FINKLEDORFF, FINKLEDORFF, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

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(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

NEARLY a whole week has gone by since I posted my last entry. It is also a new month. My how time flies when you’re making fudge!

The past week was a busy week for me. I had some last minute, unexpected changes to make on a project at work. So I had to scurry and scramble to get it done. And, of course, things were as busy as ever with the children. S started attending a new high school part time. On her fourth day she was nominated as freshman class queen. Not bad! But for Dad this entailed a special trip to the mall and forking over of a bunch of dollars not originally planned for in this month’s budget. J needed a tetanus shot and routine blood work to check his seizure medication level. This meant a bunch of phone calls for Dad to make appointments and get the specialist’s order for blood work faxed over. T ended up puking in school last Friday! “Way to go, sport!” Since Dad was extremely busy at work, T’s unexpected upchucking caused upheaval for Dad. But, after a mess of phone calls, I was able to get my sister C to help me bring T home from school. The usual business of the week also continued: trips to the store, a trip to the laundry mat (which was put off for a few days again, but not as bad as the week before), dinners had to be prepared. One of the nights we had a “buffet.” We each got to eat whatever we wanted. This was easy to prepare: one mile to Taco Bell, another half mile to McDonalds and then Burger King on the way back home! Only in America! I wonder if the originator of McDonalds was a single father? I tell you, these fast food establishments have been a “blessing” when I have been pressed for time! Although, they do have a tendency to deflate one’s savings and inflate one’s waist!

Oh, I was in Wal-Mart on Sunday and I slipped and bought more of Mom’s music. This time it was “Tapestry” by Carole King. What an awesome recording! I know it’s the music Mom listened to. But I was under the influence of my migraine pills that day! So, I plead temporary insanity! Besides, my head hurt too much to listen to rock. I needed something mellow to make me feel better. (Oh yes, I could come up with many rationalizations for buying new music!)

Today we got so much snow! The kids were home from school and I was home from work. It snowed and snowed for hours and hours. I was able to get out and take some pictures around the neighborhood. You can see these HERE.

Oh yeah… we have no heat again today. The landlord has lots of excuses though!

Well that’s where I have been for the last week: life as usual.

SINCE there have been a few people that have discovered my Finkledorff websites and asked, “Who is Finkledorff? And WHAT is a Finkledorff anyway??”

To answer the first question, I AM Finkledorff! As to the second question, I do not know what a Finkledorff is and I am not sure where the name originated! Mom and I have a few “affectionate” terms for each other. It may have originated there. Of course, I can’t reveal to the whole world what some of those names are! And Mom won’t tell you either if you email her because she knows that I have some good black mail pictures of her that I can always post here!

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However Finkledorff originated, it has become my “e-name.” I use it as my ID on several internet sites. I use it as my ID on eBay. I even had the crazy notion to create an online store called “Finkledorff Online Gifts and Crafts” on which I sell some of life’s basic necessities: rubber chickens, juggling balls, alien dolls, whoopie cushions. Hey, I can hook you up! The picture above is me holding the check from my very first sale. It was for a rubber chicken that sold on eBay for twice the amount that I purchased it at! I used the money to buy my neighbor’s back yard so that I could expand my rubber chicken ranch. (Oh, did I mention that I also sell bridges? Ya wanna buy one?) *Please note that this website has been discontinued.

WHEN WE WERE ROCK STARS

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(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

“YOU wanted the best and you got it! The hottest band in the land…”

“APE??”

NOW, if you are any kind of true rock-n-roller, you would know that “APE” is not the real conclusion to the above lines. You would know that those lines are at the beginning of KISS “Alive I.” Back in the early to mid seventies, KISS came on the scene and took the teenage world by storm. They were different. They were awesome with their make up, costumes, platform shoes and catchy rock-n-roll tunes. You either enlisted in the KISS Army or you just were not with it, man!

So, Cousin P and I decided that we would start our own rock band. Somehow we came up with the name APE. We each had stage names as well. He was the infamous “Alfred B. Oil” and I was the ultra-cool “Barney B. Bogart.” Hey, it sounded cool at the time! But what did we really know? We were still making the transition from plaid double-knit pants to tie-dyed bell-bottoms. We weren’t fully hip yet.

Cousin P had a small low quality drum set that Gram and Pop got for him from Sears or something. So he let me play that. His mom then got him an electric bass guitar from J C Penny, I think. So we would set up in Gram’s basement, put some colored lights on and make some noise. We would yell and scream and carry on. We even wore our blue motorcycle helmets while we played. That was the ultimate in coolness! If KISS could go on stage with their faces painted, we could certainly start a motorcycle helmet trend!

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SPEAKING of KISS’ costumes, there is something I could never really understand. Paul Stanley is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist. His costume, with a big black star over his eye, represented a rock star. Okay, that is cool. Ace Frehley, while sporting such a happening name like Ace and playing lead guitar, represented some kind of alien. Cool again. Gene Simmons was the bass guitarist and portrayed some kind of demon lord/monster, breathing fire and spitting blood while dangling his surgically enhanced tongue all over the place. You can’t get much cooler than that! But what was Peter Criss’ deal? He was the drummer and his costume was a… cat?? Huh? (I recently heard an interview with Gene Simmons. He said that they decided to unmask themselves when the original band broke up and they had to find guys to replace Peter and Ace. He said they were afraid the next guy might want to dress up like a giraffe or something and they would have a real zoo on their hands!)

MY MY very first album was Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.” I turned Cousin P on to Alice. We both were hooked! It wasn’t long before we added to Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, the Stones, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Foghat, KISS and a host of other rock giants to our record collections. Also, it was not long before we began imitating some of these people in a lot of ways. Cousin P was not allowed to, but I began letting my hair grow long. Our wardrobes suddenly had all kinds of T-shirts sporting the arrogant faces of our leaders. Circus magazine became our staple diet. My bedroom wall was covered with posters from Circus and from the Alice Cooper fan club. And we, along with many of our peers, would often pose for pictures with our tongues as long and pointed as we could get them just like Gene Simmons. Once I brought in a bloody baby copperhead snake that the cat brought home. I pulled an Alice Cooper as I let it dangle out of my mouth as I turned to the girl next to me in eighth grade homeroom. What a delight it was to see her flee the room in an ear-piercing scream! Cousin P even attempted blowing fire like Gene Simmons. A few good burns on the lips ended that though. (I sometimes think that the two of us would have ended up HERE for real if we kept following our heroes!)

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SOME of the things we did in imitating our idols as kids were rather mindless and even a little scary, looking back at it now. What were we thinking? What do we do about our own children and the people that they are following these days? At times I have found myself acting the role of “parental censorship officer.” And rightly so! But more often than not, since I do like a lot of the music that my kids like (other than the rap), I have found that some of the issues raised by my children’s idols and their songs have given us an opportunity to talk. It has given me an opportunity to teach them some good values when I hear negative attitudes advocated in their music. It has given me an opportunity to talk to them about suicide, sex, anger, drugs, proper attire and the complete evil of boy bands (I couldn’t resist!). We have a good time listening to music. We sing. We shout. We play air-guitar. We dance, even in the car! Just recently, as we approached our street on our way home one night, AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long” came on the radio. The kids begged me to not turn the car off until the song was over. So, I cranked it up to full volume and all five kids and I drove around the streets near our home until the song was over. What a blast! And yes, later the older kids and I talked about the fact that that song is just a sex song. Rather than taking my role as “parental censorship officer” to the extreme and banning all rock-n-roll from our house, I have chosen to use it as a touch point to relate to my kids. When we were kids, rock was all fun and excitement. As an adult, it still is. But there is something more to it now. I know that I have to be an example to my children. I refuse to leave their mental and emotional molding in the hands of their idols. I am the rock star in this house! Now put the disk in, crank up the volume and dance with me kids!

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY/DEATH BY MIGRAINE

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(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

ALRIGHT! Super Bowl Sunday and my team is playing! They finally made it! After all these years, the boys from Boston are going to the Super Bowl!

“Wait… Did you say Boston? The Giants aren’t from Boston, neither are the Ravens.”

That’s right. I said the boys from BOSTON are going to the Super Bowl. That’s right! AEROSMITH is doin’ the half time show, baby! Heh heh! SCORE!

WELL, my only plan for the day is to do nothing but watch the game later. I’ve been battling off a cold since Wednesday. It’s just enough of a cold to make me feel rather lethargic, a little achy, and somewhat cranky. (I bet you’re glad you aren’t hanging out with me today!) I thought I was over it on Friday, but it’s got me feeling pretty crummy this weekend. And Thursday was the worst! My cold was at its peak and I had a migraine headache on top of it. I was scheduled to be off from work on Thursday morning in order to take J to the neurologist. We both felt so sick that I cancelled the appointment and stayed in bed moaning until 10:30 when I finally slithered my way to the shower.

I did manage to get to work for the second half of Thursday and even had lunch at a Chinese place with a friend. I ordered plain old chicken and broccoli figuring that it should be the Asian cold remedy just like chicken noodle soup is American. Besides, I couldn’t taste much so there was no sense ordering anything fancy. My friend ordered some spicy shrimp with garlic sauce. Thank God for my cold! I wouldn’t want to smell that breath in the car all the way back to work!

I guess I must have been a little silly at lunchtime. My friend told me the next day that I was like a 10 year old boy who was up to some kind of mischief. (So what else is new?) But let me explain. In the middle of lunch I took my second dose of migraine medicine. It only took about 10 minutes for it to kick in and then… Well, my memory is a little foggy after that point. I don’t think I caused a scene in the restaurant. We had a team meeting as soon as we got back from lunch. I don’t think I caused any commotion during the meeting either. And I’m pretty sure I remained fully clothed the whole time.

LET ME tell you about those migraine pills though. Those things are deadly! Not just because they can whack your brain for a bit. They are just plain hard to swallow! Big, chalky and nasty, they just refuse to go down my throat!

A few months back, I had a migraine while I was at work. On this particular day, a good portion of the people in our department were attending a business seminar. So it was pretty deserted and quiet in our area. When I tried to swallow my pill I coughed and the pill launched up the back of my nose, ricocheted off the inside of my skull and shot like a meteor right down into my windpipe! I tried coughing again to no avail. I tried swallowing more water and just made matters worse. I was barely able to get any air and was making some pretty scary noises. My head started getting dizzy. I thought that pretty soon my life was going to be passing before my eyes. And I saw the tunnel of light that everyone speaks of. (Okay! It was only the fluorescent light above my cube. I just added that for dramatic effect.) I knew I had to get help quickly. I stood up and was about to go to the person on the other side of my cube wall. Standing there for a moment I decided to make one last desperate attempt to save myself. So I wrapped my arms around my ribs, squeezed with all of my might and coughed again. With an uncontrollable holler, that pill came flying out of my mouth like a bullet! It ping-ponged all around my cube! My eyes were watering. My face was beet red.

I had survived! I thought, “How ironic that something that is supposed to make me better nearly killed me!” Many times when I have had a migraine I said I would rather die than endure such pain. But I never really meant it!

YES, I am surviving right now. This past week was rather tiring. I won’t go into details about making arrangements for S to transfer schools, or the horrendous argument the kids had before I got home from work, or how I put off doing laundry a few days too many. (Did you realize that after a while, if certain types of undergarments are not changed they almost need to be chiseled off of one’s body?? Oops! Forgive me for putting that thought in your mind! Heh heh!) So life goes on. The stresses and trials continue. The house is still a mess and the dishes are piled sky high. But I am still breathing. Somehow I’ve managed to make it this far. So I’m not going to quit now. I only have a few gray hairs. I’m not completely bald yet. And I haven’t reached the stage of insanity where you start to drool on yourself. So I still have some fight left in me! Bring on those three teenagers and all their dirty laundry! I’m game!

WELL, since I live in New Jersey I guess I better root for the Giants tonight. They really should be the New JERSEY Giants, you know! Their stadium is in New Jersey. But whatever. I’ll be kicking back, sipping on my Robitussin, watching the big game tonight. Regardless of who wins, I’ll be happy. My boys made it to the Super Bowl. AEROSMITH RULES!

A TRIBUTE TO MY GRANDFATHER

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(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)

TODAY is my grandfather’s birthday. He passed away in 1993 after suffering through several strokes and other health problems. Today he would have been 90 years old.

THROUGHOUT the day, I thought a lot about Pop. God, how I miss him! With Gram passing just a few weeks ago, some of the grief of Pop’s passing has been brought back to the surface. Pop and Gram were one. It is now impossible to miss one without missing the other.

THE FOLLOWING is a song by Mark Heard who passed away several years ago at the age of 42. The song is about a friend of his who had died. The song expresses a faith that refuses to believe that death is final. It is full of a love that reaches beyond the grave. Its underlying pulse is a confidence that the writer and his friend will one day be reunited.

I HAVE often thought about Pop when I have listened to this song. At times I have cried with such a desire to see him and to talk to him again. “I see you now and then in dreams. Your voice sounds just like it used to. I know you better than I knew you then. All I can say is I love you.” My how those lines touch something so deep in my heart in relation to Pop! “I thought our days were commonplace, thought they would number in the millions. Now there’s only the aftertaste of circumstance that can’t pass this way again.” Oh how those lines cause me to miss him! How they bring up so many happy memories of days with Pop! What I wouldn’t give to have one of those days now! What I wouldn’t give to hear one of his jokes, or to go to a hockey game with him, or to hear him call me Jesse James when he caught me sneaking candy from the candy case at his diner as a kid. How I wish I could just be near him and sense his strength! He was a leader in our family. He was not afraid to go before us. He knew that we would follow. God, how I love him!

TREASURE OF THE BROKEN LAND
In Memory of Edward Durnin
January 25, 1911 – June 13, 1993

I see you now and then in dreams
Your voice sounds just like it used to
I know you better than I knew you then
All I can say is I love you

I thought our days were commonplace
Thought they would number in millions
Now there’s only the aftertaste
Of circumstance that can’t pass this way again

Treasure of the broken land
Parched earth, give up your captive ones
Waiting wind of Gabriel
Blow soon upon the hollow bones

I saw the city at its tortured worst
And you were outside the walls there
You were relieved of a lifelong thirst
I was dry at the fountain

I knew that you could see my shame
But you were eyeless and sparing
I awoke when you called my name
I felt the curtain tearing

Treasure of the broken land
Parched earth give up your captive ones
Waiting wind of Gabriel
Blow soon upon the hollow bones

I can melt the clock hands down
But only in my memory
Nobody gets the second chance
To be the friend they meant to be

I see you now and then in dreams
Your voice sounds just like it used to
I believe I will hear it again
God how I love you

Treasure of the broken land
Parched earth give up your captive ones
Waiting wind of Gabriel
Blow soon upon the hollow bones

From “Satellite Sky”
By Mark Heard