In Eternal Hope and Pursuit of Gridiron Glory

As an Ohio boy at heart and forever a fan of Cleveland sports teams, I’ve been conditioned by a lifetime of game day let downs, defeats, and disappointments to annually at the end of each football season take comfort in the old saw of a saying…

Well, there’s always next year.

But guess what sports fans, this just may be the next year every long disappointed yet always devoted Cleveland Browns fan has been hoping for.

There’s an energy around this year’s team that hasn’t been felt since Bernie Kosar and the Kardiac Kids days before him…

Yeah, it’s been that long.

Continue reading “In Eternal Hope and Pursuit of Gridiron Glory”

It’s FTW! Because We Love to Win! – part 1

First off, for all of you losers out there, it’s FTW!, not FSP!

And for all you dinosaurs out there who have no clue, FTW! is not a dyslexic acronym for WTF?, it stands for “For the Win!”

We winners tend to use it often.

And if you do not know what WTF? stands for my response to you is “W! T! F! Over!”

Come on man! or woman! Get with it. WTF? stands for What The…ah forget it. I’m not even gonna try. Heck, I’m not even gonna recommend that you try to “google it” or, in your out-of-date-case, that you try to “Ask Jeeves it” or try to “Dogpile it.” Because if you don’t know what WTF? stands for by now then you are such an outdated dinosaur that you had just better wait until one of the three people left working on your dismal local print newspaper gets around to writing a profile on it in the “What’s New!” section.

Then you’ll know for sure what it means.

But first you just hang on and around and wait for it.

Wow. Print newspapers.

Now there is a real winner of an industry.

It used to be, perhaps.

But not anymore.

Minus all you dinosaurs out there, when was the last time the rest of you read a print newspaper?

For more than a few of you, I’m sure, the answer is never.

Because as soon as this internet thing came along, which, in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t too long ago, the print newspaper industry began to fold like an origami crane.

I bet you thought I was gonna say fold like a newspaper, right?

You’re so predictable.

But back to winners.

I like the internet. It’s a winner.

And since the newspaper is no longer a winner, then I no longer like it and I will no longer associate myself with it.

Because I only like winners.

So what about FSP!, you ask.

Any guesses?

Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to know what that one stands for because as far as I know it is a Kurt original.

But hey, aren’t they all?

All of the good ones, at least.

I’ll blame all the bad ones on some loser.

FSP! is a good one, though, and it stands for “For Second Place!”

Told ya it was good.

So, if I were to unacronymize what I said in the first sentence of this article and write it all out it would be:

“First off, for all you losers out there, it’s For the Win!, not For Second Place!”

It’s FTW! and not FSP! because Americans only love winners, don’t they?

I mean, we!

Americans only love winners, don’t we?!

That’s what I meant to say.

Honest.

Too late. I am sure one or two of my three regular readers, one of whom is me, is saying right about now, “See! There he goes again! There. He. Goes., talking about America as if he isn’t proud of it and of Americans as if he, himself (I never really understood why we do all that “I, myself” and “you, yourself” and you, yourselves” and “he, himself” and “she, sheself” (huh?) and “we, ourselves” over pronoun-cification of stuff. Who else would this one or two of my three regular readers be redundantly referring to when she (For some reason, in my mind I imagine (Duh, where else would one imagine if not in his or her mind?) that this one or two of my three regular readers I am referring to is a she. You can imagine this one or two of my three regular readers I am referring to to be whomever you want him or her to be, but to me, I imagine this one or two of my three regular readers, one of whom is me let us not forget, who I am referring to to be a stereotypically white, coming-to-us-(at us?)-live-from-smack-dab-in-the-middle-Middle-America, more-or-less-than-middle-class, less-or-more-than-middle-aged, and significantly-more-than-average-(Since I am getting ready to say the word “weighted” next, and since the words “middle” and “average” mean about the same thing, at least in this instance anyway, I guess I could have used the word “middle” again instead of the word “average” so that I could have continued with the annoying parallelism that I had going on; but, to me, “middle-weighted” sounds a bit too forced, even for such a forced parallelism such as the one I had going on. “Average-weighted” just sounds a bit more natural, don’t you think? Do you think? Besides, if I had used “middle” instead of “average,” then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to include this, yet another, annoying parenthetical expression that I intentionally, yet ever so smoothly, included for you to stumble over just so I can keep you confused and uncertain as to exactly what my stance on anything really is, because, let’s face it, it is much safer for me to straddle the proverbial fence than it is to actually declare forthright and for sure what I truly believe in. Accountability can be such a bitch. Oh, and I also do it, all these blasted parenthetical expressions, that is, so I can see exactly just how far I can go with this shtick of mine before you finally tell me once and for all to take this shtick and shtick it up my logistical shoot for shooting waste and other matters such as BS like this blog post. But that’s all it is, right? All this BS is nothing more than a shtick, which I am sure most of you are all ready aware. But, shtick or no shtick, I bet some of you out there, at least those of you who think of yourselves as Winners!, will, in your over-compulsive effort to Win!, probably read and re-read this section in an over-compulsive effort to find a forgotten or misplaced or out of character closing parentheses or dash (not hyphen, no no, not hyphen) or hyphen or missing comma or dangling participle or some other kind of point-keeping whatnot method so that you can say while pointing your finger like a jack hammer right at the spot on your monitor where you found the error(s) of my way(s), so to speak, that you are referring to, “Ha! Looky here, Brindley! Looky right exactly here at your mistake(s), you pompous dumbass!” and then proudly declare yourself a Winner! and properly declare me a Loser! (As implausible as it may sound, it is plausible, though highly unlikely, that there is at least one little bastard-of-an-error in here that even I may have overlooked. So all of you annoying pain in the ass nitpickers, do your thing and find it for me; and if you do find it, and I know you will, let me know, and I know you will. Because the Lord of lords and even you knows, and soon so will you if you don’t all ready, the only thing that I hate more than an annoying nitpicker constantly hounding for and finding and resolutely declaring over and over again the error(s) of my way(s), is knowing that my ways are errored and not knowing how to fix them.) Well, I’m pretty sure someone might do that. I know I would. Heck, I do that even when reading cereal boxes or pill prescriptions or condolence cards so why wouldn’t I do it when reading someone’s blog? And if you are one of those losers who are too nice to go around trying to nitpick other people’s writing mistakes, let alone their many other misfortunes besides their miserable writing, then let me tell you you really should try it because it feels sooo good whenever I do find someone else’s mistake, even if they only happen to be anonymous ones found on cereal boxes or pill prescriptions. But oh, if I were to find a mistake on something I can identify the mistakee with, like on a condolence card, say, then, without any doubt in my former military mind, whoever that mistaken mistakee is, he…sigh…or she…will surely hear from a surly me about it. The pure joy and bliss I feel when finding someone else’s mistake must certainly mean that my endless pursuit to help others less fortunate than me—i.e., (or is it e.g.?) losers—achieve perfection are ordained by God, Himself… Damn it! I did it again! Strike that useless and redundant goddamn Himself, regardless of how High and Mighty It might be, and just leave it at plain and simple God!) weighted—and I imagine (and by imagine, here, strangely enough, I don’t mean imagine at all but instead I mean “I believe,” even though all the while I am talking about a make believe, imaginary person (English is sooo confusing)) that America’s average weight must all ready start out much heavier than most countries’ above-average weights do, especially all those rice-eatin’ Asian ones that have not yet been attacked by us. And by us I mean McDonalds, which is, of course, the same thing as saying America. So, for all of my foreign readers, that means that even the average, or middle, take your pick, American weight is really frikkin unaveragely high by your standards, I imagine (And yes, by imagine I once again mean “I really believe it to be so.”).—she.) says “he?” Don’t we understand who the “he” is that she is referring to? Does she really also need to include the “himself?” Are we really that confused (to put it politely) as readers? It’s not as if there are an overwhelming amount of potential antecedents in this blather to choose from to begin with. By my count there is only YOU (and I sincerely do thank you for being here, BTW (Don’t you even dare ask what BTW means.)), an occasional WE, our one or two of three regular readers who I refer to as my IMAGINARY SHE (She, at least in my mind. Like I said, you have the freedom to chose any gender or trans-gender or sex or trans-sex (And just what the heck is the difference anyway between gender and sex?) or whatever or whomever you choose to use in your own imagination.), and ME, AKA KURT, AKA BRINDLEY, AKA KURT BRINDLEY. That’s it! …Sheesh! Keep it simple lady, will ya. Why make things more difficult than they have to be? Right?), isn’t one of them.”

Well…in my defense, I did all ready say that I do I only like winners, didn’t I?

And right now, the outlook for America is a little iffy, at best.

So, maybe deep down I do mean to say they instead of we.

And if I did mean to say it deep down, would you like to know why I meant to say it?

That’s right, you got it.

Because I am American and as an American, I love to win.

Nothing wrong with that.

Winning, that is.

But depending on how things turn out, there just may be end up being something wrong with America; specifically, that it is no longer a winner, or even considered a winner, which may make it hard for us winners to continue to align ourselves with it.

But as far as winning in general is concerned, I’m all for it.

If you ask me, and even if you don’t I’m gonna tell you anyway…

‘Cause I am certainly here to tell ya…

That second place blows!

To me, if you come in second place then you ain’t nothing but a First Place Loser!

You can take all of your Second Place Trophies, and your Silver Medals, and any other award that is not plated in anything but pure, honest to goodness—because being first and being a winner feels so good and honest—Gold and shove them all up your lame, loser-of-a-logistical-shoot-for-shooting-waste and keep them there!

And right along with them, you can also shove right up in your lame, loser-of-a-logistical-shoot-for-shooting-waste-and-other-matters-and-by-other-matters-I-mean-BS, all of the loser enablers who, because they are such losers themselves, want to convince everyone, especially our youth, that it’s okay to come in second place (and by coming in second place you now know I really mean losing), and that it’s okay that not everyone can be a winner so don’t worry if you aren’t one either, okay. Because everything is just A-OK!, okay?

Ugh!

No! It’s not okay!

It’s okay to want to win.

And it’s okay to know that everyone cannot win at everything.

Those are okay things to know.

But it is not okay to think it’s okay to accept losing just because everyone cannot possibly win at everything.

Okay?

You know what?

Show me a good loser and I’ll show you…

A LOSER!

So, while you are shoving all of that other loser stuff up your lame, loser-of-a-logistical-shoot-for-shooting-waste-and-other-matters-and-by-other-matters-I-mean-BS, make sure you especially shove up there, and shove them especially high and especially hard up there, all of those god damn demoralizing and anti-American “Thank you for Participating Even Though You Lost” trophies that are so ubiquitously and harmfully handed out to every kid, and his brother, and his sister, and uncle’s cousin to boot, who we parents who only want to see that little sparkle in our eye just have fun and just be happy no matter what just so we slap them with each and every over-sized sporting and scouting uniform there is to slap on that little sparkle in that blurry eye of ours.

Big sigh…

God I hate to lose.

And I especially hate it when my sports teams lose.

If you have read my blog’s About page, you may remember that, since I am from the Cleveland, Ohio area, being a sports fan has always been very, very frustrating for me all throughout my entire, and by entire I mean from the very second I was born until now. And we can keep repeating that “now” from now until the day that a professional Cleveland sports team finally, and I mean FINALLY, wins the title of champion, which is an even better way of saying winner, in their respective sport.

Yup. I’m a frustrated sports fan, that I am.

And, unfortunately for me and all of the other nutjobs like me who refuse to realign themselves with any professional sports teams (teams that more than likely have won at least one championship in my lifetime) other than a Cleveland professional sports team (You might just be surprised just how many of us nutjobs there are like that.), we will probably remain frustrated for a long while to come.

And it is all because of all the losing that I had to suffer through the other day (Both my professional baseball team AND the TEAM USA women’s soccer team lost yesterday. Usually I could really care less about either one of them because I am not all that much into baseball, but Cleveland happened to be playing Baltimore yesterday and ever since Baltimore stole the professional football (Unlike baseball, I really do like watching football, even if it is not post-season play.) team from Cleveland, I despise all things that relate to Baltimore as far as sports are concerned. In fact, I even refer to the fans who root for Baltimore teams, regardless of where they are from (Just ask my buddy not-from-Baltimore-but-one-of-the-biggest -Baltimorons-there-is-Bob.) as Baltimorons, that’s how much I despise Baltimore sports teams. So, that’s why I was especially interested in the outcome of yesterday’s baseball game. And that is why it hurt so much when I found out via tweet from another “friend,” who is from the loser Detroit area and who is a fan of loser Detroit teams but at least he hasn’t yet sold out on them to become a Baltimoron as far as I know but regardless of what team he is backing I am quite certain he enjoyed telling me, that Cleveland had lost to the Baltimorons. And as for women’s soccer, I apologize women, but, overall, I am a nominal men’s sports fan at best so you can probably imagine how I feel about any sport that has the classifier of women in front of it. Nope. Doesn’t have much of a chance with me. (Nothing against Title 9, but it just doesn’t quite do it for me like a sexy Title 10 or Title 50 does. And it’s not that Title 9 reminds of all those damn Participation Trophies, or anything like that. No, it’s not at all like it’s a let’s-Divide-and-Conquer-our-limited-and-dwindlingrightbeforeoureyes-tax-dollars-so-that-everyone-can-play-but-we-all-end-up-losing-instead kinda thing. No, it’s not like that one bit, either. Nope, nothing wrong with Title 9 by me, that’s for sure…but I may have overheard some other men complain about it once or twice at the local sports bar. Maybe.) Unless, of course, they are a women’s sport team that represents America and especially if they are a women’s sports team that is going for the ultimate win in the sport they are playing, ala the other day when TEAM USA women’s soccer team was competing again TEAM JAPAN (Their women’s team, as well, I suppose, but I cannot confirm but I didn’t even watch the game.) (And I apologize, Japan, if that is not how you refer to your team, but that’s how we Americans do it over here.) to become the World Cup Champions (Wow! Is there any better way to say winner than that?), then, and possibly only then, will I be really and truly interested in women’s sports. And of course, with all of my interest highly engaged in the hopes that both of my teams would win the other day, they both ultimately, and without a doubt, lost. Frikkin’ losers!) that brings us both here, bathing uncomfortably together in this overflowing rabid froth of a blog post of mine.

Big sigh…

Our Cancer Year

BOOK | NON-FICTION | GRAPHIC NOVEL | HEALTH
OUR CANCER YEAR
by Harvey Pekar

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar
I have been neck-high into the medical establishment since my leukemia diagnosis in November 2009. Consequently, while I do not consider myself an expert of the establishment by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe that I am far too acutely aware of it. But, I guess that is to be expected from someone as critically dependent upon it as I am.

In addition to my practical experiences with hospitals and doctors and examinations and extremely long needles, I have also spent much time reading about the establishment, especially that aspect of it which relates to the treatments of leukemia and chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD) of the lungs.

Most of my medical-related reading has been as research conducted on the internet.

Thank god for the internet. I am one of those annoying types who like to be knowledgeable just enough about something to make me, if not dangerous (which it just may), then certainly annoying.

I’ve come to find out over the past three years that doctors are a lot of fun to annoy.

While there are probably more books about cancer out there stalking, I mean, stocking the shelves than there are cancerous cells, I don’t recall ever reading any of them.

I don’t know why. Maybe because they all seemed too sanitary or too personal or too impersonal or too whiney or too who knows what.

I didn’t so I just left them all alone; that is, until I learned that the legendary Harvey Pekar had his own version of a cancer story to tell.

Pekar, who died recently, is famous for his graphic novel series AMERICAN SPLENDOR, in which he chronicles his life as a VA Hospital file clerk in Cleveland, Ohio. It doesn’t sound like much to work with — Cleveland, file clerk, VA Hospital — but somehow it has endured through the years and was even turned into a flick starring the always spot-on Paul Giamatti as Pekar.

In 1990, Pekar was diagnosed with and treated for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Four years after surviving through that experience, he collaborated with his wife Joyce Brabner to publish an AMERICAN SPLENDOR-like graphic novel called OUR CANCER YEAR.

OUR CANCER YEAR is a gritty, honest and, sometimes, horrific portrayal of what life was like for Pekar and his wife while battling the disease.

But it is about more than just his experience with cancer. Pekar’s wife is also a comic book writer who focuses her work on peace projects. Through her efforts, we are provided side story glimpses about Operation Desert Shield and her work with teenage peace activists. And, because they had recently purchased a home at the time of his diagnosis, we also have the added stress that comes with buying a home on top of everything else that is happening to them.

I found the book interesting because Pekar really was able to bring out the hope and heartache and stress and pain that one, and one’s loved ones, must endure throughout the entire cancer experience, from first finding out about the disease, to all the damage that the chemotherapy treatment does to the body, to the overwhelming toll it takes on those closest to the cancer patient trying to care for him. It was also interesting to me to compare how he managed to cope with the disease versus how I tried to manage.

Let’s just say he is a glass half empty kind of guy. While I typically am too, I never felt as down about the disease as he apparently did.

While Pekar and I had many similar experiences battling our respective cancers, we also had many differences. One of the most significant differences was a painful experience that he had to go through that I never did (at least not yet–knock on wood). Pekar contracted Herpes Zoster, also known as shingles. For some reason, Shingles are a big threat to chemotherapy patients. Thankfully, my doctors were very aggressive about it and put me on an antiviral drug called Valtrex (Valaciclovir) as a preventative measure for at least a year, and which I will probably take for the rest of my life. Pekar also suffered much worse hallucinations and anxiety than I did as an effect from all the drugs cancer patients typically have to take.

While most of what you need to know about the medical establishment in general and cancer in particular can be found on the internet, some things can’t. In my perspective, if you really want to get telling insight into the hardships that come with having cancer you either need to experience it yourself first-hand, which I emphatically do not recommend, or you need to experience it in a less graphic but completely realistic and touching way, like reading Pekar’s graphic novel OUR CANCER YEAR.

~~~~

Rating System:
★ = Unreadable
★ ★ = Poor Read
★ ★ ★ = Average Read
★ ★ ★ ★ = Outstanding Read
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ = Exceptional Read