REAL MEN: MCCABE

When my Dad passed last year I, almost immediately, had this REAL MEN project in mind.  Stories of men that helped mold me. 

Men of resolve and grit.  Men like my father, my grandfather and his brothers and their sons.

The most daunting task was writing this chapter about the most powerful group of men in my world; The McCabes

The paternal side of my family tree makes me smile. 

The McCabe men make me very proud. 

Here is why…

The first McCabe man, Patrick, stepped foot on America’s soil in 1903 (thanks Jamie for the evidence).  A proud and outlandish “Paddy”, Patrick was a railroad worker doing his very best for his children.  Six boys and a girl (God bless you, Mary) fighting their way through the new world. 

Great grandfather Patrick (who apparently went by “Pete”. Huh?) was, naturally a God-fearing and Protestant-hating Catholic.  Apparently “Pete” would roam home on Friday nights after a long day and, with such built up anti-English anger, and punch out the pickets of his British neighbor’s fence.  Of course, the other half of being a good Catholic is always feeling guilty, so Pat/Pete would wake up on Saturday morning with a slight hangover and insist his brood of boys fix the mistake he made just hours earlier.

The best part is…he performed this act of lunacy weekly.

Flash forward and the McCabe boys were off and running in America.

Firemen, clergy and funeral directors, the McCabe boys were making their mark in Lowell Massachusetts.  Loyal Catholics and devout maniacs, these men were here to stay.

Eddie, my grandfather, was a certifiable whacko and the local undertaker.  Kind to his core, Ed would fight the wind if he thought it blew in the wrong direction. When he wasn’t burying parishioners, you could find him yelling at my Dad or fishing. Good man. Scared me to death (see what I did there?)

Patrick, the baby of the clan, and the eventual deputy chief of the Lowell Fire Department was the true bad ass of the boys.  The youngest, Pat was a wild man with the biggest heart and a bigger temper.  Father of eight, Pat was the poster boy for Irish American dream.

As for the rest, I hardly knew them.  Priests and crazies I am told, but the McCabes had arrived by the middle of the 20th century.

Flash forward to our generation and I simply feel like a weakling in comparison.  The OG McCabes, the off the boat McCabes…they were truly real men.

Legend has it my great grandfather punched out a horse on a $10 bet from the same English guy I referenced above.  Really? I got a splinter a few weeks back and called in sick.

It doesn’t matter because, to be very candid, these type of men are extinct and just make me very proud be a part of their legacy. 

They were not welcomed in this country. 

They needed to forge their way and their future, like all immigrants.

“NO IRISH NEED APPLY”

Remember?

Today, more than 100 years since the first McCabe arrived in this nation, I am so very proud to be a part of this lineage. 

I am proud to be an Irish American. 

I am proud of this family.

I am proud to be a McCabe.

REAL MEN.

Just go, Man

The world is weird right now.

Very weird.

Last I saw, our world is on standby.  School.  Work. Church. You name it.  It’s all on hold for now.  We are being told (forced?) to stay home.

Weird times.

That said….what a remarkable opportunity we have been presented. Right?.  When, if ever, in our lifetime have we had a guilt-free period to simply “be”? Yes, there is a worrisome pandemic, but I would like to believe most of us will avoid and manage this scare with a bit of resolve and practicality.

And so, why not embrace this time?

Grab a book.  Grab a board game.  Grab a loved one.

Cook that recipe you have been afraid to attempt.  Pick up that guitar you have been staring at.  Take that long walk you always have in mind (with your dog or your significant other. No judging here).  Love-the-one-you’re-with kind of vibe, kid!

Go!

Send that card to Nana.  Mix that cocktail. Scoop that ice cream!

Just go man!

Why not?

I am the biggest, sarcastic hypocrite ever, but hey…let’s give it a shot.

 

A Tale of McNuggets: I’m Loving It

McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, by definition:

“The Chicken McNugget is a small piece of processed chicken meat that is fried in batter and flash-frozen, then shipped out and sold at McDonald’s restaurants.

McDonald’s first executive chef, René Arend, created the Chicken McNuggets recipe in 1979. “The McNuggets were so well-received that every franchise wanted them”, said Arend in a 2009 interview. “There wasn’t a system to supply enough chicken”. Supply problems were solved by 1983, and Chicken McNuggets became available nationwide.

According to McDonald’s, the nuggets come in four shapes: the bell, the bow-tie, the ball and the boot. The reason for the four different shapes is to ensure consistent cooking times for food safety. Four shapes were chosen because McDonalds states “The 4 shapes we make Chicken McNuggets in was the perfect equilibrium of dipability and fun. 3 would’ve been too few. 5 would’ve been, like, wacky.”

Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t give a crap about the invention of McNuggets nor their God-fearing nutricional UN-value.  I don’t.  And if you care to comment at this stage of this column I respectfully ask you to take your opinion to the nearest Wendy’s.

This is a story of McNugget Lore.  A love story.  A story of passion and poison.  Gluttony and greed.  It has all the elements of a Michael Douglas B-Rate thriller coupled with the spoiled-oil grease trap cooking these American legends across our great land.  McNuggets are the Broad Stripes and Bright Stars.  The Purple Mountain Magesty.  The Amber Waves of Grain. Deep fried deliciousness.

OK, you get my stance.

And now to the long overdue story….

About a year ago….we will call in ‘Ought ’18, a few of my closest and dearest were enjoying some well-deserved Friday Beers over some conversation and comradery at one of our favorite watering holes in the mighty Mill City.  In our spirited discussion, the wildly popular topic of food naturally arose.   More specific?  Fast Food.  Despite the incredible pressure and political-correct-crapness to insist this cuisine is taboo and should never grace our pallets; lets be freakin’ honest for one Millennial second.  If you are a child of the 1970s, 80s, and even 90s….you loved yourself some drive-thru.  Of course you did.  You wouldn’t be human or from the USA if you didn’t.  One thing made you happier than anything else; The HAPPY Meal.  And thence into beauty.

McDonalds, above all of the other gullet-stuffing, caloric-Titanic-disasters of the fast food chain made us all smile in a guilty but genuine glee.

As such, the gang and I all waxed poetic about the delicate decadence of the Chicken McNugget.  Oohs and Ahhs quickly turned to bravado…

“How many McNuggets could you take down?,” one member of our crew shouted.

Insane mathematical impossibilities were exclaimed.

“40!”

“No way, I can do 60!”

“I got 100 in me on an empty stomach!‘ screamed the most clearly inebriated of the clan.

Arguments, fuzzy logic and Venn diagrams even appeared within this classroom of cocktails.

And then a calm and sober voice interceded.  A leader amongst us.  The proprietor of this famed Lowellian water hole.

“Hey….I’ll buy Nuggets and let’s give it a test run.

(Collective gulps).

He continued, “I saw a deal they (McDonald’s) are running right now on special.  40 nuggets for $10.”

The crowd now silenced like the spectators at the Roman Colliseum following a Gladiator death match.

Nods and hesitant (Boston accent) “Shahs” followed his proposal.  And then, he was off like the childish Red and Yellow Clown Ronald himself.

Our bravado soon turned to healthy fear of a Weekend at BURN-ies with a side with a vomitous chicken collision.

I’d like to tell you how we had the greatest eat off since Lard Ass in the Pie Eating Contest in Stand By Me.  I’d love to brag how eating giants Joey Chestnut and Kobayashi were weak shadows of greatness compared to what we were about to take in during this stomach stuffing for annals of history.

But, I can’t.

The real legend in this story is the Fearless Leader and Procurer of the above stated magnanimous amount of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.

He mosied in to the nearest Mickey D’s and laid it all down…and they didn’t know how to pick it up.

Calm and confident he stated his demands….

Can I have 200 Chicken McNuggets, please?

Pimple-Face Paul on his first day at the Golden Arches nearly collapsed.

One moment, sir,” Paul choked, “I need to see my Manager.”

No problem,” our fearless faux-chicken-buying General responded.

As poor Paul raced to the back and tracked down Second Shift Manager Scotty, the hollow echoes across this grease pit began to stir.  This was happening.  The day this staff had all been preparing for since they launched this value-friendly coronary offer to the general public.  Scotty attempted to compose himself and visited the counter to confirm this unprecedented request.

(stuttering and disheveled) “Hello, sir.  Um, did my associate get that straight?  You would like 200 Chicken McNuggets?

“Yeah, that’s right,” retorted our hero.

“OoooooK, then, ” Scotty replied in a shear state of disbelief and turned to head back to the kitchen to simply digest (giggle) this magnanimous confirmation.

Reluctantly, Scotty turned back to the counter made the mistake of asking…. “Do you want that for here?  Or to go?”

And this is where this silly tale of processed meat became epic…

“I’m going to have it here.”

At this stage, every single employee, patron and bystander stood petrified in awe, amazement and fear.

And just when you thought our Champion could not make this scene any funnier, he uttered his final words before he let these Soldiers of Preservative-Filled Fortune off the hook with a laugh.

“Oh, and a small diet coke.”

History.

P.S.  I knocked back 30 nuggs without breaking a (meat) sweat later that day.

The Juice is Loose…on Twitter

Grab the popcorn, folks, cause this is gonna be fun.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson has joined Twitter. (ok, that was a link to my feed – just click “Follow” and we will move on)

 

To follow the REAL Juice, here it is TheRealOJ32

And faster that you can utter the phrase “If the glove don’t fit, you must….” OJ has over 600,000 followers!

Wow.  What does that say about the world?  Simple, we all want to be entertained and I have a hunch ol’ #32 will bring that to the ‘Sphere.  So far, OJ has posted three short selfie videos.  The very first one is most intriguing when he proclaims he’s “got a little getting even to do…”

And what do you mean by that does that mean, Mr. Simpson?

Also, how about the fact he makes this big announcement almost exactly 25 years to the day he was alleged (and I by alleged, we all know he did it) to have brutally murdered two people.  We see what you are doing Juice.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a stab (oops) at mocking this new gift granted to our social media lives.

So let join in the revelry with some early ones I have heard,…

“OJ will be using Slashtags instead of Hashtags”

“Surprised he didn’t use the handle @IDidIt”

“His first follower was the LA Police Department.”

“Sure, OJ is on Twitter but that is not gonna drag me away from Judge Ito’s Instagram”

“OJ and Twitter go together like a hunting knife and leather gloves.”

And the jokes could go one forever.  Won’t even begin the long line of Kardashian quips that could be made (yet).

So, highly suggest you give the 71 year old future Hell of Famer a follow.  Its sure to be interesting.

Personally, I prefer to remember ‘the-pre-double-murder-silly-clumsy-Naked Gun Nordberg’ OJ Simpson

 

P.S. Imagine that fact that OJ isn’t even the worst guy in this picture?

P.P.S. My Dad said “he was a nice guy” when he met him earlier this year BUT I am also pretty sure OJ gave him cancer.  Can’t prove it.

Happy New Year!  We are all doomed!


And so as we close out half of this decade (am I the only one that thinks 1999 was like 3 years ago?) this evening, I thought I would offer a basic and easy-to-understand overview of the Presidential election landscape.  Politics is really not my thing – at all – but is this not the most bizarre field of candidates you have seen?  It’s more like a reality show than a run for the White House.

Anyway, here is a simple chapter and verse rundown of our future leader….

HILLARY CLINTON

Supporting Hillary is like supporting that stay-at-home, overbearing, bitchy PTO mom everyone hates but no one will say it even though she will ultimately screw you over and give half of those brownies you made away to the lunch lady for free at the annual bake sale.
BERNIE SANDERS

Supporting Bernie Sanders is like recreating Back to the Future. Doc Brown (Sanders) convinces naive Marty McFly (the American people) that stealing plutonium from Libyans in the name of scientific advancement could cost you your life. What does that mean? I don’t know either, but this guy is moon bat, shithouse crazy and needs a straight jacket.

DONALD TRUMP

Supporting Trump is basically sucking up to that snotty, pushy rich kid that had all the best toys, game and parties but you don’t really like him and he will inevitably screw you and everyone else over if given the chance.  HUGE!

JEB BUSH

Supporting Jeb Bush is the equivalent of becoming buddies with the head coach’s son cause you know you will make the team and get some varsity action. Just go along with what Daddy says and everything will be fine for you even if the rest of the team suffers.

CHRIS CHRISTIE

Supporting Chris Christie is like supporting pizza. Always seems like a good idea til you eat the whole fucking thing alone and now find yourself filled with regret (not to mention pizza)

AND….

As for the rest of the field….might as well flip a fricken’ coin. Who “sucks less” in this race is what we have on our hands.

Insightful, I know.

Vote your conscience because logic and reason won’t help you in November.

USA!! USA!! USA!!

HAPPY 2016!

Good night and God Bless, suckas!

I Fought A Dance Mom

Dance Moms.  Gross.  I have always heard bad things about your breed.  Then that eye-popping, nut-job reality show came out and it confirmed those rumors.  However, I have never had an up close and personal run in with you people until this week.  Hold that thought…

To jump into Marty McFly’s Delorean for a few seconds.  My only sibling and sister was big in to the dance stuff when she was young.  I (forcibly) attended more recitals than any boy should  – basically at the threat of violence from Dad and endless Irish guilt from Mom.  It was what it was.  150 girls ages 3-20 frolicking around a pressure cooker of a high school theater in June for what seemed to be days, but that would be an understatement.  The actual average length – start to finish – of a dance recital is a 13.5 days; on the low side.  Tell me I’m wrong?  Exactly.  Families and loved ones broil in their seats for seemingly an eternity to catch a whopping 4 minutes of  scantily clad 6 year old ‘Little Suzy’ spinning around the stage. It’s true, and you know it.

As I type this I realize some of my best friends are ‘Mothers of Dancers’ – BUT that doesn’t make them ‘Dance Moms’ – big difference.

‘Mothers of Dancers’ are just nice women that enjoy watching their little girls have some fun, learn a skill or 2 and have fun.  Did I mention “have fun”?  Women like my Mom and my wife.

‘Dance Moms’ are psychopathic, underachieving, soulless Nazis that are somehow living their “I always wanted to be a ballerina but My Mom never hugged me” dreams through their own kids.  Dance Moms are in it for the show.  Dance Moms are in it for themselves.  Dance Moms are in it to win it.  Excitedly slapping on enough makeup to embarrass Bozo the Clown coupled with an outfit that would make Lady Gaga blush…to a 5 year old.  Yes, you have some serious issues, madam.

Dance Moms are evil devil women.

I had an “encounter” with a Dance Mom 2 days ago.  My two daughters are taking a once-per-week class and having a ball.  It is leisurely and enjoyable.  This week is the Christmas show.  Awesome!  Excited to see them perform.  Wednesday was dress rehearsal.  Wife dropped them off and I was planning to pick them up.  This is when I met my new arch nemesis, ‘Debbie Dance Mom’ with the bad dye job and giant Adam’s Apple.

First off, I pull in to the high school parking lot and there is literally 247,000 cars flying in every direction.  Not only is dress rehearsal happening but every sports team from horseshoes to hockey  is practicing or has a game.  I am totally lost.  After unsuccessfully attempting to get in to about nine different entrances, I finally found where I needed to be.

Walk in and the hall is crowded with parents, volunteers and kids.  I notice the auditorium entrance is wide open and make my way inside to find my children.  Once inside, its total bedlam and I see the stage is flooded with kids including my 2.  Perfect, I’ll find a seat, watch the end of rehearsal and be on our way.

And then….

Here comes my new buddy ‘Debbie’ and here is what our “conversation” consisted of.

“Sir, sir….whar are you doing in here?” (in a loud angry voice)

“Excuse me?  I’m just here to scoop my kids, I…” I politely respond.

“Well, you can’t be in here.  There are girls changing and, and”

“OK, hold on,  I ‘m sorry.  I’ve never been here before.  Just looking for my daughters and…”

“Well, you need to get out of here, NOW.”

“Ok, ok I’m sorry.”

At this point she is throwing me out da Club, Gronk-style as if I had crawled in the heating vent with binoculars, a mustache and t-shirt  reading ‘Level 3, Yup, That’s Me!’)

But my embarrassment was starting to turn to anger.  My patience to frustration.  And her big, fat loud mouth was making matters worse.

As I exited the auditorium feeling like a Peeping Tom, I felt the eyes of these other parents wash over me as if I was headed for the Principal’s office.

I was almost in a state of shock.  What the mother effer was that?  There was no need for her to attack me?  And just as I was wrapping my brain around this episode, it continued.

‘Debbie’ did not realize I was still just a few steps away from her and she proceeded to relay what happened, again in that loud, assholey voice, to the entire atrium.

Do you believe this Dad just walked right in the middle of things?  There are girls changing and he paraded right down to the….”

And that is when I saw red and this slob was going to get piece of my mind.

Hey!”  I quipped as I ducked back around the corner in to her line of sight, “I am RIGHT HERE!”

Without a flinch, she comes back at me with “Yeah, I see you there.”

Oh man, I wanted to morph in to Ike Turner at that moment.

Look, lady (nothing more demeaning than throwing “Lady” at someone), I apologized.  I’ve never been here. The doors are wide open and none of these nice people corrected me.  NO need for this behavior.  Put up a sign or something!”

Well, guess what, I’m the sign!” she fired back.

Now I was having blurry visions of OJ.

BUT, before things got really out of hand, I simply smiled at her smug, ruddy face and excused myself from the building to cool off.  Also, I naturally needed to check my windowless, white van with ‘FREE CANDY, Puppies and Unicorns’ spray painted across it – cause, ya know, I am a pedophile according to this crazy broad.

Called home.  Exploded the story to the Mrs. and then I just let it go.  Went back inside, politely greeted my kids and headed out.

The ultimate validation was, as I was leaving, a “Mother of a Dancer” chased me down and told me how out of line ‘Debbie’ was.  I thanked her and never looked back.

Keep your head on a swivel this season, Debbie.  Christmas may come early for you, if you know what I am saying?