Archive for May, 2009

Jackassery

Saloons have always been a great place for people to gather to engage in a spirited exchange of ideas.

Other wise known as arguing.

There was a time when the only two subjects that were forbidden to be discussed were Politics and Religion. It is almost impossible to walk into a gin joint any more without over hearing a political diatribe. So that one is out the window. I do think it is still a good idea to forbid Religious discussion. Way too personal a topic
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These discussions usually produce some very colorful language. The F word being the most popular. In an effort to remain civil for this blog I will only use the F word when I feel it is absolutely the only way I can describe something or someone. If I use the F word it is because I mean it.

Another great word and one of my personal favorites is asshole. I will refrain from using that word in this missive out of deference to my good friend Norman Smythe. Norman was a bartender at the Mad Hatter on Second Avenue and then later a co-owner of Bayard’s’ on 79th street.

No one could say the word asshole with more conviction and meaning than Norman. He also had a grand flair for the word. If he were describing someone he felt was exhibiting that type of conduct he would say in his perfect Dublin brogue ” you don’t realize the man is an Ass (pause a beat) Hooole”. So in honor of Norman that word will be used sparingly.

That leaves me with the word Jackass. It too is a very descriptive word, not nearly as offensive as the F word or asshole ,so here we go with some people who I believe have performed some recent acts of Jackassery.
Kiefer Sutherland, 24 Hours. At a cocktail party Kiefer felt he needed to defend Brooke Shields, who by the way, is about a foot taller than Kiefer and probably out weighs him. Apparently Brooke had been bumped into by a Fashion Designer to the point of loosing her balance. Kiefer taking exception to this confronted the Fashion Designer. When he was not pleased with the Fashion Designer’s attitude old Jack Bauer took over and gave the Fashion Designer a head butt and busted the Fashion Designer’s nose. Here is the deal, when you are over forty years old physical confrontation should be the absolute last resort, used only as a form of self defense.

Or when someone is not listening to you in Kiefer world.

A head butt is a pussy move. It is tantamount to a sly rap.  Hitting a guy when he does not expect it. I guess Kiefer felt over matched by the Fashion Designer so instead of squaring off or taking it outside he gave the Fashion Designer the old Liverpool Nut.  By the way when you attempt to defends a woman’s honor and then act worse then the offending party, in this case a Fashion Designer, you are a Jackass.

Kim Jong Il, Dictator. Do I Really need to explain why this guy is a Jackass. Here is a guy who leads a nation that produces nothing for it’s citizens. For God’s sake there is electricity in only ten percent of the country. The average life expectancy is a little over forty years old. Yet, this little dick-tater can find enough money to develop Nukes.
Can you imagine this guy walking into the local for a Courvoisier, his reported drink of choice? Any self respecting bartender or saloon keeper would give him the heave ho on sight. How hard would it be to get the French to lace a special bottle of Courvoisier with a little potion that would give this mighty might a permanent Mickey Finn.

Yes, women can be jackasses too.

Nora O’ Donnell, MSNBC. This week Ms. O’Donnell was moderating a discussion between Pat Buchanan and Laurence O’Donnell about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court. Buchanan was delivering the conservative take, which MSNBC pays him to do.  No surprise there.   At one point Ms. O’ Donnell decided to interrupts Buchanan by asking in a heated voice ” Pat, has it ever occurred to you that maybe there were no qualified white men for this nomination”.    Really, there were no white men qualified for this position. Really Nora, no white men. Really. Jackass.

Joy Behar, The View.   When people ask me what kind of women do I like I always answer, funny ones. I usually get the response that I would be too challenged by a smart women, to which I would always reply ” you can’t be funny without being smart”.  Then along came Joy Behar and screwed up my whole theory.

She is without a doubt the dumbest person on TV.

She never knows what she is talking about.   I have friends who worked with her at WABC and they tell me she never prepares.   She just tries to get by on her humor.   As a broadcaster I take great exception to this laziness.   You know, that when people watch you on TV, they do so because they trust and believe you.   It is your obligation to be informed.   All she knows is what she heard at a cocktail party on the Upper West Side of New York the night before.   She consistently panders to that crowd.
Her only reaction to any slight criticism of the Obama administration is ” well what about Bush”.   Someone at  ABC  please inform this idiot that Bush is no longer President.   She is also guilty of the cardinal sin of social commentary, comparing people to Hitler. She probably does that once a week. To the point where the Jewish Defense League wrote her a letter asking her to stop. Jackass.

Glenn Beck, Fox News.   Alright Glenn we get it. You love your country so darn much and talking about your children makes you cry, we get it, no really we get it, so stop.

We also get it that you used to drink and could not handle your booze well, so you went into AA. Hey Glenn, they don’t call it Alcoholics ANONYMOUS for nothing.

As we all know, a reformed drunk is the worst kind.

You know this guy was the kind of guy in the Saloon who thought he was so funny that he would just never shut up.   Until, all of a sudden, he found himself standing there by himself.

He gave up his man card a few weeks ago when he let himself be beat bloody by the ladies of The View.   He talks like a tough guy and then bends over whenever he is confronted.

I think his clownish behavior and buffoonery is insulting to the people who tune him in to be informed.

This week he opened his pie hole by calling Judge Sotomayor ” Judge Chickie Baby”.   Glenn ,I know where she came from.   She could kick your pasty white ass up and down the street any day of the week and twice on Sunday.    Have some respect, Jackass.

Keith Olberman, MSNBC.   This guy just pisses me off in general.

I first knew him when he was a young sports guy in New York.   No matter who was around or who he was talking to, he always had this  smarter than thou attitude.   He always looked at you as if you had no idea what you were talking about even if you had way more knowledge and experience.   He considers himself a journalist with a capitol J.   I don’t consider him a journalist at all.   He lacks the most important quality a journalist can have, curiosity.

It is impossible to be curious when you think you know everything!

In the old neighborhood we would refer to him as windy, a gas bag, a BS artist.   Someone who, if you walked into the Saloon and saw him first, you would avoid at all cost.

My friends at MSNBC tell me he is also a bully, and a pompous ass.   He speaks to no one other than his producer. Ignores the camera guys and working people in the studio.
Come to think of it he is not a Jackass.

He is a fucking asshole.

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, I will hoist a few cold ones in memory of those who have so valiantly served our nation.

I would like to remember two people who taught me a lot about patriotism and service.

The first is a true, Knight of the White Apron.

George Lynch, aka, ” The Colonel”.   Now, not only was George an outstanding bartender he was a raconteur of the highest quality. More often than not he would have the entire bar, and I mean the entire bar, laughing hysterically.   George would not only tell funny stories he would do all the voices and sound effects.   In true NY parlance ” he was a pisser”.

George’s love of the military was legendary. He was an expert on all things military. As funny as he could be he could also mesmerize you with his stories about the Army and it’s history.

During the Viet Nam War the neighborhood I grew up in was hit hard with casualties and fatalities.   It seemed every week there was word of another neighborhood lad giving up his life. All too soon and all too heartbreaking.

The legend has it that The Colonel wanted to honor these young men every day.   So he headed up a group of bartenders and bar owners to construct a flag pole on the corner between two of the neighborhoods popular bars.   Chambers and Doc Fiddler’s.

He twisted every arm and put his hand in every pocket to get this project done and when it was complete it was The Colonel who saw to it that that flag was raised everyday in the morning and brought down at sundown every evening.   I can still see The Colonel snapping off a crisp salute every morning after he raised the flag.

George Lynch is gone but The Colonel will live as long that flag pole stands.

The other Patriot I would like to salute today is my brother Raymond McPartlin, Captain, USN retired.

Ray joined the Navy when he was eighteen. After five years in the Navy he was accepted into a program in which some enlisted men would have the opportunity to attend Officers Candidate School. Ray passed with flying colors and was commissioned. He served on a number of ships and choose nuclear weapons as a specialty.

Our mother passed away when I was eighteen years old.   The day of her funeral my brother now a Lieutenant asked me where I wanted to live. My Dad had married and was with another family and my step father and I did not get a long very well.    Ray asked me if I would like to move to Albuquerque NM.   He was serving at Sandia Base in the war room.   He was married and had two small children.

His invitation for me was a heartfelt one but he had to be honest with me.   He was going to go to Viet Nam and that if I chose to move in with his family he would not be there.    I was blown away be this announcement.    He was a nuclear weapons expert, they weren’t using nukes in Nam.

Why did he have to go?

He had a family and the military was not putting family men in harms way if they could help it.

Why are they making him go?

Needless to say, considering we were burying our Mother on this day, I was a bit emotional. He answered my questions and protest with a calm and simple explanation.

He told me he was a soldier.   He choose a life in the military.    It has given him an education, the promise of a pension and a life he only dreamed about.    He also told me that as a professional soldier it killed him to see these kids, who were literally plucked off the streets, coming home in body bags.

He did not want to go, he needed to go.    They were not making him go.    He volunteered.

He served one tour in Viet Nam.   Thankfully, he came home unscathed and continued his service for many years in active duty as well as the reserves.

So to my brother, The Colonel, and all the men and women who have sacrificed so much of their lives to serve our nation I can say only one thing.

Thank you.

Barack and Dick and some common sense.

Please indulge my fantasy.

Barack Obama, Dick Cheney and I all hang out in the same Saloon.

Dick is that crusty old guy who you just always have to tip toe around.   Sometimes he can be engaging and pleasant, other times he will bite your head off for looking at him the wrong way.    You like the guy for a couple of reasons.

One ,you know what he has accomplished in his life and you respect that.   You also know he comes from a different generation with different values and points of view.

Barack is the young fellow that everyone wants to be around.   He is handsome and smart and articulate and fun.   You can talk to him about any subject and walk away enlightened.

It’s fun having both of these guys in the Saloon because they bring such different personalities.

Then, they get into a loud public pissing match, like they did yesterday on national television.   All anyone wants to talk about is the pissing match and now the rest of the patrons are taking sides. Someone has to step in and sit these two guys down buy them a drink and straighten out their asses.

Let’s do that.

The first thing they need to learn is that when they engage in this kind of donnybrook the only victor are those who wish evil on the USA.   When the current President and the former Vice President get into it Al Qaeda accomplishes it’s stated goal.   To turn American against American.

When they attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11 they chose that target not just to kill as many people as possible but to attack the symbol of our success.   In statements made after the attacks Osama Bin Jackoff spoke of tearing America apart.   Well, right about now it looks like that dirty scumbag towel head is winning.   That isn’t a good thing.

These two guys need to be told a few things.

Barack, it does not unite this country by threatening to prosecute those who were involved in advanced means of interrogation. That is absolutely political and polarizing.   Truth be told if we went up and down the bar asking people how they felt a great majority would tell you they could care less what means of interrogation were used to get information.    Unless of course some asshole from the New York Times or Newsweek came in to take a poll, then everyone would be against it. That’s just how people are.

Dick, you had your chance and the people have spoken.   It is time to give Barack a chance.   Really, what is the difference where they are in jail as long as they can no longer do our nation harm.   You have to realize Dick that you and George handed this young fellow one large pile of steaming you know what.   Give him a chance, let him do what he believes is right.   If he screws up he goes home.

Let’s stop bullshitting each other.

Barack , their is absolutely no hard evidence that the existence of Guantanamo has been a tool in recruitment for Al Qaeda.   They have been able to stir up Anti-American sentiments long before that.   If it is not Guantanamo it is our commitment to oil, our decadent way of life, our support of Israel.   In their minds they have plenty of reasons to hate us.

Dick, stop trying to scare everyone.  That is another victory for Al Qaeda.  They want us to be a country that lives in fear.
The key message is that before we are Democrats or Republicans we are Americans.  We are all in this steaming pile together and bickering between the two is not only inappropriate but very counterproductive.

The solution.

Barack, you promised to unite the country.   Do that.   The next time Nancy Pelosi calls with her partisan rhetoric, hang-up on her. We are a nation of people who are just a little left or right of middle.   Speak to us not the far left.   You have bigger fish to fry, unemployment, the economy, health care.   What to do with these people who acted to put American lives in danger should not be a national debate.   Just do it.

Dick, thank you for your service.   There is no question that the job done by the Bush/Cheney administration in keeping us safe from further terrorist attack was an outstanding effort.   Thank you for doing a job that others do not have the stomach for.   When Osama was interviewed by an American journalist who asked him if he feared American retaliation he said, and I paraphrase because he is one windy son of a bitch, that Americans are soft and don’t have the stomach for this kind of fight.   Thanks for proving him wrong.
You have done your job without care about your public image and we will respect you forever for that. You have made your case very well and now it is over.   Time to go off and enjoy life.

Go hunting…err…make that fishing.

Now, let’s all have a drink and turn on the ballgame.

Just do the right thing.

A Saloon Guy a long time ago.

A Saloon Guy a long time ago.

Saloons are my favorite places to be  and I have been very lucky to have hung out in some of the greatest Saloons in the world.  I have also been fortunate to have become friends with the greatest  Saloon owners and bartenders in the country.

From Elaine’s in New York, to Perry’s in San Francisco, to Butch Maguire’s in Chicago.   I have darkened the doors and contributed to  the owners and barkeeps collage funds and home renovations.  

My entire spectrum of friends and relationships have either begun in Saloons, or at the least, have been cultivated in them.

Everything I ever needed to know I learned either sitting at or standing behind a bar.  I hope to impart some of that wisdom and relate it to this world outside of the Saloon. 

The first lesson I ever learned about adulthood was when I was a bartender.  One of the older fellows gave me a simple but poignant theory to get by in life.  When I was confused about a life decision he would just tell me ” do the right thing”  when I asked how would I know what the right thing was he told me ” you always know the right thing, it’s just a matter of wanting to do the right thing”.

 Just do the right thing. 

Don’t always worry about covering your own ass. 

Stand up and admit mistakes.  

 Do not let others get away with untoward actions even if they are your pals and it might be uncomfortable for you to have a confrontation.  

Never let anyone be bullied.  

Stand up when a women needs a seat at the bar. 

Don’t butt  into other people ‘s conversations. 

Don’t finish other people’s jokes.  

Don’t let a pal drive drunk no matter how fine they  say they are, if you know they aren’t, do the right thing. 

Cabs are cheap.

One more thing that I wish I had done a lot more of , If you know a friend is drinking themselves to death, get involved.  

I once worked for a guy named Chickie Donohue who told me if I ever served a certain customer a drink I would be fired.  I asked why and Chickie told me that if he goes on one more drunken bender he will die.  Chickie also taught me that you don’t have to have a Harvard MBA to know that it is bad business to kill your customers. 

I would like to tell you that our friend lived a long life but it’s not true.  He drank himself to death within a year.  I always wondered, what would have happened if all the other Saloon keepers in the area had Chickie’s attitude.  Would our friend have lived?  I don’t know.   

I just know Chickie did the right thing.