yeah, you too. Mexicans? Yup. The Kennedy's? You guessed it.

It goes on and on.

My interest in politics began during the Watergate era when I watched the hearings on TV everyday after school.

It blows me away to think about this, but we, the United States, actually had a President who resigned from office! He quit. Unbelievable!

Anyway, now that I have you all depressed.....

here's a hummingbird I captured off my deck the other day.

Have a great rest of the week.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Special Day

Yesterday was a big day in our family household
as we held a wedding shower for my oldest daughter Erin.

For a few hours in the afternoon
our house was filled with family, friends and some great food
all prepared by my wife and kids.

Here's a look inside....

 The day ended with my daughter Bryn accepting the ALS ice bucket challenge.

One of the 3 people she nominated for the challenge was me.
So this morning I had a very cold shower
all for a very good cause.

Below, daughter Erin
who will be getting married in just over a month, in Ireland.

Yesterday was a good day.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Selfish? I Think Not

I wanted to  begin this post by screaming,  "HEY STUPID PEOPLE, ROBIN WILLIAMS WASN'T SELFISH......" but I reconsidered because I know using caps and bold in the same sentence is not a good practice.

A strange thing happened to me last night that prompted this post.

I, my wife and my dog were out at the local park attending a free concert that the State Park holds each Wednesday ( my dog is partial to rock and roll but will listen to anything ) when what was a beautiful evening was ruined by the ignorance and stupidity of "an acquaintance" of ours.

About half way through the evening this acquaintance, suddenly appeared before us, and one of the first things she says is, "How about that Robin Williams?" I just assumed this was her awkward way of starting a conversation so I answered with the prerequisite " I know, very sad." As it turned out, she wasn't just making happy talk, her purpose of appearing at our feet like a jeannie out of a bottle was to spread her bigotry and stupidy over us like the blanket Rosie was laying on.

If you want to have me fully engaged in a conversation, say something to me like, " How could he have done that, he must not have loved his kids..." or something to that affect. As my wife and I calmly tried to explain out thoughts to her on the subject...."It wasn't his choice"......."Depression is a  sickness as real as cancer or any other disease" ......etc etc.

With each attempt by us to drain the stupidity out this person, she would look at us and roll her eyes, repeatedly saying she just didn't understand  "it". It, being depression, the word she was afraid to say.
When she finally exclaimed, "Do you understand why I can't understand this?"  I SPRANG FROM MY CHAIR, TACKLING HER..........
I'm kidding, just fantasizing for a second there.
My wife responded to her with, " No, I thought you were more intelligent than that."

Oh, and, did you know that all Koreans are bad people? I learned this also during my conversation with crazy lady.

Anyway, Katie Hurley who writes for the Huffington Post says all of this in a much more grownup manner then I can. "Suicide is a decision made out of desperation, hopelessness, isolation and loneliness. The black hole that is clinical depression is all-consuming. Feeling like a burden to loved ones, feeling like there is no way out, feeling trapped and feeling isolated are all common among people who suffer from depression." 
She goes on to say, "Until you've stared down that level of depression, until you've lost your soul to a sea of emptiness and darkness... you don't get to make those judgments. You might not understand it, and you are certainly entitled to your own feelings, but making those judgments and spreading that kind of negativity won't help the next person. In fact, it will only hurt others."

Robin Williams was a very funny guy, and even a better actor in my opinion.

He was not a coward. He had a disease. A disease that isn't understood by people like the like the lady who interrupted my evening in the park last night. 

The Huffington Post article is here, and worth reading, again, in my opinion.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Boasting Again.

Some people go to the beach on a Saturday.

Some go to a show or visit a relative on a Saturday.

Yesterday, I swept my garage.

My daughter spent her Saturday nudging the President.

That would be her holding the sign.

Proud Dad here, can you tell?

Here's an article about the event that appeared in the "Japan Times" on line.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blow into this.

Last hitch when I was in the Houston airport, I was talking to a fellow crew member and he was telling me that when his wife picks him up at the airport, she has a cooler in the car with chilled cokes and a flask of Crown Royal.

Ok, she's well intentioned, but.......

For a split second while he was telling me this story, I thought to myself, it would be nice if my wife picked me up with a chilled bottle of chardonay. Lucky for me, I'm not as dumb as I look, because I never did place that order.

Good thing, because last hitch as my wife was driving me home from the airport at midnight, we were stopped at a sobriety check point and proudly stated to the officers, "Hell no we haven't been drinking!" As we pulled away from the check point I shared the story with my wife of the guy who drinks Crown on the way home from his airport.

Another hitch goes by, and last night, as my wife was driving me home from the airport again at 1 am, we got pulled over by the State Police, AGAIN, where we stated with some pride, "Hell no we haven't been drinking."

Kids, let this be a lesson to you.

It's a good thing I'm not as dumb as I look.

Today, my first morning doesn't get any better than this.

This view is much better than the view from a drunk tank!