The “Alfred Burt Carols” are a marvelous collection of fifteen Christmas songs. They were written by Alfred S. Burt from 1942 and 1954 and annually distributed to friends as Christmas Cards. After learning about them in high school choir, my buddy Dave and I decided we would follow suit. We each wrote a little ditty, hand-copied ten or twelve copies, and mailed them out, vowing to continue to do so every year hence. I’ve lost touch with Dave, but I know I haven’t done it again since.Keep Reading
If you never saw the Purple People Eaters browbeat quarterbacks or Joe Greene and the Steel Curtain blank opponent after opponent; if you never saw Walter Payton deliver crushing blows to prospective tacklers or Gayle Sayers dance his way to the goal line; if you never saw Paul Hornung covered in mud or an exhausted Kellen Winslow dragged off the field; if you’re not sure who the Super Bowl trophy is named after or who George Halas is or why the AFC trophy is named after Lamar Hunt, then to you NFL football may seem great, just fine, normal. But to those of us who have been fans long enough to remember when the game was still football, today’s NFL is a sad and pale reminder of better days gone by.
From 1948 to 1960 a linebacker named Hardy Brown terrorized NFL offenses using a devastating right shoulder, which he used the way a boxer delivers a six-inch knockout punch, sending player after player from field to hospital. During an interview for NFL Films in the 70s, after rule changes began to calm the game down, Hardy called the current state of football “a sissy game”. As much as we hated to see him go in 1991, it’s probably better that Hardy never got a chance to see today’s much sissy-er version of the game he loved to play.Keep Reading
Prior to moving from the west coast to New England earlier this year I assumed that since the east coast has ‘been in business’ longer than the west, things would be pretty together; organized, with good systems in place. Well you know what they say about people that assume.
On the morning of November 3 – a cold yet sunny morning glimmering with a layer of unexpected snow – I stood in line waiting with several fellow townspeople for the polls to open, got screened for Covid, and was eventually handed a pen and an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper; some pesty form that a nameless office worker had run off on their HP printer, I guessed; something else to throw away when no one is looking. And then I realized that it was my ballot!
I didn’t know if I should laugh, object or look to see if there was a hidden camera ready to record my reaction. What kind of hobo, hillbilly, half-assed organization came up with these? In the year 2020, with all the technological advances of the past fifty years, when everything from paying bills to going to class is done via a series of 0s and 1s, these people expect me to cast the most important ballot I’ve cast since the very first in 1976 using 18th century technology?
Are you kidding me? What the hell? Didn’t we put a man on the moon over two generations ago? And you give me what amounts to some tree bark and a piece of charcoal?
In a small New England town, one of the few places in America where young people are once again playing organized baseball on community fields, an old man; a veteran, proudly stares at the unfurled stars and stripes and with a tear in his eye sings our national anthem along with the recorded version being piped over the loud speaker.
In a parking lot within a bedroom community outlying Portland, Oregon a young woman sees a soldier walking to her car and alters her path to intersect with the soldier’s, extends her hand and offers her sincere thanks for the soldier’s service to our country.
In a fast food drive-through in Hamilton, Ohio a father of three notices that the car behind him contains four servicemen. He preemptively pays for their meals and drives away before they are aware of his kindness and generosity.
These three proud Americans heroes have little in common except for their love of our country, our freedoms and our flag.
*Tom was an alcoholic and a smoker. A master carpenter and sometimes-roofer, he was wiry and tough and a living old-school ad for both Budweiser and Marlboro.
From time to time, usually at the urging of his family, Tom would stop drinking for a while, or stop smoking for a while, or stop both, for a while. At a point in his late 30s he decided and voiced that he’d rather live a short life with his beer & cigs than live a long life without them. When he entered the hospital at age 43, his body riddled with cancer, he did not complain or blame or mourn. He knew why he was there and he was at peace with it.
We all do this to a certain extent: put up with some bad if it is outweighed by some good. Drinkers put up with hangovers because they enjoy the drunk more than they dislike the hangover. Pot smokers live with coughing their lungs out when they invariably take too big a hit, but decide it is worth it for the buzz. Obese people enjoy the third bowl of ice cream and bag of chips more than they dislike buying bigger clothes each year.
And so it goes.
We also do this when we vote.
*Here we go again. Every time a member of the GOP starts lagging in the polls they bring up abortion and/or school prayer. Surefire issues that get the blood flowing and the jaws yapping. A way to distract and deflect and rouse the rabble.
That abortion has been and was ever and still is an issue discussed, debated and decided on by a bunch of old white guys that don’t even have a horse in the race, instead of women and their medical professionals, is ludicrous – just nuts!
As for school prayer, be careful what you start advocating for Mr. Trump – you just may get it.
As tiresome as it is to listen to NRA Nutz misquote, misinterpret and misuse the Second Amendment, and as badly as we need gun ownership regulation of some sort – as the Second Amendment dictates – gun control legislation is not going to stop these monstrous school killings; at least not any time soon. Even if gun control legislation passed this afternoon it would take decades before guns weren’t readily available – if then. Keep Reading
Not surprisingly the politicians on the panel belittled that idea as quickly and harshly as possible, not wanting to acknowledge that it could be necessary to call upon a non-politician to do a politician’s job; protective of their jobs and situation in the uneasy manner contractors display when homeowners suggest doing their own repairs instead of calling upon the contractor’s expertise. Of course Mr. Maher could not have been more correct or insightful.
Much of Trump’s initial support was a result of him being a TV personality. Had it not been for his established fame not only would he not have been elected president … he would never even have been invited to the debates or received the nomination. He certainly wasn’t a credible politician – or even a credible human being.
It isn’t about how many weeks or how many centimeters or how many heartbeats because you can’t have a person without that zygote and so you can’t say the zygote is not alive, or a being. Cells that are reproducing and growing as rapidly as the zygotes are, more than qualify anything – plant or animal – to be ‘alive’.
No, it is about 1) who gets to murder legally and 2) who gets to decide who gets to murder legally. The answer to both – generally speaking, in dangerous generalizations – is old white guys. Politicians, influential businessmen, henchmen and cronies that think in grandiose terms, where lost lives are anticipated, computed and accepted as part of the game; the price of doing business.
Who doesn’t get to murder legally is everyone else, and the guys running the show will do anything to keep it that way, lashing out at the very idea of what and who they fear most: empowered women. Keep Reading
*Most addicts never see it coming. They just cruise along enjoying a harmless vice, one they are in complete control of, placing themselves above the many that have succumbed. Then the day of Josie’s graduation comes along, which means three hours in the car with family and a long day away from home before there will be any alone time, and they panic a little. Mr. Jones is knocking. That’s when the compromises begin.
One little lie here, one unfact there, twenty dollars here, a couple hours there. They will compromise their own integrity. They will compromise their own reality. They will compromise almost anything just to get at that drink, that pill, that gram, that bet, that cupcake. They start doing things that they never would have dreamed of doing a year ago, or two.