Friday, April 29, 2011

Helping Our Heroes

I turned on the TV just in time.  Literally, as I hit the button on the remote, I caught the second tower about to collapse.

Disbelief, fear and anger raced through my mind.  I would like to say that the shock wore off sometime later, but that would be a big lie.

I couldn't even comprehend the lives that were down there.  Just so many people in one of the busiest parts of the country, maybe the world.  All I could think about were the people I knew.

Family friends that worked for the Port Authority, various friends/family members that work in New York City and my good friend George.

My buddy George is a N.J. EMT who works in some of the roughest/toughest parts of the tri-state area.  With all his knowledge and expertise, I knew he was going down there.

Days went by.  No answer. And I couldn't get in touch with his family.

I walked into my night class, expecting to see his empty seat. 

I must have looked like a kid on Christmas morning.  Seeing him there, after seeing so much hurt and turmoil on TV, it was an amazing gift.

He didn't give me the same look back.  Not that he didn't want to, but I don't think he could.  He was down at ground zero for almost two and a half days straight.  In fact, when I saw the the second tower collapse, he was already half way over the Verazzano Bridge (bridge connecting State Island and Brooklyn that perfectly overlooks Manhattan).

His body and mind were beyond the point of exhaustion.  He saw so much pain and anguish.  Something that not many people can comprehend or imagine before that day.

He had to be in class. He needed to decompress after everything.  Dealing with class work or talking about what he saw is what he needed. 

The one thing he emphasized; the lingering health effects.  Besides the physical injuries anyone can see, he said that dust and debris will cause problems for years.  Probably decades.

Fast forward to this week.

I’m not sure why it took so long.  But for whatever reason, 10 years later, we are finally helping those first responders.  A health care bill is in place to help these true heroes.  Finally, they are going to have the help they need, for unselfishly entering the gates of hell.

Too bad congress F'd the whole thing up.

A paragraph.  A single paragraph. Screwed up the damn process.  The small amendment basically states:

"The FBI must conduct background checks on those first responders to ensure none of them are terrorists."

No joke. No punch line.

A buddy said to me, "maybe it's a quick background check.  Sorta like the way a credit card machine checks a pending credit card purchase." I chuckled and responded, "Nothing congress does has, or ever will, be that fast."
Nope, they're being told to just keep on waiting.

My only reaction is that Rep. Stearns (R-FL) must have miss-worded it in the bill.  No way can anyone add such a slap in the face to the biggest heroes I know.

But think again!
Hats off to the boys and girls on capital hill.  Only they can F'up this bad.

While these heroes wait for health care, a basic request we would like; almost 250 people on the terrorist watch list bought guns last year!

Oh, it gets worse.  Since February 2004 -- 1,453 people tried to buy a firearm.  Astonishingly, 90% were successful.

So let's recap.

9/11 first responders can't get health care because they might be a terrorist.  However, people who are possible terrorist suspects can buy weapons, because they have a right.

I was never great at math, but this doesn't add up. 

I'm not going to go into the safety of national security, debate gun laws or even respond to what the NRA had to say.  If I got to look at congress, all I would say is, "how dare you?!"

War veterans and these first responders are true American heroes.  They signify what our country stands for, and what it's capable of doing.  In return, all they're asking for, is a healthy life.  Nothing more...nothing less.

People who receive Social Security, or Medicare, don't get a background check.  Also, I'm pretty sure bank CEO's didn't get checked before taking billions of dollars in bailout money.

The desire to help our first responders, was probably the one debate people didn't argue.

But much as they deserve it, we even screw that up. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My New York City Skyline

This may sounds strange, but I can smell construction a mile away.  Before you close this page, let me explain.

When I was 13, I started going on construction site jobs with my dad.  Demolished buildings, workshops, emergency runs to Home Depot;  I've been to a good amount of places.

Yesterday though, I was mistakenly taken to the greatest construction site on earth.

See, a lot of trains go in and out of New York City, and from all sorts of locations.  Usually, my train takes me to 32nd street, next to Macy's at Herald Square.  Due to track problems, I was redirected, to the World Trade Center.

The second the doors opened at WTC, I smiled.  Why?  Because I smelled a construction site.

The aroma of fresh-cut saw dust, oil from air compressors working overtime, and work pants that rarely see a washing machine.

I smiled because it was progress.  Progress, of a new beginning. 

I don't need to visit the history of 9/11 or the WTC.  The only thing I will say is that I miss my skyline.

NYC has looked so naked since that dreadful day.  I still can't look at it without thinking, "That's not my skyline, it's not what I know."

I remember being a 5 year-old looking at the world from the observation deck, I remember being a teenager and looking straight up during a ticker-tape parade, and I remember crying at the reading of the names.

I also worked for a local news station.  Every year for the anniversary, it was my job to spell check the names of the victims. 

Every time I saw that gaping hole, I could see those faces.  Hell, I still see them.

That was a big reason why I haven't visited the site in a long time.  Some of those faces are etched into my brain.

But not yesterday.  Nope.  All I saw was new beginnings.  The beginning of a skyline that I will eventually call, "My skyline."

And that, is a day, I cannot wait for.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Power of Music

It's amazing how much music conveys.  It has such power over us.  Majority of the time we don't even realize it.

Yesterday I listened to the new Beastie Boys album.  I felt like a little kid.

See, 'License to Ill' was my first album.  So I kinda grew up with the Beastie Boys.  Long car rides, while shooting hoops, Madison Square Garden... They were there, and so was I.

As I was "attempting" to work.  I felt like a kid again hearing them for the very first time.  I smiled from ear to ear as I listened to the whole album.

I loved it.

Hell, even as I'm writing this on my iPhone, I'm listening to them. The song is 'Grattitude' if you were wondering.

I don't care how broke I might be.  I'll always get their new album, or see their show.  Why? Because of what it does for me.

Music is my drug, and these guys are the best.  Also, they're more like 'Beastie Middle Aged Men'.  They won't be around forever.  So I want to enjoy them as much as possible.

This may be sidetracking a little, but what the hell.

I've played bass guitar for about 11 years.  Majority of that time I've been in a band.  Well, up until recently that is.

My last show was the week of my birthday, as an extra bonus, it was at my favorite bar.  We were going to cover 'Sabotage' by The Beastie Boys!!!!  It ended up being a dream come true.  Not at first though.  Nope.  It started off as a nightmare.

I was excited and pumped to do it. I met up with the other guys for practice, and right away they said there was a problem with the song.

I got defensive right away.  "Come on guys we have to.  It'll be awesome", I said. 

My one guitar player said, "It’s not that we don't want to do it, it's well, too high pitch, I can't sing it." explained my friend.  I turned to my other guitar player, "same for me too", he said.  Confused and not sure where the conversation was going. I asked, " Well who's going to sing it?"

All three of them blankly looked at me.

ME!  ME!  I was the answer apparently! 

I didn't know what to say.  They kept reassuring me that I can do it.  I said okay, but I didn't really believe what I said.

See, my ability to sing, is at best, well, shitty.  I once described my singing ability as, "When I sing, Angels fall dead out of the sky". 

But this was different.  I had a bigger reason to practice.  This was a once in a lifetime experience for me.  The ultimate Birthday/Going-Away gift. 

I practiced like crazy.

The night of the performance.

We finished the song previous to “Sabotage.”  My heart was already thumping like crazy.  My guitar player explained that it was my birthday to the crowd.

All eyes were on me. I realized this was my moment,  and I was ready for it.

I cracked a joke at my guitar players expense. The crowd laughed, and it helped me a little.  I announced how for my birthday that I wanted to play my favorite song ever.  So here it is...."SABOTAGE"!!!!!

What took weeks of practicing...was over in a few minutes.  But I wouldn't trade those few minutes for anything.  The crowd was into it, the guy on the turntable was amazing, and I didn't screw up.

I got a great ovation once it was over.  Luckily I was also treated to a shot.  Which helped my heart rate slow down before it exploded.

Music can help you in so many ways.  There isn't an emotion it doesn't relate to.  Also, it's helped me forge some amazing friendships.  Friendships that will last a lifetime.

It truly is a big part of me.  So much so, that I can't wait to teach my kid guitar one day.

As you go through life, remember.  Take the time to truly take in your genre of music, if you ever get a chance; play in a band, and lastly, remember to turn up the volume.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The 2011 Person of the Year goes to...

And the winner of the 2011 Person of the Year goes to...

Wait, what?

You think it's too early to announce a person of the year?!  I know its April, but sadly, I must disagree.

Between the determination this person displays, and the tragic events surrounding the individual, I really doubt you'll find a better contender.

I'm speaking of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

It's being reported that Giffords will attend her husband's NASA shuttle launch on Friday!  That people, is simply astonishing, and uplifting.

Giffords, was shot in the head at a political rally, by what I can only call, a psychopath.  In total, six innocent people died.  It was the first major, and tragic news story of 2011.

But somehow...
A miracle took place...
Someone must have been looking over her...

She was shot at point blank range in the head, and survived it!

Think about that...POINT BLANK RANGE...and she was reading Harry Potter a few weeks later.

Meanwhile, how many times did we not exercise or tackle our to-do list, simply because we had an excuse?

"My foot hurts, so I don't want to run" or "That's not important, I'll get to it later"...I've said them one too many times. 

While I fight excuses every day of my life, Giffords fights every day for her normal life back.

Two years ago, 'The Miracle on the Hudson', was arguably the most uplifting story.  Similar to Giffords tragic event, it was in the first few weeks of the New Year.  It helped us appreciate life, the people we surround ourselves with, and that we can't take life too seriously.

All of which, are shown in the traffic shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.

So as I was saying before...

The 2011 Person of the Year goes to, Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Today, we're entering dangerous 'Man Law' territory.  A lot of things need to go into consideration for Rule #3.  It kind of speaks for itself, so without further delay...

'Man Law' Rule #3

Is this extreme?  Damn right it is, but you're also playing with fire to begin with.  So you really need to think things through before making a move.

This is complex, so here's the step-by-step breakdown.

“A” - If you had a friendship or "thing" with the girl, later became friends with the brother, then wanted something more, different story.  She's all yours.

“B” - If you are friends with your buddy for more than a week and then notice his sister; please obey the following rules...

     “1” ~ First off, you need to respect your buddy, before considering a move.  Don't make him feel that you're hanging with him, just to get close to his sister.  You can easily relay this signal, without even realizing it.

    “2” ~ Doesn't matter who's the older sibling.  A brother naturally wants to protect his sister.  If you hurt or just use her, guess who he'll want to fuck up?  The "Bros before hoes" line gets thrown out the window.

    “3” ~ If you and the sister want something to happen, talk to your buddy first.  Just the two of you, and don’t B.S. about it.  Be honest and straight forward about it.  He’ll respect you for talking to him about it man-to-man.

    “4” ~ Don’t talk about nasty or sexual things about the sister in front of your buddy.  If you do, he’s allowed to punch you in the face and crotch.

    “5” ~ If you end up hurting her, because you physically or irrationally broke her heart.  Your now ex-friend is allowed to break your legs.

I know, I know; it’s extremely detailed and crazy.  Possibly borderline insane.  But it’s a complex issue.  If you have a sister, your buddies are going to take a look at her.  You just need to avoid being that d-bag. 

Bottom line.  You have two, very easy options.  Either respect your buddy and leave her alone, or expect to spend the rest of your life with her.

Seeing as that’s the case, I’ll go with the first option, every time.

Class dismissed.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dodger Dilemma

Bailouts seem to be the big word the last few years.  It started with our largest banks, the auto industry, and now, Major League Baseball teams.  Except this time the government has nothing to do with it.

Bud Selig, commissioner of MLB has taken control of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He's currently looking to appoint someone to oversee the day-to-day operations from the McCourts.

The divorce of Frank & Jaimie McCourt has been well publicized.  It's a well-known messy divorce.  I wouldn't bee surprised if TMZ reported on it.  After all, this is L.A. we're talking about.

On the east coast you have another MLB team in trouble.  Right next door to where the Dodgers came from, the boys from Queens, the New York Mets.

The Mets are in tough financial trouble because of that asshole Bernie Madoff.  The Mets are hurting a lot worse than the Dodgers, but I think that's why Selig made the move.

Obviously, not everything is going to be reported.  Selig knows more than what's actually going on.  True, Dodgers aren't as bad as the Mets, but I think that's why he's made such a drastic move.

He doesn't want the Dodgers to get into the gaping hole the Mets are in.  Furthermore, Frank McCourt has made some very terrible moves.

For about the last two years the Dodger payroll has gotten lower.  Not an insane move, but peculiar non the less.

Also, money has been taken from the organization, to go towards the divorce battle.  Very bad move.  

An utter disaster was what happened to Bryan Stow.  It was known that security was cut down at Dodger Stadium.  Now, a man is sitting in a hospital, after being brutally beaten in Dodger Stadium parking lot.

What was probably the last straw for Selig; the fact Frank McCourt asked for a $30-Million loan from Fox, to make payroll.  

Oh yeah, attendance is down 11%.

So a lot of bad drama is going down in L.A., and non of it is spewing over from Hollywood.

I'm not sure how Dodger fans are taking this.  In fact, I'd love to know what Dodger fans think of it.  I'm sure it's a hot topic at all the bars and sports radio.

I hope it gets settled fast, and that Selig releases control right away.  Even though it may be the best interest of the team, a la tough love, it doesn't look good in general for the sport.  It's the first time something like this has been done, not even a team going through bankruptcy has dealt with this.

More importantly, I hope this ends up helping Dodger fans the most.  Their biggest problem should be dealing with rain delays, not the fact the team looks to be falling apart at the baseball seams.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Blog About My Blog

For about two years I've threatened to write a blog, but I did nothing about it.  In the last month though, I've written almost 20 blogs.

More recently, I've entertained the idea of a vlog.  I'm still trying to get a hold of it, but I have a hand full posted on my YouTube channel.

I'm still a newb at this, but I'll tell you this much.  This is fun, challenging, and most of all, pretty damn addicting!

I look at blogs as personal Op-Ed's about topics I care about.  Meaning, what I write is always correct, because it's an opinion.  So as long as I don't bend the truth on facts, I'll always be right, because it's just an opinion.

This really helped me conquer any nerves I had on writing.  At the same time however, I was nervous about advertising it on Facebook or Twitter.   Then I realized something.  If people have a problem with it, they can "F" off!  Because chances are, they don't have the man berries, to try this. 

The first week's worth of posts was rough.  But then, I hit my groove.  I got into a rhythm of how I want to write, and what I want to write about.  Sadly, that wasn't enough to quench my thirst.

Since I work in news, I watch a lot of television at work.  So when I get home, the last thing I want to do is watch more TV.  I barely watch Yankee games.  I'd rather listen to them on the radio.  So, instead, I got into watching YouTube.  These short videos are much more entertaining to me than TV.  From here I found out more about vlogs.

I couldn't get enough of Mystery Guitar Man, The Philip DeFranco Show, The Shaytards...

The list goes on and on.

Regretting not trying something, is a lot worse, than giving something a try and not liking it.  Talking to someone for the first time, Job opportunities...etc.  You can apply that to so many things.

So I'm giving that a try too.  Yes, it's way more involved than blogging.  Also, I haven't used my video editing skills in about 8 years.  Who woulda' guessed it?  I don't exactly have "The skills to pay the bills" anymore.

But in a week's time, I'm doing a great job already.  Adobe Premiere will be my bitch by the end of this!

I still haven't caught my vlogging stride yet.  But I'm not worried, because I know it'll come around sooner or later.

Write or talk about what you're passionate about.  If something makes you happy or angry, explain yourself.  We all have a topic that we care about.  You're job is to let me know about it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Support for Stow

This isn't exactly breaking new, BUT GOD DAMN DO I LOVE BASEBALL.

Really, I love everything about it.  The smell of the dirt, the chess like complexity of strategizing, the high-ticket prices....

Ok, maybe not everything, but pretty damn close.

I've been a Yankee fan since I was knee high.    In case you were wondering, no, I'm not a fan who's on the bandwagon.  Hell, I remember the 80's & early 90's teams.  I shiver, just thinking about it.

Now one of my best friends is a Red Sox fan.  How we haven't secretly killed each other yet, I don't know, but we have some great times during the season.  

Because above the respect we have for each other, and passion for our teams, we're baseball fans.  Utter die hard baseball fans.  

We get strange looks at bars.  Mostly because people don't understand how we're laughing and not getting ready to punch each other.  

The thought is ridiculous for the sheer fact that, it's still just a game people.  Of course, their is always that one asshole that has to fuck it up for everyone.

Actually, it's two.  Two mysterious Dodger fans in Los Angeles.

Opening day was about a month ago.  The L.A. Dodgers were hosting their rivals, the San Francisco Giants.  After the game, Bryan Stow, long time San Francisco Giants fan, was attacked in the parking lot.

He was brutally beaten by two, probably drunken, but definite jerk off, Dodger fans.  He suffered.....

Why?  All be cause he had the wrong team colors on.  How's this different than gang activity, I don't know.  But its a travesty that should not have happened.

These people have altered this man's life forever.  His children will never be able to fully enjoy their father's company.  So many precious moments, that haven't even happen yet, are now tarnished.  And over what?  All because of a game!!!

People really need to step back, take a deep breath and chill the fuck out.  I love sports but people get too caught up in the hype.  Throw in some booze that's advertised along with the game, and you'll always have one ass that's causing trouble.

So please, chill out, and oh I don't know, take it easy on the booze.  This is violence that we can easily avoid.  Lastly, while you're at it, say a prayer for Bryan.

Play ball...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TSA = Bad Touch

It takes a lot to read or watch something that truly angers me.   I’m not exaggerating either, sometimes I’m too complacent on topics.  I’ll get annoyed, but not really angry.

This time…
Not so much…

The TSA is going nuts.  Yet another YouTube video is out showing an insane pat-down…ON A SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL!

I’ve never really been a fan of the TSA to begin with.  Around 2002, I almost missed my connection flight, coming home from Cancun.  Why?  Because the TSA was making me go through an insane check. 

Of course I wasn’t being nice or quiet about it.  I demanded why such an insane security check from a guy that has beyond all the necessary paper work, and is an obvious white guy from NY/NJ.  Their response, “We want to make sure you’re not a terrorist sir”. 


Yes that was my reply.  Because as I said that, people quickly boarded the same plane as I was.  They barely went through security, and weren’t paid much attention.  This was a mix of your every day Joe Smith & someone who looked like a 9/11 hijacker.

That being said…
This is a million times worse…

I don’t know who has more training; Wal-Mart greeters or TSA members.  After seeing this video, I’m leaning towards Wal-Mart.

Kids are taught from a very young age the concept of good touch & bad touch.  All of a sudden we have to say, “People can’t touch you this way…but this time…it’s okay.”

Really?  Their was NO reason for this little girl to be searched.  She could’ve gone through the scanner, but nooooooo.

We may have a possible terrorist.  Her Sponge Bob back-pack was probably too suspicious. 

People always talk about big brother looking over our shoulders, and how we’ll eventually lose more and more control of our lives.  I’m not one of those people.  However, this may be a little extreme, but if it does, it starts with allowing things like this to happen.

To do something like this, is just sin-full.  No way should something like this happen.  Anyone do something like that to me, I’d save a nice fart for them, just to play it safe.

But this.  No excuse.  Plain and simple.

Congrats TSA.  You are now the third member of Monte’s Mayhem “D-Bag of the Week”.

Here's the video of it happening.  The parents had a more in-depth interview on Good Morning America...

Monday, April 18, 2011


This is a combination of Man Law Monday, and current event news.  Either way, it’s all relative information that we need to be aware of, and help out.

Real Men, DO NOT; hurt, abuse or take advantage of women.  Simple as that.  No excuses.  It’s a sad state of affairs that this even has to be explained.  But alas, here we are. 

We all have mothers, grandmothers, possibly aunts or sisters; yet this is still a major problem.  Not only in America, but around the world.

Some assholes actually use phrases like, “She was asking for it” or “Look at the way she’s dressed”.


Grow a pair of balls! 

You’re never allowed to do such a thing.  That’s it.  End of story.  If you’re ever in a situation when you’re arguing with a female, and things are getting heated…just walk away. 

Don’t do anything that you’d be ashamed of if your grandmother, mother or daughter found out.

If you do, you’re not a man.  Hell, you’re not even a boy.  You’d be nothing more than dirt.

I’m bringing this up because of an awareness/fundraiser that I found.  It’s so brilliant that I, HAD, to mention it.

“Walk A Mile In Her Shoes” is an organization / fundraiser to stop sexualized violence.

It’s a rather brilliant move.  They are seriously helping a great cause, while having a tremendous humor/amusement factor involved. 

Men will walk in women’s shoes (high heels / stilettos), to raise money and spread awareness of sexualized violence.

I’m not sure if I’m allowed to post pictures of their runs.  But here’s the link to their flickr page.  It’s hilarious…

This is really a tremendous group.  I really have to tip my hat to them.  They do an excellent job of taking a serious topic, and make it easy to talk about.  Simply amazing.

To quote one of the participants, “They walk because they care about women”.

And you should too, because men need to respect women. Sexual violence is like the flu.  It can spread easily.  Without realizing it, kids around you can pick up the habits.  One day, when they’re older, you don’t want them to think it’s ok to act or be treated in such a manner.


Class dismissed…

Friday, April 15, 2011

Your Boss...

If no one can relate to this blog, that'll be it, I'll put down my pen.  Uh...keyboard rather, and stop blogging.  

Because if you're over the age of six, and not a trust fund baby, you've experienced this before.  But can someone explain to me the idiocracy of some bosses?

It's getting to the point that their stupidity is so bewildering, that it's actually giving me headaches.  I'm not talking about head cold or bumped my head type headaches.  Nope, I'm talking about full out brain freeze type headache.  

That's right folks.  It's that serious.

I've worked in a variety of different job fields from a young age.  I consider myself lucky, because I feel it’s given me an open mind to my co-workers and superiors.

Everyone, pretty much, has the same "first boss".  That boss is, mom or dad (or whomever acted in their place).

The typical thought people think of are chores around the house.  Me, not so much.  

In my eyes, my dad was big bad Joe the carpenter.  No, that isn't a religious reference.  His name is Joe and he's a carpenter.  

Well going on side jobs at age 13 taught me a lot.  You need to work hard for your salary.  Busting your ass will be part of the job.  Since the work was back breaking, I learned something my dad still can't grasp; work smarter, not harder.  Thinking things through first is the most important step.

The next jobs/bosses will be vague, at best, for identity purposes.

In High School I worked my first job that didn’t involve my dad.  It was somewhat of a labor-intensive job.  So with so much time busting our asses, I realize that I don’t have time for games.  Honestly, really is, the best policy.  It’s ok to say, “I F’d up”.  Nothing wrong with owning up to it, covering your ass is a different story.

Next, was a retail job. I had a spineless leader.  Beyond useless.  People need to have faith and trust in you.  Because a title means nothing if you can’t back it up.

Since getting a job out of college was tough, I continued the retail route.  This boss was one for the ages.  Left and right with the lies.  As if that wasn’t enough, he went out of his way to remind you how stupid you are.  Obviously, people yelled and cursed him out a lot. 

Finally, I got a job that I wanted a career out of.  I had two bosses that I can honestly say; I want to be like when I grow up.   Calm under pressure, knowledgeable, veterans, honestly I can go on and on.  If I can be a combination of those two, as I get older, I know I’ll be a great leader, and have a happy career.

Sadly, upper management rotated people.  Soooooo now I was given another boss.  Of course, polar opposite from my last two bosses.  Absolutely no communication skills and can’t prioritize.  Basically, a mess contained within a cubicle.

After all that, read all the way through, because my next statement may seem contradictory.  

There is no such thing as a bad boss...


I've had some great bosses that are awesome role models.   I've had some bosses that were utter d-bags, and make me cringe upon hearing their names.

Each one of those people have showed me, how I want to be treated, and what needs to happen to get results.  

You don't have to be a spineless pencil dick to get results, to get the most out of someone you may have to be rough around the edges, and no matter what, knowledge is power, not a title.  

Lastly, and this is the most important; respect should always be present.  We're all people, and no one is truly better than anyone else.

Chances are without respect, that's the reason you're mad in the first place."

Ok, I'm done.  Thoughts?

"Yeeeeah, I need you to come in on Sunday too.  Yeeeeeeah"