Visit Punditkitchen.com…very cool new humor site

May 26, 2008

These are too funny not to share!

Welcum to the no factz zone
see more politics and fun!

Political Picture - John McCain
see more politics and fun!

Political Picture - Jon Stewart
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Political Picture - George W. Bush
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Farewell, LRD!

May 26, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, CKD posted me with sad news…Medaille’s former campus president (and all around excellent dude) Leo R Downey, passed away at 86. Leo had been in ill health for quite a while, living in NYC.

Leo was incredibly important to Medaille, although the past and current administration probably won’t do more than a web reference and some flowers for LRD’s funeral. I hope (and wish) for more to honor Leo. Most Medaille folks probably didn’t know everything Leo did to save the campus back in the late 1970s/early 1980s when colleges like Medaille, small private liberal arts colleges, went flatline and closed. I knew.

I knew how much Leo believed in us, Medaille students, and the Medaille culture. LRD loved how the Derelicts felt Medaille was their home. Even when we played tricks on Leo, like when Carl and Ripper wore the “I’m Hard” and “I’m Erect” Hello stickers to Freshman Orientation, he played along. So, maybe LRD wasn’t happy when we had the first years drink multiple fifths of Jack Daniels’ at fall orientation and put some students into the hospital (sorry, Leo!)…he understood why we did it: To be at Medaille meant going all out to do what you were asked. Sometimes we asked everyone to do more than they could handle…

We’ll all miss you, Leo. You were a great man and a wonderful college president. I will even miss your red tuxedo. No one else could have worn one with as much style and panache as you, Dr D.

 

http://www.buffalonews.com/obituaries/story/351753.html

Return of “Green Lightning”

March 7, 2008

The other night I gave one of my grad students a copy of a short creative non fiction piece I’ve been working on as part of a collection of Buffalo NY stories. She needed some guidance on how to incorporate scene and location in an organic way.

The piece I’m writing is about Billie Lawless’ public art “Green Lightning,” which as any Buffalonian over the age of 45 (or maybe 40…hard to say) remembers created furor and got Mayor Griffin’s tighty whites in a bunch. Yep, Hizzoner showed how closely he could turn fascist on that one!

Granted, glowing neon penises along the Elm-Oak Arterial might not have been the wisest move. But Common Council did approve the funding. Of course, the artist didn’t necessarily offer up accurate renderings of the dancing dicks…

My student, Becca, was kind enough to send me a photo of Green Lightning in all its (genuinely) 15 minutes of fame. I’m uploading it here as a reminder of the evening when penises danced along the Arterial, and even though many of us had been drinking at Garcia’s (RIP…Garcia’s Irish Pub) that evening, we weren’t seeing things.

Thanks, Becca! The laugh alone seeing this sight again was worth opening my morning email. For those of you who don’t remember….

Green Lightning

Why the 1970s Will Haunt Some of us Forever….

February 2, 2008

Cindy sent me the hysterical Olan Mills Awesomeness stuff going around the Internet. No one can ever, ever say the 1970s were cool. The photos just prove such statements wrong.

For those of you who haven’t seen the link, here it is

http://listoftheday.blogspot.com/2007/09/great-olan-mills-photos.html

Be prepared to laugh until you cry. I almost lost this morning’s Cheerios while looking at the pictures and the captions.

Why I’m Bumming that John Edwards Dropped Out

February 2, 2008

Ok, it’s been more than 2 days since Edwards packed up his tent and moved on. Still, I’m damned upset. The man had the right message for the right time. We do have “two Americas.” Anyone who lived in (or still lives in) The Rust Belt knows that. Anyone who’s had a family member been displaced in a job knows that. Anyone who has been in a catastrophic family situation knows that.

Edwards believed in everything I believe in: End No Child Left Behind, get out of the war, have universal health care, work on improving the lives of those in poverty, provide economic opportunity for all. Be fair with taxation.

He had the plans that pushed the two au courant “rock stars” in the Democratic party to consider that the platform needs to be more than someone’s gender or race and a couple of catchy words. Edwards was truly, truly spot on. He kept the frontrunners honest.

I’m glad that Edwards is holding out on those 26 delegates he has. Wait it out, John. Not to be a kingmaker, but to ensure that someone’s standing up for those who have no voice.

I know I’m voting in the NJ primary come Tuesday. I really have thought about voting for Edwards if his name is on the ballot — not in protest, but to say that maybe, just maybe, if Edwards could have held on to Super Tuesday that he could have been a larger player. A few friends of mine have said I’m just being my stupid, stubborn self. They remember when I embarassed my mother by having the only write in ballot for Jerry Brown in 1976 (I drove 90 minutes from college to vote and then I was the only write in vote in my small town!). They remember when I voted for John Anderson in 1980 because I believed Anderson was right about the need for an energy tax (he was visionary on that issue, for sure). They remember when I couldn’t vote in 1984 because I moved to a new voting district — and how I spit nails because I was so stupid for having my house closing after the deadline for changing districts!

The list goes on….1988, 1992 (so happy that the Democrats were going to sweep…watching the folks in the North End of Syracuse where I grocery shopped talk politics — in both Italian AND English), 1996. And when I wanted to leave for Canada in 2000 because of my anger — only to be stopped by my graduate students’ petition begging me to stay.

Now it’s my 9th Presidential Election. I really believe in John Edwards. My hope is that he will become a VP candidate (please, John….PLEASE!). I’ll cast my vote for whomever selects Edwards as a running mate. I’m not proud. I’m angry. I’m angry at the same things Edwards is angry about and wants changed in America. While I’ve not been as lucky as he has in life, I’ve been very fortunate. I want others to have that same sort of opportunity. But I don’t see that option open with the other candidates.

 So yeah, I’m really bummed that John Edwards  dropped out of the race. I once thought Al Gore would come riding in on some sort of post-Nobel environmental cause thing…

Bummed there, too.

If Only These were Real Commercials….

January 12, 2008

 For those of you really, REALLY involved with Facebook on a minute-by-minute basis, this video is for you:

One of the people on my Facebook site posted the video below, and I only wish this was a REAL commercial!  Man, how I can’t stand those e-Harmony commercials….

Catching up with Old Friends

January 12, 2008

One of the weirdest things about growing older is that even though in our minds and in our conversations we’re young, there are tell-tale signs that we’re not that young any more (at least chronologically).

Case in point: My friend David, who lives in Kansas and has two really cool, now really grown up daughters. I remember when they were very young, like 3 and 6, and they’d visit our campus office when David had to teach and couldn’t find a sitter. Now his daughters are either in college or graduating from high school this year. It took me a moment to realize just how many years passed between the last time we saw each other and now.

I think the last time David and I spoke, he was going to be a contestant of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and he asked me if I could be a lifeline. He didn’t need me that day, although I hung around the house to wait for his call, and I’m not sure how he did — obviously, though, he didn’t win a million bucks.

Then the weirdness that is adulthood took over both of our lives. Until recently, that is. We chat online now and again, catching up. Visiting as only people these days can in a virtual world.

David still makes me laugh, and still shares pretty much the same political views and I think probably drinks just about the same amount of coffee that we did in graduate school. He also knows what I like to read, and he’s given me a few titles to consider in my spare moments. I still value his opinion on things, although I’m still wondering why he liked Bloodrock’s “DOA” as a kid — but, as he said, death seems a whole lot more distant when we’re 10 compared to when we’re turning 50.

He’s also done a hell of a job raising his kids. They’re funny and smart.

Sort of like what my friend from college, Carol, has done with her two boys. Last time I saw Carol, her first born was 6 months old, bouncing around in a Jolly Jumper in her living room outside of Cincinnati. Now he’s going to be 16, and her younger son is going to be 12. She’s moved a few times for her job, and the three of them returned recently to Cincinnati.

When I speak with Carol and David, I realize just how much life we all deal with everyday. Parents’ deaths, children growing, careers that ebb and flow, relationships and marriages that crumble, how we weave in and out of each others’ lives. We pick up where we left off and travel down the road for a while together.  

Sometimes we just don’t realize that life really is good — especially when we’re catching up with old friends. I’m glad they’re both in my life again. It’s nice to be around people who “get you” even when you think no one does.

And even though we’re all turning 50 this year, we still rock out like we’re 20 (without something as stupid as Guitar Hero!). May we have many more of those moments ahead….

(Virtually)Home for the Holidays with the Derelicts…

December 27, 2007

drunk-slacker.jpgAh, the holidays…for nearly a decade, that meant spending hours upon hours at various Buffalo area watering holes — He & She’s in North Tonawanda, Merlin’s, the Elmwood Village, the Spectrum, the Candelight Lounge in Black Rock, the Belle Starr in Glenwood, NY (my personal favorite until it burned). Sometimes Kissing Bridge’s lodge…Amazing that I can even remember some of those moments. So glad there wasn’t You Tube and cell phone cameras in those days.

With whom did I spend these hours and shots? In short, my pals — affectionately known as Medaille’s Media Derelicts. Eventually, the moniker was shortened to simply “the Derelicts.” Not everyone could be a Derelict; there were criteria attached. Our first department chair in college, A.W. “Bill” (aka Average White) Colegrove and his Colegrove red socks, instituted the standards after watching several of us have far too much fun at a campus mixer.

Bill’s rules: Must have a 3.5 GPA or better; must have an incredible capacity for alcohol or other mind-altering consumables; must have a distinctive personality. Must have the potential for great success in the future. Bill gave us each a nickname. How or why Bill thought any of us would be successful is a mystery.

In turn, we created yellow T-shirts with Colegrove red letter imprints — Media Derelict on the front with our nickname on the back. A more coveted T-shirt did not exist at Medaille. The Red Badge of Courage, in some ways…it meant you could, in Hunter S Thompson terms: party with the professionals. Many tried, but few met the calling.

Eventually Bill left Medaille under a cloud of suspicion, and John Koller took his place. “Uncle” John kept the Derelict tradition during his tenure, too. And from what I hear, current Medaille students and alums know about the Derelicts. They ask returnees at campus events if the stories were true (and they are all true, kids, you should have been there!).

Yeah, we were that good and that notorious! 

Scarier, though, is that Bill was right: All of us became successful in what we chose to do.

These last few days I’ve exchanged all sorts of e-cards and e-mails with most of the Derelicts. We’re still around, scattered across the US. A few are still in Buffalo, too. We’re older now. Certainly less mature when we’re around each other. Debatable whether we’re wiser. I suppose that depends on how one defines “wise.”

If this were the late 1970s, the Derelicts would be rushing about, preparing for their annual ski trip to Vermont (or, in Derelict-speak “Ver-min”). Like Santa’s squirrels, we’d be shuttling about, gathering provisions like Ramen noodles and readying our skis. Enduring numerous trips to Premier Liquors to fulfill requests. Renting vans or cajoling Nick the Crook to take the college vans to save some cash. Having Mrs. Rollo make us a week’s worth of sauce. Buying new Laredo cigarette machines so The Max could break them.

These days, Ver-min is a memory (perhaps for some a really hazy memory, but one nonetheless). But the memory lives in our e-mails and e-cards. While I may not always remember what a “key light” does, thanks to the Derelicts I will always know what a “key-yock” does. And yes, Carl and Rip, I will never forget that girls like boys with their “Hardys” on. (Hardys shoes, people! Are your minds in the gutter like Larry Sherlock’s?)

For that reason alone, no matter where I am, I will always be home for the holidays with the Derelicts.

Merry Hanna-Kwanzaa-Mas, guys!

Tis the Season…

December 25, 2007

bwahahaha1.jpgCindy (aka “The Devil”) sent me a great e-card supporting her favorite cause, animal rights/animal care. She’s probably freezing her ass off in Coudersport, PA today — unless she’s stuck in Hamburg, NY. And truthfully, since I know both places pretty well, I couldn’t tell you which place I’d rather be stuck!

Cindy always has this sixth sense about when I feel like crap about life — she’s phoned me from the bayous of Louisiana, the mountains of Colorado, and emailed me from just about everywhere else over the years to make sure I’m doing ok. (Thanks, Devil!)

 For those Media Derelicts who haven’t kept up with Cindy’s travels, get in touch with me. I’ll get her email to you. She’d love to hear from you (especially when she’s stuck in Coudersport…key-yock!).

Anyway, a little while back, on a day when I was feeling a wee bit sad about things, Cindy sent me a great post: Zen Sarcasm. As we all know, I love sarcasm almost as much as I love coffee!

Probably everyone has seen this, but I love it. So, up on Blogdelirium it goes. If you haven’t seen this, it’s great:

ZEN SARCASM

  • 1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
  • 2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.
  • 3. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it. 
  • 4. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.
  • 5. Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.
  • 6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
  • 7. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
  • 8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
  • 9. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  • 10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
  • 11. If you lend someone $20.00 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  • 12. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
  • 13. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.
  • 14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
  • 15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
  • 16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  • 17. Duct tape is like ‘The Force.’ It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
  • 18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.
  • 19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.
  • 20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.
  • 21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.  
  • 22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Winter in Upstate NY

December 25, 2007

christmas-in-buffalo.jpgchristmas-in-buffalo.jpgYep, it’s 45 degrees, sunny and a bit windy in southern NJ today. Good for me, because my furnace decided to stop blowing warm air this morning! There’s a 20 degree difference between outdoors and in…which makes my dog, Koan, very happy and willing to stay inside for the day.

The furnace situation will be taken care of tomorrow. I have hot water and gas…just no furnace! And no worries…spent my last two Syracuse winters in a 3rd floor apartment without heat! Of course, I also spent the Buffalo blizzards of  ’67, ’77, and ’82 (and a few other harsh winters) without heat from time to time as well.

Life could be worse… I can’t say that I miss this all that much:christmas-in-buffalo.jpg   buffalo-snowstorm.jpg   syracuse-near-su.jpg

Although I’ve done my fair share of driving in, shoveling out, and trudging through snow in the past. And the Seminole Parkway block party that my former next-door neighbor Larry organized in 1984 made the two-week wait for the Army Corps of Engineers to dig us out an incredible event! Who knew Monopoly could become a drinking game?

Still, upstate NY weather never ceases to amaze me at certain times of the year. These shots from the Syracuse Post-Standard capture the beauty and the wonder of why so many people choose to remain:   

tree-at-clinton-square.giftree-at-clinton-square.gif

clinton-square-syracuse.jpg

tree-at-clinton-square.gif 

No doubt, upstate NY can be incredibly spectacular in winter. 

tree-at-clinton-square.gifI have to admit, though…I’ve waited for the Metro bus at Clinton Square more than a few times on dark, cold, wintry evenings on my way home from SU  — and tree-at-clinton-square.giftree-at-clinton-square.gifwhile indeed beautiful, I froze so badly it took me all the way to Liverpool to move my fingers and toes!

So, while I’m not shoveling or driving through snow like many of my old pals in upstate New York are doing today, I hope all of them are well and in good spirits (besides in the ones available on Seneca Street, M Street, Elmwood Ave, Hertel Ave, and spread throughout the City of Oswego). I wish you all the best for a wonderful holiday and a few days of respite from shoveling and driving.

I’ll be waiting for a 6:30 AM wake-up call tomorrow from the furnace fixers…’til then, it’s hot coffee, sweats, socks, and blankets!

 


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