Thursday, April 3, 2014

Drawing The Parallels Between Dr. Seuss And Al Capone...

Remember the scene in the Untouchables when Al Capone (Robert De Niro) gathers together all of his hit men for a dinner party, pulls out a bat and proceeds to beat one of them to a bloody pulp?

If you haven't seen the movie, long story short, two of Capone's men were plotting to kill him, Capone got wind of it and SPLAT!!!

I don't necessarily condone violence as a way to settle disputes of any kind but in a situation like that one, it was a flat out case of kill or be killed.

Capone isn't going to cry to the police and he certainly can't let these dudes just walk into some Italian bistro and wack him while he's eating his Pasta Fazul.

Now this brings us to my favorite book of all time.

It's a lesser known book by the now deceased, legendary children's book author, Dr. Seuss.

It's called, "I Had Trouble In Getting To Solla Sollew".

The premise of the story is fairly straight forward and it's written in the classic rhythmic style that Dr. Seuss is famous for.

The protagonist, a scrawny little half cat - half muppet creature, stubs his toe. Because he's such a whiney little bitch and things aren't going his way, he decides to get the fuck outta dodge.

He eventually gets wind of a city named Solla Sollew that's supposedly the bee's knees.

Seuss so eloquently describes this city as follows...

"on the banks of the beautiful River Wah-Hoo, where they never have troubles! At least very few."

If Google Translate had a language setting for Dr. Seuss, I'm hoping it would translate the above description as, "right off the balneario beaches in the south zone of Rio, where they have hot Brazilian hookers and all of the Cachaca you can drink."

 Great. That makes perfect sense. I would go too.

So this half cat, half muppet sets off on his journey but things don't go so smoothly.

Along the way, he runs into a bunch of assholes that want to kill him for no apparent reason.

One of them looks like a mutation of an Aardvark and a Dragon Fly and it's constantly trying to suck the life out of him.

Another nemesis resembles some sort of Chicken Lizard and the fucker actually bites him on the ass.

At one point Seuss even pits this poor schmuck against what seems to be a pack of Sesame Street Mountain Lions gone bad.

And to add insult to injury he arms him with nothing but a pea shooter.

No joke.

A God damn pea shooter.

With one pea!

Holy shit.

Any way, it goes on and on and on until he finally gets to this Solla Sollew place and then realizes he needs a key to get in and he can only gain access to it via this shady man / yeti that's dressed in some weird bellhop bathrobe costume that looks like Yul Brynner's (God rest his soul) outfit from the King and I.

*Breath*

Thing is, this yeti doorman is a sadistic douchebag and he won't give cat man the key.

Just when you think the story is gonna take a hard left toward male prostitution, he actually persuades the yeti bellhop to hand him the key and inserts it into the door.

But holy mother Mary of Christ, there's a fucking door weasel that lives in the keyhole and takes the key!

ENOUGH!

So now he's faced with a dilemma.

He can't get into Brazilian Hooker land and he certainly doesn't want to go back the way he came, for fear of getting skinned alive by Chicken Lizard and Dragon Fly.

So he makes a decision.

Usually in children's books there is a moral that aims to teach kids the right thing to do.

In this case, maybe it would be to offer the door weasel something in return for the key. This would teach kids the importance of sharing.

Or maybe he could go back the way he came and reason with Chicken Lizard and the Aardvark monster. This would teach kids how to cope with bullies with words rather than violence.

But the good Dr would have none of this.

Seuss decides that rather than run away from your troubles, it's sometimes best to face them head on.

It's the same lesson we learn from Capone in the Untouchables and they approach it with uncanny similarity.

This is the text on the last page verbatim:

"Then I started back home
To the Valley of Vung.
I know I'll have troubles.
I'll maybe, get stung.
I'll always have troubles.
I'll maybe, get bit
By that Green-Headed Quail
On the place where I sit.

But I've bought a big bat.
I'm all ready, you see.
Now my troubles are going
To have troubles with me!"

SPLAT!!!

I'd like to think that somewhere up above or perhaps below, Dr. Seuss and Al Capone are sharing a mason jar full of Cachaca, off the balneario beaches in the south zone of Rio, with an abundance of Brazilian hookers, exchanging stories of bad-assery and garnering mutual respect.









Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Meaning Of Hate Is...

First of all, Happy New Year.

Moving on...

As an adult, I've been blessed with a full life. 

By full, I mean rich with experiences.

The blessing part is made up of tons of micro experiences and emotions that we get from the learning part that comes with those experiences.

Stay with me.

We humans like to call this wisdom.

Some are wiser than others. I'd like to think I'm somewhere in the middle.

This wisdom we acquire enables us to make choices. Choices that are grounded in reason.

What I'm trying to say is...

MY KIDS DON'T KNOW SHIT! 

They don't know shit about anything because they don't yet have the ability to reason, that comes from the wisdom, which stems from the learning that is acquired from the experiences that you get when you are blessed with a full life.

It's seems as though every time my kids don't get what they want, their response to me is,

"I HATE YOU!".

Now this would be perfectly acceptable to me if I thought they knew anything about hate. 

Hate doesn't boil. 

Hate simmers.

Hate needs to be cooked on low heat for a long time. 

Hate needs to be stirred. 

Then and only then will hate allow itself to be seen.

Hate runs very deep.

Hate Kills.

Arabs and Jews seem to hate each other but that hate comes from years of resentment.

Harry Osborn hates Spider man but that's because Spider Man killed his father.

Elmer Fudd hates Bugs Bunny but that's because Bugs Bunny is a button pushing, arrogant son of a bitch.

When I was in the 6th grade I was kicked in the balls by a kid named Buddy. 

Getting kicked in the balls made me very angry. 

For awhile I thought I hated Buddy for what he had done to me but that wasn't hate. It just sucks being kicked in the balls. 

Now, if Buddy had continued to kick me in the balls time and time again, over and over, every day for the remainder of the school year, then that might warrant some hate or maybe even an athletic supporter.

My point is...

Until my daughters have the extreme displeasure of being kicked in the balls repeatedly, over a long period of time, they will have to wait to learn the true meaning of hate.

Hopefully they never will.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Firsts, Seconds, Lasts...

Today my little meatball turned seven.

2555 sunrises.

2555 morning stretches.

2555 goodnight kisses.

2555 days traveling a dirt road off the beaten path. 

A path on which, this year, we saw the greatest puppy ever known, chocolate chip pancakes and lazy Sundays anchored by nothing but bacon and feety pajamas. 

It seems as if every year is just another year closer to further away... from me.

She walks.

She talks.

She loves.

She hurts.

She contributes.

The meatball is my youngest daughter.

A lot of firsts for her were seconds for me.

I take less pictures. I shoot less video. I spend less time worrying about things I can't control.

Now I understand that these firsts that are seconds, are lasts.

I remember longing for the day that she would wipe her own ass. Why are her arms so short? It seemed like such a burden. 

Now I understand that these are burdens that only the most blessed of people carry.

I wanted to be done with turning on the TV at 6am.

Let me sleep.

Now I wish she'd wake me up. 

Like Sam Elliot said so eloquently in Roadhouse, "I'll get all the sleep I need when I'm dead".

A truth that resonates like only a truth can.

2555 days of growth for her and for me.

2555 days in the rear view mirror.

She's taught me that love is unique.

There really are no seconds.

For me, that's a first.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Alleged Handjobs and The Musings of a Racquetball King...

I was 12 when I had what was maybe the greatest 3 1/2 weeks of my life.

That summer I attended sports camp at the Y. 

Not the YMCA that inspired the Village People but the Jewish Y that inspired my Nana. 

A.K.A. the "cheap camp".

Man, that camp was a total shit hole but it was perfect.

That first part of the summer I beat the snot out of a kid named Shep in a racquetball tournament.

Shep sounds like a pussy name and racquetball sounds like a pussy sport but I swear to God it was a big fucking deal at the Y.

Being 12 was simple but it was awkward.

I distinctly remember that in the 80's the girls and the boys dressed exactly the same.

We all wore these basketball shorts that were so tight, they choked the last breath from our private parts.

Oh and the tube socks with the color stripes at the top.

It was like a symbol of great stature.

Pull them up to the calf and you were less than. Pull them up just beyond the knee cap and you were a God.

My mother used to buy them by the dozen. Each pack stuffed, a cornucopia of rainbows crafted with the lowest of thread counts.

There was also the half shirt. Cottony mesh, available both with sleeves and without. The perfect foil to the shorts.

Every day I'd struggle to pull my tube socks up as high as the elastic could bear, all the while pulling down on my half shirt to cover my pasty white, freckled belly.

An impossible struggle for simpatico.

Life was simple then.

Sports.

Then everything changed.

Girls.

I saw and touched boobs for the first time that summer.

Real boobs. None of this, grazing a boob with your elbow during a tetherball game crap. We're talking legit second base here.

I'm also 99% positive I got my first handjob that summer and 1% sure it was a dream.

Maybe it had something to do with me being the racquetball* King.

There's something mystical about racquetball sweat.

It must be scientific. Some kind of potent aphrodisiac. 

These memories are glorious and huge and earth shattering to me.

Collectively, these experiences bulldozed a path for me into adolescence. A path so wide the entire cast of Honey Boo Boo could have skipped through it with arms locked.

But they are also terrifying...

Because deep in the dark recesses of the belly of the proverbial beast lies both good and bad news.

The good news is that the sport of racquetball has since faded into obscurity.

The bad news?

My daughter is almost 12.


*Racquetball was pretty huge back in the 80's. Kind of like how women's beach volleyball was en vogue two Olympics ago. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Plumb.

We neutered our dog Cody on Monday and I'm distraught.

I really didn't think it was necessary.

He doesn't exhibit any aggressive behaviour.

He doesn't mark his territory in the house.

I have yet to see him defile a human leg.

I've seen him attempt to mount both male and female canines alike. He seems to have been born a free spirit.

I do admit to catching him engaged in promiscuity with his pillow now and again but I went through the same phase in High School.

With all that being said, we didn't opt to go with the full castration option but rather a fairly new, non surgical, non invasive procedure called Zinc Neutering.

Basically, the procedure involves an injection into each testicle.

With a needle.

In each testicle.

Gulp.

This is Cody after the procedure later that day.




















My six year old said, "Dad, Cody's balls look like a plumb."

Yes they do.

Supposedly this is normal but that doesn't make it any easier for me him.

Cody has been sedated for a couple of days now but I suppose when he comes around he might want to have a short conversation with me.

I anticipate it going like this...

Cody: Hey pop?

Me: Hey buddy.

Cody: Do you have something you want to tell me?

Me: Not really, no.

Cody: Really? Nothing?

Me: Not that I know of.

Cody: Nothing to do with my balls?

Me: How so?

Cody: Have you seen my balls recently?

Me: I don't remember really.

Cody: Why aren't you looking at me?

Me: I'm sorry. I was distracted.

Cody: By my balls?

Me: No, I thought I heard something.

Cody: COME ON!!!

Me: WHAT?

Cody: DON'T FUCKING CONDESCEND ME MUTHERFUCKER!

Me: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Slow down.

Cody: Slow the fuck down yourself a-hole. You call yourself a father?

Me: I know you're upset but...

Cody: UPSET? UPSET? Upset is when you run out of cheese.

Me: When have I ever run out of cheese?

Cody: DUDE! MY BALLS ARE FUCKING PURPLE!!!

Me: It's temporary.

Cody: TEMPORARY?  I TEMPORARILY SAT ON MY BALLS TWELVE TIMES TODAY!

Me: I've done that.

Cody: Shut up.

Me: It could be worse.

Cody: Oh really? How?

Me: I could run out of cheese.

Cody: You ran out of cheese?

Me: I'm totally messing with you.

Cody: Dick.

Me: Sorry buddy.

Cody: Whatever.

Me: Want some cheese?

Cody: YES! I love cheese!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

God Save The Children...

A couple of months ago I was asked to deliver a commencement speech at an Elementary School here in NY.

My first reaction was, "Why the F*!K would you willingly ask me to deliver a commencement speech to a bunch of innocent children?"

Then fear set in.

Kids are smart.

They are perceptive.

They are unknowingly judgmental.

Kids are like sharks looking for prey. They have the innate ability to smell blood.

They will intuitively know that I am a phony bologna.

So of course I said YES!

I sucked in Elementary School.

I had shitty hair, I wore my older cousin's sweaters, I had front teeth like a jackass and I was a jackass.

This was an opportunity for closure. A complete 180!

FUCK YOU LONG DIVISION AND THE PROTRACTOR* YOU RODE IN ON!

Any way, today was the day I commenced commencing the commencement speech. You can listen to it below if you please.

The kids were awesome. The teachers were awesome and the parents were awesome.

Totally made my day.

I also realized that maybe I'm not such a phony bologna after all.

At least that's what the sharks told me.





* A protractor is a square, circular or semicircular tool, typically made of transparent plastic or glass, for measuring angles. It's useless unless you're a mathematician.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Green Acres Is The Place To Be...

Here I sit on the LIRR, knees pressed against the back of the seat in front of me. Usually women sit like this or teenage girls. Business men sit upright, drinking beer and reading the Wall Street Journal. 

Doesn't anybody know that the news is forever a day late and a dollar short? 

Kids press their noses against the mucky windows and prop their gum laden sneakers on the faux leather. 

Some commuters sleep.

I don't know why but I've never been able to sleep on the train.

Sitting with my knees up is comfortable but only for a few minutes at a time. 

I have old knees. Old like Brian Dennehy old, not like George Burns old. So, I shift back and forth, up and down and an inch here and there. Seems like a lot of work but it's a hard habit to break.

I love the 5:40 train. Especially during the spring time. 

For the most part, the sun is at our back. Sometimes it peers through the windows from the South West, a subtle reminder that the day's not over until the sun calls it.

The train gives me time alone to review my day. 

Was I fair? Was I kind? Was I selfish? Did I lose my temper? Did I listen? Did I judge? Did I hold the door for someone? 

How can I be better? Tomorrow I will have the opportunity to make adjustments. I can always make adjustments.

The train passes things on the way to anywhere. Trains are forever passing things.

That's what trains do. 

We pass Green Acres Mall and I think of my grandma and grandpa. They used to take me there when I was a kid.

My grandpa isn't around anymore but it's easy to conjure up his image. 

I see an overly generic mesh baseball cap bought at the 5 & 10. I reminisce with the dancing mouse he'd make from a table napkin. I can taste the salt on the cashews and walnuts that sat in the marble dish. I hear the fizz of seltzer, freshly dispensed from an old fashioned blue glass bottle, fully equipped with trigger. I smell his Brut by FabergĂ© and I manage a half smile. 

Small gifts, courtesy of the 5:40.

Perhaps this is why I don't sleep on the train. 

In order to receive the gifts, you need to keep your eyes open.

Always remember to keep your eyes open.