Friday, July 28, 2006

Just Checking In

Hey Everyone,

It's been a while since the last blog, however that has more to do with MySpace's issues than my laziness (sorry, readers - although truth be told, it's been a combination of both).

The back's acting up, and it's been a crazy couple of days, and rather than rework her sentiments, I'll just borrow from Monica's Blog, as her thoughts very much echo mine right now:

I am not going to ask you to pray for me. Instead, I am going to ask you to pray for those I love.

I wish for you to pray for my wonderful cat, Hobbes, who got sick yesterday and is in the hospital. Pray that it's just a tummy ache. I would be lost without him and wrecked if something was wrong with him.

I wish for you to pray for my brother, Brian, who was deployed to Iraq on 12 hours notice to the James E. Williams, a guided missle destroyer. The man who told me, "No I am not afraid. This is what I do".

I wish for you to pray for his wife and kids so he comes home safely and returns to being the most wonderful husband and father I know.

I wish for you to pray for my mom. My mom who is the rock of this family. The woman that makes everything better. The woman who stood before me yesterday crying for her son.

And, I wish for you to pray for all of those who are risking their lives everyday so we can sit on myspace bitching about mundane crap that seems so important but in retrospect really isn't as disastrous as we think at the time.

Please, pray for them all...

Thanks, all.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Poisoned at Work

Good evening. Right now, I'm just happy to be not bent over and wretching. They ordered pizza for us at work today, and I thought, "wow, cool deal - free pizza on a Friday!". Little did I know that I was gonna get poisoned by what was probably some bad ricotta cheese on what was supposed to have been a white pizza. I should have known something was up because I never saw white pizza with tomatoes and basil on it (FWIW, that's a margherita pizza, folks).

Even BEFORE that, I should have been suspicious of any pizza that comes in boxes bearing advertisements for Manhattan mini storage.

The funny thing is, as I was eating the offending pizza my taste buds were sending up flares to my brain, trying in vain to warn me that something was amiss. But you know how it see everyone else eating the pizza, so you rationalize that it MUST be OK. And hey, it's free, right? So I eat it anyway.

Twenty minutes later, I'm starting to feel some rumblings down below. Thirty minutes later, I knew I was in serious trouble. If not for being alone at work, I would have bolted right then. But I stuck it out until 6PM, and on the way home suddenly found myself in a moving bus restroom throwing up a Volkswagen van. I think I left my spleen in there.

Thankfully, here I am, a little over six hours later, and I'm alive and NOT hurling projectiles anymore. The lesson to be learned here is two-fold: if something doesn't taste right, down't eat it. In addition, unless you pizza comes in a white box with a stereotypical drawing of an Italian chef saying "You've tried all the rest, now try the best"...DON'T EAT IT.

Speedy Alka Seltzer, I love you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Few Minutes Without Thunder

Hey kids...just wanted to post a quick bloggie update before bed. Another day, another round of massive storms. We had the power going on and off all freaking night, as usual. Guess I should be used to it by now. The poor cats are gonna lose thier minds soon from all this racket.

The power was kind enough to come back on in time for me to see Pat DiNizio's "7th Inning Stretch" special on ESPN2, which was great. I learned a lot of things about Pat (and the Smithereens) that I never knew. I have to meet Pat one day so I can tell him all about how WHOT used to play The Smithereens before anyone else. We were wearing out "Especially For You" before ANYBODY, man!

I then went ahead and did the stupidest thing I could have done before bed - I sat down with a calculator to figure out how much I have to shell out in bills this week, only to find out the bill-to-money ratio is waaaay out of wack. So now I have agita and I'm borderline manic depressive. Plus, I'm still bent out of shape about the friggin' tax hike boloney.

On a positive note, last night's MLB All-Star Game was pretty decent for a change. As much as I hate using a glorified exhibition game to decide home field advantage in the World Series, at least they didn't have a tie after nine innings that needed to be settled with a SHOOTOUT!

Soccer. What a retarded sport.

Alright, since I'm good and agitaged, let me go try and get some "quality" sleep,


Monday, July 10, 2006

Still Fest-ering After All These Years

I'm sitting here this morning trying to figure out how I managed to instigate an argument last night about something that happened four years ago. I finally concede that all people (including myself) are crazy, and in the words of Paul Anka, That's just the (bleeping) way it is.

Here's the proof: about four or five years ago (I forget), the folks that participate in the Saturday Night Jam at Beatlefest (or whatever it is they're calling it these days), made an effort to try and prevent the thing from turning into the discordant, ear-splitting train wreck it had increasingly become over the last few years. The previous year's shenanigans challenged The Who at Shea Stadium for sheer blood-splattering decibels and The Clash for sheer lack of musicianship. It was an unmitigated disaster. Even the Red Cross refused to show up with blankets. You know it's bad when other Fest guests actually call the lobby to complain about the noise. But that's exactly what happened. No one really enjoyed themselves.

After much discussion between many of the jam regulars, right up until that Saturday night, it was decided that rather than have 100 people with AC-30s and Fender Champs bitch-slapping each other into permanent tinnitus, a professional P.A. system would be set up and people could sign up to take turns jamming for a few songs, a couple at a time, plugged into already-supplied amps and everyone would get a chance to play for a bit instead of turning the evening into another Hindenburg.

Sounded like a beautiful idea, except that as with anything and everything, there were a handful of people that got pissed off because they couldnt set their amps up and play all night. Wouldnt listen to reason, just stormed out. "Whatever", I thought. Screw you, I want to be able to hear when Im 50. Good riddance.

After the initial brouhaha calmed down, one member of the group stepped up to try and organize the sign-up. It could have been ANY of the 20 or so people already assembled there, but it just happened that this one guy stepped up first and tried to keep things organized. People signed up, people played, the jam went on until the wee hours of the morning and no one bled from the ears, no one called security - everything was beautiful. Or so it seemed.

The next morning at breakfast, everyone seemed pretty happy about the previous night's affair. I had missed the real bulk of it, but the folks that had stayed were very pleased with the resulting quality of the music and the crowds enjoyment thereof.

Some time between bacon and eggs and the start of Sundays festivities, things took a nasty turn. Word started spreading through the place via the 'Devil's Radio' that people had been prevented from playing, or were only allowed to do one song. I had seen just the opposite before turning in, but I checked with some of the gang that had remained after I left. "Thats not what happened at all", "Not true", and "No way" were the general responses.

It didnt matter. By the middle of the afternoon, the guy that had foolishly volunteered to manage the sign-up sheet (and it really could have been ANYBODY) was being vilified. Childish cartoon characterizations of the guy started appearing all over the hotel and the place was abuzz with bad vibes. None of the bullshit came remotely close to the truth, but once you start an avalanche, it cant be stopped. Things got so bad, the guy stopped coming to the Fest for a couple of years. All this because some people got their nuts in a twist because things weren't being done "their" way anymore. As a result, the organized jam idea was abandoned, and the next year, chaos and deafness ruled once again.

Now, fast-forward to last Wednesday. I'm on vacation with some friends and one of the guys has a CD of the audio from the ill-fated organized jam. I was taken aback by just HOW good it was. Musically, it was superb. No clashing amps on full volume. No sharp and flat guitars dueling like the 200 Spastic Musketeers.

So last night, I'm chatting with a bunch of friends and one of the guys there happens to be the one that (foolishly) volunteered to manage the jam sign-up. I off-handedly mentioned that I'd JUST heard tapes from that night a few days earlier, and that I was surprised at just how good it actually was, and how sad it was that a few people had to ruin a good thing.

We're talking back and forth about all the crap that had gone on when suddenly, without warning, someone jumps in and starts arguing about it! Four years later, and theres STILL crap going on about what supposedly went on that night - and heres the punch line - mostly by people that weren't even there.

I felt bad that the whole thing got re-hashed again, and I was sorry I'd even brought it up. But in the aftermath, I was mostly dumbfounded by how much info from that night is STILL 100 percent WRONG, and how people are still clinging to the phony-baloney bullshit version like it was Moses clutching the tablets.

Oh yeah - so at this LAST Fest back in March, I ran into a guy who no longer participates in the Saturday Night Jam. I asked him why, and he said because its become a train wreck that gets crashed into by a plane wreck.

What can you do.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Back Just In Time (For A Tax Hike)

Hey Eveyone,

Good weekend greetings to one and all. Mon and I are back from our very relaxing week up in the country and I must say, I am feeling revitalized. Nothing quite like a week of doing nothing other than swimming, kicking back and having a few adult beverages by the fire pit to recharge the ole batteries.

I picked an interesting week to disappear. While we were gone, the nation celebrated its' birthday, NASA launced a Space Shuttle, North Korea launched a few bottle rockets, the Deleware River receeded and the State Sales Tax went up a whole percent.

What a shock. Jon (Two Sheds) Corzine, billionaire, who owns a mansion and a yacht, pulled the ultimate temper tantrum and shut the whole state down to force the state legislature to enact his $1.1 Billion sales tax increase. What a guy.

Those of you that may have forgotten, Corzine ran for Governor on the platform of NOT raising taxes, and here he is - raising taxes. Is anyone really surprised?

Look, most New Jerseyans - especially those of us out here in the "Red" part of an otherwise aimless Blue state - love it. But more and more people are starting to leave because they just can't afford to live here. Since 2002, we've had to endure 3 billion dollars in tax and fee increases. It's re-God-damn-diculous. People continue to leave the Garden State in droves every year. It's a damn shame.

Unfortunately, the scoundrels in Trenton lacked the BALLS to stand up to a lowlife like Corzine and tell him to go eff himself. Instead, they went ahead with this budget "compromise" , which was nothing more than a gift-wrapped piece of pork for Corzine to show off to his special-interest cronies.

Of course, Corzine and the Trentonites are attempting to off-set this latest tax scam by promising property tax relief. Yeah, right. New Jerseyans were promised the same "property tax relief" for years now with only a phoney-baloney "rebate" - which is nothing more than a payback of OUR OWN MONEY - to show for it.

At last check, Atlantic City casinos and parks were STILL closed, despite the "11th-hour" shenannigans that took place yesterday. Let's see if any New Jersey paper puts a cartoon of Corzine in a diaper crying like a baby. Probably won't happen. The News media is too busy leaking information about active investigations to worry about little old us.

Remember what I've always said, folks. Repeat after me: Democrats raise taxes. Again. Democrats raise taxes. High taxes stagnate growth. Stagnant growth means downward spiraling economy.

Evantually, the rest of New Jersey will get hip to this. You would think they would have learned something after the elections of Brendan Byrne, Flim-Flam Florio and Jim "Special Circumstances" McGreedy. But I guess not.

More details (and some pictures) of the vacation after I get to relax and calm down.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day Greetings!

It's Fourth of July once again and as we celebrate the most important day in our country's history, let's take a few moments to thank the brave men and women that fight to keep us safe and allow us to live free. God bless them all.

Please have a safe and sound holiday. We'll be away on vacation for the rest of the week, but I'll fill you in on all the fun when I get back.

Ciao for now!

Today's The Day

Some good advice from the legendary Ray Stevens.