Halloween Night – One block east of the NYC line: I sure hope no little brat kids egg my car tonight. No, sir! Kids these days! Why can’t they act like we did, in the good old days. There was a period of 2 or 3 years, longer actually, but I “retired,” when a group of us from NW Valley Stream, NY would meet up with a group of between 30-50 kids from SE Elmont on Everett Street in VS to wage a good, old-fashioned Halloween War! We only numbered 10-12 souls, so, being vastly outnumbered, we had to improvise a bit. Oh sure, there was plenty of egg throwing and pumpkin smashing, but that was sissy stuff! 😉 The last year, we ran gasoline across the street, right in the path of the oncoming hordes. Mixed in, were a bunch of cherry bombs & ash cans. In the hedges, some of us were hidden, armed with baseball bats embedded with nails. I don’t believe they were ever actually used, they were more for effect. Others stood in plain view to lure the interlopers in. For those interested in history, it was kind of like the Zulu Horns of the Bull. Anyway … We actually lit that fire there in the middle of the street – fireworks blasting – egg bombs hurling – Oh, it was awesome. When the festivities ended, the leader of the attackers met with me in the street to have a parlay and make peace. I extended my hand in friendship. POW! I got a fist right in the schnozz! And that was that, as I said, I “retired” after that … and passed the torch to the next up & coming group of kids [we were teens, actually]. So, DON”T EVEN THINK OF EGGING MY CAR TONIGHT!! I am a respected veteran of the Valley Stream/Elmont, NY Halloween Wars! Happy Halloween!
I have this old friend. His name is The Left. Poor troubled guy. He sees everything in Black & White. To fix this, he got himself some special glasses. Now, all he sees are Rainbows. Yet, in his mind, it’s still all about Black & White. A friend of his, PC, is always giving him advice. PC makes the rules about what is allowed to be said – and in what manner – and what is not. This is good for The Left. It provides him with the moral high ground. If he sticks to what PC tells him, he is always correct. And, if anyone speaks out in an opposing way … well, then they are just Angry White Men and must be silenced. Old, too. There is a problem with this. Not everyone who disagrees with PC is an Old Angry White Man. Those unfortunate individuals are sometimes [often] Women, or Blacks, or any number of other shades of the Rainbow. And that is not the Natural Order of things in this Rainbow land. How does my old friend, The Left, account for this? Demonize! What other explanation could there be? They must be evil Demons. The problem with PC is that it doesn’t allow for another friend of mine … Free Thinker. Weird … because The Left thinks he IS Free Thinker. But, PC always gets in the way. That is a problem and he doesn’t see that.
“We are paralyzed by tolerance …” – Greg Gutfeld
[Warning: Card Carrying TEA Party Supporter!!!]:
Gender: We are so very different [thankfully], but I consider us complementary equals. As with all people, I base my interactions with you on how you behave before me [unless, of course, sparks fly, and then … well … it’s different then ;-)]
Nationality: I love diversity of cultures. If you are an American, by all means bring yours with you. My Italian ancestors sure did. But once you become that very special American citizen embrace America! And, follow the process! Race: I honestly don’t see color – or at least not as much as I see gender – If you are a solid individual and don’t wish me harm, I love you. I don’t care what race you are. I am proud of my “white” heritage – and feel no guilt – but, I accept you as you are. Again, it all comes down to how you behave. Behavior is key to all.
Religion: Partial to Roman Catholicism. I do believe that is the first and purest version of Christianity. I have had many Jewish friends in my life, especially when I was young. I’ve never met a Hindu that I didn’t like. Believe what you will, as long as you are genuine. Now, I do have a problem with Islam. Most Muslims – especially my daughter-in-law – are probably fine people, and again, if you treat me with respect, I will do likewise [and vice-versa, I would hope]. I “judge” on a one-by-one basis – in all these categories rather than en masse – at least I try to. But if you strap a suicide vest on or fly a plane into a building in my Country, we have a serious problem. It seems to me, that of all Religions, Islam has the highest percentage of violent fanatics. That is disturbing to me. As is the apparent silence by the majority to come out and decry that behavior in their fellow Muslims.
Sexual Preference: We have gone way overboard on this one. We get giddy if someone “announces” they are gay. I believe that marriage is only valid if between one man & one woman. Honestly, though, I do not see anything in our Constitution that would make that illegal. [gay marriage] I have had many homosexual friends in my life – men & women – keep it private. As with most all sexual behavior — it was meant to be private. The in-your-face stuff is over the top. The multi-gender stuff is beyond my comprehension. I am 100% with the teachings of my faith and the Pope on this one.
Did I sound angry enough to qualify as a TEA Partier? You can’t help who you are put on Earth as, you can only try to make yourself better. [Not saying that I have … in fact, I have my doubts.] Be yourself, but be respectful to others – and stop with the phony outrage over every small thing. Discrimination is a two-way street. So much of our energy is put into these issues, and most of it is counter-productive. We’ll all be OK if we just relax a little. Keep our sense of humor about it all — including our differences. Most stereotypes are rooted in some truth. I have a Jewish brother-in-law, a black son-in-law, a Muslim daughter-in-law, a gay nephew — my friends have covered the spectrum over the years. I don’t know why I am writing this, but I did, so there!
Another True Confession: My brother, Ronnie, and I, used to love board games when we were kids. Stuff like Monopoly, Risk, Battleship, Clue … tons of others. We bordered [no pun intended] on obsessive. Every week, we’d take whatever money we had and go down to the Green Acres Shopping Mall in Valley Stream and buy more games. We had a crawl-in closet full of them. Finally, our parents said, No more,” and forbid us from bringing any more games into the house. What?!? But, we had so many more we just wanted – NEEDED – to get. We HAD to get them. So, we’d still go down to the store, buy the games … but, we couldn’t just walk in the front door with them, so … Ronnie would take the games around the house and stand below our second-floor bedroom window [actually, it was a playroom at that time, I think]. I would casually stroll in the house and go upstairs. Then, I’d lower a rope out through the window, Ronnie would tie the rope around the boxes, and I’d haul ’em up! See, we were problem solvers!! On another note: One day, I don’t know if it was before or after this time, for some reason we decided to lower Ronnie out that very window with that rope. Made a loop, put it around bro’, tied the other end to a piece of furniture, opened the window, and I proceeded to lower him out – TRY to lower him out would be more accurate. As soon as his weight was off the sill, the rope slid through my hands and Ronaldo was sent on a two floor flight through the air. It was awful. Not for him – he landed on his feet and was relatively unscathed. Me? Blisters all over my hands from rope burns. OUCH! Let me tell you — Those were the days, my friend!
In fourteen hundred ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He had three ships and left from Spain; He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain. He sailed by night; he sailed by day; He used the stars to find his way. A compass also helped him know How to find the way to go. Ninety sailors were on board; Some men worked while others snored. Then the workers went to sleep; And others watched the ocean deep. Day after day they looked for land; They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand. October 12 their dream came true, You never saw a happier crew! “Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried; His heart was filled with joyful pride. But “India” the land was not; It was the Bahamas, and it was hot. The Arakawa natives were very nice; They gave the sailors food and spice. Columbus sailed on to find some gold To bring back home, as he’d been told. He made the trip again and again, Trading gold to bring to Spain. The first American? No, not quite. But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.
Every year, on Columbus Day, there is a cry of outrage from a segment of our society over the evil Columbus – idiot sailor & murderer – who, it seems, single-handedly destroyed an entire race of peoples. Ludicrous as that may be, some people seem to actually believe it. The white race is the source of all the world’s evils. Well, where should we all go then? Anybody heading back to Europe? Anyway, I was thinking about this yesterday while reading some of the posts I came across. There is a kind of ironic result to all of this. Columbus sailed representing Spain. There is little doubt that the Spaniards, generally, were the most destructive, to the native population, of all the European nations that arrived here. They settled mostly in South & Central America and into Mexico. Today’s Mexicans are mostly products of Spain & the native population. Now, we have 11 – 14 million illegal immigrants within our borders, mostly Mexicans, who are descendants of those very evil Spaniards from Europe. And the left is welcoming them in while our PC politics bend over backward to not offend them. Interesting, is all I’m saying.
Hearing the usual “Columbus didn’t discover anything” chatter today. He slaughtered the Indians; he was lost; blah, blah, blah. And it always upsets me. Yet, here we are … How can you deny – or be embarrassed of, at the least – your very existence? Which tribe, I wonder, DID discover America? And which tribes destroyed them when THEY arrived? It’s the story of mankind. Columbus is no more a villain than any of the rest of us. Without him, we wouldn’t be here. Despite claims about the Vikings, hundreds of years earlier, for all intents and purposes, that knowledge was lost to European civilization. Christopher Columbus and Americus Vespucci were my “ancestors” and I am proud of them and that my country was “discovered” and named after them. Happy Columbus Day!
“Lost”. My am I! What a great, albeit defunct, show. Six seasons of fantastically creative and intelligent, complexly woven tales of people, places, time and place … and it all boils down to white verses black; right vs. wrong; good vs. evil. There is a strong element of religion embedded. Faith vs. Science. Incredible blend of action, drama, romance, comedy, science fiction. It is hard to imagine a television show that could be so all-encompassing at such a high quality. Large and diverse cast, superb writing – and, if you are patient – it mostly all comes together – wonderful score, scenery is luxurious, well-shot, detailed character development and dialogue, great use of hooks and suspense … surprises everywhere. As complex a story as this is – and it IS a story – the continuity involving interpersonal relationships and timelines is remarkably solid. Best of all, it makes you think. It is hard for your mind to wander while watching this show.
So, while I am viewing – in the middle of the final season as I write this – I try to figure out where I fit in within all of this splendor, conflict, interpersonal relationships, and danger. Where is this place? Is it Hell as a few of the characters more than suggest? Is it another dimension? Easy to feel that way, what with all the flash backwards, forwards, and even sideways. Or is it simply a lost island somewhere as it first appears to the uninitiated eye? I don’t know – Purgatory, maybe. And so, who am I most like? Surely, everyone can identify with someone in this elaborate story. For me, mostly, it is Jack Shepherd — highly skilled spinal surgeon who does what he does better than most. On the Island, he becomes a leader … but, a series of costly, poor decisions, which he invariably makes, contributes to splintering of the castaways and causes him to doubt even himself. He begins to allow himself to blow in the breeze rather than to lead. This could change. As I said, several episodes to go before “The End”. But, it is how I see myself.
Much more – so much to relate to as this winding tale zigs here and zags there all the while hinting at a dramatic conclusion. Faith issues, parent/child issues, relationship issues, morality issues. The show makes you reconsider your own choices. It makes you reevaluate moments of your own life that are reenacted in various ways over 6 seasons of what television was made to be.
Originally posted elsewhere on May 15, 2011
Years ago, I used to coach Little League baseball. Baseball was a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I played it, I watched it, went to Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium more times than I can remember — got thrown out, too, one time. Yankee Sunday doubleheader. We were throwing orange peels down on the level below us and were escorted out by the stadium guards as the crowed booed! — I collected huge amounts of baseball cards, yearbooks, and stat guides, and spent hours playing APBA & Strat-O-Matic baseball board games. In short, I knew how to play, knew all the rules, and, as an adult, discovered I was pretty good at teaching young boys how to play the game I loved.
During my 5 years, I think it was, of coaching, I managed to win back-to-back championships and took over a team that had won something like 2 games the previous 3 years, and turned them into a .500 team. I was proud of myself, but mostly proud of the kids that I coached. I loved coaching. I was passionate about it and was all-consumed by it during the seasons. When one was over, I couldn’t wait for the next one to begin. The first thing I always did was to start with the basics, the fundamentals … we did all kinds of fun drills I devised to master the little things … the stuff that wins games. And one of the very first things I taught was base running, because that took no special talent to master. Speed certainly helps, but anyone can become a good base runner, and Lord knows how many games are lost because of a bad base running decision. So, my teams learned to run THROUGH the bag, not TO the bag, when running out a grounder, they learned how to go from first to third on a base hit, how to tag up on a fly ball, and when not to do those things. Basics win ballgames, and I instilled in the boys that is what we wanted to do … win … play hard, have fun, and win. And we got pretty darn good at it.
After games, win or lose, at the next practice we sat together and discussed what we did wrong, what we did right. I had them figure out what we did to lose. Then, we worked out drills for whatever was decided to rectify the problem. The next time we were faced with a similar situation in a game, every kid knew what to do. We had a ball together … no pun intended … we stuck together as a team … we were tenacious and always believed that we could win.
And all this brings me to the Republican Party … my party. What a bunch of wimps and losers. One thing about the Democrats – they are tenacious and they always think they can win. This Fiscal Cliff thing … I just know that the Republicans are going to cave. We don’t seem to have passion, or togetherness, or the ability to fix things within the Party, or a true desire to win. All the things that help a team win in sports seem amiss. I thought we looked pretty good at the RNC this year. It never resulted in victory. We shy away from conflict. We are always on our heels. That is not how you win. Someone needs to step up, and soon. The ideas are on our side. Our messaging stinks. We are the better team but we can’t win and need to return to the basics, the fundamentals. The “dead” TEA Party needs to come to life again, for that is what we are all about. The Someone is going to have to be a bunch of someones … We the People who believe in liberty, limited government, and life.
And that’s my story & I’m sticking to it.
Originally posted elsewhere on December 29, 2012