Leave my daughter, take the car: A few words about Gerard Grandzol

When a good parent meets evil, tragedy happens.

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Sacrifice. That is the first thing that a good parent willingly accepts when their child enters this Earth. Selfishness becomes selflessness. Your life is no longer as important as the child’s future. Status quo for the people who cut the shit when they become parents.

Today is a sad day all around. 16 years ago, terrorists cut America to pieces with three planes, costing 3,000 innocent lives. Every 9/11 anniversary, a few fresh heartbreaking tales of heroism emerge like leaves trapped under a rock. Currently, Hurricane Irma is ripping through Florida, after Harvey did a number on Houston. Streets, houses, people, cars, and pets are under siege. You’ve heard about all of that, though, and while it’s all terribly sad, I want to talk to you about Gerard Grandzol.

When I was scrolling through my Twitter timeline today, I read a painful story that is currently buying up real estate in my soul at the moment, so I have to talk about it.

Grandol, 38 years old and a Philadelphia native, was a fine citizen. He did a lot of good work in his community and when people heard his name, smiles and nods were abound. Isn’t that the way to be when you get into your late 30’s and 40’s? People hear your name and sing your praises, instead of wincing and walking away. Grandzol did the right thing often. Last Thursday, he did the right thing and it cost him his life.

He was taking his two year daughter and his dog on an outing to the park. Fun was to be had and good times collected for memory. When Grandzol returned to his home later that night, two men approached him and demanded his car. Grandzol, thinking wisely and going into protective mode, agreed to give up his ride-but wanted to get his kid out of the vehicle first. Then, one guy shot the man twice in the head right in front of his daughter.

This isn’t a movie. In real life, heroes die all the time.  Continue reading “Leave my daughter, take the car: A few words about Gerard Grandzol”

The Monday Rant 

Let’s punch Monday in the throat with a stream of consciousness.

Live from the Tesson Ferry medical clinic–

I’m tired. Let’s just start there. 

The wife is having surgery on her wrist-round 2 if you are counting in the waiting room-and I’m uploading coffee into the system as I type. No, a nurse isn’t holding a cup near my mouth, but I’ll check if that’s in the insurance plan. 
Since I don’t have wifi in the lounge and the April issue of Sports Illustrated doesn’t interest me, I’ll come here and rant. Off the cuff chat. Monday morning musings. The Wakeup Blues. 

It has been said that the more we talk shit out, the easier we sleep. Who knows if that is true, but let’s go ahead and tap into my stream of consciousness:

*Bethalto isn’t that bad. I mean, there’s a Schnucks grocery store with a Shop n’ save pharmacy and there isn’t a movie theater for miles, but it’s a quiet place to get away. It’s not like you can be driving down I-44 towards Webster in STL and get shot or anything. 

*I hate going to bed early, so I often don’t do it. You’re told what to do outside your house, so why obey the rules inside your four walls? Even when there is a reason to, like today. The wife tells me to get some sleep and I tell her not to worry. I watch Rocknrolla and Knight and Day instead. Bad idea. I’m very tired and they make these rooms at the clinic super bright. Like, do they not have respect for Italian vampires?

Sidebar: Hey Guy Ritchie, what happened to that Rocknrolla sequel you promised us back in 2008? The part before the end credits where the screen teased, “Coming soon, The Real Rocknrolla.” Well, nine years later, and you sir are a real fucking liar. The first film cost just 18 million to make. A sequel would have been a better investment than that King Arthur turd you shat out this past spring. Yeah, I did type SHAT. 

*Ready for a medium hot take: A radio show shouldn’t have more than three hosts. Then it turns into an overcrowded party where people talk over each other constantly and the listener gets confused about who is saying what. When people decide to turn their dial towards your stream, don’t take that shit for granted and pack the room full of voices. I don’t care who the hosts are, it’ll be a mess. 

*The NFL starts in two months. Kickoffs abound and fantasy leagues launch. Husbands and wives lose their spouses for undisclosed periods of time. Owners sit in suites and talk about building new stadiums they don’t need and possibly moving the team if they don’t get what they want. Money is earned. I mean, stupid money. So much cash. Football returns in two months and I couldn’t care less. Fuck you Roger Goodell. When I look up gutless scumbag whore in the dictionary, your picture pops up. 

*In eleven days, I move into my new house. So exciting and also not. Like getting a massage from someone who needs to clip their fingernails. My wife and her sister are already planning to fix the electric, which means possibly gutting the walls. Don’t get me wrong, a mean demolition is quite fun, but not in my house. A new home means one thing: projects. Fuck. Me.  

Side note: I’m writing this on my phone, and I’d like to tell my iPhone for the hundredth time that I do want to type “fuck” and not “duck”. 

*There are four hours of Kingdom left. That’s right folks. The MMA series has officially entered its Gettysburg movie status. Four hours. I can’t tell you how sad I am that this series is closing up its doors at Navy Street after the August finale. There are certain TV shows that you wish would have stopped a long time ago (Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, etc.), and this one simply isn’t one of them. Frank Grillo and Jonathan Tucker deserve Emmy awards. Matt Lauria and Kiele Sanchez are so great. The goal of this TV series was to dive into messy parking lot that is a fighter’s mental state. Imperfect people who trip over themselves in an imperfect world. Four more hours left people. 

*Whenever I mention Grillo’s name around people, I get a certain look. An aggressive eye roll type move. Like they are expecting me to wax poetically about him again. And I think to myself-yeah, so what? Don’t be jealous that my favorite actor to watch is also a friend who I admire as a person and a performer. I bet half these eye roll people don’t even take the time to watch a Grillo movie or show. They just don’t. Try it out. See if I’m wrong. I’m not alone. There are Grillo addicts everywhere and for good reason. In a landscape stuffed with egos and false personalities, Frank is as authentic as they come. And he could kick your ass. And your dad’s ass. And your brother too. You get the point. 

*Annoying pack of jack-wagons #407: the ones who say they are done watching Cardinals baseball after a bad loss. Don’t kid yourself. A bad loss just makes you watch more. Watch harder. Closer. Become more addicted. These are the needy types too. The LaVar Balls of baseball fans. 

*Speaking of LeVar, maybe I can have Grillo knock that oversaturated athlete parent the fuck out. I mean hard too. Ball gives all dads at the little league game a bad name. Just shut it down dude. Let your kid play. 

*Let me ask a question. Why can only one website write about a player or topic? This is so common in sportswriting these days. I don’t get it. There’s enough room at the table for hundreds of websites, but if a website writes about a topic covered two days or two weeks after another site covers it, they are bad. Scorned. If the world got rid of all the sports oriented know-it-alls, it would be a better place. Here’s the thing: they are as full of shit as the next person. They don’t know it all. Not even close. They got their information from someone else and basically reformatted it for their own discretion. The realty is we are all staring into the looking glass pondering the next thought. You know who you are if you read this part. Give it up. 

*Hey, did you hear about that NBA trade? Oh cool. I couldn’t give a shit if I was paid to. Well, it depends on the money I guess. I get more arousal out of the back 9 of a golf game than I do an NBA contest or off-season gaming. 

*Can we get a good winter this year, because the mosquito bites that I’m getting this summer are brutal. They aren’t just taking a bite; these bastards are taking a pint. So selfish. And I know bugs play a part in our way of life. But I didn’t agree in the “Bugs Occupation Package: Volume 2017” for mosquitoes to bite the shit out of me. 

*As much as I liked doing the battlegrounds, I don’t need to do it again. Once you get in the mud for a couple hours and go to that extreme, a good run or workout suffices. Never say never, but I don’t think I need a repeat. 

*Favorite dinner food. Simple surf and turf. Give me a ten ounce strip streak cooked medium and shrimp or a slab of Atlantic salmon sautéed on a stove. Here’s another medium heated take: I’ll take steak and shrimp over brisket and pulled pork. BBQ is overrated. 

*When it comes to chicken wings, the skin must be crispy. If not, no thanks. There’s no place in this world for slimy skinned wings. 

*Pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza. Ask any chef in Italy. It’s no good.  

*Game of Thrones starts in six days. Since I don’t have premium cable, no Thrones for me. 

*Here’s the shitty part about exercising: it makes you want to eat more. As you get older, the mantra is that you need to take care of yourself. I’ve been doing that since I was 17 years old, so it’s not headline news to me. But they don’t warn you about the food desires that rise up as you increase your activity. And sometimes a bowl of veggies won’t cut it. An example: last night at 11 p.m., I absolutely destroyed a bag of Cheez-it’s. Gone. Working out just increases the need for a larger food intake. Fuck you appetite. 

*To the people who drive 45 minutes or more to work in the morning or at night, I applaud you. That’s tough business. 

*This week will mark my first week as an Uber driver. I’m trying to make money and not work a shit job that makes me miserable, so I’m trying this. I’m not messing around, so I got gum, mints, water, and other small goods for my passengers. The better the reviews, the more customers come your way. Also, it’s a great chance to explore the city. Here goes nothing. 

*Full confession. I love to talk, but there are times where an extended period of silence is just golden. The need to fire away constantly is a drain. Shut up and listen. Or just appreciate the quiet. 

*Beautiful women of the world, don’t be so hard on yourself. I know it’s tough. You’re pretty enough. Yes, your makeup is subtle. The dress doesn’t look too tight. The hair is done up just right. Your breasts are perfect for your body type. Sure, yoga pants are acceptable outside of a gym. As judgemental as we are-and we all are-a little “you” is always needed. 

Side bar: The ass remains the most seductive part of a woman while the eyes cut us off at the knees. 

One last thing: protect your knees. As a guy who runs on hard concrete, I can assure you that making sure your knees receive care is of the utmost importance after the body turns 30. Aging isn’t always classy. 

Also, the only thing better than people watching is spotting other addictive people watchers.  

Okay, I’ll shut up now. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. 

-D.L.B. 

Welcome to Walmart: Get your shit and stay a while

A day in the life of a shopper at Walmart.

Whenever I walk into Walmart, I think about grumpy Walter from Jeff Dunham’s crew of misfit toys. Walter likes to imitate a Walmart greeter and add a personal touch of go fuck yourself grit to it: “Welcome to Walmart-get your shit and get out.” When I walk in, I know it can be quite the opposite. It’s more like get your shit and stay a while as you buy tons of crap you do not need.

Have you ever walked in wanting to buy a few things and end up spending 65 dollars on an Emilio brown lunch bag assortment of shit? Things you didn’t even know your house required, but there you are walking out and working the forearm muscles with six bags in each hand, turning your fingertips ghost white. It’s really a not so fun experience.

Walmart is a theme park that is disclosed as a shopping location and I believe that the entire human race is represented in one building.  Continue reading “Welcome to Walmart: Get your shit and stay a while”

Breaking News: My retirement from writing

Writing and I are getting a divorce. Pour a drink, pull up a chair, and play the Michael Bolton music. There may be some man tear dust in the air here soon.

An old man once told me. Get out before you stink up the profession. Never mind the fact that he was drinking warm red bull and picking up a half eaten sandwich at Union Station, Perhaps, profound thoughts occur at your lowest point. Maybe he was really hungry and didn’t want to pity any fools. Either way, as old man advice will do, it hangs with you through the years.

The time has come for me to hang up the writing gloves and do something else.

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What else? Badminton tournaments are an option. I’m not just talking about a middle school P.E. class battle between a punk kid and the overweight female gym teacher who doesn’t shave. I am talking about the biggest and baddest players on the earth. Natural geographic carnage. I’d seek these people out.

I could go to Francis Park and whisper sweet nothings into the statue by the fountain. Is there a fountain in Francis Park? Let’s table that one.

I could work at Dairy Queen for obvious reasons.

I could go out and get a real job.

Worldwide coffee shop philanderer could work. Go around the world, beg for coffee, get really worked up, and come home to recount my tales.

The radio business is soaking up some time so I could just talk more there. Being the voice that literally wakes up St. Louis takes time so I could work on that.

Writing is hard shit, bro. It’s homework for life. An everlasting chore. A need to impose a will that most find annoying. Delivering white hot passionate takes about the Cardinals only gets you 20 parody accounts and hate DM’s. What’s the worth?

Why write about who to find in the free agent trade market when a hundred other sets of hands are writing the same thing? It isn’t like Baseball Reference is special to just a few writers. WAR, OPS+, DRS. How about GTFOOH? Get the fuck out of here. Try that out. Oh, wait. You can’t say fuck. Family site. Too bad. Let Quentin Tarantino work it into his last film.

I could finally finish one of my seventeen screenplays. Wait, that’s writing. Scratched.

I could travel around and interview the safe zone dwellers who were struck down by the Donald Trump election triumph. We could discuss their future in dark caves in remote locations where all they can eat is ramen noodle and spam. Talk about Huff Post Podcast worthy.

I could be a better husband and father. Stop telling Vinny hold on or give me a minute while I finish an article. The minute really is an hour anyway. No, this won’t happen.

I now understand when people say enough is enough or a passion dies a thousand deaths in the right time of November with the temperature under 40 degrees. Sometimes, a thing just can’t last.

I could blame it on Tate Donovan. What a prick.

Hilary Clinton deleted my urge to inform.

Gordan Ramsay told me I had fat fingers.

The keyboard thinks I’m ugly and filed a lawsuit against my hands.

Tom Cruise didn’t run enough in my articles.

Hollywood wants to reboot my writing so I have to stop.

Bruno(the #1 Twitter handle for Cardinals knowledge, not the actor or musician) made me do it. (Imagining the sound of his high pitched voice telling me how bad I am makes my stomach hurt).

Daniel Winnett was no longer optimistic about my writing’s future.

John Mozeliak finished second in negotiating for my writing to continue.

Real Housewives wouldn’t whine about it.

The Bachelor didn’t give my writing a rose.

My writing went to the same restaurant that Tony Soprano went to before the fade to black and Journey song.

It went to the same doomed construction site that Stringer Bell went to.

It met Negan and that barbed wire baseball bat.

Let’s just say I have had enough and will retire from writing at the tender age of 34.

It started with 3,000 word email/rants to a group of friends.

It ends with KSDK, St. Louis Game Time, and Inside STL ramblings that look semi professional.

This is the end. Thanks for reading if you did. If not, thanks for leading to this decision.

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, this is all bullshit. There’s no way in hell that I’m stopping.

November FOOLS! Yes, that’s a new thing. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Learning from Orlando: Preaching Acceptance

What if we dropped the gun laws and political jargon and just preached acceptance? My wild theory.

Why can’t we just lay our egos and beliefs aside and learn to accept one another for who we are?

Let me back up and explain.

I’m an emotional person. When something bad happens, I react immediately. I wish I could take my time and wager a few thoughts but I just say or do what comes to me right then. I came out of the box swinging hard on Monday with my initial reaction of The Orlando Shootings. Like a boxer going for the knockout in round 1. Let me try again.

Part of being human is not only being yourself but accepting that certain things are out of your control. This shooting in Orlando has been on my mind for three days and I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the logistics of a solution or how to help prevent it from happening again.

Continue reading “Learning from Orlando: Preaching Acceptance”

The real weapon of terrorism: Fear

What the St. Louis bomb threat and Orlando murders reminded us of.

The definition of fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Earlier this morning, there was a bomb threat near Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Law enforcement and the Bomb squad had to shut down a portion of a major highway in the city, I-270, in order to defuse a bomb threat and ensure the safety of hundreds of people. If you were traveling between the Ladue exit and the I-64 interchange, you were derailed. For good reason.

This was a real threat. Sure, they blew up the two devices they found and all was well…..today. Backpacks or duffel bags that may or may not have contained something terrible. It was real. You don’t shut down a major interstate on a hunch. 270 takes passengers from North County to South County. It connects cars to the central highway of the city in Highway 40, which takes them into the city or out to West County. It takes cars to I-44 and I-70. It is a major highway and the biggest one in the city. Holding that up costs businesses money and people time. It was done for a reason.

Hospitals are a juicy target. There are people of all ages inside a hospital and more importantly, there are caregivers. Kids, babies, middle aged folks, young doctors, and elder souls. Take out a hospital and you aren’t just taking away life, you are taking away care for life. When a terror attack happens, the first place ambulances and officers think of is a hospital. Take that away and it incites more fear. That is the greatest weapon in all of this. FEAR. Every time an attack takes place, the fear count triples.

It can happen overseas. It can happen in Paris, Russia, China, or on United States soil. Terror lead to a heightened sense of fear and a different way of looking at people. It’s easy and marketable to say an attack brings people together. It can also spread people apart. After the shootings at the Pulse gay night club in Orlando, Florida, I bet one out of every three people went to the gun store and bought. 1 in every 2 family members applied for a concealed carry license. When they walk down the street and see someone that unfortunately carries the skin color of a radical from ISIS or someone who merely unsettles them, violent tendencies will occur. Whether it’s for a legit reason or not, it will happen. Terrorism leads to more fear which leads to distinct reactions to race and therefore sparks terrible evil things inside the most innocent souls.

At the core of our nature, we are innocent and good. Every soul starts out as noble and well. It can then be twisted or bent into something else through teachings, events seen, or just a need to be different. Religion plays a heavy part in terrorism. More often than not, someone is trying to do right by their God by taking life. NBC News reported that the shooter in Sunday’s Florida killings called police and declared himself a radical of ISIS. This terrorism cell is coming over the water and onto USA ground. All of it comes from a certain belief.

I have no horse in the religious game. With no offense to slant to the believers in God, I believe in life, choice, and chance. I believe in what I see. Right now, all I see is death and violence. Via the US government, over 1.6 million people have died via domestic shootings since 1963. Since the 1700’s, 1.2 million Americans have died while serving their country. It’s real. When did the world become so violent? It all begins and ends with fear.

Whenever something bad happens, fear ratchets up like a volume dial. Once it goes up, it can’t go back down. It doesn’t matter who is in office. Obama. Trump. Clinton. Blah. The system remains the same with any talking head in the big chair.

Some say take weapons out of peoples hands. What good will that do a family trying to protect their home and future if evil comes knocking? Guns don’t go off by themselves people. Bad people get them and fire them. It’s all about the user and not the instrument. What about the various attacks where a man or woman has a weapon on them and takes out the shooter before more harm can be done? What about a good soul trying to protect his wife and kids carrying a weapon? Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. You can have four more Florida events and that won’t change.

No matter the weapon used, the end result is fear and what it does to people. Who can you trust? Will you be at the wrong place at the wrong time? Can you stop something from happening or merely wish to survive it? Evil lurks everywhere and there’s nothing we can do about it. What you can do is protect your own. There shouldn’t be a law against that.

Whenever something terrible happens, I look at my four year old son and wonder what I will tell him when he gets older and starts to understand this madness. What can one man do to calm his son of the chaos that awaits him one day. I’ll tell him that I still believe there are more good people than bad ones out there. I will tell him the evil have their hands full. That, at the end of the day, the good can still win. The painful thing is the fight is an ongoing one with no end in sight.

All we can do is hope the fear doesn’t spread so fast and produce wild reactions. Terrorism or not, the real damage comes from what we do to each other as a result of fear.

Or as Walter White once said…

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The “I could” writers are the worst

If you say you are going to write, stop messing around and do it. If not, piss off.

There’s nothing more annoying than hearing someone on social media say they can write better than someone and not backing up with an actual piece of evidence. I call these people the “pretend” writers. The “I’m going to” or “If I had time” writers.

Let me make something crystal fucking clear. You either write or you don’t. Forget the promise or planning. Sit down and do it. Life passes you by while you are busy making plans to do something else. Opportunity and credibility also run past if you keep pretending.

I ran across this from one of my biggest trolls on Twitter last night.

Let me introduce you to Nick and what a troll is. A troll on social media is someone who doesn’t engage yet merely stops by to pick at an old scab and then run away. They pop up when they feel it’s time to hate and then disappear. They rarely wish to have a conversation. That would be too much. For example, this is the 15th or so time Nick has complained about these writers at the Post Dispatch. Keep in mind Jose Ortiz, Ben Frederickson, and Benjamin Hochman are all on social media and have accounts but Nick didn’t want to tag them for fear of actual engagement. He lists their names and trolls them. Nick is a coward. Don’t be like Nick.

The above tweet angers me most. “I absolutely could” is a big statement for a man who hasn’t written an article(or at least one that I could find) in the past year. He’s pretender. Continue reading “The “I could” writers are the worst”