Friday, September 9, 2016

R.I.P Grandpa Jaspare

I first met my stepfather-in-law when I was 20, on the day I met Lisa. The details are fuzzy, but within minutes of being introduced he either called me a Polack, swore at me in Italian, or otherwise violated social etiquette.

Sensing a kindred spirit, I returned in kind. 

He laughed in reply, and I liked him immediately.

Within a few months our trips for coffee together at George Webb's became routine.Although I didn't realize it, he became the one, in Lisa's words, to vett me for her family. 

A year later he was called in front of my parish priest to vouch for our upcoming marriage. My mother-in-law had already told the priest she dissapproved of the wedding - if my 19 year old daughter said she was engaged, I'd do the same - but Jaspare went to bat for us. According to the priest, he advocated for us in a manner more Perry Mason than retired factory worker. 

I owe you for that Jaspare.

He had his flaw, God knows, just like us all. But when we had kids he became a beloved Grandpa, one especially close to YaYa. 

I owe you for that too Jaspare. 

A few months ago, just after a house fire that drove my in-law's into temporary housing, he was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor. 

Yesterday Team Slap went to say our goodbyes at his hospice. The kids hugged him and told him they loved him, and broke down in tears. I found myself crying too, and thanking him for being there for the family. 

Shortly after midnight, he passed away. 

Rest in Peace Jaspare. 

We love you, and we'll miss you. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Smiley and Ginger at the Park

There's no significant event behind this post. It's just a random visit to the park after the first day of school. Enjoy. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Grasshopper Hunting to End the Summer

Last Wednesday was the last day of summer vacation for the kids (my two week vacation from classes ended that Monday). We had a  mini-tradition, for a bit, of having a picnic in Whitnall Park during the week Lisa would work at State Fair. It's been a few years, but Ginger brought it up recently and so, for a last hurrah, we did the same. 


We started out with an early dinner at Kopp's Custard. 

Oy, I know YaYa will hate this picture, given it shows her apparently jamming food in her mouth. But of the two I have as options, trust me kiddo - this is the more flattering ;)

 Alas, after dinner we split up. Nothing was wrong, but for some reason I don't even remember I got it into my head to go catch grasshoppers, and that only appealed to Ginger. In an act of sisterly love, LuLu offered to come with. And so the three of us went a'huntin'. 

Ginger was game for the chase. 

LuLu was not, and served as our spotter. An effective one at that. 

 LuLu also became our location photographer. 

 We were very successful, catching enough grasshoppers to fill a gallon pickle jar when we got home.

Ginger's grasshoppers have even mated and laid eggs since they joined our household!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Dad and I travel to Chicago to see a White Sox game

On a rainy Chicago day in 2003 - back when I still had all my hair - my Dad and I drove down from Milwaukee to catch a Yankees game at U.S. Cellular field. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Binding by Nicholas Wolff

I liked The Binding, a new horror novel by Nicholas Wolff (said to be a pseudonym for a best selling author), right up until the last few pages, when in my opinion it stuck the reader with a cliched ending right out of a horror film. 

That aside, I still recommend it. But . . . 

This gaffe at the start of chapter fifty-six really knocked me out of the book for a good long while. He describes a college basketball, tied at 88 all  (that, despite it being a "tepid" game, would be a stellar score for an NCAA contest). Then, in the very next sentence, he talks about the quarterback launching a long pass. 

Look, either the author is COMPLETELY, silly-sitcom ignorant about sports, which I fear might be the case, or he started the chapter, put it down for a good long time, then forged ahead based on a false recollection of what he'd already written. 

Either way, where were the editors?

That's an inexcusable gaffe in a mainstream novel. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Kaepernick is a bum, but a bum with rights

Colin Kaepernick has a right to protest as he wishes. The fact that he makes millions, simply by virtue of being born in a country that values his skills, doesn't negate his ability to argue on behalf of those making far less money, whether you think his cause is just or not.  

Likewise, the fact that TimTebow was mocked and minimized for his utterly sincere belief in Christ does not, in return, grant you the power to shun Kaepernick out of spite. 

But before you think I went all lefty-loosey, think again.

He did not protest in the past, when his money was being negotiated and deals made, and when he was riding an over-hyped path to stardom. No siree, not then. Not when he supposedly experienced police impropriety in college, not when Trayvon Martin was killed, not when Ferguson erupted, not when Chicago and Baltimore turned into a killing field for blacks No, not then. 

Now, when he's a bench player that can't get a starting gig, NOW he deems it important enough to make his point, and coincidentally make things mighty uncomfortable for the organization benching him.
I call B.S. 

He's a piece of petulant, hypocritical sh*t, but even pieces of s*it have their rights. 

Of course, the 1st amendment applies ONLY to the gov't acting upon your speech. An employer can do as they wish regarding the speech and actions of an employee, and I think the NFL is eager, if possibly unwilling, to grant him a permanent spot on the bench and out of the spotlight.

Ginger on her birthday in 2009 - a previously unpublished post

Just to fend off any questions about the Rocky Balboa impersonation Ginger's putting on, she spent the day before her birthday at my parent's place. While there Lulu, on rollerskates, decided Ginger could 'walk' with her whle holding hands. The inevitable result: a face-first fall onto the cement.

Oh, and she came home with blue hair, because Smiley had tossed blue chalk into water that was later poured over her head.

Sigh. Hey - free babysitting, ya know? ;) Naw, I'm kidding. Lord knows it coulda/woulda happened whenever.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

My fantasy football draft results

Here are the results of my 2016-17 fantasy football draft for the Sad Sack Slapjacks (the pic leaves off Carolina's D). Last year I finished third in our highly competitive league. Your thoughts?

GusGus and the Fishtank

 This is GusGus, heir to Billy, who in turn was heir to Lucky. Behind him is our 40 gallon fish tank. 

Whenever you press the button atop the tank to turn on the light, and/or open the curio cabinet to retrieve the fish food, this is what will happen:

GusGus will come running, from wherever he may be, and jump atop the table next to the fishtank. 

You must - and I stress MUST - shake a bit of the fish food into the cap of the bottle and hold it out for his dining pleasure. He will respond only for fish food, no mere "cat treat."

Once he has partaken, you are then allowed to feed the fish. He will then stare at the fish from his perch at he table, taunting them and forcing them to live every moment of their waking life with a predator a breath away from them. 

He's a charmer. LOL