Saturday, December 30, 2006

My year in review response to Theresa

My last article reviewing the year, recieved such a lovely response from my Fiance, Theresa, that although I will not post her response, I will post my response to her:

Your words melt me into a pool of tears. I have always said that you always have the right thing to say, but its so true; you do. My faith is not worthy of praise as you say; I am just growing in the Lord. I have not had to withstand the real test of faith like Ken did. In my worst times, I drank, shrunk away from society, clawed at anyone who dared come near me. I have come quite a long way in my journey of faith, yes, but I cant be compared to Ken. I still do not say the Rosary daily, or keep up with my Bible readings on a regular basis. I do pray more often, longer, harder. As I try to impress in Ian, its not complying with obligation mass that is so important as he insists, its how we live our lives. We are preparing for our life in heaven by how we live our live on earth. How we deal with everyday life; the anger, the insults, the lies, the deceptions, and most of all, the minute to minute dealings with our loved ones. We all are only human, and will back-slide, of course, but its the rebound, the learning from our mistakes, and the art of forgiveness and the suppression of the judgment of others. We are not perfect; only Jesus was. We all sin, and have faults. Ian would be surprised at who ends up worthy to enter heaven. Albert's wife, Claire had a funny saying "I'm afraid that I will meet a lot of people I don't care for in heaven" We all need to find the good in people, and not judge. We all walk our own path with God. My path is not as narrow and straight as Ian's, but for all the obligatory road signs he adheres to, he has to learn (we all have to learn) that it is what we do in life and how we make an impact on others, that is more important than compliance with the church doctrine. If only I knew what he knows now when I was that young. I do know that our plan is pre-destined by God. I do believe that without the trials I was put through in life, I would not have met you, or developed the faith that I have now. There is more than one path leading to the same destination, and nobody really has the same path to trod. Its the learning from our mistakes, the constant prayer, and our eye on the cross that will gravitate us closer to our promised destination. I will try to glean something from Ken, Ian, you, Al, and all those who believe, and use the knowledge to influence those I meet in life. that is what we are called to do, and so often do not do to the full extent of our abilities; stretch our comfort zone. Our church life is only the tip of the picture; its taking it out into life and magnifying it. Its you lifting me up when I need it, and me doing the same for you. God is great.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Year in Review 2006 in my Eyes

The Year in Review in my eyes 2006

As I look back at the year, I reviewed my blog, which I started in April 2006. One of the first articles, though not THE first, was one titled Ken. Ken, was and will always be a lasting influence in my life. His views on life (and death) were real eye-openers to me, and I'm sure I'll never meet another Ken in my lifetime. He possessed a faith in God that I never encountered and I strive to model my life after his beliefs.

The past year and a half, I have taken a sabbatical on life, after injuries to my back, my confidence, and my whole being. I quit my job, became recluse, ceased to play my music, and taught myself to be devoid of all emotion, especially, love. As my faith in Jesus grew, still determined that I was incapable of love, I turned my devotion to Jesus, and started looking into the options of becoming a priest. I discovered to my dismay (though I don't know why) that I was too old to undertake that change in my life.

At the same time this past year, I began corresponding with a wonderful lady from the church where I play. We only saw each other for a minute or two after the service as I was walking out the door to go home. Little did I know what plans God had in mind for me, but thanks to my blog, and e-mail, we began a relationship that blossomed into the most precious love I ever have known. As our e-mails became more and more personal, the walls around my heart began to soften, and crumble. Eventually, we started to "see" each other, and things happened faster than I ever imagined possible. From plutonic e-mailing to dating over the summer, I found myself asking her to marry me. The words just tumbled out. To my supreme surprise, she said yes.

The rest of the year unfolded planning our wedding, seeing each other as time allowed, dreaming of each other, and getting used to feeling my heart beat inside my chest again. As the year evolved, I began to search for gainful employment. That certainly has had its ups and downs, and as the years ticks down to the last few hours, I am still not working. I am due to start a new job January 2, 2007.

After so many years of despair, sorrow,and heartbreak, my life has taken a complete 180 degree turn in 2006. As I sat down to reflect on 2006, I thought I would be notating so many different political and historical events, but all I can think and talk about is Theresa.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why I am considered a "Scrooge"


Hi my love
This morning upon reflecting on your sister's joking remarks about eluding to me as Scrooge, I thought I'd write a brief essay explaining myself, so that she may have some at least vague understanding of how things evolve in one's life.
What Christmas has come to mean to me, and why I'm considered a Scrooge

Much of my adult life, I worked in a retail environment, and became accustomed to large sales, the pressures of high volume traffic filtering through the store, the expectations of the store, and the zaniness of the crazy customers. Christmas came to represent the paramount apex to the shopping season. I learned to expect long working hours, very little time off to shop, or enjoy the season as most people had a chance to. As the years forged ahead, the demands of the retail environment, the higher pressure of the increased sales expectations, the trend of commencing the Holiday shopping season from after Thanksgiving, to after Halloween, began to erode the zeal, the drive, the excitement to the point where I felt like a virtual slave, an indentured servant to the public, with no life of my own. In years of economic slumps, the demands and attitude of the retail life weighed much heavier on the shoulders, as if we the sales force had to make up the difference of the loss of sales personally. Merchandise was sale priced in attempt to meet the demands of the shopping world, commissions were unfairly cut, monthly sales quotas raised to impossible resolutions, tempers justifiably tweaked, and the Holiday turned from a time of Peace, Love, Joy, and Forgiving to an ever growing nightmare of frustrations, stifled family life, depression, and anxiety. Many a year, I was forced to do my own personal Christmas shopping on my abbreviated lunch hours, fighting traffic, and being at the opposite end of the never ending lines, still being punished for things I had no control over. Like the Grisswald's Family Christmas movie, I was accustomed to receiving a bonus at the Holiday season, and sales perk for meeting the monthly sales quota. One particularly bad sales season, I ended up with a frozen turkey, no bonus or perk, having missed the sales quota by $ 100.00 or less out of $ 100,000. I spent Christmas day on the floor in a corner of my room, after the family opened their gifts. I was emotionally drained, physically ill, and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. After being separated with eventual divorce looming over my head, the Holiday took on an entirely new dimension for me. As my children spent the cherished part of the Holiday (Christmas Eve, and morning) with the "Ex", I languished in my studio apartment, alone, a submarine sandwich, and a beer. I was forced to extinguish all forms of outside world connections, such as TV, Radio, etc. so that I was not tortured by the sunken blare of Holiday music and festivity, while the entire world celebrated the most prestigious day of the year. Life had evolved from rushing home from work to be with my loved ones, the joy and excitement of gift exchanging, and all the rest of the festive mood associated with Christmas, to lying in bed in my underwear, unshaven, sunken swollen eyes staring at nothing, impenetrable loneliness. That is what Christmas meant to me for many years and time out of reckoning.
Understand that it is not how I feel at the present time, but a look into the past, and a glimpse of how I perceived life.
Love Love Love

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Guitar Repairs

So.........I haven't been blogging as a good blogger should! I wish I could say that the news has produced nothing to get my blood boiling, but that's not the case.

Anyways, this is to inform all that I also have a new site for guitar repairs: Repairs Rock.

Check it out! Still the same ole nutty sense of humor; just more guitar oriented. Even you non-players may get SOMETHING out of it; Who knows!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Legal Murder

It seems the police in the US have the right to murder now. I have always wondered about it when I hear story after story of how un-armed people are gunned or "stunned" down with increased voracity. The latest account of the people in NYC, gunned down after leaving a nightclub is too disturbing for words. 51 rounds fired into unarmed men, one officer alone firing 31 rounds. That means he had to stop and re-load. Maybe these party goers broke some law along the way, or resisted in some fashion, but did they deserve to die? I don't care which side made mistakes, and quite likely, both sides did; people are dead. People are dead who did not deserve to die over this. I understand that being a police officer is dangerous duty. I personally would never consider this profession. But these guys are trained, drilled, instructed, coached, tested, armed, and sent out on the streets to protect our cities. I believe they crossed the line and are the criminals when I hear accounts such as this one, and one after another. We have become a Police State. Between the actual criminals out there feeding on our society, and the police, we citizens are caught between a rock and a hard place. There is no safe place. Not our own homes, not out in the streets, not in our cars, or work place. We are subject to be murdered. I am petrified to be pulled over by a cop now. One perceived false move and I can be shot down, ex'd out, murdered, or any other words you want to use. The point is, I am no more.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Holiday

3:55 AM, and I'm up on the hour Thanksgiving morning. The turkey's in the smoker outside since midnight. Its a crisp,clear, 28 degrees, and the stars are shinning like nobody's business. I check the bird on the hour. The last hour, I waited too long and the temp. dipped way below 200. Ideally, I'd like to see between 220 and 250, but its so cold out, the charcoal burns faster and within the hour, expended. I cant put but so much in at a time, or the temp will go too high. After four hours, its golden brown, and yummy smelling already. The water pan went dry this time too. I have been going to bed and rising on the hour to go out and check, but now I will stay up, and watch more diligently. The coffee's perking, and I'm up for the long haul now. Why go through all the trouble, instead of putting it in the oven like most folks? Am I a fruitcake? Maybe, but one taste confirms that its worth the hassle. In the summer, the bird would have cooked faster, the charcoal burn longer, but tonight, I am smoking out in a freezer. Its hard to maintain my 220 degrees when its only 28 outside. That's OK; I will check it on the half hour from hear on in.
This year, I'm bringing the turkey over to my fiance's family. Her sister is also roasting a turkey. Talk about gluttony! There's that extra anxiety that it will come out goofy, because I'm bringing it to folks I don't know that well yet. Yawn; I hope I don't pass out by the time dinner is over!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Calif. College Bans Pledge of Alligiance

So this morning in the news I read about a college in California banning the pledge of Allegiance. Hmm, I think, its about time people pick on banning something else other than something that references God. But as I read on, I learned to my horror, that the mention of God WAS the reason for the banning. My blood started to boil for a minute, than I remembered the lecture I attended last night.
I saw this awsome Catholic Evangilist, Jesse Romero, speaking so passionately about Jesus. One thing he said, and I knew all along anyway, was that Satan, is the ruler of this Earth. The evil one is responsible for stirring up the hearts of mankind. He's got the United States just where he wants it. We are the strongest society to date, and will crash, as the Roman Empire, The Greek Empire, Sodam, and Gomorrah. Billy Graham, talked about Sodam, and compaired it to the US. He said" If you take L.A. NYC, Las Vegas, New Orleans, and stirr them together, thats Sodam. No morals, living in the flesh, anything goes, homosexuality, divorce, murder, lust, gluttony, to name a few attributes, thats Sodam. When God puts the hammer down, the US will crumble like cheap mortar.
We, as Catholics, are not doing enough to fight against the evils of today's society. the Mormans, Johovah Wittnesses, even the Baptists go door to door to promote their religions on a regular basis, and the Catholics, though many go to church, do not take advantage of anything Jesus has to offer, or even "know" him. They go through the motions, take communion, maybe go to confession now and then, and then go out and mingle without taking God's word with them. Luke warm, we are. Oh how sad, how so very sad, how so very wrong. Catholics ARE the original faith to follow Jesus. They need to wake up and act, act for themselves, for their families, for their church, for their leaders.
This past week in Rochester, NY, where I live, there were six homicides in six days, and the week aint over yet! The Devil is doing great, alive and well, winning the game, and we continue to fumble, turn our heads, lock our doors, and accept life for normal.
We have the best game plan, the strongest team, the biggest guns, the a team captain who can not be struck down, nor has ever swayed from the plan. All we have to do is be team players. Wake up CATHOLICS, you're being called to active duty, drafted into this war, and as Jessie said, dont go out there with only a nail file for a weapon! Do not be afraid. Follow the game plan and win!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fall Splender in Upstate New York

I took these pics while enroute to the bank, the recycling center, just doing my normal errends within a 3-4 mile radius of home sweet home.

Last week, there was much red in a lot of the trees that are now bare; Boo Hoo.

I couldn't resist the snake rail fence scene, though it does not have much to do with Fall. Its a more common sight down south, but a spectacular sight up here on a quiet secluded road in Palmyra, New York.
The horse farm is just down the road from me.

The train scene, is less than a mile from my house. There used to be a passenger station there, and they say Lincoln's funeral train stopped there for water.

I love the wide open stretches of countryside that are so fast disappearing. Soon, there will be pavement, and tall buildings covering the entire country, and we'll run out of farming land, and starve.

For now, let us enjoy the splenderous work of God in all his majesty, and rejoice that we are alive on this beautiful Earth to wittiness it.

I will attempt to get back out and photograph the same scenes this winter, with its snowy white frosting on the landscape!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bible carrying Teen Shot by police

"bucky gelo"

Bible carrying teen shot by police with stun gun dies.

Police shot and killed a teen armed with a Bible and shouting " I want Jesus"
Was it because he was shouting, or because he was shouting for Jesus?
Was he armed with anything else but a Bible, or did he have a gun or knife?
Just how dangerous was he to be shot with anything at all?
Was he disruptive? Probably, but are there no other means of handling unarmed folks?
Were the cops angry that St Louis is rated the most dangerous city in the country?
Was he in need of medications to keep his emotions in check, or possibly even deaf?
I'm grasping at straws here to try to rationalize how this could even remotely take place.
Is this how our society handles people out of line now? A young man is dead, and for what?
Should I not carry a Bible out in the open; Should it be concealed within my clothes?
Just which laws were the poor kid breaking here? Am I reading too much into this as a Christian?
No, No, I am infuriated with law enforcement procedures that allow unreasonable force to dominate a situation. I am enraged with the way our corrupt, demoralized, shoot first and talk later society murders. George Orwell's 1984 is taking shape only a little later than he predicted. Pretty soon, we'll have the thought police scouring our cities, people being monitored on the telescreens, and children turning their own parents in for breaking the laws that are so unjust.
That which is unjust, should not be allowed to be law.
Bucky Gelo

Monday, October 02, 2006

Parents, Start "Raising" your kids

Third Deadly School shooting in less than one week
Today, as I sat down to eat my lunch and read the internet news, I was shocked to hear of the third deadly shooting at a school in less than a week; this time in a small Amish town of Nickel Mines in Landcaster Co. Pa. In a one room school, a gunman, still not yet identified, killed a teacher, four students, and then himself. A couple days ago, a 15 year old student, angered about a reprimand, gunned down a school principal in Cazonovia, Wis. A day or two before that, an adult gunman, leaving a long rambling letter to his family, wandered into a school in Colo. taking six hostages, before killing a 16 year old girl, then himself. A year ago, seven were killed at an Indian Reservation in Minn. And of course, we still remember the deadliest of all, the attack at Columbine High, in Litteton, Colo, leaving 15 dead, including the two teen gunmen.

How many more innocent people will die before we take the proper steps to make our schools safer? How many more will die before we get guns out of the hands of children? How many more will die before parents start raising their children instead of letting them run adrift in a sea of evil? The responsibility begins at home. No, there is no easy fix, but people must start taking care of their own kids, not expect the schools, and government to do it for them.

I find it hard to believe that there are no warning signs of anger before a kid takes the life of someone. I find it harder to believe that there is not tighter control over weapons. Personally, I am tired of hearing about the right to bear arms, and the other rhetoric from the NRA. There are no more excuses to have me change my mind; though I realize that its probably too late to swing the tables back in the other direction now.

Too many lives are lost, too much is at stake, so little is being done. We learned nothing from Columbine, in the last seven years. I thought schools were locked down tighter than that, and metal detectors already in place, but obviously, I was dead wrong.

They say, a simple thing such as all the family sitting down to dinner at night helps to strengthen relationships, and tighten family bonds. I realize life is tough now, with folks working multiple jobs to make ends meet, but are not too many of these cases, simply to raise the bar enabling the family to own a new car, go to Disney World, all have cable TV, and cell phones? What's more important, tightening our belts a bit, and raising responsible children, or driving a new car, an out of control smoking, drinking, gambling habit, all pulling our family structures out of control? Then, there is the rich, professional families, simply allowing their kids to go unchecked, never giving any attention to their children's homework, computer habits, movie viewing, or violent game involment. I guess the key work is "involvement" It seems to be non-existent anymore.
If we don't wake up soon, we are going to wake up dead. This isn't a joke. Wake up people, and start "Raising" your children.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Politics and corruption; the Death of the Great US

Politics and corruption: The Death of the Great US

I did not vote for George Bush; either one of them. Some elections I did not bother to vote at all. Ever since Richard Nixon (who I did vote for) brought to light the modern day corruption scandals, I lost my appetite for exercising my vote. My whole conception of what a Democracey is and what I thought it was, obviously are two completely different definitions. And to make matters worse, the more I learn about how we have squandered all our precious resources, and how powerful politicians have been able to capitalize, the more I removed myself from the frey of it all.
Fast-forwarding to today, I am older, and as to wiser, I doubt it, but having said that, seeing the outcome of current events spin out of control before my very eyes, I guess my first instincts weren't so far off as I imagined. What amazes me is how blatant the corruption is, and how nothing ever gets done about it. Or re-phrasing that, by the time we get good and mad about it, things have gone so far off the mark, and people get so powerful, that large chunks of history pass by in the mean while. Yes, Nixon was brought down, and then others in his place sprung up, powerful in their own right, using subtle authority to move their chess pieces into motion, enacting legislation to distort the constitution so that they're next fling of political corruption slides through, like Ex-Lax, with their smooth double talk, and their pork barrel tactics, waving their candy coated legislation in the name of Democracey by the peoples' choice, meanwhile, their "real agenda" goes undisturbed until so much time goes by, that the damage is done. So many pockets are lined with the spread of unjustness, the laws get so convoluted that it takes decades of legal analysts to figure out that the king really isn't wearing any clothes at all. Such an elaborate illusive net of deception is spread over the public eyes, that we are lulled into a false sense of the biggest bunch of bull that the world has seen, but decorated with most deceptive facading, that now down appears up.
How can we believe a President that literally stole the last election right out from under his opponent, when he claims that his war effort is making the US safer than before we invaded? Our number of dead Americans has already equaled if not surpassed the number killed on 9/11. The number of Iraqis dead for our efforts is incalculable. Is not part of the reason we are spending more time pointing fingers at each other, and throwing blame in our typical corrupt potitical fashion, than facing the obvious truth and admitting we screwed up in the first place? We're not just shovelling fleas across the barnyard here, we are playing with human lives.
Instead of the well worn phrase "Support out troops" we really should be proclaiming "Pray for our troops", but then we have degenerated into such an Immoralized nation that now we are paying our atonement once again in blood for our sins

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

God threw the ultimate curve ball

God threw a curve ball

Faith is an ever changing presence in one's life to say the least, but today, I wish to talk about the most obvious changes it has made in my life.
I was brought up and taught the Roman Catholic Catechism, served my first communion, but not brought up as a family that went to church on any regular basis. For whatever reasons, we were not a regular church going family. As a teen, we moved out of town to a small farming community, and I tagged along to a Methodist Church with my brother-in-law and sister's family. I'm not sure how strong my faith was, but for what ever reasons, I ended up attending two church services and singing in the choir. As a young adult, I slipped back into not attending church at all. Again, the habit, if you can call it that, was not instilled in me. In the early 70's, living in Virginia, where they were doing their best to integrate their schools, I sent my young daughters to a Catholic school to avoid the bussing laws being enforced at the time. But again, we did not attend church on any regular basis.
After my first marriage failed, and I moved on to a relationship with a new spouse, we started to attend church, but again, not on any regular basis. I think laziness sets in, but for whatever reasons, it seems harder to acclimate to something such as going to church on that regular weekly basis. Being a musician most of my adult life, I slept most of my Sunday mornings quite late, and the church thing became more elusive than ever.
Well, the second relationship failed, and I found myself alone, and attempted to turn to God to stabilize my life. I did not attend church, but prayed the best I knew how. I did a lot of asking "why me God" and asking him to normalize my life once again. I prayed more and more, asking him to send me a love in my life once and for all, but nothing happened. Because of the extenuating circumstances of my marriage break-up, I carried around much hatred, and animosity, which only increased as time went by. For the last 14-15 years, I stumbled through life, sinking into a deeper slump, and becoming more recluse each day.
Two years ago, I was asked to play in a church band each week. Because of distance, I was reluctant to do so, but my friend would not take no for an answer, and I found myself playing for the Roman Catholic Church each week. At first, I showed up, and played, and went home. Without exactly knowing when or how, I slowly started to "feel" the need to pray to God, but this time, I did not pray for anything personal. I did not pray for him to send me a wife, or a better job, or get rich, or anything like that.
They say that God works in small increments of change, and slowly, I DID began to change. I started praying for one thing; to be used by God to use my musical talent to minister for God. I started praying that all the time. I found myself praying harder, and harder all the time. After a while, I expanded my prayer to a more general sense of, just "USE" me. I did not realize at the time, but my faith had grown quite a lot, and my paramount prayer was to be used by God. It did not matter how, just to be used.
I began to finally accept the fact that I was meant to be alone for my remainder of time on earth, and continued to pray to be used. The words to the songs I was singing became more than just words to me, and I started living out what I was singing about. This past summer,. I attended a youth conference at a Franciscan University as a chaperone, and during the weekend, decided to make some bigger changes in my life besides simply pray to be used. I decided to become a Catholic again. I even brought home information on the Franciscan Monks. As I said before, I was already resigned to the fact that I was going to be alone for the rest of my life anyway.
At the beginning of summer, one of the ladies at my church and I started to e-mail each other about this and that. She was reading my blog, and commenting, being one of the few to do so. That in itself got my attention. Some others only commented if I wrote something religious, nobody except this lady commented on almost anything I wrote. I slowly began learning about her and her life. I found out she was widowed, had a young 14 year old son, and was alone for the last couple years. I began taking interest in her son, wondering if he had any male influence in his life, etc.
All the while, my faith was growing, snowballing, if you will, and my heart was once again open to love, God's love this time. As I began developing a relationship with this young man, not an easy feat in this day and age of child molestation in the church, I wanted to take him to a baseball game. However, I could not just ask him to go with me alone. I asked my own son to accompany us, but he did not realize the urgencey of my request, and ignored me. Theresa and I were now e-mailing each other, almost daily, but other than a few short minutes of talking after church services, we were hardly carrying on a "relationship" by any standards.
Our e-mails, getting a bit more personal, frequent, I finally asked her if they would like to go to the baseball game with me. To my amazement, she said yes. After that night, things started to happen in a quickened state, that looking back, was startling.
I found myself making room in my heart for God and Theresa. Just when I thought I saw a direction that my life was taking, God threw the ultimate curve ball. I never saw it coming, but I was in love. I was in love with Theresa. After so many years of unanswered prayers, God was answering them now. After contemplating getting measured for a priests frock, God informed me that there were other options I could now consider.
We were seeing each other quite frequently now for several weeks, yet we had not even held hands, let alone kiss. That being said, I realized that we were both in love, a love that was stronger than I ever imagined, even being married twice before. We finish each other's sentences, know exactly what each other's thinking, its spooky.
One night, she started to tell me that I was the "only one", and before I knew it, I told her I wanted to marry her. She said yes!
This brings us back to the original theme of faith, and proof that God does work in mysterious ways, when we least expect it, but his love is unchanging, his grace is uncalculating, his mercy is indescribable. Never will I question my faith, never will I question his presence. Always will I praise him, and adore him. God has indeed thrown the ultimate curve ball.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Moslim Leaders Out of Line

Today's news headlines were very disturbing to me. To compare the Pope to Hitler is more than I can swallow. To be offended by remarks taken out of context is one thing, but to lash out at one of the Holiest individuals on the face of the earth is enough to boil my blood. Not just because I am a Catholic, or a Christian, or a non-Muslim, but because remarks like that only open the rift between people of all faiths, lessen any future chances for peace, and of course are outrageous. Hitler did not go down in history for his remarks, but for actions that could only be described as evil to say the least. Maybe as a Catholic, I'm a little biased, but if you ask me, the cards speak for themselves, as my father used to say. Any thing that encourages violence is not a valid religion, but blasphemy in my book. Its most troubling that these outbursts are not coming from the common man Muslin, but from the world leaders of Muslim nations. You guys don't get it. Take your Jihad, and stick it where the sun wont shine.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

God Bless you Cindy Sheehan

God Bless You Cindy Sheehan

I read about the land aquirement in Crawford, Tx. for future protesting events, and I applaud your efforts. Day after day, we are sending our young men and women out to be slaughtered senselessly, while our pompous leaders continue to inflict our evil influence throughout the world in the name of freedom. They stand behind their so-called democratic notions, political agendas, and pompous attitude, all the time feeding the fires of war, and hatred throughout the entire world, as one pours gas on a fire, only the gas is the blood of innocent human beings all caught up in an ever escalating frenzy, ever edging closer to self destruction.

Its funny, you guys get arrested for protesting for peace, while the governments have the green light to murder and allow murder. Its war, I know, but what is war? Its murder in the politically correct whim of the day. People die. They don't come back. Gone; See ya.
I'm so sick and tired of it all being executed in the name of God. If that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is. Yes, the Christians had their crusade all in the name of God, but that was over 800 years ago. People have been persecuted in the name of God since beginning of time. Enough, already! We are barbarians, but why bring God into it? When will mankind realize that its exactly the opposite of God's intentions for us? All these terrorist sects, Hezbollah, Taliban, al-Qaida, Jihad, etc (there are most likely many more that have yet to be brought to my attention) claim to be fighting Holy war. Well, idiots, get it through your moronic heads, that it is war, but please leave the Holy out of it.
Yes, the West is evil, as evil as the rest of the world, but there is nothing Holy about it. I recognize that the senseless killing will always continue, which is why we who oppose, should have the right to protest. And all these slogans such as "Support our troops" and patriotic acronyms like "God save our country" are useless to me. What does support our troops mean? That we should cheer them as they go into battle to kill and be killed? I don't support that.
Cindy Sheehan, and those alike, myself included, have the right, (and I'll leave Christian out of it) to speak our minds. So, go ahead, Bush and Blair, shake your hands, and wag your tails (and any other appendages you feel like shaking) and you, Israel, keep bombing Lebanon, and those who are making efforts to get humanitarian help where its needed, and block the UN efforts to do their jobs. Why did we create the United Nations in the first place if the most powerful countries in the world are going to thwart their cause?
Read Revelation!! Its starting. Jesus is coming, and like the scriptures predict, like a thief in the night, to finish the real Holy war. To judge the living and the dead. All knees shall bend, all tongues shall wag, all heads shall bow.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Most who know me, are aware that I've been a bachelor for quite a while. My bachelor life constisted of the usual bachelor traits, sports, cold beer, a big cigar now and again, paper plates, barbecue, weekly card games, and commiserating with other fellow bachelors. When I moved to the small country town that I call home, I got to know the guys at the corner tavern after work, tip a cold one, watch the current games on the tube, and laugh. As they got to know me, they learned that I was a pretty fair cook, and they started to stop by for my impromptu BBQ's, hang with me if I was wrenching on my cars (or whatever) The small circle of bachelor friends always seemed to know where the others were on any given day. Saturdays, one of my friends, who answered to "Bones", opened his doors to his "Casino". We all got together, he dealt Blackjack, cooked hotdogs, drank beer, and joked around all afternoon. Sometimes, he had two TV's going, and if need be, the radio also; bringing whatever games of the day; Baseball, Golf, Football, whatever was on. They bet on everything, aware of the "spreads" and kidding each other all day over who was winning (or otherwise) This has been going on since I moved to Palmyra. Hanging with Bones, Sneaky, Skip, Bird, Bud. The rest had normal names for some reason! Their life revolves around sports, gambling, beer, and hot dogs.
The past couple o years, they knew that I was getting closer to Jesus. I never pushed my witnessing on them; I knew better. But for the most part, they did not kid me about it. They were aware that I was playing my guitar at church, the past couple of years. About six months ago, I started playing at two churches on Sunday, so they saw change in the works. The Sunday routine for me was playing two churches, and Bones, bartend at one of the local bars. On Monday, Bones and I would talk on the phone, and recount our Sunday.
About three weeks ago, I announced that I was not going to drink anymore, or smoke, and most of them agreed that it wasn't a bad thing. But I noticed from then on, that there haven't been any impromptu visits to my house, BBQ or "Casino" invites. My phone messages have gone unanswered, and I got quite a bit of slack when I stopped at the corner bar, and ordered N/A beer. I've been trying to line up a rondeyvous to view the baseball game tonight, but, everyone's got other plans! Coincidence, or avoidance?
Thank you, Jesus, for coming into my life. I wondered what obstacles I'd encounter from taking you to the next level, and I guess this is one slight form of persecution. COOL!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2006


July 23, 2006

Yesterday, my computer started acting goofy; e-mail was not being sent with usual cyber-speed, I kept getting signed off and logging on repeatedly, and most functions were slowed down to a crawl. The computer's a bit dated, having only 12.63 Gigs, and my musical files taking up 98 percent of its capacity, I figured that I had too much stuff jammed into the poor thing, so I started deleting some music files, but the situation worsened. I went into the control panel, and did a disk cleanup, but things did not change. I logged off from everything, and ran a virus sweep, even though I had just run one earlier in the week, but alas, no cigar. I ran a disk defragmanet analysis, but was informed that it was not imperitave to run that. I re-booted the modem, and the computer several times, meanwhile, my blood pressure stepped up a bit. I prayed over it, but got cut off all together. My side toolbar was giving the weather in Honolulu, then Hong Kong, and I knew something was really wrong! Finally, I dug out my Verizon-Yahoo files from the notes I filed when I signed up for DSL, and found the telephone number for tech support, and called. I was put through all the automated paces, and then on hold waiting for a real human being to walk me through the calamity. I was informed that due to high volume of calls in at the time, to call back later. Stubbornly, I kept calling, talking to the automated voices, and waiting, and getting hung up on. Eventually, I got through to a real voice. I asked him how the weather was in India, but he did not make any small talk with me. I followed his walk-through instructions, and only then did he inform me that Yahoo was having trouble with the system! Why didn't he tell me in the first place? I turned off the computer, and picked up a book, and tried to relax. Each hour, I tried to get on line, but with no luck. Finally, I went to bed. This morning, all systems were fixed, and no more weather reports from Honolulu, or Hong Kong. Instead, I was greeted by the current news headlines:
Israeli jets targeting Hezbollah strongholds, Palestinians fire rockets at Israel, 33 killed in suicide bomb attacks, Fla. family die in murder suicide, 33 killed in Iraq by suicide bombers,US military urged abuse in Iraq, and Episcopal Bishop in Ark. OK's gay blessings.
Thank you, Yahoo for separating me yesterday from all the terrible news sweeping our world. Thank you for the e-mails I did not receive from friends who let me down this week, and thanks for the good nights sleep I got from the ignorance of the tragedies.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Hold me Jesus for I am weak
I hunger for your presence
Seeking the rock to plant my feet
How glorious, my Savoir

Wrap me in your warming cloak
I'm shivering outside it
Only you wash clean my stains
My precious God, my Savoir

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Camping Comfort


Anyone who camps knows what its like to get rained on especially if everything gets wet! Here's a handy tip for modifying a tarp to serve as a foul weather rain fly as well as a fair weather shade. For years, I used an ordinary tarp, tied to trees for a canopy over my campsite. I used to tie the four corners of the tarp off to nearby trees. No problem, as long as the weather remains fair. But when Mother Nature decides to throw a curve ball at you (usually in the middle of the night) the above mentioned tactic may not keep the rain and wind at bay. We all want to get out there and enjoy all nature has to offer, but when everything gets wet, the mood changes pretty quickly. Now, its no fun. In some cases, the average family may decide to pack it up and retreat. I managed to camp for a few years, using my old method of setting camp without mishap. But, one year, the rains came, the winds whipped, forcing me from my tent in the dark to try to tie things down better in the dark. My camp site got soaked, my tarp tattered, and my patience tried. Nothing was protected, and in the end, my stove would not light, my sleeping bag, soaked, tent flooded................
Here's a better way; cheap and easy.Get a tarp of decent quality, 10 X 10, 12 X 12, or so. This is enough room to make camp for a small party to keep dry under. Get a grommet kit. They are pretty cheap, and with a little practice, not hard to use. Spread out your tarp. The idea is to add a grommet inbetween all the existing ones in the tarp, doubling up on the number of grommets. In the middle of the tarp, the idea is to secure a flexible bungie strap to a thick leather patch, and sew and glue it to the center, creating a waterproof seal, and strong bind.
Select your camp site, and using nearby trees, secure two parallel lines to the trees with 1/4 inch line on each side of the fly area. If the trees are not exactly in the immediate area, use larger line to go the extra distance. Next, using thin line such as parachute cord, cut 12" strips, and tie them with a simple knot through each grommet. Begin tying the fly to the tree lines. At each corner, run the parachute cord around the tree line, and wrap each end in opposite directions around the line two or three times, and secure the ends with a simple shoe-tie bow knot. By wrapping the lines as I mentioned, the corners will not slide along the line. Once the four corners are secured, simply tie the remaining grommet lines to the tree lines using the bow knot, just as you tie your shoes. By placement of the tree lines at suitable angles, you can create a fly with some pitch to allow for rain runoff. Next run a third line in the vicinity of the center of the fly to attach your center bungie strap, thus creating a center peak in the fly. By adjusting the tension of the center cord, you can achieve the proper pitch to end up with a nice tight, windproof , waterproof canopy to set camp under. You should have enough room for your tent, a fire at one end, and you are apt to enjoy your camp in both sunny and rainy weather.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Iraqi Civilian Death Toll

I just read the civilian death toll in Iraq. The first six months out of this year, 14,338 civilians were murdered. I'll put this in easy perspective, that would be enough to fill 14 1/3 of ships like the one pictured above. That would be the passengers on 261 Greyhound busses. that would be more people than would fit in our Blue Cross Arena, here in Rochester, NY. My, we are doing such a wonderful job over there, creating Democracy. Just may and June alone, nearly 6,000 people have died. And that's only a rough estimate, for many deaths go unreported. I haven't looked at how many US soldiers have been fed into the sacrificial fires; thats too depressing. And then there is Israel, and Lebanon. There was an old Star Trek episode, where on some planet, they had no wars. Instead, they had a lottery system, and picked people at random to be euthanized. They simply sacrificed people, no bombs, no guns, no beheading, just organized euthanazation. I just don't get it!!!


I read this fact inside the cap of a bottle of lemonade:"Real Fact # 368
In 2003, a six year old girl from Naples, Fla. was ticketed for not having a permit for her lemonade stand.
Now, I ask you, Whats up with that? How sick and ridiculous are we going to become before we come to our senses?

High School Youth Conference/Steubenville 2006

I thought I'd post more pics of "Unchanging" Teen Youth Conference I attended with our Youth Group this weekend. My testimony can be found following this Photo Display!

I figured my el-cheapo camera (or any for that matter) was not going to capture the immensity of this event! Ya just had to see it with your own eyes in person!

Its nice to know that in this world of sex on TV, drive-by shootings, internet porn, Major World-Wide violence, pre-marital promiscuity, and corruption to the highest degree (at the highest levels) that still, great masses of people (including our next generation) are getting together to praise, worship, and adore he that is soon to come to judge the living and the dead. Are YOU still gambling with your eternity?

Monday, July 17, 2006

God's Unchanging Love

I just got in from a Youth Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, where I helped chaperone teens from the Parish in Rochester, NY, where I play guitar in the band each week for Life Teen services. Life Teen is exactly what the name implies; church services geared specificity for our younger next generation. Life Teen is a Catholic nationwide movement, and Church of Annunciation has been sponsoring almost two years now.
This year the Youth Conference's theme was titled "Unchanging" a very well described theme describing God's unchanging and unconditional love for us. The exact attendance figures, I am not sure of, but my estimate is at least 2500 people; anotherwords---Big!!
Our busload from Rochester totaled 54 teens and adult chaperones. We left Rochester, Friday morning, arriving in Stuebinville, checking into a local school nearby serving as a dorm , bedding us down that weekend. We all dropped our gear off, and boarded our bus to the Franciscan University, and joined the endless appearing crowds gathering there. Bus after countless bus pulled up and unloaded teens (and chaperones) from all over the country and Canada.
The first Friday night event was an eye opener to say the least, but I was informed it was merely a prelude to the Saturday event culminating in the evening. Between the early start for me, the long bus ride, and hitting the ground at a run in Steubenville, by the time we got bussed back to out dorm, late Friday night, my eyes snapped shut at the instant my head hit the pillow. My other two chaperones with me kidded me all the next day about how fast I fell asleep! Our accommodations were a hard gym floor, a sleeping bag, and my flannel shirt, my pillow. There must have been over 200 kids sharing the gym with me! The morning brought a nice shower, and thank God for Starbucks coffee to pump me up for the upcoming schedule that first full day on campus.
The morning sessions included praise and worship, followed by mass, then a men's (as well as women's) seperate workshop sessions for us, lunch, then our choice of various workshops offered to us. Later that afternoon, there was a chaperone's workshop to "prepare" us for what would take place later that evening. We were nicely informed about the night events, and how the young people were vulnerable to emotional break-downs from the excitement they would experience. We were made aware of things like hyper-ventilating, hysteria, uncontrollable laughter, etc. which may occur in some when things got under way.
I must admit a tiny bit of selfishness on my part as to my chaperone role. You see, already, I was becoming overloaded with the holy spirit myself, even before the "Main Event". After that workshop, I stayed there in the chapel to pray. A guy was playing guitar and some were singing with him, while Father "J" offered prayer. I moved up to the front pew, and started singing with everyone, but soon, choked up, and tears started pouring out in spite of me in the midst of all these strangers. Time stopped for me, as I prayed, sobbed, sang, prayed........ I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. It was one of other chaperones sent to drag me out of the chapel, for dinner was underway, and scheduling was tight.I almost did not go; I was in the spirit totally. I left the chapel, and tried to eat, but couldn't. I guess I was full from the prayer and worship that seemed more natural than physically eating food. Than, it was time to get to the Main Event of the weekend. Even though I had just attended the chaperone's workshop and knew we all were in for an emotional evening, I still was not prepared for what came next.
The Finnigan's Fieldhouse was packed to the seams, the electricity was just about visible in the thick air, the teens were revved as if they were at a major rock concert. The event, titled "The unchanging power of the Holy Spirit" got into full swing, the band was rocking the house, and by the time they rolled into Eucharistic Adoration, sure enough, as predicted, kids started to freak out in all the ways they described earlier. I found myself on my knees, my arms reaching for the sky, the tears streaming down my face, moved like never before. Physically, I must not have been there to feel my knee-caps becoming one with the hard floor, or my arms sky-high for time out of reckoning. A friend had slipped a soft kneeling cushion under my knees, but I still couldn't feel the fatigue from my raised arms so long. Nothing mattered except worship and adoration. Slowly, I realized that my hysteria was quelched, and the adoration was more intense than ever. To exactly recall what took place inside me would be impossible to describe, but I felt a calmness amist the loud surroundings, no more uncontrollable emotions; but the most definitive awareness where everything became so crystal clear in my brain, as if gazing through a high powered telescope image but with my naked eyes. I knew then that I would make some life-altering changes in my life, starting then. I knew then, that my hunger for the Lord's presence had magnified to the power of 10 if not, 100. I stumbled out of there knowing changes had taken place; boy had they! We gathered up our group, and talked about our experiences that night. I was startled at how a couple of the teens who seemed disconnected before, were now talking with amazing clarity and relevance. Later that night when we got back to our rock hard "beds" I think I konked out even before my head hit my flannel shirt pillow!
At mass the next morning, I found myself moving to the front of the alter when asked if anyone was considering giving their life to the Lord. Like Father Stan said, it was not yet the exact time to get measured for my frock, but I knew a change had come, decisions made, and a conviction to give the future up to the will of Jesus. I know not what doors will be opened for me, or when, but I stand at the brink of a proverbial cliff, toes on the edge, waiting to plunge. I may back up a bit, and re-approached the cliff, many times before I jump, but when I am clearer on what God's will is, it will be done.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

In the Navy (cont)

So, twenty years old, away from home for the first time, newly-wed, baby daughter, and new in the Navy, all the last six months of 1968. Wow, talk about an adventure a minute! A lot of new things to get used to, including the absence of my beloved moustache. Eventually, I managed to slip that back on my upper lip.
I went to Great Lakes, Ill. for bootcamp, Storekeeper A School in Newport, RI, and my first real duty station, the USS Sierra AD-18. It was home ported in Norfolk, Va. Legend has it that I took the last commercial prop plane flight from Rochester NY to Norfolk, but don't hold me to that one! There must have been buses at the airport, out of reckoning now, but when I walked down that pier, and looked up at this huge 530 foot long monstrosity, I was spellbound. I felt like an ant on the pier under the shadow of the mighty Sierra. I didn't really know where to look first; there were ships everywhere, many moored outboard my ship. My first vision of a submarine, and and aircraft carrier, and even from far away, that baby was huge.
I felt dwarfed under the load of my virgin seabag, as I reported aboard, a mixture of excitement, apprehension, and elation, cursing through my body. Up the gangplank I went, approaching the duty officer, I snapped a salute, and croaked out" Seaman recruit Gelo, reporting for duty, Sir" the salute was returned, and a pair of twinkling eyes peer out from a pair of bushy eyebrows, and the officer said " Ah yes, Jello, is it? We've been expecting you!" The rest of the afternoon was a flurry of activity, as I got settled in and shown around my new floating home for the next couple years. By dinner time, my heart had resumed occupation of my chest once again, and my jitters gave way to seconds in the mess line, which seemed to amuse the commissary personal. The food was passable, plentiful, and my new life began to take form as my first day came to a close.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sicilian Crusty Treats

Minulates, Milulates, who can say for sure how its spelled or pronounced, all of the old Italians close to me are gone; but what it means is crusty personal-sized rolls baked with pork, onions, and spices. Oh the flavor, is truly indescribable!! I have only encountered two other non-relatives in my life that made this tasty Sicilian treat. Heres how to make them........

The Bread Dough: Get good ingredients, and you'll get good for a king results! I use white
unbleached, un-everything but flour! Start with a couple cups of warm water
and yeast, 1-2 packs. Warm water means you can run your arm under it,
and not get burned. Stir the yeast in, and give it 10 minutes or so to "wake
up." Add a little salt, less than a tablespoon, and start adding flour, small
amounts at a time, stirring, stirring. I add about 1/2 cup in at a time. Keep
adding and mixing the flour, till the mixture is too hard to stir with your spoon.
The Kneading: On a floured board, dump out the flour mix, and season your hands with
flour. Add small amounts of flour to the mix, and gently start mixing it in
with your floured hands. It will be sticky at first. Keep adding a little flour, and
mix, and turn constantly, into a ball. Replenish the flour on the board as you
go. When the stickiness is gone, the dough should be workable, but tacky.
Using the butt of your palm of your hands, start punching or kneading the
ball of soft dough. As it flattens out in front of you, fold it in half, sprinkle
a bit more flour, turn 1/2 turn sideways, and keep kneading. Do this for about
10 minutes until the ball is consistently satiny smooth as a baby's behind.
Grease a bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rest in a warm area till doubled
in bulk. 1 1/2 -2 hours is about right for white flour.
The Onions: Peel and cut about 1 pound of plain ole onions, and saute in olive oil till soft
and yellowy. Use the regular olive oil, not extra virgin; that tends to burn faster
Set the onions with the left-over oil in a bowl to cool.
The Pork Butt: At the store, seek out a pork butt roast, as fatty as you can find, and small.
Ask the meat guy (or gal) to course grind. Generally, the blade they use for
The Assembly: Get the oven pre-heating at 375, get your risen dough back onto a floured
board, and again, sprinkle with flour some, and punch down and knead a
minute. Start rolling out the ball with your hands, then the rolling pin. Roll
to the likeness of thick pizza crust. Rub olive oil lightly all over the top, and
begin to sprinkle the ground pork butt over the top. You don't need to cover
every nano-inch. Come back around and add the onion, again not too thick.
Now for grated cheese; Romano, or Parm, or combo; get the good stuff!
sprinkle the cheese over everything, and follow up with fresh ground black
pepper. Now pretend you're cutting a pizza, and slice the dough up into
pizza slices. Take the narrower end, and roll up into a roll, and shape.
Grease lightly a cooking sheet, and sprinkle yellow corn meal and lightly
spread evenly. Place your milu's on the sheet, and into your nice hot 375
oven for about 45 minutes. They should get nice and crusty golden brown.
The Finish: No shortening goes in the dough, for the pork butt is adding that. The oven
must be nice and hot; you are cooking the raw pork butt into the roll. Do
not pre-cook the pork; It is ground, and will cook nicely flavoring the roll
as it cooks! You'll most likely have enough pork butt to do another batch.
I still cant make up my mind whether or not its best hot from the oven, or
cold the next day. One usually makes a meal for me! No advice on keeping
the left-overs; It has never lasted more than a couple of days here!

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Era of the MG

The Era of the MG
The third car I ever had (They did not last forever back then!) was a 1957 MGA. Made in England by Morris Garage, the "A" Model was a sleek modern design breaking away from the TA, TC, TD, and TF Models with the bigger rounder fenders and wood frames. They made the Roadster convertible, and the Hardtop Coupe, both two-seater models. It sat low in spite of the 15" wire wheels, and when seated in the driver's seat, you were looking through the steering wheel rather than over it, to give an idea of the feel of it. I found mine used (of course) in a garage in a run-down inner city neighborhood in Rochester, NY. The whole convertible top, frame and all was gone, and of course, it wouldn't start! The guy let my friend Lonnie and I hook a rope to it and tow it up and down his neighborhood to try to jump-start it, but nothin. I don't honestly remember what I paid for it, but negociated "something-something" with the tow rope still tied in place. In those days, there were no expressways, which is most assuredly just as well, knowing my young mentality-one speed only-Full! Anyways, we headed for home, about 25 miles east of Rochester, with myself towing the MG and my buddy, Lonnie steering and braking from the lifeless sports car. unbenounced to me, Lonnie put the MG in third or fourth gear and the ignition turned on. About halfway home in the four corners of Webster, the ground shook from a resounding backfire, and as I glanced in my rearview mirror, Lonnie and the MG disappeared in a cloud of dense black smoke! Even before the smoke cleared, I heard the distinctive clatter of an engine running in spite of missfireing, and stinky old gas. The smoke cleared reviling Lonnie grinning from ear to ear, gently feathering the gas to keep it going. Wow, the engine was running, but only on three cylinders out of the four. Now, he kept the car in neutral, letting the engine idle, and we towed it the rest of the way home. It turned out to have a cracked head. The local junk yard in Ontario had a used head, and I was up on four cylinders. With the two carbs fine- tuned, it was the snappiest thing I had ever driven. I realized the starter did not turn, the first time I shut it off. I parked it on hills to roll down and jump start it after that. One day, I noticed a crank hole beneath the grillwork. I found a blacksmith to fabricate a crank handle. You can imagine the double-takes I got from observers when I got out there with my crank! It didn't matter that water splashed in from holes in the floorpans, or that the gas tank weeped a bit, I was driving something other than all the other Fords, Chevys, and Plymouths. The Lucas electrical system was a corroded nightmare, and the suspension was probably struggling beyond its life expectancy, judging by the vigor my girlfriend bounced off the seat when we encountered bumps! And yes, I got caught out in the rain many a time with the top down, because as I forementioned, the top was missing to begin with. It did have a tonoue cover, which covered the seats, and snapped up to the dashboard. Then there was assimilating the proper lingo that came with the British autos. The hood did not cover the engine, but was really the top! The generator was the dynamo, and you could probably guess what the windscreen was. Wrenches were spanners, and on and on! To fight the winter cold, I would bring the bottom cushion of the seat in the house and warm it over a heat vent. By removing the defroster hoses, I had extra heat blowing at my lap. The doors only had an inside handle, and the windows, or "side curtains" slid into the door top on two posts, and were made out of thin plastic of some kind. The years had diss-colored the transperincey of the material, making it hard to see out of to say the least, but with no top on the car, I hardly ever used the side curtains. The electrical system was 12 volts, however, it utilized two 6 volt batteries linked in series, and straddling the propeller shaft under the vehicle. Eventually, I located a working starter, and the crank got retired to the "boot" (trunk) Under the "bonnet" was a snappy four cylinder OHV engine capable of 1500 CC, two SU down-draft carbs, and a compression ratio wanting for high octane gas.
I wasn't the only one getting into foreign sports cars, many of my buddies from high school got equally, worn out, rusty, but indescribable fun. There was another 57 MGA, like mine, a 61 MGA MKII with overhead cam, a 57 Triumph TR3, a 56 Jaguar XK-140, a beautiful 56 Porsche, and lets not forget my buddy Mark's Alfa Romaro!
Ahh, the life of open roads, and cheap gas!!!

The Life and Times of Herbie

The Life and Times of "Herbie"

Ahh......Herbie; Where do I start? Well, Herbie is a Snapper riding lawn mower from the late sixties-early 70's. No one remembers anymore; we're all too old! And as I talk about him, the legend continues to roll and build!
Why write about a stupid lawn-mower? As an American, I've been programmed to believe that the lawn must be mowed each week during the growing season. My brother-in-law bought a new house in 1967, and soon afterward, the lawn-mower from the "farm" musta gave out, and Herbie came on the scene. My sister's kids were young, then, and affectionately named the new lawn-mower " Herbie".
Herbie's main task was to mow the nice, new, flat, suburban, grub-free, fertilized green lawn at the new house in the Rochester, NY suburban neighborhood in Penfield, NY. No big deal for a new lawn-mower.
Well, Herbie continued to mow the lawn in Penfield, for the next 28 years! I was living with my sister and bro-in-law at the time. When the time came for me to move on, Herbie was a token parting gift from my brother-in-law, to aid my re-location to an old farm-house in Palmyra, NY, where Herbie and I moved in. The house was in what I'll call "whats left of the country in upstate New :York". My landlady's property came with about 8 acres of land, but her lawn is probably way over and acre. We can break it down into about four separate lawns.
When I moved in,. most of the four lawns hadn't been mowed in time out of reckoning. The first section I picked to mow, the weeds stood about chest level to me. Sitiing on the seat of Herbie, it was about eye level. Starting out in 2nd gear, (1st was useless in those tall weeds!) I moved ahead, the mowing deck as high as it would go. Inch ahead, till the mowing deck was overwhelmed, and put the clutch in, stop, let the engine pick up RPM's, maybe back up, and get fresh start, and plunge ahead at a crawl. I really couldn't believe I was actually plowing through this stuff!
Things went OK till I plunged into "something", under all the over-growth. Something, turned out to be a pile of telephone poles, laying on the "lawn". When I hit the poles, poor Herbie stalled out. I climbed off, and pulled him back from the weeks for inspection. One edge of the mowing deck had bent, and broke away leaving jagged metal protruding out. I lifted the front end up, and stood Herbie on his end. The brake assembley was a twisted convoluted mess. I cut the cable, and pulled the brake shoes off the axle, and from then on, Herbie was "brakeless". I straightened out the twisted, rusty shards on the side of the mowing deck, and pulled the starter rope. Herbie sprang into action, in a blue cloud of smoke! Re-engaging the blade, I continued mowing.
He continued running, with many break-downs, but refused to stop. this has been going on for seven years. At the present time, Herbie's sporten a new disc drive plate, a new V belt for the mowing deck, and a new shear pin in the right rear axle hub.
All I've got to say is Snapper made one heck of a machine back then!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


June 2006

How long have I been alone? 15, 16 years? I suppose I could investigate the matter by looking through old checkbook registers; they're always a wealth of information. Funny, the exact year is unknown to me, yet the pain seems as acute as yesterday. Like old wounds; they heal. but the pain never really goes away. The exact dates and times are only an oblique distorted images, fuzzy on the fringes, but unwilling to exit my mind, as if woven tightly into the brain tissue, double-stitched, permanently epoxied, never to separate from the memory banks without ripping out my brain tissue with it. I suppose a lobotomy would take care of it. Do I feel any love for her any longer? I think not. She appears in dreams now and again, but very cleverly hides her face, never looking into my eyes, never talking to me, but there in a brief embrace for a split instant, then vaporizing before my bewildered eyes. Like this morning at 2:00. I awake, my feet twisted and entwined by the sheets, a cold sweat permeating my body, and that familiar pain, never looked for, but none the less making its cameo appearance all the same. They say time heals all, but that of course is just not true. Is it because the pain is as a mutating virus, continually changing its structure omnipotent to any antibiotics, or a cancer that is so ingrained in the soul that it will never be cut out, or eradicated?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Visions of childhood

I must strain hard to define what my young eyes saw in my infantile days. The inside of the house on Rosewood Terrace; I only remember patches of wallpaper, the beautiful dark trim wood inside that I now know as gumwood. The tall ceilings, and dad using a ladder to trim the upper stretches of the Christmas tree. There was a stack of firewood along side the garage, and to me it was a stagecoach. I would sit on top up front, and a team of imaginary horses would dash me off to distant places that opened up to my senses. The inside of the small garage, with the smell of old wood, cobwebs, dad's tools hanging here and there, and on the inside wood framework makeshift shelves. Everything seemed terribly old, the tools, flashlight, oil cans. Tobacco tins holding nails and such. I seemed to be witnessing the ushering out of an era. Watching the rag man come down the street with horse and wagon, the delivery of milk to the box built into the side of the house, and walking to the Italian deli down the street. Even outside the door, the aroma of the hanging cheeses and meats would arrest your senses, as I gazed round the counters with their huge jars of olives, and cans of olive oil.
I know I walked to school, but I don't recall the route, or the first school at all. By the time I hit the second grade, we moved from the city proper of Rochester, NY, to Irondequoit, less than three miles I guess. We moved in the middle of the school year, and they could not fit me into the closest school to us. The next school was not that much farther, but It sure seemed like it when you are six years old! There was the issue of crossing the busy Empire Blvd. to get home, and my grandfather would be waiting there sometimes, and help me with the crossing. He spoke no English, and I very little Italian, but somehow, we managed to live with each other for years. He smoked those Italian crooked cigars, which burned with a silvery ash, and gargled with a shot of whiskey, each night before bed. He loved to garden in the warm weather, and had managed to bring a few fig trees from Italy, which he wrapped in burlap each year, and buried to protect them from our harsh NY winters.
My neighborhood was at the top of a big hill which lead down to Irondequoit Bay. It was heaven tramping through those little woods leading down, and surrounding the bay. There was so much to see and hear; the turtles, sunning themselves on logs, dragonfly, flitting and hovering around the water, the red wing blackbirds, perched in the tall reeds of the bay, finding paths and learning their secrets. There was an indescribable allure to those wood and water lands, that has been re-enforced and continually instilled throughout my life.
About the same time I was living in Irondequoit, my uncle Jimmy bought a plot of land right on Lake Ontario, several miles east of Rochester. At the time, this was only farm lands and orchards. There were no expressways, and the drive there took forever (especially to an impatient little rug rat wanting to get his feet in the lake) He started building what turned out to be quite a magnificent cottage. When the shell of the dwelling was up, we started spending the weekends there, while the construction continued. It was sorta roughing it for a while, but I was in my glory, with lots of room to run, and one of the Great Lakes lapping at our doorstep. It was outdoors heaven.
To try to convey proper perspective on how simpler the times were 50 years ago, I was allowed to take the bus downtown by my self at age 8-12. The trip included a swim or other activities at the YMCA, and a stroll down Main St. window shopping, a soda at the Five & Dime store, lots of people watching. And then there was the music stores. I was beyond fascinated by all the instruments, and overwhelmingly disappointed when the clerks would not let me touch anything!
I was drawn to the showier things like drums, the hardware gleaming, the cymbals so shimmerry, the big bass fiddle (which I took up) but as I was young, so was the newest musical craze, rock n roll. The guitar invoked feelings and emotions that words will not convey properly, so lets just say, I lived, dreamed, and craved a guitar. Nothing, I mean nothing had any significance close to the compelling drive to play. At 10 years old, I celebrated my communion, and a little party and some gifts ensued. Someone had given me a twenty-dollar bill; all in one piece! I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut, that my mother had intension of putting the $ 20.00 in savings or something to steer me in that direction, but I must have ducked, and weaved, and even my ten year old resources led me to a used guitar for $ 20.00. Oh the joy. Of course, the mere procurement of the instrument only gave way to the self evidence that I had no idea what to do with it, and in fact handled it upside-down for some time! I had no direction, no instruction whatsoever on even tuning it. I was devastated when the high E string broke ( a common calamity, I learned later) That put me at my father's mercy to take me to procure a replacement string. Only the Lord knows how much I appealed to him, but eventually, we went to an appliance store that sold guitar strings, and I got my first glimpse of a paper envelope with Black Diamond printed on the front, and the shiny steel string revealed under the flap. The next hurdle was putting the string on and tuning it. Of course, not knowing how to allow for some slack and a few turns around the gear post, when I cinched the string up and started to tune it, it broke with a resounding pop, and half of the thing slapped me in the face! My disappointment knew no boundaries, and mortified, I realized that I had to notify dad of the developments.
I struggled along for the first two years, with no real knowledge, only hit and miss, when I procured a book from somewhere. I don't really intend to say that I remember, but after that, I seemed to inhale the knowledge, and the secrets were presented as more self evident. I still had no formal training, but once in a while, I would "stumble" across something that would take me to the next level. The biggest revelation was having a basic chord book depicting the fingerings for chords. One day, I must have made the realization that the chords A, B, C, D, E, and G, had distinctive fingerings. They were all formed at the end of the neck, or the first three frets. I was curious as to how I could play those fingerings farther up the neck scale, with any logical conclusion. I discovered that by fingering the same chords using fingers that would keep my first or index finger free to "trail" behind the others, and sliding up the neck, I was forming the same chords anywhere I wanted to, and the same fingerings produced different chords depending on which fret I started out on. That realization, put me into outer space! In one day, it seemed,. I found paths never explored before, and I was playing something meaningful.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gone Paddling

The Blog is closed for the day; Gone Paddling!
To be among the orioles, kingfisher, and heron
Reflect, meditate, pray, and pull at the water. Yes, dragonflies, I'm coming. Oh how the willows and ripples beckon, as God makes known his supreme majesty.

Where does the time go?

June 28, 1968 The day I married my first wife. Today would be our anniversary. 38 years. Wow, where DOES the time go? And why am I even aware that it is this day? We were married 11 years, I haven't seen or heard from her in 27 years. Yet this morning, as I glanced up at the calendar, the day still stood out in my mind. Would I even recognize her, should I chance to run into her? Will she remember today, or even reflect on our past life, the kids whom she never has seen since they were children. Will she understand how she ripped all of our lives to smithereens with her abandonment? Does she feel even a twinge of guilt for her actions? Does she not wonder what the kids grew up to become, and their kids? These burning questions I'm sure I'll take to my grave.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Volkswagen Car for the People

Ahh, the Volkswagen! Car for the people; it was my first car, a 1961, faded red, upstate New York rust, no heat to speak of, dim 6 volt headlights, fun beyond my teenage imagination! First conception was in 1932, by Ferdinand Porsche, the dad of VW. Actual production began in 1945, and a whopping 1,785 "beetles" were built. In 49, the same year the convertible model was introduced, two VW's were sold in the USA! They were very simplistic cars, not even having Hydraulic brakes until 1950. I still have today, Chilton's Repair & Tune-Up Guide, covering ALL TYPES AND MODELS from 1949-1968. Mostly, I relied on a book called "How to keep your Volkswagen alive, or The Complete Idiot's Manual" I wish I still had that one. It was written by a laid-back hippie in Calif. and got me from emergencey side of the road repairs, to complete engine overhaul. This guy assumed you did not know left from right, and took you from there, in a witty, understandable, calming persona. The above photo, shows my favorite of all my VW's, a 67 convertible. No, the feet sticking out of the engine compartment was no joke; I was replacing the Transaxle. I could write a book about my travels and adventures in that baby! They say those babies would float, but of course that would be assuming the floorpan was not rusted, and all the door seals were still in place, which I certainly could not attest to! But it was forgiving, peppy, cheap to run, easy to fix, and best of all MAXIMUM FUN TO DRIVE!!! Even pedal to the metal (I was young!) jack-rabbit starts, and pushing it into the curves, it got way over 30 MPG on its worst day, but who kept that close a track with gas being less than 30 cents @ gal. With the back seat folded down, the stowage capacity was deceiving, but with the top down on the way to Virginia Beach, the radio cranked, kids in back, cooler in trunk, we did the weekly pilgrimage to the ocean in style! When a freak snowstorm hit Virginia Beach, dumping 18 inches in 6 hours, my VW was one of the very few navigating the roads with its light imprint and rear-engine traction. And ya had to love the horn! As long as you kept a check on the oil, and fanbelt tension, changed the points (or filed them in a pinch) you were good to go till the cows came home. All in all, I ended up owning two "Beetles" and a Camper with screened in, curtained windows, AC/DC fridge, bed, closets, and yes, even the kitchen sink!

Ahh, memories of a bygone generation.

In The Navy

St Valentines Day, 1968 Off to take my physical for the Navy! Let the games begin. The weather was horrid by any standards, but I managed to plow my 57 MGA through all the snow drifts in the upstate NY country roads to catch my bus to start my long new adventure in life. The Vietnam "conflict" was of course in full swing, but at 18 years old, its just as well that all the implications did not sink in. Anyways, I was drafted, and would have gone into the Army, via personal invite from my buddy Richard M. Nixon.
On April Fools Day, I caught a train from Rochester to Buffalo, repeating my oath back to the recruitment officer, the train rocking back and forth, and creeping slowly west, my past life slipping away at one quarter impulse power. Reaching Buffalo, all a blur now, I somehow got on a airplane to Chicago, my first of many flights to unknown destinations!
A train in Chicago (faster than the one to Buffalo) propelled me to Great Lakes, Ill. where a bus was waiting, a guy screaming everything at me from then on. I think by the time I got to Boot Camp, I realized that all I had to do was listen, and act like I was enjoying myself, and I fit in fine. Thus beginning my new career in Drill Company 5920. Oh Boy!!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Summer of 65

I found the 66 Yearbook from Wayne Central High, in Ontario NY, where I grew up. This was my senior photo, taken the summer of 1965. I think it was the best time of my entire life. See the photo caption? "A real wild child"

What that meant, was I played guitar, had a band, wore my sweatshirt inside-out on occasion, two different colored sox (Mostly from dressing for school in the dark wintry morns) and was more inclined to set the trend, rather than follow it. Of course, back then, if you sang "Louie Louie", you were under immediate suspicion, anyway. "A Real Wild Child"

Youd'a thought I was a trouble maker, if one was to mark my "visits" to the principal's office! In fact, I've never even been in a fight in my life. I never stole or vandalized anyone's stuff. Maybe my open smile gave way to that Eddie Haskel aura, only I really meant it! Luckily, between the school nurse living across the street, and giving guitar lessons to the gym teacher's son, I managed to keep my teenage head above the proverbial drink, though there were a fair amount of "threats" of expulsion.

The summer of 65, I managed to have a few bucks in my pockets, from guitar lessons, I didn't have a car yet, or any expenses, no real responsibilities, two long legs to carry me, a beautiful girlfriend (or two) and the living was easy. Louis Armsrtong had knocked the Beatles off the Billboard no 1 place for a couple weeks with "Hello Dolly", but I was inhaling the Beatles, and could care less about Satchmo (at the time).

My sister had a little basket shop, complete with a Coke machine outside. It served short cold little bottles of Coke, Tab, and Fressca for a dime. The ole Coke machine was the normal meeting place and jump-off point for my other "wild" friends. None of us legally "drove", but growing up in the country, we all had a vehicle or two at our disposal. We had a 1948 Oliver tractor, but my first choice of cool, was a 1953 Ford Pickup, with the doors removed, every nano-inch of the body telling a story of my early driving escapades, and the affectionate name of "The Beetle" (This had nothing to do with the band, The Beatles)

When I think back on how our parents gave us kids a pretty wide berth, I guess I have to realize how simpler things were back then. We left our ignition keys in all the vehicles, hitchhiking, was fairly common place, though we spent many a late night, walking down Lake Rd. From a dance at Sodus Point Beach House, with no cars coming by at all. A few of those walking sessions and there wasn't anything that my buddy Tom & I didn't know bout each other.

I was picking up guitar pretty quickly, and taught Tom as I learned along. It wasn't too long, and we were playing parties, school dances, and the legend Hall. We both plugged out guitars into an old "hand-me down" guitar amp. Later, someone donated a microphone (also plugged into the same amp) We tried out a couple drummers, and the Chillers were born. That summer of 65, we added a bass player. He couldn't play, but he sang great, and he had a car!

And then, there was Kathy Keeley..........

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Stay the course/Cut & run

To all world leaders---especially, Americans:

We are never going to get it right. Lets cut our losses, and get out of Iraq. More than 3,000 people died on 9/11, more than 2500 Americans in the Middle East since then. More innocent Iraqis each day. Meanwhile, we argue our political strategies with vigor. Stay the course, cut & run, pull out within a year, pull out when Iraq can handle its own affairs. One doesn't know what or who to believe anymore. I believe our President got us over there under false pretenses, lied, used the American public's rattled 9/11 horror to sway us to invade Iraq, when Iraq, had nothing to do with 9/11. Scores of innocent folks are being murdered in the most brutal ways known to mankind, and Republicans and Democrats alike are arguing over whatever political agenda moves their party to the next rung up the ladder of political anarchy. Up until only monthes before 9/11, America was backing and funding the Taliban. The very Taliban that struck the Twin Towers. We have put more bogus regimes in power than Carter's proverbial liver pills. All in the name of Democracey. The only certainty is that these idiots are going to make a big imprint in the history books. The biggest question burning at my mind is how many generations from now will it take to sift all the lies, and misleading deceipts out of history? And how many more innocent people die for nothing? How far can we twist the Constitution to suit the evilness of our brave and pius leader? Will we allow him to pull so much wool over our eyes that black will seem white? So that 2 plus 2 = 5? Am I the only enraged person in the world? How much thinner can we spread ourselves out in the world, before we are destroyed and ruined? Our response to Katrina was a perfect example. We cant take care of our own affairs, let alone spread our inaptitude throughout the world. Frankly, I see little difference between communism, and what we define as democracey. I did not get to elect our leading official, democracey has mutated to such a joke, that Bush stole the election, and got away with it in the most supreme fashion. If we woke up tomorrow, and learned that all the oil in the Middle East dried up, how long do you think we'd have an interest in Iraq, or Iran? I am sadly amazed by the number of Americans still stupidly supporting this senseless and perverted war, and the poor misguided soldiers who seem to believe that the cause is so just that they are willing to die for it. I served in the military during the Vietnam conflict. I was drafted, and went to serve my country as told. I did not believe in that cause then, but, had it been now, I'm sure I would have balked to the highest degree. If the draft is enacted today, and my 23 year old son is drafted, I will do anything in my power to keep him out of this senseless conflict. I am not speaking as a coward, but as a man with stronger beliefs than to go along with a corrupt president who should be tried for war crimes himself. As a Christian, I am supposed to pray for our world leaders. It boils my blood to think that I should be praying for such a band of thieves, and murderers. Sleep well tonight, George W. Bush, and remember, your judgment day will come just as all of ours will.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sir Isaac Newton was Wrong!

I just saw a documentary on Sir Isaac Newton. It described him as an alchemist; one who can turn iron into gold. He came up with a mathematical formula for everything. Even the date of the end of the world. His calculations has Jesus returning on 2060. He spent his entire life in recluse, working day and night on his formulas; barely eating or sleeping. We are still using many of his mathematical formulas today in modern science. His theories were so astounding, that he had to invent his own math to correlate his ideas. Truly, the most phenomenal mathematician the world has ever seen, even to this day. So, what about his formula for the end of the world?
I flunked math on every level. My science skills are nill. I am a musician. I run on emotion and feeling. Music is self evident to me, though the math behind it, and make no mistake about it, music is math; never enters my mind. I seemed to find another dimension I enter. One where there is no key signature, no time signature. The big room, some have called it.
Pure emotional energy. I'm sure the Newtster would have come up with a mathematical formula for just that. Anyway, what I'm getting at is I must be the complete opposite from Sir Isaac.
I don't personally see how its possible for the world to continue on its course for another 54 years. The rate of the violence, the wars, the immorality, how could we last that long? Newton's formula has got to be wrong. The past 54 years have brought changes that I never would have believed possible. I don't mean the technological advances; I mean the voracity of the evilness. In spite of all the history we have analyzed, we have corrected nothing from our previous mistakes. I grew up as most Americans, believing that our country was the most wonderful place on earth. I now realize, the wonders I have appreciated over the years have come at a great cost to the entire world. All through history, each civilization, has plundered, captured, capitalized, and raped the world of everything available to feed the greed machine which poisons every society. The United States of America is no exception. And we named other small potato regimes the "axis of evil!" Have we not become the United States of Gomorrah? Are we not the axis of the "doomsday" process, ourselves? We twist the facts, create our our own laws to correlate our agenda, send the cream of our crop to its doom; all in the name of Democracey. All in the name of protecting our freedom. I now understand that our freedom comes at so great a cost, that we are slaves to the entire process. We have bombed, polluted, exploited, poisoned, murdered, and alienated ourselves, as we sweep the entire world into our evil cauldron of apocalistic lurching. It wont be long before we genetically alter our civilization into oblivion. Was Orwell way off the mark with his futuristic novel "1984"? He just got the year wrong! Everything is now controlled by our evil pandemic pace; the news media, our sick perverted so-called laws, indeed, our own personal thought control. We have managed to take barbarity to new levels in our disengaged, inhuman evolution. As all the great ruling civilizations of history, we will fall as Rome, Greece, Sodom, Gomorrah; only this time dragging the entire world to its apocolistic doom.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Beware the Deceiving Serpent

Was at church rehearsing with the band for the Life Teen service about to start within the hour, when a strange man entered the church. He knelt in a pew, and prayed. He then moved to the alter, and knelt for a bit. When the band took a break before the service, he came up to me and asked to talk, moving to the back of the church. We sat down, and he introduced himself, and then I noticed his head was all black and blue. He told me his car broke down, and he was mugged afterwards. He explained that he was trying to get to his home about four hours away. He asked for money, and a ride to meet someone who was going to give him a ride home.
I have heard countless sermons about helping those in need, and how we are all called to live our faith throughout our lives. I must confess, I did not ponder his peril all that long; and found myself giving this guy money, and a ride. My friend, and band director, showed trepidation about what was taking place, but I left the church with this man, and away we went.
He did con me into taking him farther than we bargained for, but I took him, and dropped him off where he asked. He did not fill in all the pieces to his plight, and I nervously joked that I did not have to worry about him robbing me, for I gave him all the money I had. He told me that several doors were closed in his face, when he asked for help.
I did not tell him that I was unemployed myself, or the hours I put in the day before earning that money helping a neighbor with his haying operation in the 90 degree sun. If he was deceiving me or not, I told myself that he needed the money a lot more than I. One thing for sure, if he deceived me, he surely did not deceive God. If we enter into acts of kindness with suspition and trepidation, no one would ever get a helping hand.
I returned to church, and my friend expressed his fears for my safety, recounting stories from the past about those who he encountered under false pretense. My answer to him was centered around the question, what would Jesus do? I told him it was all in God's hands, and that I felt I had to help. We are constantly called to live out our faith as we go through life. Yes, my pocket was $ 40.00 lighter, but my heart was lighter beyond measurement. Did a small part of me experience the joy of commiseration over someone else's trials larger than mine? I'd like to think that I did receive a much greater appreciation of the evaluation of my blessings. We go through life, only too much with great disregard for the things we should be grateful for.
If this snake bit me, only God knows for sure, but I know that I am still the better for it.