Blogs written by David "Alligator Jackson" Williams

Opiate, Homeless problem becoming a heap of poo 

We can argue which hit first the homeless problem or the opiate problem.  Both issues are raging out of control in huge cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.  Even smaller cities are seeing an increase in homelessness.  The opiate and homeless problem has impacted Small Town America.

 

Whichever issue may seem like it is our biggest social blight striking our country is all a bunch of poo.  A bunch of poo, you say?  Yes...both problems together are creating a big steamy, smelly stack of poo.

 

In an age where people are dreaming of colonizing other planets in the great unknown...we have a problem with poo on our city streets.  In San Fransisco....a yearly household income of $117,000 is considered "a low income household."  The streets of San Francisco are covered in poo.  https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/06/28/families-earning-117000-qualify-as-low-income-in-san-francisco.html

 

We have long been aware that our middle-class is shrinking.  We are rapidly becoming a society of haves and have- not.  We have turned a blind eye to this problem...but now we are unable to turn our noses from it.  We can look away but the smell will stop and eventually carry it's order up to the penthouses.

We have Hep A already spreading across America...other diseases will follow.  Homelessness is spreading across America.  Restrooms in public places are off limits to people because people are overdosing and dying in McDonald's restrooms.  

 

We can do great things in this country but we can not properly dispose of our own waste.  We might be able to ignore the increasing number of homeless people but we will not be able to ignore their poo.  We can walk by a homeless person on the street like they are invisible...but what about their poo?  We can only walk around it for so long.

 

The problem of homelessness has plagued us for years but it is finally causing a stink.  Very few things causes discomfort like stink.  When that stink drifts up to the penthouses and causes discomfort for the rich then maybe this stack of poo will be a priority......maybe then we will send a rocket ship of poo to Mars.  Of course that will not solve the problem but it is one hell of a rug to sweep under.

Living In the age of "Socially Accepted Addiction" 

We are truly living in a new world.  Society is changing everyday.  For argument's sake, we are going to establish that addiction is a disease.  This is not a column stating if it is or why....this is about the ramifications of "Socially Accepted Addiction"(SAA).

 

1.  THOU SHALL NOT SLEEP IN YOUR CAR

If you fall asleep in a parking lot you will possibly be narcanned.  Narcan will not hurt you but it may be extremely embarrassing if you fall asleep in Kroger's parking lot while your spouse is shopping and Little Johnny's Little League coach or teacher pulls  up and sees you in surrounded by EMS.

 

2.  THOU SHALL NOT WAIT IN PARKED CARS

If you are picking up a friend for work or a child from a friend's house...make darn sure they are ready to come out when you get there, if you are there for longer than a few minutes you may be subjected to having your picture taken and posted on social media as a potential drug buyer.

 

3. THOU SHALL NOT HAVE COMPANY

It is not Socially acceptable to be popular anymore.  Tell your Aunt Irma or your college buddies if they want to see you to hit you up on Facebook.  Excessive company is drug traffic.  Gladys Crabitz ( The nosey neighbors from Bewitched) will report you to the drug tip line.

 

4.  THOU SHALL SHOOT UP BUT NOT DRINK

It is okay to pass out at McDonald's in the restroom or on the corner of 4th and 9th as long as you are under the influence of drugs not alcohol. High is socially acceptable...drunk is not.  Needles okay...cans or bottles prohibited.

 

So these are just a few of the new guidelines for Socially Acceptable ADdiction not to be confused with any type of political correction, discrimination, or stereotyping.  Except if you have excessive tattoos.... especially neck tattoos.  If you have a neck tattoo or a friend with one.  You are obviously dealing in the trafficking of drugs.  All right....I hope this gets you ready to go out and about in the new world.

 

The Blue Light is fading 

The Blue Light flickered.  The Die Hard Battery just stalled.  Can Kenmore's days be numbered.  Sears is filing for bankruptcy.  

 

Another piece of my childhood slides into oblivion.  I remember my brother and I spending hours flipping through Sears Christmas catalogues preparing our lists to Santa.  I recall Icees at Kmart and flipping through the album section for the latest rock releases.

 

Kmart was king before Walmart.  Even after Walmarts established their dominance Kmart was a quick alternative.  Customers could avoid the big Walmart lines and crowded parking lots by running into Kmart.

 

But then the stores started closing and like dominoes....it spread.  Like our older big cities, Kmart and Sears stores infrastructure begin to falter.  The ceilings began slowly falling and the floors began cracking.  The buildings were no longer as pretty as the squeaky clean Target stores.

 

Sears image began to age....perhaps rightly so.  For our grandparents to used to read the Sears and Roebucks catalogue in their outhouses decades ago.  Suddenly, we were a Walmart world.

I remember at least once a month my dad would get "lost" in Sears looking at tools.  My mom made weekly trips to Kmart for Harlequin Romances.

 

There are a few Kmart stores that may survive if they divorce Sears.  The old Sears brands may survive as well but the end is near.  Times changes everything.  The Saturday afternoons at Kmart and Sears and then Shoney's are gone....along with my childhood.  We have Amazon now...we do not even have to leave our homes to shop.  No more lines.  No more blue light specials.  Life is better.....right?

 

 

Death of The TV Magazine....End of An Era 

My frantic search of the Sunday paper was in vain.  No TV Guide.  My world was crushed.  It did not fall out.  It was not forgotten to be put in.  My local paper, The Herald- Dispatch decided I did not need it.  I can find out what is on with my TV remote.

Suddenly, I was a boy again shuffling through my dad's Sunday paper looking for the TV section anxious to see what The Fonz was up to on Happy Days or if The Big Red Machine was going to roll into my living room.

Opening my Sunday paper and not finding a TV magazine is tantamount to opening up my Sunday paper and reading in the comics that Charlie Brown took Snoopy to the pound.

Newspapers have played a big role in my life.  There has been a Sunday paper in my house for fifty years.  I've followed Ernie Salvatore, Dave Walsh, Gerry Ahern, Tim Stephens, Mickey Johnson and woke up every morning feverishly scanning the sports section looking for Reds newspapers are becoming dinosaurs.  There is no denying it.  They are dying one section at a time.  News can be found faster on the internet.  People are getting news on Huntington City Watch fresh from the police scanner.  

 

Sure, it is hard to find the great writing and reporting found in newspapers but the newspaper needs a new vehicle.  It needs to be delivered fresh and fast like my pizza.  An old newspaper is not working anymore.

 

The TV magazine being put down is not like McDonald's doing away with the Big Mac but is close to seeing the closed sign at Shoney's.  It is the end of an era and shows papers are struggling to survive in the new media.  I'll always buy newspapers though....AJ Dawg likes to look at the pictures as she pees on them....you can't get that with a computer.

 

GATOR'S Not For Sale...even for free Fudge Rounds 

There was a knock on my door about 2 AM last night.  I was wiping the sleep out of my eyes as I opened the door.  I did not recognize the face at first but the curly hair looked familiar.  "Yes?" I asked kind of rudely since it was two in the morning.

 

"GATOR?  Is that you?". The woman asked.

 

"Yeah. Who are you?" I asked...though I felt like I know her.

 

"It's me.  Little Debbie.  I got something for you."

 

As I looked closely I could tell it was indeed Little Debbie...though, the years had not exactly been a friend to her.  She had the same iconic hair but was rather big.  I could understand how eating Little Debbie cakes could make you big but she was not heavy but man-like.  She looked a little like actor Will Ferrell.

I said sternly, "I have always wanted to meet you but it IS two AM.  Why couldn't it wait until in the morning?". I saw a big green garbage bag that obviously had something in it thrown over her shoulder." You are high profile, Gator, and I didn't want to be seen."

"Well, Here I am.  What can I do for you?" I asked.

 

"Well, Gator, it has come to my attention that you just love Fudge Rounds.  So I'm bringing you a huge bagful.  I didn't want anyone to see me."

 

I fought the urge to grab a chunk of chocolately goodness and said, "Well, Little Debbie...I do so love your sweet treats but I wouldn't feel honest taking them.  Everyone knows I love them delicious cakes but they will look at me different if they think I eat them because I'm getting free cakes or money to eat them."

 

Little Debbie sighed, "Are you really that gullible.  Do you think Fred Flintstone really eats Fruity Pebbles?  He is a milti- millionaire.  Scooby Doo doesn't eat Scooby snacks either.  He is Rich.  He eats Filet Mignon."

 

I sighed, " I don't care what they eat.  I don't care that politicians are paying websites to bash others.  I don't care if the sites are getting paid to support and dates even if they already support them.  I am not for sale."

 

" Are you sure, Gator?". She purred. "You won't stuff for face full of Fudge Rounds and confess your love for Little Debbie....even for a freshly made Fudge Round.  You are going to eat one anyway.  Why not get paid for it or eat a free one?"

 

 

"That's just me, Ma'am.  I do not care to tell someone to do something I just think they should know up front if I am getting paid...even if I'm going to eat it anyway."

 

"Well...I am sure I won't have any trouble giving these away," She said as she stormed off.

 

"Well...if you do get some orange pop.  Fudge Rounds and orange pop are great...but then again....Fudge Rounds go great with anything g.  You see? I said that all by myself without getting paid."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build it...and they will come 

I was sleeping last night until a sudden pop jarred me out of Dreamland. It sounded kind of like a 95 mile an hour fast ball colliding with a rugged old Louisville Slugger baseball bat.  
  
I looked up to see a ghostly looking young man in an old Chicago White Six uniform. I looked down and noticed that he wasn't wearing any shoes. 

  
"Shoeless Joe Jackson?" I gasped  
  
"That would be me," Joe answered. "Build it and they will come." 
  
"Build what?  A baseball field like in Field Of Dreams?" I wondered.  
  
"No, you watch too many movies. A new Baseball Hall of Fame", Joe said.  
  
"But we have one in Cooperstown, New York." 
  
Joe sighed, "but the best players aren't in there. Besides, this is America, the home of capitalism. Competition is as American as baseball and apple pie." 
  
"Hmmm", I pondered. "A generic Baseball Hall of Fame?" 
  
"Generic?" Joe stammered.  "Our players are better. They hold most of the records. We base on talent not behavior." 
  
"I see what you mean," I agreed. "It's getting to the point that 3000 hits don't mean anything if you can't pass a background check".  
  
"Background check?  There ain't no background checks in baseball", Joe said doing his best Tom Hanks imitation.  
  
I began to get excited, "Pete Rose! Got ta have Pete. He was Rocky before Rocky. He wasn't the biggest,fastest, or strongest or fastest but he came at you until he beat you." 
  
"Like I said earlier, you watch too many movies, I'm dead and even I know Rocky was boxing. Yes, of course, Pete, he is the hit leader".  
  
"Yes they wouldn't let him in because they said he was a gambler." 
  
"Gambler?  Even I know that's just a Kenny Roger's song. Because you gamble doesn't mean you can't play baseball," Joe stated.  
  
"Barry Bonds is the home run leader. And with Sosa and McQuire they made baseball our national pasttime again for a while", I gushed.  
  
"I talked to Ty Cobb," Joe said. "He wants in our hall. He said he don't want to hang out with sissies he wants in with real mean. He said baseball is dirt, sweat, and grit.  I drank a few with the Babe in baseball Heaven. You know, just because he's in Heaven, doesn't make him an angel. He's thinking about it, its just depends on how many female visitors we get ".  
  
Then I woke up. I realized that baseball wasn't for the fans anymore. Baseball was full of politics. Pete Rose was my childhood. He made me believe that anything could be done and I could do it 
  
I spent countless hours in the hot sun trying play hard and hustle like Pete Rose and now baseball acts like none of Pete's over 4000 hits happened, or even worse, that they never matter.  
  
Silly,Major League Baseball, the Hall's not for the players....it's for the fans. Let Pete Rose dive head first forever in our dreams... And in Cooperstown. 

 

The year the media killed the clown 

Bogo's hand trembles as he recounts "that" year.  It was year the circus tent fell in for good on the clown business.  The wheels fell off the proverbial clown car.  No longer was it safe for twelve clowns to pack into a Volkswagen Beetle and drive through town.

Bogo choked up talking about that year.  His once flamboyantly goofy hair is now shaved.  He now wears Adidas instead of his clown shoes.  "It's not safe to look like a clown since that year," Bogo moans.  "The media crucified us.  There were no killer clowns.  The shark stories got old so they came after us."

Bongo was right.  Report after report filled the airwaves.  Killer clowns with chainsaws. Evil clowns chasing people through the streets.  Psychotic clowns peeping in Windows.  Clowns we're everywhere...but in jail.  No clowns we're ever arrested.

"The media slayed us.  Talk about fake news...these killer clowns we're supposedly everywhere...but...somehow none got arrested.  How did that happened?  It happened that none got arrested because the things they said clowns did never happened.  Stephen King's It was released in theatres.  It had a clown dragging kids in sewers.  The hype for the movie was everywhere.  So they took our clown happy image a d drug it into the sewer. It was a conspiracy."

For decades, clowns we're friends to all.  From circuses to birthday parties, clowns were the star of the show. Everyone love a clown.  Until 2016....Bogo said,"The media needed a bad guy.  Who better to be the bad guy than someone you wouldn't expect.  We were bigger than sharks for a while because people expect sharks to eat swimmers.  They don't expect clowns to cut people up into little pieces.  But the media created the image...and that's who we became.  No clown ever laid a glove on anyone."

 

Bongo has not worked since 2016...the year the circus left town for good.  "The only job offers I get are as a hit man or repo man.  Something scary.  Barnum and Bailey even closed.  Circuses are gone.  No one wants a clown anymore.  People see us as killers.  Bogo cried,"I just want to make people laugh."

The tears of a clown when there's no one around

 

(This was a fictional interview to illustrate how clowns image has changed.  The killer clown has become a Halloween character)

 

How can even a landlord say no to AJ Dawg? 

AJ Dawg just doesn't understand....."Discrimination" she growls.  I agree with her.  Who would not want to rent to a cute little Shih Tzu like AJ Dawg?  I mean....everyone wants to stop and pet her as we walk down the street.....BUT....few want to rent to her.

As I attempt to move to another apartment...my loyalty to one cute little Shih Tzu is holding me back.  As you start looking through the seemingly miles and miles of apartment listings....over half hatefully proclaim NO PETS.

Now, I can understand the insurance implications of a Pit Bull.  But harmless lil' AJ Dawg isn't going to hurt anyone.  Sure, there are times when she can be very hardheaded.  Mention the word bath and she can have an attitude right off.  If you walk close to me...she may forget for a moment that she is just a Shih Tzu.  

"Discrimination" she growls.  Well, then I try to explain to her that some people do not like their carpet peed on. "Are they gonna clean it everyday?" she snarls. 

"Well, no," I answer.  "But technically it is their carpet and when we leave, the next person has to deal with the smell."

"Well, if the next person has a dog then maybe it won't bother them.  Maybe landlords should rent to only people having dogs.  I mean...I wouldn't rent to a cat  but who wouldn't rent to a cute lil' pup like me?"  To illustrate her point she starting crawling across the floor wagging her tail, like she does when she meets someone she likes on the street.  I must say, manipulation is her strong point.  If I had just half of her selling ability I could afford to buy a house.

The ones that do rent to dogs want a couple of hundred dollars or $50 a month.  "That is extortion!" AJ woofs.  

"Well, AJ....there is not much we can do it about it." I console her.  "I'll just have to keep looking."

"What if I promise not to pee in the carpet?" She asks featuring her underbite and wagging tail.

"AJ, that would be like a bird promising not to fly or a fish promising not to swim.  You might be a master manipulator but you can't outcon a lie detector or a landlord who has replaced carpet every time someone moves out. Besides that...maybe they get tired of tenants complaints every time you flip out because a dog walks by the patio door," I said.

"Those dogs are trespassing when they come on my property!" AJ defended. "Plus, they rent to smokers and not dogs?  That's discrimination and bad taste.  My teeth are a lot prettier than any smokers."

AJ has a point but there is no one to bargain with....it is back to Craiglist and Zillow....looking and hoping that the next listing is by a pet lover.  Hmmmm….maybe it isn't a bad idea to get her cut and bathed before I take her to meet the owner....after she has a better way with people than I do.  

 

 

 

When "this one" Belonged to the Big Red Machine 

Ahhhh October is upon us.  Football is everywhere.  The pigskin may be dominating the next few month's but as the leaves fall, we still have a fall classic.  That classic takes me back to my youth.  Yes, baseball, hot dogs and apple pie will always mean America to me even though these days it is more like football, hamburgers, and frozen coffees.  Baseball may not be the national past time but in October, the fall classic still reigns king. 

  

I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1963.  Something else memorable happened 55 years ago in Cincy.  Pete Rose, aka Charley hustle logged the first of his 4256 hits.  Yep, Pete Rose was The National League  Rookie of The Year in 1963.  The memories that Pete gave me still run through my head....Bowling over Ray Fosse to win the 1970 All-Star Game, scrapping with Bud Harrelson in 1973 playoffs, beating out a bunt to continue a hitting streak that lasted 44 games, standing on first base with his hat in the air after breaking Ty Cobb's hit record, and the squatting batting stance. 

  

Pete Rose taught me a lot about life.  He taught me you didn't have to be the fastest, the strongest, or the smartest to win.  He taught me that a man who hustles and tries hard can accomplish almost everything.  He taught me that no matter how bad things look do not give up.  Charlie Hustle also taught me that if it was worth doing, it was worthing giving it your best attitude. 

  

But The Big Red Machine was more than just Number 14.  Who could possibly forget Number 5?  Yes, the National League Rookie of The Year in 1968.....the greatest catcher of them all....the clutch slugger who out banged Mr October himself (Reggie Jackson) in the 1976 World Series.... no other than Johnny Bench. 

  

While Pete Rose was the rough and tough scrappy hometown boy from Cincinnati, Johnny Bench was the big strong country boy from Oklahoma.  Rose was the singles guy who beat you one piece at a time, while Bench would crush you with a single swing of the bat.  Bench is in The Hall of Fame getting the credit he deserves as being one of the best catchers to ever put on a mitt.  Rose is still in the alley at Cooperstown...still banned...signing autographs down the street.

  

Bench and Rose were the main cogs when the Main Spark, Sparky Anderson fired up the Big Red Machine in 1970.  JB was behind the plate.  Big Lee May was at first.  Tommy Helms, Woody woodward, and Tony Perez made up the rest of the infield.  Pete Rose, rookie Bernie Carbo, Hal Mc Rae and Bob Tolan - he of the unique batting stance of holding the bat high in the air made up the outfield.  Don Gullet, Wayne Simpson, Jim Merritt, Jim Maloney and Gary Nolan were the top arms on the staff.  Of course Wayne Granger, Pedro Borbon and Clay Carroll battled out of the bullpen for Captain Hook (Sparky). 

  

The Reds fell to Baltimore in the 1970 fall classic.  But, the Orioles were stacked with Frank and Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Bobby Grich and a phenomal pitching staff of Jim Palmer, Mike  Cueller, and Dave Mc Nally.  Bob Howsam would make the fateful trade that turned the Reds from contenders to legends.  In 1972, he swung a deal that brought in the mighty-mite Joe Morgan to play second base.  Morgan brought the Chief with him.  The Chief was Caesar Geronimo, a speedy defensive wizard who provided punch toward the end of the line-up.  Dave Conception grew in to the starting shortstop role and the Big Red Machine began to roll. 

  

The Reds lost to The A's in the World Series in 1972 but the A's were stacked with legends like Reggie Jackson, Sal Bando, Joe Rudi, and Vida Blue.  But this was the beginning for The Reds.  They had off years in '73 and '74, only to return with magical years in '75 and '76.  The Relentess Reds rolled in those two years.  The speed of Ken Griffey was placed in right field.  With tablesetters like Rose and Griffey leading off, the heart of the order could just knock them in.  Morgan hit third and he hit for both average and drive a ball over the fence.  When he was on base, he made the opposing teams nervous with his base stealing prowessness.  

  

It was George Foster and Dave Conception's emergence as stars that made the mid-70's Reds better than the '72 version.  Foster had giant forearms and according to Pete Rose had the strength to hunt bears with his bare hands. His black bat nailed 52 homers in 1977.  The Reds were stacked with NL MVP winners.  Bench in '70 and '72, Rose in '73, Morgan in '75 and '76, and Foster in '77.  The Reds bested the Red Sox in a battle for the ages in '75 and then swept one of the first pure money 'bought'- teams the Yankees in '76. Very few classic lineups have sported 4 MVP winners.  Although he never got the MVP award, Tony Perez was the glue that held them together.  He was known as The Big Doggy and his clubhouse presence personified teamwork and kept the egos in check.  Pitchers like Jack Billingham and Fred Norman were essential but were not powerhouse pitchers as the Reds were led by their great lineup.   Truly, one of the greatest lineups in the history of the game, it would be staggering to see how much that lineup would be worth today.  The payroll would probably eclipse $300 million if they were signed in today's market. 

  

Riverfront Stadium rocked with the Big Red Machine.  The Reds fighting down to the wire against the hated Dogers for the NL West crown.  Then, the Pirates were usually lurking around for a tough post season battle.  The Big Red Machine will always define 70's baseball.  The Big Red Machine will live forever in the hearts of Cincinnati fans.  Not only were they loaded with talent, but they had unique personalities to match.  

  

Well, it is October.  The Reds season has ended.  It was a bad year in Cincinnati.  The Big Red Machine looked more like The Little Red Wagon.  In fact, the classic Reds team with a 73 year-old Rose leading off and getting stuck in his crouch would probably give the younger Reds a run for their money.  The Reds will not be playing in the fall classic for a long time but they will always be World Champions in our hearts.  Rose may not be in the hallowed Hall but we know he was one of the best to play the game.  I will never forget The Big Red Machine and the years they gave a young, skinny boy something to believe inand memories to last a lifetime.

And The nursing home will rock! 

While working on the geriatric floor of the mental health hospital I work in, I discovered an AC/DC "Highway to Hell" CD.  A few days later I witnessed an older patient in a Black Sabbath t-shirt. 

Now, when my grandfather was in a nursing home, most of the residents listened Lawrence Welk or Frank Sinatra.  Then a few days later it occurred to me that these geriatriic rockers may not be ultra-hip granddaddies but simply listening to the music that they listened to when they were young.  I realized then that both bands were putting out albums in the 1970's.  It is not as if there is a law that you have to listen to easy listening when you retire.   

I just never thought of old people listening to AC/DC, now Journey or Toto I may be able to accept but I just could not ever picture a silver-haired toothless man bobbing their head back and forth headbanging and chanting the words to " Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap." 

If you think about it, if classics like "Iron Man" would be getting senior citizen discounts at McDonald's if they were people. 

It is not unusual for rock stars to die young but it is unusual to see them die older from natural causes like Ronnie James Dio, David Bowie, and Glen Frey.   

Gene Simmons of Kiss is getting ready to hit the road as he hits 70.  Bob Seger is blazing the trails in his 70s.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards may not seem to age but they are running out of room for candles on their birthday cakes. 

Classic rock is what I listen to everyday in my truck although I never thought Ratt would be golden oldies.  It is hard to accept that I have been listening to some of the same songs for forty years.  When I bought my first Led Zep album, I never dreamed I would still be listening to it forty years later.  But face it, new music is not carrying the torch.  I cannot see imagine any new bands now still relevant in 2060.  But who knows maybe Kiss will still be on their farewell tour in 2060.  Maybe Van Halen and Metallica will still be rocking the FM radio. 

I used to wonder if kids would listen to their dads music but the big question is will they accept grandpa's music?  I never did grasp Benny Goodman but I can imagine the future generations still appreciating Fat Bottom Girls. 

I saw a teenager wearing a Who t-shirt the other day...I have never seen a Who shirt even in the 80s.  Who knows maybe the kids will be alright.  Well, for now, crank up Back in Black and hit me with another round of prune juice.