Monday, October 31, 2005

Chain Reaction

Plan B
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Septa struck this morning and the workers of Philadelphia are screwed.

The fastest I've ever gotten to work on the Trolley/Train Combo I take is 45 minutes...never more than 60.

I rode my bike to work today in 39!

The roads are completely clogged with people forced to drive. It would probably be 1.5 hours to make it in by car.

Very few mishaps on the way, the biggest danger being 2 broken spokes on my back rim. I also dont like having to wear a backpack with my dress clothes in it. If this strike keeps up, I'll get a frame pack so my body can be free.

It really put me in a good mood though, I'm cleaned up and singing to myself here. (Fire Woman, The Cult)

My tie has little bicycles on it!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

top of the cake

i thought had a tough week
then somebody i knew died today

and everything changes

he was my age
my height (well four inches shorter)
but made it up in people that loved/respected him
goatee and earing
and a smile to love

our kids went to school together
he coached C@lebs baseball team this year

He Coached football with my sons
and we endured five LONG years of wrestling together
I have photos of him on the website

i evenwrote an article about him once here

We're talking about a father of two boys
who loved them desperatley
who was never without his wife

and always pretended to be happy to see me
a decent man
better than me
dead on the road

i have a photo of the car wreck and it shows the blood on the highway.....

People came to football practice tonight to cry together
and hear hear that they just unplugged his machine
have you seen 350lbs coaches cry?
seriously, tattooed shaven earinged coaches crying

how about a team of 100lbs kids that loved him and his sons
dressed in their pads and weeping
upon each other
have you seen that?
close your eyes and feel it
its a fucking mess

if you got something to do you better fucking do it
times running out

Friday, October 28, 2005

Admit One

Originally uploaded by steakbellie

Alone on the trolley,
on the train,
in the elevator,
in the office
and back again

In my head
I replay the worst scenes
the ones that make me physically sick
over and over

i'm forced to watch from every angle
hear every sound
hurt myself over and over
actually wincing

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Lion's Press Conference

The Press Conference has been quickly arrainged on the Savanah. There's a monkey swining on the microphone stand, hooting into the microphone to test it. A pack of Antelope are looking nervously from side to side. They have press passes.

The lights come on and the Lion comes out from behind a curtain. He centers himself infront of the microphone (monkey starts to swing upside-down now) and a backdrop that has the words "New Beginingz" stamped repeatedly on it.

Lion: (clears throat to see that the mic is on, the Antelope shuffle slightly) "Hey guys, I dont want to take alot of your time, so I'll get right to it. I've been thinking alot lately and I've decided to announce to you and the world, that I am no longer a Lion."

The crowd is stunned and the Lion is confused by the lack of reaction. One of the Antelope blinks.

"Really...I'm not a Lion....I've...."
There is a mad shuffle of hooves and dust.
The assembled animals are gone except for the monkey who gnawing on the microphone cord and patting himself on his pink ass.
The Lion exhales and audibly thumps his head down on the live mic.

someone else's turn

Originally uploaded by steakbellie
i've put away the badges i wear
shelved the golden rule
i no longer need to be the hero
the rock

I'm going to stop building bridges
stop extending my hand
stop understanding
I'm on holiday

it's time for me

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The rain's coming down on the inside too

this is one of those times
that you'll never forgive us for
even if your head understands it

i see nothing but heartbeak and dirty socks for miles

i've been through this before
but on your side
and it still hurts

we're all gonna be alone together
thinking about it
wishing for that time machine

if a hunger-strike could fix it
i would be not-eating for two

Monday, October 24, 2005

Rabbit Stew for Steakbellie

Thurman Munson's Brother
Here's a great article by blogging newcommer Artie Lange. He scooped me talking about Extreme Makeover:Home Edition. It's a show I love/hate. I'm fascinated watching the people who are getting new homes and of their stories. I'm also fascinated by design and construction and the stuff they build is always functional, beautiful and apporpriate.

I hate the show because It makes me want to cry. I get all worked up hearing about the dog with only three legs and the drunk with a bad Scottish Accent. Seriously as the show progresses I feel tension building in a stretch of lanscape accross my throat and chest. It would be ok, if I could just cry and let it out like a big sissy, and nobody would know and I'd feel alot better. I'm in a dry period these days and dont allow myself to cry, so the tension just builds, and nothing happens.

The best part of Artie's article however is the story of the rabbit. Please go read it because I could only ruin it. Whenever he tells this story I always have a flashback to Monty Python's "Holy Grail"

'It IS the rabbit!!!'

Artie, Who's this hot blonde?

Clan Steakbellie

Steakbellie Tartan
Originally uploaded by steakbellie
I was writing a painfully embarrasing article about my weekend, and I've decided to apply Ochams Razor and simplify it so I dont beat myself up too badly.
* I went to an OctoberFest Party at my neighbors!
* Somehow I wound up drinking Whiskey! (I dont drink hard liquor)
* I convinced my wife to drop me off at a local Irish bar to see my friends band play!
* I brought no money, but entered a contest to pour Gunniess!
* I got in line many times pretending to be a different person! (free gunniess)
* I spoke to everyone in a Scottish Accent the whole night! (including people I know)
* I'm not very good at that!
* I remember very little of this, but it was reconstructed for me by others!
* The next day, upon confessing to my wife that I puked in the backyard, she informed me of all the other places I puked too!

See it's a hell of alot less embarrassing when I list it in fun, bulleted copy. I havent drunk this much since college. In fact this is the first time I've blacked out in 13 years. I've been cringing with every new revelation that has been coming my way. Apparently I talked to a whole bunch of people...ughhhh.

I do remember the Scottish Accent part. I thought it would be ironic to do that in an Irish bar....

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Game in the Rain

Rain Game

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cutting the legs out from under yourself

Originally uploaded by steakbellie
You Are A Cog.: Obviously
Read this article by Birdy. It's a great view into Corporate America and the measures upper management takes to save themselves despite the damage to be caused to the Company they have been hired to nurture.

In the late Ninties, I had the best job I will ever have. All of you have seen how Advertising Companies are portrayed on TV. Beautiful, talented people working in a cut-throat atmosphere in ultra-posh settings. Seems like every tv show or movie glamourizes the Ad Executive, but really who's ever seen those people? Me. That was my job.

Our office was located in the most expensive floorspace in Manahattan and the world. I would ride the elevator with the famous who needed to do interviews on different floors. Reba McEntyre, The Beach Boys, Faith Hill.

I would call home
"Honey I was three feet from Ricky Martin!"
"The baby has diarrea"
"Britney Spears!!"
"He just puked on me too"
"Tom Seleck!!!"
"Can you pick up some Pedialite on the way home?"

Our offices were made out of glass walls. Our weekly staff meetings were Catered. In fact we had our OWN In-House Caterer with a special kitchen. Despite the special kitchen, all she did was order trays of sandwiches from expensive restaurants like 'Cosi'. (She was Latino. I know this because she was constantly telling everyone that she was Latino. I would interject "Oh, I didnt know you were Spanish" after one of her tired Latino Experience stories. She had a strong Spanish Accent, yet we were both born in the same town in New Jersey)

Our company parties were at Manhattan nightclubs frequented by J.Lo and P.Diddy. All of our work was for Fortune 500 Companies. We thought up their commercials, their ads, their logos and we built their Brands.

Our CEO once rented a private ship to sail us around Manahattan on a booze cruise to celebrate yet another big name contract. Not a "Circle Line" but an actual Sailing ship, with waiters and music and many many bottles of Champange.

Bleary Eyed Account Executives would recount wild after work sex parties, there were whisperings of Cocaine use in the bathrooms and which of the gay Art Directors was secretly Straight.

The company was stocked with the Titans of Advertising. Anyone who had ever made a name for themselves was plucked from their seats and hired by my company. The company was structured with layers of Creative Directors, and Senior staff. Idealy it should be a pyramid format. Mostly workers supporting some middle management, supporting the top executives.

I found that the higher up you went, the less you knew how to do. Not that these people were incompetant, many were brilliant. Just that they were busied with Concepts and Strategies, and unfamiliar with the tools that would turn those Visions into reality.

Here's an example: One of the Vice-Presidents described for me in a phone conversation what he wanted done for a book jacket we were designing for a famous author. I researched and designed the cover. The Vice-President was given the cover credit without mention of me, his computer skillset ends at checking email. It was a New York Times Bestseller.

I left that job at the turn of the Century (doesnt that sound cool? the turn of the Century?) The company was thriving on the dotcom boom, but the four hour commute was killing me and my family. I moved out of the area for a sweet job writting software, maintaining close email contact with my friends in NYC.

steakbellie of old
Originally uploaded by steakbellie
The Bubble Breaks
Soon after I left, the dot-com bubble began to break. Money started to dry up and the company begin to cut back on the parties. They instituted a Hiring Freeze. They limited raises. They sent out positive emails about how things were getting tighter but were about to turn around, have confidence in your Ship-Captain.

Than came the first round of cuts. Because they truly believed that the downturn was temporary, Management only laid off workers at the bottom level. It had worked very hard acuiring it's all-star management staff and wasnt about to let them go for a single bad quarter.

The next quarter the same thing happemed. The recovery, couldnt be far off, so they cut the workers again. This happened for four rounds of lay-offs til 9-11. Soon the company still had a massive payroll, and almost no-one to do the little work they had. Furthermore, Pride & Policy did not allow them to hire back those workers that they had just laid off. Unwilling to trim the company evenly throughout the recession, management had thrown away the company.

Steakbellie Loses/Wins
My software company went down with the towers. Being unemployed is a great lesson in humility that everyone should experience once, kind of like a good ass-kicking. In the depths of my sorrow the Red Phone rang.

"Steakbellie, We need you in New York!"
"I'm on my way!"

The next six months were a complete blur. I rode a Greyhound from Philly to NYC every day, and did the Production work of an entire company. Most of the glass offices were dark and those few staff that remained were glum with gallows humor. No more catered champagne birthday parties.

I would show up with a box of doughnuts and a grin. I was already out of a job, so I didnt have to worry about losing one. This was only a temporary patch for me and I was charging my former employer exhorbitant fees just to show up.

I'm still alittle bitter about what happened. The excutives who ran the business were so concered about preserving themselves that they choked all of the life out of the company. Despite the tales of excess, they produced some of the finest work I've ever seen. Everyone I cared about at that company was laid off and they went adrift to be bought by a bigger company, that bought it for their catalog of work for a song and a cup of coffee.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

enough already.....

power ball
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I wish somebody would win this stupid thing so I can forget about it again. My mind keeps spinning hypothetical situations of what to do if I win, and I'm sick of thinkning about it.

It's not that it's bad to have a fantasy (almost everything I believe in is a fantasy!) It's that all of the scenereos turn out bad in my head. I win 300 Brazillion Dollars and it destroys my family....everytime.

I try to help my friends, and they hate me. All of my beer is warm. My dog bites me.

God, please lift this burden and let some other poor soul win this money.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Approximation of a Man

I'm a six like the rest of them
most are three plus three
acouple make do with four plus two
I'm a seven minus one
and the only one like it

six in one half dozen in the other?
not if you look how it got there

Drunk with Editorial Power!!!

I spent yesterday (and most likely today) doing mundane graphical work. It's a series of paper forms that need to get condensed and rebuilt. It's a rush job for another manager here. The forms have to get done under a tight deadline so I am doing what he cannot, I have 15 years as a graphic designer.

My problem is not with the form but with the guy. He has Art Director Disease. It's pretty serious.

He calls me throughout the day, making changes to the multiple forms, moving lines about, changing the size of boxes, trying to get things to line up. Alot of the boxes are a certain size because they need room for the person filling them...say "Address" needs more room than "First Name"

He can not see the functionality and cant get past his desire for extreme symtry and order. He makes changes to already completed (and approved) forms...just to make changes.

I've worked for plenty of real Art Director that are just as bad. Because they arent doing the work, they feel they need to at least have it arbitraily altered, so that they can feel involved. They use words that mean nothing, to describe their vision (which is never really a vision, but a hopeful plea for success to shine on their backside)

Thats part of the game and I can deal with that. This guy walks in and stands over my shoulder watching me rearrange text. Thats so not cool. I r4eally despise that....

Friday, October 14, 2005


Last night there were skinheads on my lawn
Take the skinheads bowling
Take them bowling

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What if it worked?

Lincoln Memorial
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I'm an optimist
It's something that I inhertited from my Dad. Even as Cynical & Sarcastic as I get with time and experience, I always find it creeping into my head 'what if there's a way to make it work?'

Alone in my head, I find myself trying on the shoes of my enemies. Thinking what they are going through, empathizing with their situations. Fantasizing ways to bridge the gaps and reach out. I dont always do it, but I do play around with the options. Alot of times I silently forgive enough so that it doesnt haunt me. I forget.

It's the kind of mentality that didnt always serve me well growing up. Girls dumped me and people took advantage of me, because I didnt realize that they had different intentions. I got hurt easily, but caloused with age. In fact I can be pretty hard now at times.

I had a conversation with my wife today that sparked something in me. I've been upset with my job and have a crappy attitude. There's no future here and no matter what happens I'll still leave next year...but what to do with the time over the next several months. I could sit here are rot or get something done...there's things I want to learn, projects I'd rather not leave unfinnished...Someone inside me groaned when I realized I might make myself work for nothing other than integrity....But thats something thats still important to me I guess.....we'll see if it sticks or if I slog back down after the next inane conversation with my boss....

The Local Dump

"Do you ever get scared?"
The baby is laying in my bed with the comforter pulled up to his chin, he's watching me get my work clothes ready for tomorrow. It's cold outside.
"How come you're not afraid to go downstairs by yourself?"

He's be a nut lately about going to a floor of the house, when nobody else is there. It's a problem because in our old house they only put bathrooms on the second floor. One of the brothers has to go up with him when he wants to go.

"Some stuff you just get tired of being scared of...I continue...."like tonight you had to take a dump, but nobody wanted to leave the dinner table to go with you." (He's smiling sheepishly out of a mix of embarrassment and giddyness over the word 'dump') Someday you're going to be faced with the decision of being afraid and crapping in your pants, or being afraid and using the toilet. You'll still be afraid, but you'll be alot more comfortable if you make it to the toilet. Pretty soon you'll just get tired of being scared about it and just do it."

He doesnt say anything else and watches me spray startch on my shirt

I'm a dog people

I love dogs. I have two big ones.
When I worked for myself for 3 years, they were the only people I had to talk to during the day, so we became very good at communicating with each other.

When I am mad at them I show my teeth, or do a low growl and they are groveling on the floor. Without thinking, I've growled at my children and once even at some nasty lady on the train.

Mostly I am happy with them and they like to lay nexto, on or around me.

We have a neighbor with two dogs as well. They are nice people but we never really hit it off, and I think maybe some of it was their feelings about how we keep our dogs.

Five years ago these neighbors had no children. They would come home from work, to their perfectly kept house, and take their dogs for long walks with special leashes that grab around the torso so not to choke them. They dearly loved these dogs and bought them expensive scientifically formulated dog foods. One of the dogs got cancer, and I was really heartbroken about it. They spent thousands and thousands of dollars, getting radiation treatments and chemotherapy...its all out of pocket. The dog survived and is still around today.

My dogs dont get enough excercise, I dont walk them enough, but they do go and run and wrestle each other in the back yard. I feel bad that they dont get walked enough, and I'd always feel worse with a thinly disguised comment from these people on the occassion I did walk them. The reality is that I have too much going on in my life and my dogs get shafted on the walks.

Over the next two years I watched them walk these dogs twice a day...every day...every weather. Then they had a baby. I've NEVER seen them walk them again in the last three years!!!! Not Once! HA!!!!

hand me the graviton

I sit in a high gravity area.
It sounds funny but it's true. The multiplied force ensures that I dont leave to do something interesting, and they dont have to post guards. They know I'm not going anywhere.

I can get up to get water, but I am drawn back down into my low chair soon after. I try to calculate what my escape velocity is, but the math is too difficult, and I'm too tired from sitting here all day.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

didnt win.....

should probably go to work tomorrow....guess i gotta go to bed....

Understanding Women

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.

Understanding Men

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Lets understand the male. Look at this photo. One of these creatures is named Larry, and the other is named Dave. Can you tell which one is named Larry? Doesnt matter, you could rub either one of these guys on the belly and his leg would shake.

Dave is the one in the yellow hat. He shows up at my house whenever there's an Eagles game on tv. Dave is drinking my beer, laying on my couch, being loved by my dog. Do you see that smile on his face. Dave is happy.

Thats it. Thats how deep we go.

Well we actually do go deeper but only when you introduce a woman to the experiment....then we add the thought "BOOOOBIES"

fall in the city (haiku)

leaves in the gutter
wind biting faces and ears
girls in leather boots

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Steakbellie hits it big

power ball
Originally uploaded by steakbellie
Concerning the post about winning the lottery, I like Birdy's assessment that most fights ARE about imaginary things. In fact I realized that I dont have this lottery conversation with my own wife because WE'D probably fight about it too.

My wife is an extrememly fun person, who knows how to enjoy life. $10 Million would inspire her to throw a party that lasted about two months and spanned every continent. There would be lots of fun, laughing and drinking and in the end, all of the money would be spent and I'd have a house full of animals and candles.

Despite not buying tickets, I too have a detailed plan of how I'd spend (read: not spend) the money...and by great contrast, I'd die anonymously laying on a huge pile of stock certificates with dirty socks on, sometime in the next century. I actually get alittle stressed when I dive into this fantasy so, it probably a good thing that I dont win.

Seriously, I'd love to remain annonymous, and not even tell my friends. I'd pay off my house and tell the neighbors that I quit my job to become an actor. Whenever I showed up with a new car, I'd say I landed a spot on a Soap Opera. You know, the one on the Spanish station.

I'd buy a beach house with the sole purpose of offering it to my friends for when they want to vacation with their families. So many of us can never get away anywhere and I think a free vacation is a kick nice thing to do for someone. I'd hook up my parents and inlaws with permanant money. My sibs not so. I'd pay off their debts (houses, cars), but not give them any cash. I mean we still need SOME people in this family working!

So at lunch today, I went out and bought 2 Powerball tickets....Aidious!!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The 5:35 El

I wasnt afraid of you
or of kicking in your teeth
I was afraid of everything after

How many fingers am I holding up?

I have a friend drives to Delaware to buy Lottery Tickets whenever the Powerball gets to be more than a few Brazillion Dollars. He drives to Delaware to buy them because Delaware allows you to remain anonymous if you win. No Press Conferences with you holding the big cardboard check, publishing your hometown for the world to see. I think thats a pretty good option. (as a funny sidenote, I used to create those checks for the Casinos in New Jersey)

He's not a gambler or wasteful and only buys the tickets when the payout is a rediculous sum. Mostly I think he buys the tickets because he's hopeful and enjoys fanatsizing about winning the money.

On long drives he and his wife would talk about what they would do with the money if they won $100,000 $1 Million, $10 Million, or $100 Million. He delevelops complex schemes of how he we take care of those he loves and how he would use the money for the good of the community. He agonizes over how to help someone without making them resent you.

They no longer talk about this, because they always get in a big fight over how they should spent the hypothetical money. That makes me laugh because it's so human.

I would also like to remind him that he said he was going to hook me up. I dont need a Million just pay off my mortgage so I can fall down drunk on my front lawn any day I dont feel like working....

three for monday

Most of the food I've eaten,
I didnt grow
or kill
I dont know where it came from

Trying to become strong,
I hurt my body
trying to stop the pain,
I poison it

The peach pills bring a dull paranoia
that I must be conscience of
and temper my choices
until they wear off

Saturday, October 08, 2005

i think i'm happy or something like it

the rains coming down and I'm plugging away in the home office
itunes is on random and it's brown-eyed-girl
which is a song that i never particularly liked but
i associate so many good times to it

late nights that we hoped to end unsnapping a bra
but settled for too much beer and a high-five

my back not too bad today
and i can smile abit

Friday, October 07, 2005

Pink Tie

Pink Tie
Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Now hear me out here. Now when the Presidents best friend and Advisor Karl Rove thinks it a good idea to invade Iraq when what WE want is revenge for 9/11 from Osama what do you do? Now when you see that Karl Rove chose a PINK TIE with a GREEN you see the insanity now!!!!! This is the Presidents puppet master and he f'ing CRAZY!!!

I Love You, Kurt Vonnegut

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I just found out Kurt Vonnegut has a new book out. I feared Timequake was the last. He's 83 Brazillion years old now and I was afraid he had Alzeimers or something.

I actually dread the news of his death which is something that runs counter to my anti-cult-of-personality philosophy.

So it goes.

His books have meant so much to me over the years. They are chocked full of incompetant failure, but always a glimmer of hope. They make me feel like I'm not alone.

His latest advice?
"please notice when you are happy"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tylenol PM and Miller Lite

I could do the floor routine for the US Gymnast Olympic Routine right now I'm so loose...I think I'll sleep pretty good....

The Man In Black - Johnny Cash

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

Going Home

had enough....

Misery Index: High

Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
I'm so uncomforatable and tired. I cant sleep because of my back, and when I'm awake there is no comfortable position. Despite all the ibuprophen, I have a headache...I forgot my cellphone, plus I'm broke til monday...ugh...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Question For Iris

nothing's going to change my world
Some of you may already read this blog. If you havent and you have the time, start at the begining, and work your way forward. I'm conflicted about talking about it, because it makes me feel like a dirty old man for even being interested...but the reality is that it's written extremely well, and is easily my favorite blog.

I have a question for Iris and it's not about her life or anything like that, God knows she doesnt need advice from a trainwreck like me. Because there's no way to contact her I have to pose the question right here for General Delivery and hope you eventually find this....

In the photo at the top of the page...what the hell is in your hand?
Anyone else can leave a guess as to what you think it is.....winner gets to leave a guest blog article on my site....

At least I know who's looking out for me....

F'd my back up yesterday. If you've ever done that, it's a real eye opener. You cant stand strait, it hurts like hell, and you loose all strength from your extremities. I'm marginally better today, and I'm pretty sure this one isnt as bad as a few of the other times I've thrown it out.

I hobbled over to WAWA yesterday and the homeless guy who is always sitting on the sidewalk there looked right at me and said:
'Hey Buddy, Are You OK?'

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Eulogy for a Friend


Originally uploaded by steakbellie.
Lou and Bob Koch were great friends to me as I struggled to complete my graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania. I came from a family that survived thanks to my mother's babysitting jobs and the much-needed social security checks we received after my father's death. The Penn campus might as well have been a formal dinner and I was the guy eating my peas with a knife. Koch’s Deli was…well it was a deli in a world of formal dinners.

Graduate school was a heavy dose of culture shock. The brilliance of my fellow students was intimidating, but not nearly as much as their ambition and competitiveness. It may be a dog-eat-dog world and Penn may bring out the best from the brightest, but for me, I wanted a me-eat-sandwich world, followed by a slice of cherry cheesecake for dessert.

Going to Koch's, a place too small to be called a hole in the wall, more like a nick, grounded me in the belief that everyone has something special to offer, and that kindness and laughter were desirable traits, probably more so than understanding econometrics and public finance

It was a privilege to stand in those hour-long lines and listen to the same corny jokes as the week before; I felt a connection the people standing beside me as we shared sweet muenster cheese stacked on wax paper. The signs about the deli yellowed with age, but the incandescence from such a friendly place burned brighter than an acetylene torch. Oh, it was also a gastronomical nirvana to eat a Drexel or Corned Beef Special with a cold root beer to wash it down.

But most of all, it was Bob and Lou. They were like Frank, and Sammy at the Sands: headliners for sure, but people who harkened back to a different, what some may consider a kitschier time--five story casinos in Vegas and, of course, the neighborhood deli.

The first time I went to Koch's I called in my order. I know, I know, that's sort of like going to Disney and skipping the rides, but I was new.

They asked my name and I said I was "Big Lew." At 6'3" and with a long last name that begins with Lew, I felt I earned that nickname and used it often. After being told they already had a Big Lou, I conceded. "Fine, then I'll be 'Little Lew'" I said.

Picking up my order, the call went out to the guys in the back (which in a place so small was practically the front, too). "Order for Little Lew!"

For some reason, all eyes converged on me as if I accidentally stumbled in on the planning session for D-Day wearing a party hat and throwing streamers. Feeling the electricity generated by the shoulder-to-shoulder touch of a line full of hungry patrons, a feeling that can only be experienced in the atmosphere of old places like Koch's and the Palestra, I realized that the folks in that room were expecting something of me. They were waiting to hear from the new guy, Little Lew.

Using the skills I learned in Old Bridge, New Jersey, a place where quoting the Little Rascals was far more valued than quoting Plato, I summonsed up a response that acted as a sort of resume, an all-encompassing remark that says, "this is who I am, all wrapped up in a single response or rejoinder.” Little Lew was ready.

“I swear,” I said with a voice full of confidence and swagger, a far cry from my shaky knees, which better revealed my true emotions, “none of these guys have seen me naked!”

Big Lou giggled at my very public (and lame) attempt to generate laughs, and I think Bob may have given me bonus points for alluding to a dangerous topic without using offensive language. But then something strange happed: life went on. People resumed their conversations, Lou kept slicing off pastrami, and I shelled out $7.95 for a Rueben.

I spent several evenings a week for the next two years at Koch’s. I became so common that I was allowed to eat my food in the deli, laying out my lunch on a window ledge that was usually reserved for the dozens of cops who ate there.

It has been years since I have been there. I made a special trip back in 1995 upon learning of the death of Lou. Bob and I picked up where we left off. One thing was evident; he was clearly lost without his brother Lou.

Now, I have come to learn of Bob’s passing. He, like his brother, was young, too young to die. I curse myself for not going more often, primarily because friends should see each other, and I consider both Lou and Bob friends. But more often than not, I pine for the rest of us. What will we do without Koch’s? It was a counterweight to all life’s pressures. Its warm and friendly atmosphere raised my own bar for kindness, charity, and a sense of humor. It also raised my cholesterol a few dozen points, but that’s another story.

Then, I think about my first experience at Koch’s: the eerie attention being paid to me and my goofy attempt at humor which, after it left my trembling mouth, seemed to relax the congregation of meat-eaters and hence welcomed me into a not too exclusive club.

Maybe that’s how Bob and Lou wanted it. It wasn’t their deli. It was our deli. Like good maestros, Bob and Lou knew how to get the most out of their orchestra and the sweet music of friendship and food, the symphonic splendor of their chopped liver and hackneyed jokes will fill the air only as long as we keep playing, as long as we keep eating, and as long as we keep being good to each other. While the baton will be passed to other people, the instruments remain in our hands. I say play on! And pass the corned beef, please.

Things I Do Once A Year

* Take a shower (even if I dont need it!)
* Break my hand punching a door (did that this summer!)
* Throw out my back (this morning!)
All thats left to do is to drink too much and puke, then I'm good till next year!

Occasional Home of George W Bush

Whats this guy up to anyway? While I'm sure she is experienced as a lawyer, I think it's pretty irresponsible to appoint someone to be a SUPREME COURT JUSTICE that has never been ANY KIND OF JUDGE before. Especially after he screwed up by appointing someone to head FEMA who had never done Disaster Recivery.

The Conservatives are upset that he didnt choose a certified right winger. I think the reality is, that if Bush is trying to fool someone, it's the Dems he's trying to fool....keep your eyes open....

Monday, October 03, 2005

There's Ed

Was on my weekely lunch with Jason, critic of Philly's Homeless...we're walking past an outdoor cafe. I nod towards a tan man in his fifties eating lunch on a sidewalk table. Jason bumps his table walking past.

Steakbellie: "There's Ed"
Jason: "Who's Ed?"
Steakbellie: "The Govenor"
Jason: "Of?"
Steakbellie: "Pennsylvania"
Jason: "Why dont we say hi?"
Steakbellie: "He's Eating you Jackass"
Jason: "Oh"

Ed Rendell is the most accessable politician in history. I've shook his hand twice in the last 4 years....he's freaking everywhere...and isnt that what we want? Someone on the scene?

What good can come of this?

I have a pile of coffee beans on my desk and I'm eating them like peanuts....

Countdown to Blastoff

I've decided to quit my bitching and move on. I can only take so much insanity at the's clear that I have no way to influence this ship run amok, and the Captain is on crack. I'm gonna finish out the year, using the time to get all my stuff together, and start 2006 with a shower of resumes.

I hate starting over, but I'm not gonna sit here and rot...I feel pretty good about having made the decision.

....and begin...

ps ironically the philly inquirer ran news of my promotion today. Sales guys have been calling nonstop

sunshine on my backside (haiku)

Originally uploaded by steakbellie
laminate this day
keep these giggles in my mind
smiles in my heart

Sunday, October 02, 2005

(drunk_+)Everything I learned in college still applies

I tried to writ e this once but apparently I'm alittle here's what important from tonight:

* I went to a BBQ
* It was on the rich side of the neighborhod
* One of the people I met was an heir to one of my favorite beers
* I wanted to like him but he was 100% dickhead
* Another person I met told me about the $400 Million dollar company he just sold BEFORE he told me his name.
* He's propbaly a dickhead too
* To balance out the universe me and my buddy showed thes dickheads how to do a keg stand (see photo). (Chicks are rarely impresssed, but god we had some fun with these fuckers)