Friday, December 15, 2006


Hello again, sports fans...back for awhile, from a short time off. I wanted to post this poem/parody I wrote last year, for the folks who might link from my Suburban Journal colunm and for anyone who happens on this page.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Holy New Year for 2007.
CARPE DIEM, for you just never know.....


Couple days before Christmas
And all through this place
We are anxiously laboring
To finish the race.
The hours of roof-time had not been in vain;
I managed to finish, in spite of the pain.
Those lights were all working, much to my surprise,
I plugged in the last strand and opened my eyes
To see the old homestead go bright in the dark.
I sure didn’t want to be like old buddy Clark.
You know, that guy who strung lights to get ready,
Only to suffer his “dear Cousin Eddie”….
That film is a classic, a holiday fave,
But let me continue with this Yuletide rave.
Kids stockings are hung by our chimney, it’s true…
With increasing grandkids, we’ve got quite a few.
There’s five scattered ‘round, with one more on the way,
And one, who calls home Californ-I-A,
Who’ll experience Christmas with sunshine and sand…
Oh, how I’d love to hold her little hand.
(Still lots to be done, can’t be melancholy,
Gotta deck all them halls with them big boughs of holly.)
But last night I lay sleeping and heard a loud crash,
Could that be a raccoon upsetting the trash?
I glanced at the missus, and she was a-sleeping,
So on down to the hallway window I went peeping.
You could scarcely believe what I saw as I viewed…
“What the heck?” muttered I. “You must be trippin’, dude!”
For out on that lawn in a Mustang bright red
Was an old guy with whiskers and a big old bald head.
He wore a red sweat suit and black hi-top “Chucks”,
And he looked like some weirdo out getting his yucks.
He said not a word, but popped open the trunk,
And the light of the moon, it showed all sorts of junk.
I had to check out what this old guy was into
So I pulled on the blinds as I yanked up the window.
“Hey you, down there, on the yard with the stuff…
Don’t make me come down there…don’t make me get rough!
”The fellow just grinned as he turned up my way,
“Take a chill pill, there, grampa, and do not dismay.
Why, I’m just the man that you need in a pinch.
I’ll fill up your family room….every dang inch.
But I’m too old for chimneys, and it’s too late for playin’,
So give me a hand, here…You hear what I’m sayin’?
”You can guess I was dazed at the sight of this gent,
But downstairs I stumbled, and outdoors I went.
He loaded us up with huge piles of great stuff
Like toys, gifts and clothing…his game was no bluff.
He handled the big things, which was all right with me,
Already the cold was aching my knee.
When at last as the trunk was just emptied all out,
He gave me a wink, then he let out a shout….
“WooooHoooo!” said the guy as he rose like a star,
And when he was gone…..He had left me his car!
My best Christmas ever? Not really; no way.
Our best was our first born one past Christmas Day.
But, guess what, this here one was pretty dang fine.
Didn’t cost me no nickel, didn’t cost me one dime.
So if you see me gunnin’ that ‘Twang” through the streets,
With as many can fit in them white leather seats,
You’ll hear me exclaim as I roll down the way
“Happy Christmas To All…I’ll be back New Years Day!”

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Well, looks like the procreation bug has bitten the kids in Cali......#7 "grandkid to be" in the hopper...congrats to Tim and Allison and big sissy Emma.........With Kate and Jamie still cooking theirs, all is well, and expanding, in the clan....

Here are a few of the latest mind meanderings from the Suburban Journal......

What activity do Lance Armstrong, Churchill, Edison, Bill Clinton, LBJ and JFK all have in common? These famous names all were world-class nappers. They had the knack of being able to easily drift off into cloud land. They could shut it down, take ten, rest their eyes, kick back, doze off mid-day, all in a planned effort to recharge the batteries.
Humbly, I find myself in their company with my acquired talent at sliding into a brain stall. I am known in the family as the guy who can sleep anywhere (I once zoned out on the driveway….not a recommended practice.) But it seems that, according to health reports, napping is a good thing.
Recent research shows that the stereotypical sombrero guys have had the right idea all along. Napping is not a sign of laziness. It can be a therapeutic activity and an intelligent step in improving overall health. At least that’s what I tell the lovely wife.
Internationally, the good people of Germany are the best nappers, says a survey done in 2002. A good portion of my heritage comes from that region, so maybe my trait comes genetically. The Germans are followed closely by Italy, England, Portugal and Spain. (sounds like a World Cup lineup).
And in Japan, always reliable for codifying a practice, the government Health Ministry recommends a 20 to 30 minute snooze before 3 o’clock, to “improve general well-being and efficiency.”
This mid-day shutdown is purported to allow the body to release stress-busting hormones, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. All good things, and combined with regular rhythmic breathing, a good siesta can reset the system for the rest of a day.
Now the boys in the white coats say that the best time for a nappy poo is between 1-2:30, the well-documented post lunch stupor. But dropping your head down for a couple of winks can be a problem, since most folks are at work about that time. Plus, it’s always embarrassing trying to explain that drool spot on those important papers you were reviewing. And as a side note, if one is a brain surgeon or airline pilot, please wait until you are off the clock.
The fine art of “The Little Sleep” is frowned upon by our go-go, produce-at-all-costs society. Folks brag about their 14 hour days and getting by on a few hours sleep. But the evidence is coming in that maybe we should rethink that mindset. Really, wouldn’t you rather have a well-rested doc working on your noggin, and a pilot who just got up from a refreshing half hour in the employee lounge?
Some folks say that day time snoozing keeps them up at night. True, insomnia is fast becoming a national epidemic, especially among women. But a body just might need a mid-day time-out now and then.
Scientists gauge that the ideal drift-off is from 10 to 30 minutes. Your ticker and your noodle slow down, muscles take a chill, and you get into the first two stages of sleep. No need to go to the rapid-eye or restorative sleep phase to reap the benefits of a short switch-off. Even just a little daily sneak-away can improve the whole dang system.
On the safe side, it is probably a good idea to inform co-workers of your plans for that hide-out, lest they walk into the storeroom and call 911, seeing you flat out under the copy paper shelf. But if you’re a mom, and the little stinkers go down for their slumber, then don’t be a silly….join them!!! That dirty tub is still going to be there after you wake up.
So, friends, I recommend setting those kitchen timers and cell phone alarms. Find a nice quiet place, slice off part of your lunch hour, skip the caffeine and hunker down somewhere safe for a quick study of the inside of your eyelids.
Your brain and your heart will thank you for it.

Every 4 years the same question comes up. Actually, it’s a two-parter. First, why do we in the US of A call the most popular sport in the world “soccer”, and two, why has this game of “football” not become greater in our country.
As to the first part of the answer, most sources say that the word “soccer” comes from a derivation of the organization that ran English football, The Association Football.
People abbreviated that to be Assoc., and the British, with a penchant for using the –er suffix on things, such as “rugger” for a player of rugby, used the term “assoc-er for a player of the association football game. This 19th century usage came over with immigrants to the new world and stuck. It was a way also of showing distinction from the American version of rugby, which became our football. Clear? Yeah, as mud.
Which leads into the second part of the every 4 year query. There are lots of pieces to the puzzle as to why one of the wealthiest and influential nations in the world doesn’t embrace “football”. It can’t be from lack of participation. Largely an ethnic game in the first part of the previous century, it became a game of youth, fueled by, yes, the baby boom.
We had 4 or 5 teams in our first grade alone. Yellow shirts, blue, green….stocking hats and jeans and the high top English style boots with the hard round toe and the leather spikes that were nailed to the sole. This was the Atom league, and only when you moved up to the 3rd or 4th grade did you get the full ensemble of jersey with shorts and socks. From here the game has gone wild, with better equipment, better training, summer camps galore, teams and leagues and tournaments everywhere, indoor and outdoor, all year long. So where does all this interest go when we get to the pro level?
The experts say that there just may be too much competition for the sports dollar, with baseball and basketball, football and even hockey sucking the money from our pockets. A deeper question for our area is why doesn’t the pro soccer see St. Louis as a good risk for a franchise? Other towns like Salt Lake City and Columbus can support a squad, and some are even making profits. Why can’t we do the same? Or, are we so spoiled with winning with the Cardinals and Rams that our populace is seen as lacking the resolve to build a following for a new team on the scene? Hard to say. This has been called a tough market to crack. Witness no NBA team. Maybe we’re seen as frugal. Or cheap.
The Cheap label may fit. I have a hard time with the prices of sporting events. Usually, I only go if the ducats are freebies. So possibly economics is the issue.
But while that may be the case in our area, why is I tthat the land with the highest per capita income can’t absorb another sport easily?
Some say it is the nature of the game, with a lack of scoring, continuous action and foreign influence. But hey didn’t I just describe hockey? A noted soccer expert recently said that if a few soccer players became famous celebrities with enormous salaries, and just happened to be married to supermodels, then folks might take notice. We do love our celebrities. How else do you explain the popularity of the Oprah show?
The answer is probably a combination of all the above. When you look at it, soccer really is more popular than ever in America.
Let’s just hope the current US team doesn’t choke in this years Cup.
That could leave a mark.

Monday, June 19, 2006

SEE 'YA.....

This site started out back in May of '05 as an attempt to make a few extra bucks. So I thought. Well, that never panned out. But it was fun to put stuff up and to see just who might read it. There are some very nice folks, very talented and caring individuals who have weighed in on my comments over cyberspace. I hope some of the stuff I put out there was meaningful, even brought a tear or a smile.
But it is time to put a hold on things....for every thing there is a season.
Anyone interested can still find the meanderings of my mind on the web site of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at Search "Suburban Journals" and the column is called "A Boomer's Journal".
To all who have read this, thanks for taking the time.
God Bless.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Despite all the security afforded the US team in Germany, someone clearly kidnapped the real squad and replaced them with robots....I think an international investigation should be launched, maybe focusing on a coalition of soccer-ignorant American radio geeks, possibly a disgruntled cadre of hockey fans...It is clear from the performance of the boys who wore the Red White and Blue yesterday that the US team that qualified was not the group who took the field against Czech Republic...
Granted. the Czech were a strong team, ranked #2 worldwide....but our men showed nothing but the ability to pass backwards to flatfooted backs.....
I place the blame on coach Bruce Arena.....clearly, he does not play, but he sets the team up, makes the selections, determines the starters and subs......sets the tone. These guys were not ready to play the St. Norbert 8th grade girls team, much less the second-best side in the whole dang universe.

What will happen now...?
The Yanks have to win over Italy, and win big. They can't expect Ghana to beat the Czechs and the US-Ghana game will be meaningless without a big victory over the Eye-talians. The Italy-Czech game will be for first place in the group, and without a lot of goals by the US, the second spot will also be determined by that game.

Hope springs eternal, but that spring is drying up fast.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


I think that after 57 years I finally have hit on something that will, at the very least, have me feeling better over the years.

After exhaustive research and investigation (yeah, right...), it looks like a common sense approach to life that requires....
* daily exercise * sensible eating * relaxation techniques *positive visualization

Nothing really radical in these elements...I mean, experts have been touting these for years. But it is in the specifics of each feature that offer all the benefits.

The exercise is something I can handle....walking. About 30-40 minutes daily, and maybe 10-15 minutes a second time. Easy enough to do, listen to the's over before you know it.
The eating deal is really easy too....except it takes a little planning and effort. Eat breakfast, include dairy, carbs and fruit, eat a snack with protein and carbs at mid morning, a simple lunch with salad and sandwich, mid afternoon snack like the mornings, not a big dinner and a before bed snack with carbs and protein, like a peanut butter sandwich and small glass of milk. Seems like a lot of eating, but it meet the DASH diet for lowering blood pressure, the idea of not eating continuously, but every 2-3 hours, focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables with a minimum of fats. You get to eat all the food groups and almost everything okay in moderation.
I can still throw in the occasional "Big and Tasty with small fries" from that Scottish restaurant....(you know, McDonalds). And when we shop we try to buy more stuff from the outside aisles of the dairy and vegetables, staying away from processed, canned and boxed as much as possible.
The whole idea is to boost the metabolism at the right times of the day, reducing inflammation of the joints and internal organs, fuel up this wonderful invention of God called the human body in the right way....... Long term goal is to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and increase endorphins, melatonin and dopamine in a natural way. You know, fighting Boomeritis, which has been defined as the disease of growing older, with its associated aches and pains, but refusing to give in to them. And to do it without having to go to prescription meds until it is absolutely necessary, because once you start them, you usually need them forever.

The relaxation and positive visualization comes from doing the Tai Chi and a daily relaxation technique that I stole from a web site on a thing called Resperate, a machine that helps you lower your breathing rate for 15 minutes to less than 10 breaths per minute, which is supposed to help regulate BP. So far all this stuff seems to be working....the BP is in line, weight is fine, had my best Cardio blood work in 2 years recently....and feeling of depression or What the Hell are very much gone. And being a Catholic, I am trying to get to Mass and confession more often. The grace you get from sacraments is like muscle power for the soul.

I ain't sayin' that meds are not needed, especially if a person has genetic predispositions to heart disease, diabetes, depression, etc...... but there seems to be a heck of a lot we can do naturally, without supplements or herbal remedies that I trust even less than meds, before heading to the Phamaceutical remedy.

My wife works with a group of cardio thoracic surgeons. She said that 95% of the people they see are in poor health due to lifestyle rather than genetics.

Food for thought.

Friday, June 09, 2006


"U.S.A.!! U.S.A.!! U.S.A!!........."

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I was listening to the radio yesterday, and heard a guy talking about how we really do not have the whole story on the September 11 events. He was the head of a group that feels that there is evidence supporting other sources of mayhem, an alternative reason for the third World Trade Center building that was not hit by a plane to come a-tumbling down, and more-than-subtle hinting that our government was keeping things from us.
Welllll, Batman...... what have we here, thunk I.

I probably agree that there is much more to the whole 9/11 thing than we will ever know in the next 20 years or so. I say this for a variety of reasons. Whenever I read historical non-fiction, or biographies, there is always the element of hindsight and scholarship that go into the works. And invariably, that study of papers and letters and documents yeilds truths and insights that those living in the times of the subjects have no way of knowing about. The Truman bio had all kinds of stuff about WWII, and the Manhattan Project, and the Korean War. The life story of John Adams is ripe with juicy stuff about Jefferson and Washington and their not-so-well-known motivations. Peggy Noonan's "John Paul the Great" is a wonderful piece on the life and times of one of the 20th Centuries most fascinating figures, and there is a lot we didn't know about him and why he did what he did that only could be listed in retrospect.

We have found out a lot after the fact about Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, Pearl Harbor........

Then we have all the work done on the Kennedy and King assasinations. I feel like we do not have that whole story, either. Maybe never will.

So why would anyone be surprised that we may not have the truth and nothing but the truth about 9/11?

After all, haven't we all been in a situation where we have experienced an event or happenstance first hand, only to see the news account or read the paper report, and wonder if we were at the same event?

Sure folks can get carried away with this sort of seeking......But it makes one take pause....

Anyway, that's what the guy behind me at Shop 'n' Save and I were talking about. He was buying some bread and peanut butter and bananas, and was a little short on cash. So I gave him $5......

"Thenk yew, ....thenk yew vurra much," he drawled deeply. don't suppose.......????????

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

SIX ....SIX...OH SIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The day has come we have all been waiting least those who are into hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, which is the official name for the fear of the number 666 being linked to the Anti-Christ.
All I can say is...EWWWWEEEEeeeeeeeeWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!
A lot of hooey.
I can't believe in this, primarilly because today is my oldest son's birthday, and while he was growing up we sometimes checked his forehead for numbers, he has been a joy and a blessing to us. So bad luck didn't visit us on this day 28 years ago. In fact, if you want to talk about luck, he just called from Vegas where he and his little family are visiting for a few, and told us that right after midnight last night, he rolled a 6 on the craps table, followed by 4 more sixes, and he won $200 bucks!!

So there, Beezlebub.

I guess I shouldn't mess with the Dark One, since he is real. Just think child abuse, war, cheating, hate, prejudice. All his cup of tea.

But I believe in the Higher Power, the Guys of the Three in One, who said they will be with us always, even until the end.

And I plan to take them up on this promise. God knows, I can use the protection.

Have a great June 6th, '06, and don't forget to drop a note Upstairs for all the soldiers who fought for our rights to live in peace and pursue happiness as they gave their lives back in 1942.

Monday, June 05, 2006


I find that I am happiest when I can be silly. That is such a silly word...."SILLY." The more you say it, the sillier it sounds.....silly, silly, silly. See what I mean? Still, silly takes the sting out of things, make tense moments lighter, brightens a mood, cheers a sad heart, and brings a smile just when you think there are none left.

Some of the greatest comics are in the Silly Class....Martin Short, Steve Allen, Adam Sandler (ok maybe not great, but silly for sure), Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Gene Wilder, and the King of Silly....Jerry Lewis.

For some reason, guys can get away with silly better than girls. Maybe it goes back to the class clown you remember any class clown's who were girls? I can't. Societal standards may have kept the truly funny chicks from showing their stuff until later in life. But now that I think on this subject, a few women come up to the standard. Heck, Lucy set the standard, back in the '50's. She was copied by many, most notably Laverne Di Fazio and Shirley Feeney (yeah, I know this isn't their real names. But they live in my heart as those do their foils, Lenny and Squiggy.)

So today's assignment is to smile at somebody who doesn't expect it.....make a goofy face in the mirror....sing a song in a chipmunk voice.....walk stupid......have a little fun at your own expense.

Make someone laugh.....Be SILLY!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


The eldest daughter said the other day that the sound of an outside air conditioner kicking on always brings back memories of the great summers in the backyard of our first house.
What memories are activated by the sounds and smells of this warm season?

One that always reminds me of a lazy summer Sunday is the smell of someone firing up the ole barbecue pit, with the odor of lighter fluid strong in it's burning. Before gas grills, everyone had to drop the charcoal and spill on liberal quantities of chemical. God only knows how healthy all this was, but is sure smelled great.
Then there was the smell of leather when you rubbed your glove with oil. That was an early-season ritual, one that meant action. Mix a little dirt in the pocket, smooth it into the fingers and you were guaranteed an error-free game. Or at least a few innings.
To continue this baseball theme, how about the crack of the bat, white ash making solid contact with horsehide? Or the taste of dirt on a safe slide into home. Never fails to get the juices flowing.
Of course, a lot better taste is the first bite into an ice cold watermellon, or a hot dog slicked up with mustard.
Or the first deep swig of that beer that has been in the bottom of the cooler all afternoon. Ahhhhhhhh.

What senses are stimmed to produce your summer memories?

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Remember when Television was called the Vaste Wasteland. Well, I guess it is never more true than today. Reality shows and "how to dress" shows and "Dog the Bounty Hunter" for pity sakes........For me the best time for T.V. memories was the first two decades or so of the boob tube's existence.
We had adventure shows like "Davy Crockett" and "Superman." Have you ever really gotten over the sight of George Reeves in blue tights? There he was standing stradle-legged in front of a giant waving American Flag....."who, disguised as Clark Kent, fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American Way." Politically, this show was an overt warning to those dirty Red Commies that were taking up so much of our countries bad dreams in the 50's. Don't tread on us, or we will send George Reeves after you. And don't forget old coonskin-cap wearin' Davy. He may have really died at the Alamo, but Fess Parker was the next best thing. Why, "he kilt him a bar', when he was only 3!" Plus, we had the underwater regions safe, with Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt....I never could figure our how he could hold his breath through the commercial break and still have anything left to knife-fight three brutes with spear guns. I always was him when we messed around at the pool.
There is just so much to talk about when it comes to the t.v. of my youth......
I promise I will visit this subject soon again.

In the mean time, I think the TLC channel is doing toilet bowl decorating this afternoon.


Friday, June 02, 2006


I got a tag by rdl. Rather than play it straight, ahmma gonna answer with what I would like to answer, interspersed with some real be the judge as to what is fact and what is fiction.
So here ya go...........

Accent....Australian, mate.
Booze.....Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Chore.....hate 'em all...really.
Dogs/Cats.....hate 'em all....really....'specially cats.
Essential Electronic many station, topics, such freedom and you can do other stuff while listening....just love it.
Favorite cologne/perfume.....whatever my wife is wearing.
Gold/silver...teeth? fillings? as investments? hard to say. Green cash is nice.
Hometown...good ole midwest fly-over Saint Louis...
Insomnia....had a spurt of it this schtinks condolences to anyone who has it full time.
Job title.....unemployed for the summer. (it's a hint!)
Kids.....yes, thank you very much.....6 of the buggers, with 4 grandkids and 2 on the way soon.
Living a very fulfilling monogamous 34 year relationship with my girlfriend, who I also conveniently happen to be married to.
Most Admired ain't my hair, that's for sure.
Number of sexual partners....see "Living Arrangements" above...that's all that anyone really needs to know.
Overnight hospital stays......none to date..Thanks Be to the Big Doctor in the Sky.
Phobia....fear of listing things....just joking....probably roller coasters...never been, never will, unless I live to be 90, then what the hell!!!!!
Quote.....oh, so about "ADVERSITY IS THE MOTHER OF CHANGE". (I made that up just now.)
Religion.....card-carrying cradle-Catholic and proud of it.
Siblings.....only are my two brothers.
Time I wake up....right after I have slept all night with only a couple visits to the boys room.
Unusual talent.....bite my toenails.
Veggie refuse to just sounds gooey.
Worst habit.....see "Unusual talent" above.....hey, could be a lot worse.
X-rays.....this is probably only in this list because no other word starts with "X"; had one recently of my head....came up negative.
Yummy foods I make.....I made a cookie called "Spitzbuben" an Austrian cookie that my grandma and mom used to make at Christmas...turned out pretty good.
Zodiac sign......Peace, baby!

Caio, bella!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

We received from the friendly UPS driver our new digital camera. Or should I say, first digital camera. Yeah I know they have been around "a little minute now" as a smarty pants clerk at Sears said to me the other day. But keeping with my tradition of being the last guy on my block to have anything new, I decided to wait until I was fed up with getting back a pack of 24 pics with only about a half dozen of them any good. This way, I can delete the bad shots and pay only for those that do not have someones hand in front of their face or their eyes closed or looking like they just got goosed.....
I even plan to learn how to use the printing machine at that is a summer adventure if ever there was one.
Speaking of adventure, me and "She Who Must Be Obeyed" are going to take in the ponies tomorrow....I've been picking the races at Fairmount out of the paper, and last time had 4 winners.....I can't tell you my system, 'cause I don't have one.......yet.
Some say bet the gray horse, some say bet the jockey, some the horse.....we shall see how I do.
I'm sure my kids are thinking..."Oh more goofy thing for dad to do."
The tai chi is coming along....very relaxing and good for stretching.....the names of the movements are hilarious...."partition of wild horses mane"....."repulse monkey"...."stork cooling wings"......"gorilla picking nose"....(I made that last one up.)
Go CARDS!!!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


The long-awaited end of the school year has finally come. Busy times and crazy days with the "scholars", as they try to make it the last few hours of their 8th grade careers (for some, anyway. Others may be "returning lettermen", so to speak. Oh, well....I tried...)
Memorial Day trip to Chicago has kept me off the posting. Love to see the little ones in the Windy City. Hate the drive, especially the last hour into the city of mass traffic. I can do about 4 hours, and the co-pilot has to take the wheel for the final approach.

Speaking of Memorial Day...... God bless those who gave the "last full measure of devotion."
And bless those who have survived physically, but still carry the scars of the psyche, as they try to continue the life they fought to preserve.

Me and the spouse plan to spend some time going to a few Cards games, maybe the track, maybe just hanging out, since the youngest stayed up north for a few weeks. Call it a vacation where you get to sleep in your own bed.....
Lots of chores and projects to keep me busy around the plantation..... looks like a hot summer is brewing...but it beats work.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


The best today to all who have borne a child ... mom's all over should be proud of what they have done.
In church today, I was thinking about all the mothers in my family, from my own, to my wife to my two daughters and one daughter-in-law, to all the sisters-in-law.....and then on back to grandmas Kate and Mamie, aunts Edna, Lily, Marie, Celeste, Dorothy, Magdalen, ....all good solid women, who did their best over time to bring up their children.
What a gift to have life grow inside you..what a legacy they have left and will build as they carry on Mary's work.............

...Bless you all on this day.

Monday, May 08, 2006


This has been a rough year for the family, with the story to be told over time in this space. But one of the good byproducts of tough times is that it can cause positive change.
So over the next few months, I am taking steps to improve my diet, exercise and approach to life in general.
Wanting to drop my blood pressure, which is in the pre-hypertensive range, I am going to get more into omega 3 foods, increase exercise with the goal of 45-60 minutes daily, reduce caffeine, and take two more very important steps. One will be very easy, and one will require discipline and a great deal of study.
The first is to simply smile more.
The research is there that this simple act can greatly improve ones health. More on this later.
The second step is to become proficient in Tai Chi.

I'll let you know how it goes...........(he said with a big smile).

Sunday, April 30, 2006



Hard to say. Still not too impressed with the place. Too hodgepodge lodge for me. Of course, it was only one visit and I should give it another chance. Guess I thought the old place had an architectural beauty that I haven't seen yet in the new one. And, I am a bit put off, as the British would say, by all the advertising, party porches, beer gardens, scoreboard shenanigans, text messaging schtick, batting cages, restaurants, etc. etc. that are great revenue generators but....hey, look,those men in funny pants are playing some sort of game down on the lawn. So that's why we came to this joint.
For a more detailed treatise on this crabfest, I'll post something soon.


Welllllll Batman......(Remember when the announcer would come on and say that on the TV series?)....
We spent another set of quality hours in the good ole ER last week....All Sunday afternoon and then most of Monday...the lovely spouse was in again with debilitating back pain, right side lower....we thought it was kidney stones again...but alas, it never was, as a meticulous ER doc did a test that showed that she had a FREAKIN' MESSED UP GALL BLADDER, STONES INCLUDED!
So finally we get to the bottom of the story...and after laproscopic surgery, bye bye gall bladder and good riddance to ye. May ye rot in hell for the pain you gave my darlin'.
Patient is doing well, and glad to be rid of the nearly useless organ. She sure can go to great lengths to get a few weeks off of work.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Dang, isn't it always like this? Why does it take a tragedy to knock us in the head, to make us realize the gift we have everyday we wake up and we have indeed woken up....again?
This week, a young teenager was found after weeks of being missing. He had probably had too much to drink, drove his car into a lake, and died. Tragic, accidental death. Then, the other day a misguided, messed up man took 4 lives, and then his own, over a wage garnishment, of all things. Sure it was probably a lot more than that, but his rage hit our area like a hammer on the head.
And yesterday the dad of one of our youngests best friends died suddenly, while exercising.
A great dad and husband, generous folks, a kid with a promising longer.
Senseless, tragic, seemingly unexplainable losses, sure to have repercussions and reverberations across families, genders, races.....
No answers here. Just sadness, pain, disillusionment.
But a wake up call?
You bet.
Thanks, Lord for the use of another day.
Hope I did it justice.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Lost the pool at work in the NCAA tourney....the boys from LA let me down. Oh well, like the Cubs fans always say...wait til next year.
This is Holy Week, and the thoughts of perseverance and endurance come to mind.
Jesus had to persevere through what must have been the hardest week in his short life. He knew in the triumph of Palm Sunday that he would be dead before the week was out, and not in an easy way, but in the most ignominious manner known to that society. A few years ago, we read Jim Bishop's " The Day Christ Died." It tells the very real horror of crucifixion.
But Jesus endured for us, for our evil ways, for our weakness.....He showed perseverance, through the last day of his remarkable life.
Can I show even a tiny piece of that in times of my troubles, whatever or whenever they come to me?
Every day when I roll out of bed, I have been asking the Holy Spirit for the courage to be who I must be through the new day.
Jesus said "I will be with you always".....and I gotta take Him up on that promise.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy the name of the Trinity, let me live my life.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


The only way I can win at the work pool is if UCLA goes all the way.....which is a pretty fair possibility.....even then, I can only get second place or a tie for second.
Still..........Go Uclans......................

I came across a page of stuff I wrote back in Jan. of '99. Don't recall if it was all from my head, but it looks like it.
Here it be..............

**There will always be someone richer and poorer than you. That much is certain. So just accept where you are, with the hope that God's will leads you to what you will need.

**Life never stays constant. Always, it will change. You will never be disappointed.

**However, love can be the only constant. Through it all, love stays. Through good and bad, true love stays.

**Having faith doesn't mean that things will not go wrong, and you will not sometimes fall down.
But having faith gives you the strength to get up. Again. And again.

**What is essential is invisible to the eye. Still, keep looking for that essence.

**When things go well, enjoy them. Don't worry that it can't last. Truly, it can't.
So don't spoil it by worry. When things go poorly, endure them. Don't worry that it will never end. Truly, it will. Time has proven that all things come to pass. Good and Evil.

**When you think you can't, then don't think. Just do. Reason cannot answer every ill. Go to God, who is above reason, and gives answers to your heart.

Friday, March 24, 2006


My bracket is still looking pretty good. Worst case, I can lose 26 games total. Chances are, I'll do better than that...UCLA and Texas gave me quite a scare last night.
We got to go out to lunch today, bought some light fixtures and paint to fix up the crib, went downtown to see THE NEW BUSCH STADIUM.
It is going to be very different. I still loved the architecture of the old stadium. In its heyday, it was state of the art, with the continuous arched roof to match the Arch down on the riverfront.
The new ballyard will be more open, and hopefully more fan friendly. It would be like a furnace on some nights at the old place, and at a day game, you just couldn't sit in the sun.....
Casey Stengel, at the first All-Star game played there, was asked what he thought about the new stadium.
"Well, it holds the heat well", he said, in his own inimitable style.
The new park will feature open areas in the outfield, with more straight up seating. So we shall see.
Of course, the only way I'll go is if someone gives me a free ticket. Prices were increased again. Can you imagine that......
And ticket brokers have bought up a ton of ducats, to sell at premium prices. Sounds like a legalized form of scalping, if you ask me.
Opening day is April 10....
Go Redbirds!!

Monday, March 20, 2006


Well, today I start spring break. Sunday we had a great party for my daughters little Petey's first birthday, and everyone had a nice time. He is a sweetheart.
The wife and I had lots of plans for this week....lunches, maybe some painting and spucing up the homestead, try some golf, go downtown.....alas, she comes down with an infection, sick all night, ER all day....poor darlin' was so sick.
Doing well now, thank God.
So much for plans.
As luck would have it, tomorrow we may get the first significant snowy morning on a day when I already have the day off. It doesn't count as a snow day if its in spring break.
Waste of good bad weather.
How are your March Madness brackets coming along? With all the upsets and Cinderella teams, most peoples are probably pretty messed up. I won't know how I'm doing until we get back to school next week. I won the pool last year....pure luck, I know....still, hope is in the air, just like that desperation three-pointer at the buzzer.
Just read the book "Hoop Dreams" about two Chicago kids from the Cabrini neighborhood who make it out of poverty to college hoop success going very different routes....makes me look at the kids on the court in a deeper way, wondering how they got to where they are, what their personal stories much struggle they have in their many will go on to future hoop success....
Very few will make the big paydays of the NBA, but some go on to play in Europe or other pro leagues. Still, for most, their college career is all they have.
Hope they get that degree.
By the way.......I got UCLA winning it all.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Here is the latest column from the Suburban Journals of St. Louis. More on this theme in days to come.

(How is your Lent coming along?)

March, 2006

When we come to the point in our lives when we are called “middle aged,” so many factors come into play. In the past, I’ve touched on some of these, such as being in the “sandwich generation”, seeing kids growing up, some still at home, and elderly parents in a state of decline. The stressors of this time in our lives can be very real.
So on a serious note, I wanted to mention something about mid-life crisis.
It can be something more than wanting a new car, changing jobs, or trying to run to the mailbox without getting winded. For women, menopause is a real physical phenomenon, carrying along with it many emotional side effects. It has been well-documented, fairly well-treated, and is becoming better understood as more and more women are entering that phase of life.
A less-well documented and treated issue is the condition of male menopause.
Men from the ages of 40 to 60 can find themselves coming into life situations that may take a toll on them, even if they are not knowing it or acknowledging it.
Coming to the middle of life knowing that they may not be rich like they thought they would be by now, having a failed or less than fulfilling marriage, coming to the end of their working lives, facing retirement years and wondering if they will have enough money to make it for the next 20 years or so. The loss of youthful vigor, so closely connected to “maleness”. Troubles with children. Will I be healthy enough to enjoy my “golden years”, and not be Grampa Crabby at family gatherings?
These are only a few of the many things that can affect a man as he heads into mid-life.
Recent studies show that about 40% of all men in the 40 to 60 age range fall into some level of depression. The problem with this is that many men deny this, under the need to “be strong, fight through it, it’s just a phase.” Hey, Dr. Phil says we need to just “get over it”.
This needs to change.
Unfortunately, when we say “mental health”, we are conditioned in our society to think “crazy”. This can put road blocks in the way of people who would otherwise seek help. Why is it okay to take of one’s own physical health with diets and workout plans, golf and jogging, but when it comes to the health of the emotions, which so much controls the physical, it has to be done quietly, or not at all?
We see anxiety and depression in children, in teens, in young adults, in senior citizens. Why is it any surprise that it exists in middle-agers as well? Sure we may have more money than ever, be finally seeing our kids growing up to be great adults, have met some levels of success in our chosen careers. But sometimes life’s crazy twists can hit us in a different way, knock us for a loop, when we least expect it.
So it should be no less right to take the steps to improve your emotional well-being than to drop 15 pounds if you’re overweight. No less okay to talk to a professional counselor to help you over life’s humps than to workout 4 days a week for 30 minutes to improve your cholesterol and blood pressure.
Sometimes it takes more than putting a smile on your face, or crossing over to the sunny side of the street. More than prayer and acceptance and forgiveness, all good elements in the plan for emotional healing, but not the whole thing.
Sometimes it takes pro to help you get through it all.
So, seek help where it may be found. Use your employee assistance program, see a clergyman, contact family services available through religious and public agencies.
Don’t be afraid to get the help you need. For the sake of your loved ones. For your own sake.
Hard as it may be to take this step, it may be the most important one you take in your

Monday, March 13, 2006


We just were missed by the massive weather system that came through the midwest this weekend.....thanks be to God for sparing us....but may He also give strength and courage to those who lost loved ones, property and their livelihoods. It is amazing what water, wind and hail can do to change lives.
Just another example never know.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


You may know a precocious little one......... one of your own, a friends, a grandchild. Here is a short piece about one whom I have the privelege of knowing.



Little Clara loved the park. It was just down the block from her new house, a bungalow on the north side. It wasn’t a very big park, but it had swings and birdies, and that was what Clara liked. Plus, the train that brought her daddy home from work every day came right by the park. So Clara and her mommy would wait there for the big train to roll by. Then she and mommy would walk home with her daddy.

Clara was little, but she was very smart. One day when she and her daddy walked to the park, Clara didn’t want to swing. She didn’t want to watch the birdies. And she didn’t want to wait for the train. She wanted to keep walking. Her daddy was not sure just where his daughter wanted to go. He was with her today because her mommy had just had a new baby, a brother named Peter. So daddy was staying home to help out, and to take Clara to the park.
Well, Clara had her mind made up that they were going to keep walking. So daddy held her tiny hand (she was almost two years old, but she was very petite) and they continued to walk. They went to the end of the path in the park. Then they went on to the sidewalk. Then, to daddy’s surprise, they continued up the small hill and over the train tracks!

Daddy was smiling, wondering where in the world his little child in her pink coat and pink hat with the tassels and ear flaps was taking him.

Down the short hill and into the downtown area, past the newspaper stand and turning onto the main street they went.
Clara stopped, and daddy looked down. Her shoe needed to be tied. So he tied her shoe, and then they continued to walk along the downtown sidewalk.
Clara was looking into the windows of the shops as they passed them.
Finally, she stopped outside one of the shops. It was the bakery that she and her parents had taken her to before.
So this is where she wanted to go, thought an amazed daddy!
Inside the shop, as daddy bought coffee and some donuts, the gentle lady behind the counter gave Clara three cookies for free.
And just like that, Clara reached up for her daddy’s hand. Holding the precious bag of cookies, they made their way back home. Past the newspaper stand, up the small hill, over the train tracks, and through the park her little legs went with a purpose. Daddy realized then and there that here was a person who made up her mind and did something about it.

A lot like her mommy, he mused.

When they came home, and she had taken off her pink coat and pink hat with the tassels on it, Clara took her bag of cookies to her mommy.
She carefully opened the bag. Reaching in, Clara handed one to her mommy.

Then, to the surprise of both her parents, she offered the next cookie to her new baby brother, nestled in her mommy’s arms.

Petey, being only a week old, couldn’t enjoy the generous gift of his big sister. But as sure as it is that this story will be told to him many times over, that is how sure we are that love comes in many forms.

Sometimes it's just the simple sharing of a cookie.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Thought I'd put something up that fits with the last day of Black History Month. Tomorrow also starts the season of Lent. Somehow, these words seem to fit like a span to bridge the two. Hope yours is going to be one of dreams contemplated and prayer for a more peaceful world, internal as well as external.

(from the Fall of 2004)

With all due respect to Dr. Martin Luther King, whom I admire as one of the most influential people of the 20th century, I would like to present my own set of dreams for consideration. I in no way claim the position he held as a purveyor of peace and justice. I am simply a citizen of the U.S.A. But I feel, as he must have, seriously unrepresented by the major political parties of our country. During every campaign, I see again and again that I can’t call myself Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. There is certainly something in each party that I like, but there is also enough about each that I cannot tolerate. And I am fairly sure that there are a lot of us out here who feel this way.
So it is with this in mind that I say...........

I have a dream. That unborn life will once again become the foremost right, by virtue of the eventual overturning of that misguided and ill-fated decision, Roe vs. Wade. The abomination of abortion has been like an open sore on the soul and psyche of our nation for far too long. No people can claim to be operating “under God”, and have this practice seen as legal. We have a stain on our collective soul for this dark period in our history. I am not so naive to think that abortions will end completely, but I can dream that they will. And I can’t help but dream that with this change would come a healing, and a new focus. Not to mention the blessing of God returning to our country.

I have a dream. That people who are truly in need, like single mothers with young children, developmentally and emotionally disabled people, and poor and elderly citizens will get the support, care and assistance they require, simply by virtue of their need. Every day we see this program being cut and that budget being slashed when it comes to taking care of the people who can least take care of themselves. We have always been a government of the people. All the people. And not just those who contribute to the GNP.

I have a dream. That as our domestic economic policy continues to offer incentives to business, it also continues to recognize the rights of people to organize and bargain. Having been on both sides of this labor fence, I know that the job of management is to get the most out of the work force at the least cost, and that the role of the union is to protect the rights of the worker for a fair wage and safe conditions. I have always hated the switch from the term “personnel” to “human resources.” Somehow it put the working man and woman on the same plane as a box of nails. The dignity of the worker has been diminished. It seems that recent years have seen a decline in the influence of the union. History has shown that without an advocate, workers lose. A strong union presence is essential to an equitable free enterprise system. There is no reason this cannot always be a win-win proposition.

I have still another dream. That we will continue to be the greatest power in the free world, but still remember that we can’t always save that world. World terror has changed the face and focus of our lives forever. We cannot afford to be isolationist in an ever-shrinking world. But neither can we always solve everyone’s problems. It is true we have always been the guys who cared. Sent money, food, medical supplies, troops. But this hasn’t always worked out the way we wanted. Take a look at Africa. Or Korea. Or Vietnam. And as much as the recent historic elections in Iraq have made any right-thinking American stand in awe at the courage of the Iraqi people, the jury is still out on that venture. There is the feeling that, even if sometimes we really do need to save the world, maybe somebody else needs to step up once in a while, too. Freedom does not come cheap, I know, but why is it always our guys who pay the greatest price?

Speaking of dreams, what has become of Dr. King’s? In the 40 or so years since his famous speech, can it be said that progress has been made? I’d have to give this a qualified “yes”. More and more, people are being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. My kids have gone to school with and played with kids of other races. A lot of blood, sweat and tons of tears have brought about the laws that have helped this to come about, but I believe hearts are changing as well. In our own St. Louis region, we have growing, diverse cultures. Our people are not free of prejudice, but it is a “work in progress.” That in itself is partial fulfillment of King’s dream, voiced decades ago.

It has been said to never let go of your dreams. Langston Hughes wrote that a dream deferred can dry up “like a raisin in the sun.” So I’d like to thank Dr. King for his dreaming, and for his call to “let freedom ring” in this great country of ours.

I just hope that someday I can hear that ring come from a national party that represents my dreams, rather than perrenially get stuck picking and choosing from the menu offered by the two biggest players at the table.

Now that would be a dream fulfilled.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Here is a column that I got a lot of response to.
Hope it strikes a chord.

The concept of talent is something I think about a lot. It mystifies me how some people can become brain surgeons, and others carpenters, and still others physicists and musicians and oceanographers. I mean, just where do these gifts come from? What genetic forces are at work that can spawn a virtuoso violinist from the union of two tone-deaf people? And when you see people with tremendous athletic ability, don’t you just wonder what their moms and dads were like in their youth? And how about someone who grew up in Kansas deciding to study the deep blue seas?
When I think of talents as gifts, it reminds me of the Bible story where the master gives the servants talents and sends them on their way. Some use them wisely, gaining more talents, some hoard them, and at least one guy squanders his. Any parent can attest to the hope that their children will use their talents well. We all encourage our offspring to try new things, to practice hard, to give their best. For who really knows if the little booger is a dancer or flutist or potential World Cup goal-scorer?

Which, in a round-about way, brings me to the talents of yours truly. I can’t really play the guitar, in spite of having one for almost 20 years. My high school physics teacher gave me a “D” in my senior year so I could graduate with my class. (I pulled a whopping 32%!) Thankfully, Jill pays the bills and balances the checkbook, keeping us both out of debtor’s prison. And me and tools never have been become all that well acquainted.
I guess there are just some of us who are consistently average. Oh, I changed a part on the washer last year and the basement still hasn’t flooded. I can handle a few things around the house, like light bulbs. But when it comes to anything that has a potential of breaking at 70 miles per hour, or producing serious electrical shock, well, there is a reason that the yellow pages is full of professionals.
I do have some unique skills. Nothing that anybody would pay good money for, but valuable nonetheless. There’s my world class ability to nap just about anywhere, anytime. I somehow have gathered a vast storehouse of useless information that keeps my kids forever groaning. I can do a dead-on impression of a geek, with glasses over the ears, pants hiked up, the whole mess. Always good for a giggle.
So I say, so what if I will never fix a brain, discover a new species of platypus, or solve a quadratic equation. Or even replace an electrical outlet. I just have to do the best with what I’ve got, like the vast majority of us.
After all, being exceptionally ordinary may be a gift in itself.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I needed to take a look at where I was headed with this site. So I backed off for awhile. Thought about how I would link, what I would write about.
I have decided to only link to positive sites. Too many of those I have been reading are very negative, angry and in some cases uncharitable. I have the option to not read these, of course, but I also have the obligation not to offer them as links.
It is in no way a statement on the quality of their messages, or the passion and sincerity of those persons. They are choosing to follow their hearts. Who am I to judge?
Consider it a change in direction.

I just think that the change will do me good.
You too, I hope.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


rdl from "when I grow up" suggested I post some of my past columns. Thanks for the vote of confidence, and the idea. So here is one from February 2005.

In the course of talking to people, I have come to the not-so-surprising conclusion that we are more alike than different. Yeah, some have blue eyes, some brown, some straight hair, some curly, and some of us are follicley- challenged. We come in various shades and hues, lengths and girths, and speak in a vast variety of ways.
But there are some universal experiences and reactions that make put us in the same boat on this voyage of life.
Awhile back, a comedian made a big hit with the use of a line after a statement….”you just might be a redneck.” So borrowing on that phrase, I’d like to offer just a few thoughts that “If you (fill in the blank), you just might be normal.”
If you’ve ever reached down into the cushions of your couch and found an M&M… and ate it… just might be normal.
If you’ve ever tried to rearrange the insides of your nostrils while waiting at a stop sign, and glanced over at the car next to you to see the driver grinning at you….you just might be normal.
If you’ve ever come back from the mailbox smugly thinking you must be quite popular, only to find most of the mail headed to the recycling bin and the rest to the “bills to pay” folder, you just might be normal.
If you’ve ever come home from little Johnny or Janies’s soccer game, and come to the realization that, no, the college scholarship is NOT in their future……you guessed it, you just might be normal.
It really is no crime to be normal. It beats abnormal. Or dysfunctional. Take solace in that. So don’t be ashamed if…
You ever have accidentally nodded off in the armchair while watching the 9:00 news.
You have driven like crazy, violating at least 12 traffic laws, to get to a kids tournament basketball game, dropped the kid off at the door, and raced into the gym, only to find that the game ahead of you has just ended the first period.
You’ve tripped over absolutely nothing, and then done that little skip like you meant to do that, thank you very much.
You once fell asleep with your arm over your head, dreamt that you had a horrible industrial accident, bolted awake and freaked out because you could neither see nor feel your still-sleeping right limb. (well, maybe I’m the only one who has done that).
Maybe you have had that, shall we say, “blemish” so big it had its own zip code, and you’re long past puberty.
Or walked off the elevator on the wrong floor, gone all the way down the hall to the office you thought was yours, only to open the door, look around and quietly back out.
If you’ve ever found your wife’s car keys in you coat pocket, after already pulling into your own parking lot, and had to make THAT phone call home… just might be normal.
If you’ve ever…done the “left, right, left shuffle” with somebody in a hallway…bumped your head on the doorjamb of your car…got so sick that the toilet and the trashcan were required at the same time……threatened to quit your job, 3 times in the same week….refinanced your home mortgage to pay off those charges, only to find those same charges mysteriously rise once again…wondered what in the world your teenaged son or daughter sees in someone else’s teenage daughter or son…..well, then, you just might be normal.
To misquote old Forrest Gump, “normal is as normal does”. It takes shared experiences to see our humanity. It’s this world’s trips and stumbles that keep us honest.
So take heart, friends and keep that stiff upper lip. Just hope nobody sees that hunk of mayonnaise hanging off the end of it.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I haven't been able to put much down lately....illness, family members from out of I need to take a short time out and refocus on what I want to do with this space.... how I want to proceed.
Be gone for awhile.
Until then...........

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


What is your take on purgatory? Is it real? Based on scripture?
Me, it think it is like a metaphysical "time-out" where our soul goes to make that awful wait until we get into the know, we weren't so danged awful bad on earth to deserve the H-bomb....but sure as shootin' we weren't no angels we do NOT get a "Pass Go and collect $200 heavenly bucks for expenses" once we shuffle off this ole mortal coil.
Gotta pay the piper for our stupidity and hubris and thinking we knew more than the Big Guy.
So, there we sit, seeing St. Peteys open door policy for those who have served their time, but knowing we are not worthy just about yet, and it is painful...not as painful as sitting on the front stove burner, but not nearly as great as meeting the Lord.
Still, we know we snuck in the doggy door when the Gatekeeper wasn't lookin', and every dog has his day, so ...that has to count for something.
I also really do not think those who die get right in, like the eulogists are wont to say at funerals....not even saints.... they have some down time too...a lot of them were some first class sinners in their day....why else would we pray for the dead, except to get the Boss to go easy on them..?
So.....What do you think?

I know I'll be pleased as punch to get my big toe in the back porch door....

Once you're in, your're in, baby.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Since everybody but Bob's uncle are making predictions, here go minz.....
1. In spite of a great game by Hasselbach and Anderson for the NFC champs, the Boys Of Steel will ride The Bus home to their first win since who the heck cares when....
2. I will eat way too much chili, much to the dismay of my co-watchers, drink a few, burp a lot, and probably take a nap at half-time, since I never could get into the Stones. (Recall, I can sleep anywhere, anytime.)
3. Wifey, sisters and friends will have a girly day at one of the sissys homes, and will laugh, cry, eat baked chicken, drink wine, cry, laugh, look at old pictures, laugh, cry, kill the rest of the wine, and have a "crunk" of a time without the dudes, who are basically boring drunks anyway.
4. Call-ins Monday will continue to plague the American workplace, and Osama B. Laden will denounce us as infidels. Not even "W" will respond to this idi-ote, as he will also call in sick to the WH.
5. The local sports world finally will begin to pu it's focus where it belongs.......THE CARDINALS!

Enjoy the game....half time should have been Motown totally, but $ screwed with the DE troit minds.
(Bob's uncle just called....he's got "Hawks by 5"....)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Been on retreat, then got sick with a good old sinus infection....lot of good retreat did me...(just kidding, God!)
Still, being ill sure does make one appreciate the small things, like standing up without feeling like your knees are goo, or not being constantly achey/dizzy/snotty/ hacky.
Everybody at work and most in our family have something. Could be attributed to the warmer than usual January we are having here in St. Louis. A long-time meteorologist said it ain't global warming, just the cycle of the earth. I tend to go along with that, but then, he missed the forecast the other day pretty badly. So who knows.

Saw George last night...some show. He do smirk a lot...mostly to the left side of the crowd on the floor...Did I see him wagging his finger at the bad little boys and girls of the Dems? That must have made old Hil want to get up and punch somebody...probably Bill....not that she needs a reason... she probably always wants to jack him a good one. Probably why he lives elsewhere. I'd put money on her in alley fight with the former Pres. She a mean one, that girl. Looking at her reminds me of the Wizard of, not the movie, the actual Wizard! "Pay no attention to the 'woman' behind the curtain."
Then I heard John Kerry say today that "53% of our kids don't graduate from high school"...seems kinda high, doesn't it? Need to check that one out.


Welcome to any readers of the Journal and is a quick tour of the site...not much to can read any past postings by going to "Archives" on the right, find some interesting writers by clicking on any of the "Links", and see interesting stuff on the ads boxes....also, you can go to "Google" by way of the box at the top. So check my site out, and then "Google" something after that. Talk about fun!!!! And if you visit, let me know, by clicking on the
"Comments" spot at the bottom of each post.
That's about it...thanks for checking it out.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


I am going on retreat for the weekend. Hope to get in a lot of quiet time, and prayer, and hear some good stuff from the Jesuits. They have great food, too. It is held at the White House Retreat Center in what used to be rural St. Louis County. Old white stone buildings give it the name, built on a wooded bluff above the Mississippi River.
My fourth time there....Pray for me and I will return the favor.

Here I will leave something I wrote about 10 years ago.
Kinda wintery in tone.

The trees and roads and hills were liberally dusted with the first fresh fall of the season. Here and there, a squirrel moved its way tentatively toward somewhere it instinctively knew meant food. Sound was at a minimum, except for the faint low hum of the wind. As the day ran on, everything took on a steely gray hue.

The man viewed this scene from the second story bedroom window. His breath steamed the panes briefly, as brief was the best his breathing could do these days. Light from the desk lamp caused a reflection of someone he once knew. Or thought he knew, at least. Who are you anyway, he wondered as he gazed at the face in the window.

And what of this face? Cheeks a bit sunken, a fringe of a mustache, gray and white specks on the chin. A strong chin it was, with a deep vertical dent in the center. A genetically defining dent, one shared by most of his descendants. The eyes, pale blue, were surrounded by folds of skin and rutted lines extending from the outer corners into the cheeks. As for hair, or lack of such, the steady retreat begun in his forties was now virtually at an end, leaving only whitish tufts above the ears. It seemed some of the fallen follicles had taken root on the ridges above the eyes, and even on and around the ears. With a wry grin, the man recalled telling his youngest now a lovely woman in her own right, how “going bald was okay”, because the hair wasn’t really gone, it just fell on his back and shoulders and grew there. He was just keeping it there for now. And it made him smile to remember that this story was good enough for her then.

Funny, too, how the face looking back was so like his fathers, and even his fathers’ fathers’. How much, he mused, did this repeat? Did his great grandfather look the same? Would one of his sons? How far back, how much forward? It was a warm feeling of rootedness that these thoughts brought, even in the viewing of a life in decline.

So. There he was. The same, yet not the same. Still, in that reflection was the curly headed boy who played at sports with abandon, had some moderate success in prep and college, and came of age in a time of his countrys’ vast confusion over a foreign war, and a moral decline to match the Romans. This boy-to-man had the blessed fortune to encounter a woman four years his junior, who was to provide the love and meaning to his life for over half a century, who would bear their six children and with him see them grow and struggle and fight and rejoice their way through the plus and minus of their own lives.

She was “My North, my South, my East and West, my working week and my Sunday rest”, as the Irish poet W. H. Auden put it. “I thought love would last forever. I was wrong.”

Well, it turns out Auden was wrong....the love lasted, but the earthen vessel that bore her tremendous spirit failed all to soon. It was almost understood between them that he would be the first to go. Not that either of them had any was just a feeling. But it was in a time very like today that she took her leave. Mercifully short and remarkably almost painless, her demise was handled much the same way she went through life.....with great love and humor, and more thought of others than herself. In testimonial to her deep faith, it was remarked that all who had seen her smile now had a special emissary in the hereafter, to help pave their way. And if her earthly will and love had the same heavenly force, then her blessings would continue to reach out until we all met up again.

A rush of melting snow falling past the window roused the man from his remembrance. He seemed to spend more and more of his time there, in the past. It was known, and it was for the most part pleasant, and she was there. So he easily drifted back to her, and the smile. It was the first thing he saw, the feature most attracting. Through the years, it always humbled him, to know she was with him, and that he probably got more of those smiles than anyone else. It was a gift of God, that smile, and one she gave away freely and generously. Others envied it, he knew, although they never said. And it was to his great joy that their children possessed that gift, each and everyone. It would always set them apart as beautiful.

The face in the reflection also had a smile now. Oh, it wasn’t like hers, but it showed promise,. For, down below into the street spilled loads of descendants, the real reason he continued to hold on since she left. They would come, and eat, and drink, and yell, and laugh..... and cry. They would linger, and then be gone.

But their stay would always give him more fuel for the fire, until his burned down for good, and the ash fluttered up, and they were together again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006



(thanks to lee strong for correcting my math.....t)

Monday, January 23, 2006

TAG, I'M IT.....

Got this from angelmeg at Transcendental Musings. I don't normally do these, but this looked fun.
1. Before I go out the door, I make sure my zipper is up. (seriously....very important!)
2. I can't seem to catch up on my sleep. (can nap anytime...anywhere.)
3. The one surface that seems to get cluttered fast is my mind.
4. If I sleep past Tuesday, I feel like I've overslept, (although it makes for a short work week)
5. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to make money in my sleep.
6. I hope to have my income taxes done by somebody who can get me max. refund and min. jail time.
7. This year, I would like to make more time for golf, guitar and dates with the lovely bride......(though not necessarilly in that order.)

No tags, but have at it if so inclined.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


"I was going to be the first female President of the United States."
"I would have become a wife, and mother of four, with my oldest becoming a teacher."
"I would have died in a car accident on my 18th birthday, hit by a drunken driver."
"I was to have been that drunken driver."
"My destiny was to find the cure to cancer."
"I was to contract cancer in childhood, only to have it cured."
"My life would have been terrible, a victim of abuse, until I grew up and founded a home for abused and neglected children."
"I was to have been a child abuser, and later take my own life."
"I was going to be a carpenter."
"My life was going to be full of excitement, and love, and children of my own."

Just a few of the destinies of the more than 46,000,000 souls that never had a chance, to struggle, to laugh, to cry, to suffer, to find joy, to bring love to participate in this gift called life.

Roe v. Wade.....33 years and counting.

Ora pro nobis, and for all those who are victims.......the children, the women, the medical personnel.
May we see an end to this soon.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


In the interest of furthering the collective knowledge of our nation, and to allow for responses to some of the burning questions of our day, I would like to take the opportunity to offer for your viewing pleasure.....

1. Is Osama bin Ladin really a Bush administration stooge, existing only to give force and power to the administration's plans for global dominance, snooping, and just generally annoying liberals?
2. Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour" finally came, at age 64. What was your favorite, all-time Motown song?
3. Will "The Simpsons" ever be cancelled....I mean EVER?
4. Is there anyone out there who can step up and be a voice for Black Americans?
5. Considering "Brokeback Mountain", do you wonder even a little bit about Tonto and the Lone Ranger?

Consider carefully, and respond.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


We just returned from a baptism preparation session at the rectory. Jill and I do this on occasion. I never really know what to say before I talk at these times, but the little prayer we say before it always seems to help. So I just started of the couples had their gorgeous little 8 week old daughter there...she inspired me.
I mentioned that when John baptized Jesus, he then stepped back, and Jesus was the focus. In the same way, a parent needs to step back from their self, making the child the focus of their life. Maybe not very original or profound, but definitely true.
I also have been reading the Bible lately, and came across the part where Abraham blesses his sons. A priest once told me that a father's blessing is very powerful, coming from all the way back to the Old Bible guys. So I mentioned to the dad tonight that he can simply pass this on by making the sign of the cross on his daughters forehead.
Heck, I bless my kids cars when they take off for college or Chicago, or just a couple miles away. I sneak up on them and bless them on their shoulder without them even knowing it, or when they are sleeping.
Don't pass up the chance, mom and dad. Never know when you may get another one.

Monday, January 16, 2006


This being a holiday, and me being a teacher adds up to me being on the golf course today. Played the par 3, using only my Precept 7 wood, 7-iron, sand wedge and putter. The putter is "cock" as my brother-in-law Jackie would say, using a slang phrase from our youth that used to drive my mom up the wall. It is a mallet head, cherry wood, from the same company that makes baseball bats, Louisville. Jill gave it to me on my birthday four years ago. Actually, she asked me what I wanted and I said a putter that costs $100 bucks and she said I was nuts but I got it anyway.
Yeah, she spoils me.
Golf really is a strange game. You can look great, with the logo hats and the shoes and top equipment, but if your swing smells like butt cheese, fuggedaboutit. I decided to put to use the tips I got from a range jockey (my name for the guy who hangs out on the practice tees, giving out advice, whether you want it or not. Something I aspire to...), and use my new grip. And keep the head down, for Jimminy-Crickets sakes.
So here I was, the course almost empty, which is how I love it.... playing "Three-Ball Tommy " (a fancy name for cheating) where I play my first ball for the score on the hole, and take two more shots each time. Hey, Tiger and Phil do it all the time, and they get paid for's called a "practice round.
Well, I did ok for the first time out. 7 over, with no birdies and one double booger.
No complaints here....I was out!
But maybe the best part was that, after the ninth, I wandered into the woods and found 15 balls. 15!! So I was up plus 11 on ball count for the day. Felt like a kid at a private Easter egg hunt.
Tomorrow their calling for snow.
Happy Birthday, Dr. King!

Sunday, January 15, 2006


A noted British historian named C.V Wedgewood said:
"History is lived forward but written in retrospect. We know the end before we consider the beginning, and we can never wholly recapture what it was to know the beginning only."
I always thought that Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech was a courageous attempt at delineating what our future could be. We know how he ended, but at the beginning, man, he sure did spell it out. No matter what you think of him now, it would hard to deny that he moved us forward. I take inspiration from his words.
A few years ago, I wrote a column for The Suburban Journal. Here it is.


When it comes to the matter of race, strong opinions abound. Words like racism, prejudice, and discrimination bring up the heat on one side, as much as double standards, affirmative action and quotas do on the other. It seems to be a fact of life in our society that the color of a persons skin has a great deal to do with their experiences growing up, where they live, who they hang out with, who they marry, who they support in they live their lives in general. But why is it that ones color or the look of their eyes causes such things to be so?

Historically, non-whites have been a put-upon underclass worldwide, but more specifically in our country. This includes African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American. Greater access to higher education and aggressive government programs have helped change this over the past 40 years, to some degree. But this change has been slow and not without serious effort and cost. And increasingly we see this wariness and mistreatment toward many people of Middle Eastern descent.

“That’s just the way it is....some things will never change” goes the refrain of a recently popular song. But is this really the way we want our world to continue to operate?

I believe most of us are honest people, or at least try to be. So a question that might be asked now is: Who among us, of any race, can say they have not at least once used an ethnic slur, told a racial joke, or said something unkind about someone you don’t even know just because of the way they look? If you are one of these people, I applaud you. You are a far better person than I. However I would hazard a guess that there may be only a few of you out there.

So why do we act like this? In the larger world, we see Palestinians against Jews, Muslims at odds with Hindus, Sunnis versus Kurds. Some groups of students at Howard University reportedly cheered when O.J. was acquitted, some whites still feel that they are genetically superior to everyone else. At this rate, will we ever get to the point that Rev. Martin Luther King dreamed of, that the sons of slave owners and the sons of slaves would some day play together in harmony, and be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin?

Well, I have to think it will. Here in North St. Louis County we have probably the greatest mix of people in the whole region. I teach school in a north county public school where kids of all races do get along, eat lunch together, and play sports together. They may not always socialize together but they seem to peacefully co-exist. Kids in my neighborhood and others I hear of get along together. It can be done. They do it every day. It may not be perfect, but they seem to be at least trying.

Mark Twain said, ”Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul----and never will.”
Opinions can change. Our opinion many times comes from what we have been taught, but ultimately it comes from our hearts. And human beings hearts can change. But it takes effort. If we can change our hearts and our opinions, we may be able to subsequently alter our actions. Ultimately, it will take each of us, in our own way and our own time, to change our hearts.

Back when he was in the news, Rodney King said something that was quite profound. When turmoil and rioting surrounded the acquittal of those who beat him, he issued a universal appeal.

“Can’t we all just get along?” he said.

Is it possible that it really is just that simple?

Can’t we all just get along?

Maybe it’s not too late for this generation to get it right. But the hope is that future generations will find the right answer to that question, and in answering, fulfill Rev. Kings dream.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


My wife gave me the book "John Paul the Great" by Peggy Noonan for my birthday... so far, it is very compelling reading. Awhile back I did an article for the Community News of St. Louis, and I am posting it here. I wrote it shortly after his death this past year.
This guy will probably be a saint in my lifetime, and most likely deservedly so. He sure was the right guy for the job at the time.

A great upset was in the making in the fall of 1978. The leaders of one of the oldest religions were gathered to choose their new leader. Again. They were still numb from the shock of the untimely death of one of their brothers whom they had just elevated to the highest position only two months previous. It was in this unprecedented atmosphere that Karol Wojtyla, the cardinal prelate from Poland, became the first Slavic pope, and the first non-Italian to be named to the pontificate in 455 years.
The whole world, but especially the Catholic world, was in for quite an experience.
Much has been written about the effect of the papacy of Pope John Paul II. He was so influential during his 26 year run that he is now being heralded by some as “The Great”, a designation given only to two other successors of Peter. For many, this man was the only pope they had known. With his travels, his reaching out to all religions and peoples, he changed the perception of “The Pope” for millions of people. But this can all be chronicled elsewhere, far better than I.
What will be shared here is a lesser known story that serves to point up the power that this one man wielded, as he went about his business as archbishop of Krakow during the years of communist domination of Eastern Europe. It is a story of the strength of will, almost prophetic in nature, a sign of even greater things to come.
The year was 1952. The Soviets had political power over Poland as a result of the post-World War II agreement between Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Harry Truman. They wanted to make a statement, to create a monument of sorts to their ideology. So on the outskirts of Krakow, they constructed an industrial city. It was built with their latest technology, to showcase the greatness that, they said, was communism. The enormous Lenin Steelworks was the keystone, along with “efficient” apartment complexes that would house some of the over 27,000 workers who toiled there in its peak. It was called Nova Huta, and it was to be the crown jewel of the “new order” in Eastern Europe.
But this city was unusual in a way that no other new city ever had been. In keeping with the Soviet atheistic philosophy, this town was built without a church. Not one single church of any kind.
This did not set well with Karol Wojtyla, then archbishop of Krakow.
During the next decade, along with Poland’s Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the future pope kept up a relentless pressure on the communist authorities to allow him to have free and non-violent assemblies. The dictatorship held fast, however. They did allow the assemblies but a church was out of the question.
For 12 years, the man from Wadowice said Christmas Mass in an open field, clearly in defiance of the dictates against it. He even had a cross erected on the site.
Through sheer force of will and courage in the face of death, Karol Wojtyla led his people thorough those God-less years.
And the people of Nova Huta eventually got their church.
By virtue of his leadership, the power of the people, the Catholic Church became the only independent authority in communist Eastern Europe. This success helped to embolden the Solidarity labor movement, and eventually, many historians say, led to the eventual collapse of communism in Europe.
Maybe Karol Wojtyla was just merely the right guy in the right place at precisely the right time.
But maybe it was something more.
The Polish poet Juliusz Slowacki may have known this man would come to the forefront of world events. In a poem written more than a century before that October day in 1978, he said:
Amidst all the discord,
God sets an immense bell ringing,
He opens the throne to a Slavic Pope….
Much energy is needed to rebuild the Lord’s world;
and that is why a Slavic Pope is coming,
a brother of the peoples…
A brother of the peoples. All the peoples. His papal motto was “Totus Tuus”, “totally yours.” That was the essence of Karol Wojtyla.
We may never see the likes of him again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Over the last few years, I have developed a "jones" for golf. Not that I play all that much, but I sure do want to play a lot. I used to think it was the Game of Wusses, for people who couldn't do anything else. And for me, that was true, since the old knees and ankles are such that I couldn't run 10 feet to save my life. And I mean that literally, as well as figuratively. The biggest, baddest, butcher-knife-hacking mutha could be after me, and I'd just have to die.
Still, as I took up the game, I began to appreciate the skill, stamina and concentration required to do it well.
Now some folks out there talk about "what is a sport?"...and "what defines 'athlete'?" Is NASCAR a sport, or figure skating? How about golf? I know guys who can drive a Titliest into the next zipcode, but I would never call them an athlete. On the other hand, the game requires key components of athleticism, such as eye-hand coordintation, balance and rhythym, not to mention a combination of strength and finesse, to hit a round ball with a flat stick into a little bitty hole a couple of football fields away in under 5 swings.
So, I don't know.
What I do know is that I gotta get out soon. Lately, it's been either a lousy day and I have the time, or a great day and I am busy as all heck.
Anybody else chomping to tee it up?

Monday, January 09, 2006


I put some ads on the sidebar. I want to see what happens when I put some key words in this post. So here goes....Cardinals, Baby Boomer, grand kids, retirement, 401 K (so far, pretty boring, huh?) How about pro-life, the fires of hell, Los Feliz golf course in Los Angeles, where they rent clubs for a quarter and it cost $4 to was the course where the losers from the movie "Swingers" played.....son Joe and I played when we went out there Thanksgiving of '04. Nice course for the price....and I chipped in on the 5th hole from at least, oh, probably 25 yards from the green.
Maybe I'll add Santa Monica and Governor Arnold....lets see what all this brings....
(just noticed that ad is also spelled wonder English is so hard to learn for little kids!)

Sunday, January 08, 2006


The only resolution I made for the new year was to read the Bible from start to finish. Never had, and always wanted to. So as I am going through it page by page, and interesting thing is happening. The book seems to be calling out to me, not in some spooky mystical sense, but definitely it is always on my mind. A good sign, that maybe I am on to something I am supposed to be doing.

One thing that hits me early on is that them Bible Guys sure did "get around". I mean they didn't call him Father Abraham for nuttin'. Lots of "laying with" and "begetting" going on by Isaac and Jacob and the sons of sons of sons. And dang, they even had the blessing of the Lord on them, telling them He would help them build a great nation. So they were just following orders, I guess.
It will be interesting to see just where this monogamy thing comes in, though.

Today, the number at the top of my profile changed to 57. But the best thing about the day is that my college daughter turned 21. So she can have her first drink!
Yeah, right. Legal, at least.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Just when I feel like I'm catching up, something comes along that knocks me to the back of the line.
I was the last brother in the family to get a microwave, a garage door opener, and a cell phone, and we have had satellite for only about a year. They would laugh at me, saying I needed to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century. And this was in the 21st century.
Anyway, I was feeling pretty good about myself and my new techno-savvy, having figured out the cell phone (well, mostly), and working my way through the computer. However, I still call the 14 year old in for tech support now and then.
Then along shows up the Nano Ipod, and Blackberrys, and razor cell phones.
Back of the line, kiddo, they shout out to me, rudely.
I have to tell you, I am in awe of the people who think this stuff up. Then, I am in awe everytime I flip the toggle on the wall and a light comes on. And please don't get me started about the internal combustion engine.
So long live technology....I just hope I live long enough to figure some of it out.

Monday, January 02, 2006


It was in the year 1946 that the first Baby Boomer was born. The term really didn't catch on at first, but it sure has grown. Some say to the point of nausea. There have been some stories about the first boomer being from the Missouri area, being born 1/2 second after midnight. But then, a lady in the Northeast got a lot of press recently as the first one, due to the time zone difference, born at 12:01. The guy in Missouri didn't make a big deal about it.
"Any one born even a few seconds after midnight has a birth certificate that says '12:01'," he said.
So the leading edge folks are heading into their 60's. And the tail-enders will hit 42 in '06.
If you take a life-span in todays actuarial table of 80 years old, that means this old world will be stuck with us until 2044.
Some say that, having been a hippie and a yuppie, and now an "abbie" ( aging baby boomer), we believe we are going to die before we get old.
Me? I'm just hoping for tomorrow.....