29 June 2007

Blood in the water...

I did another post on Monday evening the 25th. I was very distraught when I wrote it and it was very heartfelt. To be honest, I'm still licking my emotional wounds over the subject.

On Monday evening I sat down to do some Accounting homework and I turned the TV to the USA network so I could have Monday Night Raw playing in the background. If you don't know, Monday Night Raw is one of the longest running and highest rated programs on cable television. It is the live weekly wrestling program of World Wrestling Entertainment [formerly The World Wrestling Federation]. On Monday evening, all that was known by most people was that one of the best wrestlers in the world, Chris Benoit and his family were found dead in their home. I automatically assumed it was carbon monoxide or a violent home invasion. I was devastated and I poured my heart into a long posting about the former world champion.

The next morning, I found out the dark and tragic truth of a double homicide and suicide.

I snatched my posting down Tuesday morning and spent the rest of the day sulking and cursing under my breath at a man that would do something so savage to his wife and child - the very people that a husband and father are charged with protecting.

I am a wrestling fan.

I don't tell many people that because so few people see wrestling as anything more than large men and women beating each other with steel chairs. Professional wrestling is so much more than that. Why people can go see Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Nichole Kidman, Halle Berry and hundreds of others and suspend reality for two hours to enjoy them as fighter pilots, dirty cops, spies and secret agents and yet many of these people criticize Adam Copeland (Edge), Steve Williams (Steve Austin), Glenn Jacobs (Kane) and others who create a fantasy world where good takes on evil, and right takes on wrong inside a 20' X 20' ring?

I don't know.

But what has been driving me nuts all week, is this feeding frenzy that the media has been in over the evil deeds of Chris Benoit. It seems as though there were some prescription steroids found in the Benoit home. AUTOMATICALLY - the media [especially that narrow minded Nancy Grace] jumped on this ROID RAGE bandwagon!!! It pisses me off to no end, that the media is this country is so untalented and in such a rush "to bring it to us first" - no matter how incomplete and inaccurate IT is. They hear one word and latch on in a ferocious death grip, like piranhas fueled by fresh blood in the water. The media AUTOMATICALLY assumes that anything a pro-wrestler does is steroid fueled. And this story is extra juicy because you've got a high body count, domestic violence, a dead child and a muscled up pro-wrestler! Nice, neat, simple and bloody. The word "prescription" has all but disappeared in this story. All "steroids" do NOT cause ROID RAGE and the crime scene does not support a RAGE.

Heaven help this country if our reporters DARED to do some real work, some real INVESTIGATIONS, some real INSIGHT into what they report - instead of grabbing the first snippet of anything and running with it - maybe our media would just do some real homework.

I'm NOT defending Chris Benoit by any stretch of the imagination. I'm defending the hundreds of men and women that choose to earn their livings by being professional wrestlers. I'm defending those men and women that choose not to use steroids and who step inside that squared circle for our entertainment.

If anyone took the time to really look into this situation, they'd probably find that Chris Benoit was clean and free of steroids when he committed the darkest acts imaginable. Very few media sources are pointing out the fact that the WWE has an independently run "Wellness Program" to make sure its performers are drug and steroid free. Very few sources are also telling people that Benoit tested NEGATIVE for steroids in his last test 60 days ago.

I think the media should move beyond trying to smear ALL pro wrestlers with their broad claims of "they all do it," and they should stop trying to simplify Benoit's actions by neatly packaging them as a "Roid Raging Muscle-Head that snapped." I think there were some dark
demons in Chris Benoit's heart and mind. I think what he has done is the most unforgivable of acts. I am ashamed for crying when I heard that he had died. I am angered that an innocent woman and little boy are dead at the hands of the man trusted with their well being. I'm angry and confused.

Thanks for reading this. I'm humbled that you gave me several minutes of your valuable time.


17 June 2007


On this Father's Day, I wanted to re-post a special posting I did last September. It is still fresh with me and I wanted to share it again.

DOUGLAS MARTIN was a husband and a father of six daughters.

I knew Mr. Martin very indirectly - I may have actually spoken to him 2 or 3 times and I'd probably waved 'hello' to him the same number of times.

On September 14th 2006, he and three of his daughters were swimming near the 78th street pier in Ocean City. With hurricane Florence blowing strong in the Atlantic about the same time, the northeastern US seaboard had been plagued with strong, dangerous riptides. Mr. Martin and his girls got caught up in such a riptide. They were separated from each other and he swam to shore to make sure everyone was okay. When he got there, only his 17 year old daughter had made it back safely. Mr. Martin turned back to the sea and did what father's do - he went back for his children.

It turns out that his 13 year old daughter had been lucky and smart enough to let herself float on her back and get washed out to sea, where she was rescued by an off-duty beach patrol officer. Mr. Martin and his 15 year old, Amy, were found a short time later by the Coast Guard and taken to Atlantic General Hospital where he was pronouced dead on arrival and where she died an hour later.

Over the last few days I have thought about these events for hours and hours. Their deaths reinforce the fact that we have to give love to those around us every chance we get. What was an innocent moment of family fun - a quick swim before dinner - turned to devastating tragedy in only a few minutes. What was a happy family of eight, was in the blink of an eye changed to a grieving family of six. I'm sure that morning Mr. & Mrs. Martin had no idea that that would be their last morning waking up together.

In my mind, I've tried to imagine what Mr. Martin was thinking when he realized that two of his children were in mortal danger. Swimming out to them with water splashing around him, rip currents pulling like strong arms at his whole body, yelling and screaming his girls names. I'm positive that he had no thoughts of his own impending death, I'm positive that he had no idea that the 46 years of life that he had were about to end in a few minutes. I'm positive that his only thoughts were of a life without two of his girls and this is a life that he was swimming frantically to prevent. If they weren't coming back, then HE wasn't coming back.

I know there are millions of fathers who would risk and give their lives without a second of thought to protect their children. But to have actually encountered a man that would be called upon to make that exact sacrifice is humbling. To me, it defines the man. To me, it is the example of what a MAN does, and it is the best example of what a FATHER does.

Rest in peace, Douglas and Amy.


11 June 2007

My marriage is over...

You know, all good things must come to an end.

Over the last 8 years there were some really great moments that will stay with me forever. And then there were some downright dreadful times that I wish I could forget and yet I probably never will.

I was very loyal, I mean - loyal to a fault sometimes. My commitment made me miss some other things that I really wanted to be a part of of, but there I was week in and week out, month in and month out, year in and year out.

And in the end, all my wife could say was, "I'm sorry sweetie."

"I'm sorry sweetie."

I know she meant it from the bottom of her heart, but it didn't take away my disappointment. It didn't take away the hurt. It didn't make me feel like less of a fool.

I should have walked away three years ago, before my son was born. Then he too, wouldn't have had to see the sadness in his fathers eyes. I'm just not the same man I was three years ago. Now I'm bitter and jaded. I've been teased, taunted and strung along. I think the term I'm looking for is "played like a fiddle."

I was there through it all:
-The thing on the boat five years ago...
-That dreadful Columbus Day parade...
-That night, lost in the woods in knee deep snow...
-The trip to Italy...
-The new house by the woods...

And what do I get in return?

The worst series finale in television history!


Eight years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. The opening scene showed a much younger and much smaller Tony Soprano watching some ducks landing on his pool at the old house. He walked out to get a closer look and they flew away. He passed out. This was his first of many stress induced blackouts that drove him into the office of Dr. Jennifer Melfi.

My loyalty to the Sopranos over the last eight years is very much like a real marriage, you have to be faithful and supportive, you have to forsake all other shows [in the same time slot], you have to listen carefully and understand what is going on, but most of all you have to take the good with the bad. Unfortunately, the last three seasons have ranged from boring to awful to terrible. I think David Chase and the other writers and people behind the scenes have taken the loyalty of us Sopranos fans for granted. I think they just figured they could throw any mis-mash of storylines and artsy-fartsy perspective together and call it "an episode." Well, that's just what they did, and my stupid-self, I kept watching and hoping that something special was still yet to come. It never did.

As the last season pulled along slowly and painfully, I knew that time was running out for a stellar mind blowing ending. For whatever reason, Chase tried to develop the loathsome, boring son of Tony Soprano, (Anthony Jr.) in the last 7 episodes. This is something that should have been attempted six years ago while anybody still gave a damn. At this point, nobody cared about AJ. When he tried to kill himself a few weeks ago, I was hoping that he'd succeed just so we could get him out of the way, but even at that, he couldn't get the job done.

I was so burnt out heading into last night's series finale, I had said that only one thing would make me like the show, that would have been for Silvio Dante to be awake from his coma and listening to "Hungry Heart" by Bruce Springsteen when Tony walked in to visit him. Then I wanted Sil to say, "Hey Ton', you know, that Bruce Springsteen, he's got a really good band." This would have been classic because Steven Van Zandt, the actor who plays Silvio, plays guitar in Bruce's E Street Band. But, even that was too much to ask.

So, last night, my eight year marriage to Tony Soprano, Sil, Dr. Melfi, Chris, Paulie Walnuts, Uncle June, Bobby Bacala, Meadow, and The Bing came to a close with a sad little whimper, a whimper and a squish.

When it was done, I was sad. I felt stupid for sticking with a once great show for three years after its greatness left. I sat there in stunned silence. My wife knew I was crushed, so she patted me on my leg and said, "I'm sorry sweetie."

I was too.


07 June 2007

It's good to be rich and white, isn't it?

So, Paris Hilton spent exactly three days in lockup.
(RIGHT: Here she is walking out of the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, CA.)
Just when I was about to write a letter to the Washington Post begging them to stop giving us day by day "Paris Prison Updates" in its Express newspaper, I see that the smug little strumpet is on her way home.
The first thing out of my mouth was, "WTF?"
So, she has a mysterious 'illness' a 'rash' all over her body so she gets to go home and sit in her mega mansion with a little tracker bracelet on. Can you give me a freakin' break here?!?! This is complete and undeniable bullsh*t. This is simply a brazen example of being rich, white and privileged - nothing more.
When this whole jail thing came down, I was tickled to death. I despise Paris and all the other little rich white kids that stay drunk, high and hunted by crazed photographers. Most of these Paris', Lindsay's, Brittany's, and Nicole's float in and out of rehab and court so much that it's hard to keep track of who's in and who's out. FINALLY a judge had grown a 'set' and decided to put Paris' creepy looking behind in a jail cell. Then she panicked and fired her publicist, re-hired him, chickened out and then toughened up. And here we are four days later, and a wittle luttle wash has gotten the Hilton heiress a pass to go home.
Darn those nasty prison cells!
Let me clue those California dim-wits to something. The girl has HIVES! It is caused by being stressed out - IT WILL GO AWAY WHEN HER SENTENCE IS UP! Stress is what SHE IS SUPPOSED TO BE UNDER! Violating probation is a crime! It is punishable by jail time. Hence, Paris - YOU SHOULD BE IN JAIL THIS VERY MOMENT! Not sitting at home in a cashmere robe eating Japanese stuffed shrimp. To me THAT IS A CRIME and whoever let you out, should be in the cell next to you!
It truly kills me that wealth and race are the ultimate trump cards in this country. I see Paris Hilton's smug little emotionless smile in the newspapers almost every day. She looks as if she thinks she's better than everyone else and I'll be damned if some judge didn't decide that she was better than everyone else. I'm sure some of those women that were in jail with her had hives too, I'm sure that all of the mothers in lockup with her wanted to be home with their children, I'm sure that some of the women in detention with her did small stupid things and yet NONE of them got to ride home today. NONE of them got a pass. But I'm willing to bet that none of them had a multi-million dollar bank account.
This is bullcrap.
As I type this, I am reading on another link that another judge has called Paris back to court because of a nationwide outcry over her release. I hope she has to go back, but to me the real insult has already been dealt to us of all races and all incomes because we've been shown that money is power and money makes you above the law.