Monday, June 30, 2008

Since I started blogging about 3 years ago, I’ve found many great reasons to enjoy blogging. First, I’ve found some very creative and funny bloggers. I enjoy catching up on each of their lives, or just laughing at their funny posts. Second, I’ve discovered that I enjoy writing (blogging) – sure, I’m not a great writer, but that doesn’t stop me from blogging. Third, I find blogging relaxing and a great stress reliever, sometimes. I can blog about what’s on my mind, or situations that I’m going through, and get encouragement from my “blogging neighborhood). Which leads me into the discovery of another reason I enjoy blogging.

About a month ago (or more), I posted a blog about a person I used to be best friends with, and how we had a falling out about 5 years ago. We became friends working at the same pet shop when we were in high school, and ended becoming like brothers. Sadly, things fell apart between us, and things only got worse over time. You can read my post here (scroll about half-way down to the “Just something I need to get off my chest” posting) to get caught up on it.

I had no idea that this person even knew about my blog, let alone read it. I figured he’d probably put all of this crap behind him and moved on with his life – which probably got me even more pissed off (I couldn’t figure out how he could do this). Surprisingly enough (at least to me), he indeed read my blog, and created his own blog to respond to mine – you can find it here: Serenity. Please, if you take the time to read the blog, make sure to read my response to it.

He posted on my blog so that I could find his, and I was amazed. First, I was amazed that somebody would actually created a blog in response to something I wrote – like I said, I didn’t expect him to read it, let alone give a rat’s ass about what I had to say. Obviously, he still valued the friendship we had, enough to go out of his way to do this.

In reading his blog, I realized something … actually, I realized a lot of things. First, and foremost, I realized how different two people’s “truths” can be. I saw one side of a situation, yet he saw another. Here’s something else I realized – if you don’t confront something or someone and let things go, sometimes these things can go horribly wrong. Both of us probably should’ve sat down and talked about things IMMEDIATELY. We didn’t, and lost 5 years of friendship.

Back to his blog. I read it, and even though I was very upset with some of the things he wrote about me, I realized that he had a very different view of what happened. You see, this is what happens to stubborn people like me and him. I thought my viewpoint was gospel, and he did the same. The thing that really kills me is that we were far too good of friends to let something like the Tennessee incident (and other subsequent situations) end our friendship … but somehow, it did … until now.

After I posted my response to his blog, we began to communicate by e-mail, attempting to maybe salvage anything that may have been left of our friendship. We worked through a lot of the crap that had unfortunately grown over the years. We began calling each other (and no, we’re not gay) … and you know what – I’m am genuinely surprised (and extremely happy) that we’ve been able to begin rebuilding our friendship. It’s like an empty part of my heart has been filled again (again, I’m not gay). Once, I was able removed the stubbornness and rage that I had, I realized how much I missed his and his wife’s friendship. They meant the world to me back in the day, and I let something stupid get in the way. Nick, I will never let that happen again – I promise.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Have No Fear ...

I’ve always related to the underdog, ever since I can remember. Maybe it’s a product of growing up in a city where my professional sports teams are always considered the underdogs. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t the best soccer player growing up, or maybe it was because I wasn’t the tallest kid in my class (actually, much closer to the smallest). I’m sure both of these, along with many other untold “influences” always made me root for the underdog.

There was always a part of me that wanted to see the coyote catch the road-runner. He put in so much time and effort, and always came up short. This was also how I felt about Tom and Jerry. Just for once, I’d like to see that stupid cat catch that smart-alecky mouse. Tom always seemed to get the short-end of the stick.

Heck, I even let this tip over to cereal commercials. I was genuinely pissed that the Leprechaun could never get away from those pesky kids in the Lucky Charms commercials. No matter how elaborate his plans were, those brats always found him. Heck, I remember one time he even took a rocket-ship to the moon, and wouldn’t you know it –those kids were already there ready to steal his cereal.

Or, how about that Trix rabbit? Those kids would never share with him, always giving him some kind of lip service, saying “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.” Oh really? You mean, adults couldn’t even have these? Seriously? Well, since I seem to never forget stupid things, I remember once when the “fine” people at Trix did some sort of contest, asking kids if they wanted to see the rabbit eat Trix. Well, apparently, the response was overwhelming – kids voted that they DID in fact want to see the rabbit eat Trix. Sure enough, the Trix people did a commercial in which the rabbit finally DID get to eat a bowl of Trix … however, they threw everyone a curve-ball, by ending the commercial as if it was a dream – the rabbit actually woke up and realized he did NOT in fact get to eat any Trix. Man, was I pissed!

It even bled into the whole Charmin commercials. Remember Mr. Whipple? I certainly do … and I remember his plight, too. It was his JOB not to let those idiotic shoppers squeeze the Charmin, but those shoppers never, ever listened, and it really pissed me off. How dare those shoppers get in the way and prevent poor Mr. Whipple from doing what he got paid for! And it wasn’t like it was one or two shoppers – it seemed as if EVERYBODY had to squeeze those damn Charmins, seemingly oblivious to the signs that Mr. Whipple placed strategically all around said toilet paper.

Of course, there was really no point to this posting – I just figured I’d share.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Love and Hate

There are certain things of this Earth that I both love and hate at the same time. I was reminded of this whilst cooking some chicken breast on the Foreman Grill. God, I love the ease of cooking on the ol’ Foreman … but I absolutely HATE cleaning that thing. I know, I know – the science wizards have come up with a new Foreman Grill where you can actually take the grilling plates out and throw in the dishwasher … but at this point, I don’t feel like shelling any more money out to Mr. Foreman. Dude, I already have two of your grills – can’t you send me one with those grilling plates free of charge? Seriously!

I love driving my Nissan Altima, but man, do I hate washing and cleaning it. I do a thorough washing, vacuuming, and spray-cleaning the interior around once a month, and the car still looks and smells new … I hate doing it though. But, I feel worse when I don’t … I gotta thank my parents for instilling this German guilt in me.

I thoroughly enjoy the Scunci Steamer we have – it makes cleaning things so much easier. Unfortunately, I hate how fragile this thing is. We’ve had it for about two years, and it’s already broken. I really don’t feel like shelling out another $60 for another Scunci Steamer, but I miss steam cleaning … and no, I’m not gay.

I love weekends, especially in the summer time … but man, do I hate how quickly they go by. Case and point – we had a 3-day weekend this past weekend, but it didn’t really feel any longer than the normal 2-day weekends. I’m half-tempted to stop having fun on weekends just so they last longer … and no, I’m not retarded.

I’m a fan of Jeopardy, even though, for the most part, it makes me feel stupid. But, I really, really don’t like Alex Trebek even a little bit. He seems really pompous to me, and when he pronounces French and Spanish words, it’s like somebody is scratching a chalk board.

Any of you have any “love/hate” things to share?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Stoppage Time ...

• I was saddened by the death of Tim Russert … it’s not that I watched Meet the Press a lot or anything, but he seemed like a guy who was respected by both parties (a rarity). The good news is, if anybody wants to do a movie on Russert, Randy Quaid is a spitting image of the guy.

• I just heard a remake of 99 Red Balloons by another one of these Emo bands/flavors of the week – I think their name is Goldfinger – I normally hate these bands and the remakes they do, but this one was actually pretty creative, considering they used both the German and English lyrics in the song. Sure, it sounded like every other emo song out there, but still …

• Can’t wait for my cell phone contract to expire – less than 1 month, baby! My cell screen is basically a crap-shoot at this point – sometimes I get text, sometimes a white screen … this phone is about to pull a “Russert” on me … wait, is it to soon? I think we’ve narrowed the selection to staying with AT&T or going to Verizon … I really like that Verizon Glide cell phone.

• Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open, basically doing so with only one working knee … this guy is not only the best golfer ever, but he may end up dominating a sport like nobody else has ever done … but still, I’m getting sick of him. I think he’s becoming really arrogant … not that he has any reason not to (wait, is that a double-negative) – I mean, he has close to a Kajillion dollars, the second hottest wife ever (of course, my wife is the hottest), and an amazing house. He probably shits arrogance. Of course, I’m also always rooting for the underdog – like when I used to watch Wide World of Sports and would always root for Minnesota Fats to upset Willie Mosconi in billiards, but I digress …

• My friend Anthony got married this weekend, and despite the circumstances (read previous post) things went very well. It was a very elegant wedding and reception – the food was outstanding, and the weather was great. Everybody pulled together and made sure that Anthony and his family had a great time – I’m proud of everyone there. Schue (my wife) and I actually went down to Atlantic City Thursday night, and got a great room comped at Caesar’s, and really had a great weekend … shame it went by so quickly.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rest in Peace, Julie

I had a whole other blog lined up today – but it will have to wait. I may have mentioned this before, but a close friend of mine is getting married this Saturday – I’ve known him since I was around 7 years old, and we’ve been close friends ever since. I was honored when he asked me to be in his wedding, and couldn’t wait for it – it promised to be a good time.

Sadly, today, Anthony lost his mom – she finally lost a long, hard battle with emphysema. Anthony texted me the news about ½ hour ago – I nearly threw up on my cell phone. I immediately called him and left a blubbering message, basically telling him I’m here for him if there is anything he needs. I feel sick to my stomach.

I can’t even imagine what he is going through right now, all the extra planning needed prior to the wedding – I’m not even sure what’s going to happen. I’m sure he feels helpless right now. I’m not sure if the viewing and funeral services will be done prior to or after the wedding. If I were in his shoes, I’m not sure how I’d be able to digest all of this right now.

Did I mention, I feel awful? This wedding is supposed to be the happiest day of his life, but how can that possibly happen now? I’ll do everything I possibly can to try and divert his attention, even temporarily, at the wedding. I’m just speechless – I don’t know what to say or do right now. He has great friends and family, and we’ll all help him and his fiancĂ© in any way we can … it’s really all we can do at this point.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad ...

Dad, on your special day (no, this is not a Hallmark card ... yet), I wanted to give you thanks for all that you've done for me over the years ... I wanted to point out some specific things (indulge me!):

* Thank you so much for allowing me to watch The Three Stooges and Benny Hill when I was a young child looking for inspiration. My comedic hunger and thirst started then, and the appetite for it continues to grow (my friends probably won't thank you for this).

* Thank you for introducing me to fishing at a very young age - I remember you taking me to Crum Creek and allowing me to cast the line in for the very first time ... unfortunately, I also remember that first cast, and how my lure impacted itself into your jacket ... sure, you were mad, but you showed me how to do it correctly. I've been "hooked" on fishing ever since.

* Thanks for all those barbecues in the back yard, and allowing me to help you baste the chicken, and flip the burgers. Barbecuing is a now a staple in my life, and I'm actually pretty good at it.

* Thanks for fixing all the things I broke (and continue to break). I've never been able to figure out how you do it - it's one of those genes that never got passed on to me, but I appreciate everything. There's nothing that I broke that you couldn't fix.

* Thank you so much for taking an interest in playing sports with me. You allowed me to win just about every soccer game we played in the back yard, and ... well, sure, because of that, I wasn't able to accept losing very well (in fact, I remember crying for about 2 hours after my team lost the first tee ball game I played - I didn't think it was possible!). I have loved playing sports ever since.

* Thanks for introducing me to all the other sports, like baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. My wife probably doesn't thank you for this, because I can't get enough of this on tv. I remember watching the Professional Bowlers Association on ABC, announced by Chris Schenkel, and rooting against those "evil" bowlers like Marshall Hollman and Earl Anthony. I also remember Saturday evenings, and watching "Soccer Made in Germany" announced by Toby Charles ... I loved every minute of it.

* Most of all, thanks for being my dad. I couldn't imagine anyone who was more qualified to be my dad - and you did a great job. I love you, pop.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Now, what????

I’ve been a sports fan for nearly all my life. I’ve avidly followed all 4 major professional sports teams in my city, and even some of the minor ones … and believe me when I say that it’s really tough to be a fan of any of the Philadelphia sports teams, especially considering that none of them have brought the city a championship since 1983 – probably a topic for another blog post.

What I’m really concerned about is the “health” of the “big 4.” Think about it – each of them has had to deal with some sort of hardship or scandal over the past few years.

• Major League Baseball has been wrestling with the steroid/human performance enhancing drug situation – a problem that has jeopardized the integrity of the entire sport, a sport that relies heavily on stats and “magical” legendary numbers. Thanks to such players as Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and even Roger Clemons, not to mention the implicit encouragement by the league in the 1990’s, it’s hard to take the numbers and stats seriously anymore, let alone root for the “big-name” players without openly wondering how long they’ve been juicing up.

• The NFL has been struggling with the whole “Spygate” scandal in recent months, prompting many to wonder out loud if the New England Patriots ever legitimately won their three Super Bowls this decade. A potential government investigation could blow the roof off of this (probably not, though), but fans still have lost some faith in the game.

• Basketball is also dealing with integrity issues, as the NBA is in a struggle with a former basketball referee over an alleged gambling scandal. Just a few days ago, a particularly damaging story surfaced about the possibility of a few playoff games being “fixed” by NBA officials. Thankfully, the Sixers sucked in those years, so it didn’t affect the Philly team as much.

• The NHL emerged from a lockout a few years ago, and chose to sign a contract with a fringe “sports” network that many Americans are unable to even get on their cable systems. The league is dangerously close to becoming irrelevant, and expansion into cities where ice is only found in cold drinks has done its part in eroding the league’s “legendary” status.

Sadly, “sports” like NASCAR and the World Series of Poker have benefitted from this. Heck, even horse racing has grown in popularity in recent years. So, my question is – what needs to be done? Does the government need to take a closer look? Is there room for competition from upstart leagues the answer? Does anybody really care?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

DBT Recap

I know there are some of you who are interested in DBT 2K8, and how it went (if we survived). Well, I’m happy to say that for the most part, it was another great success. Some bars really surprised us, while others disappointed … but that’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it?

We started at Trios Cold Cuts – it’s basically a deli that has a pub attached to it. It was actually stroke of genius to start there as (a) they have fantastic food, (b) said food provided a good stomach “lining” in preparation for a day/night of heavy drinking, and (c) the place served beer. Rolling Rock was the choice of yours truly, although I did have my eye on the Olde English.

After finishing our food/drink, we strolled across the street to Hunt’s Annex Lounge. The 3-4 regulars that had started their drinking at noon where none too pleased to see us … I’m guessing the lone bartender probably crapped his pants as well. Nothing really exciting at this place, other than a big fan used by some fat guys to eliminate their body sweat.

Our next stop was the Red Lantern – and we needed to take public transportation for the first time that day. The bar has really cleaned itself up …except for the shoddy bathroom. We played darts and Golden Tee, and then moved onto Uncle Snazzi’s. The place once again got the award for best/worst bar on the tour. No beer on tap, no napkins or food, and warm Jagermeister … that’s right, folks – the bartender gave me a shot after I bought a round of beer for the “team.” It went down like a bucket of nails. Sadly, this wouldn’t be the last shot for me.

We traveled to Dino’s, where I ordered some pretty tasty chicken fingers and fries. Some of the guys were playing quaits … I chose to sit back, watch some sports, and make fun of the other DBT team members.

We went to the Frontier Saloon to watch the horse race … at this point, I had enough alcohol in me not to care about the horses … the good news was that my billiards play had improved. The Milmont Inn was our second-to-last stop …. I thought at this point that my brother would probably not make it to Durty Nelly’s, our last destination … but he sucked it up and continued on.

At Durty Nelly’s, two older women were flirting with “Yon,” and it got pretty funny before it got nasty. Slant and I decided to call him “The Natural.” He shunned the one girl in favor of the other, and all hell broke loose. This one older lady was looking for a hookup, and Yon didn’t take her up on it. She freaked out on him, causing him to change locations at the bar. She then tried to hit on me, calling me “Big Boy.” My wife was there to make sure this “broad” kept her distance, thankfully.

All in all, a good night … not sure of the tally on who, if anyone puked.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My First Job ...

..I’m on a kick about discussing some of my previous jobs (in other words, I have writer’s block). My first real job lasted approximately 10 minutes – We went to this local restaurant for 8th grade graduation (we being me, some friends, and our parents). We – the kids, decided to apply for a job at said restaurant. Later that fall, I received a phone call – a lady from the restaurant informed me that I was hired (as a bus-boy), and that I should come in the next afternoon.

I was pretty excited and nervous at the same time … I was just going into 9th grade, and outside of helping my dad with his tool and dye side work in the garage, I never really did much outside of take the trash out or mow the lawn. I went in dressed in a white buttoned-down shirt and black pants, per the lady’s instructions. I walked in the door, announced to somebody that I was called in to work, and one of the bus-boys began taking me on my tour.

My first question (something I probably should’ve asked prior to accepting the offer) had to do with my hours. For some reason, I figured I’d work from 3-7, or 3-8 … I’m not sure where I came up with that number, but when they told me it was more like 3 to midnight, I almost swallowed my tongue. When the hell was I supposed to do my school work? What about the high school sports teams I wanted to play for? I didn’t let on that I was shocked by the hours, as the bus boy continued showing me around the place.

Basically, he showed me how to clear and set tables, and take the table cloths to the washing machines. It seemed pretty simple, so far. Then, he took me into the kitchen, where I would be dropping off the plates, silverware, and glasses. Maybe it was karma, just bad timing, or a combination of both, but as I walked into the kitchen, I saw one of the “chefs” drop a piece of meet on a really dirty floor (I’m assuming it was accidental), and then pick it up and throw it back on the grill like nothing happened. It made my stomach turn, as this was a restaurant I had enjoyed in the past.

I immediately knew that I would never be able to work there under any circumstances … ever. I told the bus-boy “mentor” that my mom was still outside, and I had to let her know that she could leave. The bus-boy felt that this was a reasonable excuse – instructing me that he would be in the kitchen when I got back.

My mom was still outside all right, but I wasn’t telling her to leave. Instead, I hopped in the car, and told her to drive me home –that the job really wasn’t for me. I think I had a hard time eating dinner that night … I think I may have even asked my mom if the meat had accidentally been dropped.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


This weekend is a biggee – we celebrate our 4th annual DBT! What is a DBT, you may ask? Well, it is a bar tour/dive – we tell the bartenders of the bars we go to that it is either the “Delco Bar Tour” or the “Drunken Bar Tour,” but truth be known, it is actually the “Dive Bar Tour.” We started this annual adventure humbly 4 years ago – there were around 6 or 7 of us the first year. We took public transportation, Septa to those familiar with the Philadelphia area.

Four years later, we’ve blossomed … to around 10-12 people … ok, ok, maybe not blossomed, but to tell you the truth, the smaller crowd is a pretty cool thing. We still take public transportation, and this year with gas prices rising faster than Lindsay Lohan’s blood-alcohol level in a night club, we’re continuing to do our share to save gas!

The bars are, for the most part, real dives, but all have their own nuances. For instance, the Red Lantern has a Golden Tee machine, and no clientele (which means the bartender can focus on our drunk asses), Uncle Snazzi’s has no beer on tap, and uses napkins from the Wendy’s next door. Dino’s has a shuffle ball table and the men’s room is plastered with pictures of naked women. The Frontier Saloon is the local NASCAR hotspot, and has a picture of an Indian woman that “gets naked” every half hour. The Milmont Inn, or “Milmonster” as we call it, smells like the Tuesday after Mardi Gras in New Orleans all year ‘round. This year, we are adding Hunt’s Annex Lounge to the “tour.” I really don’t know what to say about the bar, except that I think it is cool that it has the word “Annex” in its name.

We tend to give each other nicknames during this bar tour. I’ve been lucky enough to have names such as “The Winner,” “Montgomery F. Blowfish,” and “Spittles.” I hope to add to this illustrious list! Last year, we ended up going back to my place and playing Guitar Hero … not an easy task whilst intoxicated. Then, we went back to another bar, and hung out with some really drunk chicks … one even showed me a “compromising” picture of herself that she took on her cell phone. I nearly lost all the beer I had “accumulated” throughout the day.

Here’s to more good stories and another successful DBT! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Missed Opportunity ...

Around 12 years ago, eager to try and get into the sports PR business, I agreed to take an internship with the Philadelphia Eagles (American football team, for those not familiar). I was excited – after-all, this was a team I had enthusiastically followed since being a child. I even ignored the fact that I wouldn’t be getting paid at all – the experience certainly would be worth it … at least for the short-term.

For the most part, I did grunt work – cutting out Eagles stories from the local papers, and faxing the stories to interested stakeholders … of course, this would’ve been much easier, had the internet been as advanced as it is now. I also wrote some stories and press releases which I really enjoyed, and was a liaison between the players and media who wanted to interview said players.

This, of course, meant that I frequently had to interact with the players … something I was initially excited about. However, many of the players didn’t give a damn about me, and quite a few of them were downright rude to me. Some of the main culprits were Ricky Watters (one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever met), and Charlie Garner – who didn’t seem to like anybody, including his own teammates.

After a few months of dealing with some of these divas, I couldn’t wait to get the heck outta there. Dealing with these players was more than a chore at times. However, not all were jerks – in fact, Rodney Peete and Ty Detmer were actually pretty cool to me, as was Michael Zordich, Irving Fryar, and Mike Mamula. But they were really the exceptions to the rule.

Rodney Peete had a holiday party for all players and staff right around Christmas time. By this point, I was so annoyed with the players that I decided not to bother going to this affair, even though I was sure it would be a good time. The Monday morning after the party, I walked into work and noticed that just about everybody had a framed picture of them with none other than Michael Jordan.

I walked by the first desk … it didn’t really faze me … I figured this person had the opportunity to meet him in the past. I walked by the second and third desks … they too had pictures with arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Now, I was concerned – I hadn’t seen these pictures on the desks before. I asked one of my coworkers, who proudly explained that Jordan had been a guest of William Fuller’s at the party – apparently, the two have remained close friends since their days at North Carolina, and since Jordan was in town to play the Sixers, he agreed to come to the party … and to also have his picture taken with …. EVERYBODY THERE! Yep, leave it to me to miss out on this opportunity. Of course, that just seemed to be my luck when I was interning with the Eagles … how cool would that have been to get a picture with M.J.?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Gettin' Catty ...

My friend Ray-Ray and his wife went to the casinos yesterday – they asked Rich and Anita to babysit their boxer, Merfy. Ray-Ray got this dog off of Craigslist, which still astounds me – he got Merf at about 8-9 months old – apparently, the previous owners got tired of dealing with this hard-headed pup. Don’t get me wrong, Merf is quite a good looking Boxer, but Ray-Ray has his hands full (as an aside, Ray-Ray is very, very good at training dogs – as can be seen by his other Boxer name Steve who is about the nicest, friendliest, and most obedient dog in the entire world).

So, Rich and Anita are babysitting Merfy – and they make an interesting discovery – Merfy HATES cats … unfortunately, Rich and Anita own a cat. Merfy and the cat are in the midst of quite a fight, and Rich bravely steps in to try and separate them … unfortunately, the cat was so crazed by this point that it sunk its teeth into Rich’s arm, sending him on a trip to the emergency room.

Ray-Ray found this out this morning as he came to pick Merfy up … I’m guessing it wasn’t a very pleasant trip for the pup. Ray-Ray was understandably embarrassed by this and feels like crap, but we did get to talking about this – what if this cat bite ended up giving Rich super-human powers? I mean, this is how many comic book characters get their start, right?

What would Rich’s super hero name be – Pussyman, Mr. ‘Cat-ankarous’, The Feline, Kit-Kat, The Persian?

And, what would some of his superpowers be – able to spit radio-active hairballs up to 20 miles, nuclear spraying capabilities, the ability to scratch any villain’s furniture to a pile of string?

Stay tuned! Same Cat time, Same cat channel!