Thursday, November 22, 2012
The biggest news since last time is that Hurricane Sandy came through here, and with all the post-Sandy stuff going on at The Job Which Supports My Writing Habit, I've been pretty busy the last few weeks.
There wasn't a lot of damage at all at Casa de Lavell from Hurricane Sandy, which is something I'm VERY thankful for this Thanksgiving. We lost power for three days, and a couple of bits of flashing fell off the roof. But that's the extent of the damage we took. Again, VERY grateful. There are people out there that lost their power for a lot longer than we did, lost their homes, and some even lost loved ones. Did I mention that I am VERY grateful that our damage wasn't that bad??? I am also thankful that my Mom is still with us, after everything she's been through, and still goes through. Stroke, cancer, blood thinners, and all. She's a survivor, and I'm lucky to have someone like that in my life. Then, there's my wife Michele. Through all of our ups, downs, dramas, etc., she has stayed in my life when a lot of other people I know and thought were friends headed for the exits. As she put it earlier today, she's my partner in love, in life, and "a little bit of treason." (Quiet Man reference, for those that didn't get it. Don't call out the black helicopters, lol). Through her, I also met her parents, who are mad, brilliant, and wonderful.
My Dad has been, and continues to be, a positive influence on my life, whether he realizes it or not. And I'll always love him, no matter how long it is between the visits. And there's also my friend Lou, who for about 30 years now has been a brother to me. (Not LIKE, Goat Cheese. You're family.)
I'm thankful as hell for The Job Which Supports My Writing Habit. I gripe as much (and sometimes MORE than) the next guy about my job. But somehow, at the end of the month, I sit here with my bills and my checkbook, and everything works out somehow. I've also made some really good friends at the MMC and at Morrisville Yard who I may not have met otherwise. So again, I know how lucky I am.
Now in the aftermath of Sandy, there are some really great efforts going on to help the people who were impacted by the storm. NJ's First Lady, Mary Pat Christie and others have set up a website to take donations for victims of Hurricane Sandy (www.SandyNJReliefFund.org)
If you feel more comfortable donating to an established charity (and there are a lot of people who feel this way), there's always the American Red Cross (www.redcross.org, or call 732-493-9100 ext. 1245). They are taking financial donations, and also running blood drives, as blood supplies are dwindling in a lot of areas in NJ since the storm hit. Another group taking blood donations is the Community Blood Council of NJ (www.givebloodNJ.org, or call 609-883-9750).
There are dozens of benefit concerts planned across the state, and there are people all over the internet selling various merchandise with the proceeds going to Sandy Recovery. I have to admit I bought a couple of tshirts when I found out that they were donating their profits. The two I bought were on shop.ergoclothing.com, and www.sandyaidrelief.bigcartel.com. The second one is a group that are based in NJ, and I already got the shirts. I bought a few as gifts, sort of donating in my friends' names too. It's a great shirt, and I hope that the money they make on it goes to help someone who really needs it.
Anyway, there's not much else going on right now, except that after a short storm break I'm back to the book. I'm still hoping to be done by the end of the year, but I'll keep everyone posted. In the meantime...
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!!!
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I'm still hard at work on the new book, so I've been neglecting the blog lately. I took a while off to goof around online, and Michele was looking a political site online. Now normally I don't get involved in political discussions, because like religion, my views are personal. And anyway, it's one of those subjects your parents always tell you not to discuss in polite company if you want your company to remain polite.
But, as sometimes happens, my emotions got the better of me, and I just had to speak up on this one posting that went up on the Libertarian section of the site. Not because of who the person was voting for, mind you. But because he said that anybody who didn't vote for either Obama or Romney was throwing their vote away. That really set me off, and I had to post something about it. Since I haven't posted in a while, I thought I'd share:
I don't usually talk politics. Normally I keep my opinions to myself. But I built up a little rant reading these posts, and I have to get this off my chest just once.I didn't vote for Barack Obama the first time he ran because I had never heard of him, and I didn't think he showed me anything while he was running except for a bunch of catchphrases. Forget all the controversies that surrounded him before, during, and after the election, I just didn't think he had what it took to be president.He hasn't shown me anything in the last four years as president that's changed my opinion. On the contrary, the fact that he was the first sitting president to appear on Oprah and Letterman while the shape of the country was deteriorating and the fact that I'm paying twice as much for gas as I was when he took office are just more proof (to me at least), that I was right to feel that way.I am also realistic and know that I live in a state that, while we have a Republican governor right now ("which has worked out SO well," he said sarcastically), traditionally votes democratic. So Romney's got about as much chance of getting the electoral votes here as I do. Obama won here 4 years ago, and I've seen so many of his signs on people's houses that it looks to me like he'll win here again. That's pretty sad that we pretty much know who our state is going to swing towards already, but it's the way the system is.That having been said, that's how the system is. It's just like going in some convenience stores. Coke and Pepsi. That's all you get. And it's that way because more people DON'T vote their conscience. If you really think that Gary Johnson is the best candidate on the ballot, then dammit, you should VOTE for him! Everybody complains (and rightly so) about the two-party system, and how it's broken, and how somebody somewhere should do something to FIX it. Well guess what? SOMEBODY is US! Everybody made fun of Clint Eastwood's performance at the RNC convention, but he said one thing that was dead on. We The People DO own this country. At least that's how it's supposed to be. It's ours, and our children's, and if we don't like what our elected officials are doing with our trust, then we need to let them know about it. And the only way to make a real change, and ensure that we have a real choice, is to make sure that we don't just vote for one guy or the other because "that other guy doesn't belong to a major party and he's not going to win." The only way to MAKE the Libertarians a major party is with votes. Give them enough votes to keep them on the ballot if you believe in what they have to say, and let the guys in the suits make them enough money to do the rest. IMHO, if you vote for Romney or Obama just because you think think the other guys can't win, which a lot of people are going to do, THAT will be throwing away your vote.Don't just settle for Coke and Pepsi because because they're the Big 2.Sometimes I like a little RC too.
Monday, September 10, 2012
I just finished reading Donnie Baseball: The Definitive Biography of Don Mattingly by Mike Shalin on my Nook.
Now let me start by saying that Don Mattingly is my favorite baseball player of all time. I was lucky enough to see him play, and he's the best player that I have ever watched. In my opinion, he played the game the way it should be played; he wasn't flashy, he never put himself above his team or the game, and he never cheated to win or extend his career. Having said that, I was very disappointed in this book.
This book sounded like an audition tape for Mattingly's hiring as the Dodgers' manager last year (his hiring was announced while the author was writing the book). It was basically 137 pages (that's what the counter on my Nook said, anyway. It seemed a little longer) of managers, former players, and broadcasters telling us what a great guy he was. Not that I disagree, but I was expecting a few more anecdotes than there were. There was a very short story about Stump Merrill threatening to bench him back in '87 if he didn't cut his hair, and another really short story about Dallas Green playing peacemaker when George Steinbrenner ripped Mattingly in the press in the offseason in '89. There were a few mentions of Mattingly's first wife, Kim dashed throughout, but no mention of the divorce and what led to it. And somewhere towards the end of the book, it was mentioned in passing that Mattingly remarried last year (one brief sentence). Mike Shalin is a good writer, and he tried to cover a lot in the book, but it didn't seem like the people he interviewed for the book gave him much to work with. I realize that Don Mattingly wasn't a hellraiser like Billy Martin or Mickey Mantle, and that there probably aren't a lot of wild and crazy stories to tell. But I'm sure there must be more stories than there were in this book. And after the fourth or fifth time you read that someone said "he was a great guy, he really knows the game and he taught me a lot", it does get a little repetitive. I do have to admit, there was one part of the book where Shalin talks about the fact that Mattingly played the game before steroid use was rampant. He asked him point blank if he would have used steroids if he could have, and brought up Mike Schmidt's quote on the subject. Mattingly's answer was honest, and a little bit surprising.
I think the best part of the book was the photo section that was included at the end, but even that section left me wanting. Maybe I'm biased and had some unrealistic expectations about this book because Don Mattingly was one of my heroes growing up, but I was really hoping to enjoy this book because I was hoping to learn a few things about him that I didn't know. But I was left disappointed, because it seemed more like a testimonial than a biography. With the material he had, I'll bet he could have written a great article.