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Friday, January 27, 2017



     I had a cold last week, and believe me it was nothing to sneeze at. I tried to feed my cold, like in the saying, "feed a cold and starve a fever." Or is the the other way around? I can never remember, and I don't want to end up with a big fat fever. If you feed the cold, won't it keep coming back, like the neighbor's cat?

     I wish there was an inoculation that would prevent the neighbor's cat from coming over stalking around in our yard, throwing off my complicated ecosystem. The cat scares off the birds, so that there are more flies and bugs, and eventually my lawn is going to become extinct. At least that's the story I'm using these days when my neighbor Paul comes over and smirks at the places where grass used to be. That cat has the markings of a cow, and from down the driveway my lawn looks like a small dairy farm that I should be getting subsidies for. Why buy the milk when you can get the cat for free?

     What caused my cold? I'm pretty sure that my immune system was compromised by watching too many "Kars For Kids" commercials before I could get to the remote control. What are Kids doing with all those Kars I'd like to know? This charity might be doing great work, but I feel that if I contribute to it I may be further subjected to that which I cannot unsee or unhear. Plus we could end up with a whole generation of underage drivers who can't spell.

     Anyway, the cold lasted only a few days but I was coughing for weeks after that. You're supposed to cough into your elbow, but I don't want to give a chest-cold or a head-cold to my elbow, which I use frequently. My chest I only use for non-essential activities like breathing, and my head is basically in cold storage.

     I know people at work who are total germophobes, and they are always spraying disinfectant into the phone, as if people who didn't have time to infect them in person are calling them up with their germs. I read someplace that you shouldn't use that hand sanitizer that OCD people carry with them all the time. Apparently there is "good" bacteria and "bad" bacteria, and hand sanitizer can't figure out which is which, so it is voting Libertarian.

     Some on the internet say that to combat a cold and sore throat you should take raw garlic, which keeps the symptoms away. It also keeps away vampires, and just about everybody else. But if you haven't noticed, a veal saltimbocca at a really fine Italian restaurant rarely gets sick. People also take zinc, which is about ten bucks for a bottle of 25 capsules. A penny is about five percent zinc, so when you pay for the bottle of Zicam, you will be giving up about 100 times more zinc than you're getting back. It's enough to make you sick.

     And when you get a cold, not only are YOU miserable, but everyone at work treats you like some type of street vermin from "Les Miserables." "Stay away from me!" They yell, and then when I get a cold, they say even worse things. If I get another cold I think I will just take the day off from work and watch Forensic Files all day. It will be lonely and wretched, so I might as well eat a couple bulbs of garlic. Maybe someone will send me a card, or even a fruit basket. Even a basket of deplorables would be nice.

Friday, January 20, 2017



     I met my friends Tina, Judy, Margaret and Gene at the Somers High School to watch the Tuskers battle the Pearl River Pirates last Friday, and it was a beautiful night for a ballgame. As a writer, I don't get the chance to use the words "trounce" or "drub" too often, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so suffice it to say that Somers kicked some Pirate booty that night.

     It was breast cancer awareness day, but I did not wear any pink, I'm ashamed to say. Pink is not really my color, although I'm not sure what my color is. Maybe camouflage? That way I can fly under the radar. This has nothing to do with football but I always see armed forces members patrolling Grand Central Station wearing camouflage. I don't have the heart to tell them that there are NO jungle plants in Grand Central that they can blend into, so it seems like kind of a silly idea as a uniform choice. If they really want to fade into the woodwork, they should just dress as other commuters and carry a New York Times that has coffee spilled on it.

     I guess I could have worn my salmon-colored shirt that I wear to work sometimes. That's what men call pink when they don't want to sound too girly. Salmon are very manly, let me assure you, and I picture me and the salmon in the gym lifting weights. Sure, the salmon bench presses more than I do, but he has a dorsal muscle and I don't.

     But I did support the cause by buying several chocolate-related goodies at the bake sale booth. I am quite a humanitarian, and if I was an even better humanitarian, I could take in about 20,000 calories a day.

     I was chatting with Missy for a little while, she is a football-mom. A football-mom is similar to a soccer-mom, only with a much higher insurance deductible. She has two boys in the program, at least for now. That number could change- football is a rough sport. She was giving me the lowdown on the program, and which kids might have a chance to play in college. I certainly played in college myself, although I wasn't involved in any sports program.

     She was telling me that the coach is quite popular, and the kids trust him and buy into his philosophy. His philosophy obviously involves students running into other students as hard as they can, so he must have a way with words.

     At halftime they held a little spectacle whereby all the other members of the Somers school football programs charged the field in succession, from youngest to oldest. Afterwards, it was a touching opportunity for some of the kids to climb up into the stands and shake their parents down for money. For that reason Margaret says she only carries a dollar around with her, but the kids seemed willing to take a personal check as long as she could show two forms of ID.

     I reminded them that when I was a kid, we had to do chores for every dollar we got, and that they should be out there cutting the grass on the field. I understand that it's artificial turf, but they could use an artificial lawnmower. I used to get twenty bucks for mowing people yards. They said that the football field is a hundred yards, so they should get two thousand dollars. Actually, I haven't heard from Margaret and Gene since the game.

Friday, January 13, 2017



     It's almost impossible to score tickets to the most storied rivalry in sports, Yankees versus Red Sox. That is, unless the Yankees have been mathematically eliminated from post-season play. "Mathematically eliminated" is exactly how I felt during every math class I ever took, so I know what it's like.

     We arrived at Yankee Stadium in time for a retirement presentation for David Ortiz, who is a very popular Red Sock. Is that the singular for Red Sox? It may sound  intimidating to boast that you are a Pirate or a Giant or a Diamondback, but less so to snarl that you are a sock. And with a 25-man roster, there is always an odd sock out there somewhere, probably behind the team clothes dryer.

     Anyway, they awarded him a couple nice gifts and said some disingenuous words about how much we'll miss him hitting all those home runs against us, and I felt like I was watching a co-worker preparing to leave the company, and I was going to get his corner office with the great view. I was already redecorating David Ortiz' locker in my head.

     Then they played the National Anthem, and everyone stood except for those who were protesting things they don't like about America. Now, there are plenty of things I don't like about America, like the fact that there's never anything good on television on Sunday night, but I still love other things about America, like the fact that it's very easy to find a good candy bar. So as a protest to those people protesting, I stood during the anthem facing the flag and sang the whole thing, with the rarely-used correct lyrics. I don't begrudge anyone their right to free speech, even if they don't say anything. Also exercising their first amendment rights were many Red Sox fans who seemingly knew many unseemly expletives, which they expleted frequently.

     Then it was time for the game to begin, and the minute you sit down in a stadium seat, you automatically get hungry for overpriced, under-cooked food. I'm used to making a lot of concessions at the concession stand, but I'm not used to seeing things like "gourmet aged white cheddar kettle corn" and sushi at a sports venue. hat hasn't changed is that food tastes better if the Yankees are winning, and worse when they're not.

     I settled on a cup of coffee. At the stadium you can get a latte, an espresso or a cappuccino. Back in the old days, when I was your age, you used to get a styrofoam cup with no top, filled with used motor oil from a 1967 Volkswagen Microbus. And by the time you got back to your seat you would be wearing most of it, and I must say it looked great on you.

     Before the seventh inning stretch the grounds crew came out to spruce up the field and dance to the tune of "YMCA" by the Village People. I'm not sure what the YMCA has to do with dragging the infield, but people seem to enjoy it, and the crowd tries to spell "YMCA" using their bodies to make the letters. This is a good time not to sit next to somebody who is dyslexic, or you're going to get smacked in the face with a "C" while you're trying to make an "A."

     But the Yankees won the game, the Red Sox won the division, and everyone lost their troubles in a few hours of the great American pastime. I even got through my cup of coffee, which was terrible, but on the bright side, it reminded me to take my car in for an oil change.

Friday, January 6, 2017



     Last Saturday I stopped by the Somers Community Day, which was put together by the Chamber of Commerce. To me, "Chamber of Commerce" sounds like a cold, dark place where businessmen might be being held against their will, with nothing to eat but some brochures. It reminds me of when I was a kid vacationing with my parents in Atlantic City, and we went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. I had to tolerate a bunch of boring wax figures of presidents and actors and entertainers until I got to the best part, the "Chamber of Horrors." Here was depicted all kinds of medieval torture, the hook, the rack, the wheel and all kinds of other nasty affairs, demonstrated in gruesome detail for people who just finished a corn dog and a funnel cake at the Steel Pier. It was a great place to take the little ones to show them how important it is to clean your room.Now, I'm not suggesting that the Chamber of Commerce is involved in any kind of torture, but it couldn't hurt to keep an eye on them. Anyway, it was a gorgeous, sunny day, and all the vendors were lined up in their booths, hanging out and talking to people. Some food vendors were set up selling pizza and other noshables.

     A local real estate company had a booth going. I have a lot of friends who sell real estate as a second job. People could be working as a rocket scientist, and it's surprising how many of them sell real estate on the side. "Which side?" I always ask, just to weed out the people who are just pretending to be rocket scientists.

     An octagonal play area was pretty popular with youngsters. I'm pretty sure it wasn't meant to look like an Ultimate Fighting arena, but I didn't notice any wagering or anything.

     There was an adorable demonstration of Irish dancing performed by some of the students from a local dance program. They clogged for a while, and at the end, everything was unclogged and there were no residual effects.

     There was a bouncy house going for kids to jump around in. It look like it was tied down pretty well- sometimes you see these videos of a bouncy house that gets blown into the air by a huge gust of wind, and it looks like a scene from "The Wizard of Oz." If I was a parent that would certainly scare me, but not as much as those flying monkeys.

     The Somers Democrats had a stall operating. The Somers Republicans presumably were at home quietly weeping.

     They had some carnival contests, like that basketball game where it seems as if the rim is only a quarter inch wider than the ball. I accused my eighth grade gym teacher of running the same type of scam, and I ended up in the principal's office. I almost convinced Mr. Allard that there is no way one kid could miss that many shots unless something was going on.

     A guy making balloon animals was a popular stop for kids. You could choose which animal you wanted, like a Chinese food menu. Thank god I don't have to make a living assembling balloon animals: "Would you like a snake or a worm?" That's pretty much my whole repertoire, then I keel over from hyperventilating after blowing up all the balloons. I guess I could always sell real estate on the side.