New Cat Scratcher 2

I posted here in the Attic early last month of picking up a new cat scratcher at PetSmart and the quick tale of a pretty young woman calling me “Sir”, one of my favorite of recent posts.

Well, Bella and the girls promptly ignored it, as promptly as promptly ignoring can be prompt at promptly ignoring.

Not a sniff or even a glance.

So that scratcher is now with Celie and headed down to the shelter for the cat room there while I have bought another in it’s place, this one with a perch spot. It took all of about 5 minutes for Cricket, in her Cricket the Blind roomba kinda way, to bounce into it and wonder why I was being an asshole and messing with a blind cat with newly placed “furniture”.

But then … happy crazy cat lady guy moments

A Friday Night Lights Return

7 miles. 35 minutes and the last 2 of those 7 miles went relatively quickly. A newly remembered two years later stress filled start to a Friday Night Lights gig up the Albany with the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge being an even worse back upped construction bastard than usual to start the trip now. Fridays in my radio production gig can be headache enough already without adding to it the need to leave two hours early to hit the road and try to get to whatever Albany area High School is this week’s game of choice. Newburgh-Beacon Bridge? You ain’t helpin’.

The great Pyramids were probably built in a more timely fashion than this long, tortured attempt to fix a few lanes of traffic going back and forth across a river.

(holding a clipboard)

“How’s it coming Lenny?”

“Couple of big blocks are stuck sitting in river transit Bill, and a couple of others have been lost “

“Lost?”

“Bob”

“Bob?! Freakin’ Bob! Why is he a captain of these transports again? Oh right, nepotism, so can’t go questioning the ol’ Pharoah there now can we, well, not without losing our heads right? Does his almighty have any kind of timetable on this, when more blocks might arrive?”

“No, but the river will provide”

“No, Lenny, apparently not always. Big ass rocks sink Lenny, especially if Bob is piloting though I am told by the priests to chin up, that we will be finished with this in waaaay better time than some Newburgh-Beacon Bridge fix in a distant place in a distant future.”

“What??”

“Don’t ask”

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High School Football is back for the broadcast crew at Spectrum Sports and after that stressy 35 minutes 7 miles thing to start my trip I finally hit the Thruway. And, besides the bridge backup, there were also school busses flashing lights and brandishing stop signs, firetrucks giving pause as firetrucks will, bicyclists, lost semi’s, aliens with tractor beams grabbing at BB’s ass, slow oblivious pedestrians in crosswalks, like some sort of piling on comedy plus a line of traffic in front of me all suddenly needing to make left hand turns against even more traffic coming the other direction for some unknown reason at 3:30 in the afternoon.

“Hey ya’ll, Frankenberry’s hittin’ the road and he’s already stressed out for time … whatchya gonna do?”

“On it!! We’ll call friends!!”

Cue canned laughter.

Man, what a relief though, a relief like shot out a relief cannon at BB and I eventually finding our way out of the slow down.  

I’d actually forgotten how much I love that long wide right curve after the bridge and the Newburgh Thruway tolls to drive under the “North – Albany” sign on these Fridays, always gladly dismissing right then and there anything at work that I may have left behind and undone in my haste, anything I may have missed, the worry of possibly being yelled at a thing for Monday. Though it can make for a pretty long day when I finally do make it back home I have always enjoyed these Friday Night Lights nights, once I get past the early time scrunch stress, to get to a sideline’s excuse to tell the world to piss off for a little football while.

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Now in past seasons my Football Fridays always finished with the immediate turn around after game’s end and the breakdown of equipment and the truck load up and the search then for the closest McDonald’s on the way to the Thruway for a large fry and a large caffeinated sugar me up awake Coke. Work a day a little short at the station, hop in BB for what usually approaches a two hour ride (two and half frustrating hours this time around), work a game and turn right around looking for the Moon’s assist to my headlights on my two hour way back, even hoping for an unmet new friend’s own headlights to keep pace with me and have my back for a few miles till I reached the end day promise of the Poughkeepsie/New Paltz exit.

But I had my sister’s place this first game back night. Mind you, it’s always been there in Albany, I’ve just been too much of an idiot to think about it more often in the past. But Mom is there now, with Beck being her caretaker these days in her diminished and I do love seeing Beck and the nephews and the cats and a happy Razzy lump of dog. The thought of the offer of the comfiest of couches downstairs to cut the long day a little short for the moment? Most appealing now, especially as I’ve added a couple of years to the human wheels and breath since the last games.

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Burnt Hills, a seeming one legged football team on this night, kept shooting themselves in their only foot  which made for a lot of falling down and coming up short and Shaker’s sideline, just behind me and following my parabolic mic steps, gleefully reminded them of such with whoops and hollers at every unbalanced misstep as well as screams thrown past the back of my head of “Hold ’em D!!”, “Let’s get ‘em O!!” or “C’Mon’ teammate’s number!!!” but not a number of a guy who may be 42 but a 4 -2, not a 17 but a 1 -7 and the rest of the litany of earnest football sideline chatter and entreaties just with some volume, with some serious volume, especially from that one kid, an injured one, going up and down the sidelines run like some caged Lion who couldn’t join in with the rest of his Lion pals, or Blue Bison pals in this case, one who was surely going to experience some lack of voice issues on Saturday morning or, at the least, just wake up sounding as if he had picked up a 2 pack a day habit overnight after his game long clichéd though excitedly genuine shrieks behind me every step of my way. Apologies to you, my ears.

I was reminded after two years of the almost comical obviousness of sideline yelling banter from coaches and players alike. From “eye on the ball” as if maybe something shiny might distract from the very nature of what your game asks for, the in unison play call shouts as they happen of “run!” or “pass!” like those on the field hadn’t already figured that out for themselves and needed the assist, punts that seemed to call for everyone to yell “Ball!” as it was in flight. I mean, yeah, it’s theoretically possible that there may have been some dozing for a moment so thus the reminder of the ball off a punter’s foot being in the air a necessary thing but still. Or, on another punt play, a coach calling out what always precedes “Ball!!” on a punt play, “Watch the fake!!” but in this case with the opposing team’s punter backed up to only a few yards away from the back of his own endzone on a fourth and forever down by 3 touchdowns. Yes coach, “Watch the fake!!” here. These nights, it seems, can even involve a little rote football comedy.

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This was Shaker’s night. They kicked off their season in grand fashion with some full blown highlight reel type stuff, passes to open sure hands down the right or perfectly blocked runs up the middle that breathlessly ran, and ran, and ran to the raucous din of the big bannered Blue Bison student section doing what they do supporting them with some coordinated noise or just noisy noise and joy.

I was so glad to be back at this (and to arrive to the free pizza for pre-game dinner and post-game leftovers for the weekend or, if they were big ass pizzas, as they sometimes are, leftover slices frozen in zip locks for lunches during the week).

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Hi Ma. No, don’t get up (comfy bed, quick kisses), just getting back from the game and crashing downstairs tonight. Murder mystery I see? That has always been your thing Ma. I like them too I said before a good night kiss on the cheek. Though she won’t remember me saying Hi or that kiss on the cheek she was indeed comfy, which was so nice to see and all that matters. Then it was a sit down with my Sis and a Matty (nephew) and a soon Jake (other nephew) to regale us with tales of how much he just adores his restaurant’s customers plus a kitten and a dog and half a sandwich and a two halves of a beer before making my way to that downstairs couch that nephew Matt had set up for me with fresh sheets and pillow cases and folded blankets down at the feet end just in case. I’ll have to let him know of little chocolates.

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Sitting in Beck’s driveway the next morning after finally taking advantage of this family Albany way station instead of just turning around, with Sisters and Ma’s and Nephews and fur and a fresh made couch, all of my weekend shit and change of clothes in a tote from some place that paid a dollar or two to have their name on a tote, a dental office, one that I’ve never been to, I asked my phone Google lady for directions to get me home.

Eventually, along the way, I realized that it wasn’t the way home I had intended, the Thruway that is mere miles from Beck’s place was apparently not on the top of Google lady’s GPS list of directions but instead she took me, after some time, to the Taconic State Parkway but not before guiding me on an open windowed beautiful picture drive of a day past perfectly sunlit farm stands and pick your owns and corn fields and cows and horses and other farm assorteds, places that were almost idyllic, places that when you pass them you take note of in glances of a that would be kind of nice huh? It was the most unexpected and enjoyable of rides. I think I know the way to go back now, after these family way station stops, at least until the weather turns, as I could be Ok with more of this.

I mean, there are more drives to come and football to be played with sidelines to be walked and more free pizza to be ate or frozen then ate over the next couple of months to give me continued enjoyable reason to tell the world to piss off for a little football while.

Right Prince Arthur?

Miss Sephira?

Well ya didn’t think I’d finish a post up without some obligatory Sister Beck cat pics after I’d told you of them did ya? Silly reader.

(pics of Razzy and Rikki Cat #3 next time around)

Mikey Six

Mikey Six. My sanity, Mikey being the kid who actually liked it ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,………….. c’mon Memes, really? You’re usually more profound at your cat scribble steps across a left hip search keyboard – that was a little pedestrian don’tcha think, proving yourself aged at the remembering of old commercials of a kid trying a new cereal, and I know cereals. But Mikey liked it with a milk filled spoon and a smile. “Mikey likes it!”

That’s my only ask with my Mikey Six, will Mikey like it? Will you, my Mikey’s, Mikey or not Mikey?

Rick with his frustrations of a frustrating job not giving him his due but with new concerns now that trump any job requirements as family is and always will be the only.

Cindy with a new confident toes up in the sand while seeing and watching over her littles as time grows long and tall … or short, depending on how you look.

Lori with a newfound that gives her greatest of things, just the simple escape effort of reading a book, a purpose, a new blog’s purpose.

Tom with poring over and commenting through streams, and movie theaters and memory and his video library, even hitting thrift shops on Thursdays to add for the possible greatest of video finds and joys, sometimes for just 6 bucks, to then write a few horrific words about such but only in the best horror as topic kind of way.

Mark to make sure that we’re not sitting on our hands on the news however much we may wish we could just hand sit and ignore the attempt from the darkside asking us to succumb quietly to a dumb and just defer.

And Jeremiah being a guy named Jeremiah who has found a way to live through all this shit with a fun aplomb though aware check replete with cats and a dog and ball games and trips away and bar stops and food shots and tall goldish pints and pictures of all of that to remind us that we’re not dead yet.  

I word stuff by these guys/gals to make sure that I am also not dead yet. Words thrown at a wall, new words to a tune or just straight up small story words of stuff that I feel compelled to get out there if for no other reason than to do just that. To get them out there before I overload, to get them out there before they build to break.

I ask of opinion of the Six even if those opinions are not always as honest as they could be, placating an old man to make him feel better about his attempts at these words, attempts to say something,

I’m lucky to have a Mikey Six, so lucky, lucky to have those that actually pay attention and even listen while also being a guy who is perfectly happy to a solitary, with only cats for muses, but who still needs a Mikey to grab a spoon with an unexpected smile, my Mikey’s.

Rick? You have one gig now, with that unthankful one only needed for a roof. Keep better a son who is more than he knows.

Cindy? Keep those toes up and keep the gang together. You are that. You are Mom, the power of Mom, when dad’s a loss.

Lori? With a Zooming cat in your hair, just read. Just read.

Tom? Crunchy Frogs? Your other spot? You are definitely Crunchy Frogs as well.

Mark? You make sure to keep me on page of this fucked up world’s book before I know I need the page reminder. I always check and follow at your insistence as you’re always one step ahead.

Jeremiah a guy named Jeremiah? Keep keeping me young my friend. Something about vicariously.

I put stuff out there, things for my Mikey’s, anyone else just gravy.

88888888888888888888555555888888888888888877777777888888888888888998888888 Aaaaaahhhh Mimi, silly cat., as you almost cat scribble cat step step back out across my keyboard, wavering, from your left hip lap or to your PC desk bar towel.

Don’t know what the 8’s mean Memes, but as long as they’re not “ates” for eyeballs when I’m dead then I’m good.

15t`545432231“` Hey, what are you dancing now? Pick a spot girlfriend.

How Repub (song) … And Small Wins

(to OMC’s “How Bizarre”)

Bigfoot, UFO’s, Chupacabra, truth from a Republican, a great deal promised at some website with no apparent catch but I actually witnessed a Bucco victory tonight, and with irrefutable live real time proof. Colin Moran’s (I love that guy) awful beard crossed the plate along with three others for a rare positive outcome and a well pitched one from Mitch Keller (also a rarity) but seen only out of the corner of my eye as I headphoned a Friday night after a bit of fun in my little studio at work earlier. Then it was a hardwood roll back chair at home to check the action occasionally (action? yeah I know, it’s baseball, action is relative) while said headphoning and editing of something new with the Meme’s on her always bar towel desk spot while I PC putz.

Victories are an elusive almost fantastical thing as a Bucco’s fan. But maybe it’s the corner of my eye that brought it about, this victory, looking directly possibly being the problem. Maybe that’s the best way to go about it in the future. A corner eye. Maybe for a lot of things.

So … as to the headphoning …

Big lie it shotgun rides, McCarthy at the wheel

Headin’ Mar-A-Lago to co-mmiz about steal

A new plan it was hatched then, right after riot’s zeal

After kneel ring kiss the two saw how this should go

Campaign of vote suppression with a spankin’ new cash flow

McCarthy genuflects then says we’ll work on Fili-Joe

How Repub  

How Repub

How Repub

They stay course mis-inform’, more openly than before

First voting then vaccines now, workin’ at death’s door

Of democracy and lives now, Elephant’s they know the score

How to politic both with a loud crazed cultish roar

How Repub

How Repub

How Repub

Ooh, baby (Ooh, baby)
Democracy’s lazy (It’s future now hazy)
Every time I just look down
There’s a new lie to be found (Every time I just look down)
Every time from underground
Lies are bubblin’ up

Ring master he directs, says make Donkeys have regrets

For not buying into Country’s patriotic cultish sect

We’re showing you white way now, yet ya still deflect

The truth of where road’s going to where we’ll intersect

At Ignorance Way and Main Street with a future surely set

You’ll be minority major

Too slow now to react

Where chance was had to save from dark political intellect

And you’ll learn now how to,

Hey,

To genuflect

How Repub

How Repub

How Repub

Ooh, baby (Ooh, baby)
Democracy’s lazy (It’s future now hazy)

Every time I just look down
There’s a new lie to be found (Every time I just look down)
Every time from underground
Lies are bubblin’ up

They’re bubblin’ up

Ooh, baby (Ooh, baby)
Democracy’s lazy (It’s future now hazy)
Every time I just look down
There’s a new lie to be found (Every time I just look down)
Every time from underground
Lies are bubblin’ up

Ooh, baby (Ooh, baby)
Democracy’s lazy (It’s future now hazy)
Every time I look just down (Every time I just look down)
There’s a new lie to be found
Every time from underground
Lies are bubblin’ up

Cooler Cats

The AC here is temporarily on the fritz, a fix to come, though it’s something I don’t mind really, even with the last few days being balls hot. I mean I’m glad that things have backed off a bit from sun stifling to just not quite but I’m alright with sweat and turning over my pillow. I was alright before this, probably wouldn’t have wanted to turn it on anyway as I’m not a big fan of AC. I’m a single dude so any stench or almost puddles are all mine with open windows and the girls haven’t complained yet, though their absence from the bed these recent nights does give some sweat’s stinky pause.

But I worried of them at Celie’s reminder and of maybe grabbing an AC if I could for the interim during this hot. They’re all older now, my little Bella being the youngest at 10 and there is only so much the tall fans I have are gonna do (though I love my tall fans by the way, two of them that I’m almost proud of, even remember the brand name, “Yeah they’re Lasko’s” over talk with old men and coffee who sing of such things, of great purchases made years ago that you always remark in your head, like those old men might, as you pass the breeze, of what great purchases they were). But it was Celie’s reminder to get my head out of my Ok for the moment and think about the girls. They’re not on the same sweaty plane as you Steve. They wear fur coats.

Now please know that I do not NOT think about my girls, you know me better than that I would think by now, they’re my constant, my thing, but sometimes I forget different comforts. Celie was right, as she always is.

So, telling my Sis of this, Beck, she offered me an AC that she doesn’t use. Cool I thought, literally, I know just the window for it and know the relief that I would feel, and them, that while I was away at work there was a spot here that was just a few degrees cooler than balls.

But that window I had in mind was in the living room, a huge room I don’t use, with, I don’t know, a 20 foot ceiling or something and dust, a lot of single guy dust, I’d measure it and clean but I am only so tall or motivated, but a huge room nonetheless that, with another room, the bedroom, next to it, might make the cooling a bit difficult. So, with another Celie suggestion, I hung a sheet between the bedroom and said unused living room to try and help that “new” AC” be more efficient, make it more of a “room”. It’s an old sheet from an older time that used to cover a comforter, an oversized pillow case (has a fancier name I think but I’m just gonna go with oversized pillow case) something I have kept all these years for no reason and with no purpose other than the memories of pretty toes and smiles sticking out from underneath it.

But, well, old men hold onto stuff, for those memories or maybe for future practical purpose that they will wait, sometimes years, to finally be proven correct in their holdings … “see, I told ya it could be used again”.

Would the girls figgur though?

Well, when I came home on the first of these last balls days, AC now in hand and running in house, my little Bella was on her living room kitchen table, Cricket had found her blind way to next to the couch that I never sit on with a TV with no remote, right next to the base of one of the ugliest side tables you’ll ever not want to see and the Memes was on the top step where I had placed a chair for bit of a sheet layover for one of my old men proud fan purchases to blow a little new, cooler air.

Yeah, they ain’t dumb … they figgur’d.

It does though, almost feel a little bordello-like now, with the attendant seemingly taking a break at the moment while I push back the curtain to pass, but, in this case, only to find comfortable not cathouse cats …

… though, in dreams, a bordello’s thoughts might be interesting.

Stuff

Stuff.

Ya know I do stuff, stuff that just barely keeps a roof and beer and cat food, stuff that more often than not pisses me off, the stuff of required things for that roof and what’s under it. It is a stuff that is just that, stuff. We all have stuff. You have yours, stuff that you then put out there for the complained remarking, stuff that is your daily and stuff you want to be noticed if only to commiserate … we all want to commiserate.

Stuff.

But I do other stuff, we all do other stuff, hobby stuff, project stuff, exercise stuff, picture stuff, stuff that actually defines, stuff to distract us from the mundane pay the rent stuff, in my case stuff with words and sometimes a bit of a tune, stuff that mitigates that commiserating.

My best do blog stuff. Lori about books and Tom about all things horror in movies and other places and Mark, though he doesn’t know it, about things yet to be found and not just things that keep us informed, no he has stuff, I’m sure for the escape, like the rest of us. I’m most interested there Mark and if you ever need a cat or two for some company and a muse by the way, we have a few extra lying around here. And Mike, my newest, podcasts about stuff. We stuff about our world, worlds, write or sing or pod about it, stuff that is a saver for us. Stuff for the real notice, at least stuff that keeps the head from fallin’ off it’s swivel.

I, not too long ago, changed my page here of entries of stuff with a new header, 30 bucks at some website I forget now and after so many searches of way too many complicated and visually busy possibilities at that site, I came to the simplest of things, a little swipe/swish that looks pen-pointed and with some colors added that I’m comfortable with. And I also added a little caveat to the header, “a Frankenblog”. I just like the way it looks and the way it sounds when I read it back … “Fankenberry’s Attic … a Frankenblog”. Then Tom jokingly said that this should be a network of, sorts, an umbrella under which we do this stuff, a Frankenblog production or family if you will. It’s silly but I can’t tell ya how much that makes me smile, especially with addendums made to the bottom of pages.

Friends and stuff.

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Mimi the Quirky does her, in her singular Mimi way, an uncomfortable looking cat stretch thing with a tappy tap above my keyboard till a lay down on a bar towel and she reminds me of stuff. She’s been a constant of mine along with Cricket the Blind and my little Bella of course for quite some time now. But it’s she that reminds that it’s stuff time as I pick her up after her straight legged clickety clackety clack steps across the hardwood from wherever she was catting to say do what you do human, I’m here, bar towel lay.

She reminds me of a keyboard she lays above, a keyboard that is a lifeblood that she’ll step across on occasion adding unintentional nonsensical letters or numbers in these steps for a left hip lap, or she just lays above, after that pick up, to tell me you got stuff, stuff to stuff.

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Lori’s book talk stuff has welcomed her to a talking books universe that is apparently pretty huge and also pretty unforgiving in its talking books judgements but she holds her own now after some navigating.

Tom has his crowd, folks that wait for his latest stuff in his quest to write yet another great post a day for a whole year of horror movie reviews and remembrances while straying from the initial idea on some days, those stray days being his best of things. I wonder what day 366 will bring with the triumph and the exhale.

Mark and I just tag along.

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“Ok, I’ll throw a die that says my cleric has you beat”

“Really? Is that what you’re going to go with?”

“He knows stuff”

“Does he know how to beat this dude?”

“No”

“Well shit, so much for clerics … get him big guy”

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Mark and I hunker down behind small hills with Lori and Tom in hand, another die throw, as I imagine our troupe just wanting to get into town and out of the wood, clerics now becoming fairly useless to lead us in the right direction.

Mark knows the way. He’d read of such, he always reads of such.

Stuff.

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Well now hasn’t this become the silliest of shit as stuff sometimes turns with no apparent reason, a turn with no purpose and and one that won’t circle back. Just sideways stuff.

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Stuff can take ya places even with sideways left turns (apologies to the left handed out there always feeling slighted by seeming condescending left handed references from the right handed) be it words or maybe words about it. Stuff that can be the thing of dreams or nightmares or the cliché of dreams and nightmares. Stuff that keeps ya sane, stuff that is just that, stuff … but your own stuff to that maybe get noticed and not in a commiserating kinda way.

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I gotcha Memes. Keyboard under your ass and stuff.

Yes, a few words Memes.

Your muse attentiveness so appreciated.

Stuff.

Neo Fascist Man (song)

(to “Piano Man”)

So I ran into some issues with the PC last night that involved myself and Gaurav of India getting to know each other to the point where I think he and I could have each other’s back in a bar fight and I was forced to fire up the old dude (backups – gotta have backups) in order to put this together, especially as all my apps and other assorted things are gone now as part of an almost complete reset of the new PC (thankfully not my files as part of said reset) though that was something of a roll of the dice at the time as to whether it would be the case. Seems my Windows had pretty much shit the bed and forced Gaurav and I to grab some broken beer bottles back to back and go on faith that I wouldn’t lose everything.

About 4 hours later …

And all I wanted to do last night was to just get home and hang with my furry girls over a beer or two or three, watch my Buccos get their asses handed to them by the Reds again and work on this. So much for an anticipated Friday.

But Ol’ PC guy came through and I built. Thanks old friend.

It’s Doomsday clock on an everyday

GOP wear a watch

They check their wrists – for the end of us

Great experiment to now call a loss

They say It’s time has passed can ya follow me

It won’t really be all that hard

There’s a new road to take while the truth we will fake

A dead dream just not in the cards

Oh La-la-la de-de da
La-la de-de da la-la

Sing us a song Neo-fascist man

Sing us a song of lies

Rewrite for us a seen history

Till no longer believe our own eyes

Now the GOP practice a longer game

State and by state they block votes

Or they Gerry-mander – so to stay in command

As they can’t win with votes honest’s go

They say integrity’s at stake in our system here

Must restore vo-ter con-fidence

And they’ll dis-enfranchise with no color the prize

And all because of the Big Lie

Oh La-la-la de-de da
La-la de-de da la-la

Now McCarthy holds true his great leader

Kool Aid drunk while supporting the cries

Of an unhinged one, carny barker and some  

Whose show now attracts nothing but flies

And McConnell says partisan politics

Are the only game Dems wanna play

While hypocrisy drips from his marble mouth

Lockstep lemmings minority sway

Break

Sing us a wrong Neo-fascist man

Sing us a song of lies

Rewrite for us a known history

Till we no longer hear as it cries

GOP gambles Dem dreamers

Whose justifies are like some swiss cheese

Manchin and Kyrsten to any who’ll listen

Are standing just notice them please

They’re determined to center attention

Nonsensical their fantasy fight

To preserve the one thing that is killing the dream

Of every last of us be deemed

Oh La-la-la de-de da
La-la de-de da la-la

Do us all wrong Neo-fascist men

Break with democracy’s ties

Cause we’re all in the mood for autocracy

Till we no longer hear our own cries

New Cat Scratcher … Sir?

On my way home tonight I stopped into PetSmart to see if I could find a cat scratcher that wasn’t ridiculously expensive, something I wasn’t all that confident in accomplishing. Though I have managed to trim them on occasion, it’s not the easiest of endeavors to convince Bella to let me clip her nails and they are getting a little long again as she’s clicking on the hardwood now like she’s taken up tap dancing and rehearsing a new number so I thought a new scratcher would at least help her with some nail maintenance. I know she wants another one, a stand-up model (I do have a nice large well used wood framed one with cat scratch cardboard inside that sits flat on the floor but it’s not quite the same) as she keeps trying to also use this old one and well, a couple of short naked two by fours nailed together with a carpet top don’t really do the trick. It’s also Bella’s way I think, with the repeated attempts, to say “yo, knucklehead, human, can ya see what I’m tryin’ to do here on a couple of short naked two by fours nailed together with a carpet top?! Are ya catchin’ my fruitless cat scratchin’ drift here … numbnuts?!”

She’s right, as you can see it doesn’t really have any cat scratchedyness to it anymore as almost all the rope is gone or fallen to the bottom like scratchy rope shorts around its ankle. I only keep it for a couple of reasons. First is a sentimental one. It’s one of my earliest and favorite pictures of Shoes from when he was kitten, one of my bestest of pals who passed away 6 six years ago now, clutching onto it in its newer days days to give me a stare and a sniff while we were getting to know each other and second, I keep it on the floor at the end of the bed as it’s kind of become a pretty good lean to assist for old man stand ups. You see I stand UP from my bed as I don’t have a bedframe, just my box spring and mattress on the floor (I don’t like bed frames … got’s to be proactive on possible spots for monsters right?) so the assist can be welcome, but not always necessary though, I’m not quite there yet in my oldness thank you, but welcome on occasion, breathy exhales sometimes included.

Anyway, as I was looking wide raised eyebrow eyed at price tags of cat seats and cat condo’s that can also serve as scratchers on the big shelves or a few smaller ones in an aisle across from them on the regular shelves a pretty young woman passed to step into the next aisle for canned cat food, the aisle that has the Wellness Brand by the way, which is pretty good stuff and correspondingly expensive.

I found two possible scratchers but held the thought for the moment, debating 30 bucks versus 40, as the pretty young woman buying some canned food suddenly reminded me that I should do the same, even though this wasn’t my initial intent tonight, before that reminder fell out of the front of my head only to silently slide out the back. PetSmart has a few things the girls like that the grocery store doesn’t carry so I then passed her, reminder still holding noggin front, on my way a couple of aisles up to where another less expensive brand is located but, knowing that she was stocking up on the Wellness, I almost felt guilty and a bad cat dad for going with the cheaper stuff. I was even worried she’d notice disapprovingly.  

After I grabbed a few cans of what, like I said, I can’t find at the grocery store (a slightly more top shelf version of this one at least to ease my new found bad cat dad guilt) I made my way back to the scratchers aisle to make a decision on that 30 versus 40 bucks but accidentally came up one aisle short (because of course I did) and stepped right into the one that the pretty young woman was standing at the end of, still, though unknowingly, shaming me as she loaded a cardboard flat with the Wellness food, and I almost bumped into her.

“Whoa, shit, sorry, wrong aisle, my bad”

“No problem” she said

Now suddenly it occurred to me that this all could have looked as if I had done it intentionally. See a pretty young woman pass me when, suddenly, it seems I need to walk past HER and then come back again only to “accidentally” step into her aisle and almost bump into her?

Future reference. I never do anything like that intentionally, I REALLY only ever do things like that accidentally, usually too lost in my own thoughts to sidetrack them unnecessarily for that kinda stuff. Plus that whole possible thought’s attention silently sliding out the back of my head thing I mentioned earlier. In general, if I happen to note, wherever I may be, that there’s some younger woman there who, like in this case, is attractive I also then, almost immediately, note the operative word in this sentence, “younger” and that I’m most probably old enough to be her dad, a dad who would probably kick my ass at any of this whole notion of noting things. So, quick admiration and acknowledgement of pretty and I’m done with the thought. Then it’s just to possibly some accidental awkwardness.  

She ended up at the checkout line in front of me and as she was getting ready to leave, bag in hand full of her good cat mom Wellness Brand food and as I was slowly putting my cat scratcher down for the cashier while holding back ever so slightly on the lesser stuff being seen she looked at me and said.

“Have a good night Sir”

“You as well” I replied

Damn … and yeah … she called me “Sir” to which I had three thoughts.

1. Sigh.

2. If she did for some reason think I was actually trying to “check her out” or even hit on her and that I was a bit too old for the attempt and should know better, the “Sir” was very subtly and very well played, very well played indeed. Bravo lady!

3. Sigh.

I think I might just be leaning a little more heavily on that old Shoes cat scratcher at the end of the bed for the stand ups this evening while pausing the TV or in the middle of the night when I have to pee a million times it seems, sometimes even when I don’t have to but just think that I do.

Me 2: “Well is that right now … is that what you’re thinking … Sir?”

Me 1: “Shut up Me 2 … fucker.”

Baseball Geek

I popped my head into K-104’s Scotty Mac’s office on Friday to say both “Hey” and “Good Morning” while I toasted a couple of slices of rye bread that would eventually become my open faced tuna sandwich breakfast but with new lettuce and tomato that I had just picked up at Price Chopper on my way in (I was actually pretty excited for this … yeah, I know, a little pathetic). I love toaster ovens, love all things toasted, would be lost at a place that didn’t have one in its kitchen to the point where I would just have to buy one myself even with then having to share it with folks who might not be as mindful and respectful of toast.

He said “so did you see the latest moves …” and I immediately cut him off before he could continue “Don’t tell me … this is my Christmas in July just minus annoying radio promotions, trade deadline day … MLB dot com awaits my toasted tuna my friend so zip it”

He’s a baseball guy like me though, as a New York Yankees fan, he is always a bit more enthusiastic and optimistic than I could ever be with my Pirates.

It was trade deadline day and it had been a pretty eventful week leading up to it but there were still more deals to be made and eyebrows to be raised.

I’ve always gotten excited around trade deadline day as it is just a unique baseball thing, not that other sports don’t have the trades of players, they do, but not like baseball where there is a romance to them, a sudden urgency of that clock that’s been well known ticking and a storied history that you can look back on and maybe raise more eyebrows as to how they worked out. Did they help that one team down the stretch, as is always the intention, did the other side land that one seemingly unknown guy who would go on to glory in a new uniform begging questions in hindsight, did it actually work out for both teams and fill, exactly, the needs that both teams needed filling? Or were they lopsided or nearsighted looking back at them years later? Nolan Ryan always comes to mind for me.

Now last season, 2020, was an aberration, an asterisk, no trade deadline excitement, a season I paid absolutely no attention to, the only season in all my years as a baseball fan that I didn’t watch even a single inning of any game for the first time since I was a kid, even just an accidental portion of an any game with those dreaded NY teams on local TV I was forced to endure growing up living in this NY place.

When MLB TV, which I have paid for, for the past however many years it’s been available to be able to watch my Pirates, twenty years or so now, justifying the cost with a don’t buy this or don’t buy that at that moment whether real need or not, when they offered the possibility of me watching at a reduced rate due to Covid, a shortened season or to use the discount next year, this one, I opted for this one as opposed to the attempt to present a 60 game schedule then as an actual baseball season with actual yearly awards and actual champions that they say counted. Sorry, they didn’t … not to me.

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I’ve been a baseball geek ever since my Grandad taught me how to curse and throw shit, just words in my case but actual physical things for Grandad, at the tube when Grandma would allow me in the living room with him, the only grandkid she would while she sat lording in her kitchen. He’d been to Forbes field, my Bucco fan field of dreams, maybe not at the penultimate moment in 1964 but he’d been there and watched games from whatever section he was able to sneak into when he was younger. He was my reason Pirates guy.

I know “geek” isn’t usually associated with sports. That’s more a science or math or book smart or sci-fi thing or getting your ass handed to you in High School by those who would regret, years later, their shortsighted judgements, but I was a baseball geek, a studied baseball geek and well rounded. I could talk books and sports in the same sentence. I would even find myself later on writing stare at shoes well wrought self important poems in college while still checking pages for the Steelers latest victory story or my Buccos latest continued disappointment.  And I think my 8 Yahoo fantasy baseball teams with rosters I set on a daily basis and waiver wires that I get so much joy in scouring will attest to my geekines or maybe the need to get out of the house more often.

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I have difficulty with our current state of baseball though, the new things Rob Manfred finds to be important at the big league level and the changes in the minors that are being tested. Mostly dumb things, things that slap at the nature of the game. I am a purist, I guess, that dying guy who still wants current baseball to stack up with old baseball, the only sport that really has a history that you can compare. He had how many hits then?  He had how many home runs then, how many RBI’s? Did Jacob DeGrom’s ERA really rival 1968? Is somebody going to break a record that’s stood for 50 years or is there that one moment where some obscure guy does something also obscure that’s never been done in the long storied history of the game. It’s the only sport that really allows such.

A guy on second base in extra’s (an absolute embarrassment), 7 inning games, 3 batter minimums, pitch clocks in the minors and moving the rubber back some and all the other attempts at “improving” the game just screws that all up, it messes with the numbers, messes with that nature, messes with that shared history. And don’t get me started on Statcast, that glorified tape measure and protractor and speed gun that is constantly being shoved down our throats in every MLB dot com article.

Was it a hit? Just simply was it a hit? I don’t give a shit about how fast it went out there. I can guarantee you that there will never come a day where I will ask about or even be remotely curious about the exit velocity of any hit … ever. Just did it fall in? Did it make its beautiful way to finding a spot to bounce between fielders? Did it just get past and outstretched diving glove in the infield for a single or did it roll to the wall for a double or maybe bounce around in weird ways to become a triple with a head first slide? When that outfielder fielded it what were the new calculations he had to make now that everything had changed as he tossed back into the infield? That’s it. No useless numbers attached. No angles or silly catch probabilities or ground traveled distances. Just was it a hit maybe with a scorched or a dribbled or a Texas leagued attached?

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Grandad stood up, arms wide and turned and spun to whoever would look at him in the crowd like some baseball Jesus and said “I told you he would pop out, I told you he would pop out, he always pops out, he always blanking pops out!”

That was at the game (games, it was a scheduled doubleheader, a real one with 9 innings for both) at Shea so many years ago with my Dad and Grandad and that was Frank Taveras, our light hitting shortstop who, yes, always popped out.

You had that baseball Jesus thing down Grandad though not without with some slinking embarrassment from Dad and I.

That’s my go-to, that go-to memory, when it comes to baseball. Yes, I played the game, had my moments, played against a stacked club in my senior year of High School that some statcast nonsense would have given us a really improbable percentage of win, but a three hitter from me and an unbeatable John Belushi later and we took the two of three without a third. But Grandad? Arms wide and Jesus angry? That was baseball.

I even met John Candelaria that day when my homemade jersey bearing his name came to the attention of two small, and I mean small excited Mom and Dad’s (no idea where his height came from, and he is a tall guy, other than maybe a stacking of Mom and Dad’s genes on top of each other) in the filing out of fans at the two games end who made that accidental meeting happen at the player’s entrance. I was in heaven and walked away with a few signatures on my game program including Rennie Stennett and future Hall of Famer Goose Gossage in his only season with the Bucs.

Years later I would meet John Candelaria again, recount this story with a laugh and a handshake and an autograph of the Pirates Helmet I had bought that day almost 40 years ago. But it was grandad and Frank Tavares always blanking popping out that I remember the most.

I’ve always looked forward … no, don’t tell me Scotty, I want to check for myself … to the trade deadline and its deals, from the small ones to the blockbusters, so many deals and for teams that aren’t even mine, lived for the changes that happen to current rosters or future ones, to remember names that years later might become that story of the hall of famer, maybe, who was part of a now former team’s great regret.

Will all the guys my Bucco’s garnered at this year’s trading deadline pan out, will there be a future hall of famer in there? Couldn’t tell ya though ya never know.

But it’s excited reading fodder for me today over a morning’s tuna sandwich or a down the road watching and waiting to see who just might pan out out of all these names, a current and future Baseball enjoyment I just can’t put into words.

JB (Thoughts On A Friend)

So, I don’t remember when, though it’s been quite some time now as working together goes back six years away to when I unintentionally left our common radio spot, but she told me her Mom called her Jilly Bean, possibly the sweetest, most genuine love felt nickname from a parent to a child that I’ve ever heard (and it’s a pun JB!)

From whenever that was, and it was way before the last six years apart, I’ve called her JB. She’s called me FB.

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She always thought of me and gave me first dibs on her Mom’s cookies and pastries and whatever baked wonderousness Mom would occasionally gift our way.

“FB?”

“Yeah?”

“Lemon squares”

“!!!!!!!! Loves me the Mom’s!!!”

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I kind of recall her first days at the station, group of stations, as an intern, though I couldn’t possibly tell you any specifics. I just know she was a daily welcome given, just knew she filled a room, just knew we did gigs together and I would always feel a relief when finding out she was on that remote’s ticket. Just knowing, no matter what the gig was or how it might go, that if she were there things would be done right at her insistence and laughter would happen, a lot of laughter and I looked forward to them because of.

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After my Benny passed away, my best of friend of 16 years, back in 2011, she was a one who gave me a kind word’s shoulder and hug to help me through. She knew. She also knew I had no intentions of searching out a replacement, at least not anytime soon. I mean how can ya? But a couple of months later, during one of my Pet of the Week segments on Mix 97 there came to be a kitten as that day’s star, the tiniest of things. Now some folks in the building might make their way down to the studio to meet that week’s puppy or dog, kitten or cat, sometimes rabbit or even a one time guinea pig (she gave me quite bit of laughing shit when it was discovered that I was allergic to said one time guinea pig as the right side of my face blew up like I had lost a fight, badly) but she was an always.

In traffic:

“Hey, we got stuff to do”

“It can wait. It’s Tuesday, FB’s got his Pet of the Week”.

She was always there first, damning whatever work needed to be done to hang with that week’s furry, even if only for a couple of moments.

I hold dear the fondest of memory of her stepping into the studio to stand in the back while I interviewed whoever it was from the Ulster County SPCA that had brought my latest guest, this tiny kitten on my chest, just underneath my microphone.

Mic off.

“Oh, you’re F****d”

“I know huh?”

She knew, without even thinking about my consulting my better half at the time, she knew that this tinyness on my chest was coming home with me. She knew my empty of a Benny being gone.

She smiled a “good luck” to the explaining with a wink.

Bella, that’s her name, outlasted the relationship with that better half and is still with me, 10 years later, and really, it was that exclamation of me, as JB said, being blanked, that helped me cement the notion that this little one had found a new spot in her littleness world, no matter the possible objections.

She knew.

I can never think about my years with Bella without thinking of her.

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I stayed on her good side, no matter what, even if there were a disagreement on something I deferred. You weren’t going to win an argument and not because there might be louder talk, and she could be an in your face when she wanted to be, but because she was always right, aaarrrggghhh, she was always right. She always had her points down and even if she didn’t there was no one better to fake it.

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She mentioned to me one time, about my blog and my writings, which she would read and I was so glad that she did as there are those whose opinion you value, about how I tended to start a good number of my posts with a “So” or a “Well” or a “Now”, a kind of pause followed with a comma, a comma’s breath before diving in and how this seemed a bit of a crutch. I then found myself noting this, this using of a “So” or a “Well” or a “Now” or something similar and my things got better simply from being more self aware now and not just for that one crutch (thank you JB) or sometimes I noted the use and left it in, purposely, with a thought of her and that was well before now.   

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I will miss you JB, Jill, you were light and lord knows that the world can ill afford to lose such light and that makes me angry, angering at the universe and its random and its always picking lights to dim that don’t deserve to be dimmed, especially now and you being gone isn’t fair, not just to you or your family or to friends but to the world itself.  

I don’t know where you’ve gone, none of us really know where you’ve gone but … well … it’s just not here JB, it’s just not freakin’ here.

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“That’s kinda funny”

“What’s that?”

“That a small guinea pig has your face looking all beaten up”

“Funny? Really? That’s your take on my boxer’s face?”

“Yeah (giggles)”

 “Oh sure, that’s funny lady? Very funny JB.”