Thursday, August 28, 2014

Uncle John

My Cousin Suzie posted a photo of her Dad (my Uncle John) and her son Jesse watching the Little League World Series on TV together. It reminded me of all the times Uncle John (my favorite uncle) and I watched baseball games (probably the Yankees) together on TV when I would visit New Jersey in the summers after we moved to Florida. He and I would talk baseball but mostly just sit quietly and watch. He was a great athlete in his younger days with a chance to play professionally had he chosen that path. He knew baseball and imparted much knowledge about the game to me. I still carry that knowledge with me today. Uncle John took me to my first major league game. It was 1961 at Yankee Stadium. We drove to the Bronx from New Jersey, parked on a street near the stadium and walked to the "House That Ruth Built".  In 1961 I was playing school and Little League ball. I was sure I would be playing in the Bigs in a few years. I was a Willie Mays fan, but I appreciated the NY Yankees roster. 1961 is the year Roger Maris hit 61 home runs and Mickey Mantle hit 54. The M&M boys were part of a team which many have called the greatest team ever. My Uncle John took me to see that team play. He also bought me a baseball at the gift shop that was autographed by that team. It is not the actual signatures, they are printed or facsimile signatures but who cares. I still have that ball. Some of the signatures are Mantle, Maris, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Clete Boyer and many other stars. The ball is a family treasure.

But I digress. This is about Uncle John. He is not a blood uncle. He is my Aunt Anne's husband and my Mom's brother-in-law. He joined the Kelly family shortly after I came along. He and I immediately had a bond since we share a birthday. I remember having two birthday cakes at family gatherings. Looking back, I fear Uncle John got the short end of those joint celebrations. Unfortunately for him, I was the cute kid at the table. 

Let me tell you what I know about Uncle John. He was an outstanding athlete in school. He played baseball, football, soccer and any other sports they had plus a few they probably didn't. He is a WWII veteran with a Purple Heart. He continued serving society by becoming a police officer. I remember him going to and coming in from watch at all hours. I remember how impressive he looked in his police uniform. I remember his gun that he took off as soon as he was home. I remember watching ballgames in the front TV room with him. After several years on the police force, he transferred to the fire department. The hours and shifts were a little more stable but the job was no less dangerous or important.

So, you want to equal Uncle John's service to society? All you have to do is go overseas during your youth, fight the Axis powers and get wounded. Then, spend several years as a police officer. Not finished yet, now go fight fires, rescue folks and breathe toxic fumes until retirement age. At the same time how about raising two great kids and inspiring your daughter to be an ER nurse and your son to be a policeman who ultimately became a police chief. 

During all this exposure to war, criminals and destruction, Uncle John remained a gentle man and a gentleman. I haven't seen him in several years. He's in Florida and I'm in Texas.

I doubt I ever told Uncle John that I loved him. Guys didn't exchange those words back then. Well, I did and I do love him. I wish we had more time together and I wish I had more appreciated the times we did have together. I never remember having a disagreement or harsh words with him.  

Before my Aunt Anne comes and smacks me, I know you had a big hand in all this. I love you too, always have despite our sometimes differences. Yes, I was often a little shit, probably still am. 

In conclusion, Uncle John is one of our Greatest Generation. He did his job, whatever it was, the best he could. He is a hero. Not just for a few days, weeks or  months but for an entire lifetime.

I miss those times on William St. when we watched Mickey, Yogi, Whitey and Roger on TV together or played catch in the back yard or tennis at the courts up the street. 

Glad you were in our lives. We are all better for it.


Simple Things

It seems as I get older I more and more appreciate the simpler things in our lives. 

I enjoy a walk to nowhere in particular. I walk at a decent pace, but still have plenty of time to take in the sites. I notice the wildlife, changes to landscapes, new businesses, new houses, great looking houses, trashy  houses and a multitude of other things I never noticed before.

The same goes for my bike rides. They can take me outside my walking range. Since nobody likes to ride on busy highways or major streets, I have to find new routes to places. I have seen many parts of the area that I never saw in 20+ years of driving. As the area has become more populated and congested, those routes are a little harder to find and at the same time they have become about as efficient as driving. 

It has become much more important to enjoy the journey than to get to the destination. Don't get me wrong, the destinations are still important. I will probably go to the fall festivals in the area. The Bedford Blues Fest (walk), the Southlake Oktoberfest and Grapevine's GrapeFest (bike). 

What made me think of this topic was tonight's final game in my son's softball season. He plays with many of the guys he played with in T-ball, Little League, high school and now beer league softball. I was there for those games too. Sometimes as a coach and sometimes as a supportive parent. Many years ago I did the same thing. I'm still in touch with some of those guys. We don't play much ball anymore, but we enjoy watching it and talking about the days we could make the double play. I will miss our Wednesday nights together at the ball field until next year. I enjoy being around the guys. 

Surprisingly, I will also miss my bike rides home from the games, especially the late games. In our Texas summer heat, early morning or after dark are the bearable times to be outside. By the time the late games end around 10:00 PM there is the added bonus of very little traffic. It is extremely peaceful, just me and my bike. No roar of the engine, AC fan or radio.

So, the moral is a walk, bike ride, ball game, conversation with a friend and other very simple and often free activities make me happy. Another thing I enjoy is writing but I have difficulty keeping it short and simple. I have some theories on that problem but I'll defer that for another post. Otherwise, this will become too long and delayed. 

Ditch the watch and the plan. Just head out sometimes. Enjoy what you see and encounter.


Monday, August 25, 2014


The End of the World 

A recap of some of the disasters, calamities, debacles, catastrophes, incompetence, Armageddons and general BS we have recently survived. 

  • The CDC can't handle deadly viruses and bacteria safely or even keep track of where it is.
  • The Veterans Administration has been falsifying dates on benefits applications to make it look like they provided those benefits in a timely manner. This on the heals of the Veterans Hospitals appointment times scandal. 
  • Israel and Hamas are trading rockets. How unusual. It has now escalated into an Israeli invasion of Gaza. Cease fires are measured in hours, not days, weeks, months or years.
  • Somebody in Ukraine is shooting down commercial airliners. Unfortunately for bad luck Malaysian Airlines it was one of theirs. 
  • Once mighty Microsoft will lay off 18,000 employees although many of those are former Nokia employees in Finland.
  • In Texas we go from extreme drought conditions to flash floods and back again within an afternoon. 
  • The dreaded Chikungunya virus. Is there an official department for naming new scary medical stuff?
  • Just as Chikungunya fades from the headlines we have Ebola wiping out the human race. 
  • In related news the CDC, the agency that lost samples of smallpox for decades, is handling the Ebola testing.
  • The United States is being invaded by an army of undernourished and scared juveniles.  
  • Ferguson, Missouri is the most dangerous and violent place on earth. The Kurds, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Ukrainians and several others may disagree. 
  • There was an earthquake in Napa Valley. It appears that some wine was spilled.
  • Here in Texas, our good hair bad brain Republican governor has been indicted for playing political hardball with a DUI Democratic district attorney. Not a Perry fan, but this smells of BS.
  • Finally for this edition, every GM vehicle ever built has been recalled as have most children's car seats, many cribs and numerous other consumer items. 
I expect that there will be future posts on this subject. Of course that assumes that I survive all the dangers in our everyday life. Wish me luck.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Scattershooting 08-24-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

I'm so glad all the news networks provide this service -

Why didn't I think of this before? Rummaging around the kitchen for supper ideas and kinda felt like some fish. What to go with it? Light bulb went on. I made fish tacos. I love fish tacos and usually order them at Fuzzy's, but never made them at home. Almost always have what's needed to make them. Easy and turned out delicious so I'm sure to make them again many times in the future.

Nice tribute to Robin Williams on Letterman tonight (8/18). They were friends for 38 years and he appeared on Dave's shows 50 times. Dave even appeared on Mork & Mindy. RIP Robin.

Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If they are not there the first time you need them, the chances are you won't be needing them again.
- Scott Adams

I like the story of Mo'ne Davis and her quest for the Little League title. I even understand Sports Illustrated putting her on the cover. But this article may be jumping the shark. Projecting a 13 year old female phenom to having women in the major leagues is a huge leap. I was a very good 13 year old baseball player. Unfortunately, that was probably my peak. A lot of things change between 13 and 20. Hormones, growth (or lack of it), other interests, injuries, etc. Maybe one day there will be a woman in the major leagues but not in the foreseeable future. Calm down folks.

Cinderella has left the ball(game) without Prince Charming. Mo'ne Davis and her South Philadelphia team were eliminated from the Little League World Series tonight. It was a good game. I hope now that ESPN, SI and the rest of the media has exploited a 13 year old girl that she can go back to being a normal kid. Love the story, hate the hype. It is very hard to remain an innocent and naive youngster these days.

Is there an expiration date on this whole ice bucket challenge thing? I hope so and I hope it is soon. Continue to support your favorite charity and/or cause, but do it without the ice.

For ‪#‎SongSunday‬. Here is a song from 1966 that I always thought was a pop tune originally written years before. In fact it is the English translation of a 1965 Italian song ("Io che non vivo (senza te)" - "I, who can't live (without you)"). It turned out to be the biggest hit for this British star who rode the wave of the British invasion of the 60's but was always more of a pop, blue eyed soul singer. It has been covered by many artists including Elvis. Regardless of which genre you put her or the song in, it is one of my favorites. Enjoy You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by the great departed Dusty Springfield.

Here's the Elvis version too -

If you are a baseball fan, I hope you saw some of the Little League World Series. Kids playing a great game. Today South Korea beat South Chicago for the championship in a good game. Memories that will last all the participants a lifetime.

I'm looking forward to this. The Bedford Blues & BBQ Festival is Labor Day weekend (8/29-31). It is usually hot and always fun. I particularly want to go Saturday night to see Royal Southern Brotherhood. They are a sometimes group that includes Devon Allman (Gregg's son) and Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers). I am a huge Neville Brothers fan and love the Allman Brothers. Two iconic musical families. Lots of other great music, BBQ & beer. Hope to see you there.

Apparently the world will survive. The recent earthquake in Northern California didn't wipe out the Napa Valley wine industry. Some damage but not devastating. Think I'll have a beer.
School begins tomorrow (8/25) for most D/FW school districts. As usual, it will be a mess on the roads. More kids, more cars, school buses, bikes and many frenzied drivers. Please be careful and remember, no cell phones in school zones. Watch out for that old fart on a bike in Bedford too, I'll be on the road around 7:30.

Double trouble in Country Meadows this morning. During our walk we first spotted a house with a huge tree that had been TP'd. Then we noticed that a house across the street had been flocked. Active neighborhood. Time for the kids to get back to school and do homework. 


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scattershooting 08-10-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

If you watch the news, you would think that the world's human population will be obliterated soon by Ebola. In fact, about 900 people have died from Ebola this year. That's fewer than the number of people killed in the recent Israeli - Palestinian conflict. Both tragic. To put this into perspective, over 30,000 people in the US are killed each year in traffic accidents. We need a vaccine against traffic deaths and intervention by Secretary of State John Kerry to solve this. News hype at work.

OK, who is going to sue who? The SEC Network logo looks suspiciously like a Google Chromecast. I happen to have both. I'm sure Apple actually owns the shape.

I am so glad that local D/FW station CBS11 sent a reporter to Atlanta to cover the catastrophic Ebola story. I'm sure a reporter from Fort Worth will be able to get the scoop on all the local Atlanta and national news outlets. Amazingly, the exterior of Emory Hospital looks the same on all the news stories.

Over the objections of the Republican House, President Obama celebrated his 53rd birthday (8/4). It probably isn't really his birthday since his birth certificate is fake.

The new Sprouts in Hurst opens tomorrow (8/6). Probably won't be the big deal that Whole Foods was a couple of weeks ago but traffic at Grapevine Hwy. & Mid-Cities could be a mess. Lotsa good food store choices in the area. The map on the Sprouts ad is still wrong but the address is correct. Follow the map and you'll be shopping at Tom Thumb.

What is the deal with breastfeeding? A guard at the George W. Bush Library asked a woman to go to the restroom to breastfeed her infant. Was told she could only breastfeed in the bathroom stalls, a perfect location with very comfortable seating. The library apologized and said the guards were wrong. Those damn Barney Fife type guys are always flexing their tiny muscles and single bullet.

Cool, just had a little whirlwind outside my patio. Lots of leaves and grass clippings swirling around. Lasted over a minute.

For this #TBT here are the bookends to my kindergarten year in New Jersey. The first picture is the first day of what was called pre primer at Queen of Peace School in September 1952. L-R is Dick, me, Bruce, Chuck. The second picture is the same four guys at graduation in June 1953. L-R me, Chuck, Bruce, Dick. Just a couple of months later I would abandon my three buddies for the move to the wilds of Florida. — in North Arlington, NJ.

Happy 15th Anniversary to Carey & Kelly. Here is a #TBT photo from the wedding day. A very happy day. From L-R Dad, Mom, Carey, Kelly, Matt & me.

That was enjoyable. No Rangers game or softball tonight so I checked the DVR. I had recorded Victor Victoria the night TCM had a James Garner night a day or two after he died. I watched it tonight. What an entertaining movie. Totally unbelievable premise but filled with great performances and fun production numbers. James, Julie, Robert, Lesley Ann & Alex were all great. I also loved the waiter. James, Robert & Alex are gone now. I miss them all, but they left us with great memories.

Holy crap, he has another whole new face. Just saw Mickey Rourke on Kimmel and he has a whole new face and new fake hair. Even sounds different. What a mess.
To be clear, it's another new face since the after picture above.

For at least the second time I started to watch a recorded episode of The Sixties on CNN that was preempted or interrupted by "breaking news". I understand that CNN is a news network, but this is a little aggravating. Maybe CNN shouldn't have scheduled original scripted programming. I'm hopeful that this series winds up on Netflix or some other network that doesn't do "breaking news".

For today's #SongSunday we go back to a song written in 1934 but most of my generation know it from a 1959 recording that became a classic. I remember it often being played late at night on WAPE & WPDQ AM radio during my high school days. It brings back fond memories of those last few minutes in the car before your date had to be home. It was a good song then and still is. Here is a clip from American Bandstand with Dick Clark of The Flamingos rendition of I Only Have Eyes For You.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Scattershooting 08-03-14

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to the great

Sunday's Summary

My incomplete recap of the week

You can be sure I'll be subscribing to this. I'm sure it will be mentally stimulating.

Where is the logic? I went to the bank today to deposit a few hundred dollars in cash (casino winnings). I went to the drive-up teller and put the cash & deposit slip in the vacuum tube. Teller asked for my ID. I was on my bike & didn't have it with me so they wouldn't take the cash deposit. Solution - rode around to the ATM and made the deposit. Obviously the ATM didn't ask for ID. Go figure.

Apple ain't got nothing on on pirates. Aaaaaarrrrrrrg.

Oh no, hide the women and children. Special weather report (7/30) and Larry Mowry has the jacket off. It's raining in Gainesville.

Very random stuff from my not quite right brain - Very Random Thoughts - August 2014

Sad day for Braves fans. I spent many evenings watching or listening to Pete and Skip on TV and radio broadcasting the games on TBS and WSB. They were knowledgeable, entertaining and funny. Now they are back together. Thanks for the memories. RIP Pete.

For some reason the combination for my gym locker just popped into my head. It was 34-36-6. Then I remembered that I didn't have a lock on my school locker. I never had anything stolen although on occasion someone would rig it so all the books (and maybe cigarettes) would fall out. Funny that we locked up our stinky gym clothes but not our books, supplies, coats, jackets, sweaters or cigarettes.

Another pain in the ass from corporate America. I got a new card in the mail today for a credit card that still had over two years before it expired. I was puzzled. Then I noticed that the account number had changed. The pisser is this is the card I use to make all my online purchases and my automatic payments. So, I will be spending the next few days trying to remember what sites I've stored this account number on or what auto-pays I have. I've had this card for many years with the same number. Seems the issuing bank/financial institution decided to change from MasterCard to VISA so the number had to change. (All MC numbers start with 5 and VISA start with 4). I'm sure VISA offered the bank a 0.00000003276% better deal. Thanks a lot.

FYI for all my Jacksonville peeps &/or Elvis fans. There is a 1972 behind the scenes program on AXS of the Elvis Presley tour. From about :20 minutes until :35 minutes of the show is of Elvis in Jacksonville for an April 1972 concert at the old Coliseum. There are scenes of him going to the concert over the Main St. bridge and a few other local shots. The show is being repeated a couple of times on Tuesday night (8/5) on AXS if you want to see or record it. Not a great program, but some interesting stuff.

I almost forgot ‪#SongSunday‬ today, so here is my rather ironic choice. This is a way back song written and recorded in 1951, before rock & roll hit the scene. It became the signature song of one of the best singers of the 20th century. One I remember seeing on the old TV variety shows and listening to on the big record player in our living room. The song has been recorded by hundreds of singers but this is the original and still the best. Enjoy Unforgettable by the great Nat King Cole. 

Nice -


Friday, August 1, 2014

Very Random Thoughts - August 2014

  • At what age is it too late to make new old friends?
  • You can love someone without being in love, you can be in love with someone you don't love (or even like) and if you're lucky you are in love with that someone you love and they both love you and are in love with you. 
  • Is the fact that Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup enough proof that the Christian God doesn't really care about sports? The Pope is an Argentinian.
  • We all hate when we get a song stuck in our head. It's especially troubling when it is a song we don't like.
  • Infants and old folks often get away with the same inappropriate behavior.
  • Another viewpoint on this whole Hobby Lobby fiasco: Why the hell are employers involved in the health insurance process at all?
  • Is it really a good idea to praise and celebrate formerly overweight people for becoming more fit via bariatric surgery, liposuction and plastic surgery? 
  • Has the term "breaking news" lost all inference of urgentcy or even importance?
  • When a news organization promotes an "exclusive interview" what they really mean is that they were the only one interviewing the person (president, speaker, senator, secretary, etc.) at that precise moment on that day at that exact place. The other news outlets are either just through with their interview or are waiting in the wings to do one. 
  • When you wear a coat and tie with jeans and sneakers is that ambiguous, rebellious, fashionable, lazy, ...? 
  • I have about a million great ideas every day. Unfortunately I don't remember more than one or two of them longer than a few nanoseconds. 
  • Don't answer those stupid Facebook questions like "I bet you can't name a city without an 'A' in it". These folks are just trolling for comments or "likes". Marketing data.
  • When your phone autocorrect makes an incorrect change should we call that a phone phart?
  • Eventually everything we do, eat or drink will be proven by some study to be harmful.
  • If you know the news outlets get the facts wrong on subjects you are familiar with, how much faith do you have in the stories you don't know about?
  • Hitting your "funny bone" is hardly ever funny.
  • I'm not a NASCAR fan so I'm sure I don't understand but, how can Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remain the most popular driver while being one of the least successful top name competitors?
  • If you see the adjectives "artisanal", "curated", "chef driven", "locally sourced" or any of the other current buzzword you can be pretty sure it's a bunch of BS. 
  • Remember when "time is money" was what we thought? Since growing older and being retired I now realize that "time is time" and it slips away much faster than money.
  • No doubt another one of our current annoying catch phrases is when people begin the answer to every question with "no doubt".
  • We had a couple of days of very unseasonably cool days and nights for a Texas July. Lows in the 60's and highs in the 70's. Still, I hear air conditioners humming and most windows are still closed. I think that is sad,
  • Why do we get so upset about a relatively few deaths from things like shark attacks, airplane crashes, hot air balloon accidents, etc. yet we refuse to change laws, perception, behavior about the really big killers like automobiles, tobacco, poor health and eating habits or guns?
  • I see a lot of Sonic commercials because they advertise on Rangers games. Sonic is always coming up with new menu items. Not one of which is healthy.
  • It is extremely hard to not hear or see the results of a sporting event you recorded earlier. 
  • If you are going to spend time on the internet, you will need to either suspend your spelling and grammar radar or you will go crazy. Very hard for those of us who were trained by nuns. 
  • If everybody likes a little ass but no one likes a smart ass, what about a little smart ass? I'm curious because I think I are one.