Saturday, November 27, 2004

A Thanksgiving To Remember and Forget

A day or two late, true, but what other national holiday inspires good will, comfort, contentment, happiness and that "holiday feel" better than Thanksgiving? Christmas, if you're Jewish, is a day for Chinese food and movies; New Year's Eve/Day is for alcohol, hangovers and resolutions and Memorial and Labor Day are for kicking back. Thanksgiving, however, is truly a unique and worthwhile holiday.

This year, I spent the day with my family, including my grandmother, my mom, my sister and my father. Foodwise, which is part of why I love the holiday, this wasn't anything special -- we had turkey and the other "stuff" but for the most part it wasn't much of anything to remember. I have turkey on other days of the year, so this year's Thanksgiving didn't do anything for me that way.

We were all together, which is a plus, especially given what we've been through this year. Having my father around -- despite him not being at 100% -- was a great thing, given that I wasn't sure he would be here with us. Check the archives for more detail on this if you're so inclined, but odds are if you've made it this far you know the deal and can imagine that the last several months have not been easy, to say the least.

So why was this year's Thanksgiving so mediocre? For a variety of reasons: the food was a non-issue, we weren't at home, and while we were able to spend time with my father, since he's still recovering it wasn't quite normal. And since I worked the day after -- and since he had to go to the hospital on that same day -- it's almost been a non-holiday. And on top of that, wanting to spend time with my other half -- and her with her family across the country -- left me feeling very disjointed and out of place.

So the back-and-forth, out-of-place feeling still persists...while I know how much I have for which to be thankful -- my father's (hopefully improving) health, my family, a wonderful woman who never fails to make me smile daily -- I also know what I want and that to which I am looking forward. So whether this is a memorable Thanksgiving for good reasons, or whether it turns out to be one which I want to forget as soon as possible, it's a holiday which marks a point in time, for me, that reminds me and teaches me what the holiday is all about. It's not just about giving thanks for what we have, but to what we can look forward as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, lovers and friends for the coming year(s).

I know that being thankful is part of this holiday, so I'll unabashedly admit that I am thankful for where I am in life this day, and where those who mean the most to me are as well. But I also am looking forward to the day when I can exhale, breathe a sigh of relief, and smile thankfully and know in my heart that there is nothing more in life I need or require. That day might not come, but I'm thankful most of all that I still believe, perhaps someday soon, it will indeed come. And I am thankful that I will know in my heart when that day does arrive that I will be thankful and truly humbled in my gratitude and humility.

For those of you who have been there with my family and with me throughout the ordeal of the past three months, I can only say thank you and wish you and your family, friends and those closest to you the kind of happiness that I one day hope to again experience. And to my other half, she who has found a way to make me smile, to give me hope and to make me content during those days of unhappiness, futility and hopelessness, there are no words that I can offer to convey my gratitude, except to say that I hope I can give to you if and when you need me as much as you have to me. The trifecta isn't quite complete, but through the dark, difficult days of the past, and the unknown of the future, I am thankful that you are have been, will be, and are with me.

I wish you all the best Thanksgiving and the best of everything.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Day After Yesterday

The day before she left was a little chilly
a tinge of bite in the air, nary a cloud but
wind that warily whirled around buildings
and through my hair while my eyes shuddered
to avoid the sand lifted from the scattered pavement.

The day she left was sunny at times
the clouds coming going rising falling
the warmth was there but couldn't feel it
and the scratch of tires the fall of leaves
didn't mask the dropping mercury inside and out.

The day after is cold, the sky is dark
the faded, burned-out yellow of the sun no more
The lenses of windows and cars and glasses
reflect the empty sky and the cold coming of winter
that's already risen and arrived far too soon.

Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Drops of rain and clouds are falling
the memories of light's distant fade into black and gold and tan.
Pillowy sighs and rainbow reflections
heed and yield to heaving sighs of introspective relaxation.

Armistice and command performances
cannot combine nor prevent such meandering
so as that which befell the iniquity and antiquity.
Vapors passed and shared among oxygen and stabs of light
through an otherwise darkened room.

Quiet recollection of thundering heartbeats and booming smiles
cannot quell the insipid emptiness that hearts temporarily endure
for things left unsaid and things left to be said.
What becomes a legend most is prophetic in its majesty
and its alluring dual sense of completion and newness
frenetic, mallifluous prescience, counting hours and days,
nasty business when off but wonderful in its perfected, shiny glory.

Satiated curiousity inspires calm yet relentless endurance.
Hours counted, heat measured, lives altered, and
performance gives way to unguarded laughter,
ruling out the failures that strike so many before they launch
and so many more once they've misfired.

The skies the limit, the blue ceiling of our happiness,
count us in among the many remembrances of things
we've done and things we will.
And endless boundaries will contain our life
and fill us in evermore and everafter.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Domestic Unbliss, New Style, Part II

On Tuesday the 16th, I read and commented herein about an article I'd read on vis-a-vis fans harassing a CFL kicker whose overtime miss cost his team a playoff game. The harassment involved not only eggs thrown at the house and manure dumped on the lawn but threats to the man's family. I opined that the fact that beer is as much to blame as is stupidity, and when someone is stupid and inebbriated, the combination is not only dangerous but volatile, unpredictable and always -- ALWAYS -- bad.

Then, Friday night, while my girlfriend and I attended a party, I noticed out of the corner of my eye (on the bar's huge-screen TV's) that Ron Artest of the Indiana Pacers (of the NBA) had been involved in a melee, which is a polite way of saying he acted like an asshole on national television. Apparently, Artest's Pacers were leading by a lot when, with five minutes left in the game, one of the opposing players (Ben Wallace of the NBA-Champion Detroit Pistons) gave him a shove during an attempted layup which resulted in a flagrant foul call. Subsequently, he and Wallace began shoving and that's when things got out of hand.

While Artest excised himself from the situation by walking to center court and ceremonoiusly lying on the scorer's table, a fan tossed a full cup of beer at him which, apparently, hit him in the head. Then, the next few minutes were a cavalcade of excitement: Artest bolted into the stands looking for the culprit, and as he did he was throwing punches wildly at whoever was in his way. Finally he began hitting someone and then a teammate of his (Jermaine O'Neal) got involved. Then, as Artest made his way onto the court to leave the arena floor (the game had been called with time remaining) he encountered a GWD (goofy white dude) replete with Pistons jersey and -- you guessed it -- a full cup of beer. They had words and Artest dropped him with a punch to the face. World Wide Basketball Wrestling.

Next, another fan was on the court and another Pistons player began pummeling him. In all, I counted four fans that got assaulted as Artest made his way from the arena. If nothing else, the next time he graces Detroit with his presence ought to be more memorable than the first showdown between former teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, no?

Seeing the visceral play-by-play on television Friday night, it's not hard to wonder where the lines are drawn or wonder if they remain between what's appropriate and what's inappropriate. The sickening, magnetic pull of seeing Artest clock a fan trash-talking courtside is as bad as seeing hockey players climbing into the stands after fans taunted their bench and threw things as well. Is any of this appropriate? Of course not. Is it entertaining? Family-safe? Worthwhile?

I'm far from a wet blanket -- I certainly don't have anything against people consuming alcohol nor do I have disdain for people having fun. It just seems that this problem -- the tenuous balance of entertainment and alcohol and violence -- is careening farther into the black. Do any of us really want to see fans getting abused by -- or verbally abusing -- players? The more this occurs the more it reminds me of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film (based on a Steven King short story) entitled The Running Man, in which an innocent man is framed and forced to participate in a horrific game show which depicts various scenarios in which he is supposed to die. The "entertainment" part of it occurs as he tries to run from the game show "staff" who are trying to kill him, and the involvement is the public who want him crucified for an atrocious act he didn't commit.

I'm certainly not defending Ron Artest -- and I regard NBA players these days as Don Imus has on occasion regarded the New York Knicks -- carjackers in shorts. A lot of NBA players thrive or seek the "bad-boy" reputation. Artest, incidentally, was recently in the news over his disinterest in playing basketball this season because he wanted to cut a rap album and promote it. Guess he got his wish on both counts -- coincidentally so. It seems, though, that anytime the inmates begin to get ahold of the asylum, the entire institution dies. Whether it's a work stoppage (hockey, ahem) or players assaulting fans in the stands, there is a fine line which blurs and dissipates all at once. And on Friday night, that line, that blurry, barely-there, fading line -- was crossed by Artest, and he never looked back.

In retrospect, I remember the "good old days" (if I'm permitted to be nostalgic for a moment) when my father and I went to baseball games and there were no rampant vulgarities in the stands (unless the Yankees blew a double-digit lead) and the feel in the ballpark was like a picnic for 52,000. Since salaries have escalated from "He's making how many millions per season?" to "He's making how many millions per GAME?" and alcohol fuels the middle inning boredom and ADD of the American collective society (and the MTV generation), it seems like our problems are spiraling into dark territory. If I had a son or daughter and brought him or her to that game and watched what I saw on that television that night, it would be the last time I'd see NBA basketball. And perhaps this episode has been a portend of things to come, and perhaps I'd already seen this episode on the horizon -- I gave up on watching basketball because thugs playing the modern game of basketball doesn't interest me. I just wonder how much ridiculous salaries paid to uneducated, uncaring, irresponsible, disrespectful imbeciles who play in front of angry, dissatisfied, vicarious-living, inebbriated imbeciles can help us as a culture, let alone as sports fans. And more importantly, I wonder when that line -- that blurry, fading, barely-there line -- will get crossed again.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Pensive moon, casting its glow on empty shorelines
of bliss, a symphony of silent sand and salty air.
Tsunami of epic proportion threatens boundaries
emotions and impatience, dreaming as if to dare.

To find a way, a moot command, from fading into black
the ghostly pall the moon throws down amid grains and miles.
Morning nears, its repast complete, burns the sky
clocks ticking hours, days, weeks, minutes, seconds, smiles.

They long to be where they were meant;
the silence spoken in lengthy volumes of emotion and light.
The hours can no longer measure by day
and never threatened by the past of what occurred by night.

Seen on a Bumper Sticker in Texas...

I'm on Prozac, Rogaine and Viagra.
I'm happy, hairy and horny.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


I get to open my eyes, smile, and kick back and realize it was all worth it.
I get to see why the lows were so low -- because the highs are so damn high.
I get to smile like I've never smiled, and like I might never that big again.
I get to sleep like I haven't slept in days, or months, or years.
I get to where I've been wanting to be for longer than I know.
I get to make her smile, see her laugh and feel her eyes burning into me.
I get to find what it's like to be happy without regret and without boundary.

Tomorrow I can touch her skin and be electrified all over again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Domestic Unbliss, New-Style

A somewhat distressing, nearly so-weird-it's-funny entry in the back sports pages, comes from Regina, Saskatchewan: a kicker who missed a crucial overtime 18-yard field goal attempt during the Canadian Football League's West Final returned home to find something not quite right. According to the FoxSports article from which this information was gleaned, "Within hours, eggs were thrown at his home and manure dumped on his lawn."

Apparently, fans were ticked off that he'd missed such an easy, no-brainer game-winner. And reacted accordingly.

First, the eggs hit the house. About an hour later, as the kicker's wife (the kicker himself had not yet arrived home) was cleaning up the eggs, another car showed up with the manure. Soon thereafter, a third car showed up, one which bore occupants who threatened the "property owner." Subsequently, police arrested Mark Conrad Lehmond, 31, who was charged with making threats and is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 15. Police were still investigating.

On the surface, this is kind of humorous -- so long as no one got hurt, it's a sort-of "fan-first" mentality, where the athlete is no longer an entity removed from reality, but one in which he is directly accountable to the fan. It's a bit different, however, than the random asshole driving by an athlete who blew a big situation and hearing "You suck!"

But imagine the possibilities...Scott Norwood would have to move to Alaska to avoid the ridicule he must continue to endure after his easy game-winner in the Super Bowl against the Giants sailed wide. Or the abuse Bill Buckner has had to endure since a little dribbler against the Mets cost Boston another eight years of futility (let's not discuss the Red Sox -- blech).

I was in the stands the night Jeffrey Mayer snagged an easy out for a home run in the Yankees' 1996 post-season run (during a game against Baltimore). I was there for what everyone thought would be Lawrence Taylor's final game (in which he got injured and was carted off the field against the Green Bay Packers). These are big-time sports moments...and even when my teams' players screw up, I've never had the thought to get in my car or pick up the phone and harass or abuse said player(s). It's an interesting phenomenon, professional sports, that strips mere mortals of their common sense, apparently, when their team loses; there have been riots, fires and overturning of vehicles post-loss as well as post-win. And it seems that, with the exception of New York, every major city that has won a championship brings out the riot gear and the extended police presence with the revelers and the beer.

Now I'm not one to knock people getting into sports -- far from it. I've got favorites in the "four" major sports (baseball, football, basketball and hockey) and never stray. It just seems to me that each beer imbibed during a sports contest doubles the opportunity for a person's asshole quotient to come out. This "AQ," which is almost scientific, involves a lot of factors and variables; most notably, does said Asshole own and often wear (especially during sports contests) the uniform of the team? Does the person lose count of how much beer they drink during the first period of a game? And does the person have to worry about driving thereafter? Or, more importantly, is he drinking without concern for random post-game vomiting?

I've found beer to be an interesting additive for modern sports: NFL football is great, but with greatness comes responsibility, and Paul Tagliabue, as Commissioner of the NFL, has made sure that every major beer producer sponsors and buys ad time on NFL telecasts. Interesting, then, that alcohol-tinged incidents occur in and around stadiums hosting games each weekend.

After reading the aforementioned news item at (the link is below), it makes me wonder if disgruntled, sober fans would actually consider threatening the wife of a CFL kicker, light their cities on fire, or overturn cars or even ambulances. It's with a bit of sadness, wistful disappointment and sober disbelief that I read that story; if it continues, these incidents will inspire a lot of sadness and a lot of head-shaking. But it makes me wonder -- unless there is a huge cottage industry in decrying it, will common sense advocates go after beer and pro sports the way they have Big Tobacco and manufacturers of firearms? Will we, as society, excise or address the real problem, or will we merely glean over the obvious problem with a band-aid like a half-time beer cutoff?

About three years ago I went to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees vs. the Mariners. There were a group of a half-dozen guys, none older than 25, who were drinking well before the first pitch. By the third inning, they were on a first-name basis with the local beer guys and were spending $7 for watery beer out of paper cups. By my estimates, they went through $250 for beer between the six of them. And by the fourth inning, when three of them went to the bathroom, one of them couldn't quite navigate his way back up the steps to return to the seats. It's humorous because it's pathetic, and we as a society find slapstick in stupidity. But as much as it's funny, it's almost a relief to know that the majority of these geniuses aren't getting into a car to drive the belchy group home -- the Bronx isn't notorious for inviting people and their cars. But what's really distressing is that, despite the "7th inning cutoff," why is it that society turns a blind eye to mass beer consumption in connection with sporting events and nowhere else? Do we believe Madison Avenue's portrayal of beer as a mass of supermodels, bikinis, the beach and the pure, driven snow of Colorado? Or should it be the picture of the Asshole (see Asshole Quotient, above) and/or his mugshot to remind us that should this behavior escalate, we'll have more visitors to area hospitals and morgues? Stupidity on a mass level is dangerous when it's fueled by the millions of dollars advertising revenue generates. But it's even more dangerous when it's allowed to grow and expand, unchecked and ignored.

Drink responsibly my ass.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Dark skies and eloquence, a pool of smiles and abstaining relevance;
reds and blues and shades of amber, hues of hope and faith in humble grandeur.
She fills me up and thrives and her quiet voice alone adorns.

The wings of Icarus failed at the crucial time, the soar of birds he could not mime.
The warning he did not heed gave way to futility, death and ultimately misdeed.
I alone have walked that path, dissecting life as numerals and responses, mistaking love for math.

The way, I've found, is not to fly nor run but quickly walk unbound;
for carriages made of glitz and flash at midnight shall leave the fool's hope dashed.
The key to laughter is not a flag to wave in winds that crease its jags.

The open eyes cannot ignore that soul which one can but adore.
A smile to share a hand to hold from days of youth to those of old.
Reminding me on bended knee that my soul can now be safely unsheathed.

She takes my breath and random thought, makes it smile, no longer taut;
The softened tones of pain are muted as my bitter past I no longer refuted.
Removing the pain from a world of tears, of silent joy throughout the years.

Random Musings In Anticipation of November 18th, 2004

She, Elvis Costello

May be the reason I survive
The why and wherefore I’m alive
The one I’ll care for through the rough and ready years
Me I’ll take her laughter and her tears
And make them all my souvenirs
For where she goes I’ve got to be
The meaning of my life is
She, she, she

I Shall Be Released, Bob Dylan

They say ev'ry man needs protection,
They say ev'ry man must fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall.
I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Winter In NYC, TV, and Florida...

Okay, so the wind is starting to whip through the streets, the leaves are well beyond merely falling down and the sky is a pale's already the middle of November yet I still have this nagging feeling this winter has arrived far too quickly.

And why is it that Daylight Savings Time almost always results in me wasting the extra hour we gain in October, as well as several more hours, observing that the extra hour is such a wonderful thing, changing the clocks and trying to figure out what's actually on cable during that magical 2-3AM time slot -- besides infomercials? I'm all for new and exciting products, but Ron Popeil can kiss my ginsu-ass once I've sprayed it with his hair-replacement product and blanched it in dehydrated peach pits. And while we're talking Daylight Savings, am I the only one who detests the first month thereafter wherein the sky is pitch black at 4:30PM?

What have we come to? Late-night TV is no longer about Leave It To Beaver in spanish -- it's about Time-Life Records partnering up with Roger Daltrey -- among the oddest choices for a late-night pitchman -- to sell me hissy, outdated CD's filled with crappy music I don't want. I don't want to hear "Somebody To Love" by The Jefferson Airplane anymore. It was enjoyable the first 5,000 times I heard it, but much like masturbating with a cheese grater, the novely has, in fact, run out -- quickly. Enough. Someone's got to put his foot down, and that foot -- to quote Dean Wurmer -- is me.

It's no longer Love Boat re-runs, it's about the amazing Hand-Hammered Wok (from Newark, New Jersey) that lets me cook my chicken and veggies in record time...despite knowing full well it will take a week to get the thing ready to use again because it's not coated with a non-stick surface. Is this what we've come to? Who the hell thinks this shit up? And will infomercials destroy my brain, or just turn me into a more-loyal Republican?

About the only thing I can handle during late-night TV sessions these days is the verbatim, six-times-repeated ESPN SportsCenter broadcasts and the showings on HBO and Showtime, respectively, of a Bill Maher talk show re-run and The Usual Suspects. I must thank HBO and a very dear friend, respectively again, for a) reminding me that Bill Maher's ego far -- FAR -- outweighs his talent; and b) that The Usual Suspects gets even better with each 10 viewings ;-) Keep in mind that Bill Maher was a bit player -- not The Star -- of a fine little film called "D.C. Cab." Mr. T also participated in the filming of that movie, and he had higher billing than Mr. Maher. It might be a sign the apocalypse is upon us, but the producers of DC Cab must know something that we don't.

With respect to The Usual Suspects, as my San Francisco Treat likes to opine: "1...2...3...4...5...6...7...Oswald was a fag," is indeed the best line in the aforementioned movie.

So what if I'm not sleeping these days? I've got good trifecta is nearly complete (November 18th, tick tock tick tock), my father is almost completely out of danger, and I've got the world's coolest woman on my mind 24-7. And if that weren't enough, I've also got a fridge full of Diet Coke, beer, uneaten halloween chocolate and chicken breasts that are ready to be pan-seared along with some mushrooms, onions, lemon pepper and some fresh gaaaaahlic. So my quasi-insomnia is quite understandable, given the circumstances.

One final point: I was talking to a friend from Florida who invited me for a visit, and I actually thought back to my days racing on Long Island. As she spoke about the sunshine state (no, not New Jersey) I recalled taking tight corners at the Kings Cross Racetrack in Bellmore, dropping from 4th gear to a tight second with a heel-and-toe and coming out the fat end of a four-wheel drift, replete with Joe Satriani's "A Train of Angels" in my ears and the smell of burnt cordite in my nose. As she finished her pitch for my visit, I got the chills and smiled and politely declined, knowing that one day soon I'd be back behind the wheel, pondering life at 170, knowing the Next Big Thing was a-comin' around the next 90-degree left.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 13, 2004

No NHL Hockey in 2004-05...?

When the National Hockey League released its 2004-05 schedule, I downloaded a copy of the New York Rangers schedule and stuffed it into my Palm (the Tungsten T3, thanQ very much). After spending a couple hours’ time making it look pretty (replete with a Ranger logo on the day of each game), I now feel like a fool – there won’t be a hockey season this year, and the NHL in general might very well become an irrelevant non-entity.

Gary Bettman, the current NHL Commissioner, was quoted recently on as saying “I hate to say it, but we lose less money when we don’t play.” If they aren’t making enough money to pay grown men to play a game, then the NHL should fold and another entity – one not dominated and soured by finance, should be created. As much as I enjoy hockey (both playing and watching), knowing that this game might be halted merely by financial concerns is sad. Baseball is much more central to a much larger audience; yet no one seems to be too disappointed (at least in the US) that hockey isn’t being played.

And frankly, being a life-long New York Rangers fan, and witnessing the last decade of Ranger futility, I can’t really complain.

One of the few disappointments I return to with regularity is the status of Mark Messier: he’s a 42-year-old playing 30-year-old minutes, which is ridiculous; but the fact that he might retire if there is no 2004-05 season, is sad. Reality always impacts fantasy (in this case, professional hockey in the US), but it’s a shame that a career as incredible as his will end due to financial disagreements.

Stay tuned to ESPN if you’re interested; otherwise, enjoy Monday Night Football and sitcoms, or start going to Blockbuster or whatever local store rents DVD’s for a reasonable fee. If you’re sitting on the couch looking for hockey, you’re going to be disappointed for a long time.

Monday, November 08, 2004

After 85 days in Lenox Hill, he's getting out!!!!!!

My father has been in Lenox Hill Hospital since August 16th after having a serious heart attack, and he’s been discharged. I go back to the office while my sister and my mother help him get dressed for the trip, via ambulance. My sister eventually comes back to the office while my mother accompanies my dad in the ambulance to the center. Lots of emotion and lots of tears, but he’s on his way and he gets there without incident.

After three months of hospital stay, he was ready to get the hell out of there – they treated him wonderfully and he liked the majority of the people with whom he had contact there, but the hospital isn’t somewhere you want to be for any amount of time. Visiting him wasn’t awful, except for the fact that the majority of his stay was spent in the ICU, which required visitors to wear disposable plastic gowns to avoid the spread of bacteria/germs. For the most part, visiting him was pleasant, but there were a lot of difficult days: he had a breathing tube in his mouth for much of the time he was in ICU, so he couldn’t speak to us, and many of those days he was sedated (some days so much so that he looked catatonic). Those days were anything but pleasant.

And then there were the days when he was no longer on the ventilator in any way, shape or form; the first time I heard his voice after the tube had been in his mouth for a month or more; or the day he got out of bed for the first time.

The process has been ongoing since the summer, and all of our lives have changed since that day – and even the days prior. But going through what we all have, our priorities haven’t changed – we have spent all days since August 16th hoping, praying and looking forward to the day he would be back, healthy and fully recovered. Today is a big day towards that end.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Boogie Hisself... Posted by Hello

The House of Boogie is now open...

Welcome to The House of's been a long time in the making, but where I am and where things are these days makes it all worthwhile. Take a look around my mind and see if anything grabs you or repulses you. Odds are one or the other -- if not both -- will result.

Thanks for stopping by...