Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Christmas 'Tacks"

My old man had a heart attack the summer I was 14. In those days they had no clue how to handle a 39 year old man who’d had a massive heart attack. The old man damned near died. Dr. Graham took a drag on his cigarette and told Dad to “stay in bed for a year, oh yeah and quit smoking” so he did. The result he was bored, pissed and didn’t make any money. Zero. It was a tough time for all of us.

I grew from 5 foot 8 to 5’11’’ from the end of 8th grade to the start of 9th. All my pants were too short, my shoes didn’t fit and worst of all my size 8 skates didn’t fit my brand new size ten feet. Mom told me new skates were out of the question. I needed clothes, badly. That was what I getting for Christmas.
We had a helluva Junior A hockey team, we’d all played together since 6th grade. My pals and I knew we could win it all this season. Gary, Don, John, Dick, Roger and I believed it. I knew I needed new skates. I needed CCM Pro-Lites with the Tackaberry boot. They cost 125.00 in those days. Things, due to inflation over the years are about 7 times more expensive today and if you multiply 125 by 7 comparable skates today cost over $800. Get the picture?

My sister Margo came to me after Thanksgiving, she led me into mom and dad’s room and pointed out a CCM box on the top shelf of Mom’s closet. I took it down and there were my dream skates, the same skates the Pros wore, that the Sioux wore. I couldn’t believe it. We were broke! I tried them on, perfect fit.
The season started in early December with practices on the Central park ice. I suffered through the first one wearing my old skates. Thin socks didn’t help; my new feet were too big. The next day I put my old skates in the new CCM box and put the Tacks with my gear. I started wearing them. I could skate like the wind.
The first game, I blocked a shot, my new Tacks got a dent in the right front post. The 2nd game I got in a battle for the puck in the corner and the toe of my left skate lost a chunk of leather. I was wearing my Christmas present to three practices a week plus two games. I played pick up hockey on Saturdays and Sundays and at least one night a week went to public skating at the old rink at UND. The 3rd game, I blocked another shot and dented the post on the left skate. I had the skates rockered and sharpened at least twice a week. By Christmas the Christmas Tacks were well broken in and roughed up. The tree was up and the CCM box was wrapped and it had my name on it.

Our family routine at Christmas was Christmas Eve at my Dad’s parents, open our presents at home on Christmas morning and then Christmas Day at Moms’ parents. When we got home on Christmas Eve, I stayed awake until well after one. I razored open the CCM box and put the new Tacks in it and wrapped it back up. I had polished them the best I could. We opened our presents on Christmas morning, I waited as long as I could. I got new pants, shirts and sox. I had pants that fit for the first time in months. The last present, the CCM box wrapped in red foil paper was glowing like it was radioactive. I finally had to open it. I did an acting job that warranted an Oscar. My Dad asked to see my new skates, he looked them over and then said to my Mom, “Janice, I thought we got him new skates? These look like they’re used.” I confessed. My mother knew all along, she always knew everything.
It was a very good Christmas at a difficult time for our family. My grandparents helped make the new Tacks happen, mom had scrimped and saved.
Our team won Junior A that season.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Get a Grip People!

My conservative friends need to get a dose of reality. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is no more of a hillbilly redneck than Buddy Ebson was Jed Clampett. I’m sure his comments in GQ were a marketing ploy and if he is anything, he is a brilliant marketing man. The Robertson Family enjoying Martha's Vineyard
After the recall of Gray Davis here in California we elected Arnold Schwarzenegger governor. Too many people (mostly conservatives) thought we were electing Conan the Barbarian and he would swing his mighty sword and straighten out Sacramento overnight. It didn’t happen. Arnold even hung Conan’s sword on the wall of his office. It was a movie prop.

Some conservatives are excited by another strong man (I guess) Chris Christie the governor of New Jersey. He’s cut school budgets, bullied teachers, public employees and strong armed reporters. He’s rough, tough and ready to push around all those soft liberals. He’s also got the highest unemployment in the North East, he’s given tax breaks to money losing casino operations, he was charged by the US Attorney’s office for exceeding his travel and entertainment budget guidelines when he was  US Attorney for New Jersey and now the bridge scandal. Ever think he is maybe just another fat pant bully politician from New Jersey?

John Wayne was and is another conservative hero. Tough Marine hero, western cowboy hero, all around bad ass. Never served in the military, lived in Newport Beach California not on a ranch like you’d think Rooster Cogburn would. The worst thing you could hear in Basic training was “Cut that John Wayne shit out trooper.” He was a guy who made movies.
Ronald Reagan made training films during WWII, never left Hollywood. Nancy broke up his marriage to Jane Wyman. Go to the RR museum and gaze on pure un-adulterated fantasy land. Rough and tough Ronnie used an English saddle when he rode around his Santa Barbara Ranch all dressed up in his cowboy costume. He also lost 249 Marines in Lebanon (after being warned security wasn't any good) and got the hell out over night and then kicked ass in Grenada right?

Prep school cheer leader George W. Bush bought his ranch shortly before he ran for President, somebody taught him how to operate a chainsaw and he basically cut brush for 8 years.  The ranch was on the market and sold after he left office. Presumably his Ford F-150 and the chainsaw were part of the deal.

Roy Rogers was born in Chicago, Gabby Hayes was an Englishman and perennial virgin Doris Day was a big band singer. As Artie Shaw once said, “I knew Doris day before she was a virgin.” Charlton Heston wasn’t Moses, kids.
Your uncritical, magical thinking leads you to believe Obama is fascist-socialist-communist-Muslim-born in Kenya-weakest president ever who is stronger than Hitler. Get a grip people.

Whoops, I almost forgot you thought Mitt Romney was a guy who built businesses with his own hands and ingenuity.

Now some conservative “thought leaders” are championing Russia’s Vladimir Putin for his conservative values.   If Putin thought it would garner him support he’d take off his shirt, put his foot in the middle of Phil Robertson’s chest and rip that idiot beard out by the handful!

You people need to grow the fuck up! Check out Putin being the manly. conservative man before being photo shopped into the great outdoors.
 He could run for President and some of you'd vote for him. Probably win South Carolina hands down after he wrestles a couple of the other candidates into submission right on Fox News Live!