Thursday, May 27, 2010


In a Back-to-Nature moment, I ventured Outside--after a day, no, a week of working outside in Eighties-in-May-degree temperatures, and I sat down on the green metal chair in the backyard with a book and a beverage, intent upon seeing how the tale of Castle Rock's rabid dog would turn out. (I know; I've read it more than ten times--but it's still worth reading.) My own doggies accompanied me, which was nicer than nice.

As I folded my right leg over my left knee and dug into the part where Cujo brains himself against the driver's door of the blue Pinto (with Donna and Tad screaming helplessly), I noticed/saw/felt a yellowish creamy-white substance fall from the green heaven and establish itself on my right ankle-bone.

"Oh, shit," I said. (Yes.) "You gotta be kidding me." The splotch of bird shit lay there, on my ankle, resplendent in the late-afternoon sun, winking crystals at me. Louie looked over at me, briefly, and went back to his lying in the dirt. I put the book on the edge of the trampoline and snagged a couple of close-by large leaves. They'd have to do. I'd never been shit on by a bird before, but, instinctually, I gathered that I ought clean it off, before it solidified. (Yes. I am a man-o-th-woods.) The leaves turned out to be what the doctor ordered and I turned back to my book.

But the thought crossed my mind that I really should go in and wash my hands. Nonsense. I hadn't gotten any on my hand; I'd been thorough. That cleaning-thought passed, and I was, once again, in the Grimm fairytale land of Castle Rock, one in which a sheriff named Bannerman probably should have radioed in for back-up the very instant he saw the blue Pinto in the Camber's dooryard.


I remember hearing the story, a long time ago, about when my Dad, assuredly black-bearded and strong, was talking to a colleague when a bird screamed "Drop-Zone!" and left a bomb on his lapel. "Shit," he'd said, and the lady had answered yes. I remember hearing that story and thinking that my dad was a lovable loser--who else gets shit on by bird-brains?! I guess I do. And I also further surmise that, perhaps, the apple doth not fall from the wooden greeny thing.

Let me amend this, posthaste: My Dad was lovable, but he was not a loser. (Shit. It makes me feel all chink-y just writing that.) He was/is a success. World-travelling, bread-winning, business-opening, family-loving success. And I feel that I have big huge shoes to fill. (And, I can't, really. Each person is his or her own Sun.)

But the thought jabbed at me: Am I not my father's son? That's a loaded question. Of course I'm my father's son. I would never say otherwise. I think that it's a requisite part of living for a child to compare and contrast him- or herself with the parent of the same sex. Often, it's done beneath the conscious level, methinks. But that doesn't go away, I think. I think that that mindset stays with a person throughout his or her lifetime, and I think it is particularly forceful when they're in their mid- to late-30s.

Sometimes it is just a whiff of Have I measured up? and other times it is a full-blown gale-force scream that tells one that one cannot fill the god-damned shoes, damn it!

I acknowledge that. I acquiesce. But, in some ways, I fight it, too. Why the fuck must I be the spittin' image of the man whom I love and miss? Why shan't I bust my own groove? I have; I know I have. I know that I have "busted my own groove" and gone my own way, yet I still feel the cold fingers of Predestination chilling, tickling my back.

Am I doomed to die the death of my father and his brother? Am I doomed to deteriorate in the way in which my father's father died? Do I have the Lung Cancers and the Parkinson's and the ALSs genetic bulls-eye stitched upon my back, pink like weeping tattoos? Are they my Soul? Am I doomed? I'd love to floss it over with glitter and balloons, but the fact remains that genetics play a huge part in a person's wipeout.

As does free will and choices a person will/could/should make. It ain't over till the fat lady sings, right? Right.

But the troubling thought remains that I am not fulfilling my potential and that I think that I will be scolded for it. By God.


Have ye e'er been scolded by a sparrow, from the high green heaven? I was, today, and it made me think about my Dad.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


I admit: I watch American Idol, sometimes. I'm 37 and a male. Most of the time, I have watched it, through its ten incarnations, specifically to laugh at the fucks who think they have talent, but have none, to laugh at the poor slobs who believe that bad publicity equals out to good publicity, however pathetic that may seem. I have enjoyed watching Simon and Paula and Randy do their things. It's entertaining. It has been a joy and, I suspect, it will maybe continue as such (minus S. Cowell).

The show is geared towards little girls. Little I-haven't-had-my-period-yet-but-I-heard-that-Becky Alvarez-has-already-jeez-I-hope-it's-not-icky. Little girls who, God bless them, should be doing mathematics or other such bullshit. Playing with dolls. Baking a pie in the oven. Storming the jungle in the renewed Battle of the Bulge.

What they should not be doing is voting.

I can't understand, otherwise, why some doe-eyed fuck like Lee DeWyze (real name?) beat out the much- much- much- much- much-more-talented singer Crystal Bowersox. Here. I wish I had access to her last song--for votes--on American Idol. It was blues and soul.


Now, I really don't want to dig on DeWyze too much--he's good--but, come on.

Here's the paint salesman, Lee DeWyze: Song.

Whoops. Did I fuck up and insert the wrong link? Hell, by this time, you've heard both of them.

What you missed when I missed the link was DeWyze doing the same ole bullshit that we have come to expect from Idols. And, also? He ham-handed his way through "Beautiful Day" by U2 and REM's song "Everybody Cries (Sometimes)".

What we have, here, is a failure to communicate. That's it, apparently. We have telephones and cells and computers and texts given to little girls...who know not what to do.

They don't judge on talent, they judge on looks.

And fucking shame on them.

Here is a glimpse, kids, little girls, into the real world: People come in all shapes and sizes and genders and talents. Sometimes? Sometimes the doe-eyed boy isn't the best out there. Sometimes? Sometimes a single mother with more Soul in her little finger than The Wise has in his whole made-for-TV body could win it all.


It was--and is--an outrage, a miscarriage of Justice.

I'm 37, a male, and I feel screwed by the results of American Idol.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I had to do better justice to the man, the broadcasting legend, the human legend, Ernie Harwell, who died a few days ago after a bout with cancer at the ripe young age of 92.

Here, in Detroit, we think we own him but, no, his career had started a good time before his time as a Tigers' broadcaster. Good ole Southern comfort, his voice was unique: raspy, high-strung, crackly, deep, melodious. Other adjectives may be out there, but I can't pin his voice down. And I believe that was a part of what made him great. Let alone the over-half century of broadcasting which (deservedly-so) sat his bony ass down in baseball's Hall of Fame...his interviewing of the fucking monoliths of baseball, his writing for the Sporting News at a ridiculously-young age of 16...but, no.

What is/was he to me?

He was a Constant. His is a voice of Memory.

Listen: I remember lying in bed, well past my bed-time, listening to Harwell's soothing voice from the West Coast trips, while, in the back of my mind, I had my parents' arguments still fresh. I remember eating baked beans and scorched hot dogs and walking in the lush green grass of my grandparents' house as Ernie's voice crackled and smooooothed through air.

I remember his "go-to's": "Stood like the house by the side of the road and watched that [one] go by". Or, when a Tiger hit a home run (Lance Parrish? Chet Lemon?): "And that one's...looooooooonggg gone!"

Baby memories, right?

Apparently not.

Those outside our fine metropolis may not give a whit or a damn about Ernie's passing. Here, in the Motor-Town Skyscape, people care. There was a public viewing of his body in Gate A of Comerica Park (against his wishes, methinks) and thousands of people stutter-stepped or rolled past to see the Body of the Dead Great-Man. And, you know what? I wish I had, too.

Harwell's voice speaks to History and...Memories.

I was between 10 or 93 when his voice started to register with me. His was a voice that could sweep across the Major League Baseball world and affect both young and old. The older simply had a head-start.

I was 11 when the Tigers won the World Series in 1984. I can't say that I really heard the man's call of when Larry Herdon caught the fly ball in left field. I can say, though, that my love of baseball was borne from that year. Who was I? I was an 11-year-old who had caught on, finally, to the beauty of baseball. The absolute beauty of baseball.

The Beauty that Ernie helped let people...see.

And, to top it off, he was a great guy.

I am certainly not (just 'cause I'm not) an overly-Christian guy, but I get the basic premise--Be good to one another, love one another, try to have a kind word for a person, help a stranger when you can--the premise that Ernie spread wherever he went. He was a great guy, more times than not having an ear for a person, a story to tell, a signature.

Through his years, he had always seemed to be self-effacing, giving the glory to God rather than himself.

I believe that he was as he projected, instead of what seems to happen more often in these recent years: A man (or woman) who is snidely disingenuous.

Ernie seemed real. And my gut feeling says he was real.

But, so what. Right? Let's not deify him. Let's not put him on God's right hand side. Let's not shove Hey-Zeus over for Ernie's place. He was "just" a broadcaster. He was "just" a man.

I agree. No Jesus-pushing, please. (Yahweh would never accept...nor would I.) But here's my point: In an ever-increasing world of booty-booty-booty and scandalous breasts and intermittent heroes, can't we please please please just accept one who actually is?

Sure, for those non-sports fans out there--and there are many, I know--the passing of a dude who called baseball games might seem minuscule, even irrelevant. (I had to force myself to type that.) Well, it's fucking not. He was just a man--a slight, balding, vain, self-conscious, melodically-voiced man--who was the voice of and to about four generations. Not a deity. Just a man.


But nothing. This is as about as close as I can bring to you all understanding Harwell like I did and have. There is really nothing more I can say. (There is a book out there, Adam-scribe.) Really, nothing more....

Oh. Wait.

A relatively short time after hearing that he had acquired terminal cancer, our man Ernie was out on the grass of downtown Detroit's Comerica Field saying this, ever-melodiously:

Thank you very much. We don't want to be penalized now for the delay of the game, but I do want to express my feelings here. It's a wonderful night for me. I really feel lucky to be here, and I want to thank you for that warm welcome.

I want to express my deep appreciation to Mike Ilitch, Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers for that video salute and also for the many great things they've done for me and my family throughout my career here with the Tigers.

In my almost 92 years on this earth, the good Lord has blessed me with a great journey. And the blessed part of that journey is that it's going to end here in the great state of Michigan.

I deeply appreciate the people of Michigan. I love their grit. I love the way they face life. I love the family values they have. And you Tiger fans are the greatest fans of all. No question about that. And I certainly want to thank you from the depth of my heart for your devotion, your support, your loyalty and your love. Thank you very much, and God bless you.

Wonderful night. Any time he spoke, it was a wonderful night.

We Tiger fans? I'm sure other cities have had their broadcasters and feel the same. Most do. The difference? We had Ernie Harwell for about three decades.

It should have been a complete four decades: 1960-2000. But there was some fucked up kind of Detroit Tiger management Snah-Fih-Zoo in the early-90s that deemed that Ern was kaput. No-uh-uh. The only thing that could finish William Earnest "Ernie" Harwell was God calling him Home.

All this writing and talking and hyperbole aside, I really need to pass along my understanding of Ernie Harwell to you (three). It helped that he was a (assumed) great guy, but what really clicked with me was the way in which he would put me to bed, with his sweet Southern drawl, when the Tiges played the California Angels. Some pitcher would throw to Lance Parrish or Chet Lemon or Marty-fucking-Castillo, and the bed would melt away and I'd be...there.

God love and bless you, Ernie.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


As the dogs fight outside, I type here, in our dining room, on a borrowed keyboard, USBd into the oft-sickly laptop. The picture that you see is how one must type, now. Briefly, that is. The computer store that now knows me on a first-name basis loaned me this keyboard whilst they wait for the new one to be delivered. Actually? I'm quite happy. I never thought that laptops could be so easily-fixed. I had always thought that they were prima donnas, reflexively ungh-ungh to the doctors' knives (or, um, screwdrivers).

Fifty or so dollars for a new keyboard installed into the laptop? Not bad, I think. Maybe I'm getting cornholed, but I think the price is fair enough--plus, they loaned me this USB keyboard at no additional cost.

Here is the axiom, then: Treat your laptop like gold. A single spilled sugary beverage can wreak havoc on its interior mechanisms. Trust me. Trust me also on this: Had the slip-slop been more significant, the mother-board would have been fucked. (I got lucky--only the keyboard was affected.) Had the mother-board been compromised? Might as well go shoppin', Tex. Three hundred fifty bones? Might as well buy a new laptop, Tex. This one, though, a Toshiba Satellite, has enough good side, memory- and capability-wise, to have made me consider....

But, no. I'd have waited to purchase a new one. Ben Franklin once said, "A fool and his money are soon parted." Wise words, Foun-Father. Wise words.

(By the way. I put the laptop a little farther up on the table and I positioned the loaned keyboard in typing range. Comfort is key, see?)

Last point: This is not a throw-away world. It may seem like it, but it truly isn't. Nor should it be. Anything worth having is worth fixing....

And that can be applied liberally--like massage oil! ;-)

Postscript: This Duality of Keyboards? It makes for some unwanted but accepted hand-eye coordination. See, I type on the one I'm typing on, but if I want to scroll around in the document, the best way is with the soft mouse of the lappie. So I have to reach over this loaned one and finger-fuck the soft mouse...lightly. It makes a person think.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010



Sunday, May 02, 2010


There once was a faaaaaar-away land in which lesbians and fat people and cheaters and dwarves and giants and dog-lovers and cat-lubers lived. People "slept" with their kinfolk and nary a day went by without a Cuff-o-Fist breaking out.

There was a man behind the curtain who wasn't.

--And a break in to Reality. Times Square. Thousands of people. A bullseye on the United States, New York in the limelighted center. An SUV left running with explosive devices inside. Let us look at the devices, shall we? Gasoline, timing devices, consumer-available fireworks...kindling?--

Listen: The CNN anchors asking rhetorically if it were an international terrorist attack? Al Kumfuck is laughing right now. I don't blame them. They--the Osama Network--are guffawing. And absolutely loving this shit. They're saying to themselves, "Look! You get some irate numbskull in the A of U.S. and he'll do our job for us!"

Look. It'll happen like this: A man (or a woman) will walk into a densely-populated space--a market, a shopping center--and he or she will blow him- or herself up...along with however many people are standing in the vicinity. People will die. We'll become like a war-torn Middle Eastern nation. Arms and legs and heads and blood. Everywhere.

I am surprised it hasn't happened already.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


I reckon it pays off to do as the doctors and other professionals say and wake up on the weekend at the same time that you do during the week. My alarm went off and--boom--so did some thunder. I walked downstairs and let the dogs out and saw that, verily, the first few fat drops of the storm were falling. Outside I went to check the car windows--Meeg's drivers-side was down all the way, mine were up--and then back inside to close the windows in the dining room as the rain was starting to slant in through the window fan.

I drained the one-eyed monster (or one-eyed mischievous elf, whichever seems to make more sense) and--cla-zing-crash--the whole of the backyard was illuminated by the nearby brilliance of a lightning sta-rike. And now, as I write this, I hear the seemingly-close peals of fire engines. And the sky is that weird greenish color.

By the way, this has been the norm of late. It's been nice, weather-wise, during the week, and then on the weekend all hell breaks loose. What can I say? It's Michigan. Thanks, Michigan!