June 8th, 2022

For some reason, I’ve been drawn once again to the books of Douglas Adams. Oftentimes, whenever I need an emotional lift or require a cosmic hug, I turn to his novels for the pure insanity and brilliant humor included therein. There are those who think that his work was the stuff of genius, as it contains that wonderful concoction of absurdity and humor, the the while making you turn inward a bit and rationalize just how small each of us are as compared to the universe as a whole.

Most people think of his four novel trilogy (that’s not a typo….and yes, I know what the word “trilogy” means…) as…in a word…odd. To me, that’s perfectly fine – and it suits my personality to a “T”. To me, the book is educational. Don’t believe me? Check this out:

If I were going to edit Chapter 1, Verse 1 of the Book of Genesis, it would read….

What’s the most common mistake a person makes?

Are there others? Absolutely…

What’s the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything?

What’s the most useful tool a human could ever carry around? A towel. Read below – it makes perfect sense in the oddest of ways.

And if you notice a fellow humanoid carrying said tool with him / her on the street one day – how should you greet him?

What should I do if I find myself stuck with no hope of rescue? There are choices….

What’s the most intelligent creature on Earth? The Dolphin. Here…I’ll prove it:

What was the last thing the dolphins said prior to leaving Earth for slightly better green pastures (or the aquatic equivalent as readily available just outside the Milky Way?

And lastly: what’s the most important thing a person can do in times of stress or peril?

During times of melancholy, I crack open these unique books and remove myself from the doldrums of the day. I allows the words within to make my smile and laugh out loud. By the time I close the book for the evening, I feel slightly better.

Here’s to Douglas Adams…he was one hoopy frood that always knew where his towel was.

Tasting Notes: 2017 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

Today, I was fortunate enough to enjoy some 2017 Silver Oak cabernet from Napa Valley. Here are some tasting notes – and remember: wine tastes different to everybody (so – as they say – “one man’s bologna is another man’s religion”). This wine – in short – was awesome. Full bodied. Great balance. Pour this stuff into a glass and take a sniff – you’ll immediately pick up dark fruit. The taste is fantastic – full bodied and potent, it dances on your tongue like Fred Astair. I loved everything about this wine….seriously. Everything.

OK, so with that being said, here are some of the specifics I picked up for this wine when I ran it through the tasting grid…

Color and Intensity (How the wine looks): It’s a deeper shade of red. The kind of red that sorta sends the message of “this wine ain’t screwing around…”.

Aroma Characteristics and Intensity (how the wine smells): Somewhat pronounced aromas of dark fruit. Also a hint of tobacco (how the hell they make a wine smell like a cigar is beyond me….but it is awesome).

Palate (How the wine tastes): Scale of 1-10? I score it a damn 9. Awesome from the moment I poured the stuff into a glass. Needs food though – not the kind of wine you wanna shoot down without culinary support. lol.

  • Sweetness (Dry, Medium, Sweet): Medium. It’s not sweet at all. But it sure ain’t dry.
  • Acidity (Low, Medium, High): Medium
  • Tannin (Low, Medium, High): Medium
  • Alcohol (Low, Medium, High): Medium
  • Body (Light, Medium, Full): FULL!
  • Flavors: Dark fruit. Think plums, black cherries.
  • Flavor Intensity (Light, Medium, Intense): Somewhere between medium and high
  • Finish (Short, Medium, Long): Long. This one is like a good Cuban cigar: the taste lingers a while in your mouth. This is one of those wines that you take the time to enjoy. Pace yourself.

April 18, 2022

I learned something about myself over the weekend: I’m carrying way too much of me around, and it’s caused me to feel lazy. Feeling lazy then equates into acting lazy. Not a good cycle to perpetuate. Then I heard the voice.

No, it wasn’t the words of the Gods who you normally worry about incurring that wrath of, that sit high atop The Thing. It was the voice of a man that I considered a father figure for many, many years. The father of one of my oldest and best friends, Mr. Esposito (I just called him “Mr. Espo”) was a man that could have been pulled right out of a Scorcese screenplay. With broad shoulders, a thick handebar mustache and an accent that came from more than 50 years living in The Bronx, Mr. Espo was 100% alpha dog – a man that had a masters degree in street smarts. He was a guy whose words were uttered with complete confidence and commanding authority, wrapped in a thick accent.

(I have a point – just give me a minute or two to get there…)

One afternoon when I was about 10 years old, I was walking home from little league practice when a kid from my class – let’s call him Chris – joined me. For some odd reason, he began to tease me relentlessly, saying things like “you look like Alfred E Newman” and “you look like Ralph Mouth” (both are negative references – and if you don’t know why, Google is your friend). Comments like these were thrown out there using a whiny voice that added to the insults. Even at that age, I had a hot temper – so I dropped my Louisville Slugger and my dirty baseball glove, and squared off with him. Here’s the problem: I wasn’t the greatest pugilist on the little island I called home, so we both gave each other a couple of cuts and bruises. After the dust had settled and both of us looked at each other with a bit more respect than we had 5 minutes earlier, I continued my slow walk home…dreading the heat I’d get from my mother. About three blocks from my house, a white Chevy van pulled up to the curb, with All-Tone Painting painted on the sides of it in gold lettering. The passenger’s side window rolled down, and the driver bellowed: “HEY KING KONG!”

The voice.

Mr. Espo.

(“King Kong” was the nickname he gave me when I moved across the street from him.)

“King Kong – get in the truck. We’ll ride home.” Still slightly bloodied, I quickly tossed my stuff into the van and hopped into the seat. When Mr. Espo told you to do something, you just did it. No questions.

Once the door shut, the following conversation occurred…more or less:

“OK King Kong – I saw the whole thing.”

“Saw what?”

“Come on – smarten’ up.”

Now, for the uninitiated, the term “smarten’ up” can mean several things….

  • If you did something wrong and got caught – “smarten’ up or I give ya abatz” (abatz is slang for the Italian word battere, which means a beating)
  • If you bet on the weekly football slips and picked the Jets to either win or cover the spread – “You better smarten’ up with those Jets, they can’t even cover their mouths when they cough, stupido.”
  • If you got caught sipping on a can of crappy beer (aka Piels or PBR) – “Hey! You better smarten’ up with that crappy beer, and go get some mints before you go home.”

There are plenty of other ways to use the phrase…but you get the idea. Now where was I? Oh yeah: Mr. Espo just told me to smarten’ up, and I was right in the middle of trying to figure out in what way he meant this extremely important phrase, when he did me the favor of clearing that right up for me….

“Look here, Kong: when some faccia bruta (a simple derogatory term that means “ugly face”, but we tossed it around to mean someone that was just a jerk) tries to pick a fight with ya, ya gotta remember one thing.”

“I know, I know, Mr. Espo. Try to work it out. Fightin’ is no good.”

“…..No. Hooks to the body. Knocks the wind out of ’em, and ya don’t mark up his face. So that way, no proof of the fight. Think, Kong. Think. Smarten’ up and use your head for something more than a hat rack.”

And here I thought I was about to get abatz right in the head for fighting. I don’t know if I won the fight that day – but I remember Mr. Espo making me laugh on the way home. That make the hell I caught that night from my mom a bit easier to handle.

That was the voice I heard over the weekend. Mr. Espo. Smarten’ the hell up. Smarten’ up and get your crap together. Go get some focus. Make a plan and get to work.

April 15th, 2022

I re-tooled the blog a bit, as life has gotten in the way of content over the past year. I lost focus (which is nothing new), and realized that I need concrete goals to train for in order to get my lazy hindquarters off of the couch. Instead of using COVID as an opportunity to focus on working on cardio and strength training at home, I allowed the lack of a race schedule to provide the necessary excuses for not getting the work in.

Enough is enough.

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