What's With Wally?

Warblings from Wally David


And It Ain’t Even Winter Yet

Life in a small town, just south of Rochester, NY can be very appealing. It is a nice, peaceful little town. One stop light, three pizza shops, two bars, a grocery store, video store, three or for houses of worship, a micro-brewery and even an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

Something had to put a check in the negative column regarding life here. It is the weather. We have two and a half seasons: Summer, winter and what I like to call “In Between”. “In Between” lasts for a few weeks to a month or so before or after Winter. I count it as a half a season.

In the summer, the weather is pretty nice. It does not get too hot or too humid. There can be a fair amount of rain sometimes, but the lawn does not get burned.

In the Winter, the weather is pretty awful. Here are some old favorite “You Know You Are In Rochester, NY When…” jokes:

“18+ inches of snow falls overnight, but you never thought of NOT going to work.”
It is true! They barely have any snow days for the school kids either.

“It can be 70 degrees one day, below freezing the next, and you think nothing of it.”

“In winter if the temperature hits 45 degrees and the sun comes out, people walk around downtown wearing shades and no jackets.”
If it hits 50, people start sun bathing.

“There are places at the poles that seem to get more sunlight during the winter months than we do. ”
Very true. Why do you think so many excellent studio photographers come out of the photography at my Alma Mater, Rochester Institute of Technology? Because in the studio YOU control the light.

“Halloween is snowed out with great regularity. ”
There is nothing quite like kids having to wear parkas over their Spider Man or My Little Pony costumes.

“You have experienced frostbite and sunburn in the same week.”
Early May Little League game snowed out one day, heat stroke the next.

“The only thing at the annual May Lilac Festival is snow.”
Oh but the purple of the Lilacs looks so nice against a bright, white, snowy backdrop.

As I put the 5th gallon of windshield wiper fluid since November into my car, I heard an interesting fact from the weatherman on the radio:
“So far this year, we have had 27 inches of snow, and it ain’t even winter yet.


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30 Years Ago Today…I Wept

It Was 30 Years Ago Today…that the world lost a true part of its heart.

30 years ago today, John Lennon, former Beatle, and one of the best song writers of our time, was murdered.

I will never forget where I was or what I was doing when I heard the news. I was in bed. I was a senior in high school and had fallen asleep while listening to the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey game on the radio. I woke up somewhere around 2 AM and turned the radio, expecting to find out the score of the game. Instead, my world was rocked.

I changed to the local all-news, all-the-time radio station in Philly, KYW 1060. I was so confused. I didn’t hear the familiar tick,tick,tick of the fake teletype machine in the background while a news anchor reads the latest news. I heard a Beatles song. HUH? Why would KYW be playing a Beatles tune? Maybe it was a 10 second clip in honor of a Beatles’ birthday. The song finished and the deep voiced new anchor said “For those of you just tuning in, it is unbelievable, but John Lennon has been shot dead.”

At approximately 10:50 pm on December 8th, 1980, as Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, returned to their New York apartment in The Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to the apartment building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm.

I was devastated and in complete shock. I was 17 and a huge Beatles fan. While I was not old enough to enjoy the Beatles during their amazing time together, I loved them, as well as, Lennon’s solo work. I got up and played one Beatles album after another, listening to them with my huge, clunky headphones.

I did not sleep that night. I just wept.


What do you have to be thankful for?

I have a simple question for you. It should be one that is easy to answer: What do you have to be thankful for?

My wife, Sara, sons Mike and Matt are all in relatively good health. I’m doing OK as well, though I do have the knees of an 80-year-old. My in-laws and my parents are all alive and kickin’, in their late 70’s and early 80’s. My brother and sister, as well as, Sara’s sisters and all the assorted nieces and nephews are all doing fine. For everyone’s relatively good health, I am thankful.

Speaking of health, Sara and I volunteered at the Family Fun Weekend put on by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society of Upstate New York (Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MSupstateNY). Sara has worked for the NMSS for over six years, in a variety of roles. As her dutiful husband, I “volunteer” for the Bike MS and Walk MS events, as well as other assorted efforts throughout the year. However, this was my first Family Fun Weekend.

The Family Fun Weekend was held as a nice late-fall getaway for members of the MS Society and their families. It allows for the members with MS to get together with other members and socialize, play games, do crafts, and eat some really good food. I was humbled to be there and do what I could to make it a nice time. I was humbled because these wonderful people suffer from, to various degrees, a very difficult disease. Yet, to a person, they were in good spirits, friendly and so glad to be in each others’ company.

Not once did I hear anyone complain. No one bemoaned the fact that they might be in a wheelchair, use a cane, have difficulty seeing or need help feeding themselves. They didn’t let their disease get in the way of having a nice time with friends and family. To a person, their spirit was an inspiration.

So, as Sara and I headed to the car last Saturday afternoon, me with my achy knees of an 80-year-old, what went through my head? How much knees hurt? No. How lucky I am not to have MS? No. What went through my head was how lucky I was to have been in the company a wonderful group of people. For that, I am thankful. What do YOU have to be thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving

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Martha Took My Mojo or How I Was Emasculated by Martha Stewart – Part 3

Martha Took My Mojo or How I Was Emasculated by Martha Stewart – Part 3

The Backup Plan

The good news was, I had a backup plan, just in case. There was concern on my part, before we left for NYC, that I might find myself in this condition.  My plan was to drive to Newburgh, NY that evening and stay overnight in a motel.

So as Sara helped my testosterone deprived body get into the car for the drive to Newburgh, I still held out the belief there was hope for me yet. In fact, with every mile we drove, I felt my manliness start to return. Slowly, slowly, I was regaining my inner strength.

At this point, you might be wondering why, of all places, I targeted the sleepy town of Newburgh as the source for my rejuvenation? Three simple words: Orange County Choppers.

What better place to go after the emasculation festival that was the Martha Stewart Show than the Manly Capital of the world?  They are the stars of American Chopper on the TLC network and make the coolest custom choppers on the planet.

After our stay that night in the motel, during which I watched a lot of ESPN, we headed out to the OCC shop the next morning. We looked at all the hot bikes they had on display and the great merchandise that would make any man proud.

We walked out of the store with souvenirs. I carefully placed my Paul Jr. BobbleHead into the luggage area, right next to the OCC t-shirt, poster, playing cards and draw-string tote bag.

By the time we returned to Rochester, NY after the drive, I was invigorated. I felt like hunting something, even though I don’t hunt. I wanted to put on my Harley-Davidson leathers and hit the road with my biker bitch, Sara. I felt like Chuck, friggin, Norris!

Of course, I don’t have Harley leathers or a motorcycle. And Sara is not a biker bitch. But I do have my OCC draw string tote.  You can keep your canvas tote bag and watermelon nail polish J.CREW! I FEEL FANTASTIC.

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Martha Took My MOJO or How I Was Emasculated by Martha Stewart – Part 2

Martha Took My MOJO or How I Was Emasculated by Martha Stewart – Part 2
We eventually were seated and watched the show unfold. Justin Long (the MAC guy) was the big name guest. When he walked out, all hearts skipped a beat because he was so cute. Well, all but mine that is. Did we get to taste the Cajun pasta and lobster they cooked up in Martha’s perfect pretend kitchen? Not a chance.

The woman that made the Balls N Nylons necklace showed us how easy it was to make them. But the best part was when we went to collect our goodies. We got the book from the Balls N Nylon chick and the wonderful canvas tote from the generous folks at J.Crew. And what was inside the tote? Hold onto your hats kids; a single, lonely, bottle of J.Crew watermelon nail polish. Watermelon is so not my shade, for sure.

We left the Martha studios but had one stop to make. That stop would put the final nail in the coffin of my masculinity.  For anyone that has ever seen the popular TV show, Project Runway, Mood Designer Fabrics should ring a bell. Mood is the de facto supplier of fabric and trim to the designer contestants on the show. Since we were so close by, Sara wanted to make the pilgrimage to the Mecca of the fabric world.

Sara and I trekked the 12 blocks up town, up the rickety old elevator, complete with the equally rickety old elevator operator, to the third floor. Out we spill and there it was: MOOD. Angels sang, harps played sweet music, doves flew. Sara, I thought, was going to cry. Me, I was ready to die.

I was forced to sit at a table near the door within the first five minutes. Not by the very nice guy at the front entrance. Sara made me go sit there because I was imitating the homosexual “chaperone” of the designers on Project Runway, Tim Gunn. Actually, I do a pretty good Tim Gunn impression, however, it was embarrassing Sara to no end. So I was banished.

My time at the front door allowed me to see the parade of different types of people that frequent Mood. Students from the nearby Fashion Institute of Technology and the Parsons New School of Design, Orthodox Jewish ladies, professional garment industry people and tourists followed each other through the door.

According to Don, the front door guy, they get between 7,500 and 8,000 people crossing their threshold on an average day. He told me business took off after Tim G and the Project Runway people starting running amok among the miles and miles of fabric. I know I heard voices of a few other tourist husbands imitating Tim Gunn from, arising from deep within the bowels of the fabric racks. Poor souls.

I was now completely emasculated.

To Be Continued

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Martha Took My MOJO or How I Was Emasculated by Martha Stewart – Part 1

Martha Took My MOJO or How I Was Emasculated by Martha Stewart – Part 1
A few weeks ago, my wife Sara and I got up at 4 a.m. to drive to New York City, all the way from Rochester, NY, to attend a taping of the Martha Stewart Show. More about that shortly. But first, a little background.

Sara records the show religiously every day. When she sits down to catch up on “Martha”, I’m faced with a couple of choices:

1)      I can go off to another room of the house and seek refuge from Martha’s perfection.

2)      I can sit in the living room and work on my computer while Martha goes on and on about the best tasting kumquat and banana sorbet she’d had at a local organic, completely green, ultra chic, very snooty, horribly over-priced, corner market.

Normally, I chose option #2. I actually enjoy making fun of Martha and it seems, though I could be wrong, that Sara is not bothered by that. I particularly love the way Martha says “FENtastic” instead of FANtastic. The best part of it is, she says it a lot. And I do mean, a lot.

Imagine my surprise and joy at the news that Sara “won” two tickets to see a taping of the Martha Stewart Show. What luck!

The Journey to Emasculation

The decision was made to get up at 4 a.m. and drive from Rochester to Manhattan. We had to be there by 12:00 Noon, so we could get in line.

Sara’s very detailed directions got us there in plenty of time and we found ourselves standing along the side of Martha’s building right at High Noon. It was actually a very beautiful early September day. We were surrounded by Martha fans, all atwitter about seeing Martha, being in Martha’s divine presence, wondering what goodies Martha’s generous guests would lavish on us, and exactly who those guests would be.

I did a casual recon of the other guests that lined that side street. It was looking like Wally and 75 women. I felt my testosterone slowly draining from my body. Wait, I spotted a guy a few groups behind us. Maybe I might make it through the ordeal with another dude. But alas, once I heard him talk, I realized he could not be accurately described as a “dude”. It looked like it was going to be up to me to uphold the banner for straight guys in the Martha Stewart Show audience.

We eventually were herded into a holding area to fill out release forms and listen to Joey, the warm up guy. Joey was pretty funny and entertaining. We got to watch the broadcast of the show ahead of us. Those lucky guests all wore matching t-shirts promoting beef. They were joyfully digging into huge burgers the size of a child’s head. I was starting to like this! Then each person was given a brand, spankin’ new meat grinder. Eyes lit up around the room.

Joey went on to tell us that J.Crew was here to show us great new fashions for the fall. YAWN for me. Joey teased us by saying that J.Crew would be very generous with us. Well, at least maybe they would give out gift certificates that Sara can use. The other “generous” guest was going to show us how to make, I kid you not, necklaces out of balls and panty hose. Rubber bouncy balls and nylons. We would all be receiving a copy of her new book. Hurray. Drip, drip, drip…I felt my manly inner-self slowly leaving my body.

Hold on now…I see two more guys sitting nearby me. When one of them got up to walk  to the rest room, I could tell by the way he swayed that I was still on my own.

I spotted a heavy-set, older gentleman sitting with a woman of the same approximate age. Maybe they were a married couple? One of the male production assistants came by to pick up completed release forms. He looked like he could be a male model. I happened to look up, just in time to see “older gentleman” make a very obscene motion with his tongue, aimed squarely at the male model. YIKES. I told Sara and she did not believe me. She thought I was pulling her leg. However, a few minutes later, there was “older gentleman” KNITTING! I KNEW it. Sara had no choice but to agree with me. I was feeling faint…

Looking around, I spotted two guys…holding hands. There was an Asian man there by himself. But the fact that he was a man at the Martha Stewart Show by himself, well, I knew I was on my own.

To Be Continued

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