Bowl O’ Cat

(a picture from downstairs earlier in the week)

Mimi: Who is that?

Me: What?

Mimi: Who is that?!

Me: Just a cat

Mimi: Just a cat?

Bella: Yeah, who is that?

Me: Just a cat

Mimi: There are no cats that are just a cat

Cricket: Hey, blind over here ya know. Where ya’ll at?

Mimi: Steve’s got a cat

Cricket: Ummm … well …

Bella: Yeah, Steve’s got a cat

Cricket: Ummm … well …

Mimi: Is that a new at cat cat?

Me: No, it’s just a cat

Bella: But it’s a bowl O’ cat

Mimi: Yeah right, a bowl O’ cat (is that bad? just askin’)

Bella: I don’t know, you started this. But Steve’s got a cat

Mimi: Yeah, Steve’s got a cat, a bowl O’ cat cat

Me: What, cats can’t come in bowls n’ that?

Cricket: Still blind here

Mimi: … Ok … hold on … (maintenance) … but Steve’s got a cat

Bella: Yeah … what Memes said … hold on … (maintenance) … Steve’s got a bowl O’ cat cat

Me: No, I don’t have a cat

Cricket: Ummm … well …

Little chilly out there now in these here parts, who couldn’t use a bowl O’ cat … cat?

Gone International

(WARNING: Gonna ramble a bit here)

The platform I use here to move stuff into an Attic with boxes of thoughts to pile atop other thoughts on fashioned storage bin cat seats, things I’ve talked of before with towel topped windows is Word Press. It works for the most part. I switched to it a couple of years ago and it seems to be the de rigueur of places to sit and muse with cats.

As with anything it has its plusses and minuses. The minuses being its concept of “Blocks” for the writing, one of the most frustrating things you could possibly imagine, the simple concept of a word document, which is all a blog is for the most part really, is lost in some unnecessary attempt to be singular, maybe, I have no clue.

The plusses being the ability to share posts, if that would be a thought, or to check “numbers” to see how your stuff plays.

I don’t have ads at my site, not that I wouldn’t succumb to the possibility of a few extra cents in my always need of a couple of extra cents world if that were a possibility (and curse then incessantly at that maybe necessity) but I’m not one to dismiss the idea, its more because I don’t have the traffic that might make that appealing to some advertiser’s Ad boxes in corners or sides or tops of pages. I’m just some dude with a written or sung blog with pictures and the talkings of cats. It’s not really all that Ad compelling I wouldn’t think. Lori and Tom, my pals and their own blogs, have much more of an argument for such.

But the main thing I’m a fan of, like I said, is the ability to check numbers, relatively small ones in a large blogosphere of large blogosphere numbers but small numbers that are still big to me, to see that I actually have some occasional eyeballs on some occasional worked words, even if just a few.

I have this ongoing group messenger thread with my three best from the college days who I’ve mentioned here at length before, Iived with some of them actually, comfortably, in unsightly way to too stretched out elastic jammy day ways, somehow still friends (they were seriously stretched) some who have come to define “tolerate” when it comes to a Frankenberry over the years, as I’m sure you may have of your own, college or not, friends who you can dumb with, with no concern, say stupid things, have jammies droop, be stupid things and wonder sadly of those that don’t have the pleasure of the same.

I added to our group message earlier today …

Lori and Tom you probably already know this , I’m sure, but I was looking into stats at the blog and I kind of accidentally came across where to find my tally’s, my viewed posts number totals of in a time period, in the last quarter, last year, all time etc, but also to see a tally of where the views were from, especially internationally. It seems “all time” the most views I have from outside of the states are from China, then Finland, the UK (probably all my cousin Liz, a school teacher who is surely using my posts as cautionary tales for her students but with warnings spoke with an English accent so it’s cool. Hell, you could say fuck off an die with an English accent and I’d be Ok with it and even consider the request) and Germany, though in the last year Finland tops the list with almost the same view number for the year as their all time, so the last year seems to be when they joined in on the FrankenAtticParty.

(disclaimer: I added that bit about my English cousin in the message thread, she is real though and might have even actually warned her classes of the Frankenberry in such a way if she were smart, which she is).

There’s an old 80’s tune from Alphaville “Big in Japan” that I was a fan of in college (dating myself) that I will now have to amend the title of I think. Just the title, not thematically, as I’ve always gotten a kick out of that phrase “How are things going for you all at home?” “Not as well as we’d like but hey, we’re big in Japan.” So maybe now “Big in Fin-Land” or “Big in Beijing” or “Big in Berlin” or “Big in London” whatever. Just a thank you to all my international friends from across a now small ball for checking in with me … and most especially for coming back. I have imagined you all and that maybe I’m doing something word worldy right in my word wording for an audience I know is there.

I’m still a radio DJ at heart, though I’m not really on the air anymore, don’t care to be, the sometimes voice tracked show to fill in for the help but the one thing you always do as a jock is imagine that one person to talk to, or maybe a small group, that is there listening to you. Same concept here.

Still in the message thread and where I mentioned Finland being big in the last year for the number of views I thoughted that maybe there’s some nice Finnish woman who is a fan of mine, likes my posts. Mark, of the three, replied with “Don’t flatter yourself my friend”.

Oh, that’s cold dude.

It is though, cool, to check these stats and see the international.

Mark then added “It is nice to know that your posts transcend borders and languages and that when you send the words you’ve sweated and labored over so much out into the world that there are people all over that world to receive them.”

An Amen on that Mark.

I was surprised though to see that my top post, by quite a good margin, is a one I wrote right at the beginning of this pandemic nightmare back in March 2020, one with silly “Pirate” talk, before the GOP started trying to keep the pandemic alive with more death, and included my parody version of Paul Simon’sYou Can Call Me Al”. Some of it is obviously dated now, but some is not, and this one, after all of my parody tunes, continuing parody tunes, and I have quite a few here, is still one of my best so it seems my Frankenblogonado’s are a pretty discerning type and I still wonder, listening again, of how the hell I did it as it’s way better than I think I am.

A Frankenberry says thanks from his Attic, Attic International, me and my furry girls, my little Bella, Mimi the Quirky, Cricket the Blind, a Thanksgiving thanks if you will, from storage bin cat comfy spots, for “tolerating” me and for coming back on occasion.

Cheers international all,

So Then Sunday … There Was An Apple Pie Contest

My Sunday look back this week on old posts goes to April of 2009 and the last radio station digs before my current ones.

There was an apple pie contest once where I didn’t burn the house down in the process of trying to create an apple cheese crumb pie.


I’m back and sorry, a little tardy on the Blog front. Life and the aliens who keep borrowing my thoughts and my macramé projects have me behind. Here is an update from the Attic…

A couple of months ago Brandy Hunter from WRRV’s Music all Morning had a great idea, no, not duct tape and a large mailing crate with an Anchorage destination for Boris but a chili cook off between the Cumulus gang here to be judged by a chef from the Culinary Institute of America. All interested were invited to fashion huge vats of their own signature style chili (regular size crock pots) in the hopes of being crowned chili champion. It was an eagerly anticipated event that drew throngs of chili aficionados from all across these great states (Bob from Production) to revel in the odors and tastes of all types of chili.

When the time came for the judging by our revered special guest from the Culinary there was a hush. He tasted, wrote notes, gave scores and made judging faces. As he went from crock pot to crock pot breaths were held by those being judged depending on the particular judging face of the moment. Thankfully none of the judging faces made by our culinary guest were those of spitting, regurgitating or dying. Eventually he was done, scoring sheets were handed in and the tension rose a notch to “Don’t we have work to do?”

The scores were then tabulated by an independent and impartial group that specializes in events such as these and likes eating free chili (Jeremiah from Promotions and an intern) and the results were revealed.

Sadly my five cans of Hormel with half a bottle of Saranac black & tan were not among the finalists. To everyone’s great delight though, Boris from WRRV was named Grand Poobah of the chili cook off. Now when I say great delight it is because we knew, if Boris were to be deemed grand chili master, it would be with a sense of humility and grace that doesn’t often come with competitions as large as this. You would normally expect a certain level of gloating and glee at the expense of the “non-winners”, as this was big, but in Boris’s case we knew we needn’t worry. He would take his “Cumulus Chili Cook Off” Champion trophy, congratulate all on a fine day of fun and quietly anticipate another spirited competition.

Then came the “Apple Pie Throwdown,” another fantastic idea from Brandy Hunter that had the staff all abuzz. Could we top the Chili Cook Off that had generated so much excitement in the building? Difficult I know, but, believe it or not, it was done. As with the chili cook off, aficionados of apple pies from across the nation were on hand to marvel in the tastes of the staff’s apple pie creations (Bob from production) and the game was on.

I decided to venture into uncharted territory. I was actually going to create an apple pie, from scratch, on my own, for the first time with no help from the folks at Hormel or Apple Pie Land or anyone else who builds this stuff for your purchase at a local supermarket though with a twist. I intended to make an apple CHEESE CRUMB pie with a base of cheesecake and a crumb topping. Daunting would be the best word for such a task.

So I searched for help. First, of course, was mom. “Hey mom, I’m going to bake an apple pie”… “Don’t burn the house down Stephen”… “Ok”…

Then I sought out Beth Christy from The Wolf. “Hey Beth, any tips?” tips followed, a lot of them. She’s good at this baking stuff. She recommended I do my best to not light my house on fire.

Then I found Brandy who is also good at this. She googled apple pies and printed things. I think fire safety tips was in one of the searches.

Back to mom. “Hey mom, do you think I could have your recipe for cheesecake?”…“I thought you were baking an apple pie”… “I am” … “Ok, don’t burn the house down”…“Gothca.”

My Maria was next. She played along, made me think I was on the right track and showed me where the hose was while checking the batteries in the smoke detector.

I was set.

Talking to the experts had convinced me that I could, indeed, bake an apple pie with cheesecake involved all on my own without setting anything ablaze. After all, we just bought the place and that would probably be bad.

I then when out and bought and meticulously double checked every item on my list. Cinnamon, sugar, vanilla, cream cheese, dog biscuits (a distraction for Shana from the odors of cooking), eggs, pie crusts, oatmeal, brown sugar, cat treats (refer to dog biscuits), 37 gallons of lard, salt, a t-shirt that said “Blessed are the Apple Pie Bakers and Silk Undergarment Makers,” and skittles (for the 9 year old – same concept as dog and cat). I also bought apples, plenty of them in case I screwed up the first attempt but didn’t destroy the house and still had a kitchen for a second try. On the advice of Beth who, like I said, is good at this baking stuff I actually bought specific apples, Golden Delicious and Fuji. No, I didn’t know either. I also got oatmeal for the crumb topping instead of flour, an inspired tip from Beth.

The peeling, mixing of ingredients, extremely anal attention to the recipes and eventual baking commenced. Two and a half hours later I had, I hoped, finished building an apple cheese crumb pie that would be worthy of the competition that would follow the next day.

The judging for the Cumulus Apple Pie Throwdown was done by the competitors and other co-workers that just wanted to eat some free apple pie. The only requirement was that they fill in a few scale of 1-5 judging sheets and not spit anything out in disgust in an overtly obvious way. Napkins and a sense of class were provided.

When the judging was done another hush came over the throng as once again the votes were tabulated by an independent and impartial group that specializes in events such as these and likes eating free apple pie (Anthony and Jeremiah from Promotions).

The results were in. The hush hushed. The runnerups were announced, six through three (I wasn’t one of them). Then came the call of the second runnerup. It wasn’t me either. Whooo Hooo!!

Yes, I had somehow built a pie, on my first attempt, that was not only not spit out in disgust but was deemed to be pretty damn good!

My apple cheese crumb pie was the People’s Choice Winner and came with a trophy and everything. Cool Huh? Boris, who had hoped for a sweep of our first two cookoffs was gracious in defeat and even offered to mention my name on his radio station which I’m sure came with a grand announcement and fireworks sounds. Ahhh, the magic of radio.

I’m not sure what the next cookoff is going to be, Gary Cee from WPDH offered the suggestion of a lumpy porridge competition and I certainly have some ideas for that, including one that’s just right, but whatever it is I will enter with a new found confidence and the knowledge that I didn’t have to make any insurance claims on the house. Satisfying and great ala mode.

Cheers to specific apples, a layer of cheesecake and an oatmeal crumb topping.


Kingmaker … (song)

After 10 weeks of some Friday Night Lights Football return where I made a few well needed bucks and was reminded of enjoying the hell out of myself on these nights again after a COVID year’s layoff, walked some pretty darn good High School Football sideline games with my parabolic along the way or some not so much (rain games with lightning bolt holds, penalty flags like confetti and curious overtime finale’s) but whose nights caught up with up with me and my sometimes old, especially the last two cold ones, I finally got a chance to NOT Friday Night Lights Football with our season done and just hang in my little studio after work knowing that I was going to get home and then hang with the girls and a PC and headphones at a reasonable hour, no driving up the state at the end of a regular day for a two hour ride, a five hour work a game and a two hour return.

Mimi the Quirky wouldn’t rasp at me tonight at my late. Cricket the Blind wouldn’t feel as needy after a finally sat lap and little Bella wouldn’t just stare in her wide eyed disapproving blinklessness, as she blinklessly does at the door wondering where the fuck I’ve been, but instead, wind sprint across the hardwood excited that it wasn’t one in the morning.

I was back at a MY return Friday, a regular Friday, though a still a make a point Friday it seems, always wishing I didn’t have to make some point again, but still looking forward to the necessary of it for me and thinking that after 10 weeks of not making points and thinking of only immediate things, like that one kid rushing and passing Kyler Murray-like top of game, where the world was just yards gained and pretty tip toe pylons, crowds roaring or crowds cursing, that maybe the need for making points would have faded a bit while I was sidelining in a temporary no need for points to make kinda world. Hey, a boy can dream right … but if I’m going to have to make a point again?

A new it needs be tune then … and loud

(To Green Day’s “Troublemaker” from “Uno!” … have instrumental and new lyrics will travel)



Woo hoo hoo


Democracy’s under attack

Right in plain sight a lockstep right

Work their authoritarian plight


They wanna control the states

So next time vote around they’ll mess ‘bove ground

Mold sham results for self-serving tastes

They wanna be some new Kingmakers

Autocracy’s G-O-P takers

They wanna be some new Kingmakers

Great leader’s cult first of new shakers


We like your lie moxie cool

Obstructive whitewash of what was true

It’s quite impressive in its attempt at coup


His Rally’s his palace days  

He’s sounding loaded, old lie bloated

In his propagandist playbook word salad way

They wanna be some new Kingmakers

Autocracy’s G-O-P takers

They wanna be some new Kingmakers

Great leader’s cult first of new shakers


Woooh oooh oooh

Woooh oooh oooh

Woooh oooh oooh


They saw election pass with result a bad state

So pass suppression laws before it’s too late

Present these measures in a group all for one haste

Integrity’s at stake the big lie is the play that they make


Democracy’s under attack

Right in plain sight a lockstep right

Work their authoritarian plight


They do their do


A lie’s whose who


Who know the screw


A fascist stew


So Then Sunday … A Boy And His Cat In A Cone Plastic Hat

My Brother’s birthday is a couple of days away and I remember this because it’s also the day one of my best of pals, Shoes, passed away six years ago. I think of Nick and Shoes in tandem not because of this though, that’s just sad coincidence, but because the first five years of his life were spent upstairs in a house Nick and my sister Beck and I shared and where Shoes was born all small and squirmy and orangey in a large toweled cardboard box world with human hovering in a small attic storage space between our two bedrooms after we had been adopted by his stray pregnant Mom.

If I couldn’t find Shoes for any reason back then I needed look no further than Nick’s lap or cat messing with his sister Cal in Nick’s room (the kitten Nick kept as his own) and it was Nick who first came about calling him Shoey, which I think if he could have talked, he would have said was his preferred designation, well, he might not have used the word designation, I mean, he was a cat, not sure if the vocabulary would have extended as far as to include ‘designation’, but ….

So my So then Sunday look back to older posts becomes a So then Shoey Sunday this week … and Happy Birthday Nick.

This was a post that took me quite some time to get right back then or at least right for me. And yes, I know that many of you have already been there done that with this one but, well, reminders are reminders.

A bit of a Seussian thing.


(from February 2019)

For three plus years now I’ve had this single line rattling round my noggin, bumping into shit. “A Boy And His Cat In A Cone Plastic Hat.” A Dr Seussian type line that has never let me be (hopefully no disservice to the Doc here). I’ve written thousands of words around it in my head over these years as I remember Shoes and the walks he and I would take around the drive/roadway and parking lots that circled our apartment complex during his last month or so. It was a time for me that was as equally heartbreaking as it was wondrous. I know I’ve brought up Shoes often, so much so that it may seem tired, but he was one of those friends that needs be remembered and brought up often for what he was. A reminder of who we are. A reminder of what is/was true. I think, maybe, I’ve finally got this down now. Bear with me.

A Boy And His Cat In A Cone Plastic Hat 

There was a boy and his cat in a cone plastic hat

Who found themselves walking this way and way that

In circles round home on a night by night trip

He talkin’ cat list’nin’
At a calm peaceful clip

You see

The boy’s cat in this cone plastic hat was not well

And the boy he had many long stories to tell

To his dearest of friends of 11 grand years

But trying to do so without shedding his tears

So they walked and he talked on these perfect (s) of nights
Allowing this cat in the cone plastic hat
Some flights
Footed outside
For the first time in his life
A gift from the boy to this cat’s great delight

And the cat in the cone plastic hat listened just right
Though now minus one ear from a Doctor’s need stop
The other had might
Enough to catch stories spun high in the air
By his boy who he followed with great love and great care

Along their way they passed people and pets
Both large and both small
To the cat in the cone plastic hat though
They were all tall
But he came to grow big as they petted and gushed
With attention he loved
As they marveled his gifts to walk with no rush
With his boy who just smiled some big hearty hugs

This cat in the cone plastic hat waited by day
For the sound of boy’s car
To home come from what seemed so
So far
Far away
To make
No dilly
No dally
As time for him now was no longer an ally

You see

The cat in the cone plastic hat knew he hadn’t this time
He wanted their friendship to grow and to shine
And for this shortest of moments
In the grandness of things
They would stride steady together with the greatness of kings

It was stories of boy that were of utmost import
In walks round their round he would offer support
While cat sniffing cat checking
Getting caught in the brush
His cone plastic hat it was flush
Filled with tales flung way far
That dearly so meant
So so much

There was even a day
This cat in the cone plastic hat
Got chance just to play
And to lead while, of course, always knowing the way
Minus his hat
Oh glorious day
Then bringing boy back to that place they called home
Where all with the boy it was always the known

But there were things this cat in the cone plastic hat knew needed be said
Of what would become in his absence of stead
Of what boy would do after the gone
Where time it would shorten but still feel so

The cat in the cone plastic hat knew just what
What knew of just such
What knew sure of be that too long
A day
To help him stay strong
To make it not much
He’d say

He thought
In life’s wonder of walks
This cat who was now at in his cone plastic hat
But remembering time where this wasn’t just that
When play was a shoelace tossed long and just right
For wondrous of times and of silly fun fights
Of a mouse down to chase
Or a titter hand tat
And all while wearing no such special hat

But paw forward he would
This way and way that
His best boy in the world as well as he could
To friends who he knew he should
Surely point true
To others in fur and some so in skin
But still remind them that his name was Shoes

Always Shoes

You see

He resides now in heart held so very so strong
Of a nightstand’s still perch
Sensing short winded nightmares long
So sudden jerks
To come down and so sweetly lay to boy’s left
To calm him to know that all was still well
That there would still be so many more stories to tell
That there will always be some more to be said

Now sleep just go back
“We’re hittin’ the rack”
As you always would say
Ahead of tomorrow’s a brand new grand day
Rest your boy head
The begin has its end but ends beg begin … always
Get some sleep for right now
At least
My dearest of friends

Chalk It Up

Time to chalk it up, or down, or sideways (there’s always gotta be one right?) however you chalk things on an imaginary board, this first season of High School Football back with Spectrum Sports and the semblance of returned normalcy is in the books and board “chalked”.

It was a good season and so nice to be back on these fall sidelines with some ball and a crew well worth spending a Friday night with, and after 10 weeks it almost felt like we were dating, again, just minus any residual anger for not returning calls or texts for about two years after our last pizza dinner football date nights and life went awry (and I thought she really liked me) and we eventually dated only ourselves in seclusion. At least we could truly say, honey, there wasn’t anyone else.

CBA, Collective Bargaining Agreement (a little uninspiring but pretty forward thinking moniker I must say – I kid Christian Brothers … I kid ) capped things off with a kick in the Shen to Shen, tripping them up with some pretty QB twinkle toe pylons at the end and a game long kid named Boz double armed power runs impersonating John Riggins in his #44 to land themselves in the faraway State finals tourney which are as faraway as faraway could be if we’re not going to pull a couple of trucks up and land a crew.

Scott: (at the final pieces of a broadcast loaded) Hey, Frankenberry? You taking the pizza?

Me: Yep, I got it (for my freezy thing above a coldy thing that holds only beer, old mayonnaise and a jar of pickles).

It’s comforting that they think of me in this save the pizza for Frankenberry kinda way and supports my why it’s a good crew and was a welcome return. They obviously care. This plus LAST week’s “Hey, Frankenberry? You taking the pizza?” and I now have 46 slices of pizza in my freezer for future lunches or dinners or possible charity functions. Selfless I am that way.

I re-discovered in this return season some of the things that have kept me coming back all these years, following the welcome Greg phone call wondering if I would be interested again, like the prepper backseat of BB, being loaded up with extra Pirate hats and sweatshirts and sweatpants, a couple of jackets, a cooler, a to go bag with socks, T-shirts, a wad of unmarked bills and clean underwear (gotcha Ma) and anything else that I might need when the weather turns cold enough to make my old feel older, or when it rains and rains for that always at least one game, just to make sure I’m prepared, enough of these things, as a matter of fact, that might make that state cop who pulls me over for some reason wonder if I had a permanent address.

It’s overkill I know but nobody is going to possibly be living in my backseat when I fall off into a ravine or something, lost for days with a broken leg, living on only half a sandwich, a Slim Jim and seltzers from my little cooler on the way home other than me.

I re-discovered how much I enjoy my ride homes on the NY State Thruway from the Albany round on clear nights with a moon smile bright enough to null my headlights, or on overcast torrential downpour nights where that one trucker in front gives me guide or even on foggy ones, so soup thick, clammy wet, like this final night, that you suddenly feel as if you have a head cold and could use some actual soup, Ma chicken noodle right about now until you’re home snuggled in flannel sheets with armpit cats. There’s a just me and BB quiet to these return home nighttime rides, no matter the weather, that I cherish.

I re-discovered that one rest stop that has a Burger King, just after the one with a McDonald’s on the other side of the highway to have that old commercial’s argument of which is better and wonder if my preferred of Burger King is only because suddenly crossing the highway across the grass like in some action flick for that McDonald’s might not be the most prudent of ideas.

Plus, I took some cool pics on my rides up and in games, came about some cool posts that I wouldn’t have written without and made a dollar or two though, sadly, a necessary dollar or two, not banked ones.  

I know this all sounds overly dramatic but, well, I am trying to write a story after all, but for a guy who has come, over the years, to intentionally only go out in the world as far as he might throw in the towel on contact with people it was ten weeks of old football girlfriend dates and raucous student sections and Mom’s and Dad’s being Mom’s and Dad’s with phone held high recordings, fans and alumni with loud opinions, sidelines with coaches and players noising past the ear that doesn’t have Greg directing and grabbing a shot of coaches in shorts in cold weather for a future montage of coaches in shorts in cold weather or a calling for the sideline “Frankencam” where someone end of game will inevitably remark that I get more screen time than that of the talent (I’ve said it before but, Greg, you’re frightening the children).

I’ll be here for that phone call next year.

So Then Sunday … Dialogues From the Trump Treehouse

Back in 2018, in the midst of what historians would come to call the dark age (unless of course the historians were asked, lobbied, agenda’d or thumb hunged to write something otherwise) I imagined dialogues, dialogues between a President and his sidekick in a treehouse because, well, making play in a treehouse seemed about right.

This was episode #8 and if I do say so, some of this is pretty funny which is why I reposted it.



(The Official Secret Clubhouse of the He-Man Truth & Swede Haters Club)

(Donnie cursing – laying stuff out on the Treehouse floor)

Ben: Sir? What exactly are you doing?

Donnie: These directions are shit.

Ben: ?

Donnie: These directions…they’re shit.

Ben: You know you just need to turn the page over for the English vers…

Donnie: Look I’ve got everything laid out and organized…nuts, bolts, lug wrench, duct tape, a small paper clip, glitter, glue, pretty pictures of pretty Swedish chicks, My Little Pony game pieces…

Ben: My Little pony?

Donnie: Yeah…Spicer said I look like a unicorn, riding a unicorn over a rainbow and there’s a real player game now too and even a board game and everything so…did you know there’s a whole universe of guys who do this?

Ben: I’ve heard. Very manly. And I’m sure you’re they’re hero now. But organized? That’s not like you sir.

Donnie: Yeah, exactly, but I’m doing it anyway.

Ben: Don’t they have a simpler way? Directions are so constricting for you. Bullet points. Maybe they have bullet points on the directions that you could then delegate to someone else to figure out? Or maybe a graph, with color. You like color right sir?

Donnie: Color? Of course. Lots of color…a rainbow of color, like that Spicer unicorn thing.

Ben: A rainbow?

Donnie: Yeah, but don’t tell Pence. He’s such a tight ass. Always going on about this God guy and rainbows and shirtless dudes being a strange distraction…I mean, who doesn’t like rainbows…?

Ben: …maybe a multi-colored graph to show how these directions are trending up?

Donnie: That would be nice wouldn’t it? But apparently directions are specific. Specific don’t trend. Who knew?

Ben: Yeah, specific isn’t really your thing.

Donnie: I know tell me about it. But I’m trying to do it anyway.

Ben: Do what?

Donnie: Build these bunk beds

Ben: Why, if you don’t mind my asking, are you trying to build bunk beds?

Donnie: Don’t mind at…unless you’re questioning me..(glare)…


Donnie: …I’ve got a sleep over planned.

Ben: A sleepover?

Donnie: Yeah, an important sleepover. A playdate then a sleepover.

Ben: With who?

Donnie: With who? Jesus Benfred, don’t you read the news?

Ben: Awww….Benfred?

Donnie: What? Yes, alright, I called you Benfred, the whole Batman butler thing you were going on and on and on about, Benfred. You’re Ben, he’s Alfred. And I just might be a superhero, the generals love that by the way, gonna have a parade, so I combined the two.

Ben: I like it sir. You combined them on your own?

Donnie: Of course.

Ben: (quizzical look)

Donnie: Ok…I got some help. Kim told me how to combine the names, she’s an expert on this kind of stuff, prisons too, have I told you how good she is with prisons?…then we took a picture in the Oval Office. You know she’s a celebrity right?

Ben: I’ve heard.

Donnie: Big time celebrity. And whip smart. Says she supports me now. What could be more whip smart?

Ben: Nothing sir. Support = Whip smart. A given. I’m sure the folks at MENSA have her on speed dial for just that reason.

Donnie: Damn straight. And her guy, that Kanye…

Ben: Yes?

Donnie: He’s whip smart too. I took a picture with him too. Tells everybody how whip smart he is. It’s important to do that by the way. Remind people how whip smart you are…just in case they don’t notice. And he’s black.

Ben: I’ve gathered that from the pictures.

Donnie: Hey, you’re black too!

Ben: Yes, I still am sir.

Donnie: Did you vote for me because you’re black?

Ben: Uh… (big hesitation) …well of course I did. Everybody that voted for you did so because they’re black sir.

Donnie: You got that right, the blacks lov…wait, something’s off there.

Ben: Black power sir! (fist raised)

Donnie: Ummm…right! (fist raised) Black power Benfred!! And you and Kanye are BOTH black. I assume you’re related then?

Ben: ?

Donnie: Never mind, I don’t wanna pry, family business is family business. But with you two both being black and having a cool combo nickname…that’s just some sort of…ummm…a uhhhh….coming up short here Benfred.

Ben: Coincidence?

Donnie: Yes, coinc…shit…that’s a lot of syllables.

Ben: I know. It gets tough after two.

Donnie: Tell me. Anyway, he’s black, like you, and supports me like you, is whip smart and reminds people of it all the time, just like me…so they don’t forget…

Ben: You already said that.

Donnie: What?

Ben: Never mind, No, the whip smart is obvious sir.

Donnie: It is isn’t it?

Ben: You know you could get someone else to do this right?

Donnie: Do what?

Ben: Build these bunk beds.

Donnie: Oh right…yes I could, but there wouldn’t be as much….ummm…

Ben: Satisfaction?

Donnie: Exactly. (to self – fucking syllables)

Ben: You sure? I could run down to Home Depot in the White House pickup truck again. Look for some day guys.

Donnie: I thought about that, but it would be too easy…and the off the books would be nice…but Swedish translates so poorly in Spanish…NO! I need to show the American people that I’m a hands on kinda guy, that I’ll get in the trenches with them…

Ben: That you can build some bunk beds on your own?

Donnie: Yes! And directions be damned. I know how it’s supposed to look when it’s done, I’ve seen the catalogue. What could go wrong?

Ben: Well…(imagined images to self: beds falling on top of each other – beds exploding – beds falling from space – beds igniting California wild fires as some sort of divine retribution – beds carrying tiki torches – beds sleeping with beds)

Ben: But sir you haven’t told me who you’re building these for?

Donnie: Hell, Benfred, didn’t I just ask you if you read the news?

Ben: You did sir. But it’s kind of depressing.

Donnie: Why?

Ben: ‘Cause it’s all about you.

Donnie: Vlad! He’s coming here Benfred, and I want to make sure everything is just right. And I want to build these bunk beds myself…show him I don’t need any help.

Ben: But didn’t he…


Ben: Sorry sir.

Donnie: You know we don’t talk about that.

Ben: My fault.

Donnie: Hey wait! I just noticed. Have you been wearing a carrot on your nose this whole time? *

Ben: Carrot?

Donnie: Yeah, on your nose. Tied with string?

Ben: On my nose? No.

Donnie: Yes you have.

Ben: (pulling the carrot nose off his face) No I haven’t.

Donnie: Whewww, thank God. I thought for sure you were a witch.

Ben: They’re sneaky sir.

Donnie: Devious.

Ben: That they are.

Donnie: So, you gonna help me or not?

Ben: ?

Donnie: Put these bunk beds together?

Ben: You know they/you canceled that meeting?

Donnie: We/I did?

Ben: Yes.

Donnie: Why the fuck would we/I do that?

Ben: It’s all about the witch hunt sir. A rigged witch hunt. They just don’t understand your relationship with Vlad.

Donnie: Are you wearing that carrot again?

Ben: No sir. (after putting it back on then pulling carrot off nose again)

Donnie:…I know, they miss the positive influence that a good relationship with Vlad could have.

Ben: For the American people right?

Donnie: The who?

Ben: The American people sir.

Donnie: Who are they?

Ben: ummmm…they’re the ones you stand up for sir?

Donnie: Do I really?

Ben: Yes. The ones that wear your $40 hats. The ones you rile up into a mob frenzy with lies and incendiary short word language. The ones who would scream “jump” at a guy on a roof and then shoot him on the way down. The ones taking Russian as a second language now.

Donnie: Well I’m better at this than I thought.

Ben: You are sir. Much better.

Donnie: But a positive relationship with Vlad would be Yuge!

Ben: It would be sir. Yuge, just like you say.

Donnie: I mean he’s such a cool dude. How could anyone not like him?

Ben: …well…

Donnie: …Ok, the foot on the neck approach could be considered a little harsh by some, poisoning folks is a little much too, but I like the imprisoning of journalists and opposition leaders and the guy rides horses shirtless for Christ’s sake…and looks good doing it…I really gotta start working out…and his fake elections seem so legitimate to me…so does this piece go here?

Ben: What sir?

Donnie: This piece here. Does it go with this one?

Ben: Are we back on the bunk beds sir?

Donnie: Yes Benfred! Of course we fucking are! This has to be perfect!

Ben: What do the directions say?

Donnie: Dammit Benfred! We’ve talked about this!

Ben: I know sir. Sorry. Directions – bad. And in Swedish. Does Melania know about this?

Donnie: What? Who? And why should she? She’s in the residence with some kid and I got impor…

Ben: Your son?

Donnie: …yeah right…but I got important stuff to do here. Look, if you’re not really going to help at least grab some pillows.

Ben: ?

Donnie: For the fort. Duh.

Ben: Oh, right…the fort.

Donnie: …and grab a bedsheet to cover it. You got any flashlights?

Ben: I’m sure I could find some.

Donnie: …and some Playboys. Not a real fort without some Playboys right? Hugh, that guy really knew what he was doing. Oh, and make sure you put those nesting dolls under it too.

Ben: The nesting dolls?

Donnie: Yeah, the ones with Vlad’s picture on them over there (pointing the the night stand) They were a gift from him. They confuse me but he seems to like them so make sure they’re under the bedsheet.

Ben: But they shouldn’t confuse you sir.

Donnie: Why the hell not?

Ben: They’re right up your alley sir.

Donnie: (sigh) You’re going to explain why now aren’t you? (to self trailing off – fucking smart guys).

Ben: They’re a metaphor sir. Vlad is the big doll and you and Mitch and Lindsey and the rest are the little ones inside.

Donnie: A whatafor?

Ben: A metaphor. A figure of speech…

Donnie: …a nice figure?

Ben: Of course, always. Curvy. But like I said it’s one large doll with a number of smaller dolls inside, inside, inside and inside this one big doll.

Donnie: Hey! The 80’s were a weird time Benfred and I’m a hero for surviving them…and sometimes it hurt…

Ben: Sorry sir, didn’t mean to bring up ol…

Donnie: …it’s Ok…I didnt’t say it was bad…

Ben: …alright anyway…when is he coming now sir?

Donnie: I’m not sure and that makes me SOOOOOO mad!…fucking witch hunt…HEY!…are you wearing that carrot again?!

Ben: (after putting on and then taking off the carrot) No sir.

after a long pause  – working on the bunk beds

Donnie: Shit!…have I tariffed Sweden?

Ben: What sir?

Donnie: Have I tariffed Sweden? I wanna make them pay! I can’t get dick from these directions.

Ben: You know, again, if you just turn them ove…

Donnie: …fuck them.

Ben: I’ll grab the pickup truck sir.

Donnie: Good idea. And have them make me a taco salad when they’re done…I’m famished.

Ben: Will do sir.

Donnie: (trailing off) …Ok, this part goes…(bang bang)…shit! my finger…(bang bang)…son of a bitch…it’s supposed to…

* – always indebted to the Monty Python boys

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Kept Habits And Perspectives                    


On my way to another Friday night football game with Spectrum Sports in and about the Albany (the 2nd to last of the season for us) I kept to habit and pulled off half way there into the last Parking Area on the Taconic State Parkway North before it ends to randomly grab a Coke or seltzer from my little cooler along with half a sandwich for the rest of the drive, which is usually about 50 minutes miles at this point, and to ask my Google Lady for directions the rest of the way.

I also kept to recent habit and stepped out of BB, my car, to take some pictures of Fall as the weather has been perfect in that regard the last few weeks with sunny skies and lazy, sleepy, meandering clouds peppering a pretty blue and a trees splash of colors that are the indicate of Fall we all rave about right about now, though mostly, I think, as just a way to ease and justify ourselves into the why’s it’s ok to live here before the impending doom of Winter, which in nighttime doesn’t feel that far away.

When I pulled into this Parking Area there was only one other car there and I drove past it to sit for my moment in front of the “Historic Hudson Valley – Columbia County” marker right at its end, as I always do, before getting back on the road with Google Lady hitting me with the re-start merge onto the Taconic in 800 feet … yeah, yeah, yeah, gotcha Google Lady … just get me through the minutia of lefts and rights and the millions of strip malls to my final destination where I’m going to freeze my ass off tonight, I got this 800 foot re-start.   

I noted that that one car was seemingly empty in my rear view while I paused for my kept habit. Maybe that someone one car had their own pause and pushed the seat back to take a quick nap, maybe this was just a place to park and go for a hike, or maybe there was something ominous going on with movie plots and bass heavy soundtracks playing in my head and I shouldn’t linger too long.

Whatever it was I was alone, I thought, and snapped my pics without looking at them, just a snap snap snap in a slight turn turn turn panoramic kind of way with a knowing I’d look forward to seeing how they came out once I finally got myself late home after this most recent long Friday football night, a some picture’s Christmas for me if you will.

I actually did a pretty good job I think, in my snapping this time around, especially as I did it “blindly”, I had left my glasses in my Pirate’s hat on the passenger seat, with some pics eventually proving worthy of an “Oh, isn’t Fall beautiful” … before well, shit, it just ain’t … that impending Winter’s doom thing I mentioned.

Then I noticed in one of my pics a bit of a red dot in the middle, in the distance, at the edge of all these colors of a Fall justification, just a little red dot at a short hill’s tree’s edge overlooking my kept Friday habits, overlooking a me in a last Parking Area of a roadway.

A small red dot that seemed, as I looked closer, a man leaning forward on what looked a bench underneath one of those trees at the edge.

There was a bit of a late night chill at the realization that I had maybe been watched.



It’s been a few years, I know, Jen says “Dad, you need to go out” hit the diner with Phil and Bumpy, grab a coffee and maybe an omelet, the one I like with red peppers some swiss and cheddar and a bit of hot sauce that Dottie makes sure Jack does right, bless her, but I don’t have anything to talk about. I could try but the conversation always turns Bet’s way and how she had just the right touch for this omelet, possible omelets, possible everything omelets as she always did in a life that no diner or anything else is ever going to match … no offense Dot, or to you Jack, or to anyone else. You’re just not Betty. I don’t really have anything to talk about.

This view is the most cliché’d picture perfect thing you could ever imagine at just this time of year, at just THAT time of year, though I’m a little out of breath at the trek up the hill these days … again.

It’s always been my spot, or became my always spot after I blew out a tire so many young years ago with thankfully just enough shoulder in just this one place to not have intentional traffic possibly rip my door off. I’ve always hated this roadway for that, no room, not enough space, where it could seem difficult to breathe, an uncomfortable daily years upon years commute, a work’s metaphor, always concerns in your rear view if there were to be an issue but at least I always had a carrot of a come home, a bear with it for that come home and the unexpected unworthy of it, how did I possibly rate such a find and all that it would bring, such a life, and the eventual Jenny’s to implore me to grab an omelet … after fumbling around in a trunk …

“Can I give you a hand?”

It gave me a start, this question, as I was head down in the trunk and said fumbling around for the spare hoping to look like I knew what I was doing to the intentional passing traffic and I didn’t hear the approach.

“Oh … hello” I said, almost bumping my head. (Isn’t that how the best of future’s start in the movies?)

“You have no idea what you’re doing do you?”

For a second I thought to be manly and say that I was fine, chest out, fists pounding my jacket but right there, at that moment? Those eyes?

“No, I don’t”

She laughed a small laugh

“Well, how about we get this done then?”

“Yeah … thanks.”


I drive up here sometimes for no reason, or for all reason and sit out of breath on a hill with the most perfect of cliche’d views over memories.

I watch a young guy stretch his legs and take some pictures.

“Thankfully for him it’s a not a blown out tire Bet”

“Or maybe he just doesn’t know he wishes it was”