Despite what the Beatles may think, for me it was 20 years ago today that my beautiful wife and I got married. It doesn’t seem like it was really that long ago, but time has a way of just zooming away from us. I just thought I would write a little bit about Michelle today and what that day was like for me.

Michelle and I met about 32 years or so ago when we both rode the same bus to middle school together. We became friends and over time, through high school we became better friends. It was until we were both in college that we actually started dating each other. Our first date she actually asked me to go with her to a company Christmas party she was attending with her. it wasn’t long after that we were dating on a regular basis and I knew I had found the person who I was going to spend a lot of time with. We actually dated for almost 4 years before we got engaged, but I think at that point we both knew that we were going to get married somewhere along the lines, so the engagement just made things “official.” We planned the wedding for May of 1993 and picked out the date to do it.

Actually, we were legally married on February 8, 1993. At that time, Michelle’s car insurance had lapsed and I needed new health insurance, so we both figured it was good to be married then so I could get on her insurance and she could get on mine. We went to a local lawyer’s office, got the appropriate paperwork and in a simple ceremony in his office he married us. I think he is a New York State Supreme Court justice now. We didn’t wear rings or anything because we didn’t really want anyone to know we got married already before the wedding date.

We picked out a place to have the ceremony and reception all in one. We wanted to use a hotel big enough to accommodate everyone that wasn’t too far away. We had picked the Season’s Resort, which was the old Playboy club in Vernon, NJ. We had our location, they could do the ceremony outside and have the reception inside and there were plenty of rooms for people to stay at the hotel. The hotel itself is Legends now in Vernon, though we haven’t been over there in many years. We found out that the laws are a little different in New Jersey than New York regarding marriages. There are no justices of the peace; the ceremony can be performed by a member of the clergy or by the mayor of the town of the wedding. We were able to book the mayor for that day, but then he backed out because of a previous engagement. This kind of left us in a quandary. We were already married; the marriage itself didn’t need to carry any legal merit at all. We considered hiring actors to perform the ceremony before we were finally able to locate a Catholic priest to come and perform the ceremony after it took some convincing and $300.00 to him even after we explained we were already married.

The big day came around. Michelle went up to the hotel the night before while my brother drove me up the next morning. I have to admit, I felt a little nervous though I really had no reason to be. I knew I wanted to be married and had no problem with all of that. I think just the expectations of the entire day seemed a bit overwhelming to me. The hotel had set us up in the honeymoon suite, so I was able to get changed there and go down to where the ceremony was going to be outside. My brother had forgotten the socks and bow tie for his tuxedo at home. He was able to buy expensive socks at the hotel, but no bow tie was to be found anywhere. Thankfully, one of the wait staff gave him his bow tie to wear instead.

There was one brief rain cloud that passed over just before the ceremony began, dropped one drop of rain, and moved on. A lot of my family coming in from Long Island was stuck in traffic and was delayed and we delayed the ceremony for as long as we could before the priest informed us that he had another engagement that afternoon and we needed to get things going, so we went ahead with the ceremony. There were a couple of quick readings, the priest performed the ceremony and we were married and moved inside for the reception. Well, everyone else did while we took pictures. I do have to say the photographer was great and took all group pictures before the ceremony, just pictures of Michelle and myself after the ceremony and then just candid shots once the wedding started. He was awesome.

The reception itself was a lot of fun. We did all the obligatory wedding things and had a good band on hand to perform. Everyone seemed to have a really good time and enjoyed themselves. After the reception, there was another big party in the Hefner suite upstairs for people to mingle and have fun. The hotel also had bars and clubs to go to, but to be honest, Michelle and I were kind of wiped out by the day and just retired to our room. We all got up for a brunch the next morning and we said our goodbyes as Michelle and I headed out to a cruise to Bermuda for a week’s honeymoon, which was awesome on its own.

Fast forward to 20 years later and I can’t believe how much has happened to us and all that has gone by. We have a 12-year-old son now, own our own condo, have each gone through some jobs, sadly some people have left our lives and we have had our share of ups and downs, just like everyone else has. All along we have always had our love and friendship to help us get through it. Michelle has stood by me through some pretty rough stuff and always has the best attitude and approach. We always say to each other that no matter what comes along we always have each other (and now three of us with Sean) to get through anything, rich, poor, sickness health or anything else that comes along. I can’t wait to see what the next twenty years will bring. I am sure they will be just as good or even better than the last 20 have been with my best friend.

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Okay, normally I would never do this two days in a row but I did to happen to check to see what was going on over at the Daily Post today and see what their recommendation for the day would be. Yesterday seemed to have a fairly interesting question to it so I thought I would see if the same thing was going on today just because I seem to be in a little slump with writing this blog and I kind of need something to help me get jump-started again. Luckily, I found the question to be interesting so I thought I would share it with everybody else:

 

You receive a gift that is bittersweet and nostalgic. What is it?

Now this certainly leaves the door open to a lot of things for you. It could harken back to something that you remember having when you were a child or perhaps it is something that is meaningful to you from early on in your adult life. After giving the question some consideration, it made me think about not only something that I would like to have that fits this description but it also brought back to mind some things that I still possess that bring back that sense of nostalgia. We all like to have something that reminds us of a happy time from years ago, whether it happened when we were kids, when we were youngsters in school, in high school, in college, from early relationships or just any time in general that brings back a pleasant memory for you. I do have a few different things that make me feel this way and I keep them in a small box on my dresser. Just looking through there, some of the things that are in that space include the hospital band that I wore from when Sean was born, a pair of cufflinks that belonged to my dad, my high school ring and Michelle’s high school ring and a few other miscellaneous pins and trinkets that I had picked up along the way throughout school and my work career.

I also have a couple of other things that go farther back to earlier times in my life. I have a couple of hats that belonged to each of my grandfathers that I keep in the closet. I also have the first baseball bat that my father bought for me (it’s a Johnny Bench model in case you were interested) and I also have a notebook from high school that I kept some writings in that I and some friends of mine put together many years ago.

Now if someone were to show up at the house or present me with a gift that would be bittersweet or nostalgic, I would think it would have to be something that would bring back some memory of the fun times I had at my childhood playing. There were a lot of different things I could think of, including the teddy bear I used to have when I was very little (his name was Rufus). But I think if I had to narrow it down to just one thing that would really bring back some nostalgia for me it would be a simple, rubber Spalding ball. When I was growing up, we would spend hours doing all kinds of things with just that simple ball. The times that we spent playing stickball in the street, having a catch or playing stoop ball in front of our house in Ozone Park where my grandparents house in Brooklyn. Just seeing one I think would bring back a lot of good memories and fun times that we had.

So that’s my answer to the question. What would be a great nostalgic gift for you? It can be whatever you want it to be; there are no restrictions or limitations here. Feel free to leave a comment here or you can catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter and leave a note there. I’m curious to see what people can come up with. I’ll also ask a few people on Twitter and see if they respond. And thank you to those who took the time to answer yesterday’s question.

Sean and I are off to Citi Field again today for the Mets game so that should be fun for us and maybe we’ll actually get a home run ball today. It would be even nicer to get a win for the Mets but I’ll take whatever we can get. Check back again soon and see what the next topic of the day will be. Have a great day all!

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Another day, another blog post. I was looking through a couple of my books today where I keep notes and write things down for ideas when I’m looking for something to write about and I didn’t really see anything that jumped right out at me for today. So I wandered over to the Daily Post, a blog that is maintained by WordPress to help give you ideas and points about things you can discuss her write about in your own blog. And that’s when it came across this particular question, which I thought would make for a great writing point for today:

You encounter a mysterious man offering you a magic potion that, once sipped, will make one of your senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) super sharp – but dull the others. Will you sip it, and if so, what sense do you choose?

When I first read this question, I thought wow, it would be pretty cool to have one of your senses heightened that way so you could experience things on a whole new level. But then there is the other side of the coin, where the rest of your senses are going to be dulled and perhaps that will cause you to miss out on experiences that you might otherwise have. Sure, it would be great to have vision where you could see things clearly all the time and wouldn’t need glasses anymore, or super hearing so you can tell when there might be a storm coming or other trouble not far away, but is that a fair trade-off where you would have the experience of eating something that you know tastes great and you can’t enjoy it on the same level as everyone else? Or would holding a loved one’s hand mean the same thing to you anymore if your sense of touch had been dulled to the point where you couldn’t really feel it? I know for me personally, that would be pretty upsetting. As someone who has had some experience with sensory loss because of my illness, I can tell you it’s not something I would wish on anyone else. It’s hard enough trying to walk around sometimes when you know you can’t completely feel everything that’s under your feet. Giving the question some serious thought, I just don’t think I would be willing to take a sip of that potion myself. There is no particular sense that I feel like heightening it would add that much more to the life I already have, especially at the cost of losing some of the levels of my other senses.

I think it’s a pretty interesting question to pose. I’m curious to see you what your thoughts and feelings are on the subject. Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll also post question on Facebook and twitter and you can always leave a response they are as well. Thanks to everyone who considered the question yesterday as far as a book that has greatly affected your life, and a special thanks to E. L. James, the author of “50 Shades of Grey” and the associated books with that for answering my question on Twitter.

Okay, time to get back to work and back with the real world. We’ll see what comes along tomorrow, and as always if you have any suggestions, comments, questions or writing of your own that you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know. Thanks again for following along. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.


When I got up this morning, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to write about. I started glancing through my Twitter feed and I happened to follow the author Paulo Coehlo. If you have never read any of his work, I highly recommend “The Alchemist” and “Aleph,” both of which are excellent books. He had posed a question on his Twitter feed and on his blog and the more I got to thinking about it the better I thought it would be to ask myself. He asked for the names of the five books that changed your life. I think five might be a bit much for some people. I think a lot of people can say they have really only been influenced highly by one or two, three at the most. So I am going to change the question up a little bit:

What is the one book that you think has changed or affected your life the most?

 

I started thinking about this as soon as I read the question this morning. For me, I think there are 2 books that I can say have had a big effect on my life. The first is William Paul Young’s “The Shack.” Granted, many critics and people will say that it is not a great piece of literature and just as many might say they disagree with message. That’s fine; I am not looking for an argument on its literary merits or its religious take. For me, the book carried meaning. It came along at an important time in my life just after my father had passed away in 2008 and I think it really helped me to understand things better from my own personal perspective. After my own illness and brush with death in 2009, I read it again and I think it meant even more to me. As someone who does not consider himself to be the model Christian or even very religious, it gave me some insight into the way that I need to approach life, love, religion, the hereafter and God. For me, it was a life changer.

The other book that I think had a big effect on me, and for completely different reasons, is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Now, some may wonder how this particular book could have any type of influence on a person, but it changed the way I approach literature and writing. This was one of the first books I read when I was starting to go for my Master’s degree in English and it opened my eyes. The way Marquez is able to employ just about everything into his writing and make you feel what the many characters in the book are feeling to me was enlightening. It also gave me my first exposure to books using things like magical realism and a postmodern approach, and I loved it. From then on, I was always looking for books that would give me the same feeling and insight and I think it still affects the way I read today.

So what book do you think has had the biggest effect on your life?It can be anything; it doesn’t have to be something profound or deep or with great literary meaning as long as it means something to you. Leave a comment here and let’s see what you can come up with. I’ll ask  some people on Twitter too and see if they respond.

Thank’s to all who answered my last question about the Muppets. It seems as though there are a lot of Miss Piggy and Animal fans out there :). Check back next time and see what I feel like talking about.


So enough of listening to me complain about not having enough time in the day to take care of this blog. I want to do it more, so I am going to do it more and find the time to do it. Let’s get beyond that and simply move on to other things. I was just trying to figure something to write on here today to help me get back into the swing of doing fun writing. So I got to thinking about what would be fun to write about, something cheerful and that makes us smile, and then for some reason this question popped into my head, so I will pose the question and see what you have to say:

Who is your favorite Muppet?

I know, it’s kind of a weird question. You are probably thinking – he took all this time off from writing this blog and this is what he came up with? Sadly, for some reason it came to me today. I don’t know why I was thinking about the Muppets, but then why do we think about half the things that come into our heads during the day? Anyway, I do have an answer to this question. Now if we are talking about Sesame Street, which I think are not really part of the Muppets, I would have to choose the Count. Now I remember when the Count first came around and was a little more edgy, when he could actually hypnotize people into silence and things like that that a real vampire could do. That was the Count I always liked. Not that there was anything wrong with the Count after that. He was funny and served his purpose, but there was something more appealing about him earlier on.

Anyway, my feeling has always been that the puppets on Sesame Street are not Muppets. The Muppets had their own TV show and movies and those are the guys I remember. Now I was much older when the Muppets first started around, and Kermit would be the easy choice to make as the favorite of the group. He was smart, friendly and likeable and had a good sense of humor.I like him, but he’s not my favorite. If I had to pick a favorite it comes down to 2 characters for me:

beaker fozzie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has to be Fozzie vs. Beaker. Now Beaker never talked, but there was something about the way that he expresses himself and the way he was always getting into Three Stooges-like situations that made you have to smile and laugh every time he was on-screen. Fozzie was the lovable vaudeville comic who’s jokes were so bad that you usually cringed instead of laughed, but he has a certain amount of sincerity and caring about him, and he does actually seem to come up with some funny lines that most kids probably didn’t get at the time. So I think if I had to choose for myself, I would go with Fozzie.

So what do you think – who is your favorite Muppet? You can choose someone from Sesame Street; I won’t hold it against you if that’s what you like best. You can leave an answer on here or on Facebook or Twitter. I am curious to see if I can get any celebrities on Twitter to answer me as well. I’ll post if they do.

Next time, we’ll see what I can come up with. You never quite know what it is going to be. Let’s think of this more as a stream of consciousness blog for now. Sometimes it will be questions, sometimes baseball, maybe music, movies, current events, writing, it’s really whatever happens to strike me at the moment. We’ll try it that way for a while and see how it goes, okay? If you ever have a suggestion, question or just feel like saying hi, drop me a note or comment. I’ll be back.


It’s been a couple of weeks since I have done a posting on here. As I have said before, there just never seems to be enough time for me to get on here and post like I would like to. Real life has a way of getting in the way of doing things we would all enjoy more, and then when I do have some free time, I just can’t seem to get the energy up to get on here and write. I think I can can get more into the swing of doing it again every day if I start out by just doing some short posts to get me back into the groove and the mood. It’s hard when you spend all day writing to get the energy up to write just for fun; at least for me it is sometimes.

So for this first short post, I just want to give a quick notice to a new blog that was introduced to me this past week. It’s called “Kids Who Think Outside the Box.” It doesn’t just refer to children who may not fit into what some may call “the normal” or popular group that many kids feel the need to try to fit into. While I may not (and still don’t, I think) fit into what is the mainstream  I think it’s great for kids and adults who can embrace being this way and thrive on it. It’s not always an easy thing to do for anybody, particularly if it means you stand alone sometimes. The great thing about is it encourages you to be yourself and be interested about the many different things that go on in the world around us. Try something that is out of the ordinary; encourage your kids and yourself to be as unique as you or they want to be. Most of all, have fun and be happy with who you are and what you do. I have found through my personal experiences that we don’t get a lot of chances to really get the most out of our lives. We spend so much time worrying about things that we don’t have a lot of control over or getting caught in a career or life that we are unhappy with. Take it from me – life can turn on a dime and completely upend you. Take your time to enjoy your family, friends, surroundings and your passions in life.

Check out the blog and see what you think. I think you’ll enjoy giving it a look. More from me later on, including the last story Sean and I were working on and the new  one we are working on as well.


Okay, I never saw Denny McLain pitch in person. As a matter of fact, his career ended in 1972 when I was only five years old. That being, said, even though he did not have a very long career, he accomplished something that very few players have done in their careers. As a matter of fact, he is the last person of the thirteen who did it in the 20th century. Of course, 1968 is known as “The Year of the Pitcher” in baseball, when pitchers basically dominated both the National and American Leagues, McLain included. He wound up winning 31 games that season as the Tigers made their way to the World Series and the eventual championship over the Cardinals.

That wasn’t his only good season. Even though baseball changed the height of the pitcher’s mound and shrunk the strike zone in 1969, McLain still won 24 games and won another Cy Young Award, to go along with his award in 1968 (he also won American League Most Valuable Player that year). No one ever doubted his talent. His first game in the minor leagues for the White Sox in 1962 he threw a no-hitter and struck out 16 batters. He won 20 games in 1966, 17 games in 1967, 31 in 1968, and 24 in 1969. If his 131 career wins, 92 of them came in that four-year span.

Unfortunately for McLain, his personal life led to his undoing. He was always seen as something of a troublemaker and never failed to rouse the ire of teammates, management, fans and baseball itself. He spoke his mind, which often got him into trouble. He was long rumored to have served up a home run ball to Mickey Mantle so Mantle could take over 3rd place on the home run list since he was always a fan of Mantle’s. Besides being outspoken, he seemed to find trouble. He was a known gambler and found himself involved in a bookmaking operation, which led to a suspension. Subsequent suspensions followed him through the 1970 season for other infractions, including carrying a gun onto a flight. The Tigers eventually had enough and traded him to the Senators in October, 1970 in a package deal that also sent Elliott Maddox to the Senators. In return, the Tigers got a package including Joe Coleman, Aurelio Rodriguez and Ed Brinkman. Brinkman and Rodriguez were Gold Glove infielders and Coleman had a good career with the Tigers, so it was quite a steal.

McLain clashed with Senators’ manager Ted Williams, lost 22 games, hurt his arm, ticked off management and got himself traded to the Oakland A’s, who shortly after traded him to the Braves for Orlando Cepeda. He finished 1972 with the Braves, they released him in spring training of 1973, and he was out of baseball at 29.

Granted, McLain became infamous for all of his legal troubles after his baseball career and has spent various stints in prison for things like racketeering and embezzlement. He has also done various sports radio and talk shows and a column for a sports magazine and still resides in Michigan.

It’s sad his career didn’t turn out better than it had as he, like so many others, had the potential to be a Hall of Fame pitcher. He won 131 games and still had all the troubles he had; if he had managed to stay healthy and out of trouble, who knows how good he could have been.

I tried for years to get his autograph but often got no response until I got this card back in 2011, nearly 3 years after I had sent it. it’s from K-mart card collection I had many years ago, and it was nice of him to sign it.

Next time up, we’ll go back to another former Met.

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