Where Are We 2,000 Years Later?
It is Christmas Eve and, as a youngster, this was my favorite night of the whole year. It was the night that my mother’s family came to our home, we had a fabulous fish and seafood dinner, and then we stayed up all night playing games, singing and waiting for my Uncle Red to ascend from the basement as Santa Claus.
Things have changed through the years but it is still a special night, the time when my children join me as we try to keep certain family traditions alive. The changing context of family life and the demands placed on parents do not make holiday celebrations very easy. My family has adapted by going to to The Crab Shanty on City Island (Bronx, NY) for our fish and seafood dinner, saving us the time and work to shop, cook, serve and clean up. It is money well-spent.
During the last few years, devoid of children on Christmas Day, I have enjoyed the time alone in marvelous meditation on the true meaning of the day. My recent marriage has made visiting family on Christmas Day a necessity, so I’ve turned to those quiet hours around midnight on Christmas Eve to remember a special birthday.
Just over 2,000 years ago, a very special child was born into a humble, holy family. While researchers and various religious organizations continue to put forth theories, suppositions and proselytisms about the circumstances of the baby boy’s birth and youth, we know for certain that Jesus later emerged on the shores of the Jordan River to be baptized by St. John. Jesus would use the next three years to teach lessons that have influenced 2,000 years of humanity.
Christmas in My ‘Hood December 25, 2007
How One Officer Profiles Americans and Violates Their Rights
During the first week of August this past summer, I was sadly returning to New York from a wonderful vacation in Northern Ontario. I had become quite fond of the people in Northern Ontario because they were friendly, warm and caring.
After spending the summer traveling across the United States and Ontario, I came to the sad conclusion that New York State may well be the worst state in America. Forget the taxes, traffic, dirt, Hillary Clinton and the cost of living … New York simply leads the country in blatant stupidity and greed. My next article will explain that in more detail, so stayed tuned!
However, this article is all about a dumpy little town called Pembroke, Ontario, and its own version of Dudley Do-Right … well, actually, he was more of a combination of Inspector Clouseau and Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
It is highly suggested that all travelers, but especially Americans, should avoid the Trans-Canada Highway (17) between North Bay and Ottawa. If you must travel this horrid stretch of road, go BELOW the speed limit, block traffic and do not stop in any of the towns. You should not stop in Pembroke or spend a single cent within its town limits.
Here is the story of an early afternoon on the first Saturday in August. Some family, straight from The Grapes of Wrath, is driving a truck eastbound on Highway 17 approaching the stink-hole called Pembroke. The truck looks like something from The Little Rascals. Stuff is hanging off the sides and the back, the truck is bouncing up and down, and it is wobbling like it has different sizes of tires on each wheel. It is a menace to itself and other vehicles.
In Memorium: 9/11 September 10, 2007
Dear Osama: You Lose!
It is September 11, 2007. It has been six years. On this day in 2001, nineteen cowards hiding under the skirts one of history’s greatest mass murderers committed a despicable act that can only be considered satanic. At the same time, that man in the dress, Osama bin Laden, made a mistake beyond his narcissistic, imbecilic dreams.
Today, bin Laden lives in caves like a coward, running from a world who wants to end his miserable existence. He relies on videos to send a message that very few care to hear. He is a false prophet who may succeed in hiding in caves from his executioners and assassins, but he will one day face the true God who will judge him accordingly.
What bin Laden failed to understand is that he is just a coward who killed innocent people. We have suffered incredible grief and many (inkling myself) still shed tears for those who died on that tragic day. But Americans also found a new generation of heroes that fateful day. And we marvel at the heroes who refused to run in fear from a coward’s attack.
Truly a New York Icon
Early this morning, we learned the news that Phil Rizzuto had passed away in his sleep at the age of 89. Rizzuto, a Baseball Hall of Fame Shortstop for the New York Yankees from 1941 to 1956, and a Yankee broadcaster for four decades, was a beloved New York icon. Conventional wisdom among New Yorkers was that you either loved or hated “The Scooter” but, regardless of your loyalty to the Brooklyn Dodgers or New York Giants, Rizzuto was truly one of the happiest, nicest and most beloved men who ever played the game.
Like many, I cried this morning when I heard the news. For my generation of kids in New York, there were two men who personified the greatness of the New York Yankees. The first was Mickey Mantle. Most of the kids in the New York area grew up wanting to be Mickey Mantle. We fought to get the uniform with the number “7” on the back. We wanted to play centerfield and hit clean-up. We all dreamed of hitting long-towering home runs just like Mickey.
But we also felt like Phil Rizzuto was our buddy in the broadcast booth. I remember the Sundays from my childhood like they were yesterday. We would head to my grandmother’s house, or the family would come to our house. The women would be in the kitchen cooking the meatballs and the gravy, smoking up a storm and yelling at each other. Meanwhile, all the guys would be in front of the TV, enjoying the Yankee game while catching a quick forty winks here and there.
The New York Rangers Are Ready! August 5, 2007
Rangers Sign Avery and Hossa … Time to Rock and Roll!
While I was vacationing in Northern Ontario, Glen Sather, President of the New York Rangers, signed restricted free agents Sean Avery and Marcel Hossa for 2007-2008 following arbitration hearings. The Rangers roster is essentially complete for the upcoming season and represents a substantial improvement over the 2006-2007 team.
There seems to have been some media hype about the rigors of the arbitration process for Avery. The Rangers offered $1.3 million and Avery asked for $2.6 million. The arbiter essentially split the difference and awarded Avery $1.9 million, an $800,000 raise from the previous season. Apparently, it seems that some shrines of sports journalism integrity like The New York Post have tried to stir the pot and present Avery as angry and dismayed at comments made by Rangers management.
Let’s set the record straight for Avery, the fans and the mediocre hockey writers.
On the Road Again July 20, 2007
Driving through Hell in Buffalo and Toronto
After loading the CRV, I was on the road at 8:30 AM and headed northwest towards a little area called Spanish, Ontario, Canada, for 9 days of relaxation, fishing and general keep-me-out-of-the-house fun. Most of the drive was uneventful with the exception of a few brief showers here and there. By the time I hit Rochester, NY, the Sun was out for the remainder of the day.
While driving through my least favorite city on this planet, Buffalo, I hit the first traffic jammof the day. Somebody needs to explain to the folks at the NYS Thruway Authority that E-Z Pass was designed to reward drivers who invested in the tag. The Thruway Authority in Buffalo decided that E-Z Pass should only have two lanes, and both lanes have the old “stop-and-wait-for-the-gate” technology. Traffic control at other tolls, bridges and the border is none existent. In fact, I think we will wait until midnight on our return to go through U.S. Customs to avoid the five-mile back-up we saw today.
The Panic in Boston Begins July 19, 2007
Red Sox Fans Looking Over Their Shoulders
The first signs of panic have started in Boston. According to one blogger, the Boston sports radio station WEEI is fielding call after call from Boston fans sensing another Yankee comeback. This comes on the heels of the Sox losing two of three in Kansas City while the Yankees are in the middle of a five-game winning streak.
More importantly, the 12-game lead that the Red Sox enjoyed two weeks ago has dwindled to seven games. The Yankes are only six games back in the loss column and have two games in hand, and seventy games to go.
Welcome to the ‘Hood January 28, 2006
Trying to Be More than Another Blog
Pulling off this blog is really quite a miracle at times. Okay, so maybe Saturdays and Sundays are not my most creative days following a week of teaching and an hour-long commute into the ‘hood. As much as I don’t have time to devote to this blog, it has become a fabulous creative and intellectual experience for me. Just as I have devoted myself to teaching the disadvantaged minorities of The Bronx, a borough of New York City, I hope to stake sgtands against all kinds of racism and bigotry. Maybe we can also have a few chuckles along the way. We can also dream about ending the worst thing to ever happen to education, No Child Left Behind.
My blog has been in business since January 2006, born at the urging of a professor who said I need to be current with emerging technology. I like this blogging thing but I hope that my use of a tiny corner of cyberspace might be a force of change and not a waste of bits and bytes.
I sometimes look back at my long, life-draining career at a mom and pop operation named Contractors Register, publishers of a Yellow Page type directory called The Blue Book of Building and Construction, and wonder why I flushed almost 20 years of my life down the toilet. Besides working in an Ultra-White corporate culture akin to a restricted country club devoid of minorities, my days were lost as a manager or account exec selling silly little advertisements to one of America’s most corrupt industries, construction and building. Every day was a struggle to cope with an overwhelming lack of value in the use of my intelligence and talents. Besides enduring insults, professional jealousy, ridiculous leaders and a loss of confidence, I suffered a heart attack and the resulting triple by-pass surgery … all because this company controlled my ability to support my family.