Saturday, October 18, 2008


After watching the Sox come back against the Rays Thursday night, I'm exhausted. But I'm thrilled that at long last, the real baseball season is underway.

It may only last one more game, but who cares? This is what sports is all about, this is the payoff for being a fan. These are games that matter, this is intensity, and this is why I love sports.

CoCo Crisp's at-bat in the eighth inning was incredible. Ten pitches. Ten excruciating, painful, suspense-laden pitches. I was screaming at the TV with my youngest son, telling CoCo he could do it while never for a second truly believing he would. But he did. They did. it was wild.

Now I can't wait for Game Six tonight. I have a surprise 50th birthday party to go to for my secretary tonight, but I will be leaving early. I feel bad - but I will still leave early.

Some things are simply more important than others.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Angry Liberal

This column originally appeared in the Norton Mirror in August 2006 - but it remains relevent today!

Okay folks, step back. Secure the women and children, batten down any hatches you might have, return your seat backs to their upright position, and buckle all safety belts. You are about to hit some reading turbulence.

Today, I am one ticked-off Liberal.

I have never minded the political and social debates between liberals and conservatives. I’ve always thought a spirited discussion of the issues and philosophies of the times was a good thing for this country. And I have shared in trading barbs, good-natured and otherwise, with friends and foes in the past.

But now the mind-numbing and bigoted conservatism of those on the far right, especially those in positions of national leadership, has finally gotten to me. I’m not going to sit back any more and chuckle at their ignorant antics and tactics, or let them paint me and others as supporters of terrorism or valueless demigods concerned only with themselves.

To Dick Cheney, Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, and those locally who are disciples of their conservative brand of hatred and discrimination – your 15 minutes are up. We Liberals (and yes – we are still out here in great numbers) are no longer going to sit back and let you define who and what we are.

I’m so tired of hearing how Liberals are out of touch with mainstream America, how our values are non-traditional and un-American. That’s pure bull****, and those saying it for their own political advantage should be ashamed.

Liberals believe in individual rights and personal freedoms. These are the very principles that drove our founding fathers to create this great country. They came here in search of religious and individual liberties, trying to found a country where people were inherently equal. They were truly the first American Liberals.

You want to tell me my values are un-American? I ask you – what is more American than wanting to ensure equal rights for everyone regardless of their race, creed, national origin or sexual orientation?

You want to tell me that voicing my opposition to this war in Iraq is un-American and gives aid and comfort to the enemy? That is so stupid even those like you who are blinded by political power and ambition have to see it.

Liberals love this country just as much as you do, and they are just as quick to defend it when necessary. But we are not so arrogant and insolent as to think our American way of doing things is right for everyone. We see no need to force ourselves upon those who see or do things differently – unless they threaten us or our allies.

Every great empire in history began to fade when they decided they had to create their own vision of the world everywhere they went. Liberals understand that, and have trouble grasping that ultra-conservatives do not.

We reject terrorism and will battle it wherever it exists with the same ferocity and patriotism you possess. But we will not write a blank check to leaders who manipulate the terrorist threat to advance their political agendas.

We seek to allow people who love each other to marry – you do your best to deny them that right. We seek to give people the right to end their lives with dignity – you seek to control them and use them as political pawns.

I don’t question your love for this country – don’t you dare question mine.

The greatest leaders in this country’s history have been Liberals, and those currently in power aren’t worthy to hold their political sneakers. So spare me any more of this sanctimonious and pious garbage. You hold no edge over us when it comes to values or love of country.

To all you Liberal-bashers out there – Bite Me! We are a peace-loving people, but you really don’t want to make us mad.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Camping Never Gets Better...

This column oringinally appeared in the Mansfield News in August 2004.

I must either love my wife beyond all reasonable boundaries, or I am deathly afraid of her. No other reason can possibly explain my actions.

I am sitting here alone at a warped picnic table at 6:30 am in the beautiful woods of Maine. As I type my weekly missive, I am left to consider perhaps the greatest and most baffling question facing all of mankind today:

Why do people camp?

Those who have perused this space over the years know my position on this back-to-nature train of thought. If God had truly wanted us to sleep in tents, on the ground and outside, he would never have created hotels. This is known as the Holiday Inn Theory of Evolution.

Yet here I sit at dawn on a beautiful Sunday morning, fresh from my five-minute hike to what passes as a bathroom in these primitive surroundings, and I am alone. In the tent behind me my beloved tries to sleep despite my constant zippering and unzippering of the tent to retrieve some important item. The tent to my right reverberates with the ungodly snoring of my eldest son and his girlfriend. It must be her – males in my family never snore.

To be fair, I did offer to come along this year on the annual camping trek. It has been several years since I braved the wilds of Maine, much to the relief of our fellow campers. But my wife loves this unnatural activity, and since my son could only stay a few days, I decided she might welcome my company.

If you asked either of us this morning, you might get a different take.

I discovered this year that of the 40 or so camping regulars who make this annual pilgrimage, we are apparently the only ones left who sleep in tents. The others have invested in camping trailers or RVs, or rented similar equipment.

While they store their food in nice cupboards and place their perishables in small refrigerators, we live out of something less efficient and pleasant. Our dry goods are in stackable plastic bins secured to prevent marauding wild animals. Our perishables are stored in an ice chest the size of a small coffin. The highlight of each day is the trip to the local IGA store for life-giving ice.

Our site is on the shore of a beautiful lake, and the view is truly magnificent. Last night we had a perfect view of the rain and lightning as it quickly rolled over us, trying to thwart my son’s meager attempt at a campfire.

On our first night, my wife left with her friend to make a quick trip to the store. She returned three hours later, thus breaking the primary camping commandment: Thou shalt not leave Bill alone while camping (though she claims since my son and his significant other were here, there was no violation).

So last night I sat around a small fire, gazing longingly at my cell phone that refused to work up here in Moose Country. I spent much of the evening contorting my body in unusual ways, attempting to get my headphone radio unit into a position where it could receive the signal of the Red Sox game.

Now I sit here calmly watching while our friends climb into boats and head out to fish, another activity I have never really been able to embrace. I have been awake since 6 am, when a crow decided to locate directly above our tent and apparently begin broadcasting on the EBN (Emergency Bird Network). His shrill shrieks, in perfectly timed bursts of three, will be in my head for weeks.

I know my wife, who was delighted when I announced my intention to come along this year, is inside our tent now reevaluating that decision. I have a strange feeling that next year, when the annual camping trip comes up, I will be asked to remain at home and guard the family compound.

It will be a shame to miss that camping trip, but after all – duty calls.