Log in

Happy Birthday, Paul: 1973--2008

Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance.
Another heartache - another failed romance.
On and on...
Does anybody know what we are living for?
Queen:  "The Show Must Go On"

I have not posted on this grossly neglected blog for quite some time now.  Today, though, is my best friend Paul's birthday.  He would be thirty-seven today.  It is also his son's birthday.  Happy Birthday, Ian.

I began my day by detouring to the cemetary to share a few moments and some Queen with my old friend.  I normally don't do that sort of thing.  My father and I have always shared the view that the dead aren't really interested in visitors.  However, I stood there, in the beautiful morning sun, in the middle of an expansive collection of buried corpses, and blasted "The Show Must Go On" into my ears via a recently purchased MP3 player.

It was surreal.  As the song reached its crescendo, intoning the optimistic titular phrase, I felt like a character in a movie--envisioning a wide panning cameral shot of me standing in the middle of the cemetary, in shirt, tie, and black leather jacket, offering an emotional yet futile tribute to the one person who stood by my side through so many years of teen angst and growing pains.

I love Paul.  I miss him.  I knelt by his grave, fingering the date of his birth--today's date--and wished so bad I could talk to him just one more time.  I wish I could ask his advice.  I wish I could introduce him to my wife and children, show him my home, tell him how things have been.  I can't. 

After about twenty minutes, I turned and walked back to my car.  I said good-bye, out loud.  That's a bit melodramatic, I'll admit.  But then again, so was the whole event.

Later man, Happy Birthday. 
Sometimes I don't believe in much... but I hope I see you again.

Tribe Time

My wife, my oldest son and I had the pleasure of watching the Cleveland Indians spank the Kansas City Royals soundly and in person on Saturday night.

We always try to attend at least one game every season, and the tickets that were purchased by my wife for my birthday were awesome.  We were in the lower section just behind the Indians' dugout, and before the game, we went down to the field to get a player's autograph.
Jamey Carroll signed my baseball, my son's, and my wife's program.  It was awesome!

The game was spectacular, including such highlights as the tribe's season record of 7 doubles in one game and Shin Soo Choo hitting a homerun for the first time in a month.

My favorite player, Kelly Shoppach, wasn't scheduled to catch that evening, but in the sixth inning, he came in as a pinch hitter and remained the catcher for the rest of the game.

We had an excellent time--a definite memory for the three of us who rarely get to do that sort of thing without all of the small children in tow.

Congressional Immaturity

So I was watching The President of the United States speak about health care reform last evening, loving everything that he plans to do if only certain dissenters would allow it. 

Then, of course, people had to piss me off.  Just when the President was beginning to address the outright lies that his opponents have been spreading about his plan, kindly not mentioning any names (Sarah Palin), some asshole idiot, from the floor of congress yelled out at the president, "Lies!"  President Obama kindly addressed the moron, and very professionally continued with his speech. 

Now I know that our President has many opponents, most of which, if they were honest, would have to admit that their problems are fueled by racism and hatred more than any legitimate political views.  I cannot believe, however, that a member of congress would have the gall to catcall the President of the United States during a public address!  What does this say about our nation when the President doesn't receive the respect he deserves even from elected officials. 

Shame on them.  That's as nicely as I can put it.  I have not been so appalled by human behavior in quite some time.  Stupidity will never cease to infuriate me.

You Say It's Your Birthday!

Well, I am officially in my late thirties now.  I had planned to lament in this post, as I normally do on this day, the fact that by the time many of my heroes had reached this age, they had already achieved greatness in their respective fields.

For instance:

In 1976, as John Lennon reached the age of thirty-six, he was already a full six years beyond his career fronting one of the most iconic and popular bands of the twentieth century and contemplating a comeback that would be tragically cut short a mere four years later.

By 1935, Ernest Hemingway was not only a renown and prolific novelist, but also had cemented his position as one of the leading representatives of the lost generation, modernist movement.

Even the man known as Jesus from Nazareth, by age thirty-six, had three years prior achieved actual immortality through his own crucifixion and alleged resurrection to ensure his status as the Christ, kicking off a religious movement and following that is currently enjoying its third millenium.

However, a friend of mine has informed me that it doesn't matter what I have done, only what I plan to do from this point forward. 

And actually, I don't feel much like lamenting.  Today has been a wonderful day.  I don't usually enjoy the birthday that much, but this morning, before leaving for work, each of the three speaking children wished me a happy birthday (I'm sure the baby meant well), my wife wished me a happy birthday, and off I went, flying down the road, blasting Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Up Around the Bend," a song that always reminds me of my father, my arm hanging out the window in the chilly September morning air, feeling quite pleased with myself.  Several of my co-workers and my boss have wished me well, and I'm feeling very fine. 

I am looking forward to dinner with my family tonight, as I will be home earlier than sundown, and sitting back to take inventory of my life.  I may not have started a religious, musical, or literary movement.  My face may not be recognizable in paintings and on book jackets.  But I have a wonderful home, a beautiful wife, four excellent children, and people all around me who love and admire and respect me. 

Ah.... life is good.

First Week Down

Well, the first week of class has ended, and all is well.
I am now officially a Grad Student, and I have to say, I love, love, love being back in school.  Though there were nerves, and the first few minutes of the class demonstrated how rusty I was in terms of note-taking, I very quickly felt myself getting "back into the groove."  When I got out of class, I spent a small amount of time looking over the assigned readings for the following week, and even in that regard, it was like opening some mental floodgate.  Suddenly, I felt as if my last semester of college was as recent as last spring.  Eight years vanished, and I immediately felt myself falling back into my very good study habits and attitude.  I am very optimistic about this and all the subsequent courses, and I can't wait to further develop my understanding and knowledge of a field about which I am already passionately enthusiastic.

As for my own courses, the ones I teach, I am very pleased with the first week's attendance and the rapport that has already been established between myself and my students.  All four classes have been very receptive.  It promises to be a very rewarding and productive semester.

On a more frustrating note, I must check to ensure that my sunroof is closed properly.  Apparently, in a heavy downpour like this morning's, it rains on my front seat.  Yay me!

My boy has not only survived, but also seems to quite enjoy the middle school.  He is chipper upon returning home from school daily.  This is a very big deal for my son, who, as of late, seems to have adopted all the angst and gloom of a troubled teen, though he has a full two years until teen status is official.  Nevertheless, school seems to be enjoyable, barring, of course, his angry adjustment to an earlier schedule and needing to catch a bus. 

So, all is good, and we're all off and running.  And soon... I will be officially turning a year older.


There is, as I have mentioned before, an ongoing debate in our household as to the existence of and validity in belief in the supernatural, the spiritual, and all manner of ghostly things. 
It's interesting then, to see the difference in mine and my wife's responses to a particular pest problem that we are currently experiencing.  We were awakened one morning, last week, by the sound of something scraping, scurrying, and running in what sounded like our attic (just above our heads... what a wonderful way to wake up). 

After rolling around, moaning, and sleepily deciding that something had to be done in the way of investigation, I eventually got up, got semi-dressed, armed myself with a broom and pulled down the door/steps to the attic in our hallway. 

It's important to note, here, that I have an irrational fear of rodents.  Anything even resembling a rat, from mice to gerbils and hamsters is persona non grata, so the fear and trepidation that I had as I ventured into the attic was in response to my assumption that there was some rat-like creature roaming around, and, if provoked, would take occasion to jump in my face!  My terror had nothing to do, as some would expect, with any creepy fictional stuff that might presumably go on in an attic.  I even reminded my wife of the scene in The Exorcist in which the mother first hears the "demons" scuttling about in the attic and mistakenly assumes it is the activity of rats.  I was actually hoping for the demons.  I'm pretty sure I could kick some devil butt, but the thought of a confrontation with those of the rodent variety is quite terrifying.

Long story short, I trekked up to the attic, trembling... but never encountered the problem, rat, devil, or otherwise.  My neigbor has, since, informed me that he has witnessed squirrels running in and out of a nice sized hole they have created just under the roof.  Now we have to contact someone to take care of this little problem, at no small cost, I'm sure. 

Damn squirrels.  At least all a demon would do is possess one's soul.  They have enough common courtesy not to destroy real estate.

My Little Boy

"Before you cross the street
take my hand.
Life is what happens to you
while you're busy making other plans.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful...
beautiful boy."
                          John Lennon

Yesterday was my little boy's birthday.  He is three-years-old now, and I can't believe how much time has passed.  I can actually measure much of my current life and existence by the duration of his.  When I started my job, for instance, I was engaged to be married that winter.  Just after our wedding, we discovered that we were expecting a child--my youngest son.  It's so strange now to look at this little kid, no longer a baby or even a toddler, and consider the passing of time, the water that has moved under the bridge.

We took him to McDonald's for lunch and a two hour funfest in the playland.  He'd stay all day if we would let him.  Getting him to leave is never easy, but surprisingly, he didn't put up too much of a fight.  I love watching him run and get so excited when he is playing with other children, especially his older brother, whom he adores.  My little boy is so sociable.  He is unlike his timid father who could never speak to anyone.  He approaches every kid in the area with friendliness and confidence in their kindness in a way I have never witnessed in anyone else.  He believes so strongly in friendship and fun.  He truly is a gentlehearted and loving little kid.  I am so proud of him.  Realizing he is only three, I do so hope that he never loses that lust for fun and laughter with which he is so blessed.  I wish I could remember how to live like him... approaching each new day with hope and eager anticipation.  He simply loves to have fun. 

My little boy is my hero.  I love watching him grow older, and I look forward to every moment I will ever have the extreme pleasure of sharing with him. 

I love you, buddy.   Happy birthday.

On the Horizon

After reeling from the loss of Victor Martinez in yet another bonehead trade compliments of Dolan and Shapiro, I settled down to reassess the season.  Now...  I don't think things look half bad.  Gimenez, Crowe, and Masterson proved themselves worthy players in the sound spanking of the Central Division leading Detroit Tigers.  I was admittedly impressed.

And just this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my beautiful, wonderful wife emailed the confirmation of our ticket order for a September game.  Our seats are going to be amazing, just to the left of the Indians dugout.  This is awesome!  The tribe will be taking on the Kansas City Royals and we will be very close to the field.  I have never gotten to see a live event, music or sports, from this close.   My wife said this is an early birthday present.  I love her so much. 

Now I am preparing for the next two weeks, trying to get things together for both my classes here, and my class at Akron, in which I will be a student for the first time in eight years.  This is going to be so exciting and fun.  I don't fear the work load.  I am just very enthusiastic about getting started.  Everything is three weeks away.  I still feel like I have so much to do.  Must get busy...

Tribal Buying and Selling

Here is a warning to anyone that actually follows this blog:
What is going to follow is a baseball rant.  If you have no interest in this sort of thing, you are welcome to stop reading now.

Really... last chance...

Okay... Here I go...

W! T! F!  In order to meet the all holy trade deadline, just as the start of the second half of the season was beginning to show promise--winning streak and all, Larry Dolan has gone and pissed away Cy Young Award Winning Cliff Lee!  As Dolan sits and counts his money, I wonder if his conscience allows for the fact that a great number of now former Cleveland Indians fans has publicly denounced a team that in many instances has been followed for decades--whole lives.  The frustration felt in response to yet another front office money making scheme at the expense of loyal ticket-buyers is just too great for some to continue to be disregarded in favor of big business.  After all, in today's age of overemphasized trading, exorbitant player salaries, and free agency, there's very little to be loyal to.  We find ourselves rooting for the chosen jersey as players come and go or are forced to go so that owners and corporations (Progressive Field:  give me a break) can eclipse what is supposed to be sports entertainment with so much commerce.  And though it's been stated that no cash was involved in the deal, consider the savings in payroll now that the Dolan's no longer have to compensate a pitcher of Lee's status.

On Bruce Drennan's All Bets Are Off, the outpouring of emotional response from both the host and the fans was overwhelming.  I have not seen Drennan that fired up in a while.  One caller brought up the great point that in a week's time, the Indians' front office has managed to trade away Rafael Betancourt, Ryan Garko, Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco, and gotten little in return save for a handful of not-yet-ready-for-the-majors mediocre farm players. 

Drennan went even further in his predictions that the thoughtless and selfish actions of Dolan and Shapiro will result in Progressive Field (a beautiful and worthy facility) becoming like old Municipal Stadium--with nobody in the stands.  I loved that Drennan said that in the pending press conference that Shapiro was to give in a short while, he had better not hear that "this team will be a contender inside of three years."  Enough already with the rationale that we are "building a team."  What about right now?  There's just a little less than half a season to go.  I don't believe that it's over.  So the message from the powers that be is that subsequent seasons and the almighty dollar are much more important than the here and now.  They've written this season, one of the worst in Drennan's opinion in terms of player performance, completely off and presumably plan to sail through to October without any concern for wins or losses.  It seems they just want to get it over with.  I, for one, was kind of enjoying the little winning streak we had been experiencing, for what it's worth.  I hope that we can pull some sort of hope from that "powerhouse pitcher," Carl Pavano.  I wish the tribe lots of luck.

Health Care! Yay!!

There's been much debate as of late over President Obama's proposed plan for health care reform.  I have heard all sorts of criticism ranging from indictments of too much big government, to the plan's proposal being unrealistic, to the timeworn and ignorant accusations of socialism (and socialism is bad because...?)

Anyway, being someone who not only desperately needs health insurance but also doesn't fall into the stereotypical category of the lazy and uneducated who only wants something for nothing, I am pleased with any talk and promise of reform. 

Here is an excerpt from an email that President Barack Obama sent me this afternoon.  That's right, we're buds.  ... or.... I subscribe to email updates from whitehouse.gov, but nevertheless:

"It’s time to fix our unsustainable insurance system and create a new foundation for health care security. That means guaranteeing your health care security and stability with eight basic consumer protections:
  • No discrimination for pre-existing conditions
  • No exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles or co-pays
  • No cost-sharing for preventive care
  • No dropping of coverage if you become seriously ill
  • No gender discrimination
  • No annual or lifetime caps on coverage
  • Extended coverage for young adults
  • Guaranteed insurance renewal so long as premiums are paid "
Sounds good to me, particular the parts about no exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses or discrimination for pre-existing conditions.  It just seems to be fair--you know providing everyone with fair and affordable access to the necessary means of survival.

If that's socialism... uh... okay.