Reflections on the Basement Buddha

Because I am in the basement and not the coffee shop, do you get it? Do you get it?

Sometimes I wonder that if I knew the IP address of an old computer that I had and sent an email to an old email address, adding the IP address and pushing it through the darker web, if I could send myself a message from the future.  Like, if I remembered that at 10:45 PM on December 30th, 2000 you were most definitely on the computer in your bedroom I could do what I just said and write myself a note like, “Don’t write that letter to Heather Beck, that is going to end poorly.”

I think about this often, all though I am actually not that great with technology despite going to college from multimedia technologies. I don’t really know how it could be done, but I feel as if it can be done.

Here is why I am telling you this….

Rather than living your life on social media and being angry about made up nonsense that doesn’t affect you maybe you should chill out and try to think some thoughts.

There is no reason to be upset about things that don’t really matter.  There is no reason to lose your mind about the Pittsburgh Pirates and go around and spill your negative energy all over anyone who is positive about baseball.  You know why?  Because baseball is a game and it doesn’t really matter and if baseball is life or death for you than you need to rethink everything.

There is a troll on the /buccos reddit named Yinzwe.  He is the worst human being who ever existed.  For about three weeks I allowed him to infuriate me.  I seriously would sit there at work and if anyone who even slightly looked jerkish walked in I would instantly think, “I wonder if that is Yinzwe.”

As each day passed on this board I got angrier and angrier.  I was totally losing to a troll.

I would write out calm, well articulated posts about how baseball was just a game and Yinzwe would just troll and troll and troll. Finally one day I just lost it and went off on a super long rant that was highly inappropriate in order to get the boot from that board.

I just didn’t want baseball to be negative anymore.

Now a week or so later I realized that I lost to a troll, simply by caring.  I should have just left the subreddit and never thought about it again.  It wasn’t for me, it was for negative troll fuckboys like Yinzwe.

Now I have come to the conclusion that rather than being upset at society for being so negative, or trying to make society a little more positive, I should simply refuse to be part of it.

Maybe this is what I came here for… Maybe this is why I’ve kept this shell of a former media venture.  I wanted to create the equivalent of a modern network and here I am on the ashes of my great dream writing journals to no one about how tired I am of people’s complaints.

It seems like you’ve all spent so much time trying to portray yourselves as edgy or cool, hyper educated or ubersexual, that you forgot to care about what side of righteousness you are on.  To be clear; I am not talking about religion, I am talking about actual righteousness

Why don’t you try to just be nice?  It’s that simple sometimes.

Just knock off your stupid shit and be a nice person.



Reflections on the Coffee Buddha Part Three: I forgot the tickets!

Taking my dad to see the Penguins play the Devils tonight.  However, sitting here in the upstairs of the Coffee Buddha, I’ve realized the tickets are sitting on the dining room table in our home in Richland.  UGH.

Life is life and so it goes.

We are a few days into Spring and I am still sitting here looking at a snow-covered landscape.  We got 8+ inches of snow on Wednesday and it is in the low 30’s today. Next week it is supposed to go up into the 60’s.  I will be wearing cargo shorts for sure, because cargo shorts are the official what’s up.  Long Live Cargo Shorts.

I will be breaking out a righteous Kordell Stewart jersey for tonight’s game, because my Penguins jerseys no longer fit me.  There needs to be less Chaz, in almost all aspects of life.

Laying low is the key to surviving the Trump era.  Just wait it out and when it’s over fight like hell to make sure it never happens again.  Wasting your energy now surely means there will be a repeat of this mess.  It’s sad how many people I once viewed as righteous have proven to have the devil in them.

We all have the devil in us.  For many the struggle is to keep balance as god and the devil rage within them.  It’s a constant battle. Trump has thrown off the equilibrium of the weak.  The devil is winning inside of them and it is hard to watch.  Because even if they contain it they are now marked with the beast.  We now know that they are willing to embrace the darkness and pretend it is the light.

God save us all though we do not deserve it.  It’s going to be a long way until 2020.

As I look at these prints of Dr. Thompson I wonder if he would even have the energy to fight these fuckerz if he was still with us.  We have no Dr. Thompson.  We have no counter-culture.  We are in a dangerous spot.

Maybe Roseanne will save us all.  She is quite a lady.

As for everything else it simply is.  Fantasy baseball draft tomorrow then a birthday party for young Leona.  It will be nice to see everyone.  I have been very busy as of late.

None of my time has been spent accomplishing the goals I set for myself when returning to Pittsburgh.  I have done nothing creative, I am not changing any neighborhoods for the better.  I am sitting in Richland waiting to go back to work.  It’s basically the opposite of what I was hoping to be doing by this time.

Maybe writing in the upstairs of the Coffee Buddha is the beginning of The Great War.  Maybe I am just getting fueled up for a long fight.  Something is going to happen, that is certain.  I am just as confused as you as to what it will be, but nevertheless it will in fact happen and I will be part of it.  I hope it is great.

I, just like you, am simply along for the ride.



Reflections on the Coffee Buddha Part Two: Holistic Boogaloo

“The edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson

It’s written on a print in the room that I am in on the second level of the Coffee Buddha.  Dr. Thompson said it, but it’s not true.  I have been there, “The Edge,” outside of the Fulton Grand many years ago.  I slipped into another string of time and came back.  That was the edge.

You can get to the edge and stop. Going over the edge is a choice that you make, and just like all choices it has consequences.

It’s snowing and cold here on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day and I will be spending the next two days selling beer to the people.  They enjoy it I think.  Even if most have bad taste in it.  To each their own.  Without Miller Lite we would have nothing to compare good beer to.  Extremes are only extreme in comparison to the very middle.  Pittsburgh is the very middle.

Sometimes I try to sit and think about exactly where I was on this date each year passed and how different my life was.  Here we are in season 35 and I am a husband and a father.  I got to play in the basement with Bennett this morning and we dunked basketballs on his mini hoop and made toy cars go vroom.  Best of all he sat next to me with his head on my side as I read him stories.

Being a father is by far the greatest role I have ever played and all other roles I have played in life in the years passed have been preparation.

I sold wine to the people of Greenpoint for two and half years.  I was the guy on the corner of Norman and Newell who said hello and chatted with the neighbors.  Working at Greenpoint Wines was an important experience in my life.  For all the good memories I had there the most important lesson I learned is that customers are not friends.  I’ve never made that mistake again.

Those were good people and I enjoyed being part of their lives.  I enjoyed selling Craig Finn wine and chatting him up on Saturdays.  I always enjoyed visits from Homer Murray.  He was a good guy with a darker sense of humor than his father’s.

Craig was perhaps the one that made me rethink my stance on never befriending a customer again.  We went to his show at Brooklyn Bowl with Titus Andronicus and when I walked past his lady she stopped me shouting “it’s the wine guy!”  We chatted for a few and waited for beers as Craig played.  She was a genuine human being.

If I was a better person those would be the memories I took away from that place.  However, what I really remembered was constantly being looked down upon and treated poorly by my boss who had me  run her entire business for $10 an hour under the table.  I thought she was nice at first but she turned out to be an awful human being.  I don’t think it was a case where I was mistaken.  I think she was a good person at first and then something happened.  I am willing to bet a lot of it had to do with what a loser dickbag her husband was.  She changed, and she took her anger out on me.  She went out of her way to make me feel small and it was unnecessary.

So when I quit at the end of a shift on Saturday night I didn’t feel so bad.  I was left with a bad taste in my mouth about how it all went down though. I basically had to just cut ties with everyone I knew from there and it was awful.  I still had to live among them because I played in the Word Basketball league.  I had to change my routes.  I couldn’t get my coffee at the same places.  It shouldn’t have been that way, but it was in fact that way.

Everything was changing so quickly anyway.  It was a really strange time in my life.

Reflections on the Coffee Buddha: Volume One

Note:I just started writing and something came out.  It had been quite awhile.  Maybe I found something.  So we are calling this Volume One.

I’m sitting here at Coffee Buddha on Perry Highway taking in the scene wondering why it has been so hard to write anything for the past year and a half.  In the end it comes down to a simple fact… I have been in a permanent state of ‘everything sucks” for far too long and I really have nothing all that positive to add to anything, and perhaps more importantly even if I did it would get shot down quickly by the internet masses and I do not have it in me to take them on again.

For 4 years I wrote for We Party Patriots.  They were the prime writing years of my career, and it was all for nothing.  Worst of all it was all a lie.  I was told what to write and it was heavily edited.  I viewed it as practice, honing my trade, but in the end it killed all my energy for writing.  I wish I took everyones advice and never taken that gig.

Now I sit here with about 8 years of short stories and journal entries detailing my life in New York and absolutely no desire to share them.  I have no passion for any subject worth writing about, if I have passion for any subject at all.  Even my beloved Buccos are somehow a hot button topic trending toward negative.  I seriously can’t even say that I like a baseball team without people siding with a fake internet boycott that will do nothing.

Out the window here at the Coffee Buddha is a backyard with two trucks lined by a picket fence.  There are patches of snow on the ground, it is cold. People come in and order their daily drinks.  Some stay, but most go.  It’s interesting to be a bystander in people’s routine.

It is the part of March where all though the days are made artificially longer by daylight savings time there are few signs of spring.  It will snow for the next few days.

Winter in Pennsylvania is particularly dark and it makes me wonder how one lives in a place like Nova Scotia without becoming an alcoholic or a psychopath.

I wanted to be Hunter S Thompson and I’ve become Orson Welles, but not the amazing Orson Welles, the obese Orson Welles who cursed the sunlight and lost the will to groom himself.  Work is the only place I feel comfortable and I don’t like talking to a majority of the people who come in.

Coffee Buddha is a slight refuge but the clientele is amusing, but not in a joyful way.  Since I’ve sat down I’ve overheard conversations about movies, but jumping in seems useless because anytime anything comes up that I am interested in it gets shot down.  I guess this is a group that is down on anything to do with James Franco, but is very pro original Planet of the Apes.

Briefly it was brought up that Rex Tillerson was fired and it was greeted with a slight joke that Hillary Clinton should get the job.  Therefore the conversation was over.

Chris Paul Stelling is coming to town and I would love to sit with him here and have a conversation.  I miss the coffee shops in Brooklyn.  I miss Bedford Hill (what? did I say this?), I miss Coffee Mob (huh?), I miss Daily Press ( actually I was wrong about Daily Press and didn’t take it all in until the end), I miss Blue Oven and wish I didn’t embarrass myself there.  I was so broke.  I never had the extra scratch to truly enjoy their pie.

Here is the problem with writing on the internet knowing it will be responded to by the masses.  Up there, when I used the word scratch I wanted to use the word scrilla, but I knew that would lead to me being made fun of, or people would love it and just focus on the word scrilla and miss the point.

However there is no point, because I have nothing to say.  This is just a rambling vent and it adds nothing to society, but that is fine.  Society is shit and i don’t even feel like I am part of it. Adding a small piece of positivity to a roomful of shit doesn’t make it a room that is NOT filled with shit.

It’s like smoking out a state school dorm room and spraying some axe to cover it up.  We all know what really happened.

Brooklyn was a rough period in my life because it was a constant struggle and the memories I hold most dearly to my heart are indescribable.  Moments when the heat became so overwhelming I worried about survival, only to have the skies open up and pour rain upon me, drenching me to the core and reviving my soul for another day.  Walking the streets of Bed Stuy on a 100+ degree day and seeing kids finding refuge at a fire hydrant that had been busted open, only to jump in for a few seconds and rethink my life as I cooled my core.

Water is the basis of my writing.  My fear of floods is the basis of my music.  Yet I cannot become the water, even here at the Coffee Buddha, a place you would think would be my personal refuge.  There is a buddha statue above a stack of books about wrestling topped by “They call me Bubba Booey: the Gary Delabate story.”  Howard Stern makes sense, society does not.

Iced Coffee cannot be the fuel of a successful and sustained life, but I will let it fuel me for another day.  If I make it through today I may make it through another.  Just like in Brooklyn I am missing it all because I am trying to survive.  However at least when I was there I was part of something, all though I guess I felt like I never belonged.

Looking back I realize that I was not the only one, we were all trying to survive, and I guess here is the same.  Maybe someday I will look back at my days writing at the Coffee Buddha the same was as I view my days in Bed Stuy.

I’ve just lost the childlike wonder I pretended to have in the big city.


The Pirates at the All Star Break


Greetings from the All Star break.

Sitting in 4th place in a throughly disappointing division the Pirates currently have a 42-47 record.  What started as a promising season was quickly derailed through injury, suspension, and visa issues with the Korean government.  Now the Buccos must look to shape their roster for the future, with the goal of getting a head start on competing in the 2018 season.

Their first opportunity will be the upcoming trade deadline.

At the heart of the trade discussion is face of the franchise Andrew McCutchen, in his 9th major league season, heating up after a harsh start to 2017.

The truth is it is impossible to say whether or not trading Cutch is a good or bad decision without knowing who the Pirates would get in return, making the definite opinions of fellow Pirates fans be it pro or con fairly ridiculous.

To keep McCutchen is to have your veteran leader in tact for the 2018 run, it is to keep a wary fan base appeased, it is to finally shed the small market malaise and commit to paying an icon.

Continue reading “The Pirates at the All Star Break”

The Pitt vs. Penn State Rivalry and Other Things Best Left in the Past

I helped the Pitt Panthers defeat the Penn State Nittany Lions for the national championship in 1994.  I was Eleven.

It was played in the stadium made up of both my parents and the neighbors backyards.  I rolled out from intense pressure and threw my neighbor Johnny Lavia the game winning pass in the corner of the end zone.  He had to dive around my neighbors tree to haul it in.

Funny thing is that just two weeks later we both defeated Penn State to win the NCAA basketball tournament, which that year was played in his parents backyard.  He was the starting shooting guard that made the last second shot under pressure and I was the power forward who tipped it in for the win.

Continue reading “The Pitt vs. Penn State Rivalry and Other Things Best Left in the Past”

Donny from up the street has died


I grew up in suburban Pittsburgh on a dead end street lined by trees.  It ventured downhill steeply and then leveled off before ending at a cliff that again fell sharply and then terraced down to Little Pine Creek.  I lived right there at the end of Braun Street. I lived there until I went away to college and then a few times more.  My parents still live there.  It is my home base.

In the middle of the street, on the same side, was a house just a little older than the others where Donny Dankmyer spent his entire life.

Continue reading “Donny from up the street has died”

Pittsburgh Steelers: Day 2 Draft Predictions

Note: I’m just going to be honest.  I ran out of time today.  I am taking my wife out to dinner tonight and I didn’t have time to finish this.  So it kind of trails off at the end. Apologies.

So the Steelers got their cornerback.  It’s quite likely it wasn’t the one they wanted.  William Jackson III of Houston went off the board with pick 24 to the Bungles and Burns was likely the next on the board.  So now he is a Steeler.

Can we please start calling him Mr. Burns?

Continue reading “Pittsburgh Steelers: Day 2 Draft Predictions”