Friday, February 1, 2013

Washing Up of the Chains

The Church has spent too much time worrying about the goings on in the bedrooms of others, instead of peeking in at their own. The frustration of the Catholics with souls is evident in a serious attendance drop. The large Papal masses and celebration of Heavenly Sundays should cease. Freeze it until the Devil passes over. Everybody reset themselves and rid the Earth-our magnificent Earth- of anyone out to harm and thrust Sin upon the children.

The grains of enlightenment will then be able to feed us. Only if the hunger lives.

We must supply the millstone for the violators of our children. It is our duty as not only adults, but as people who believe in things being done the right way. Certain men of  the cloth have misread the passages. Priests in trouble for what they have done to the youth of the Church must be the first to go. The sinless children are not the millstone going into the sea with you. You are to go to the sea. The depths of the sea because You have sinned upon the children. God's children. Our children. So it is now the time to begin rounding up these child molesting Clergy and take them to the shores and tie one on them. May the millstone take them far enough down, as to they rest in the very pits of hell which has been eternally waiting for their arrival.

The "Messengers of God" can't even relay the messages of the Book that their very existence is based upon. The frustration lies within all who still worship.

How can faces be looked at themselves?

The ignoring has gone on long enough. Nobody wants to broach the subject that is on everybody's mind. Problem is the religion in the world right now is like a simmering blaze heading straight into the Petrol-fied Forest. Too much opposition to anything. People will disagree just for the sake of disagreeing and that only adds to frustrations. The mindset of the Message has to be put on hold until all minds can try to erase themselves of a savage legacy that has become the once mighty Catholic Church. It will be mighty again. The core of the sector is wonderful and kind and charitable. But loud mouths and louder wallets seem to sway us all safely onto the Beach, away from the fire, for now. But pretty soon we must start seeing the tide bringing up the much too shallow seas. The sin must be released of us all who have not done more to protect.

Not meant to preach. Just a thought that's been weighing on us all.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cacophony Worthy

The song "Barracuda" came on the radio. A minor Earthquake hit up around the Northeast. Virginia to Long Island with aftershocks up to Boston and down to Atlanta but I didn't feel a thing. 5.8 on the scale is hardly Haiti.

I played on a soccer team when I was 10 called the Earthquakes. We were 0-10 but played everyone tough. We started 0-6 and our coach stepped down and gave the job to another father. He guided us to an 0-4 finish but we liked playing for him because he had guts and would get kicked out of games and always had our backs. So the next year we all came back together with our once interim coach-our now full time coach, and with a chip on our 11 year old shoulders. We decided that the name Earthquakes was a bad memory and we changed it.

As the season progressed we got stronger and all seemingly went on growth spurts. I scored a few goals from right wing. I was like Theo Fleury only my ice was the sweet green grass of Dvor Field in Flemington and that was the house of a million memories for me and a lot of others. We tied Tewksbury 1-1 in the first game of the season in their yard, then the last game we played them at Dvor and beat them 3-1. They were our chief rival. We ended that year 7-2-1. They were 8-1-1. We were the only blemish. But us "Barracudas" finished second, that is why the song was so ironic.

We all ended up playing for this coach 3 more years. We all grew up with him. He was a young father of one of our best players. Old school would not begin to describe this guy. Even after years later and running into him at restaurants, or bars, or at softball tournaments I always called him coach or Mr.S. He always said, "damn it Tony, call me by my name. Its okay now". But I never lost an ounce of respect for him. I sure as hell could not call him by his first name. Coach was a man's man. Kind of reminded me of Dale Earnhardt. Jeans and t-shirt kind of man.

The birth of the Barracudas was coach's brainstorm. He had one in his driveway, car that is, under a cover for years. Was always working on it. For the longest time he'd say he was going to get us brand new uniforms that were going to be the best around. And one Saturday morning, before our spring season started, there was Coach in his 'Cuda with two other players and his son in the car. He was proudly honking the horn and making quite a fuss. "Tony, c'mon! We're going to deliver these new unis to the rest of the team. House by house. Wake up Goddamnit!". Off we went. House to house. Player to player. Shirts, shorts, socks, jackets, sweats, the whole nine. Coach went all out. "We are going to be best looking team because we are going to be the best team in the league".  Our parents paid a pretty penny but he sold all them on the fact he knew we were going to be a very good team.

Coach always put us first. He helped mold us into men. Age 10-13 are huge years for a boy. He was the biggest kid of us all until it was practice or game time. He took not a drop of shit from no one. Always in the ref's face for a blown off-side call. Coach would go off to soccer coaching camps then come back and teach us all the latest in mature soccer. Actually Coach once told us that he'd go up for 2 days at a camp so our parents didn't have to spend $500 to send us kids to one. Sophisticated offensive schemes and mixing the ball through the outside of the field. He switched me to Sweeper to quarterback the defense and his new toy: The Offside Trap. We would run into a brick wall for him.

That's why I couldn't believe I was forced to remember all this because of some earth-shattering news I got a while back. He was gone. 10 months before I heard about it. Suicide. Drank a bottle of paint thinner and when that didn't do the job, he stabbed himself with a long knife until he bled to death. Brutal, vicious way to go. Last time I saw him was at a softball game back in 2006.  He said, "hey Tony! Great to see you again!".

"Hey Coach, great to see you too!".

If only Coach knew how much he meant to us. We would have helped him. He was severely lonely and depressed and had some demons we never could imagine as both kids and now men. 56 years old. God Damn it. Didn't he know that if we knew how down he was,  there would have been 14 cars honking in his driveway?  Never figured him to die like that.

Should have said something Coach. Should have sought our help Mr. S. We would have been there for you. Rest in peace, Wayne.

The Glass House Gang

I stood across a VFW issued table and asked a boyhood idol for his signature. I'll never forget being 8 years old and just getting into the grandest of games. I didn't know shit about race-relations, drugs, booze, or any of that. Just remember watching a 19 year old completely dominate and Ralph Kiner saying, "there are 52,000 here at Shea on a Tuesday night for only one reason".
This 'reason' was now in front of me, hand extended, across the street from the Hall in Cooperstown. I am now 35 (wrote this July, 2011) and that teenage reason of yore is 46 and quite friendly. He was there with his wife and a baby girl no older than a year.

"Doc, I tell ya, this is unreal for me. You are one of my heroes as a kid. Hope you are well and I am always in your corner". That's all I could muster up. A little corny and dripping cliché, but heartfelt and surprisingly no stuttering or nerves on my part. "Thanks man, I really appreciate that, I really do". He then stands up out of his chair to shake my hand again and as he is firmly gripping my now trembling hand, looks right into my eyes and says, "God bless you man and thank you". All I could return was a simple, "you too Doc".

Back in 1984 if someone told me I would be talking with Dwight Gooden 27 years down the road in front of the Hall of Fame, I would have thought he was getting inducted. More accurately, as an 8 year old, I probably would have figured I would have been his teammate.  I was going to play Centerfield for the Mets or the Yankees. But some Goddamn poison got into Doc's body and he became ill. He lost touch with reality and bended under the pressures of being so young and owning New York City. I remember the biggest billboard I have still yet ever seen was in Times Square of Doc raring back to fire a heater that would have made Bob Marley blush. The man, make that kid, was The Man. He was The Man on top of a world he could have folded up and put in his back pocket. Scary good. Scarier young.

The demons befell Doc. The demons have befallen me as well. 27 years ago I never would have thought I had more in common with Dr.K than I do. But I do. I can't throw 97 MPH or make a ball break 2 feet and paint black. I can't go 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. I'm not a black dude. I'm not even married nor a father. But I am ill as well. I felt that unity of addiction in his handshake. I saw the Well of Despair in the dark bucket of his eyes. Not sure if he saw the same in me. Perhaps he sensed it. We both looked a little disappointed. Him at himself and me at Him as well.

But the strength of his words to me made me understand that my bottles and his powder were nowhere near that VFW issued table and folding chair. He like me now is a man. A son of some mother and the hope of all futures. The would be conquerors of life's endless war on temptation. It(temptation ) has been with all of us since the days of Apples and Ribs. All Man face the same obstacles in life. Some come around a little later and have created an excellent level of atonement for most to see. That's what I hope I am beginning now. As I also want some past mistakes obliterated from thought. Mine and all.

Back in 1984 we were both kids. Now we are men. Two men with not a squat of shit in common except for regretful decision making. Many decisions I have regretted for many years now, and I am sure Doc's been doing his share of second-guessing, but instilling some integrity into life is not one of them. Least not for me. Nor is walking up to a VFW issued table and shaking hands with a man a lot more like me then I ever could dream of. It happened and it is real. Too real. Makes me proud to think of atonement or redemption. Makes me want to have a Doc in My corner.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Blonde Leading The Blind

Vanity is giving yourself an extra half hour to shower so that you may put some serious mirror time in. Reality is when you have a 22-year-old blonde to get ready for. It's going well and mirrors were made for 22-year-old California blondes and for the dreamers like me getting ready to put one on my arm to spend a little time with. That mirror is an odd creation in and of itself. Looking right back at you, catching everything you do in concert. Got a bat in the cave? You and the mirror are the only ones to know. Checking regional redness to make sure if it's a rash or not? The mirror will give its diagnosis before any doctor. And it too, would keep it a secret. Now I got to jump in the shower because I want to look good for Sarah. Both the mirror and I won't even think to mention the age difference. We don't have to. We already know it and have shoveled it as far down into an amnesia pile of bullshit we possbly could, my confidence is soaring. The third date. Going nicely and quickly. Tonight or perhaps even tomorrow morning, the mirror and I will know what my face looks like before I even approach. Right now though? Not much of a pep talk needed, even the mirror knows to shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tio Buck

The date was March 4, 1994. I was 17, working at the Pancake House in Flemington. Jose was our dishwasher & it was a busy Friday night. Troutman was working as our manager. All of a sudden, we hear the dishwasher shut off & Jose grabbing about 6 or 7 rags to cover the blood gushing from his thumb. It wasn't catastrophic & Jose was a very quiet, hardworking man. But it was a serious wound.

Troutman comes up to the Line where we were cooking & said, "Tony, get that Mexican to the hospital before he looses too much blood." I had only been driving for a few months, so I was eagerly willing to have an excuse to put the hazard lights on & tear up Route 31 to the Medical Center.

When we arrived to the ER, we were greeting by a never-ending pile of forms to fill out. Finally, I threw my citizenship weight around & demanded that the bubble-headed insurance receptionist, "help my friend." I recall telling the lady that we were all covered by the Pancake House & to send the bill to (owner) Jim. So after finally getting Jose in to see a doctor, I was informed he needed about 30 stitches & it would take about an hour. And so I went off to the waiting room to make a phone call on the pay phone underneath the television. I dropped in my 35 cents & dialed 782-6337 to inform Troutman we were going to be a little while. While I was waiting for someone to pick up on the other end, I looked up at the television & saw that John Candy died. I was in stunned disbelief right when Troutman answered the phone. I blurted out, "Did you hear John Candy died?" He said, "No way!" I could hear everyone on the line cooking, the noise in the background told me it was busy. Troutman told me to hang on a second as he announced to everyone in the kitchen the news of the comedic legend's death. It even forced 3 or 4 employees to grab the phone from Troutman & confirm the news.

I hung up the phone & after a spit second I realized I had just made a call from the hospital & the only news I delivered was the death of John Candy. None of us even remembered Jose, whose thumb was nearly detatched from the rest of his 80-hour a week, minimum wage body. I always felt bad about that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In The Garden of Lavin

I am pleased to see excitement is rapidly creeping back into basketball at the Garden. With a strong possibility of the Knicks making the playoffs and on the verge of further distancing themselves from the Isiah Thomas nightmare, one man truly stands to benefit-Steve Lavin.

St.John's hoops has had to overcome the criminal regimes of the ultra-embarrasing Mike Jarvis and Fran Franscella. The mindless alllowance of violaton and rule-bending under their Rolexes almost destroyed a very storied program. I remember with great clarity the stir St.John's basketball once created. The Chris Mullin/Mark Jackson/Walter Berry days of battle in the infant stages of a great Big East Conference. Louie and John Thompson slugging it out a la Ali-Frazier.

Lavin has a unique opportunty to grab the lightening and ride the coat-tails of an advantageous recruiting chip that is NYC basketball. Look all up and down the Big East. Look at Kentucky, look at Duke. City players sprinkled all over the country who got away. Boggles the mind. Lavin will have at his disposal, the biggest stage in the country to lure some very gifted young cagers. He is sitting on the ground floor of a potential basketball powerhouse just waiting to erupt. I believe he is just the guy to bring Garden basketball back to prominence. I hope he can establish Madison Square Garden as the Redmen's permanent home floor and make it as tough a ticket in town as the pro teams in the greater New York area.(I still slip a lot and refer to them as the Redmen). The "RED STORM" would even allow the NCAA a chance to enjoy an even bigger boom by providing exposure to classic tilts yet to come.

Lavin must run a clean program thus allowing a new buzz to be created much like that crook Tarkanian had in Vegas back in the day. Only this would be legit. Make the uniform become a flag that indicates esteemed scholar-athletes and allow it to be a symbol of excellence in producing productive members of society. Get kids who want to recieve a first class education along with teaching them the finer points of an even finer game. I know its a bit of a reach to uproot the Queens connection, but this is a shot at creating a Monster.

A huge win vs UCONN tonight coupled with a landmark beatdown of Duke, reminds us all just how special big time basketball actually is in New York City. And how much bigger it can become. I look forward to seeing where it is heading. Lavin is a good fit with New York. A lot of Rick Pitino in him. I strongly think that Lavin will soon become a "hot commodity" around the basketball world both at the college and pro levels. I just hope the fine coach will realize that he is creating something more than a stepping stone job until something bigger opens up. Lavin will hopefully decifer for himself that a job at 2 Penn Plaza is as big as it gets in the sports world.

I honestly feel that head basketball coach at St.John's has the potential to be a Top 5 sports job. I really do. What 17 or 18 year old with good skills and a sound mind would not want to showcase his talents at the Mecca? Share a locker room with an upstart Knickerbocker team that is close to obtaining Carmelo Anthony and legitimize contender hopes along with the electricity of being in the building.

I am excited for the Redmen, I mean Red Storm. I feel I am witnessing a New Age in college basketball. Redmen or Red Storm? I'll just call it a Red Dawn

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baseball is Around the Corner.

& until it starts, I'm taking a break from blogging. Here's something to hold you all over...

or how about this blast from the past?

And there's always March Madness!