Thanks, but c’mon

Green bean casserole is widely known as the most difficult and treacherous thanksgiving side dishes since wine.

I’ve struggled with this dish with green beans, store bought onion strings and cream of mushroom soup.

My wife offered to prepare it this year, while I, for the last fifteen years have prepared cornbread dressing, and stuffing for the bird. Gravy included.

I will give her this. If she makes the casserole, I’ll take her to Hamilton.

I’ve heard it’s 3 hours long.


Days Like This

Van Morrison, one of my favorite unintelligible song writers, wrote a song regarding the simple notion that “There will be days like this.” His Mama told him this.

Some people take that so negatively.

We all get sick and it stinks. We have to take out the garbage. That stinks. Your wife likes watching birds more than holding her husband’s hand. My Mama never told me about those days.

Birds were fun for my mom to watch, analyze and depict. Britt, my wife, feels the same. My mother told me to embrace the goodness of the world while accepting the fact that we are all flawed. According to my wife and late mother, birds can even be flawed, but it’s not deliberate. It’s simply the isosceles triangle of life.


Spending 7 and a half hours should be something special at a ballgame. And, it was….when you are 10. Actually, it was still terrific the other night and we are in our fifties…other than my wife. (She’s 25).

My wife, brother, friend. and I spent this amount of time and 18 innings at the park. Was it fun? Yes! Did you feel as though you were at a Catholic Mass sitting and standing? Sometimes. Because the game was quite stressful, did you want to slit your throat? Never.

In our backyard, 7 and a half hours was nothing while playing baseball. I can’t speak for any other of my brothers or hooligan neighbors, but after ten hours, we were still having fun until the dinner bell rang.


Mark Twain is my favorite writer. Shakespeare is my least. However, They do have some good quotes. “Frailty, thy name is woman”. Get real, Shakes. “Golf is a terrific way to ruin a walk.” That’s Twain.

Me, a lesser known idiot, “There can never be enough mayonnaise”

I’m making bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches today while watching college football.

This is for my friend, Marshall.

Wild Cards

One eyed jacks and suicide queens aren’t the only wild cards this time of year. In baseball, you start depending on the wild card team you are rooting for to make the playoffs. For my team, that hasn’t worked out quite the way I wanted for the last twenty or thirty or forty years. But, as much as I hate losing, without getting too upset, you look to those who maintain hope during fruitless seasons of doom.

Baseball means nothing to many. To others, in different parts of the country or world, it means everything. People in third base countries are provided wealth by players signing contracts in the major league empire just to support their home country’s livelihood. For that, I try to appreciate the meaning.

My sister, Teresa, is a wild card and represents not just something, but everything about what I love about the game of baseball.. The pure fun, the nostalgia, and the simple desire to recognize greatness while simultaneously having fun.

It’s difficult maintaining a relationship with someone, for example, my sister, who lives in a State far away from us. She’s in Tennessee, I think, and I live on an island in the Pacific Northwest, I think. That’s a load of crap. Not the areas, but the excuses for not communicating. I hold myself fully responsible for this.

I’ll tell you what’s wonderful about this time of year. My sister and I have a love for baseball which connects us, and we don’t bitch and moan about who has called who, or have you talked to them, and how are the grand nephews or nieces we won’t know the names of until they graduate. We simply talk baseball, and it’s glorious. Teresa knows a hell of a lot more about the sport than I ever will.

Out of respect, she follows my team which has never won, nor been to a World Series. I follow her teams because, well, she’s my sister. That’s what’s beautiful. At this time of year, it’s fun, and it’s everywhere.

I don’t gamble anymore, but if I did, I’d bet onTeresa. She’s an ace in the hole.

No Hitter?

Going anywhere with Patricia was similar to attending a Jimmy Buffet concert. Fun? Guaranteed. Also, full of some delightful surprises.

August 12, 2015, Patricia and I attended a Seattle Mariner game together. Before the game began, Patricia was bellowing, “Go Mariners!, Go Mariners!” which was strange because she never bellowed anything. It was more like screaming or a delightful cackle. Being her brother and friend, and my seat mate, I just couldn’t shout positively about a team I believed unworthy of this type of adoration. Let’s call it straight, The Mariners sucked.

As a baseball nerd, I love attending games with people who appreciate the boring, yet complicated art of the sport. Sometimes, I expect those people to be like me. I pay attention at games. Patricia wasn’t like me. She wasn’t like anyone I knew. She was an original.

We watched eight innings together, laughing and enjoying the game she wasn’t watching. I was recognizing something special, and it wasn’t just the game. Patricia and I were watching a no hitter, an extremely rare occurrence and something neither of us had seen before. I knew what was happening. She didn’t.

Baseball superstitions are essentially ridiculous, but there are times you don’t want to irritate the baseball Gods. You never mention a no hitter is occurring until the ninth inning. Otherwise, the pitcher is doomed for failure. So, it turned out perfectly swell for me. I was keeping my mouth shut, and I knew Patricia would keep hers shut because she didn’t know what the Hell was happening. She was simply enjoying the game and atmosphere, just not the details. Normally, that would have bothered me, but to witness her pure joy during a game which was historic for us made me think, “Damn. I wish was more like her”. Instead, I was feeling the pressure vicariously from the pitcher. It was making me nervous.

In the ninth inning, Patricia turned to me and said, “This is so much fun, but why is everyone so excited? The Mariners have a big lead. I’m surprised people aren’t heading for the exits.”

That’s when I directed her attention to the scoreboard. “Do you notice those zeroes on the the scoreboard? They don’t just represent zero runs, they also display the Mariner pitcher is three outs away from a no hitter.”

Insert Patricia’s jubilation. “What!!!!!!!!?”

I told her we may see something live very few people will ever get to witness, even on t.v..

For the last three outs, her screams became something even an earthquake would respond to by saying, “Ok, settle down, Patty.” I loved it. She was loving the game more than me. I didn’t think that was possible.

The no hitter was kept intact, and I”ll never forget it, but I didn’t celebrate it. I celebrated a person who didn’t give a Yankee dime about the outcome. As always, she was celebrating life. Remarkably, because of her, so was I. Absolutely proud and honored witnessing it with her, I was so pleased to have the gift of her as a sister.

Personally, I hate parades, but Patricia deserves one. St. Patrick can take a back seat today, because, as you know, it is St. Patty’s day. She is watching us celebrate her. Damn right.

Organize This

After straying from organized religion years ago, I am now personally against organized singing.

Growing up in a Catholic world, filled with internal prayer, we were required to attend church, even while on vacation. I didn’t enjoy being asked to sing with the choir, but felt too guilty to leave those behind who could not sing a lick. If the fellow parishioners who couldn’t hold a note would have followed me, as if I was a tiny tow headed Moses, I would have parted the red pews for them. At eight years old, however, I never had the guts to lead. I also didn’t really participate, only mouthing the hymns. Either lead, follow, or get out of the way? I did none of the above.

Following communion, we’d all leave, smoke our cigarettes, make fun of the singing, head for home or to the race track and look forward to confession. My major sin was making fun of those who couldn’t sing. That guilt was good enough to propel me to attend church again the next week to confess my sins of mocking other parishioners, followed by more hymn lip syncing, and inevitably more mocking. Organized singing is, ultimately, a vicious cycle, and a sin.


Remembering people after their demise is especially difficult when you really don’t know them at all. When I heard of a woman’s departure from living, I did remember one specific item…her basement. It was one of the worst days of my life.

The Players:

Tom: He’s my brother and a bonafide master of dictating decisions for others even if it may end up with you having four railroads with his Broadway and Park Avenue. He was a Monopoly bully.

Shayne: A Viet Nam War Vet who wished to be no part of this mission in Spokane, Wa. Yet, he followed Tom’s orders.

Norm: An accomplished high school wrestler with a degree in strength, intelligence and generosity.

Me: Just a pawn in the game of Tom’s life.

Receiving a call from Tom on a Saturday, it was one of those many reasons when you make the poor decision of answering the call.

“What are you doing today?” Not having my rolodex of excuses, I replied with a feeble, “Not much. Maybe watching some college..(interrupted almost immediately by my brother, “Good, so you can help us.”

“Help who do what?”

“We need to move a freezer for someone. It will take about ten minutes.”

“Ok. Whose freezer?”

“Oh, you know her. Elenore.”

“Elenor Roosevelt? I know of her.”

“No. Tracy and Mike’s grandmother.”

Tracy and Mike were friends of ours, but I didn’t know Elenor at all unless knowing someone was witnessing her in the stands watching us play baseball. I still thought ten minutes couldn’t be too much trouble. This is before logic and reasoning skills were still in the premature levels of my tiny brain. I’ve since learned to multiply numbers practically when it comes to helping those in need. Ten minutes turned into six hundred minutes. That’s ten hours.

Tom picked me up. Tracy and Mike had other obligations, so it was, Tom, Mike and Tracy’s step dad, Shayne, and Norm. This should be easy.

Entering Tom’s truck, I asked, “So where do they live?”

“It’s on the North Side.” Well, that eliminated the ten minutes because we lived, on a Saturday, at least thirty minutes away. I then developed a hatred for child proof locks. So, I was indeed in for a treasure chest filled with surprisies including no air conditioning in the car.

Thirty five minutes later, we arrived to the house. Shayne was on time, Norm was on time…so at least the moving should be simple. Not so fast. I began asking logical questions to Tom. “Where’s the freezer?”

“In the basement.”

“I thought this was a one story house.”

“So did I.”

“You didn’t ask? Seems like a pretty small house.”


The house was quite small. The staircase was smaller. After walking down the staircase and greeting the freezer, it was clear the house was built around the freezer. And, the freezer looked bigger than the Ark of the Covenant.

The basement didn’t have snakes. It also didn’t have a hand truck, an elevator or a Star Trek, “beam this freezer up” device.

Once there, and also greeting Eleanor, a very lovely person, there was no choice. We needed to get this freezer out of their house. I just wish I would have known why at the time.

Since the house was so small, and the freezer so large, I did have some thoughts about the simplest way to extract the freezer without anyone sweating too much. Let’s blow the house up, with Elenor in safe distance, so we can just carry the freezer out with no complications. Dealing with the staircase just seemed unreasonable, much like my prior idea.

Step one A: (These instructions are written in English. Since we had a Viet Nam vet ordering us around, I wish the instructions were written differently, say, Gaelic)

Step one B: Disassemble Freezer.

Step 2: Use profanity while disassembling freezer.

Step 3: Thaw Freezer before carrying it up a flight of stairs.

Step 4. Continue profanity to elevate testosterone level so you can proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Disassemble banisters from staircase trying to be patient with a former Marine shouting orders.

Step 6: Lock former Marine in nearest bathroom.

Step 7: Squeeze enormous monolith up one flight of stairs without fracturing any ribs.

Step 8: Refuse medical attention upon arrival of the first floor unless the attention is alcohol.

There was no step nine.

jWe did complete our mission. Beers followed for another ten hours.

I’d like to say this was a giant fish story, the freezer representing Jaws, maintaining frozen meats, vegetables, TV dinners, and Swansons chicken pot pies. But I Can’t. It was a story. Just a story I wish Enenore could have stuck around to read. From what I’ve read, Chuckling is allowed in heaven.


Recognition of Evil doesn’t prevent Evil. Sadly, it almost embraces it.

I’m guilty. I’m guilty of watching the news, reading the paper, and know not to believe anything on the internet. Forgive me for being interested. I, rather, we, should also be discerning.

My value regarding the shootings in Texas may fall deaf upon those who can’t hear or discern anything. Sadly, those who can’t hear or discern live in areas of the United States where logic, understanding, and rational behavior doesn’t exist. It, gun violence, boils me to the core of what is clearly unacceptable, clearly disgusting, and yet ignored by some or heard with indifference.

A close friend of mine, “Craig”, brought up the topic this morning. He’s a respected and excellent teacher who arrives to work every morning trying to accept the idea of him or his students dealing with the possibility of such behavior which is beyond comprehension.

I wish he’d take up a new profession. You know, like law enforcement, firefighter, EMT, the Marines. Painter. Corn Hole construction or aviation. Safe avenues. He would nail them all. Instead, he chooses to be a teacher. Much to my dismay, Bravo, Craig. You are a better man than I.

What are the solutions to this sickening behavior? I don’t know. It’s so tricky. Fewer assault rifles? No. That’s too easy.

Craig believes eliminating the glorification of shooters is at the very least an a attempt for the Media to speed up the attention for settling down the possibility one shooter may not be so inclined to kill so many innocent children.

My other friend, Mark, has a much easier and morbid solution. Mark is in his nineties and works as a crossing guard at a local elementary. He loves the children almost as much as they love him. His, not so popular solution, is to wish for a gun yielding teenager to bust a cap in the asses of those approaching death, almost wishing it, in his retirement community, thus sparing the lives of precious children. Since I love him dearly, and I am anti guns, my response to him was to purchase a bullet proof afghan and avoid the shooter. Unconventional, yes. Practical? I have no idea.

Either way, we are all screwed if AK whatevers are still being sold to people of any age, race, religion or AARP members. We already sell them cars. Isn’t that enough?