Monday, December 24, 2007

My Christmas Wish for You... that you would experience Christ's love in all of it's majesty and splendor. the greatest gift that we will ever get, this Christmas or any Christmas, is the gift of our Salvation through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The gift is given now at Christmas in the form of a babe in swaddling cloths, but is not fully realized until Easter morning at the Empty Tomb.

So, if you are walking without Christ in your life and you feel like there is something missing then stop and ask Him for guidance and forgiveness and see what happens in your life.

You are not alone and God is indeed there for you when everyone else leaves you. Throw your troubles on His shoulders and He will give you rest and rejuvenation.

May His Prefect Love fill your heart now and forever more!

May the Peace of the Lord be with you!

Friday, December 14, 2007

10 Songs Christmas Style!

Since we are in the Christmas season (liturgically still Advent season but I will not nitpick-but I just did) I thought that I would share some tunes in my Christmas 2007 playlist on my iPod. Some are old school Christmas tunes and some are newer with a rockin' beat, and some are just fun. Here goes:

1. Dominick the Donkey-Lou Monte
I came across this song only a few years ago and found it charming in a weird-wish-I-were-Italian-way and it really is infectious after hearing it a few times. It is a big hit with kids, Italian or not.

2. Father Christmas-The Kinks
This is a classic and it rocks in a yuletide way. Get it now or your Christmas will be lacking!

3. The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth-Bing Crosby and David Bowie
An unlikely pairing of musicians from different eras and genres yet it works so darn well. Short but sweet song!

4. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus-John Cougar Mellencamp
I loved this song as a kid and I especially love the way the The Coug makes it rock. A great job on a classic.

5. I Saw Three Ships-Sting
Another new interpretation on a Christmas classic. Go ahead take a listen and you will know the wisdom of mine words!

6. Good Christian Men, Rejoice!-Robert Shaw Chorale
To me this is THE best Christmas song that not many people even know about. We sang it in church every year. It sums up the whole point of Christmas and it is that Christ was born to save humanity from Sin, Death, and the Devil. REJOICE INDEED!

7. Away in a Manger-George Strait
I sang this song as a kid in Kids Choir and I still love it to this day. I wish it were more popular but it seems that the really popular Christmas songs are not about Jesus Christ at all, and that is a shame. This is just a great song about the Baby Jesus and that should make Ricky Bobby happy.

8. Go Tell it on the Mountain-Toby Keith
What a beautiful song. Similiar in theme to Good Christian Men, Rejoice! However, it is still very poignant and touching. Have a listen and tell me if you are not moved by this song. And if you are not then you have a heart that is 3 sizes too small.

9. Hallelujah Chorus(from Handel's Messiah)-Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
There is no song about our Lord's birth that has more majesty and awe in it. I cannot hear this song without getting goosebumps at the very thought that God sent His Son to die for my sins so that I would be able to have eternal life. It is a love that I am not worthy of, but am thankful for it nonetheless.

10. My Little Drum-Vince Guaraldi Trio
What is Christmas without something from Good 'Ol Charlie Brown? Exactly!

May God Bless you richly this Christmas, and may the Light of Christ shine in your life!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 7, 2007

10 Songs + 1

10 songs that are heavy in my iPod ro-tay-shee-own:

1. Across 110th Street-Bobby Womack

2. The Midnight Special-Creedence Clearwater Revival

3. Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?-Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt
4. Patience-Guns 'N' Roses

5. Space Lord-Monster Magnet

6. Justice and Independence '85-John Cougar Mellencamp

7. Sexy M.F.-Prince

8. Hello It's Me-Todd Rundgren
9. The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair-Led Zeppelin

10. Just Like Honey-The Jesus and Mary Chain

Bonus Track:

11. Taxi-Harry Chapin

All songs can be previewed by clicking on their names. Go have a listen and enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's a Seinfeld World

I loved the show Seinfeld, along with 100 million other people. However, as the years march on by one thing is becoming more and more clear to me and it is that we are all living in a Seinfeld world. By this I mean that, if you have watched the show, inevitably there will be some point in your day or week where you come across a reference to that show from one of its episodes.

I was talking with a friend recently about a woman who was attractive and I said, "Yeah but she has man hands." The other person looked at me and knew exactly what I was talking about. And, by the way, I am shallow enough to have that one issue bother me to no end, the man-hands thing. I am not proud of it, but I offer this confession freely.

I remember the beginning of this past summer and another friend was determined to do all the things that he had put off and had never done before. He was going to jam it all into this summer. He looked at me, in all sincerity and said, "Dude, this is going to be the Summer of George!" His name was not George, though I knew what he was talking about and so did the others around me.

It is amazing to me at just how much that show is ingrained in our everyday lives without us really even knowing it. And when it is noticed everyone laughs and shares a common moment of mirth.

I was at a diner last winter ordering a sandwich with some soup. I asked for some New England Clam Chowder of which they were out. The waitress knew this as I ordered and said, "NO Soup for you! Come back one year!" I laughed and got the Beef Barley.

Anytime I can't remember a person's name I end up calling them Mulva. Most people laugh and say their name is really Delores.

I have known a Close Talker and it is really irritating to have someone up close and personal where you can smell their breath, count their fillings, and see how deep their pores are.

I work with a High Talker. I swear if my eyes were closed I would think he was a woman.

I was talking with a friend a couple of days ago about Uma Thurman. My son and I agree that she is beautiful, in the right light. My friend saw my point and agreed. Seriously, go watch Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 and you will see her beauty coming and going.

I remember the first time I ever ate at a Kenny Rogers Roasters. I kept walking around saying, "Kenny. Kennnny. Keeeennnnnnnnnyyyyy!" My wife was not amused.

I was at the bakery a while back with my kids and one of them wanted a black and white cookie. As I ordered it for them a guy, standing nearby, said "Look to the cookie!" I laughed and was inspired to order a Chocolate Babka and a Marble Rye and some muffin tops without the stumps.

I saw a guy who was about to get into a fight and he was really outmatched. The dude was not a fighter at all but he was hopped up on liquid courage of the John Barleycorn variety. He really thought that he could put a whoopin' on the guy who was the center of his wrath. He was so drunk and lacking good judgement that when the other guy grabbed him he yelled out, "DON'T TOUCH JIMMY! KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF OF JIMMY!" His name was not Jimmy and he really wasn't trying to be funny. A bunch of us started laughing, some of it was nervous laughter some of it was not. Well, the guy who grabbed him started to laugh and figured that "Jimmy" was not worth his time. Lesson learned was that if you are drunk, in a fight and about to get pummeled start quoting Seinfeld.

I was working with a friend at Pier 1 and needed to write something down. He had one of those pens that write no matter what even if you hold it above your head and were to write on an inverted pad of paper, the kind the astronauts use in space. He told me it was this type of pen. He said, "Do you like the pen? Do you want the pen? Go ahead, keep the pen!" I said, "NO!" and he said, "Go on, Keep the pen!" We had a good laugh, though just like Jack Klumpas he didn't let me keep the pen!

There are many other examples and they are all funny. However, I challenge you, dear reader, to go through a week and see how many times a reference comes up either in your mind or with someone actually saying it out loud. Then come back and let me know about.

And you wanted to be my latex salesman!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Am Not a Smoker But...

...I believe that the government is mandating too much for "the good of the public." What I am referring to is that the Midwestern state in which I live has a law that takes effect on January 1st that bars and restaurants will be smoke free, that is if you are a smoker you can no longer do it at one of these establishments. The Northeastern state from which I moved a year ago already had this law on the books before I left (that is not why I left btw).

I must admit that it was nice going to my local pub for a few cold ones and perhaps to watch some sporting event and not coming home smelling like an ashtray from all of the second hand smoke. However, I knew that this would be my fate if entered that place where everybody knows my name (they really didn't but it sounds nice). I knew the effects and still went.
There, like here, I felt that it is not the State's responsibility to enforce its beliefs on any of us. If a pub owner/restaurant owner wants to have a smoke free business than let him run it that way. It is not the governments job to tell me that I can't have a smoke section if I want to in my place of business (that is if I had one, which I don't so I gripe).

I am against this mandate and again, I don't smoke. Well just thought that I would vent to you all of my many (or is it a few, or is it just me?) readers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Customer Disservice

I used to work in the retail industry. I have worked for Macys, Banana Republic, Casual Male Big and Tall, Track 'n' Trail, American Eagle Outfitters, and Pier 1 Imports. I never really liked it all that much, except for dealing with all of the people who came into the stores I worked at to buy or browse. There was a cornucopia of people who would come in and most of them were interesting in one way or another. I say most because not all customers were nice. Some were rude, but we had to deal with that and try to make things work out for them and us. They were challenges and I always took them as such in my dealing with them. I always wanted to have them do a 180 degree turnabout in their perception of whatever company I was working for at the time. I wasn't always successful, but I did give it my all.

When I go into a store I expect outstanding customer service and I make no bones about it, after all I am there to spend money. This is the time of the year that I like least with regards to shopping. It is the fake season when retailers go overboard in pretending that they really do care about you. The sad fact is that the majority of retailers expect their underpaid associates to go overboard for a company that they do not believe really cares about them at all. It is true that all associates that agree to work for any retailer should give their all no matter what, just as a point in personal pride in their work. It should be that way but it is not.

I am confronted time and time again with associates that make no false pretense in letting you know that you are burdening them just by being in their store to shop. When I am confronted with such apathy I leave and never shop there again. I have noticed that one retailer, BEST BUY, must have a mandate that all customers are greeted at the door by an employee saying something like, "How ya doin?" Whenever I go there I am with my 16 year old son and we are usually engaged in some deep conversation about who rocks better on Guitar Hero III (btw he does). I hate being interrupted by this unnecessary question always asked in a way that lets me know that the asker does not care in the least how I am doing. You cannot force care and consideration and the public should be smart enough to know when they experience that.

I was there today with all five of my children and was interupted with this query to which I did not answer. He didn't care and I was not going to be bothered by the associates coercion of this question. Then in the 30 minutes that we were there I was accosted by 10 associates, I kid you not. That is 1 every three minutes! Just as I would rebuff one another would come up and ask the same stupid question, "Can I help you?" As an aside the question was improperly phrased. It should be, "May I help you?" Hey I was an English Major give me a break!

I started to answer the associates, "Like I just told the other worker, I am fine!" What I wanted to say was, "Leave me the @#$%^ alone!" I was there just to browse, but man were they desperate to make a sale! I don't think that I will be going back to BEST BUY again during the Christmas season. As a matter of fact, I think that I will do all my shopping online. It is fast, easy and I can do it my skivvies. Can't do that at BEST BUY, and if I did I think that I might get a different question than, "How you doin'?"

Be Good and don't lose focus on what Christmas is really about.


When I was younger I never heard anyone say to me, "We'll be Best Friends Forever!" I just assumed that it would always be that way. In most cases I was naive to the fact that friends come and friends go, through growing up, moving away, marriage, fights, indifference, and death. No hard feelings as I have been on the giving, as well as receiving end of these events. Life happens. It is what it is. A bitter pill to swallow, but one that most of us have experienced.

There are friends that I have thought about from time to time. I have wondered where they were and what they were doing. Are they even alive, and if so were they married and happy with life? I have looked up some and reconnected with them. It was nice to touch base and catch up. Our bonds were not as tight, but that is to be expected as growing up has brought with it more responsibilities: marriages, children, divorces, jobs, mortgages, in-laws (or out-laws in some cases).

I have noticed that I have found more friends from my past than have found me. I cannot deny that it stings a bit, the not having many people care enough to search me out. I automatically assume that my influence on their life was not so special and that I saw more in the friendship than was actually there. That is my problem, however, and I am dealing with that esteem issue everyday. I guess that I should not jump to conclusions as maybe old friends do think about me and wonder where I am and so forth. Life just gets in the way of putting actions behind feelings.

This past August I had the pleasure of receiving and email from someone from my past who holds a special spot in my heart. I felt like I had won the lottery as this was a person that I dated during my Senior year in high school. She was, in fact, the very first woman that I fell in love with, and there have only been a grand total of two including her. She came into my life at time of great upheaval for me. A time when I was in need of physical, spirtual, and emotional healing. She was a blessing from God and she lifted my spirits and gave me a gift that I could only hope to repay. She was a free spirit who looked at life differently than most and had a confidence about her that was not cocky but refreshing and hypnotic.

Well this friend has come back into my life at another time of great upheaval for me and again she is sowing her seeds of caring and hope. In just a few short months of trading emails and catching up she has instilled in me a positive outlook on life and desire to try my hand at certain things again. I had thought about her on and off since I graduated high school when we fell out of touch with each other. I lamented our life's paths taking different courses but that happens with growing up, right?

Well here it is Thanksgiving weekend 2007 and as I go through my list of things to be thankful for her name is right there at the top. I do appreciate her so much and I hope to be there for her in any facet of help that she may ever need. It is refreshing to have people in my life who do not just say that they care but actually mean it and act on. I have too many people in my life that look to me for help and and hope-and I will always give it to them-but when I look for some reciprocation they are silent. Not this lady. She has not changed, and if so it is only to have gotten better!

Will we be Best Friends Forever? Forever is such a long time and I have learned to be content in the here and the now.

So, thank you dear friend for your support and help and love. May God hold you in the palm of His hand always and may all of your hard roads be behind you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Loss and Gain

Poem: "Loss and Gain" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Public domain.

Loss and Gain

When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

When I Am Old

Poem: "When I Am Old" by Ray Nargis, from Almost Tomorrow. © Raven Productions, Inc, 2008.

When I Am Old

When I am old I shall wear a ball cap
From the St. Louis Browns
Because my grandfather once played in their farm system,
Or maybe a John B. Stetson hat, three-corner fold,
Four X and black chinos with both suspenders and a belt
And the knees ripped out, not as a fashion statement,
But from work.
And black biker boots and a T-shirt with the slogan
"I'm Working On My Issues."
I'll use a walking stick and not a cane
And have a key ring with about a hundred keys
And I won't know what any of them open and I won't care.

When I am old I'll drink whiskey in the morning
And coffee at night
And laugh and spit and swear wherever I want.
When I am old I'll help Girl Scouts across the street
Even if they don't want to go
And I won't have a car
And I won't have a bike
And I'll walk everywhere.

When I am old I'll have a dog named Sam Peckinpaw
And some summer's morning I'll lock up the house
And old Sam and I will walk over to see to see one of my sons
Even if he lives two states away.
When I am old I'll tell people exactly what I think of them
And surprisingly, most of the time it really will be good stuff.
When I am old I won't have a TV
And I won't have a radio
And I won't have a computer or a clock or a phone in the house.
I won't read books and I won't read magazines
And I won't read newspapers and maybe, finally
I'll learn something just watching the birds and the weather.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

10 Songs

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then this post (which will be updated from time to time) is a nod of hipness to my friend Kyle who has a similar (or as one nutty person I knew would say sim-ya-ler)post over on his blog.

10 Songs That in Are in Heavy Rotation on My iPod:

1. Depeche Mode- Enjoy the Silence.

2. Brothers Johnson- Strawberry Letter 23. Thanks to Melissa F.

3. John Cougar Mellencamp-Ain't Even Done with the Night. Again, thank you Melissa.

4. John Mayer-Gravity.

5. Santana-Black Magic Woman. Thanks to Guitar Hero III(BTW I ROCK!).

6. The Alan Parsons Project-I Wouldn't Want to be Like You.

7. Q Lazzarus-Goodbye Horses. Special nod to Erin C.

8. Citizen King-Better Days.

9. Led Zeppelin-Over the Hills and Far Away.

10. Led Zeppelin-The Lemon Song. Sweet, sweet Lemon!

You don't know any of them? Well go listen and learn and be prepared to be moved. For those about to ROCK I salute you!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Heart Disease Never Tasted So Friggin' Delicious!

This post is dedicated to my friend Kyle aka Macfixer (check out his blog with the direct link over to the right). He, like Homer Simpson, has a penchant for processed pork that is pressed into the shape of a very small slab of BBQed spare ribs. Homer's was made by Krusty Burger, Kyle's is made by none other than Mickey D's! Here's to you Kyle. Enjoy!


The McRib, for a limited time. Get it while supplies last except on the East Coast! Come and get one Kyle!

No animals were harmed in the making of this post.

The photographer only puked once. Mmmmmmmmm McChunks!

I can feel my arteries hardening! Where did I put my defibrillator?! CLEAR!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You Talkin' to Me?

I am a bit of a thinker when it comes to issues that I have to deal with in my life, aren't we all? I like to look at every possible angle concerning the potential outcome of any action or decision that I may make regarding these issues. The thing is that I don't just do this in my mind, I do it out loud. Alone. That means with nobody around. Succinctly put: I talk to myself out loud!

I realize that I have always done this as far back as I can remember. As a child in my playtime I would, like most children, speak out loud regardless of who was around. It seems, that I have kept that idiosyncrasy to this very day. My oldest son gives me some good natured ribbing about it; "You talkin' to me dad?" I hear that and I realize that I am doing it again. My ex-wife would give me some "constructive criticism" regarding this little foible. I must admit that this talking to oneself is a bit of an oddity.

I grew up outside of New York City and on any given day, perhaps even as you read these very words, there is some wingnut pounding the pavement there all by his lonesome talking away in a loud conversation with himself. I have visions of me becoming like that at some point in time. It sends shivers down my spine. Why do I speak out loud to myself? Don't really know. Maybe I like the sound of my own voice, I admit that I do have narcissistic tendencies. Or maybe I want to hear how the words sound out loud as opposed to just hearing my inner monologue. I haven't the foggiest idea but I am sure that later on today I will be talking out loud to myself about it.

I guess what makes my Conversations-of-One (I prefer that term to the crazy sounding talking-to-myself) is that when I speak I am a bit animated. I use my hands, arms and body. I make faces, furrow my brow, drop my jaw. I mean I really get into if I believe no one is watching me. I lose myself in that moment. It is quite funny. I remember once, about 15 years ago I was at a stop light in my car all alone. I was having a Conversation-of-One and really getting into it. If I remember correctly it was concerning an important discussion that I wanted to have with someone close to me. So, here I am at this stop light going on and on as if the other person were right there with me and then I realized that there was a car that had pulled up along side of me and it was full of people who were looking at me and laughing. I am sure that I looked crazy. I felt so embarrassed. I couldn't even play it off like I was singing to the radio because it wasn't even playing. I could not floor it away from there quick enough when the light turned green even though I was still red with embarrassment.

I have tried catching myself when I do this Discussing-Amongst-Myself thing. I have toned it down a bit as I don't want to be known as the crazy guy who talks to himself. I prefer to be known as just the crazy guy and not even that. However, there is a new piece of technology that is out there that could well help me with my peccadillo. It is the Bluetooth device for cell phones! I have noticed over the past year or so many people who I thought were having Conversations-of-One. I would see more and more of these loners and I would think to myself that they are just like me doing what I have done for years. I then felt pretty happy with myself that I was on the leading cusp of this new trend, only to have my bubble burst when I would keep seeing these little plastic objects attached to one of their ears. I would think, "All these people have the same looking earring. What is the deal?"

It was then that I realized that these people were having actual honest-to-God conversations with other actual honest-to-God people. That's what the deal was. DANG! I sadly learned that I was not a trendsetter after all but just someone on the lunatic fringe. After I picked up my crestfallen ego I realized that I should join the Bluetooth movement. I mean if I wore one of these devices it didn't even have to be on, and if I was spotted in one of my animated discussions then people would just make the assumption that I was talking to someone, anyone other than just myself. Sure these people look crazy initially when they are talking out loud walking the aisles of the local supermarket/mall/Home Depot/Target or wherever, but when other people see their little phone thingy in their ear they realize that these people are not crazy, just rude. I can deal with being seen as rude, heck I am from the greater metro of New York City were we take being rude as a badge of honor. Yeah, I prefer rude over crazy any day!

So if you see me in an animated discussion all by myself don't jump to the conclusion that I am Conversing-with-One. Take a look at my ears and see if I have on a Bluetooth device in one of them. And if I do, then maybe just maybe, I am talking with someone who is real and can speak back to me. And if I don't have a Bluetooth device on, then just walk on by, say a little prayer for me, and don't tell anyone but yourself. Quietly. Internally. Without moving your lips. That's my job!

Now Go Do Some Good!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just One of These

"The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow."-Mark Twain

I love to laugh. I believe that as the Reader's Digest column proclaims Laughter IS the Best Medicine. It is a fact that laughing releases endorphins into brain that stimulate the central nervous system and produce a high much like that of mood enhancing drugs. It's true, I kid you not. Laughing is great! It is fun! Who doesn't like to laugh? One of the most guilty pleasures in life is uncontrollable laughter in a setting where it is not expected, nor appreciated (i.e. a classroom, Sunday church, and dare I even say it? A funeral! Don't blame me, blame The Barenaked Ladies!) Sure there are people who are rarely seen laughing, but deep down they love to do it. We all do it. I just did and I'm ready to do it again!

I love listening to comedians, especially good comedians. More times than not, if you were to do an depth investigation into the lives of most comedians you would find some hardship, or hard luck story. You see these people, when confronted with tough times, turn to laughter. Hey, it's cheaper than paying for therapy and the return is instantaneous. If you make someone laugh the feeling is fantastic, and if you don't you know right of way that you need work.

I don't consider myself anywhere near the level of your average comedian, though I do love making people laugh. To me it is a drug. If I can make a group of people bust a gut, the feeling that comes over me is almost euphoric. I find it challenging to make a group of people laugh. Sometimes I am successful, and other times I am not (more than I am willing to admit).

Getting back to laughing over the pain. The late great Rodney Dangerfield had bouts of depression that he dealt with his whole life. He was constantly feeling like a failure. He built his entire routine, "I Tell You I Don't Get No Respect" around it. He even talked about it in his act. He would talk about waking up every morning face to face with the heaviness of depression that haunted him. Yet he did it by laughing at it. "Hi Heaviness" was one of his bits and man if it wasn't funny! It would end with him saying that all he wanted in life was, "just one of these" and he would hold up his hand making the A-OK gesture. It was very funny and bit sad. It always got laughs, but some of them were uncomfortable laughs. People who come to see a comedian want funny not reality. Make me laugh but don't make me cry. The truth is that one often follows the other and one makes the other seem more intense. Why else would Drama be pictured as two masks, one laughing one crying?

The poet Ella Wheeler Cox said it best:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone,
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

Weep and you do weep alone. It seems that very few, and I mean very few, people will pay any attention to you when life has gotten you down. That's the way it goes. People just don't want to be bothered. We greet each other with a "Hey how you doin'?" or "Hi how are you?" but we really don't want to be bothered with the response, do we? Let's be honest about it. If you think that I am nuts, the next time you hear one of these greetings, or a reasonable facsimile, answer it in truth. "Horrible!", or "I could be better and here's why...". Then watch the reaction that you get from the other person. It probably won't be one of caring or concern. We don't want to know. We just want to be perceived as someone who gives a damn, even when we really don't.

I think that a funny way to subtlety protest anyone who asks without caring (and you can tell who these people are) for an honest-to-God response would be, in tribute to Rodney, give them just one of these, and then flash them the A-OK sign. If nothing else you can chuckle to yourself, and it's more polite than flashing the middle finger. Did I just say that? I guess I did.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to get ready for work and there are a few bits that I need to rehearse. Gotta make 'em laugh!

Now go do something productive!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Where is Fancy Bred? In the Heart or in the Head?

Is there such a thing as True Love, or is it something that is just a fleeting fancy? It seems, and this may just be my sad experience at the game of love, that reality falls short of expectations. Perhaps I am being too much of a nitpicker or maybe my sights are set too high. I can't honestly say that I am more discerning than the next guy because that makes me out to be a snob. However, people do find True Love, I know because I have seen it in couples. It does in fact exist.

So if it exists, and I have not found it then either I have not found it for me yet, or I will never find it at all because it doesn't exist for me. Odd thing this Love? That is one of our basic human needs, or desires isn't it? Don't we all just want to be loved? I am not talking sex, though that is nice. Rather I am talking about bonding with another person in a deep and profound way. We all long to have someone look at us and say, "I thank God for you and want nothing more than to be with you always." I could be wrong, I have been wrong in love so why not in my thinking about it.

I am an eternal optimist, however, I believe that True Love is out there for me. I have to be an optimist because the other side of that thought is too heartbreaking for me to bear. I am happy to see couples who love each other in this manner, the manner of undying-devoted-true love, because it renews my hope for me, but in the same breath it reminds me of what I do not have, of what I basically have never had. I thought I had it once, but I was blinded and I let myself be blinded to it. Love does that to you, if you let it. Love has illusions. Jackson Browne said it best in Fountain of Sorrow:

But when you see through loves illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

While I long for True Love, I am guarded towards it. Or I should say my heart is guarded towards it. I want it but I don't want to be hurt by it. Catch-22, I know. People keep telling me that I have to belly up to the table throw in my ante and spin the wheel for Love is a gamble at best. I know I should, but something holds me back. Don't really know what it is, but it holds me back.

The desire to be loved is spurred on by the desire to not be alone. I have never had problems with being alone. I like myself and enjoy my own company (I am an easy date). I have gone to the movies alone, to dinner alone, to church, the mall, across country alone. It never bothered me. However, I must confess that it is starting to bother me a bit now. I guess the thing that holds me back from the Gamble on True Love is that I don't want to settle for anything less than TRUE Love. Fascinating!

There is definitely an interesting sensation being in a crowded place but still feeling lonely in the middle of it all. I don't write this to make anyone feel sad for me, these are just my observations. No I am not sad. A bit lonely, yes and still optimistic about life and the future. These are just some thoughts that come to me. They are thoughts that come to me in the middle of the night as I stuff tiny metal discs into long thin paperbags. I work, I think, I long, I hope.

Anyway, just felt like posting this to see if anyone else feels the way I do.


Friday, September 7, 2007

"This Song IS About Me!"

I love music and listen to all types. I have quite a few songs on my iPod. 5776 and counting to be exact. It's mostly jazz, classic rock, and classical music. I love the darn thing and may even purchase one of the newly redesigned ones.

I was listening to my iPod the other night at work and was going through one of my playlists. I was grooving along and then I got to Carly Simon's You're So Vain.

Check out the link and you will find that there is a lot of speculation as to who the song is really about. But the fact is that whoever the song is about, he can say undeniably and with gusto, "The song is about me! So how does that make me vain?"

That is the whole point of the song; it is really about goofing the listener. I have always liked the song and even enjoy hearing Mick Jagger sing back up. However, knowing that Carly Simon never intends to reveal who it is about makes the song that much better. I can't help but listen to it with a smirk on my face thinking, "Well done Ms. Simon, well done!"

Just another one of those things that pop into this fertile mind in the middle of the night while at work. I wonder what will pop in there tonight? I can hardly wait. Stay tuned!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Seventy Times Seven

What does it mean to forgive someone? What is the heart of forgiveness? I am constantly amazed by the whole concept of forgiveness. Yet, when it comes to forgiving most people would rather be on the giving than on the receiving end. To be on the receiving end of forgiveness means that we have done something wrong, something egregious, something sinful. Who wants to be in need of forgiveness? Yet, most of us are in need of just that.

The World doesn't really like to forgive either. The World would rather have revenge. Revenge is the quick and easy answer. It's result can always be seen and is usually instantaneous. It cannot, however, be undone or taken back. It is there for all the World to see and cares not for whether it was administered justly or not. It is indeed a cold dish when served.

The World mocks a forgiver. It sees forgiving as a sign of weakness, as a blight, as something not worth pursuing. Yet, to be a forgiver requires more than just words, it requires actions. It requires strength. Strength to not pursue vengeance, but rather to pursue peace and love, and compassion.

I know of a person who could easily walk that path of vengeance, a path that leads to bitterness and perhaps regret. Instead, this person chooses forgiveness, which bears a fruit that is not always seen but is sweet indeed. Why does this person choose forgiveness? This person chooses it because it is the right thing to do.

In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus is asked about forgiveness by Peter, "21 Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' 22 Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.' "

Peter thought that he was being generous in his forgiving, doing what the Law demanded and nothing more. Yet, Christ turned that notion on it's head by stating that we should forgive seventy times seven. Seven is the number of perfection in the Hebrew culture of Jesus' day. What He does here is add to that number to the Nth degree. In other words Jesus was saying forgive as many times as it takes, don't stop forgiving, hold nothing against anybody else.

This person, reminded me in their act of forgiving that I have not been so kind. I have held grudges and wanted revenge for things that have been done to me. I re-learned a lesson that I have taught others but have forgotten. I am thankful for this persons wise decision of forgiving others because in their doing that their act of forgiveness has inspired me to let go of the hurts that I have been carrying around lately.

I choose forgiveness, for I know that I am in need of receiving it. May I be so bold as to walk this path as my friend has, is, and continues to tread. Thanks for the lesson!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pics by Zach

Taken by Zach

Pics by Abbie

Taken by Abbie

Sweet Home Chicago

My gang and me outside the Shedd Aquarium in the great city of Chicago. What a day!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Holy Cow, I Think He's Gonna Make It!"

Upon hearing of the passing, this week, of the Hall of Famer and Yankee great, Phil "The Scooter" Rizzuto my mind recalled many of his accomplishments both on and off the field of play. His feats were major, after all he was a Yankee! 1950 American League MVP, he was on seven World Series Championship teams, and he was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame 1994, though he insisted that he did not belong there. He was color commentator for the Yankees(did I mention that they are God's team? Well they are) for nearly 40 years, and that is how I was first introduced to the Scooter.

In the summer of 1977 I was re-introduced to the Scooter through one Michael Lee Aday aka MeatLoaf, to me just Meat but to you it is Mr. Loaf. The song Paradise by the Dashboard Light(a great song even to this very day) was a song about love, lust and commitment. If you know the song you undoubtedly remember the Scooter's contribution to the song in the form of his play-by-play commentary:

"OK, here we go, we got a real pressure cooker going here. Two down, nobody on, no score, bottom of the ninth. There's the windup, and there it is. A line shot up the middle, look at him go. This boy can really fly. He's rounding first and really turning it on now. He's not letting up at all, he's gonna try for second. The ball is bobbled out in the center. And here's the throw and what a throw. He's gonna slide in head first. Here he comes, he's out. No, wait, safe, safe at second base. This kid really makes things happen out there. Batter steps up to the plate. Here's the pitch, he's going. And what a jump he's got. He's trying for third. Here's the throw. It's in the dirt, safe a third. Holy cow, stolen base. He's taking a pretty big lead out there. Almost daring them to pick him off. The pitcher glances over, winds up and it's bunted. Bunted down the third-base line. The suicide squeeze is on. Here he comes, squeeze play, it's gonna be close. Here's the throw, here's the play at the plate. Holy cow, I think he's gonna make it!"

I love that song! It has been at the rockin' heart of many dance, party, and/or social mixer that had any worth whatsoever. I remember, with acute recall, singing it to my date, one Linda L., way back at the 1980 Sadie Hawkin's dance at Greenwich High School. She was a beauty and I am sure that she still is and I knew that "all the kids at school were wishin' they were me that night". I remember Meat coming over the speakers and looking into Linda's big beautiful eyes! What a night.

Now wait a minute! I know what you are thinking and the answer is that Linda was not that type of girl and I was not that type of boy. There was no "paradise" by any light that night, or any other night for the record. What there was, however, was a moment that we shared because of that song. I can't help but think of Linda every time I hear it. Phil Rizzuto's death set me off on a chain reaction that led to thinking about Mr. Loaf, then his song and then that night back in 1980 at a dance with Linda L. Time definitely flies.

As sappy as the song might be I admire the idea that the singer did honor his vow to stay with his lover. He never spoke of her in demeaning terms that are so rampant in Rap music. He didn't bail out on her, or harm her. He stayed with her. Sure he was in a type of hell as he was "prayin' for the end of time to hurry up and arrive..."

Yes indeed he made that hell of his own when he played with the heart of that young woman, it was indeed his own doing. It served as a cautionary tale to young lust erroneously perceived as young love. Think before you act and make sure that you think with your brain instead of thinking with something else, was what I learned from it.

I wonder, if the characters were real, where would they be now? Would they still be together? Would he have honored his vow until the end? Would he have somehow found love with that woman and have maybe made a go of a good life together? Or would he have left her long ago?

I am a romantic and always will be. I even hold out for the hope of lasting love in my life(still waiting). I would hope that the two came to a place of love and respect for each other, and in that way he would truly be a man, or at least lumbering towards manhood as it awaited for him at the plate as he rounded third and headed for home. Maybe he would hear the faint echoes of Scooter Rizzuto saying, "Holy Cow, I think he's gonna make it!"

Thanks Linda for the fond memory!

Holy Cow indeed!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Tattoo You

Tattoos, it seems, are quite the fashion statement these days. When I was younger, back in the day, the only people who sported tatts were bad azzed Harley riders, crap-kickers from the military, exotic people in some far distant land, or someone in the freak show at the circus.

Nowadays things are different. The art, and it is indeed an art, of the tattoo is a multi-million dollar a year industry. It is commonplace to see all sorts of people, both men and women, young and old wearing a tattoo. There are all types of designs and places on one's body where people plant their artwork. There are conventions where the artists go and learn about new techniques or new equipment to buy, and there are even a few TV shows that are based in tattoo parlors (parlors? Are they even called parlors anymore?).

I know quite a few people who are inked, more than once and usually in interesting locations on their person. I find the designs pretty interesting and herein lies a problem for me. I was always taught not to stare at people by my parents. I don't know why this was the rule, but it was. "Don't stare at that person it is rude!" I have had that so ingrained in me that when I see someone with an interesting looking tattoo I usually gaze at it only if that person is looking in another direction. I am afraid of being "caught" looking at their tatts, but isn't that what tattooed people want? Don't they want to show off their goods? Someone please clue me into the proper etiquette regarding tattoo viewing!

I have thought about getting marked up, but it is just a passing fancy. I can't see me ever getting one, and it is not because of the pain that it may include, that doesn't stop me. What stops me is that I know that somewhere down the road I will look at it and wonder why I even have it.

I knew a couple of people who had tattoos and regretted it later in life. My late father-in-law (or is it late ex-father-in-law? What is the proper terminology for the late father of your ex-wife? Clue me in people!) well he had a few tattoos. He told me that he wished that he never had them. I never respected him any less because of them, but I knew that he was embarrassed about one in particular. It was nothing tawdry, but what seemed funny in his youth was not something he wanted later in life. Tattoos or not he was a good guy!

Another person I knew, a next door neighbor from back East, had one removed. It had been on her ankle and I noticed the scar and discoloration on summer's day as we were standing and talking about life. I asked her if she had had an accident or something (Smooth? Not so much!) and she blushed as she said that it was a tattoo removal gone bad.

Those two individuals made me think that tattoos are not so much for me, as I am sure to regret it later on in life.

I once bought a Paula Abdul CD back in the late 1980s. At the time she was a hot new commodity on the pop charts and I liked her music (Hey it was a long time ago!). Years later, while going through my CD collection I found it and thought, "What the heck was I thinking?!" I have a feeling that getting a tattoo would be kind of the same for me. No matter what I thought was cool at the time of putting needle to skin that years down the road I would look at my tattoo and think, "What the heck was going through my mind that night?!" At least in the day and age of the iPod I can delete songs that were once cool and years (or is it days?) later are not so cool anymore (I swear that sooner or later A-Ha's Take On Me WILL be deleted-Don't even laugh at me because it is on your iPod as well Gaylord!). As for tattoos, there ain't no delete button for the removal of an unwanted tatt.

I have found that not all tattoos are visible ones. A lot of people have tattoos that are covered by clothes and that is because the person wanted a tatt but did not want the whole world to see it. Perhaps it was just for the eyes of one special person. That got me to thinking about whether or not any of our presidents have had, or have, a tattoo and if so what could it possibly be?

The only president I could see having a tattoo would be Bill Clinton. I have a feeling that he has one on his left cheek, and I don't mean the one on his face either. It would be of a cannabis leaf with words around it that said, "Didn't Inhale My Ass!" That would be funny!

Well if there isn't one now there will be a president with a tattoo one day. Maybe it will be in 2008. Who knows, but it will be interesting.

Back to my decision. Maybe when they can invent a machine that erases tattoos I will start thinking about getting one. Until that day I will go unmarked. Yet, when that day comes, look out! Ah, who am I kidding, I will never get a tattoo, it is just not me. And if you have one, and you catch me staring at you, I am just admiring your artwork, honest! Now look away so I can be rude.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This Butts For You!

I am not a tree hugger. Never have been, never will be. I don't hold to the views of Greenpeace, or any other eco-militant group. I do not participate in Earth Day. I don't drive a Prius, nor do I vote for the Green Party candidates. Let's face it, I am not politically correct in my views, stances, and thoughts about the environment.

With that said, I am not a litter bug. Never have been, never will be. I do my best to be a steward of the Earth, or more succinctly; my little part of it. If I can get somewhere by walking, I usually walk though not always. I use my bike (Cannondale Beast of the East M800-SWEET RIDE!) as much as I can and have retrofitted it from mountain bike tires to street slicks. I don't believe in having every light on in my apartment. When I leave a room I turn the light off. When I do the dishes I don't let the water run on and on and on whilst I wash away last nights dinner residue (I know it sounds yummy doesn't it?)

Does all of what I don't do make me a bad person? Does all of what I do do make me a good person? Hey, I am just me and I am doing my best to take care of what I have been blessed with and to not muck things up too much for my kids and their kids (when they get around to having them after they are allowed to marry at the age of 35).

One of my pet peeves (Lord don't I have a lot!), is something that you may laugh at it, but it bugs me nonetheless. It deals with smokers. Now let me preface this by saying that I think smokers, on the whole, are a persecuted lot. It seems that the public perception of smokers ranks them as more lascivious than rapists, thieves, and politicians, ok maybe not politicians by you catch my drift.

I don't mind that people smoke, I am not out to rid the world of smokers. Some of my family and friends are smokers and I have never threatened to with hold my love and friendship if they don't quit smoking. Hey, I hang around smokers so much that I am up to a pack and a half of second-hand smoke a day. And depending on my mood, and how many beers I may or may not have had I will occasionally light up a butt or two.

With that said, my beef with smokers centers on those who feel that the open road is their ash tray. I see time and time again, smokers who drive down the road and flick their spent butts out their windows. I always think to myself, "Don't they have and ash tray in their car? Why can't they put it out in that?" I don't know why it is that these people feel the need to smoke, flick, and floor it away from there. Is it that much of a problem to empty an ash tray?

I shouldn't lump all smokers together, it is just cigarette smokers who do this heinous act. I never see cigar's being tossed out a car window, nor meerschaum pipes, hookahs, or even bongs, just cigarettes. Why is that?

Every time I see a ciggy-butt thrown to the wind by a motorized smoker blowing by I expect to see, over my shoulder, Chief Iron Cody Eyes standing there with a tear rolling down his cheek from those eco-friendly public service commercials from the 1970s. Remember him?

Man did the Indians get screwed! But who is laughing now? It seems that almost every remaining tribe is rolling in the wampum from all of the casinos that they own and now they are wielding some incredible clout. They should use that muscle to, in the spirit of the late Chief Iron Cody Eyes, move in on the garbage hauling, um excuse me the Waste Management Industry, and start charging the people who stole their land exorbitant amounts of cash to haul their trash away.

I know, I know, the garb, um Waste Management Industry is under the ownership of our friends of Silician descent but I am sure that our Native-American friends could make them an offer that they couldn't REFuse (pun intended).

Getting back to cigarettes by the wayside, if you smoke just put it out in the ash tray that God gave you when you bought your car. I am sure that you are using the lighter that came with it so why not use the ash tray that is there too. You don't want that ash tray to start having a crisis of self-confidence do you?

So there it is, my pet peeve du jour. I told you that it would seem petty, but alas, I am not above pettiness regarding my peeves!

Now go out and enjoy the day! And smoke 'em if you got 'em, you now know where you can put them too!

Be Good, But Not Boring!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bagel and a Shmear, Amen!

I grew up in Greenwich, CT which is really part of the suburbs of NYC. I love that part of the country. There is a hodge podge of cultures there and you get a taste of the rest of the world in the Tri-State area. In my neighborhood there were Italian families, Greek families, Swedish families, Jamaican families, Polish families, Jewish families and at least one Irish/Mexican family, my own (weird combination indeed! However we were too lazy to drink!)

There were all kinds wonderful smells around dinner time that would come from the homes in that neighborhood. My best friend's mom was one of the best cooks that I have ever had the pleasure to know. She was a little Italian woman who could make something out on nothing. Her specialty was braciole . To taste that was to taste the food of God; it was heavenly.

At Greek Easter time, the Demitriadi's would dig a pit in their front yard and roast a lamb over the fire that they would start in that pit. The aroma wafting through the neighborhood drove all of us wild with hunger. Thank God Himself that my mom and Mrs. Demtriadi were good friends. We always got an invite to dinner with roasted lamb, spanakopita, baklava, and other Greek delicacies.

My mom was not one who liked to cook(though she could and was better then she thought), but my father, well now that man could cook! He even had a cast iron pan that was older than God, or so it seemed. That thing was so well seasoned that it was blacker than the devil's heart.

His best meal was Sunday Brunch. Every Sunday, after church we would come home and dad would get to fixin' our meal. There were only four people in my family but he would cook for an army, and usually a friend or five of mine or my brother's would drop by.

The menu would change from time to time but you would always find good bagels(maybe even some bialy's) cream cheese, lox, and sliced onions. There is nothing on this Earth quite like a good bagel and a shmear of cream cheese. I am not talking about the things you get in the supermarkets in plastic bags, or the things that they sell at Panera Bread and call a bagel. I am talking about good Jewish bagels made the right way; boiled in water first then baked. This produces a nice crunchy outside and a soft chewy inside.

I live in the Midwest and I have not been able to find a good bagel, pizza, or deli anywhere. They have things that they call bagels, and pizzas, and delis, but they are the not the real thing, they ain't kosher! (Kosher pizza? Believe me they exist, not so much Jewish pizza as much at it is pizza done right!).

It is amazing how you can take the little things for granted in life, and when they are gone they create a void that is tough to fill. We can live without these things, that is for certain. However, our quality of live is not the same. It changes and is lessened. Other new things come along and may take our attention away from what we miss but the void is still there.

Lest you think that I am just talking about food, I am not. I am talking about people, and places, and events. I know that I have taken people for granted in my life, and when they have gone there is a void and even their idiosyncrasies that once drove me crazy are missed. Why is it that we don't appreciate what we have until it is gone?

I heard of a story of a woman who had wanted a particular dress that her husband thought was too expensive, so she never got it. She would walk by the store where it stood in the window on a mannequin and she would just wish and continue on her way. Her husband knew that his wife really wanted it but it was just not in his budget to get it for her.

Sadly, she past away not long after that. He was so stricken by her death that he went and bought that dress to have her buried in it. It may sound sweet, but when you really look at it it is sad! She never got the joy of wearing that stupid dress! He bought if for her anyway, so there was money to be found somewhere.

I am not advocating blowing the bank on meaningless things. However, what would have been the harm in getting her that dress while she lived. Maybe they would not have been able to do some of the things that they were accustomed to do, but aren't our loved ones worth the sacrifice? May we appreciate the time with our loved ones that is given to us while it lasts.

That is what I learned sitting around that Sunday Brunch table. We weren't rich people, both of my parents worked and we rented apartments to live in. We never had the most expensive things there were, but we never went without.

I learned that there are times to splurge, and cook for an army knowing that the smells, the company, the conversations would lead friends and family to our home. I learned that family matters most and that we should never look back in regret over not doing something that should have been done for them.

I learned all of this, sitting around a kitchen table after Sunday church drinking milk, and having a bagel and a shmear.

Be good, but not boring!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry " I Fit Iron Dick" Potter

I am not into the Harry Potter thing that has been going on in the World for the past several years. I started the first book but got bored with it and found that it was not that well written. I have seen most of the movies and they were fun, although repetitive. There are other books that are vastly superior to the Potter books, and I believe that the hysteria surrounding the books was media driven.

I love sci-fi and fantasy books. I am not avid in reading every one that comes out but I have some favorite authors; J.R.R. Tolkien, Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov. There are other wonderful authors, but I don't read as much as I should and when I do read I read other genres such as fiction, poetry, history, and biography.

People who know me and know that I read fantasy and sci-fi ask me what I think about the Potter books. I guess it must be in the way that they ask me, or the fact that they have a copy under their arm, but I know that they want me to validate their love of Potter by saying that the books are the best thing to happen to mankind since the invention of steam engine. I hate to let them down, but I tell them that I think the Potter books are poorly written and nothing more than pablum for people who want to been known as well read but in fact are not. OUCH! Ancient Latin saying of Truthem Dothem Hurtem!

They step back a pace or two as if my words had sucked the very life out of them. They stumble around for a moment or two take a deep breath regain their footing and then say something to the effect that at least the books have got kids reading. "At least the kids are reading! What's wrong with that?"

Is that the saving grace to the Potter books? At least kids are reading?! Well with that logic I guess that we can hand our children Penthouse Letters, Mein Kampf, or the Kama Sutra, afterall it doesn't matter what they read it just matters that they read.

Style over substance wins out again.

I will admit that with all of the latest hoopla over the last book being released I was a bit curious as to who would get the ax. I had heard that Ms. Rowling had said that some of her characters would not make it out of the book alive. Interesting! I thought.

So I asked the few people who I know that have actually read the book as to who dies. It was odd that not one of them would tell me.

"Read the book,"they would say to me.

"I would rather have a colonoscopy," was my response(between you and me trying to find out who died without reading the book was just as painful!).

My friends told me that if revealed who died that it would ruin if for me. And I let them know that it would not ruin anything for me and they would save me the money it would cost to buy the book(like I would really buy that book-puhleeze!).

So, as it stands now I am not curious about it anymore. I don't give a rat's ass who dies and who lives. The thought is not keeping me up all night worrying about poor Harry and his posse. What keeps me up all night is stuffing can tops into long paper bags, but enough about my current job-more on that later.

In case you were wondering about "I Fit Iron Dick," it is an anagram. Go figure it out. If you just can't do it, then go watch Austin Powers Goldmember in the deleted scene section. Crude humor? Indeed! Funny? Very! Dr. Evil will hip you to the anagram. Now go solve it you Frickin' Idiot!

Now go read a book, just not the Potter books!

Be Good, But Not Boring!

Here I Stand?

If you are reading this, and I thank you for that, you may be asking yourself, "What does he mean with the title of his blog? Here I Stand? What does it mean?" All wonderful questions and I will attempt to answer them.

First and foremost, I am a Christian in the Lutheran tradition. Martin Luther (no not Martin Luther King Jr. but an even older man with a similar name) uttered the words, "Here I stand, I can do no other. God help me!" when he was on trial for heresy against the Catholic Church. It was April of 1521 and Luther was convicted by the Holy Spirit, and his own conscious, to not recant of his belief that there was more to God than just what the church and the priesthood were telling the people. He learned from the Bible the truth about God and it was vastly different than what the church was saying it was.

Luther was a man, full of the same types of problems that all men have. However, God used him in spite of his shortcomings and say what you want about the man, he was passionate and had conviction. He knew, that April of 1521, that his life was on the line but he did not back down and ransom it for something that went against conscious.

I respect that stance, and I am not half the man Luther was, but yet I strive to have that type of conviction in my faith, and in my beliefs in general, to literally put my life on the line for what I believe. In that avenue I will know whether I really do believe what I say or if I am just full of it.

There is more to Here I Stand... than just Martin Luther's hand. As with most people I have had ups and downs and one of the biggest downs was being involved in a car accident in 1982. I was badly injured, yet I was alive unlike my best friend who left this world in that crash. Among the injuries that I sustained, other than a broken heart, was a severely fractured right femur bone. I was in traction for 14 weeks and it took me another year before I could walk again unaided by crutches or a cane.

So I stand, and I thank God for that. That I stand, whether it be here, or there, or anywhere is that I do indeed stand. And through the years since then I have learned to crawl, then stand, as I have dealt with the loss of my best friend in that accident.

And though I stand it does not mean that I am stuck in one place. In order to walk or run you need to stand as well. So, I walk forward in life, standing with my head held high in the knowledge that I will probably fall somewhere along the way. Then I will pick myself up, brush myself off, and start all over again.

Chumbawumba was a one hit wonder group with their song Tubthumping. You remember it! Don't deny it, it is probably even on your iPod. It is no song of greatness, and it is pretty repetitive, yet it pumps me up and gets me going when I feel ready to give up and give in.

"I get knocked down
But I get up again
Though you're never gonna keep me down."

Corny? You betcha! But it is also true, and at heart I am a cornball. You will either love that about me, or hate it with a passion. The choice is yours.

So Here I Stand...surveying the scenes before me, out here in the Midwest. Looking at life with wonder and renewed hope and knowing that whatever I meet will be an adventure. I am no Pollyanna, not that it would be so bad, but I am just a man with hopes and dreams and love to give and lessons to learn. Not that much different from you, perhaps. So check in from time to time and see what else is brewing. Feel free to leave a comment, I would love to hear from anyone who took the time to read my thoughts.

Thanks for sharing this with me. More to come!