Thursday, April 29, 2010

Movin' Out (With VIDEO)

An obvious Rule 55 for you, as I sit in an otherwise empty house, except for Sean and Fred.  One last car load is packed, and I'll finish things up in the morning.

Sean and I decided we would "camp out" for the last night here, so we inflated our air mattresses, ate pizza while sitting on the counter, and are generally roughing it.  I don't have a pizza cutter or any cutlery, so we just ripped it apart.  Tomorrow we'll take a walk to the bagel place for breakfast.

It is all slightly reminiscent of the night his mother and I moved into our first apartment.  We ate wedges (grinders or hoagies, based on your regionalism) using a box as a table.  It's actually a nice memory.

Tonight won't be such a bad memory either.  We move out, and move on.

Live from Long Island, Mr. Billy Joel.  He's linked here for your pleasure.

Is There Anybody ALIVE Out There? (BRUUUUUUUCE...With VIDEO)

I'm awake, and feeling good.  Put on your best dress baby, and darling fix your hair up right.

If this song doesn't have you smiling, check your pulse.  Mr. Springsteen's video is linked here.

And, of course, we're Rule 55'ing this bad boy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Dad's Emotions

(Photo by RA - September, 2009)

This morning, I put Sean on the school bus.  Nothing new there - I've done it nearly every day for the past two years, and sometimes during Kindergarten as well.  Yet as I watched him, my throat began to tighten.  What the deuce was going on?

I still don't know.  Maybe it was the weather, as we have a third straight gloomy, cold day here in the 845.  Maybe it was knowing that he wouldn't be with me tonight, though I have to admit I doubt that one.

Maybe, just maybe, it was another round of questions from nosy neighbors, wanting to know about our status in the the house.  For just as open as I can be about everything, I can also go into "shutdown" mode.  I've stayed very tight-lipped about the house, and will continue to.  At least to my neighbors.  Oh it's worked its way back to me that there have been questions:

- When are you leaving?
- Who is moving in?
- Is it a family? (jeez, why not just go ahead and ask about race and religion while you're at it?)
- Where are you going?

The house was put on the market in May, 2008.  Of course, it was not the best time for such things but we had a lot of foot traffic, though we had few takers.  We had one, but the deal fell through.  In the meantime, the questions persisted, from "why did the Realtor sign disappear" to "I saw moving trucks.  What's that about?"  So here we are.

Obviously it's nobody's business, but the neighbors just want to know who is moving into their bucolic little heaven.  I understand that, and would love to stay.  No neighborhood is perfect but I've really enjoyed it here.  I think we could have made a lot more of it than we did.  For instance, it's amazing to me how we know faces, but not a lot of names, and I know virtually none of the last names around here (a few, but not many).  We never fraternized with the neighbors (not that there's a lot of that these days anyway) and I would have liked to, but things got...well...weird.  Too many questions, too few answers.

It was a nice place to build a life with a family.

Maybe - for a moment - I felt the end of this era whacking me in the chest.  Am I happy to have it all end this way?  No, but it's time.  I'm excited (more than you all might know) for new beginnings and new experiences.  I think that will all begin this Friday, when doors close and new ones open.

I'd like to think, right now, that we've found the lowest point.  Now the climbing begins.

So maybe, on this dreadful, chilly Tuesday, as my watched one of the things that brings me such joy in life get on that bus, I felt a tinge of regret.  Or frustration.  Or anger.

Or maybe I just miss my boy.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ode to the Road (NY Route 22 - With VIDEO)

My Aunt Nina lives in Dover Plains, and we did the drive up to see her and my grandmother too many times for me to count. To do so, that meant eventually getting on New York State Route 22, the main drag on the eastern edge of the state. The route begins its journey in The Bronx at US 1 and climbs over 300 miles to just short of the Canadian border, where it now ends at US 11.

Note: it did go all the way to the border until 2008. This kind of truncation will never make sense to me. I digress.

I can't say I've driven the entire length of 22, though I've driven a fair share, from the southern terminus to Essex, where we caught the ferry to Vermont.
 So back to my Aunt Nina.  She emailed me a link to a video that musical artist Chris Cassone made for the song, "Route 22."  The song is pretty good, and I discovered that the album it is on was recorded in Mahopac (that's my hometown - once and again) and Patterson (another Putnam County town).  The video was filmed throughout the region, with an emphasis on Amenia (up in Dutchess County).

They also included footage of the Red Rooster in Brewster, a beloved Putnam County stop.  I would add that a trip to the Texas Taco in Patterson is essential also!

Cool stuff.  Enjoy it.  It's linked here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass (A Rule 55 Machine)

Thanks, Steph. Good song, awesome video. Rube Goldberg machines for everyone!

The video is linked here. If you don't recognize the band (OK Go), then perhaps you'll remember them from their treadmill video (of course, I can't embed it...meanies).

Why the Rule 55, you ask? Simply because. Good stuff...bad stuff...stuff that is neither good or bad and I just don't want to talk about it here. Missing people (OK, I shouldn't have said that) and so on.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Linky Dinks and Such (with VIDEO)

I’m trying a software package that I haven’t tried before (Windows Live Writer).  It came with Windows 7 in my new (refurbished) laptop.  We’ll see how this goes.

I haven’t been around to talk about the Ben Roethlisberger thing.  I’m sum it up: Jackass.  Does that work?  Let me add that Roger Goodell thinks he is God and is making an example of him.  I’ll further add that, despite Ben’s poor judgment, I don’t want the Steelers to trade him.  We love second acts and redemption (present company included).  Let’s see it.

Yet, as always, somebody just HAS to play the race card.  Why is Ben not being covered like Tiger?  Ben was out doing dumb stuff, yet he wasn’t married and, as such, wasn’t cheating and further – HE WASN’T CHARGED WITH A CRIME.  Yet we always bring it back to race.  Here’s more via the National Sports Journalism Center and Dexter Rogers.

There was a time when WGCH began to dabble in Stamford sports, like covering Trinity Catholic’s boys’ basketball team in the state championship.  At the same time, we were doing talk shows and such, and Amanda Pape was someone I interviewed as she was destroying scoring records in Stamford.  Amanda was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.  Dave Ruden has more and I’m getting old.

Baseball is back in Richmond, VA (yay for that), and the guys at Bus Leagues Baseball put together a video of their home opener.  Wish I was there but I think the gods are telling me I belong right where I am (now we’re in Rule 55 territory).  The video is liked here.

I hope to get to a game, if my dear friends from R-VA will have me (by the way, get well soon, Rebecca).

Staying in the minors, the New York-Penn League is asking fans to pick an all-time team.  Ballpark Digest has more.

The Greenwich Red and White football game is scheduled for Saturday, June 19th.  Let’s just say I have a HUGE conflict with it and will hope to resolve it.  In the meantime, the 2010 football schedule is beginning to trickle out.  Tim Parry has some details.

I’ll give you another “Rule 55” type of comment.  If things go the way I think they might, the 2010 football season will be a lot of fun.

For me.

Ross over at NYY Stadium Insider has some insights on some of the idiocy going on in the new House on E 161st St.  The Yankees don’t need to act like this.  Maybe chief mouthpiece Randy Levine (and Lonn Trost) can look into this stuff.

More links to come, but I have to get on the air with “The Press Box!”

What a Hit (From Number 55 - With VIDEO!)

In case you didn't see this last night, have a look at what the Bruins' Johnny Boychuk(great hockey name) did to Matt Ellis of the Sabres.

"A freight train with a number 55 on it."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Look, Up in the Sky! (Not exactly, and sure, we'll Rule 55 this...With VIDEO!)

From Mick.  Thanks.  No commentary about the play-by-play.  I'll let that stand as is.

Other people are buying into the legend of the Rule (I got a message the other night that referenced it).  I like when I can educate those who are already so educated.

Video link is here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rule 55 Rides Again (and is explained, in case you wondered...with VIDEO, of course)!

Purely because Tim Parry asked, and Carrie wondered what it was, our dear friend returns from a short hiatus.  The Rule 55 in question is legitimate and not bad - not at all.  The reason is simple: the other day, on Facebook, I wrote I "will always have Grand Central" (Terminal/Station - your pick) as my status.  Tim questioned if this was a Rule 55 in the making, and I decided that it just might be.  I was in New York the other night, and uttered those words.

Those of you looking for the full story know where to find me.

The video/song here has nothing to do with anything (sort of).  The song and the movie that it is from have been in my head for a few days.

You can find all of the examples of Rule 55 via this link.  The rule is invoked when there is something to say (good or bad) and yet inappropriate to talk about on the blog.  I started doing it very early on, and Sean Kilkelly gave it the name.

Without any further ado, ladies and gentlemen...wait for know what's coming...THE BEATLES! (and it's linked here)

Matt Brown Charity Game Article

Hi all.  So sorry for being invisible.  Trust me, this lack of a computer thing is brutal.  It will all be over soon.

In the meantime, please have a read of this article that I wrote on the Matt Brown Charity Game, played last Saturday in Bridgeport.  My friend Paul Silverfarb, Sports Editor at the Greenwich Post, got Sean and I credentials to attend the game, and the Sound Tigers matchup that night.  Another friend, Phil Giubileo, "voice" of the Sound Tigers, invited us to visit him in the booth to say hello.  We also hung out with many good people, from Richie and Rit Spazzano to Ricky Piper, to Kelly, Dawn, and everyone else.  Plus we spent the majority of the day with my good friend, Chris Kaelin and his family (or at least a portion of his family).

Good times, great cause.

The link that contains the article will eventually go away, so I've posted the text of the article below (and was Paul was kind to edit very little of it).  Pictures from that day, and Opening Day of Sean's baseball season, are here.

Greenwich ice hockey shows support for Brown

Matt Brown couldn’t have scripted it any better.

One team was trailing 4-3 with under a minute to go. The losing team pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and they found the back of the net, ending the game in a 4-4 tie.

Unfortunately, Brown couldn’t be at the game, which was played in his honor at the Arena at Harbor yard in Bridgeport, home of the AHL’s Sound Tigers.

The left wing from Norwood, Mass., who turned 16 years old on Sunday, is in an Atlanta hospital, recovering from an on-ice hit in a January game that left him with injured third and fourth cervical vertebrae, and his story has had a profound impact on the Greenwich High School boys varsity hockey team.

The Cardinals began raising money for Brown’s medical expenses during the winter sports season, culminating in the charity game this past Saturday in Bridgeport.

The Sound Tigers, an affiliate of the NHL’s New York Islanders, donated the ice time and proceeds from ticket sales to the Matt Brown recovery effort, to assist in paying the multitude of medical bills for Brown. In total, the Cardinals and their supporters raised approximately $20,000.

“I went to college with Mike Brown, Matt’s father,” said Peter McHugh, a longtime friend of the Brown family. “We all have kids this age. It’s a tragedy and you’re just dying to do something, give something back.”

The game featured members and guests of the Greenwich High School Cardinals against coaches and guests of the Greenwich Blues. The Cardinals were coached by Richie Spezzano, father of last season’s tri-captain Rit Spezzano, along with Chris Kaelin of WGCH Radio.

The Blues were led by McHugh. McHugh and the Spezzanos spearheaded the effort to raise money for Brown.

“I thought it was a great game,” McHugh said. “Tying it up at the end like that, us old guys, that was pretty fun.”

Mike Silva’s goal with 25 seconds to play earned the Blues the tie in a game in which individual accomplishments mattered very little. All players wore jerseys with the number three on the back, which was Brown’s number with the Norwood Mustangs. Those jerseys, instead of the traditional colors of either the Blues or Cardinals, were blue for the Cardinals and white for the Blues. The scoreboard inside the Arena at Harbor Yard listed the teams as “Matt” and “Brown.” Yet even in this game, there was controversy — albeit jokingly.

“That goal should have been called back,” said Cardinals net minder Ricky Piper of Silva’s tying tally. “He (McHugh) was all over me in the crease.”

Still it was all in good fun, as teams helped raise money for a good cause.

“It was a wonderful experience to be on the ice, and an honor to be there for such a great cause,” added Kaelin.

“The game should have ended in a 3-3 tie,” Richie Spezzano said. “That would have been fitting. I hope to meet Matt Brown personally when he walks out of the hospital in Atlanta.”

Brown would probably enjoy that—a chance to meet his new friends for the first time from Greenwich.

Rob Adams is the sports director of WGCH Radio in Greenwich and both he and his son Sean were honorary coaches for the Cardinals on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Team Name Conundrum

This will be Sean's fourth year playing baseball in the Carmel Sports Association, and my fourth as a coach. From the first year, Sean and I have prepared ourselves for what team we got assigned to. The CSA uses Major League Baseball team names and logos on the hats and shirts. In our first year, in the Tee Ball division, we were the Giants (and the Angels were the only other team). OK, nothing to be too troubled by. The second year, our first in Soft Toss, we were the Braves. Last year, we were the Phillies. The other options were the Brewers and Astros.

Then came this year. The choices? The Pirates, Indians, Diamondback, Nationals, Rangers, and...ugh...Red Sox.

I can't even imagine how my dear son would have reacted if I had told him that he had to wear a Red Sox hat and shirt all year. At the top of his most hated sports franchises sits baseball's entries in Boston, and New York in the National League.

Just so we're clear, I didn't raise Sean to act like this:

What would I have done, you ask? Been a good sport about it all - and probably wouldn't have worn the hat.

I feel bad for my coaching companion of these three years. Dave Sweet is a Mets fan (poor guy) and yet he had to suck it up and be a Phillie and Brave. Dave also suggested making us the Red Sox this year, simply to get even with me. I can't say that I blame him.

I never quite saw the logic in having some of the more polarizing teams as a possibility. While you can't make everybody happy, the majority of people have strong feelings about the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox (ESPECIALLY in New York!), and Phillies. It would make sense, to me, to stay away from these teams.

Mike Berg, the commissioner of the CSA, has suggested the possibility of using minor league teams in the future, and that is an idea that I absolutely love. The logos are so fun, and the teams are so harmless, with little or no allegiances. I think that's a winner.

Fortunately, we'll be the Pirates this year, so no worries. Now if I could only have my old Pops Stargell era hat again, life would be grand.

A Picture Really Is Worth A Thousand Words (Depending on How Long This Post Is)

(Photo by Carrie)

My friends Mick and Gretchen (not to be confused with her twin, Evil G), invited me to meet them in New York City last Saturday to hang out with them. I didn't question why, but Mick told me before I jumped on the train, that the purpose of the get-together was a birthday party for an old friend of his. For a moment, my usual pangs of feeling uncomfortable in an unknown crowd (known as "shyness") made me consider bailing, but I ultimately went with a "why not" approach.

What a night.

I enjoy gathering at a local watering hole, but normally within an hour or two, I'm done. I can't hear anyone speak, I'm bored, etc. This place (The Long Room, on 44th St.) had none of those trappings. OK, I'll grant you that it's not the kind of place where the bartender does many buy backs, but the guy was funny (had a good Irish brogue), the decor was classy, and the beer list was plentiful. In other words, it's typical New York (midtown Manhattan).  Plus the atmosphere was such that you could hear yourself think. All in all, the place is a winner - and a short walk to Grand Central Terminal (perfect for us hayseeds from the sticks).

When I jumped on my train in Southeast (the former "Brewster North"), it was 65 degrees. I opted for short-sleeves, jeans, and sneakers (not my usual look but hey, gotta work with what's available). Stepping into the NYC air from Grand Central felt like stepping into another world - low 50's. Suddenly I was sorry I didn't bring a jacket.

I got there before Mick and Gretchen, and made the mistake of strolling to Times Square. Wow - what a cattle farm that is. I quickly spun around and returned to the pub, and we walked in. Mick's friends joined us a bit later. At first I felt like the proverbial outsider but soon found this group to be fun, funny, and engaging. It would make the night a total success to stay in touch with some of these people - that's how likable they seem.

Mick's friend, the guest of honor, was extremely happy to see Mick and Gretchen, and smiled sweetly when introduced to the stranger from the north. There was no phoniness in her greeting, which made me feel welcomed. She also got to plant a kiss on the bartender's lips - at his request, of course. Ah, the silliness of such an evening. That would bring me to the picture above.

I don't mind getting my picture taken. Sometimes I like the way I look, and sometimes not so much. This picture had all of the usual trappings. Carrie, the clear organizer of the party, hit a local dollar store to buy a tiara for the guest of honor, and "party princess" hats for the other women. When Carrie took hers off, I snagged it (always looking for a laugh, I guess). Carrie couldn't resist taking a picture of me, and I happily obliged with a face worthy of such a moment.

It's called not taking myself too seriously.

What I initially thought was a night that would have me home by 11 or so found me getting invited to continue the pub crawl (which I had to decline due to Metro North's schedule) and curling up in my bed at three in the morning. Of course, money - indeed the root of truly all evil - dictated that, and even if I did carry on, I wouldn't be doing much more. Just too expensive.

So I opted for a black and white cookie at Grand Central, and headed for home.

Life really isn't too bad these days (and I don't mean to imply that it ever is). Sure, I'm kind of finding myself, and we all know I take some steps forward, and some backwards. But I like how things are going. No doubt if someone is interested in money, then they would be better off running away from me, especially right now. Yet I'm not such a bad catch, I suppose.

I often talk about survivors, and how I admire them. I found myself thinking of the following quote, from The Shawshank Redemption. Spoken by Morgan Freeman's character Red, it strikes me as a metaphor for someone who has gone through a lot but has made it out alive (forgive the NSFW language):
Andy Dufresne - who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.
I think that just about says it all.

(I didn't quite get to a thousand words. Oh well.)

A Week Early, But Still... (With VIDEO)

Not surprising...the taxman wants a piece of me. Not a terrible amount but all in all, just another brick in the wall (ooooh sorry...wrong band).

The link is here to a trippy video from The Beatles' cartoon series featuring one of George Harrison's finest compositions, and of course, it gets played something fierce every April 15th.

By the way, whoever did John Lennon's voice in this series clearly never heard John speak.