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Trying to Explain Baseball

Do you enjoy sports? Do your children? Well in my latest blog post, I tackle the issue of sports and cheating. How do you tell an 8-year-old about steroids? Click the link to read about our conversation.
http://larrydbernstein.com/trying-to-explain-baseball

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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Ferris Bueller No More

Drunken parties, packed bars, wet and wild (you fill in the blank). Yep, my weekend had it all. However, it did not include anything noted above. In fact, it was plain and ordinary.

I was 19 (or somewhere in that age range) and on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River. Cloudless sky, brilliant sun, light breeze, low 80’s –a beautiful Spring day. Some friends of mine and I were lounging on the river bank watching the water flow on. It was as if we were ready to film a beer commercial.
And yet…
“Yo man, I’m bored.”
“What do you want to do,” S asked. He was one of my closest friends during the high school and college years.
“I don’t know. Something.”
“Dude, it’s a beautiful day, and we’re all hanging out. What do you want?”
I looked around at the array of friends and acquaintances lounging around and sighed. “This is boring. I want an adventure.”
“An adventure? Who do you think you are Ferris Bueller?”
“I love that movie. Don’t mess with Ferris!”
“I know you do. How many times have you seen that movie?”
“A lot.” Sticking my hand out in greeting, “Abe Froman, sausage king, Chicago.”
“I know you know the movie by heart.”
“I weep for the future.”
“Okay, Abe I got it.”
“Anyway, what would be so wrong with a Ferris Bueller like adventure?”
“We’re not in the movies.”
I don’t remember how that afternoon ended. It was probably via some chemically induced haze.
So, I had it all and was bored. I wanted more.

Here’s a sampling of the events I experienced this past weekend:
Playdates for both of the boys,
Meaningful conversation with my wife,
Praying at the synagogue on Sabbath,
Tasty meals,
Food Shopping,
Playoff Football,
Vacuuming,
Writers group meeting,
Playing golf on the Wii.

There’s more, and it’s equally mundane. I’ll spare you the details. I’ll bet you had some of these and more on your plate this weekend as well. So you can fill in your own details.

You could say I did not have much going on this weekend. Yet, when Sunday night rolled around, I turned to my wife and said, “I wish it was a three day weekend.”

So, while I still know most of the lines and would be happy to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day off, I don’t need the same adventure. However, there are days. Nah, let me stop there. The plain and ordinary suited me quite nicely, thank you.

 
53 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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My Wife’s Team

I give my children a bath. I make dinner a few nights a week. I do the weekly food shopping. I thank my wife when she makes dinner. I remember my wife’s birthdays and our anniversary. I ask about work. I’m a good husband. No, not great. I’ll keep my ‘areas in need of improvement’ to myself. Anyway, somewhere my wife is reading this, shaking her head, and making a list.

“It was a nice visit dear,” my mother said to my wife of nearly a year.
“Yeah, we enjoyed it.”
“I’m just sorry the Eagles didn’t win.”
My wife looked at my mother and added, “Yeah, it’s a shame.”
Shortly thereafter, we were on the SEPTA train headed out of Philadelphia to Trenton. From there, we took a New Jersey Transit Train to Penn Station and Manhattan. As we settled in to our seats, my wife turned to me, “Did you hear what your mother said to me while we were waiting on the platform?”
“What? You mean about the Eagles?”
“You heard that?”
“Yeah, I heard. So what?”
“I just can’t believe that she would say that the weekend would have been better if the Eagles would have won.”
“Well, it would have.” (No, we are not the real life version of the Solatano family of Silver Linings Playbook, though I did note some similarities.)
“What is wrong with you guys?”
“You like football too.”
“I know but still.”
She does like football. My wife that is. In fact, her interest in sports was one of the things I enjoyed about her from the beginning.
However, there was a problem. You see, she is a Notre Dame fan. Huh? My family did not like Notre Dame. Nope, they were not the good guys. They won too often and were cocky.
Yet, my wife liked Notre Dame. What would I tell my family? Well, I eventually broke the news to them, and they took it in stride. However, the question kept coming up – why?
What can I tell you? When she first started watching college basketball, she thought one of the players on Notre Dame was cute. Hence, a fan was born.
You can be sure it came up when I brought her home to meet my family for the first time. I had to be a mediator.

Later this month, my wife and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. We have had our ups and downs. Like most couples, we have had to adjust for each other. Some of the adjustments have been harder than others. For instance, I have learned to not dislike Notre Dame.
That brings me to the BCS National Championship game tonight. It features Alabama verses Notre Dame. Yep, you heard right. Can you guess who’s rooting for Notre Dame? Yep she is, and so am I (though I not enthusiastically). After all, I did say I was a good husband. Go Irish.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Fishing with Lou

Calm waters, bonding time, thrill of the pull. Yeah, I have no interest in fishing. Seriously.
My Uncle Lou passed away when I was 10. Unfortunately, I only have vague memories of him. My uncle fought in World War II, marched in the Mummers Parade, and was a September call up for the Philadelphia A’s.
Uncle Lou was the type of uncle that would buy you ice cream even though you were about to go home and eat dinner. He was the uncle who would come to your baseball games. He was the uncle who would make every trip seem interesting.
And he was the fisherman of the family. My father could get sea sick during a long bath. So, if my brothers or I were to go fishing, it would be because Uncle Lou took us. However, the majority of the fishing trips were for my two oldest brothers. I was too young or at least that is what I was told.
One day my next older brother, NG (by two years) and I were playing with our new fishing rods that Uncle Lou bought for us. It was a particularly slow summer day. NG and I stood next to each other in front of our house. We were in competition as brothers always are. The goal was to see who could cast their line further. I don’t remember who won, but I do remember it made me want to go fishing.
Eventually, Uncle Lou decided that NG & I were old enough to go fishing. And I caught a fish. Well, sort of. I had a bite on my line and pulled it in under Uncle Lou’s tutelage. I was excited and dreamed of telling my older brothers about my big catch. So after a moment, the fish became visible – barely. The fish was no more than six ounces and three inches and bloodied from the fight with my line. The pathetic thing eventually fell off my line – becoming lunch for some other sea animal.
Shortly, thereafter Uncle Lou called it a day. The fish weren’t biting, and the weather was ominous. We stopped at a diner on the way home. Uncle Lou congratulated me on my near catch and told NG he would do better next time.
Unfortunately, there was no next time with Uncle Lou. He died rather suddenly leaving everyone sad. He was one of the good ones.
Anyway my next and last fishing trip was just an excuse to drink beer with a couple of friends. Oh well.

This was a semi-elaborate way of saying I am taking a break from blogging. You know like they say – I’m gone fishing. I don’t where that term comes from. I’m sure I cold Google it, and I just might eventually. Anyway, I won’t be posting for the next week to 10 days. I need a break. I just might pop on WordPress and make some comments, and I might not. The lack of commitment. I am a guy you know.
Lastly, I want to wish Happy Holidays to all of you who will be celebrating Christmas next week. May it be a wonderful, peaceful, and joyous holiday.

 
47 Comments

Posted by on December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Feeling Better

102.3! No, I am not referring to a radio station.

“I told you I didn’t feel well,” I said, vindicated. I was shaking, my teeth were chattering, I was itchy, and I felt a perpetual need to pee.

And I was scared.

The last time I had a fever was about 30 years ago. I was 10. I woke up on Saturday morning, excited to play little league basketball. As a child, I lived for little league; some of my best memories come from me playing on various teams for the Bustleton Boys Club. I played basketball and baseball. My soccer career ended after one year when I didn’t even score one goal (I was robbed!), and my team was 1-7-1. Anyway, I woke up and called for my mom. Five minutes later, she removed the thermometer and diagnosed me with fever.

“But doc, I want to play. My team needs me.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Ahh mom. Come on. I’ll be fine.” I tried getting out of my top bunk bed. Was it me or was the room spinning? It was me, and I was done. I resigned myself to missing my game. Turns out the flu bug was going around, and many kids had to miss the game.

So, you could say I am not used to being sick.

My family and I had been at a synagogue event – parent/child learning. My wife was the organizer, so she was running around making sure everything was going smoothly. As the hour turned to 8:30 pm, SJ was getting cranky, and I was feeling more and more uncomfortable.

“Will you take me home? Daddy doesn’t feel well. So, can you take me home?”

SJ said through muffled tears, “What about mommy and BR?”

“They can get a ride home from someone.”

“Okay. You can take me home, and I’ll take you home.”

“Thanks buddy. I really don’t feel well.” BR told my wife we were leaving. She was ready for this contingency. A meltdown can come at any time at that hour. She just did not expect me to be the one melting down.

A rough Saturday night of Advil and fitful sleep followed. However, upon waking up Sunday morning, my fever was gone. G-d bless drugs. I probably should have relaxed and taken it easy, but I didn’t. After all, I am not used to lying in bed sick.

102.3 is back to being a radio station. And that is music to my ears.

 

 
49 Comments

Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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No Digression

The Eagles suck. Really, really suck. The Sixers have gotten off to a mediocre start with their star centered injured and out for who knows how long. The NHL is on strike and therefore no Flyers games. The Phillies are coming off a mediocre season and are in the quiet part of the offseason.

So, sports is out.

The election is over. There are no more polls, advertisements, or speeches. Barack Obama, for better or worse, has been reelected. The Senate and House of Representatives remain nearly unchanged.

So, the political races are over.

What am I to do?

I am on the computer. Maybe, I’m creating an assignment for students, writing a blog entry, creating a story. My mind wanders. I’m distracted. Or maybe, I’m just stalling. Semantics I suppose, but I digress. The point is I am leaving the productive mode and entering wandering mode. I click a button and am suddenly surfing the world wide web (by the way, I always wanted to learn how to surf. I think I’ll put it on my bucket list under learn to play the harmonica. There I go digressing again).  I’d like to think this digression is actually part of the creative process. Research if you will. It keeps my mind active.

Who am I kidding?

For every time that I am doing true research there are 15 times where I am feeding my overactive mind with useless information. Do you know how often I pop on WordPress? Way. Too. Often.

So, what else should I do? I don’t have a ton of interests. I hop on Yahoo and see the ‘big’ stories. By the way, the latest headlines are Theron’s shocking haircut and small room’s big surprises.  Despite my wanderlust, I think I can stay away from those ‘big’ stories.

Ahh, self-control feels good.

If something doesn’t come along soon, I might stay focused. I might find myself cranking out work quicker than I could skim through another useless article. I think I might become Super Productive. Maybe, I could get a cape and a theme song.  This could be good.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Earning Your Stripes

Validation. We all need approval – especially children. Way to go, good job, you got it. We all have our favorite sayings of validation that we say to our children. While I was hurling through Brooklyn on the A train at 7 A.M., I overheard a mother and child doing some schoolwork. As a parent and teacher, I was impressed. I did not hear (nor care) what they were learning. All I heard was the mother drone on, “Good job…”  Whether it meant anything to the child, I’m not sure.

In March of this year, BR started taking karate. I pushed it. It is said to be good for kids with ADHD as it can help them with focus and discipline. In addition, karate could help him with his OT issues by improving body awareness. Lastly, he expressed an interest. Okay, I asked him multiple times, and he finally agreed to it. My wife got on board, and we signed him up for a program.

So, since March BR has been attending karate twice a week for 45 minutes. The boys and girls vary in age but seem to be anywhere from 5-9. At first, he was challenged but seemed to take to the discipline and noted that SJ (his younger brother) would benefit from it. I was ready to gloat.

The kids start off with a plain white belt. From there, they need to earn stripes before moving on to the next color belt. There is an opportunity to earn stripes at the end of every month (assuming you have been to at least 8 sessions since you last moved up). The first time BR was up for a stripe, he got one. He beamed with pride when he talked about his stripe (a piece of black electrical tape – pretty fancy, ehh). He quickly got his second stripe and was feeling good about his accomplishment. I would catch the last 10-15 minutes of class and saw a boy who was really trying to focus and do his best. I also saw improvements.

Then he hit a speed bump.

One time, two times, three times, came and went, and he could not get the third stripe. He even went to karate camp – 5 5-hour days – and still was not up to getting the next stripe. Then, he stopped talking about karate and getting him to practice was a chore. I did not want to argue with him about it. After all, this is an extracurricular activity. I told him multiple times that practicing is the key to getting better, and he needed to decide if he wanted to improve. (FULL DISCLOSURE My wife is the one who supervises his practicing. She keeps telling me I should, but it does not happen. This may be why she was less excited to sign him up for karate in the first place.)

Well, today was the September test. My wife prepped him again – a lot. We all hoped he was ready. SJ and I got to the Dojo just in time to see the Sensei make the stripe presentations. Lo and behold, BR was the third one called. He had earned his stripe. A good job – I’d say. He persevered despite the frustrations (I was ready to pull him out) and accomplished his goal. I am so proud of him!

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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