Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Growing up years ago in Bellevue, we had a saying for when we’d show up each other: “I faced you.”
The phrase quickly evolved into simply, “Faced.” You would say it to your friend and put a hand like a baseball glove over your face as a sort of exclamation point in gesture form.
My mind is a sprawling attic full of seemingly useless artifacts, but sometimes these objects serve as props. I bring up the “faced” thing because I recently joined Facebook, after avoiding joining for a while. I joined because, as I’ve said here before, I tend to get a bit reclusive sometimes and connecting with others more just helps in many ways.
Point is that I’ve been having fun with it, though my “wall” is pretty bare since I’m not the greatest at using this tool just yet. But one of the cool things that I’ve been enjoying about FB is that I’ve been able to connect with longtime work connections, childhood friends, and many folks I’d like to know a little bit better.
A lot of people have been kind enough to “friend” me or to accept my friend request, so thank you all very much. Some of you know my work and me pretty well, so it’s natural for us to meet up virtually. And some of you have followed my work, or even read Barnestormin. I am especially grateful for you folks and your friendship.
Perhaps an aging dog can learn a new trick or two from time to time. After all, even in the dead of winter, it can be good to shake off the cobwebs and make a few new friends or renew old acquaintances, even virtually.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Watching My Dark Side on the Jersey Shore

I remember Sylvia Lucci. She was tall for a girl back in middle school, and very thin with long wavy blonde hair, blue eyes and a beautiful smile that captivated me, as we chatted for hours at the intersection of Brighton Road and Lincoln Avenue, just a half-block in either direction from our homes.
That was before I raised so much hell I had to be shipped off to boarding school… I had a huge crush on Miss Italian-American Sons and Daughters Debutante and I’d walk her home from school and we’d talk for hours at that corner. Sylvia was lovely—fair-skinned and as I said very thin, but naturally so. She was one of the sweetest girls you’d ever be lucky to meet.
I mention Sylvia by way of explaining a recent nasty little vice of mine involving a certain bunch of young, slightly insane Italian-Americans. Yes, I’ve become a Jersey Shore cumpie, a wannabe Seaside Heights paisan. And I haven’t felt so strange about a similar fixation since Growing Up Gotti.
Before I go further, I’ll explain the connection—the Italians I grew up with in the North Boroughs much more resembled the Lucci family than they did any of the over-tanned kids on Jersey Shore. So, in a way (this is how rationalizing happens), when I watch the show I am really making a cultural field trip.
Truth is, for me watching the show is like rubber-necking a train wreck that keeps on going. Seeing the tapestry of idiocy unfold in front of me on that show makes me feel much better about my crazy childhood growing up in a family of 12 Anglo-Croat-Irish-Norwegian-Welsh-Scots-German kids. As a kid, the combination of my insane youthful highjinks and my wild family could lead at any moment to a front-yard fistfight between a couple of Irish-mad 200+-pound brothers, like my brother Scott and me. So I must say that part of me resembles this nutty TV show.
I have gotten hooked on the Shore way too late it seems, since it is almost over. The seaside train-wreck has grabbed my dwindling attention, fixating my prurient interests.
And though Jersey Shore is almost over, I have so many pressing questions, like:
-Where the hell do the guys on the show get their haircuts?
-How come all the guys on the show have skinny waists and the girls seem kind of fat?
-Does The Situation do anything in the gym besides curls, triceps and posing?
-Will Snookie ever get a boyfriend? (She might want to stick with the Irish.)
-Can Ronnie get a handle on his roid rage?
-Will Jwoww get some help with anger management (and will her boyfriend grow a pair)?
-How will the network follow this show? Will we have a bunch of trash-talking Pittsburghers living in a Mt. Washington house with a hot tub and a nitrous tank and lots of balloons and Iron City Beer?
-Or maybe there’s room for a show based in the Outer Banks, with a bunch of drawling, drunken white-bread Southerners on the horizon?
Stay tuned. And no bathroom breaks—you might miss a fistfight.