Category: A Cool Bachelor's Diary


Attention: This is my 300th blog post here since November, 2009 and this month I mark the milestone: ten-years of blogging!!

Always a kind of counter-culture kind of a guy walking and dancing to the beat of a different drum, working the overnight shift playing music on the radio came easy for me. It was also encouraged by my mentors as a way not to become stereotyped as ‘just another black radio jock’ and allowed me to play mainstream, Top 40 music. The catch was, the powers that be usually only let the ‘black guy’ pull the overnight shift. I was okay with it.

I’m one of the kids of the 1960s who listened to his first transistor AM radio – a Zenith – under the pillow in his room when I was supposed to be asleep, parents in their room, not too far away, with my dad trying to put me down by calling me “an owl” whenever they caught me. I like “owl”; he was giving me a compliment. Why do everything like everybody else? I grew to never wanting to be part of the “Rat Race” of drones on the same rush hour, every morning and the same rush hour in the evening, day after day. Nyet! Nope. Going to work at 11PM, though sometimes hard, back when I was addicted to television, was always more fun once I got there, and the morning payoff of going home to chill with a beverage, maybe a female fan from my show or just to sleep while the world was awakening again was just really chill!

Little did I know, that the graveyard shift was resetting my body clock forever.

Or maybe I was born with that overtime set to my circadian rhythm’s DNA and the fate of career choices visa v the compliments I received on how my voice sounded over the air, extracted that natural inclination?

I surely adapted to it easily and it was fun, except when the day-timers at the job scheduled staff meetings back at the station in the middle of what was my “night” – sometimes as early as 11 AM – those would take me literally a couple of days or nights to recover from, and became sources of contention when I asked for a little consideration from the diurnal management.
I was fully committed to the day-coffin, learning to use heavy curtains with linings that would turn my day room to night until my alarm clock awakened me to watch the hottest soap opera of that era, General Hospital” with Luke and Laura at 3pm.

Recently, I began reflecting upon the radio stations boards which I learned to jock during the third shift throughout my two score on the air, at a point when I learned about the sale or demise of the name brand that I saw all the time but took for-granted, Gates.

Not sure if this one from my first commercial station, WFLB AM, is a Gates. Maybe your keen, expert eye can spot the characteristics.

Most of them had the Gates insignia on them until I graduated to stations in the mid-1980s that had sliding faders instead of round knobs we called pots.

The next one my research recognizes is the one I bounced with on WBSS FM, “BOSS 97”, Atlantic City, New Jersey fifteen years after ‘FLB. It is the Gates Executive 2.

Meanwhile, I learned that there is a whole world of fellow graveyard shifters who shared my unique pain mixed with laughter. Its almost cult-like…I developed “honored groups of the nyte” to acknowledge and play requests for such as hospital worker, cooks, street sweepers, bakers, bartenders, toll collectors, night watchmen, security guards,law enforcement types, like the detective who used to call into my show and ultimately invited me for a couple of boilermakers at this basic bar, at the unheard of hour of six A.M.! He became like a bodyguard for me up there in Worcester.
Next is a board that reminds me of the one I worked at New York City’s 1600, WWRL AM:

My unofficial research gleans that working the midnight shift may have altered when my body naturally produces melatonin! “Peak levels of melatonin are produced before 3 a.m., when it sharply decreases before natural daylight returns. (Higher levels of melatonin have been measured in the fall and winter when the days are shorter, thus the reason you may be sleepier in the winter months.)”  Wow, that might explain why I still can stay up with the best of ’em!
Even as I write this post #300, most of them are edited during the wee hours of the early morning – after midnight (an Eric Clapton song, btw).

Pickhit: On this “Blog Post #300” and upon our 10 Year Anniversary with WordPress, I was pondering what I would post so momentously. Originally pitched as a source of income in 2009 by an acquaintance, nothing of the sort has materialized – milestone not achieved.
I guess I came to keep doing this as writing practice, an outlet for free expression and a way to display my contemporary music knowledge via the amazing YouTube video attachments which accentuate my opinions and reviews.

***Thank you dear reader, who have happened by to peek and read my public “diary”. The private one? I will save for you, who I shall leave behind in the physical realm, someday. This is a milestone.
Peace.

Its been a long time since an episode of “Bachelor Cooking” posted!

Not a single recipe since I was dating Inna earlier this decade, and while the hurt from those failed relations (nobody’s fault but the money) will never go away until I mend that loss with a more stable Украина женщина, I decided to follow up my “Columbus Day Top Ten” reasons post with what I created for my Italian-style Columbus Day After-parade dinner. I’ve been on a cooking “roll” (no pun intended) lately, and its a shame that I have no lady to share them with. I digress…back to the dish and not the “dish”.

This “hot” Italian sausage and spinach dish came out “restaurant quality” in my opinion. You can use just about any firm pasta as the base so long as it withstands the sausage and tomatoes; I chose Rigatoni, but Penne, Rotini or shells would work!

In the wake of Columbus Day 2019 and the inspiration of watching it from outside of NYC on WABC7NY television that glorious Monday, I wanted to extend and so I imagined, what kind of food I could make similar to what would be enjoyed in the Little Italy that evening for my own post-parade party. Before a recent trip, I stocked my provisions in the fridge and I had a craving for hot Italian sausage, which I hadn’t had the opportunity to grill all summer as I would have in normal years past. 2019 has not been a “normal” year; I’ll tell you why in a couple more posts.

So, I came up with this simple celebration of taste where you’ll only need one pot and your large black iron frying pan to create a restaurant-quality dish! I’d just recently became reacquainted with my heavy pan which was in storage, seasoned it with some extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and put aside overnight in a cooling oven.

Therefore, when I began this dish by sauteing three hot Italian sausages on number 2.5, if your range is electric or medium-low if gas, it was ready to rock and roll. Simultaneously, prepare half-pound of Rigatoni in another two-quart pot with a dash of seas salt tossed in the water. Make sure you put three cuts on each sausage like you would a hot dog on the grill – it will make them easier to chunk with your metal spoon, spatula or precise-knife!

While that is cooking, get one onion, three garlic cloves ( or a couple teaspoons of pre-minced from the jar, half a bag of frozen (unless you want to do it yourself fresh) pre-sliced “three peppers (yellow, read & green) mix”, one can of diced peppers, a half can of tomato paste and half-bag fresh spinach (not “baby”) ready on the side to join the action. When the sausage starts to sizzle, I turn them and lace with a hand-full of Italian seasoning from my spice carousel. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box and set aside.

After about 7 minutes, take the chunks of sausage out of the pan put in a little tin warm-foil and set aside on your stove top. Drain any excess oil from the heavy pan – but not all! Lower heat and add your garlic, chop three-quarters of a yellow onion, stir and raise the heat to medium or 4.5 on the electric range. Stir a lot and add your tomatoes (with juice),tomato paste, a splash of a red-wine beet marinade and four drops of Filippo Berio Raspberry Glaze with Balsamic vinegar and a little palm-full of hot red-pepper flakes from my spice carousel. Cook it about 10 minutes and stir often to mix it up! Remove from heat.

Drain the Rigatoni, toss with a splash of evoo and couple dashes of dried Basil. Add spinach. I transferred it to my big, silver chef’s bowl and mixed all up really good with my chef’s wooden spoon, until the spinach was wilted. Add sausage and really mix-up and toss as all ingredients now have a party going on in the bowl!

Transfer a portion to a serving dish and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese… “Viola!”

A nice, room-temperature glass of authentic Chianti completes this meal!

This definitely extended the Columbus Day feeling for the rest of the week as I (of course) have copious leftovers in my brand new resealable container, tempting me to munch every time I open the fridge.

As with a stew, it was even better the second serving! “Light-bulb!!! Maybe you can use this recipe for your upcoming NFL Super Bowl party!
Enjoy and please let me know how you liked it!
And now a word from our classic commercials…

1 – It gives me a nostalgic, Fall holiday feeling because, growing up in what was arguably the best public school system in America, New York City’s from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, we had to learn about Christopher (Cristoforo) Columbus [1451 – 1506] and his romanticized voyage in addition to getting another day off from the new school year! First report cards, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving were on the horizon!

2 – Occurring a few days after the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, it reminds me of our collective cultural heritage as Americans.

3 – His voyage proved the earth is not flat! Imagine only knowing Europe, Asia and maybe Africa as the totality of the planet and then sailing east of your world, trying to find a short-cut to the Far East (the Orient) without knowing if you would fall off the edge into oblivion! That was the prevailing geography of Columbus’ era!! He was truly courageous.

4 – Now THAT’s Italian! Even though he set sail from Spain, Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. Columbus Day is an Italian celebration! Among our earliest immigrants to “the melting pot”, they are one of my favorite nationalities and some of the coolest paisans who’ve given us pizza, pasta, romantic music and not to mention movies like The Godfather, gangsters, many streets named “Columbus” (like “Columbus Circle in NYC), and beautiful women like Sophia Loren! I recall an Italian girl named Marie from my first job at an A&P food store; she used to come in with her mom and I was the sixteen year old produce clerk weighing and bagging her melons, etc. If only I wasn’t so shy back then, I would have asked her to a movie and possibly changed my history – we definitely had some chemistry!

5 – Little Italy. There is one in every major city, but New York City’s is the most famous and where the food in the many restaurants and bars is off the chain deeee-licious. It’s sure to be poppin’ down there Monday night!

6 – The Nina. His flagship, sailed 25,000 miles under Columbus’ command and was his favorite of the three ships. Real name was the Santa Clara after the patron saint, but took the nickname from her owner, Juan Nino of Moguer. I think “Nina” means “the girl”.

7 – The Pinta. Like the Nina, a Caravel ship, light and fast; commonly used by explorers of those days. The most mysterious of the trio, she returned home and apparently that is all that is known.

8 – And The Santa Maria. The least favored by Columbus was the heaviest of them all; a cargo ship. Must have been a keen trick to keep track of all!

9 – The Parades!

10 – This Poem that helped us learn about the history of Columbus Day:

“In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
He had three ships and left from Spain;
He sailed through sunshine, wind and rain.
He sailed by night; he sailed by day;
He used the stars to find his way.
A compass also helped him know
How to find the way to go.
Ninety sailors were on board;
Some men worked while others snored.
Then the workers went to sleep;
And others watched the ocean deep.
Day after day they looked for land;
They dreamed of trees and rocks and sand.
October 12 their dream came true,
You never saw a happier crew!
“Indians! Indians!” Columbus cried;
His heart was filled with joyful pride.
But “India” the land was not;
It was the Bahamas, and it was hot.
The Arakawa natives were very nice;
They gave the sailors food and spice.
Columbus sailed on to find some gold
To bring back home, as he’d been told.
He made the trip again and again,
Trading gold to bring to Spain.
The first American? No, not quite.
But Columbus was brave, and he was bright.”

Pickhit: I’ve noticed that some southeastern U.S. states, in what must be misguided, immature rebelliousness, gloss-over Columbus Day, previously celebrated on October 12th, the date he landed on our shores, universally across the land – and now on the second Monday – by renaming it shamefully as a “Professional Learning Day” while giving students the day off, ignoring it completely or otherwise denying pupils one of the most colorful and interesting holidays which celebrates the combining world and American (“the new world”) histories.
There was Ameriggo, Leif and Magellan, but only Columbus got the title of “first”.

morph verb
morphed; morphing; morphs
Definition of morph
transitive verb: to change the form or character of : TRANSFORM

I don’t follow the NFL like I used to ten years ago, but in the wake of the Antonio Brown saga, which was on every tele screen at local Pubs, I must ask these questions:
Has the definition of “rape” changed? Has the definition of “rape” morphed?
What exactly now is “sexual misconduct”? Is it flirting? Has the definition of “flirting” changed? Am I glad I am not growing up in this era? (Yes!)

Dig me, I am a man and writing from a man’s perspective because I am only hearing these complaints when I am out and about, under restaurant TV screens. One convo goes, “Men can’t help it if we have a nut sack and it produces urges we want to use!”

For what is worth, it seems now that every American woman of the past thirty years may have been or was “raped or “sexually molested” at some point in their distant past, said nothing about it until now, when the “climate” and mores have apparently changed in their favor, and when the guy becomes famous or rich (or both), then they come forward to ruin him. The latest I heard about is Demi Moore doing the #MeToo! Really?? I remember when the deep, gravelly-voiced actress first appeared on General Hospital like, forty years ago! She showed no signs of trauma on the set. Did she tell Bruce Willis about it?

In these instances, why not a civil, private convo years ago when it happened?

All my scores of life, when I heard the four-letter word, “rape” it conjured images of a sex-crazed,”Jack-the-Ripper”-style insane maniac, grabbing a random woman who was maybe walking alone down a darkened street, into a dimly-lit alley and ripping her clothes off in a violent struggle despite her screams and forcibly penetrating her private parts with his dick, in a most savage manner. Has this definition changed?

AND now, as maybe with Mr. Brown, another super-testosterone-charged athlete, we have a different dynamic. I hear the word “consensual” in the mix. Which leads me to believe that there was maybe some playful foreplay involved which led the guy to want more and at first the woman would go “No, don’t…stop..” And then it led to, “Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop!” or something similar. Hmmm… So when this modern female thought about it later, I guess she decided, “I didn’t want that to happen, Ewww…” (even though she kinda enjoyed it at the time?) and one thought led to another, like the foreplay itself, which when mixed with the climate of TV news, money and fame morphed the mindset into her speaking out, where she maybe wouldn’t have in the past.

Mr. Brown, why did you have this cute female as your “trainer”? Don’t tough footballers need a man to train them? That choice had UNhappy ending written all over it, from any logical man’s perspective – but these overpaid guys are not thinking with the same “head” as we mere mortal men, right?

I’ve always wondered why a man would stoop to the conduct of rape, when there are such beings as Hookers, and massage parlors (with “happy ending”) and numerable other ways to “get some” much more easily in life – especially if you got long green to spend. Most curiously, how can you maintain an erection when struggling with someone to put it IN? How? How? How? I’ve had “problems” putting it IN when we both wanted it! lol So tell me please, what exactly are the mechanics of “rape” in the past and these days? Please describe in detail for us, what happens in “sexual harassment”?

Traveling overseas earlier this decade, I overheard how most of the rest of the world thinks about America’s sexuality, “They are Puritans publicly and perverts privately.” In other words, hypocrites.

My favorite song by Marvin Gaye is “Sexual Healing”; it was the top of the charts. Do you mean to tell me that if it was released today, it would be associated with “rape”? If so, then America is a country many men need to leave, because there obviously has been an updated definition of “rape”, the memo and specifics about which were not distributed to American men at-large. “Healing”, is what I’m feeling we all need.

“Get up, get up, get up, get up
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up

Ooh baby, now let’s get down tonight

[Verse 1]
Baby I’m hot just like an oven
I need some lovin’
And baby, I can’t hold it much longer
It’s getting stronger and stronger

[Chorus]
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing, oh baby
Makes me feel so fine
Helps to relieve my mind
Sexual Healing baby, is good for me
Sexual Healing is something that’s good for me

[Verse 2]
Whenever blue tear drops are falling
And my emotional stability is leaving me
There is something I can do
I can get on the telephone and call you up baby, and
Honey I know you’ll be there to heal me
The love you give to me will free me
If you don’t know the thing you’re dealing
Oh I can tell you, darling, that it’s Sexual Healing

(Get up, Get up, Get up, Get up)
Let’s make love tonight
(Wake up, Wake up, Wake up, Wake up)
‘Cause you do it right

[Bridge]
Baby I got sick this morning
A sea was storming inside of me
Baby I think I’m capsizing
The waves are rising and rising

[Chorus]
And when I get that feeling
I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing is good for me
Makes me feel so fine, it’s such a rush
Helps to relieve the mind, and it’s good for us
Sexual Healing, baby, it’s good for me
Sexual Healing is something that’s good for me
And it’s good for me and it’s so good to me
My baby ohhh

[Verse 3]
Come take control, just grab a hold
Of my body and mind soon we’ll be making it
Honey, oh we’re feeling fine
You’re my medicine open up and let me in
Darling, you’re so great
I can’t wait for you to operate

(Heal me my darling)
I can’t wait for you to operate

[Chorus]
When I get this feeling
I need Sexual Healing
Oh when I get this feeling
I need Sexual Healing
I gotta have Sexual Healing, darling
‘Cause I’m all alone
Sexual Healing, darling
‘Till you come back home

Please don’t procrastinate
It’s not good to masturbate”

“Damned smartphone!” lol

Pet Peeve number “5,000″…

Remember this?

My first “cellphone” and,

At least it did not intrude on my mood!

Neither did it remind me;

Harken to those days of sanity.

If you were born prior to 1989 you are saved;

Who can keep count these days?

Don’t you hate it when you text someone,

Then they call you right back before you finish?

If you wanted to TALK to them,

YOU would have called in the first place!

Or Don’t you get annoyed when

You are calling someone,

Their voice mail comes on and,

Just as you are wrapping up your voice-mail,

That person is CALLING you,

Without even having listened to your voice-mail?!

You could have just tex’d them!

What’s the use in their outgoing message?

I feel then like I should have hung up on myself!

Silly smart-phone configurations perpetuate,

Conflicting communications with intrusive settings,

Unfocused communication in the middle of calls!

With options to opt-out of the conversation,

Says Alexander Graham Bell,

“What the hell?”

Let us only hearken back to a Virgin who

Was my first lover;

Of flip cell phones.

I sent her a score of indigo flowers then ago,

When this instant communication didn’t happen

And a lonely “Blackberry” was the IN thing.

Even our cool beans President had one!

With the lack of annoyance,

He made leadership non-intrusive fun.

I’d rather hear your voice;

Email, sms/text or talking?

When I was a DJ on 98.7 KISS FM,

Our slogan slug line was,

“More Music, Less Talk”.

Today, it would be

“More texting, Less talk”.

[…to be continued to fix it…”]

In September of 2001, many things in my life were new: I was the new Nights (7 p.m. – midnight) man entertaining on a little AM radio station in Nashville, Tennessee. I’d do my show and then off I’d go to check out some local DJs in my new Music City. Mostly, I checked out Liquid Lounge (before it became “Elements”) till about 3 A.M., looking for new club DJ opportunities and then go a short distance from my new downtown, back to my new little two bedroom cottage.

This was still the pre-cell phone era and I only had a land line and cassette tape- based answering machine which I based in my other room, across the hall in my studio room from my bedroom and had an incredibly long cord, which allowed me to be on the “princess” phone all over the house and even out on my little front stoop. I didn’t have my first home computer yet and there were still pay phones everywhere!

So I’d sleep from like 4 a.m. until maybe noon, unless I had some special morning interaction to attend or a gig; such is the life of the second and third shift radio man and many other alternative hour workers.

Then the phone rang around 10 or 11 a.m. I guess, and I heard the machine come on in the other room, and maybe my friend, Monique’s voice say something as I slept – and ignored it. Soon, the phone rang another time and I recognized her voice again! At this point I picked it up and my friend Monique says, “Turn on the TV!” I’m like, “No, I’m sleeping…” or something to that effect. She insisted and then I fumbled around and found the remote to turn it on. What I saw I thought was a movie, in the purple haze of awakening. “Why you want me to watch this movie, Mo?” I must have asked. She said something like, “No! A plane hit the World Trade Center!!” I began to sit up in my bed and just about then, the second plane hit the other tower. Shock. At that moment, I knew that this was no movie.

As I watched the coverage that fateful afternoon, I’d almost forgotten that I had a “show” to do that evening – and the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to perform it. – I was bummed to the max! Calling my Mum in on Long Island, I asked could she smell the smoke and she said “Yes.” So I called my Program Director to ask him out of my show that night, but instead of empathy for my feelings, he replied, in, what I’ve learned is typical southern black American ignorance, “Aww man, its just a plane hit a building. G’wan in and do your show!” At that point, my respect for him, being in his position only because he was the station owner’s son, went from like and “eight” to a “one” on a scale of one to ten. How dare he condescend, knowing that my roots are at the base of the World Trad Center and having been in my house where I had a wall-sized poster of them and the whole southern tip of Manhattan above my bed!

Writing this now, I know that the rebel in me wanted to call out, but I think that my inner “Dan Rather” made me go in that evening, but not to do my usual “party” radio show. Instead, I opened-up the phones to my new Nashville local listeners, to let them air their impressions of the day’s attack. Many were initially sort of clueless, to my disappointment, but as my program grew into the evening, I remember that the discussions became more spirited and that many of my listeners knew that I was from there and expressed their empathy to me, if not for the national implications, for me as someone they only met through the radio who identified with New York City. It was the most solem show I remember in my professional radio career – I hardly played any music and we lived for the top of the hour network updates for five hours that night.

Last night, on the cusp of eighteen years later and trying to go to sleep, I wished I could listen to that show; probably taped it on a cassette which is likely in storage with much of my belongings from those days that I cannot get to it because of my poverty, having chosen that radio career path, which has imploded for me like those beloved towers fell.

In closing, I must remind you to carry the message that we have young people in school now who have no recollection of that treacherous attack. So it is super- important that we teach them the magnitude of that day like the Pearl Harbor surprise attack was for the generation of my parents was.

Since 2016 or thereabouts, we as Americans have lost that unity that came about in the wake of those horrific and cowardly attacks. I close by asking you, my dear reader, to help bring back that sense of togetherness-of-purpose-umbrella, which we all gathered under after September 11, 2001.

Be part of something diverse, positive and big and remember you heard it first here from me and our Geriatric Care Manager.

AS we Baby Boomers age, we go full circle, manage or outright care for our elders. They call it “Care-Giving” now and increasingly men/sons participate. No brag/just fact.

“Although women still make up the majority of family caregivers, more and more men are stepping into the role: Some 40% of family caregivers are now men, according to the most recent research from AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, up from 33% a decade ago.” **

This topic is now a cottage industry and an issue so far neglected by those who would be our next President of the United States. As a Black American, it seems many of these agencies just want to send people who “look like” us to care for our parents, who are Octogenarian and Septuagenarian. These folks from third world counties, like Haiti and Africa, may need work and have good intentions, however their language, communication and assimilation skills leave much to be desired ninety percent of the time, in my experience. “Ask for what you want, and I’ll try my best to get it” should be the agency’s mantra.

Our hard working and lovely Irish, Italian, Jewish and other historically European-based ethnic groups call their own elder care-giver shots. Often they have long money or can acquire it from overseas to pay one thirty-five ($35) dollars an hour. Yet, when a middle class black American family, whose parents were maybe first or second generation college grads and civil servants of modest means makes a similar request of an MLTC (managed long term care) provider, we are often met with the insinuation that we are out of line, unseemly or even “intolerant” for asking that, when nothing could be further from the truth. Wanting to plug in someone superficially shows lack of real effort and imagination; “It don’t necessarily work like that!”

We too are exercising our personal family rights to have people who we feel comfortable with caring for our parents and, at least in my case, that does not automatically deem them black or brown-skinned, but it does require them to speak understandable English and preferably be from America as opposed to Haiti, Jamaica or Africa!

So these companies might as well treat me like a “white guy” then, because I’m going to ask for an Aide in-keeping with who my Mum is and the diverse values she raised me with, prior to when we let so many third world people into America to treat us, native descendant of American slaves, with disdain. You try to coach them up and they mostly reply, “Oh I know, I know” when they don’t “know” and are either too arrogant or ashamed to admit it, so that they can open the doors to empathy and learning!

When managing my own Mum’s Caregiver team (some call it “advocating for”, which is cool…) comes up in conversations that we Baby Boomers increasingly share these days, I often get the reply, “Oh you’re such a good son!”
“What else would I do? Turn my back to she who changed my diapers and gave me tough love??”, Is my response. Do people actually DO that?

If one accepts less, the system will continue to feed you less, until you accept less as the norm! Start demanding more, higher standards as were common in the 1960s, ’70 and eighties before the dumb-them-down era of President George H.W. Bush (the first).

**pickhit: stat courtesy Grace Gedye, Washington Monthly, July/August 2019

My summer, 2019 reading list includes this gem I found at the local public library:

Neil Armstrong was one strange dude. It was that quality that allowed him to be the first man on the moon.

Shoot for the Moon, The Space Race and The Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11” [Little Brown, May 2019] is a magnificent chronology of the space race from when the USSR (Russians) were the only participants in 1957. It educates about the history, personalities, characters, successes and failures of America’s quest to put a man on the moon and of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) team leaders with familiar names to me from my boyhood like Chris Kraft, Gene Kranz and Walter Cronkite – because all of this was on television when there were only seven channels and during the beginning of color TV!

This tale is a reality check because it shows what humankind can achieve when inspired to pull together towards the same goal. It reminds also of a saying or lyric that goes, “even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
I learned terms like “machine systems, CGM, LM training” and about the statuesque stack known as the Saturn V rocket which boosted our men towards the moon.

Its a story of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronaut families; of various contractors doing the unimaginable on a shoestring budget in today’s terms. Of luck and skill at problem solving which began at the end of World War II and how America recruited some former Nazi rocket builders (the movie “Operation Crossbow” comes to mind), led by Wernher Von Braun to help us catch and overtake the Soviets to win the race to the moon (a story in and of itself).

It will take you back to when mathematicians had to really think and solve problems, and the smallest computers were the size of a six-pack beer cooler; ingenious solutions to complex and urgent problems on-the-fly, literally!
The accurate descriptions amazed me like on page 371, when he describes meticulously how they were preparing for the EVA after Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landed on the moon.

If you’re like me, you’ll feel like you’ve been to the moon and back after you’ve read Mr. Conrad’s final word of the Epilogue. The two multi-photo pages are informative (the Soviets attempts) and literally outta this world! Educators! This book should be required reading in every history, social studies and science classroom. It was such an exciting book, I hated to return it to the library! So, I’m gonna have to buy one for my personal atheneum.

The tome wraps with extensive notes, a bibliography such as I’ve not seen since my college days and a complete index. Five moons!

[May, 2019 while hassling a relocation]

Growing up through my mid-teens, my main sports heroes were Roberto Clemente, Roger Maris, Muhammad Ali and Joe Namath. The latter were two of the most controversial athletes of my comeuppance – that’s one of the main reasons I admired them! Back then, controversy was not sleazy or tabloid like the “reality tv” gossip is today – often catty. It was the beginning of the end of the “Ossie and Harriet era” (if you don’t know what that means, it is your first “homework” assignment after you finish reading this blog post).

Had you happened into my college dorm room, you would have seen this life-size poster, sans the text, on our wall next to my top bunk.

I wonder where I got it from and where is it now? Probably was a casualty of one of the floods that happened while I had stuff stored at my parent’s house back in the mid-1980s. Sad. Regardless, I discovered pro football on TV around the time that the NY Titans became the New York Jets; Pops was a Giant fan.

Consequentially, I smiled to myself with anticipation when I learned of Joe’s new book that came out in May, “All The Way, My Life In Four Quarters” [Little Brown and Company, May 2019] ! Having read a couple of other biography-style books about Joe “Willie” Namath, mainly penned by sports writers through the years, I was first impressed that he, himself wrote this one with a little help from his friends Sean Mortimer and Don Yaeger.

The backdrop (or “drop back to pass”) is Mr. Namath reviewing Super Bowl III from his present kitchen table as he scrutinizes his life simultaneously. He writes about his traditional Catholic family, Hungarian roots, upbringing in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania and his two main football coaching influences, his high school coach, Larry Bruno and the late Paul “Bear” Bryant of the University of Alabama (“Go TIDE!”,he would say here). While Joe relives the greatest win of his professional football career, he self-analyses his foibles, like drinking too many adult beverages (the Suzy Kolber interview) and how he’s now defeated those foes also. I’m impressed that he tells of still working out regularly on those famous knees, both of which were surgically replaced! Throughout the book he takes you inside the huddle, calling a quarterback sneak (I used to love when he did that!), back when quarterbacks were trusted to call their own plays, and the next moment, he describes events like why he came to wear his trademark white shoes and sport a Fu Manchu mustache for a while.

My favorite quote from the book is by his mother, and was uttered on the heels of one of Namath’s first experiences with racial segregation. The victim of a shopkeeper’s prejudice was his lifelong best friend, Linwood, and his mom explained, “There are some people in this world who are so sad and angry that they find ways (reasons) not to like other people.”

There is a neat little photo album section just about half-way into the tome, which includes his family, sports memories and candid, introspective moments. “First down!”

At 232 pages, “All The Way” is a solid, enjoyable, easy autobiographical read whether you are a Jet fan or not. The only thing missing is an index, so I could quickly refer back to the many highlights of his story (like describing my all-time favorite Jets defensive back, Johnny Sample, who talked smack in competition like Ali did). Joe is aging well, thanks be to St. Jude. I cannot wait to purchase a copy and hopefully have him autograph it for my personal book library. Five-out-of-five footballs is my rating. Way to go, Joe!

Head high shoulders straight,
Undressed and confess;
I messed-Up.
Thinking I would become good enough
To get paid for jocking the box,
Like my idol Frankie Crocker.
I am a loser sexagenarian;
Cannot even score
A female soul-mate
As planned with Inna in 2012 and before..

I fucked-up,
Chose the wrong path.
Higher educated and lower paid;
Can’t even seem to get laid!
The whole town of my college friends,
Is laughing at me.

“Dumbass! Shoulda got a REAL job!”

Now I am impoverished only child
Dependent upon maybe a lottery hit –
Or crowdfunding success.

I’ve disheartened desired
Ukraineskee number three.
First there was Inna,
Who found and funded me passport
I did not ask that favor!
She gave me hope like no other.

Then Tanya and Ala simultaneously;
I tried to replace her with.
More Tanya than Ala since 2015.
So (tak)I am fessing -up.

It is 2019 now.
Tanya created an excuse,
That her son was,
Troubled at the University in Kiev,
She had to travel to him;
Many miles in Ukraine to support!
Blowing-off her job,’
So she said;
That was three months ago.

Ala has written fewer letters
Via the dating site “Beauties…”
I am a Mickey Mouse loser;
Today she let me know,
She no longer believes also.
Inna said that too after waiting long too.
And Ala told she wants a baby –
Too for that shit, Heh.

I don’t blame them at all;
Why? I cry!! Real tears!
I am a contemporary American pauper cat.
Higher educated and less wealthy;
Current government and tech policies guarantee,
A failure relying upon a net of safety.

What gorgeous international lady,
That of my seven-year plan;
Wants to be strung-along,
In the lax company
Of a dreamer via internet,
Without any tangible gifts?

Who can latch onto,
The photo of a cool-looking
Long-distance guy,
Who seems to rent and never own?
Sounds so full of baloney I agree.
Now I’m in a new town
Trying again to throw-down,
Yet who knows how long I have to live.
A Baby Boomer representing all we are blessed to give.

I fucked-up all-in-all;
Wasted a university degree.
Nyet,”see-chas” I’m The Wandering Person,
Always making decisions to stay free.

Belonging punished to selfishly croon;
Unsatisfactorily home and alone;
With allergies killing me sans air conditioning!
Need to move and build my own space,
And will do it to it;
When and if my magic numbers from the Great Spirit grace.

Longreads

The best longform stories on the web

Weapons

A brain is a battlefield of ideas

Keith Miller

Experience Life

Billb62's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Voices of Ukraine

Politics, anti-government rallies, other. Maidan.

tekArtist

Warning: Widespread Weirdness

genepanasenko

Just another WordPress.com site

A Celebration of Reading

It's All Fiction!

The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

%d bloggers like this: