A Friday Football’s Miss

So another Facebook memory popped up this morning.

From October of last year:

Another game in the books and a dollar earned (well, after tolls, tax, snacks, gas and text stop hookers – a wash). Guilderland did some dancing and CBA wondered why their name of Collective Bargaining Agreement is so uninspiring. But I’ll take that wash any day. Cheers to another Friday Night Light’s escape and Greg breaking out the “Frankencam” every week, though I don’t really know how this could be considered good TV. I mean, Jesus! Look at that. You’re gonna frighten the children!!

My response to this Memory:

Man, I really miss doing our HS football games (Spectrum Sports opted for an outside production company this year – don’t ask). Yes, they were really long Fridays, leave work around 3:30p drive a couple of hours to some High School in the Albany area, work a game on the sidelines with my parabolic and then do the couple of hour return, usually home around 1am or so but once I did get to the whatever High School of the week was I just felt at home.

I know I am famously, in my small circle, happily anti-social these days but I miss the crew, I miss the crowding excitement, the crisp of Fall, even the cursing cold of the last couple of games on the schedule not feeling my toes, I miss the grunting, dramatic, loudly focused, almost comically so, exuberant sidelines of High School footballers doing what High School footballers do, fist bumps with recognized refs pre-game, I miss handing out chocolate at halftime to my fellow sideliners for the break, I miss the paycheck of course and I even miss that ride home, the quiet of it, best if it was clear and the moon lit the way, headlights almost unnecessary sometimes, I miss that last/first stop at an any McDonald’s for a large fry and a large Coke for the ride, I miss the tired of it after a day well dayed.

Plus the upper Hudson Valley has been denied now the once weekly grab, courtesy of director/boss/friend Greg, from the “Frankencam” … such a tragedy.

Though at least I’m not scaring the children with such shots this season.

There is that.

New Cat Scratcher … Sir (audio post)

(this is something I wrote back in August of 2021 … a bit of a feeling old moment ya might say)

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’re 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 … numbnuts?!”

She’s right, as this old stand up model 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 one legged 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 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 ( got’s to be proactive on possible spots for monsters underneath right?) so the assist can be welcome, but not always necessary, I’m not quite there yet in my oldness thank you, though still welcome on occasion, breathy light grunty 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 very 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. You see PetSmart has a few things the girls like that the grocery store doesn’t carry so I then passed her, the pretty young woman, reminder still holding noggin front, on my way a couple of aisles past her 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 , and 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

It then occurred to me as I stepped around into the cat scratcher aisle that all of this 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 very 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 surely 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 … yep, 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.

You know 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.”

Flat Earth (song)

So a grabbing of another instrumental from our production library site at work, one that I came across and liked recently while looking for music for some radio stuff and saved for future reference.

Well, that future reference then is now, and an attempt to write something to it for a short song.

“Attempt” may be the best way to put it but it works for me.

Flat Earth

I looked out onto the water

To a horizon that’s always just one crest away

It keeps stretching getting further

With every stroke ta-ken

Till soon a-gain  

Soon

Just

Another day now

To leave me wonder

Do I even know what I want there

If I swim out

To the edge now

Skirting sea demons

But still fall off of this flat earth

Into space

What would I hope to find

Maybe a lover

From my immor-tal days

One blithely left behind to fend her heart’s ways

Maybe my father and a proper goodbye

Say sorry for not being there not looking to the

Sky  

Or maybe Mother have her wake from her daze

And maybe recognize the world once again

Or am I just treading waves hoping they hold

Long enough

To skirt more demons

Before I fall

I looked again now

Onto the water

Horizon still always just one crest away

It keeps stretching getting further

With every stroke ta-ken

Till soon a-gain 

Soon

Maybe there’s still more air to gasp

Grasp and flail swim up from beneath the heavy waves

Back from off the edge of a flat earth

From space  

And swim back

Take on sea demons face to face

It’s Not A Freakin’ Portal!!! (audio post)

In talking with a good friend at work recently about, well, nothing really, just the talking that gets you through the day, he mentioned having to log into the “portal” of his medical account or something of the sort, like “portal” is somehow a normal thing.

It made me think of this post from a couple of years ago. From back in June of 2020.

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

(posted here in the Attic June 23, 2020)

When I recently had an allergic reaction to a medicine I’ve been taking for just a short period of time that blew my face up into a bulbous early Halloween costume winner I was relieved by a couple of things.

One, there was the relief after the urgent care Doc gave a diagnosis, that was then confirmed by my regular doctor, of it simply being said allergic reaction and that it wasn’t something that was … ya know … gonna dead me.

And two, I was relieved that my “bold” “dangerous” “fierce” “had us trembling under the bed” new look, as some influencers and trendies may have exclaimed, didn’t last very long, and, more importantly, not long enough for the villagers down in the town to make the discovery of the new monster up on the hill forcing them in anger and fear to their woodsheds and barns for torches and pitchforks and Sharpee’s for crudely fashioned and misspelled signs.

But of course that relief couldn’t be allowed to last very long now could it, as later on that afternoon, when checking my bank account online I realized that instead of just me paying my 40 dollar co-pay before I was seen, I had somehow, accidentally, paid my entire balance of 1300 hundred dollars instead. Son of a bitch.

Yeah, that came as QUIIIIIIITE a shock, even more so than my lumpy, just not quite right porridge face, though for those of you who know me I’m sure you don’t find such an accidental occurrence all that surprising, but that would have caused some serious issues in the Land of Steve if I couldn’t get it reversed.

Eventually I was able to get things worked out and get my money back but in the process I also realized, shit!, I have a balance of 1300 bucks with these folks, so I asked the woman who assisted me if I could set up a monthly thing, like I have with a number of creditors for medical bills stemming from my hospital limbo shuffling slow hallway hospital socks for nine days discovered adrenal deficiency something or other requiring a daily steroid dose now vacation a few years ago. I asked if could set something up for, say, 25 bucks a month, like I do with the others only to be told that they don’t set up automatic payments for an amount that small because, of course, why would they? I mean if you’re gonna keep up appearances of being part of the remarkably unaffordable world of U.S healthcare you even gotta have payment plan standards that are difficult.

I figured though, that I would just go to this care company’s website, find my account and start paying this 25 bucks on my own. I’d get the small money ball rolling at least.

Easy right? HeHeHe. Oh, you are so gullible my friends. No, first thing I discovered, and I haven’t been to the site in a while, not since I set up the account years ago, was that they’ve changed their password requirements “FOR YOUR SECURITY” as well as added some new steps of verifying who you are.

Now let’s get one thing straight, and I don’t think I’m alone here, I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE MY FUCKING PASSWORD!!! And it’s not like this is some monetary account, like my checking or my HSA or that stash in the Caymen’s from that last bank job (the one Billy almost fucked up by the way – and I SAID “don’t think Billy, please just don’t fucking think, just drive the car Billy … just … drive … the … fucking … car”) or the stock investment portfolio I don’t want to brag on about. I mean, what’s the concern here? That some no goodster online meanie person is going to hack my account and do what? Pay my bill?

And I don’t want to come up with a new password with a minimum whatever the hell they’re asking for now, like 37 characters, a capital letter, a number, a symbol, any town in Bulgaria but spelled backwards and a trucker handle from the 70’s.

And the other new security measures. 5 questions? Really??!!

Well, and I don’t care if you all know, but my first girlfriend, my first pet, my Grandma on my Mother’s side, my Grandad on my Dad’s side and my fourth Elementary school after I was kicked out the first three are all, coincidentally, named Bob.

But, once you get past all of this, you are then ready to log into … the Portal?!

Ok but no, hell no, that’s the last straw. It’s NOT a freakin’ Portal!!! it’s just me logging into my account at a website! If I’m going to enter any type of “Portal” it’s going be something space age and futuristic and all science fictiony and shit. It’s going to transport me to another dimension, take me to the future, drop me into a world that isn’t as batshit crazy and astoundingly dumb as this current one, it’s going whisk me away to a universe with all the rainbow of colors alien chicks Captain Kirk slept with (I’ll bring condoms though, the large size, just in case, I mean ya never know what weirdness might arise in this strange new universe. Plus, love James T an’ all, but I don’t trust where he’s been) but it’s definitely NOT going be my boring and depressing account, life, at a medical company’s website with a history that just shows me getting fucking old with a daunting balance.

Well, anyway, I stopped at “Portal” and I closed things out before it spirited me away to someplace even more exciting than my medical bills, like maybe the details of my bankruptcy 7 years ago or my tax return history.

I’ll try again tomorrow I guess.

Freakin’ portals.   

It Is “My” Time Of Year, Frankenberry And His Monster Friends

Well, it is that time of year where Frankenberry and the whole family of Monster Cereals become relevant again, I mean what’s scarier for Halloween than the amount of sugar, artificial colors and other surely unnatural things in these smiling Monster boxes that I ate the shit out of when I was a kid and even into my college years? (actually might explain some things)

So one of those Facebook Memories popped up at me a couple of days ago. It was from a year ago, a little post I wrote in response to an early morning text message I had received from a friend and co-worker who was working from home.

///////////////////////////////

(October 13, 2021)

Good friend and co-worker, Patty, sent me a text this morning as she works from home. It was just one word with a picture.

“Breakfast”

Now besides brimming with obvious snickering pride at her choice I was also proud that she was starting her day in such a nutritious and sugary sweet vitamin charged way, I mean it is important to try and eat healthy …

Corn Whole Grain ( Includes Corn Bran ), Corn Meal Sugar, Marshmallow ( Sugar, Dextrose, Corn Starch Modified, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Malic Acid, Flavors Natural & Artificial, Citric Acid, Red 40, Blue 1, and Blue 2 ), Corn Starch Modified, Corn Syrup, Canola, and/or Rice Bran Oil, Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Trisodium Phosphate, Red 40, Flavors Natural & Artificial, Wheat Flour, Peanuts Flour, Vitamin E, (Tocopherols Mixed Vitamin E) and BHT added to Preserve Freshness, Vitamins & Minerals, Calcium Carbonate, Zinc, Ammonium Phosphate, Iron, Sodium Ascorbate Vitamin C, Niacinamide Vitamin B3, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride HCI, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.

… but the most important part of her start?

You’ve probably already noticed but yes, she’s putting all this nutritiony sugary sweet vitamin charged goodness, from a Family Size 50th Anniversary (*) Monster Mash box of nutritiony sugary sweet vitamin charged goodness no less, in a freakin’ straw bowl!!!!! A FREAKIN’ STRAW BOWL!!!!! (**)

Very nicely cereal played Patty!!

Every now and then your friends confirm why it is, indeed, that they are your friends.

—–

(* – Frankenberry cereal came out when I was 7. 50th Anniversary Box? … sigh)

(** – or sippy bowl if you must)

Take It To The SCOTUS (backwards where we’ll be found) – (song)

So with the Supreme Court back in session for a new term and as we brace to possibly regress to a new American stone age “Oh, remember the good ol’ days when the lessers knew their place?” and as the Orange appeals to those he feels he has bought and paid for to give him an above the law “what documents of national security?” delay packed in boxes with old crumpled quarter pounder wrappers and used sharpies from photo-op autographs (4500 dollars each and you get a sticker) assist, who get SO very offended at accusations of being nothing more now than another partisan political tool, even taking to stages to cry their dismay but only ever speaking to the very choir of those they claim to resist, to defend their self perceived objectivity, the surest of signs that they know of what they do, I thought of this of mine from back in May.

A little ode to the new High Court.

To the Talking Heads version of “Take Me To The River”.

We don’t know why you livin’ like ya do

G O P can – help you un-blue

We stole two seats now to leave you bereft

Of any hope of what – fair was left

And we wanna know – and we’ll – tell you

Progress stops right here

 —

We’ll take it to the SCOTUS

A court beholden to us

We’ll take it all to SCOTUS

Partis’n arm we made thus

To lead it around

Backwards where we’ll be found

 —

The extremists are not on the left

That’s just cry rally we’ve always kept

No radical court – it’ s square to the right

They hem and haw but it’s in plain sight

Want you to know, can’t you – see how

We lead them by the haaaaand

 —

Take it to the SCOTUS

A court beholden to us

We’ll take it all to SCOTUS

Partis’n arm we made thus

To drag your rights down

Backwards where we’ll be ….

 — 

Crosshairs, dazed stares, we don’t care, what you want here

Till we can’t,

Till we can’t,

Hold our glee at

Our own court’s red de-crees now

 —

It’s a court beholden to us

We’ll take it all to SCOTUS

Partis’n arm we made thus

To lead it around

Backwards where we’ll be found

break

We don’t know why you’re stewing like ya do

Bout all the rights – next in the queue

To be struck down now  – with radical hand

Voting women equal they don’t stand a chance

 —

Want you to know now

That your rights now

Are up to Uuuuusssss

We’ll take it to the SCOTUS

A court beholden to us

We’ll take it all to SCOTUS

Partis’n arm we made thus

To lead it around

Backwards where we’ll be found

We’ll take it, we’ll take it, we’ll take it to the SCOTUS

They’re all ours now and we’re gonna have them show us

We’ll take it, we’ll take it, we’ll take it to the SCOTUS

You’re gonna regret that you didn’t vote for us

We’ll take it, we’ll take it, we’ll take it to the SCOTUS

We own them now and they’re gonna send us backwards fast

Angel of Death (audio post)

In keeping with the last post and of the reading things out, thought to grab an old post I like and do the same.

////////////////////////////////////////////

(and a guy dressed as the Grim Reaper holding an hourglass in the middle of route 9 led to this …)

So I saw the Angel of Death tonight … on Route 9 in Poughkeepsie standing on the median between the North and South triple lanes, at a traffic light, near a T.G.I. Friday’s and a Mattress Firm and across from a new specialty soap shop, a new Sleep Number Bed place and a convenience store among a number of other spots.

Tall guy dressed as you might expect of an Angel of Death/Grim Reaper type. Long black robe, oversized hood and he was pointing at things, menacingly, possibly specialty soaps and he seemed like he might even have been yelling though I couldn’t really hear as I passed him amid that damned rock n roll I was playing too loudly on a nice sunny almost Spring evening, finally, one you surely wouldn’t expect the end of days to arrive on, at least you’d hope not, though I’m afraid my Mom might feel vindicated now all these years later of her worries of, when I was younger, while I was playing that damned rock and roll too loudly back then as well and cutting up perfectly good heavy metal band concert T-shirts to have her sew them on the back of denim jackets, that some might think the end of days would sneak up on me because I wouldn’t hear it/them coming.

The only thing out of the ordinary for this particular Angel of Death though was that he was carrying an hourglass. Not that Angels of Death don’t sometimes carry hourglasses, they do, I’ve seen artist renderings, some pretty cool artist renderings as a matter of fact, but this was in lieu of the tall, sharp, pointy, violent looking scythe’s we’ve more come to expect in a clichéd Angel of Death kinda way which, truth be told, is probably for the best in this day and age that that wasn’t what he was carrying.

Tall, sharp, pointy violent looking clichéd scythe’s? Yeah, that’ll getcha noticed, and not in a good way, and possibly even get ya tased or worse. Hourglass? Much less threatening.

I did though think, if I could have, that I would have politely pointed out that this hourglass of his was a little small, not really of a size befitting his stature or one to really get him noticed in the middle of a busy roadway here in Poughkeepsie, and right at the height of an evening rush hour with people being lost in thoughts of get homes and dinners and dog walkings and sweatpants and checkings in on that show that you’re pretty sure your better half cheated on and watched the next episode of without you, again, and conversations/angers left open ended the night before.

I would have pointed out that he needed something a bit more dramatic, more theatrical, something oversized to really catch that thought lost eye. The hourglass he had was, well, a little on the Spinal Tappy Stonehenge side but with him being the Angel of Death an all, I would have been as deferential and as delicate as I could with this observation (plus, he most probably still had that clichéd scythe somewhere in reserve – and that shit looks like it would hurt … a lot, like in a death kind of way).

Now was there any reason, I thought, any significance to this specific spot of his as I drove past? I don’t know. Was this where the thunders and the lightnings, the great fires or floods, or great fires followed by floods to drown out great fires making people tread water in floaties the only thing they had on hand, damn the children, the pestilences and rivers of blood were newly ordained to happen, or was he just waiting on a pick up order from that T.G.I. Friday’s and doing what Angels of Death do to pass the time, what little time may be left?

Had he been maybe having some trouble sleeping recently (certainly possible as carrying the weight of his message has gotta be a heavy sleepless nights kinda burden) thus reason to be in between a Mattress Firm and a Sleep Number Bed store or was he really pointing menacingly at specialty soaps, a could be 21st century haven of witchcraft with all the witch-like curatives some of the soaps and maybe oils and creams inside can surely promise … plus Hell, you know there’s gotta be a crystal or two hanging in there somewhere right? Or maybe he was just waiting to cross the highway way to get to the convenience store for a pack of smokes thinking to his Death self, well, if I’m bringing word of the end of the world to the peoples, I might as well smoke up while I can.

I don’t know. Whatever the reason was for that location or whatever the reason wasn’t, all I really thought on my way home after passing this Angel of Death fella with his too small hourglass (you just need a big black sports hearse car to compensate my not friend) was “listen, if this is it tonight big guy, if this is the end of days, after you’ve possibly picked up your order at T.G.I. Friday’s could you …

“Hi, can I help you sir?”

“I’m here for a pick-up”

“Your name?”

“Angel”

“Angel? Hold on … hmmm, hmmm, hold on a sec, I’m sorry I’m not seeing that here for our pick-up orders right now”

“You sure … nothing under the name Angel? With an A?”

“I can spell Angel sir, thank you, and sorry, but no … could you have ordered under a different name?”

“Oh wait, you know what, I may have. Do you have one under the name Death?”

“Death … Death … Death … sorry busy night … hold on … oh, here we go … Death … burger, blood rare, locusts, frogs, extra cheese, fries and the apple cobbler dessert special?”

“Yep, that’s me. Sorry, I don’t usually use my last name, way too formal and can be a little off-putting”

“No worries Sir. Let me get that for you, Oh, and by the way? Cool hood”

“Oh, well thank you so very much”

“I would say though, if you don’t mind a little constructive criticism, that you get a slightly larger hourglass”

… and could you, after you’ve put a deposit down on a new bed …

“You’ll be so happy you chose our little slice of sleep heaven … (stop short silent stare) … sorry, my bad … probably not the best of selling points for you I’m thinking now … you’ll be so happy you chose our bed Mr. Death instead of something that feels like a bed of nails like from those sleep hacks across the street …”

“They have something that feels like a bed of nails?”

“What?”

“Bed of nails, those sleep hacks across the street have something that feels like a bed of nails?”

“Ummm, well yeah, that’s what we say … Ok, but hold on, I got ya. If you’d like, Jimmy, one of our delivery drivers, works at a small local hardware store and I’m sure we could throw in a bag of nails, support small business right, that you can toss on the bed, like scattering rose petals for you and the Missus …”

“There’s no Missus … I’m Death. It would make holiday family get togethers very uncomfortable.”

“Ok, well, bag of nails just for you it is then”

… and then after checking in on potential modern day witches …

“Do you have a soap or some oils that can just ease some tension, possibly transport me away to a better place? I think I’ve seen a commercial like that … a place like … HELL!”

“ummmm, Ok then, well?”

“Gotcha! I saw ya glancing over at that crystal … witch”

and after you’ve a grabbed a smoke outside the Exxon while you’re getting yelled at for your loitering could you at least let me feed the cats and have my dinner and maybe clean a litter box or two? I would SO hate to have to face the end of days, you know, the rapture or something, even if you all do the rapture, I’m not sure, or some sort of reckoning, with messy litter boxes and on an empty stomach.

“Will do”

Thanks.

Alright Bella, alright Ms Cricket … Last Fancy Feast “Savory Centers”

Eat up quickly girls, I don’t know what kind of deadline he might be facin’.

Ballpark (audio post)

Thought of a new addition/wrinkle to my posts, some of them at least, some older ones maybe to revisit in this regard and then future ones, for a beloved friend who has always enjoyed spending time in the Attic but who would find it easier these days to listen instead of reading while visiting. So I thought to read out some of these Frankenposts audio book-like for her for the assist, an audio POST if you will.

I found with this assist though, as I have made two attempts thus far (the quality of the first not being quite up to what I would consider par doing it from home, where, though I have a really nice microphone along with my PC and sound program, things just ain’t yet been figgered quite right in a production way) I found that I have really enjoyed this reading of them out loud, hearing all the vocal intends that were in my head as I wrote, really enjoy the storytelling nature of it.

And if it gives that assist to that beloved friend and maybe brings a smile? Bonus.

(don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before – another thing to add to my Tales From the Dim I think)

A read then of my most recent post, “Ballpark”, from my little work studio instead.

So a few nights ago I watched the best ballgame of the season, for me at least, with my MLBTV subscription, something I’ve paid for every year since its inception to catch my beloved out of town boys, even when I couldn’t afford it, which has been often. Now as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan it’s not really all that difficult to differentiate between the other “best ballgames of the season” that have come before this one as, well, like I said, I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, there haven’t really been a whole lot to choose from, not a lot to “Raise the Jolly Roger” to in too infrequent texts to my Sis these days, after a win, our thing, even the not so memorable ones, any victory, especially since the All Star Break this year can be considered memorable I guess.  

There was the sweeping the Dodgers in LA for the first time since someone from a Darwin text first started grabbing sticks and hitting stones with ’em (though probably more just simple defense from the stones being thrown AT them from others in a Darwin text – no game yet, not quite, but maybe thoughts a bubblin’). We split a couple with the dreaded hated Yankees earlier in the season when they came down from the Death Star to visit Pittsburgh and get some thick breaded sandwiches with thicker fries and coleslaw on ‘em ‘n that and we did get back at and have a sweep of the Brewers who have owned us in a we’ll wear leather and spikes and hold a whip, you put on this mask kind of way for the longest of time.

But there hasn’t really been any other singular game moment to crow about, or to parrot Pirate squalk “aarrgghh matey’s” about from my shoulder until this one, just the waiting for late August and September to finally see some of the young Bucco’s of the future on a rebuilding team finally being allowed to play regularly, after dead weight DFA off the heap claim roster fills have finally been cast off, and show me some hope that I haven’t felt in , well longer than a while.

That waiting paid off with this “best game”, a combined one hit shutout highlighted by an electric kid’s nasty stuff, Luis Ortiz in his MLB debut. This game was hope. A long suffering Pirate fans hope

/////////////////////////////////////

Now I’ve been a Pirate fan since I first discovered baseball, right around the time when they won only their second of three World Series since the cold war, only two in my lifetime and I was watching this “best” game with two different pairs of glasses, one for the close of the Tablet sitting to my left with the game and the other for distance of the TV for the almost good bad bad good movie I was also watching, that needing two pairs of glasses old now lifetime long.

It was Granddad who turned me black and gold when Grandma would allow me, and only me for some reason, to sit with him on some weekends when we would go to visit the two of them and the aunts and the uncles and the cousins. I’ve often joked that watching sports with Granddad back then (sometimes baseball or often bowling) usually with me sitting cross legged on the floor and he in his big chair in the big living room of a big old dusty breezy house was where I learned how to curse and throw shit at the tube, maybe consider a bowling team when I got to High School and be a Pittsburgh fan. Some Steelers yes, but most importantly the Pirates.

/////////////////////////////////////

Went down to Citifield over the weekend for the first time since 2018, a yearly pilgrimage for a best of best friend of mine and I, Jeremiah, starting back In 2005 but paused in 2019 for what, I don’t remember what, though it must have been a something to cause a pause in a 14 year run and then came the the. Pandemics and useless 60 game seasons that I didn’t’ watch a single inning of for the first and only time in my long baseball fan life and then another year where I wasn’t ready just yet for not quite done pandemic crowds.  

/////////////////////////////////////

We thought, back in ’05, a trip down to Queens and still Shea Stadium back then, would be a cool get together moment for a new morning show crew and we eventually played fetching verbal tag with a group of pretty young women, out on their own cool get together moment in seats so far up and away from the field that we were like in baseball clouds. We knew there was a game going on somewhere down on earth, in between the lines, but we played this fetching instead and had such a time. Couldn’t even tell you who won that one. Baseball has that way, a way to make you sort of forget things even though you knew, a mine vs yours, or a mine vs them, as long as it was being played somewhere near you and you were there meandering, meandering with it as baseball wondrously meanders and you talking and laughing and paying attention on occasion.

But this past weekend Jeremiah and I caught a game again, finally, after these too many years, ones that sneak up on you and have you think of windows closing more than you’d like, years, and “breaking out the fancy chairs tonight” he said in his driveway with a lugging to the car fancy parking lot chairs for lounging pre-game dog grilling and sauerkraut heatin’ in a cat’s water bowl (hey, it’s what I had on hand. It worked for the warmin’ is enough as a good baseball hot dog don’t do cold sauerkraut) and upscale beers and spicy mustard awaitin’ some hot dog buns. And not just regular hot dog buns on this night mind you, no siree Bucco, but brioche hot dog buns, this was an occasion after all, you break out the brioche for an occasion I guess. I know. Nice touch right? I thought the same even though I have no idea what brioche is, other than it just ain’t some regular white bread fashioned as a hot dog bun. It’s fancy sounding where hot dogs ain’t fancy.

/////////////////////////////////////

Everyone was asleep, or close to it as I grabbed that one seat at the back of the car, at now a quite happily baseball night spent almost 1 in the morning that allows you to ride WITH the train and with no one behind you, not ride backwards as some do. I don’t know how people sit in the “backwards” seats as traveling with your back to wherever you’re going is just so unsettling to me. Maybe if you’re with company, for the distraction Ok, but if you’re not with company as is always the case for me on nights like this you just grab that one seat, at the back, that one first step in if you can, that one one that points you forward.

/////////////////////////////////////

Next to Jeremiah and I tonight was a family. A Mom and a Dad and five kids, all tremendously good looking, cover of a family magazine good looking, almost unfairly so to all the regular ol’ families out there, Mom and Dad troopers that took the gang out for a night at the ballpark all around 7 or 8 or younger, and did it so well that I wanted to go back to a trophy store that JJ and I had passed on our way and buy them just one javelin lookin’ throwing gold idol prize or something similar and say well done, maybe even engrave their names that I didn’t know on it. I wanted to buy them their own ice cream too that I watched dad so gingerly walk with, balancing five, while I was in the concourse on line for the loo. What a team these two were with this five. And that would be the emphasis of the story in that family magazine they were featured on the cover of by the way “How to balance five children at a ballgame and look good and accomplished while you’re doing it”.

Jeremiah noted to me that he didn’t think he could do that, have so many kids, his thoughts equally distracted and focused by the fact that he is in the family way, he and his better half, Brittany, just a few month to go now, or 12 or so weeks in babyness parlance and he’s scared to death in the best and most understandable of possible ways.

Then Rodolfo Castro got a hit (I love that guy) not a lot of that kind of Pirate thing was happening on this night so I had moment for a hard clap clap into my glove and a holler of “you go Rodolfo!!” and before you ask, yes, I brought my glove as I have for every game since I was 13 at that double header with Dad and Granddad, where I met John Candelaria courtesy of a homemade Candelaria jersey and a chance bumping into his suddenly excited and beaming parents as we were heading out of the ballpark, mom spinning me around to show her husband the back of this “jersey” maybe realizing for the first time what their son had achieved to reach all the way to the suburbs and to some 13 year old kid who spent his hard pedaled earned bicycle paperboy money to fashion a sort of jersey of his favorite ballplayer and then head to a game, two of them (what a bonus that was) with a Dad and a Grandad, to show it off with glove in hand.

You’re never too old to bring your glove to the ballpark.

Just like then I still dream of foul balls.

/////////////////////////////////////

After so many years of not doing this and so many years of not caring to do things LIKE this, I am famously anti-social in my own small circle these days, I finally let myself go a little bit. Train rides on the way down along a gloriously sun glinted Hudson River next to happy laughing college girls with some adventure waiting in the City while sportin’ the coolest of old school kicks, smiling couples being smiling couples with their own anticipated adventures in store and babies singing baby “La-La” songs, singing singing singing and bouncing at the front of the car with an on top of the world Mom & Dad showing bouncing baby off to strangers on a train but not in a dark mystery way, maneuverings through people in a packed stadium playing my soon 100 loss boys no less, as, of course, a playoff push will fill the seats no matter the competition, a multitude of too many folks almost but I endured for baseball’s sake, a ballpark’s sake, ordering a couple of beers from a tiny woman behind fried heat lamped somethings and beer taps who noted my birthday when I jokingly said my license read “Old dude” and admonished me ever not so slightly for her and I sharing a birth year “Hey, we’re not old!” with a pointed wagging finger.

I realized then that, though I don’t really do people anymore, they still have their moments.

That small woman gave me a fist bump before I left to go back to my seat, but with a smiling glare, a double fist bump as a matter of fact to our shared 1964 and the not feeling old, I mean, you can’t be old at a ballgame now can ya?

/////////////////////////////////////

I didn’t completely talk Jeremiah off the ledge of thinking too much of the wonderful and the frightening and the down the roads but maybe I at least made him back up a bit on it, he knowing that I’m not totally unfamiliar with fresh off the line new baby models replete with working horns and racing stripes after having spent the first 5 years of my nephew Jake’s squirmy, screamy, grabby, happy, poopy existence in a house shared by his Mom (my sis), myself and my brother, the two of us playing Daddy-Uncles and I followed that almost immediately with another youngin’ just in the next stage of youngin’ evolution from 6 into the early teens with Jagger (The JG) and his Mom and I wrote of him and all of us quite often.

I was probably not really any good at this as I look back now, look back a long way as both Jake and JG are in their beginning 20’s, or maybe I was Ok for my short stints as both of them are really fine, smart and most importantly just good young men, but I did at least earn a couple of chops along the way, and an I love you and an I hate you and an I love you or two, so maybe enough cred there to at least get JJ’s toes off their curl on the edge.

I know it sounds silly, but baseball did this, it’s where this best of friendships really first began and this weekend it got me and him in a place where we could talk after too long a time as we always could and did at the ballpark, in a dog grilling parking lot, in a couple of really nice seats with cool strangers as momentary companions and especially on the ride “home” to a train station and a sit down at a little pub in Hastings waiting for the 12:27am, it got me out of the house, finally, reminded me of those multitudes at a ballpark, of life, of a Mom and Dad worthy of trophies and an extra ice cream they didn’t get to enjoy at the game after spreading it around, but maybe a reach into the freezer at home after a gang finished and in bed and toes then met on a couch sharing a spoon and a tired knowing nod to a night well done and spent.

You’ll be good JJ. I have absolutely no worries there, you’ll be really good. And maybe in a couple of years we’ll go back and do this again, you and I and Brittany and a newbie, Grant, a name I’ve been told to expect and you’ll be the guy who catches a foul ball with a baby in his arms and makes the big screen in center field for replays and the best of “Awwwww” moments from a packed ballpark.

Thanks for the start Grandad, and I did do some bowling on a High School club team just to let you know, not very well, but I did.

Late Bloomin’

Some late blooming somethings here at this House on a Hill that have sort of snuck up on me, still, pictures, maybe hoping of someone offering to tell me what they are, who they is, some striking heck’a pretty blooming vibrant things, new found gold not for fight or claims to stake but for bees and cats and the slightest of breeze, and maybe even other bees in white so I can know their name(s) … each one for right introductions.

Ballpark

So a few nights ago I watched the best ballgame of the season, for me at least, with my MLBTV subscription, something I’ve paid for every year since its inception to catch my beloved out of town boys, even when I couldn’t afford it, which has been often. Now as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan it’s not really all that difficult to differentiate between the other “best ballgames of the season” that have come before this one as, well, like I said, I’m a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, there haven’t really been a whole lot to choose from, not a lot to “Raise the Jolly Roger” to in too infrequent texts to my Sis these days, after a win, our thing, even the not so memorable ones, any victory, especially since the All Star Break this year can be considered memorable I guess.  

There was the sweeping the Dodgers in LA for the first time since someone from a Darwin text first started grabbing sticks and hitting stones with them (though probably more just simple defense from the stones being thrown AT ’em from others in a Darwin text – no game yet, not quite, but maybe thoughts a bubblin’). We split a couple with the dreaded hated Yankees earlier in the season when they came down from the Death Star to visit Pittsburgh and get some thick breaded sandwiches with thicker fries and coleslaw on ‘em ‘n that and we did get back at and have a sweep of the Brewers who have owned us in a we’ll wear leather and spikes and hold a whip, you put on this mask kind of way for the longest of time.

But there hasn’t really been any other singular game moment to crow about, or to parrot Pirate squalk “aarrgghh matey’s” about from my shoulder until this one, just the waiting for late August and September to finally see some of the young Bucco’s of the future on a rebuilding team finally being allowed to play regularly, after dead weight DFA off the heap claim roster fills have finally been cast off, and show me some hope that I haven’t felt in , well longer than a while.

That waiting paid off with this “best game”, a combined one hit shutout highlighted by an electric kid’s nasty stuff, Luis Ortiz in his MLB debut. This game was hope. A long suffering Pirate fans hope.

/////////////////////////////////////

Now I’ve been a Pirate fan since I first discovered baseball, right around the time when they won only their second of three World Series since the cold war, only two in my lifetime and I was watching this game with two different pairs of glasses, one for the close of the Tablet sitting to my left with the game and the other for distance of the TV for the almost good bad bad good movie I was also watching, that needing two pairs of glasses old now lifetime long.

It was Granddad who turned me black and gold when Grandma would allow me, and only me for some reason, to sit with him on some weekends when we would go to visit the two of them and the aunts and the uncles and the cousins. I’ve often joked that watching sports with Granddad back then (sometimes baseball or often bowling) usually with me sitting cross legged on the floor and he in his big chair in the big living room of a big old dusty breezy house was where I learned how to curse and throw shit at the tube, maybe consider a bowling team when I got to High School and be a Pittsburgh fan. Some Steelers yes, but most importantly the Pirates.

/////////////////////////////////////

Went down to Citifield over the weekend for the first time since 2018, a yearly pilgrimage for a best of best friend of mine and I, Jeremiah, starting back In 2005 but paused in 2019 for what, I don’t remember what, though it must have been a something to cause a pause in a 14 year run and then came the the. Pandemics and useless 60 game seasons that I didn’t’ watch a single inning of for the first and only time in my long baseball fan life and then another year where I wasn’t ready just yet for not quite done pandemic crowds.  

/////////////////////////////////////

We thought, back in ’05, a trip down to Queens and still Shea Stadium back then, would be a cool get together moment for a new morning show crew and we eventually played fetching verbal tag with a group of pretty young women, out on their own cool get together moment in seats so far up and away from the field that we were like in baseball clouds. We knew there was a game going on somewhere down on earth, in between the lines, but we played this fetching instead and had such a time. Couldn’t even tell you who won that one. Baseball has that way, a way to make you sort of forget things even though you knew, a mine vs yours, or a mine vs them, as long as it was being played somewhere near you and you were there meandering, meandering with it as baseball wondrously meanders and you talking and laughing and paying attention on occasion.

But this past weekend Jeremiah and I caught a game again, finally, after these too many years, ones that sneak up on you and have you think of windows closing more than you’d like, years, and “breaking out the fancy chairs tonight” he said in his driveway with a lugging to the car fancy parking lot chairs for lounging pre-game dog grilling and sauerkraut heatin’ in a cat’s water bowl (hey, it’s what I had on hand. It worked for the warmin’ is enough as a good baseball hot dog don’t do cold sauerkraut) and upscale beers and spicy mustard awaitin’ some hot dog buns. And not just regular hot dog buns on this night mind you, no siree Bucco, but brioche hot dog buns, this was an occasion after all, you break out the brioche for an occasion I guess. I know. Nice touch right? I thought the same even though I have no idea what brioche is, other than it just ain’t some regular white bread fashioned as a hot dog bun. It’s fancy sounding where hot dogs ain’t fancy.

/////////////////////////////////////

Everyone was asleep, or close to it as I grabbed that one seat at the back of the car, at now a quite happily baseball night spent almost 1 in the morning that allows you to ride WITH the train and with no one behind you, not ride backwards as some do. I don’t know how people sit in the “backwards” seats as traveling with your back to wherever you’re going is just so unsettling to me. Maybe if you’re with company, for the distraction Ok, but if you’re not with company as is always the case for me on nights like this you just grab that one seat, at the back, that one first step in if you can, that one one that points you forward.

/////////////////////////////////////

Next to Jeremiah and I tonight was a family. A Mom and a Dad and five kids, all tremendously good looking, cover of a family magazine good looking, almost unfairly so to all the regular ol’ families out there, Mom and Dad troopers that took the gang out for a night at the ballpark all around 7 or 8 or younger, and did it so well that I wanted to go back to a trophy store that JJ and I had passed on our way and buy them just one javelin lookin’ throwing gold idol prize or something similar and say well done, maybe even engrave their names that I didn’t know on it. I wanted to buy them their own ice cream too that I watched dad so gingerly walk with, balancing five, while I was in the concourse on line for the loo. What a team these two were with this five. And that would be the emphasis of the story in that family magazine they were featured on the cover of by the way “How to balance five children at a ballgame and look good and accomplished while you’re doing it”.

Jeremiah noted to me that he didn’t think he could do that, have so many kids, his thoughts equally distracted and focused by the fact that he is in the family way, he and his better half, Brittany, just a few month to go now, or 12 or so weeks in babyness parlance and he’s scared to death in the best and most understandable of possible ways.

Then Rodolfo Castro got a hit (I love that guy) not a lot of that kind of Pirate thing was happening on this night so I had moment for a hard clap clap into my glove and a holler of “you go Rodolfo!!” and before you ask, yes, I brought my glove as I have for every game since I was 13 at that double header with Dad and Granddad, where I met John Candelaria courtesy of a homemade Candelaria jersey and a chance bumping into his suddenly excited and beaming parents as we were heading out of the ballpark, mom spinning me around to show her husband the back of this “jersey” maybe realizing for the first time what their son had achieved to reach all the way to the suburbs and to some 13 year old kid who spent his hard pedaled earned bicycle paperboy money to fashion a sort of jersey of his favorite ballplayer and then head to a game, two of them (what a bonus that was) with a Dad and a Grandad, to show it off with glove in hand.

You’re never too old to bring your glove to the ballpark.

Just like then I still dream of foul balls.

/////////////////////////////////////

After so many years of not doing this and so many years of not caring to do things LIKE this, I am famously anti-social in my own small circle these days, I finally let myself go a little bit. Train rides on the way down along a gloriously sun glinted Hudson River next to happy laughing college girls with some adventure waiting in the City while sportin’ the coolest of old school kicks, smiling couples being smiling couples with their own anticipated adventures in store and babies singing baby “La-La” songs, singing singing singing and bouncing at the front of the car with an on top of the world Mom & Dad showing bouncing baby off to strangers on a train but not in a dark mystery way, maneuverings through people in a packed stadium playing my soon 100 loss boys no less, as, of course, a playoff push will fill the seats no matter the competition, a multitude of too many folks almost but I endured for baseball’s sake, a ballpark’s sake, ordering a couple of beers from a tiny woman behind fried heat lamped somethings and beer taps who noted my birthday when I jokingly said my license read “Old dude” and admonished me ever not so slightly for her and I sharing a birth year “Hey, we’re not old!” with a pointed wagging finger.

I realized then that, though I don’t really do people anymore, they still have their moments.

That small woman gave me a fist bump before I left to go back to my seat, but with a smiling glare, a double fist bump as a matter of fact to our shared 1964 and the not feeling old, I mean, you can’t be old at a ballgame now can ya?

/////////////////////////////////////

I didn’t completely talk Jeremiah off the ledge of thinking too much of the wonderful and the frightening and the down the roads but maybe I at least made him back up a bit on it, he knowing that I’m not totally unfamiliar with fresh off the line new baby models replete with working horns and racing stripes after having spent the first 5 years of my nephew Jake’s squirmy, screamy, grabby, happy, poopy existence in a house shared by his Mom (my sis), myself and my brother, the two of us playing Daddy-Uncles and I followed that almost immediately with another youngin’ just in the next stage of youngin’ evolution from 6 into the early teens with Jagger (The JG) and his Mom and I wrote of him and all of us quite often.

I was probably not really any good at this as I look back now, look back a long way as both Jake and JG are in their beginning 20’s, or maybe I was Ok for my short stints as both of them are really fine, smart and most importantly just good young men, but I did at least earn a couple of chops along the way, and an I love you and an I hate you and an I love you or two, so maybe enough cred there to at least get JJ’s toes off their curl on the edge.

I know it sounds silly, but baseball did this, it’s where this best of friendships really first began and this weekend it got me and him in a place where we could talk after too long a time as we always could and did at the ballpark, in a dog grilling parking lot, in a couple of really nice seats with cool strangers as momentary companions and especially on the ride “home” to a train station and a sit down at a little pub in Hastings waiting for the 12:27am, it got me out of the house, finally, reminded me of those multitudes at a ballpark, of life, of a Mom and Dad worthy of trophies and an extra ice cream they didn’t get to enjoy at the game after spreading it around, but maybe a reach into the freezer at home after a gang finished and in bed and toes then met on a couch sharing a spoon and a tired knowing nod to a night well done and spent.

You’ll be good JJ. I have absolutely no worries there, you’ll be really good. And maybe in a couple of years we’ll go back and do this again, you and I and Brittany and a newbie, Grant, a name I’ve been told to expect and you’ll be the guy who catches a foul ball with a baby in his arms and makes the big screen in center field for replays and the best of “Awwwww” moments from a packed ballpark.

Thanks for the start Grandad, and I did do some bowling on a High School club team just to let you know, not very well, but I did.