The world according to frecriss



Hello all! In my blog, I will talk of many differant subjects and hope to get some feedback. I have always been opinionated and look forward to hearing the opinions of others. Feel free to shoot me a PM concerning any of the posts you will see on this blog. Hope to hear from you.

My first subject concerns conspiracy theorists and comes as a result of a conversation I had with some guy this past Saturday. It is rare when anyone can boil my blood so quick, but this guy just struck a nerve. Basically, this guy(and his friends) believe that every tragedy that has ever taken place was concocted by the United States Government. It was not the fact that this guy has the opinions of a lunatic that made me angry, it is the fact that he shows no respect for those who were affected by these tragedies.

This guy believes that the U.S Government was responsible, not the Japanese, for Pearl Harbor.

He also believes that the Government is responsible for killing President Kennedy, that the moon landing was a hoax and that it was the Government that carried out the events of September 11, 2001. Also, all of these events are covered up by the Government.

So let me get this straight. The Government has the power to cover up monumental events like Pearl Harbor, The Kennedy assassination, the moon landing and September 11, but could not cover up Watergate or the sexual escapades of Bill Clinton? Please.

He also went on to say that September 11 was all the Bush administration. So I asked him if Gore was elected in 2000 would have these attacks happend. He responded "No". I then asked him who was responsible for the embasy bombings in Africa, the bombing of the USS Cole and the first WTC bombing of 1993. Of course, he had no answer to this.

I must wonder what motivates these people to have such ridiculous opinions. Are they incapable of rational thought? Do they hate the United States in general or do they just have contempt for the Government because they are the "Authority?" Whatever the reason, these people just lack common sense.

Also, if all these events were perpetrated by the Government, why has no one ever come forward? In this day and age, anyone who could prove the Government was involved in Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination or September 11 or proving that the moon landing was a hoax would stand to make millions from book deals and personal appearances. Yet, not a single person has come forward.

Conspiracy theorists will ramble on and on working themselves up into a frenzy. The funny thing is, when you present them with just a dash of common sense, they clam up immediatly.

I dont know why these nut-bags can't see what is right in front of them.
Okay, now that I got that rant off my chest, we can move along to another subject.

This coming Monday is Memorial Day and it is a day that I look forward to every year. On this day, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. Going to the Memorial Day celebrations around Northeast Ohio also allows me to interact with veterans who survived combat. If you have never done this, I suggest that you do. There is nothing better than shaking the hand of a combat veteran and telling them how much you appreciate what they did for you. For the most part, they are very modest and act as if their actions were no big deal.

However, as time moves forward many veterans are forgotten. Today it seems as though we only remember those who fought in WW2, Korea, Vietnam and the wars of the last 20 years. Even though there are only a handfull of WW1 vets left and no vets from the wars before, take a minute this Monday to remember the men of Lexington and Concord, remember the men who fought for Andrew Jackson at New Orleans, remember the men who fought on both sides at Bull Run, Gettysburg and Antietam. Remember the men under General Custer who fought and died at the Little BigHorn. Remember the men who charged up San Juan Hill in Cuba.

Even though the number of WW2 vets are dwindling, it is fairly easy to locate them as well as vets from Korea, Vietnam, etc..And maybe that is why we only remember the vets of those wars. But, this monday, just take a moment to honor those who came before. Without their bravery, ability and love of country, we would not now be enjoying the freedoms that we do.

Happy Memorial Day and do something nice for a veteran.
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Taking on one of my own.

I was not even a year old when the Kent State shootings took place. But since then, one person who was there has consistantly popped up every May. Unfortunately, that one person happens to share my hometown. Of course I am talking about Alan Canfora.

This year, Canfora produced some sort of tape that "Proved" there was a command to shoot. I found this, at first, to be hilarious. After all, anyone who had ever served in the armed forces(which excludes Canfora)knows that "Point" is not a military command. However, as the last month moved along, I didnt find this tape to be all that funny. Once again, Canfora has used an unfortunate incident to promote himself and get his name in the paper and on the news.

Two weeks ago in the Barberton Herald, writer Randy Broadwater wrote an article about Canfora and the Kent State shootings. In this article, Broadwater never insulted or disrespected Canfora in any way. Broadwater just exposed Canfora for the lying, low-life that Alan truly is. Canfora has, for years portrayed that the demonstration at Kent was peaceful and passive. In reality, it was anything but. Broadwater proved otherwise with the truth about what these "peaceful" demonstrators really did. Smashing the windows of downtown Kent buisnesses, threatening any buisness owner who was flying an American Flag and of course, hurling rocks and bottles at the guardsman.

So how did Canfora react to Broadwaters truthful article about what really happend at Kent State? He wrote a letter to the Barberton Herald personally attacking Broadwater. Calling him a "Redneck", using an old, unfunny, racially insensitive joke and refers to the guardsman as "Killers" and "Murderers". He then goes on to site "Investigations" by the FBI and the reports of several news agencies to back up his claims. Hey Alan, is this the same FBI and news agencies that publicly crucified Richard Jewel for the Olympic bombing in 1996? They were real accurate with that right Alan?

Alan Canfora continues to be an embarassment to my hometown and unfortunately, he wont be going away any time soon. I have had several personal encounters with Alan and have always come away with the gratification of having made him very angry during our exchanges.

I do feel bad at times because our two families go back so far. Looking at a 1941 Barberton football program, I see my Great-Uncle and Louis Canfora. Unfortunately, Alan is not the man his father or Louis were. Alan is a spoiled brat who feels the world should revolve around him, that he is always right and if your opinion differs from his, then he will resort to Junior High level personal insults.

Unfortunately, every time he pops up, the local press will give him exactly what he craves....................Attention!
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As I move along, let me remind you that anyone and everyone is welcome to reply to any of my posts. I have received a couple comments but would love to get more feedback.

My Hometown of Barberton, Ohio.

I went to the Memorial Day service at Lake Anna on monday and while driving to and from, I asked myself why I have stayed in my hometown. Barberton was once a community steeped in tradition and heavy on industry. We had so much industry that, during World War Two, the Germans had Barberton on their target list. We were a strong community rich in Eastern European tradition. The vast majority of our residents were Hungarian, Czechoslovakian, Yugoslavian and Serbian. Filling out the rest were a decent amount of Italians, Germans, Dutch and African Americans. We were producing very successful people in many differant professions. In athletics, Bo Schembechler became a legend as Michigan's football coach, Jack Greynolds inovated high school basketball and both Alvin Robertson(basketball) and Glenn "Jeep" Davis(track) won Olympic gold medals. Bill Mobley was the President of Texas A&M University, Frank Goettge became an immortal of the United State Marine Corps and Howard Woodford was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in Phillipines. In Music, Frankie Spetich and George Morgan reached the pinnacle of their musical styles with inductions into their respective halls of fame. Spetich in Polka and Morgan in Country music.

Then something started happening in the late 70's. A new threat arrived. It wasn't Communism, it wasn't the Nazi's, it was something called "Outsourcing." Between 1979 and 1985, Barberton lost over 30,000 manufacturing jobs. The trickle down effect then claimed drug stores, shoe stores, clothing stores, restaraunts and the theatre. In short, Barberton became a "Ghost Town" almost overnight. The population plummeted to the point that we closed three elementary schools and a junior high school. Many people moved and Barberton lost some of its greatest families.

So I asked myself again, why did I stay when so many moved? My four siblings have all moved and are raising their families in Stow, Jackson, Copley and North Canton, so why did I choose to stay?

Barberton became an incorporated city in 1891 and my family arrived in 1894. Maybe that is why I remain. I look back and see my great grandfather working at the Diamond Match Company or my grandfather retiring from Babcock and Wilcox in 1975 after 40 years of service. I look back and see my great-uncles ripping up the football fields in the 30's or my dad doing the same in the late 40's. I look back and see myself, brothers and cousins all playing multiple sports in the 70' and 80's and also see my sister becoming Barberton's first female athlete to receive a D1 athletic scolarship. I go to the veterans memorial at Lake Anna and see the names of many of my great uncles, my dad, two of my uncles and three cousins. I also see that one of my great uncles has a gold star next to his name, giving his life during the invasion of Sicily. Maybe these are the reasons that I remain.

Maybe, deep down, I see Barberton returing to the glory it once had. We certainly have improved greatly over the last decade and continue to improve on a daily basis. Maybe that is why I stay.

Maybe I stay for the purpose of debate. Barberton certainly can arrouse controversy. After all, how can the most conservative town on the face of the earth have a city government made up entirly of liberal democrats?

Maybe I am attracted to the diversity that Barberton offers. We have every race, religion and social class that there is.

I really don't know what the reason is but there are two things that are undisputable facts.

1. I was born in Barberton, Ohio.

2. I will die in Barberton, Ohio.

Go Magics!
How much is too much?

Last football season, my Barberton Magics stumbled to a 3-7 record. However, there were some freshman and sophomores who, with their play, showed that the future is indeed bright. None of these youngsters was brighter than QB Kyle Snyder. Snyder was a freshman and all he did was pass for over 2,000 yards and 22 TD's. This was against varsity competition! Barring an injury, Snyder will eclipse the team career passing records for yards and TD's this season. This is where the problems begin. There are already whispers around town that Kyle Snyder is the greatest QB we have ever had. This is after only his freshman season. Is it fair to start this talk and make all this fuss over a 15 year old kid?

Consider the QB's Barberton has produced over the years:

Lew Sickler-Akron

Art Wright-Mercer College and the namesake for Wadsworth's football stadium.

Jimmy Price-Wittenberg. All Conference as a senior and a member of the Wittenberg Hall of Fame.

Mark Scaar-Michigan.

Bob Stimac-Navy/Kent State

D!ck Hunter-Miami. All-Mac as a senior and a memeber of the Miami HOF.

Tom Dimitroff-Miami. Two time All-Mac, played in the CFL and in the AFL. A member of the Miami HOF.

Marco Burnette-Akron

Joe Griffith-Miami. Tryout with the Buffalo Bills.

Bob Mobley-Murray State

George Izo-Notre Dame. All-American at Notre Dame. 2nd Overall pick in the NFL draft. Played seven seasons in the NFL.

John Mackovic-Wake Forest. Lead the ACC in total offense as a senior. Member of the Wake Forest HOF.

Ron Mollric-Kent State

Jim Stewart-CW Post

Archie Strimel-Miami

Donny Joe McKewon-Sterling College

Jim Gondor-Marrieta

Doug Huffman-Youngstown State

Kevin Murphy-Toledo

Jeff Saylor-Heidelberg

Jeff Finley-Akron

Scot Loeffler-Michigan. Currently the QB coach for Michigan.

Matt Jenson-Walsh

Garrett Banks-Marietta

There was also Ken Sennett, the QB who never lost. Sennett was recruited by every major football program in the nation. Tragically he lost his life during his senior season of 1964.

So, as you can see, Barberton has produced more than it's share of strong QB's. I think it is completely unfair to start comparing young Mr. Snyder to the accomplished players of the past. Snyder is a very talented, smart, tough kid who, potentially, has the ability to play D1 in college. But lets let him at least finish his Sophomore season before we start comparing him to Izo, Loeffler, Hunter, Dimitroff, Huffman, etc.....I think it is unfair to drop that kind of hype on a 15 year old.

Just let the kid play and in three years, we can start making the comparisons.

As the youngest of five children, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to several differant styles of music. My three brothers graduated high school in 1978, 1979, 1983. My sister graduated in 1985 and I finally made it in 1987. Over the course of that time, several differant styles of music came and went.

My two oldest brothers were only a year apart, but couldn't have been further apart in their choices in music. My oldest brother was a Disco guy while the other one was into KISS, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Ted Nugent. My third older brother was also a rocker, but came a little later with AC/DC, Van Halen and Def Leppard.

Then there was my sister. Oh my, the debates we used to have. She was into all the 80's pop music. So I had to deal with the likes of Duran Duran, The Go-Go's, Wham, Madonna and that awful "Take on Me" video by A-HA.

I, on the other hand, fell in line with two of my older brothers and was into hard rock. Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken, Twisted Sister, Judas Priest and Cinderella were at the top of list. I also had great respect and enjoyed the classic music of Kiss, Zeppelin, Van Halen and AC/DC.

During the summer of 1986(which was the summer between my junior and senior years) several songs that were popular really made an impact on me. There was "Yankee Rose" by David Lee Roth, "Turbo Lover" by Judas Priest, "Dance" by Ratt and the entire "Night Songs" album by Cinderella. Whenever I hear any of those songs, I instantaniously flash back to that great summer. I remember all the great friends that I spent so much time with and all the fun we had.

That is what music is all about. Music should not be political, it should not be a protest, it should not be negative in any way. Music is for enjoyment. It takes you back to your youth to what was ,maybe, a better time. I am thankful for Motley Crue, Ratt, David Lee Roth, Cinderella and the rest of my bands that made growing up so much fun.

Music is eternal and no matter how much I age, whenever I hear those songs, I am seventeen again. I guess that makes me eternal:cool:
The Innocence of Youth.

Today I was a parent volunteer for my son's field trip. He is in first grade and I was given the task of being in charge of a group of six first graders. The field trip was two-fold. First, we went to Harry London's Chocolate Factory. It was a nice tour of the facility and, of course, all the kids attacked the worker who came out with the free samples. All in all it was a fun time.

The second part was even better. After leaving Harry London's, we made our way to the USO in North Canton. There, all the kids helped package items like candy, toothbrushes, be sent to the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. These kids worked very hard to do a good job in their task.

These children didnt know anything about a troop surge, RPG's, roadside bombs, Sunnis, Shiites, Republicans or Democrats. They just knew they were doing something nice for others. This is the true innocence of youth. It is unfortunate that in just a few short years, these kids will be exposed to all those things listed above and their innocence will be gone forever.

For today though, these kids worked diligently to insure that they did their best. Hopefully when these kids graduate from High School, they can concentrate on college, starting a career or raising a family and not have to worry about terrorism and war. If that would happen, maybe some of that innocence could be preserved.

In the meantime, if you know of a boyscout/girlscout troop, a church group or another orginization that needs something to do, I suggest volunteering at the USO. It's a good way to spend a couple hours and it will teach children(and maybe some adults) some respect and admiration for those who should be respected and admired more than anyone else.
To offend or not to offend.

Over on the general board, there is a thread about someone who had a Swastika on their car. The discussion turned to the Confederate flag, Holocaust survivors and the Japanese flag.

So the question is, what should be considered offensive? One poster asked how a Holocaust survivor would feel about seeing a Swastika. My reply was how would a survivor of the Bataan Death March feel about seeing a Japanese flag? Today, you can encounter the Japanese flag in front of many businesses.

Unfortunately, in today's society, someone is always going to be offended by anything. I was once told that I was commiting animal abuse because I let my cat outside. WTF?

Another thing is the Confederate flag. When did this become a big deal? I remember watching The Dukes of Hazzard in the late 70's/early 80's and no one cared that The General Lee had a Confederate flag painted on it. In fact, I remember several Black kids that I knew playing with toy replicas of the General Lee.

Where do you draw the line? What if I am offended by fat people on elevators, should fat people be banned from riding elevators?

Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on 911 and they did it in the name of Islam. Should the practice of Islam now be banned? After all, the survivors of those terrorist attacks may be offended by any and all Muslims.

The point is this. If someone wants to put a Swastika on their car or truck, so be it. As I said earlier, No matter what it is, someone will likely be offended by it.

What happend to the good old days of sports?

As I look back over the last 10-15 years in sports and this is what I have seen and heard.

Money, Money, Money!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have seen this thing called the BCS ruin College Football which was once the worlds perfect sport. College Football used to be a game played with desire, spirit and tradition. Now it is played for lust and greed. Due to the BCS and conference realignment, some of the great rivalries have gone by the wayside. Oklahoma and Nebraska dont play every year anymore and Pitt/Penn State is not played at all.

I have seen a number of Baseball players juice themselves so they can put up big numbers. Why? Money!

Barry Bonds once said that he does not get paid extra for extra innings. Thats fine Barry but if that is your attitude, then you had better play all 9 innings of 162 games. What ever happend to Ernie Banks and his saying of "Lets Play Two"

Dieon Sanders once said that he does not get paid to make tackles. A defensive player is not supposed to make tackles?

Terrell Owens cannot feed his family with 10, 12 or 15 Million a year?

What happend to the good old days?

I remember going to the Sears at Rolling Acres Mall and getting an autograph from Browns center Tom DeLeone. The next year, I went to the JC Penny at Rolling Acres and got an autograph from Indians 3rd Baseman Toby Harrah. I didnt pay 1 cent for these autographs! Can you imagine that in todays society?

When I was a kid, we looked at pro players as part of the community. In Northeast Ohio, we all(or most) adopted the Browns, Indians and Cavs and supported them no matter how bad they were.

I remember watching game after agonizing game on WUAB 43 in which the Indians fielded forgettable teams year after year. But we supported them. It didnt matter that their lineup included the likes of Duane Kuiper, Tom Veryzer, Rick Manning, Jerry Dybzinski or the immortal Joe Charboneau. They were our team.

We hung on every thrilling moment of the 1980 "Kardiak Kids" Browns season. Brian Sipe, Doug Diekan, Mike Pruitt, Greg Pruitt, Dino Hall and Sam Rutigliano.

What happend to those days.

Those were our teams, we loved them and they loved us.

It is too bad that sports have all now fallen to the almighty dollar.
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Overrated and the arguements that go with it.

Yesterday, I had a pretty heated arguement with a very good friend of mine. It all started when we began throwing out names of those in sports that we felt were overrated. The name that we agreed on the most was Reggie Jackson, easily the most overrated player in the history of sports. However, I threw out two names that quickly turned our friendly discussion into a very heated arguement. Those names were Jackie Robinson and Johnny Bench.

My friend tried as hard as he could to convince me that both Robinson and Bench were great players and worthy of their inductions in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Me thinks he missed the point.

I fully understand that both were very talented players and I agree that they both belong in the Hall of Fame. My point was not to disrespect them or their abilities. My point was that they are very overrated.

Jackie Robinson: Lets say for a second that it was Larry Doby who broke the color barrier and that Jackie Robinson was 2nd. Would Robinson still be heralded as a great player? Probably not. He would have been inducted into the Hall of Fame sometime in the 80's and without much fanfare. Robinson has the aura of greatness because he was the first black player, not because of his ability. Robinson was good, but there have been many 2nd baseman who were much better. Napolean Lajoie, Eddie Collins, Rogers Hornsby, Frank Frisch, Charlie Gehringer and Joe Morgan were all better, yet only Hornsby and Morgan get mentioned in the same breath as Robinson. That is what makes Jackie Robinson one of the most overrated players ever. Was he good? Yes! Was he one of the greatest 2nd basemen ever? No!

Johnny Bench: Bench has a myth arround him that makes him out to be head and shoulders above any other catcher that has ever played. It is that myth that makes Bench one of the most overrated players ever. Statisticaly, Bench is no better than other catchers that played in the same timeframe such as Carlton Fisk, Ted Simmons and Gary Carter. Yogi Berra is well ahead of Bench in most statistical categories. You could also make an arguement for Bill D!cky, Micky Cochrane and Roy Campanella. Bench was a fine player, but head and shoulders above all others? No Way.

Sometimes people are confused as to what overrated means. One can be a great player and still be vastly overrated. Bench and Robinson are proof of that.
Those childhood crushes.

My son is fortunate that many of his classmates live somewhat close to us. Since summer vacation started, many of these kids have been coming over on a regular basis. My son gets along with all of thes kids except one. There is this one little girl that seems to enjoy nothing more than being mean to my son. My son also takes great pleasure in returing that meaness to her.

For a couple days I wondered why this girl would keep coming over. Then it hit me. This girl and my son have a crush on each other. I flashed back to my early days and remember all the mean things I had done to a girl that I really liked.

Crushes are probably the greatest thing that goes with being a kid. Watching the interaction between my son and this girl in one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Oh to be young and in love....................LOL.
Pro Wrestling.

I am a fan of Pro wrestling and have been for about 30 years. Wrestling sure has changed in that time and I think, for the most part, it has been a change for the worst.

The disturbing news of Chris Benoit is, I think, the straw that will break the camels back.

Back in the days when I was a kid, wrestling was territorial, not world wide. The WWF was on the east coast performing in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The NWA was the biggest and had many territories in Atlanta, Florida, the Mid-South, The Mid-Atlantic, Missouri and The Pacific Northwest. There was also the AWA and several smaller promotions.

All that changed when Vince McMahon took over the WWF from his father. Before, wrestlers were big, strong guys, but the demand to have a chisled body was not there. Many star wrestlers from my youth such as Greg Valentine, Pedro Morales, Tommy Rich, The Samoans, Dominic DeNucci and Bob Backlund were strong guys but none had the Mr. Universe body. There was also Dusty Rhodes who was downright fat.

Because each promotion was territorial, there was no demand to travel 300 days per year and perform 5 times per week. That is where the problem is. Traveling and performing as much as these guys do does not leave time to naturally keep the build that all these guys have. It is out of control and something needs to be done.

Constant travel and performance may also lead to the use of some sort of speed. Throw in steroids which can and does cause anger and depression and you have a volotile mix that has lead to the death of over 60 pro wrestlers under the age of 45 in the last 10 years. The sudden death of young wrestlers started shortly after Vince McMahon took over the WWF. In the mid-80's, "Quickdraw" Rick McGraw was the first that I remember.

Vince McMahon took wrestling out of the small, cigar smoke filled halls and brought it to the biggest venues in the world making sports entertainment a huge industry. Vince also became a Billionaire in the process. But was it worth it? Is the death of so many young men worth all the money, fame and glory?

Vince never killed anyone, but he sure did create the atmosphere and lifestyle that has lead to all these deaths.

I hope you are proud of your accomplishments Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
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The Forgotten Generations.

It's funny, but the only generations you seem to hear about are the WW2 and Baby Boomer generations. But what about the generation that came between WW2 and the Boomers? They are commonly refered to as the forgotten generation. Why are they forgotten? This generation continued to build America, defended Europe from the Soviet Union, fought a successful battle in Korea and showed a strong work ethic and commitment to family.

Yet this generation never held the office of President, seeing the Presidency go from WW2(HW Bush) to a Baby Boomer(Clinton). The "Forgotten Generation" went about their business of working hard and raising their families without drawing alot of attention to themselves. My Parents came from this generation. Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of the Forgotten Generation was that they, for the most part, gave birth to another Forgotten Generation. A generation called Generation X.

Generation X also has done many great things and did these things without alot of fanfare. The attitude of Generation X is was brought the Soviet Union to it's Knees. Generation X put Vietnam to rest and brought back a sense of pride in being an American. Generation X also was the last generation to show a true work ethic. The two or three generatons that have come after us have an attitude of entitlement.

The Forgotten Generation and Generation X may not get alot of publicity, but our accomplishments speak for themselves.

So the next time you hear about the "Greatest Generation" or how the Baby Boomers made a differance, look at the generation that won the Korean War and the generation that won the Cold War. We did some great things too.
What Ever Happend to Morals, Courtesy and Manners

This is something that has really been getting on my nerves over the last few years. It can be a group of teens saying the F-Word 1,000 times and quite loudly in public or the over the top expressions of love in public or many other things.

Last August, my Father-In-Law passed away. At his calling hours, one of his nephew's came to the funeral home wearing shorts, a tank top, flip-flops and sun glasses. What is wrong with these people? Are they moraly bankrupt? Do they have no respect for anybody or anything?

Also, I am convinced that no one under the age of 30 knows the proper response to "Thank You". The proper response is not "No Problem", the proper response is "You're Welcome".

In May, an old friend of mine hand delivered a wedding invitation to me. His wedding was 9 days after he gave me the invitation. Again, what is wrong with these people? Then, he was angry when I didnt go and told him that I had already made plans that I couldnt get out of. When I suggested to him that the invitations should have been mailed and with 6-8 weeks notice, he went off on a profanity ridden tirade. One more time, what is wrong with these people?

I remember walking around downtown and in the neighborhoods when I was a kid. In those days, you would smile and say hello to the people you passed by, they would return the smile and greeting. Today, people just give you a weird look and no response.

Two Friday's ago, I helped my sister-In Law move from Columbus. I drove two hours down there, loaded up the U-Haul and then drove the U-Haul back another two hours and then unloaded it. Do you think I even received a thank you for my efforts? Of course not!

Why cant people show proper manners anymore?
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A Heritage of Food.

My family background comes from Italy, Eastern Europe with a dash of Dutch. Fortunately, this resulted in meal after meal of terrific tasting food. I have been blessed with many recipes that have come from Prague to Naples to Little Italy in New York and parts of Chicago..

Some of my favorites are:

Lasagna-My mom makes Lasagna unlike anyone else. The blending of the seven differant cheeses that she uses is what makes her version of Lasagna unique. Mozzarella, Ricotta, Moscarpone, Parmesian, Provalone, Fontina and Romano.

Cabbage Noodles-Egg Noodles, Onions, Butter and Shredded Cabbage. Saute Onions and Cabbage in Butter until Cabbage is no longer green. Toss with Boiled Egg Noodles.

Chicken Paprikash-Whole pieces of Chicken stewed in a Paprika Sauce. YUM!!!

Calzone-Despite what most think, a true Calzone does not have Tomato Sauce. We made many differant versions such as:
Diced Italian Sausage with Green Peppers and Onions.
Ricotta Chesse, Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomatos(My Favorite).
Prosciutto and Provolone.
Tomatos, Mushrooms, Olive Oil and Fresh Basil.
Of Course, we did bend occasionally and make them with Tomato Sauce.

A great topping for Hamburgers:
Diced Tomatos and Onions sauteed in a little oil with just a bit of Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Then, go heavy on the Paprika. Spoon over a Burger with your favorite toppings. Works best with a toasted bun.

Root Beer Drops-Make a basic cookie dough and then add a drop or two of Root Beer extract. Form dough into balls. Get some hard Root Beer candy and crush them. Roll the Cookie Dough Balls in the crushed Root Beer candy until evenly coated. Bake for the same time/temperature as a regular sugar cookie.

Spicy Pulled Chicken Sandwich-Left over Roasted Chicken pulled and shredded. Warm over low heat with a dash of Paprika, Black Pepper and Cayane. Serve on bun with Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo.
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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.

With all due respect to Andy Williams, I am not talking about Christmas. No, the most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching. Of course I am talking about football season.

Football in my family is almost religious. Taking both my Mom and Dad's sides of the family, 34 members have played football above the high school level, myself included.

Grandfathers, Great-Uncles, Dad, Uncles, Cousins and Brothers. We have played everywhere from Mercer College in Macon, Georgia all the way to the NFL and everywhere in between.

We have coached Pee-Wee, Junior High, High School and College.

Football always played a very important role in my family. Even my Sister would join in the backyard blood baths when we were kids.

What made it even better were our favorite college and pro teams. My Dad was a staunch Notre Dame fan. Me, my Sister and one Brother are Ohio State fans while my Mom and other two Brothers root for Michigan. That made for some very lively debate at the Dinner table.

Even though I am no longer involved with football and am nearing my 38th birthday, I still get that pumped-up feeling at this time of year.

I also am swelling with pride as my Nephew will be playing football at Walsh College as a freshman and my oldest Son will be entering his first year of pee-wee.

It all started in 1930 when my Grandfather suited up for Wittenberg and the tradition continues 77 years later.

Football, you gotta love it!!!!!
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Tackle Football in the street.

In my younger days, we always felt a need to prove how tough we were. That lead to many not so smart decisions, the most common being tackle football in the street.

Cuts, bruises, scrapes and much more were a part of these games. Further more, the basic rules of the game were thrown out the window during these "Games".

When we would play in a backyard or at a school playground, we would play by the rules of the game. In the street it was differant. It was perfectly acceptable to trip an opposing player, pass interference did not exist and there was no such thing as a personal foul.

What was foul was our moms temper when we would come home with our clothing torn to shreds.

On more than one occasion, these "Games" would turn into a brawl. But hey, we had to prove we were tough. Other things we would do included launching bottle rockets from our hands, shin kicking contests and there was more than one attempt to jump the Tuscarawas River on a bicycle.

I still have several gravel scars on my elbows because of these games. The dumbest part of all this was that we were under the impression that by acting like maniacs and trying to hurt each other, that we were somehow impressing the girls of the neighborhood. As I said at the begining, these were not so smart decisions.

Still, I look back on those times with fondness. Did we prove that we were tough? Maybe. Did we prove we were stupid? Absolutely.
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Sometimes, I cannot resist.

I am not a person who is prone to insulting or making fun of others. I fully understand that people are differant and I try to be respectful to those I come in contact with. However, there are times when I see something that just makes me laugh at someone.

Last night I stopped at Giant Eagle to pick up some bread, milk and eggs. I get in the express line right behind this woman who had to tip the scales at 280-300 pounds. She had eight items. 2 bags of Doritos, 3 Red Baron Pizzas a half gallon of Tin Roof Sundae Ice Cream and what were her other two items? Two two liter bottles of DIET Pepsi.

Now, if you are already a fat freakin slob and you are buying Ice Cream, Frozen Pizzas and Doritos, what is the freakin point of buying diet pop? Does she think that by drinking diet pop that she is going to lose weight even though she is shoving Doritos down her throat?

Generally I dont make fun of others in any way, but sometimes, I just cant resist.
Remembering September 11th, 2001.

It is difficult to believe that it has been six years since that awful and tragic day. I remember the events as they unfolded and still can feel the wide range of emotion that I felt throughout that horrible day. Anger, remorse, shock, pride and shame.

I remember the entire weekend actually. I remember my high school football team losing 20-0 on the 7th and how angry I was with the team for losing a game that most thought we would win.

I remember on Saturday, September 8th, Ohio State had a new football coach make his debut. I remember not being impressed at all in the 28-14 win over the Akron Zips. I remember thinking that this new coach was not going to be much at Ohio state.

Then came the morning of the 11th and I remember being angry because I couldnt find a babysitter. I didnt get home from work until almost 7:00 AM and would have to watch my two year old son all day until my wife got home from work at 6PM and then I would have to leave again for work about 7PM.

Then the events started to unfold.

As I watched the North Tower burn and then seeing the South Tower hit, I started to feel ashamed of myself. I saw people jumping from 100 floors up and saw people desparatly trying to just get a breath of air. I thought how petty it was to be angry over the failure of my high school team and how minute Ohio State football was in the grand scheme of things.

I also was shocked by the contrast of the day. There was the crystal blue sky contrasted by the thick, black smoke. I also watched these horrible events on TV while in the next room, my two year old was watching "Bob The Builder".

But by far, the thing I remember most was the wide range of emotion. I felt guilty and ashamed that I had such selfish and petty anger over meaningless events. I felt fear as the horrible thought that this could happen again but my wife or kids would be among the victims. I felt remorse and a terrible sadness for the victims and their family. I also felt angry and it was an anger the likes of which I had never felt before or sinse. I also felt a sense of pride as even in the most desperate times, the true spirit and courage of America was displayed throughout the day.

September 11th will always be very fresh in my mind and I will always feel for those whose lives were directly impacted.

I do think that some things have not been handled well. I think it is BS that Bin Laden has not been brought to justice. I also think it is wrong to "Sanitize" the events of that day. All Americans should see and understand the true horror of that day.

September 11th, 2001
Never Again
Never Forget

God Bless America!!!!
The end of an era.

On Friday, December 7th, 2007 my Great-Uncle Mike passed away at his home in Barberton, Ohio. With his passing came the end of an era as he was the last of my grandfathers generation. Uncle Mike was 87 years old and had lead a very interesting life. He graduated from Barberton High School in June of 1938. That fall he enrolled at Bowling Green where he played both Football and Baseball. Upon graduation from College, Uncle Mike enlisted in the United States Army and saw Combat in Sicily, Italy and hit Omaha Beach in the first wave on June 6th, 1944.

After the war, Uncle Mike began a 40 year career at B&W, he married and raised two sons and a daughter. He also coached football at Barberton High School and with the Bantam League Barberton Barons.

Fortunately, Uncle Mike never had alot of health issues even as he aged. He was always of sound mind and could, for the most part, get around on his own. He was burried with full military honors on Tuesday, December 11th.

I will miss my Great-Uncle and will never forget all the stories of sports, war and life in general. He was truly a great man and of a dying breed. Men like my Great-Uncle just are not around anymore.

Rest in peace Uncle Mike and thank you for the service to your country, your community and your family.

God Bless You.
Class Reunions.

This past October, my High School Class celebrated it's 20 year reunion. It was great to see so many people that I spent much of my childhood with, many of them I had not seen in many years.

All of the old gang was together for the first time since I can't remember when. There were seven of us who really stuck together from K-12th grade and it was nice that we were all together again if only for a couple nights.

Our group consisted of four guys and three girls. How we were all friends for that long is mystery to me as we are very differant people.

There was Me, Mike, Tony, Allen, Veronica, Jan and Carrie. We did everything together when we were little. As we began Junior High, we kind of grew apart from the rest of our Elementary School classmates but we stuck together. In High School, we would study together and Me, Mike and Carrie were athletes and the other six were almost always there when we had our games.

Then came graduation. Me, Mike, Carrie, Veronica and Jan all headed off to college. Me in Michigan, Mike, Veronica and Jan headed off to Ohio State, Kent State and Heidelberg and Carrie attended Texas Christian. Tony joined the Navy and Allen entered the Air Force. After college, I joined the Army and became a member of the 82nd Airborne.

We had all attended reunions in the past but one or two of us were always absent until this time. It was great to see all of them again and it was fun to stroll down memory lane for a couple nights.

It was also nice to see that none of them had changed very much in appearance or attitude. Veronica was still very kind and very attractive, Tony was still a smartass and so on.

Many people do not care to attend their reunions and I think they are really missing out on alot of fun.

I plan on attending every single one of my class reunions in the future. Great time!
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For some reason, I have always enjoyed entertainment from the "Golden Age" I enjoy the singing of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and so on. John Wayne, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart are at the top of my favorite actors list.

Buy there is one area that I am especially fond of and that is comedy. Bob Hope, Martin and Lewis, The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers were all genius comics. Today's comedy just doesn't measure up.

My all-time favorites are Abbot and Costello. Here are a couple links to some true comedic genius.
Well, it has taken nearly a decade, but my 1967 Ford Mustang is nearly complete. I have about six weeks worth of work and then it will be ready to Rock and Roll when the weather gets nice.

I am really looking forward to taking it out once it is finished. It has been a labor of love that has cost me more money than I care to mention, but it has been worth it.

I can't wait to open this up!

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My time on Yappi.

May of this year will mark my 5th anniversary as a member of the Yappi Nation. For the most part, it has been an enjoyable time. However, there have been several fueds that got pretty heated at times.

Within a few days of joining, I was locked in battle with two posters called "Liverneck" and "Blowin Water" neither of which seems to post any longer. They were avid supporters of the Akron Garfield football team and with Garfield playing my Barberton Magics that season, some things got pretty heated.

Shortly after that, another fued erupted between myself and "MCGal" and "Junkie". This was over girls basketball and open enrollment. These two used open enrollment(Which I also detest) as their way of attacking my hometown. Funny, but by the time that fued ended, Junkies posts became fewer and fewer and MCGal has gone out of her way to avoid me.

Then there were the awesome fueds on the college football board as I routed "WWEChampion", "ND 2000" and "Dirk-O-Mania" on a daily basis. ND rarely posts now, Dirk was banned but came back as "Fosters" but left soon after. As for WWE, he has returned under several differant names and is currently known as "Tree Of Knowledge".

I have had several disagreements with posters since these big fueds ended, but most have been very short lived.

For the most part, Yappi has provided me with a forum to discuss all sports as well as Politics, Entertainment and life in general. It's been a great five years!
Islam and it's Apologists.

I have seen quite a bit in my time on Earth, some good and some bad. The worst I have seen has been the constant attacks against civilians by Islamic Terrorists. The World Trade Center, The Pan-Am flight that was blown up over Scotland, the kidnapping and execution of Israels athletes during the 1972 Olympics etc...

Muslims find some excuse to justify these murders but what is worse are the Apologists who blame everyone but the Muslim Terrorists. Usually, these Apologists put the blame on the Evil, European Christians. They also use the Persian Gulf War, Western Support for Israel and the Crusades as justification for these barbaric acts.

But what about BEFORE the Crusades? What justifies 400 years of Islamic Terrorism before the first Crusade took place?

In the roughly 400 years before the first Crusade, Muslims attacked Non-Muslims constantly. Including, but not limited to: Invading India, Conquering Damascus, Invading and Defeating Antioch, Twice laying Seige to Constantinople, Invading and occupying Sicily, Conquering most of Spain and attacking France.

This was all before The Persian Gulf War, before the support for Israel and before the Crusades. So what was the justification?

The truth is that Islam is NOT a Religion of peace as it claims. History is proof of that!
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Most people who did not know me in my younger days have no idea that I was once a fairly talented song and dance man. While I enjoyed crooning to the likes of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, I really enjoyed dancing. I had many favorites that I tried(to no avail) to emulate. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelley were awesome. However, not as well known as those two icons were the Nicholas Brothers. They were my all-time favorites. Here is an awesome routine of theirs performing a classic with Cab Calloway.
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Illegal Immigration.

Looking at a thread currently on the Debate Forum, I am astonished that there are people who find no problem with people crossing the border illegally. I find it hard to believe that there are people who find nothing wrong with breaking laws.

All three Presidential candidates have had some platform that would grant amnesty to illegals and I find that disgusting. The laws are there for a reason and once the breakdown starts, it will likely never end. Amnesty will only assure that mass illegal immigration will happen again in the future. What's next, do we ignore laws concerning murder, rape, bank robbery? Why not?

The laws should be respected, upheld and enforced. Period.
Democrats, Race and Hypocrisy.

It is amazing to me how one group of people can be treated so harshly while another group gets a pass for the same thing. This is most obvious in politics where Democrats constantly get a pass in matters concerning race while Republicans are crucified for it.

Case in point. Strom Thurmond was a known racist. He was praised by Trent Lott and the witch hunt that followed lead to Lott resigning his position. On the other hand, Christopher Dodd praised Robert Byrd saying that Byrd was a "Leader for any time, even the Civil War" This despite the fact that Byrd was a Member of the KKK and tried to derail the Civil Rights movement in 1964. The result? Not a word was said about it. Why? Because Democrats are hypocrites and the media gives them a pass.

Let's remember what party freed the slaves, let's remember what party instituted Affirmitive Action. Here's a hint, it wasn't the Democrats.

Richard Nixon was accused of using a "Southern Strategy" during his run for President. The Southern Strategy was actually used by a Democrat, George Wallace, who eventually ran as an independant and won several southern states.

FDR is remembered as a great President even though he was a segregationist.

Democrats use the race card in every election but when their own racism shows up, it is quickly swept under the rug.

It is quite disgusting and it is the reason I am no longer a Democrat.