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User: njvinnie
Name: Vinnie
April 2014
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Vinnie's Journal
That's what I felt like when I finally remembered to log on here and saw I last posted something six month ago. I always intend to write for pleasure, and then I never get to it. Between the job and the boys, nearly all of my time is spent. Even now, as I type this, I am waiting to be called away from the keyboard yet again to assist with some potty training.

Not that I am is good for all it's speed bumps since I last wrote here. The boys are doing well and are more fun every passing day. For every night of poor sleep or gigantic mess, there are 100 moment great and small which make everything it took to bring those two little guys into the world and to be there for them every day worth it times ten. The job is also good, despite it's many challenges at the level I've reached. It's more of a different job than I thought, and rarely anything like the work done coming up, but it can be rewarding in its own way.

Everything is just exhausting at times. So much to do, so many things that need my attention at's possible to not just burn out but flame out. I recently made the decision to "slow down", which for me means taking more of my scheduled days off to spend with my family and not stay for 14-16 hours every day I am scheduled for 12. I also leave the phone alone for hours on purpose, no work emails, no work texts. I want to get into that habit now, before the little guys are old enough to use the term "workaholic" as an insult! Plus, I was so burnt out I could barely write a four line e-mail without having to revise it ten times over several hours and still have errors in it when I clicked send. Being unable to write out even simple thoughts was a major waving red flag for me...that I needed to take a step back and recharge.

I know I missed all of my usual holiday and end of year posts...and I honestly could care less. Holidays have become a headache for reasons I don't feel like getting into, and at the end of 2013 I finally had some time off work and spent all of it hanging out with Veronica and the boys.

I am sure I will write again...I just don't know when and that's fine by me!

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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere | Powered by

...but one whole year really has flown by. The Boys will turn 1 tomorrow. I seriously don't know where the time has gone. Most people who don't see them on a regular basis say the usual comments "they got so big", etc...but they don't look all that big to me. They look bigger, and certainly heavier, but not like they are different people or anything. I guess that's because I saw them almost every single day since they were born. Up until we changed our schedule at work this month to a 12-hour day...on work days I may not get to see them at all unless they wake up early. Which can suck but I did fight to get this damn schedule for the last decade...but I digress.

Veronica and my mom went all out, it looks like the Magic Kingdom exploded all over our house. There is a four foot tall Mickey Mouse balloon hanging out in our living room. The little guys love them some Mickey Mouse...they just light up when we put the "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" on for them. We have one (Anthony) walking, and one (Vincent) sort of almost talking. We can pretty clearly hear them say "daddy and mommy" and "bye bye"...and it's pretty cool when you get the rare utterance of the correct word when you enter the room or they catch sight of you.

They are great little guys for the most part - really only crabby when a tooth is coming in or there is a lot of gas presaging a crime scene of a diaper. I give a lot of credit to Veronica, she is very cool and level headed with them and spends hours upon hours both playing and working with them. I spend the time when I have it, which is not as often as I would like but I think I have a pretty good balance between the demanding nature of my current work assignment and family time.

Tomorrow will be a great day, and I am really looking forward to hearing a lot of happy sounds and laughs and giggles.

The best times in life can really sneak up on you...I'm glad I have both eyes open and I am enjoying every second of what I have been given. You really can blink and have it pass you by.

Happy Birthday little buddies. Your mom and dad love you now and always and look forward to everything to come.

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Current Mood: jubilant jubilant
Current Music: Bastille - Pompeii (2013) | Powered by

When I was in the third grade I thought that I was gay,
'Cause I could draw, my uncle was, and I kept my room straight.
I told my mom, tears rushing down my face
She's like "Ben you've loved girls since before pre-k, trippin' "
Yeah, I guess she had a point, didn't she?
Bunch of stereotypes all in my head.
I remember doing the math like, "Yeah, I'm good at little league"
A preconceived idea of what it all meant
For those that liked the same sex
Had the characteristics
The right wing conservatives think it's a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don't know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
"Man, that's gay" gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we're saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don't have acceptance for 'em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It's the same hate that's caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It's human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that's not important
No freedom till we're equal, damn right I support it

We press play, don't press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking 'round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love
About time that we raised up... sex

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert) (2013) | Powered by

"Serving the Universe..."
"Hot rockin', Flamethrowin'..."
"Spitting fire from the top of the Empire, and shaking the ground on the planet below..."
"Lock it in, and RIP THE KNOB OFF..."
"New York's Number One Hit Music Station..."

My leading quotes for this blog are things that, depending on your specific age, would be burned into your head if you grew up anywhere in range of the signal of Z100 in New York City. Z100 was my generation's WABC, larger than life and seemingly everywhere.

I was always in love with music. One of the first things I can remember from my childhood was playing a 45 RPM record on this little plastic record player I had over and over again. The song? "I Can't Help Myself" by the Four Tops. To this day that song will bring a huge smile to my face, and makes me think of happy times and my dad as a young man. This is a big part of the power of music to me, it's always tied up in my head with times, places, and people.

It was probably around 1988 that I really remember getting into the music on the radio, and Z100 played it all back then. Rock, rap, power ballad, pop, didn't matter. If it sounded good, if it rated good, it got on the air. The jocks and the image of the station were larger than life, and one jock in particular was my hero. Kid Kelly, a man who to the best of my knowlege personally inspired dozens of people to jobs in radio and is an all around awesome person, was the man. The essence of cool. Someone I wound up getting to know and spend time with, and who was a great help to me in the years after my dad passed away. He represents what is now almost a lost art, and a fading memory of the medium of radio: The ability of a jock to really connect with the people listening. I remember being crushed when he was bumped to the late night shift sometime in the early 90s, and how I would stay up way past when I should have been sleeping to hear his show on a little transistor radio. Do they even have those anymore? To this day I hold a grudge against the Program Director who made that move...even though I know it's totally unreasonable. Sorry Mr. Kingston!

Anyway, while Z100 now might not be a daily listen for me (mainly because the modern "hits" format has only recently started to reflect the "big tent" of music again instead of a handful of narrow tastes and my personal tastes in music lean mainly towards alternative rock), I do check in from time to time and it still sounds like the perfect example of what it is supposed to be: HIT MUSIC. Outside of the hours that fucking hack Ryan Seacrest is voicetracking thousands of people's jobs away. Sorry again, just couldn't resist because I despise Seacrest that much.

So here's to you Z100! Happy 30th birthday, and many more!

In honor of this occasion, I will crank up my speakers and RIP THE KNOB OFF to the current #1 song airing on Z100. Until I write again, I leave you with this thought....


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Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: Calvin Harris - Sweet Nothing | Powered by

"No one is compelled to choose the profession of a police officer, but having chosen it EVERYONE is obligated to perform its duties and live up to the high standards of it's requirements." -- President Calvin Coolidge

I was meaning to get to this several weeks ago, but oh how life interferes with my plans so often! Generally in a positive way, but still. It's hard to find the time to focus long enough on what I want to write with so much going on and all the time I spend writing things I have to write for work. In fact right now, I am forcing myself to sit at the computer and type this when I really want to be downstairs playing a mindless game on the Xbox or reading away on the Kindle while Veronica and the boys are out of the house and I can do so in peace! Of course, I need this same peace to be able to focus long enough on writing for pleasure...and here we are. I shall reward myself with a cookie later.

Anyway, the quote I started this blog with was taken from a book called "The Nobility of Policing" which was provided to me during a course I took a few weeks back called "Blue Courage" ( This course was nothing less than incredible, an inspiration which I sorely needed as the daily grind of being a manager and an "agent of change" was really beginning to get to me. In short, Blue Courage was a reminder of everything good and right about my chosen profession. A reminder of what I wanted to do this for in the first place. Not just a collection of quotes or references, and not presented by people who aren't in the know. A perfect message delivered by the perfect messengers.

I can't actually say enough good things about the two presenters we had for this course. They were both over 20 year veteran officers, of a kind I have never seen before. Usually cops with that amount of time in are crusty, jaded, cynical, probably a little out of shape and more likely "checked out". At least in my experience in this cynical mess of a state, that would describe most cops from about 5 years on the job...but these two. Wow. Dialed in, mentally, physically, psychologically, and "real police" to boot. They were, to me, proof positive that the right attitude goes a long way towards keeping this job in perspective. Doing "the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason", as they said, resonated deeply with me because that was something my father taught me. Along with his constant mantra of "be smarter, be better", it was like hearing him when that was said to us.

We had quite a cross section of people in the class with us from our own agency and others from the area. It was invaluable not only hearing the experiences of our instructors, but of high level management from other departments including a Chief of Police who started on the job when I was in diapers. We also got to hear very personal stories from people, including co-workers I have known for almost 15 years and never had a clue as to what they shared. It was eye opening, to realize how guarded we all can be, and how little we sometimes know of the motivations behind the actions of those we work with daily. Honest and open discussion was the rule of the day, of the kind rarely seen or heard within the four walls of your average police department, and it was awesome.

Blue Courage was really what I needed to hear...certainly the right thing at the right time for me. I have thanked our boss repeatedly for bringing this to us, and I look forward to getting more of our people through it in the future.

Now, speaking of reading, I promised myself I would work on the recommended reading list given to us during the course. Instead I've been reading fiction from my favorite authors. So, I'm going to order up a few books from the list on the Kindle, and make the effort to spend at least some of my limited reading time every day on it. After all, the mind needs exercise if I'm going to grow into the leader I've always said I wanted to be.

I'll end this screed with another quote from the Blue Courage material, which is very relevant to my new role as a leader/manager on the job. It frames perfectly a discussion I had with one of the Blue Courage instructors, Kristen (who leads more people in her current role than three of my departments added together), about being a "new boss" and some of the challenges of people pushing back. Her words of advice centered on "ignoring the background noise" so long as I was making decisions and doing things "right" (as described above), because there is no way to make everyone happy all of the time. So simple, but it really helped something in my head "click" relating to my new role at work the more I considered it. So thank you, Kristen...and this closing quote from the one and only Steve Jobs is for you!

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary" -- Steve Jobs

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Current Mood: optimistic optimistic
Current Music: The Killers - Human (2008) | Powered by


...which I cross-posted to Facebook. As I often do, because as cool as Twitter can be most people I know haven't figured that out yet!

Anyway, my initial post generated some follow up discussion which drew a response from me I thought was blog worthy. I still owe this journal a couple of posts from weeks back. I promise myself I will get to it "soon"! Today I need to recover from producing about 30 pages of reports all week.

Anyway, here was my initial comment and my follow up to friends who don't see it my way. Happy reading!

The Tweet: James Gandolfini was by all accounts a great guy and I was a huge fan but I don't agree with the Governor ordering flags to half staff for him anymore than I did for Whitney Houston.

My follow up showing the thought process BEHIND the Tweet: I look at it from this perspective: They were both world renowned prior to their deaths for their work. Fallen soldiers and cops and firefighters, who lay down their lives FOR their work are famous for exactly two days. The day they are killed and the day of their funeral. Then few but friends and family would ever know their names if you uttered them. Few know of how they lived or died. I expect "scumbag politicians" to piggy back on an honor like that for themselves because they view themselves as "servants", however even most of them will never know the name recognition of an iconic actor or entertainer in life or death. Most people can't name even name their Congressman, right? When they choose to extend this type of honor beyond the realm of those of serve or those, such as Rosa Parks or Pope John Paul (two people this country lowered flags for in the past) who stood for something greater or dedicated their lives to others, I feel as if it begins to lose the special meaning and recognition it is meant for. They could do ANYTHING else...proclaim a day for the man, name a school or road or monument for him...but instead they choose to use this special honor reserved for servants on celebrities. I find it a cynical manipulation of an honor designed to boost the profile of the person giving the order, which actually to me makes it insulting to the memory of the person they are claiming to honor.

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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative
Current Music: None...

...however instead I have decided to answer the call! Or the text message, as the case may be. I'm picking up OT filling in for a shift supervisor that called in sick. Honestly I'm Kind of looking forward to it, I haven't actually gone out in a marked car for more than a few minutes in what feels like forever and I am antsy.

I hope to get about an hour to myself tomorrow to write. I had a lot of good experiences this week and I would like to get to them while they are still fresh in my head.

Until I write again!

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Current Mood: busy busy

...or whatever the hell I said in my last posts, which were about five months ago! Sheesh. The last thing I even wrote about was gun control. I'm glad to see that issue is going well with civilized discussion on all sides. </sarcasm>.

So let's see. Life has honestly been nearly a blur since I last sat down to put keyboard to journal. It seems like time passes so quickly now. Once I recovered from whatever Black Plague-like illness followed me all through December, I was off to the races both at work and at home and really haven't had the time to look back.

On the work front, I've been a man on a mission. A mission to remake my job into a professional place, a place that will be bar none the best of its kind. At times, it felt like a one man mission...those were the times my boss was out of work on a leave (as we are on the same page - So yes folks, with about three months of management under my belt, and I was handed a split of the big chair with another manager and it was the most challenging period of any job I have ever done. I realize it has been my lifelong goal to be the man with the stars, to reach the pinnacle of my profession, but I didn't envision doing it while still bailing water off the sinking ship and having two infants at home. It really gave me an appreciation for some of the skills my boss brings to the table and has been trying to teach me. It's nice to be an armchair CEO and talk tough sometimes about what I would or would not do and who I would tell to fuck off...but it's a totally different game when you're the one out front having to execute. I'm happy to report both I and the department survived, and I've been able to move on wiser about a few things. I feel as if I will always loathe "the game", but at least I have learned how to play a lot better over the years and my turn in the big chair helped me prove it to myself.

I have written what feels like thousands of pages of policy since I last sat in front of this keyboard for this purpose. There's thousands more to go, but progress is being made. There's a lot of negative things I could talk about...but I just don't feel like focusing on the bad things anymore. Too many good things are happening, change continues and I feel like the "critial mass" point will be coming soon. A few more people hired under the "new world order" there, a few more retirements or people leaving for another job...a few more attitude adjustments, and we will be over the top. The thing that keeps me going is knowing there will be a point where maybe I will be wearing those stars, and I will be able to just do the job and enjoy the job instead of having to be "Mister Fix It", because we will have fixed everything already. I often feel like we are starting from many ways we are...but when we're done it will be something to see and a place where I won't have to hands on micromanage every little thing. Good times, coming "SOON".

On the home front, it feels like we are finally getting our house back in order. We actually have a garage again, our own garage. The broken fence and the last of the fire damaged stuff in the backyard will be on the way out in the next few weeks. Then perhaps we can relax for a few days without being surrounded by contractors or family members trying to "help" sort out one mess or another. By relax, I mean "childproof everything", since it seems at least one of the twins is trying his hardest to crawl every day.

Speaking of...the boys are doing great. It really is a trip to see them change so much, so quickly. I can't believe just last week it was six months since they entered the world with Hurricane Sandy on thier little heels. So far as babies go, they are pretty well behaved and low maintenance. I think that has a lot to do with having two parents who are calm and keep our home a (mostly) drama free environment. I'm look forward to seeing them every day, to see what the next new thing is they will do!

I think this about as up to date as I can make things, trying to go over five months in one sitting. Life is good. I have the best wife a guy could ask for, support from family, a good boss who values what I bring to the table and is working with me every day to make me into a better leader, a great group of friends who always have my back, and two little guys who I will have the honor of guiding through life.

Life is good.

Until I write again!

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Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: Paramore - Now (2013) | Powered by

This comprehensive look at the gun control issue takes the blog I did last week and puts it on steroids! This is worth a read no matter what side of this issue you find yourself on.

Click here:

Welcome to 2013, folks! I hope to be a lot more write-y this year, and this is a topic I have a lot of interest in. Buckle up!

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Current Mood: tired tired

I did one of these last year with just ten songs on it, and thought I would be doing the same this year.  Maybe there was more music I liked, or it could be I made a bigger effort to stop and listen to music from time to time.  That was something I promised myself to do in 2012...anyway, when I went to click through all my music from 2012 I found I couldn't narrow the list to anywhere near ten songs.  I thought 25 would be a better representation of what I have been listening to all year.
One note - I only included one song per group or artist, even though there are many where I have been listening to two more more songs quite a bit (such as Muse, The Black Keys, or AWOLNATION).
Anyway, without further ado, for the two people reading this in the world who might care even a little bit, is the big countdown!  Or something.
25) Bully - Shinedown
24) Blood For Poppies - Garbage
23) Face To The Floor - Chevelle
22) "45" - The Gaslight Anthem
21) Glad You Came - The Wanted
20) Satellite - Rise Against
19) Where The Kids Area - Blondfire
18) The Pit - Silversun Pickups
17) Sleep Alone - Two Door Cinema Club
16) Tightrope - Walk The Moon
15) We Come Running - Youngblood Hawke

14) Let's Go - Matt & Kim
13) Take A Walk - Passion Pit
12) Feels So Close - Calvin Harris
11) Mountain Sound - Of Monsters And Men
10) Runaways - The Killers
9) Tounge Tied - Grouplove
8) Safe and Sound - Capital Cities
7) Burn It Down - Linkin Park
6) It's Time - Imagine Dragons
5) Gold On The Ceiling - The Black Keys
4) Houdini - Foster The People
3) These Days - Foo Fighters
2) Kill Your Heroes - AWOLNATION

...AND...(drumroll please) favorite song of the year 2012 is...
1) Muse - Madness
Now its time for my NYE tradition of the Twilight Zone marathon on the Sci-Fi Channel and some qaulity time with Veronica and the boys. See you all in 2013!

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Current Mood: tired tired


2012 in review? I don't see the need.

I am posting this via the iPad app because I can't, for the life of me, get the website to work. It's been unresponsive for days now. Whatever is wrong, get on it and fix it LJ people! I'm pretty much the last person I know who ever uses this site on a regular basis, maybe you all should try to keep it running correctly before I join the exodus?

Anyway, at the end of the year I tend sit down and do a little bit of self-review and assessment. I'm not feeling like there is a lot of that to do this year. I think some of the events of 2012, plus all the down time I have had over the last three months between the twins being born, the house nearly burning down & being sick damn near the entire month of December have led to a lot more writing than I was doing in the last several years.

So, I think I'm good. 2012 turned out to be a great year overall. Many of the positive things I was hoping for in my life turned out to pass: Having a family, being promoted, being able to "make a difference" at my job...

As always, I want to wish everyone a safe, happy and healthy holiday season. 2013 better watch out, I am coming to kick ass and take names!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Current Mood: sick sick


"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I am broadcasting live from my iPad for a minute on Christmas morning to wish everyone a Merry and safe Christmas!

This is our first Christmas as a family...and it's been a great one even though we still aren't home. I can't wait until next year when the twin terrors are old enough to rip open all their own presents. It's also the first Christmas in some time I haven't had to work!

Time for breakfast and gifts! I think this is the latest I have ever woke up on Christmas morning...guess that happens when babies decide to eat in the middle of the night.

Merry Christmas to all!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Current Mood: cheerful cheerful


"Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the gun."
-- Ash Williams

I thought a bit about the quote I chose to start this blog with, worried that I might put people off from the start by using a line from Army of Darkness to begin commentary on a serious topic. Then I remembered this is my damn blog, and I can pretty much say things my way. So if you think I'm not a serious guy or I have nothing worth reading about in this screed because of a silly movie can kiss my hairy yellow butt.

HA! Look. Another quote. Homer Simpson rules.

Anyway, I am beyond disappointed in what passes for dialogue in this country in the wake of the acts of a despicable human being in Newtown, CT. Instead of what I consider an honest discussion about all of the issues raised by what happened in that school on that horrible day, we have the usual histrionics shown on the 24/7/wall-to-wall "news" coverage and windbag politicians lining up along the usual battle lines over the made-up issue of gun control. That's right. It's a made up issue folks. Just like most of the "issues" which drive us all to vote red or blue, it's generally not worthy of our attention. It's just another way to divide and conquer the masses, except the dangerous part of this division is the number of people it leaves totally defenseless and dependant on the government for protection.

I'm sure you have now said to yourself, you already know what I'm going to say next. Perhaps you're right, and you will go on about your day and dismiss everything else I have to say if you even bother reading it. You are free to do that, but you are doing yourself a grave disservice. I'm no politician. I have no dog in this fight. I'm legally allowed to carry a firearm and will be for the rest of my life, provided I do what is required to maintain that ability. Would it help if I pointed out most "big time" politicians employ armed guards or carry firearms themselves? Perhaps they should be the first to disarm, as they put forth these new "gun control" laws which will only serve to create more citizens unable to protect themselves or their families.

I am a proponent of Lt. Col. David Grossman's philosophy. If you aren't familiar with his writings, I suggest you go look a few up on Google before you come back and read anything else I have to say. Because I am a "sheepdog", and I'm proud of it. You should know what that means, and also read up on his presentations on school violence before you presume to judge my thoughts.

What I believe is needed in this country is a dose of common sense. From airport security, to military service, to "gun control", we should take a close look at what they do over in Israel, and break out our best photocopier. Most of what we do in America is "security theater". We make things look secure, feel secure, but do very little to actually secure them. Case in point: The TSA. What the horrible events in Newtown should prove to us, besides the obvious fact of a completely broken public mental health system, is that it is long past the time to replace theater with actual security.

Yes. That's right. Am I talking about "armed guards in schools"? Hell no. I'm talking about cops in every school, involved with and helping direct a larger overall security plan. The police are only part of it (and I had the idea in my head long before the NRA guy opened his mouth), but it's as good a place to start as any. Every last school in the nation should have School Resource Officers in it. For those who are not aware, SROs are fully trained and equipped police officers, who work in the school and are part of the staff engaged in teaching our children not only book knowledge but how to actually live in this crazy world. Metal detectors at every entrance and random hand wands/bag checks at the bus stops every day. Hardened entry points. Oh, and we allow any teacher or member of the staff who volunteers to undergo modified police training and to carry a firearm or taser while working. Those teachers and staff members would not be allowed to disclose they were armed, they would only be known to the local police. No need to make them targets, because we all know the cops wearing the uniforms will be to a determined shooter. Then we have to accept that no matter what security measures we put in place, we will not be able to save everyone from a determined attacker or group of attackers, ones who will likely know the security procedures because they will be a student at that school we are trying to protect or will have done extensive planning prior to the attack. We can only make sure they know their cowardly attack will be met with a quick and likely deadly response, a response involving bringing the maximum amount of force and violence to the criminal or criminals and doing whatever it takes to stop them. Don't underestimate the power of this kind of deterrence folks.

Instead of engaging in the utterly useless gun control discussion going between the media talking heads and the idiotic political hacks looking for a vote, engage yourself in some reality. The "assault weapons ban" won't stop one single "bad guy" from shooting something up if that's what he wants to do. It doesn't matter how many rounds are in a magazine, anyone who practices for a bit can swap out a mag in two seconds or less. I have even seen guys reload a revolver in two seconds. It doesn't matter what type of firearm you all want to "ban", I don't doubt there are more guns than people in America and laws only stop people who follow them. This ain't the UK, and it never will be. You want to re-enact the "assault weapons" ban? Fine. It won't help. More wasted government time and money, but that's pretty much how we roll in America. Maybe we can name the law after someone this time to make it extra special. You want to "ban all guns"? Grow up. Almost half of my fellow Americans vote for a political party that wants to cut taxes and raise government spending. Who the hell is going to pay for the government to go door to door and root out millions upon millions of firearms, not to mention all the lawyers fees on all the lawsuits because of that pesky Second Amendment? Maybe Romney has another loophole he can close and we can get all that funded.

Sarcasm aside, I would like to be clear on something. I am all for regulations on who can purchase, own or carry firearms. I do not see the need for the average person to have an AK-47 or an AR-15. I think training should be required for anyone who wishes a "concealed carry" permit. I do not believe anyone but the police should be carrying firearms in plain view. But we are truly kidding ourselves if we think "banning" certain types of weapons will do anything but add years to prison sentences after the fact of the people that use them illegally and manage to survive the obvious response from law enforcement. The Virginia Tech shooter used handguns which would not have been affected by this "ban", and obviously had no issues loading in fresh magazines without much of a pause in his rampage. Just like the coward in Newtown, he killed himself as uniformed police approached. The misfits at Columbine used shotguns. No one is talking about banning those! If the Newtown shooter did not have the AR-15, he could have caused just as many deaths with any other firearm he got his hands on, in part because there was no one in the building capable of resisting his attack with anything close to equal force. I guess the only people who have to worry about a "fair fight" with "rules of engagement" are the good guys in this world.

We can go over and over what happened in Newtown, and in every other place in America someone has committed a horrible act of mass murder, and we will never figure out why. We will not be able to figure out how to stop it once it starts, because our response will always be as good as the last incident. The best defense to an active shooter is a good offense and the use of the proper police techniques to identify those likely to try it and arrest them before they act. We have to accept that we can not save every innocent once the active shooter incident is in progress, but we can limit the number of victims if we get real about security. We can only act with some common sense, and prepare ourselves based upon the simple fact there are people in this world who have no morals and would not hesitate to hurt good honest people either because they are mentally ill or simply don't care. Not everyone is a nice person, and not everyone can be "saved" or "helped". Some folks need to be locked up and kept away from the rest of us for the good of society. We need real reform of our mental health and criminal justice systems to make sure this happens, and someone needs to do something about the disgusting open corruption in all levels of government before the society truly crumbles from within. These "active shooter" incidents are an example of many of the bigger things wrong in America, and all the special laws in the world aren't going to help if we don't wake up and look in the mirror.

So go forth, read up on your Grossman, and get your head out of your ass America. Our children deserve a chance to grow up to fix the mess the Baby Boomers have left them, and we deserve leaders who are going to do what is required to make that happen.


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Well, I've survived my first few weeks as a member of management. It wasn't pretty (how could it be with my mug?), but it got done! This Thursday we are going to do our first ever official promotional ceremony, as well as give out our first awards in the better part of a decade. I'm really looking forward to it. Establishing new traditions is an important of getting people to take the job seriously again. I am hoping this, along with showing everyone there that promotions mean one has to work harder, will go a long way towards righting the ship.

Somehow, I have managed to keep things on a mostly even keel at work while my life at home is in a total shambles. We are still waiting for repairs on our house after the fire, still living in cardboard boxes at my mother's. We are spending our first Christmas with our boys away from our home, and it sucks!

But life is still good, perhaps it never has been better. There is something magical about these little humans Veronica and I get to hang out with all the time.

I'm looking forward to Christmas this year, despite all the annoying drama swirling around both our families. It's been a long time coming, and it took us a lot of effort and time to get here, but Veronica and I can finally say "our kids, our rules" and try our hand at doing things our way. I'm sure we will make mistakes...don't all parents? What matters is we aren't going to try to make any of them on purpose and we are going to do the best we can to do right by these little guys.

Because of my new position, I will actually not have to work on actual holidays for the first time ever this year. In fact I even had "use or lose" time off left over after working my ass off all this year for the new boss, so instead of being at work nearly every day at the end of the month I will have nearly every day off!

I guess good things do come to those who wait. At least sometimes.


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I think it should be.

As of yesterday, December 1st, I am officially a member of management. Yes, that's right. Me, the guy who has given many a manager high blood pressure over my years in the workforce. No, the irony is not lost on me.

While several people have pointed out to me it's quite the accomplishment to reach the rank I have at the age I have, in my eyes the accomplishments will come later. There is a lot to do, and I have based my whole career on "doing the right thing the right way" so I have a lot to live up to in my own head. I have been thinking for years about what I would do if I were the boss. Now it's time to put up or shut up!

One thing I will be doing for certain is "leading from the front". I don't think anything is more important than continuing to do the job, being seen doing it, and also using all the training I received on conducting investigations this past year.

On the home front, I am still waiting for estimates and follow up from State Farm. I'm sure those things are all backed up with everything going on in this area after the hurricane...but it's frustrating to not be in our own home. I am basically living out of two cardboard boxes and half a closet, and we are running one shower for four people.

I'm hoping we will be home for Christmas, but even if we aren't we will be warm and safe and with our boys and family so I guess it's all good.

Any way you slice it, this will be a December to Remember!

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Everyone who knows me knows how much I love Thanksgiving, so I am betting my sentiment in this screed won't come as much of a surprise.

Reading through the last few things, it would almost go without saying I have plenty to be thankful for on Thanksgiving this year. #1 on that list would be my two brand new sons coming into this world healthy, and both they and my wife being safe and sound after the fire. Next up would be our home being saved from burning to the ground. After that, having plenty of family around to help us out while we were down and out. From my mom taking us in (and giving up her bedroom) yet again, to my Aunt Debbie running overnight child care shifts so we could finally get some solid sleep in, the list of things to be thankful for is nearly endless.

Plus, I did get some good news on the work front for a change. I came out #1 on the civil service list for promotion. Coming out first on a promotion list, with two positions open, means I should be getting promoted sooner rather than later. This means I will finally be in a position to put things I want to do into motion, because the next promotion means I am "management". Ain't that a scary thought?

Which brings me to being thankful for finally having a boss who is a stand up guy and does the right thing. A boss that actually listens when I talk, and seems to have a lot of the same ideas I do about how our job should be.

Finally, I am thankful to be spending the holiday with my family. Gathered around a table and in a home with people I (mostly) enjoy spending time with. Not having to sit at work on a holiday for once.

So yes, I have plenty to be thankful for, and not just on Thanksgiving!

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...all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs "WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON" and look for a reset button on the last few weeks.

Our lives have been nothing but absolute chaos since Sandy paid New Jersey a visit. First we get kicked out of the hospital and have to take the boys home as the storm is bearing down on us. Then, once we get home we get to spend a whole few hours in our house before we lose power. We wind up having to move out the next morning as the temperature falls and makes it impossible for us to stay there with two newborns. We don't get back IN the house for the days upon days it takes for the power to come back.

I'm going to pause my personal tale of woe at this point to say we are a hell of a lot luckier than a hell of a lot more people who lost everything up to and including their lives in some cases from this storm. I understand that and trust me I feel for everyone who was uprooted by Sandy. I know many people personally who have serious damage to their homes, or in some cases lost everything they own. That being said, the circumstances facing me and MY family have been nothing short of ridiculous and this is MY blog.

Veronica and I were finally able to move the boys back into OUR home after staying with my mother the whole time our power was out, however they chose this time to develop the idea that sleep was for the weak. So for those few days, we were like zombies and barely keeping everything together. At the same time I had to go back into work (where I got stuck for 16 hours when a serious case came in while I was there), and we got slammed with half a foot of snow from a nor'easter which knocked out the power again and brought our house down to a toasty 50 degrees. This time the power came back on in hours instead of days, so I guess that's a positive.

Then, the house nearly burns down.

Yup. You read that correctly. The house next door caught on fire around midnight on the 14th, and it damn near took our house with it. We have a ton of damage on the exterior, and some smoke and soot damage on the interior. So we wound up back at my mom's, this time with almost none of our own clothing, any of our stuff, and probably without my wife's car since it's half melted. We are hoping we can get enough things fixed and cleaned to get back into our own home before Christmas. Because it would really suck to not be able to have our kids first Christmas in our own damn house.

Again, we really lucked out and I know this. The family renting the house next door lost everything. We lost siding and windows and a car and a pool cover. We lost our clothes while they are being specially cleaned, not forever. We lost our home for a month or two. But you must admit we are having a horrible run these last few weeks as we try to adjust to having two new babies in our lives.

Getting woken up out of the first sound sleep I had in two weeks by the police hammering at my door to tell me to get my family out because the house next door was on fire was an experience I would never want to repeat. As groggy as we were, it took a good minute to sink in, and then I had to push Veronica into near panic mode because I heard a HUGE EXPLOSION while we were standing there trying to dress the babies in something warm and I could see the glow from the fire through all the windows.

After I got her and the kids into my truck and to my mom's house, I got to go back and stand there and watch the fire. Feeling totally helpless, hoping the fire department could get enough people there quickly enough to save both my house and the rest of the block, because the flames were so damn high and throwing burning embers everywhere.

So I think I really do deserve a "Stu moment", where I can stand and scream at the top of my lungs.


Thank you. Drive through.


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Yes...a political post after years of near silence about such things. What can I say, the election moved me! Or something.

Well, that was an interesting Election season to say the least. There really is nothing like the current day GOP's ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory! I am really not surprised about President Obama winning the election, but the margin of victory is a lot more than I thought it would be. It speaks to how poor a candidate Mitt Romney was, and how ridiculous the GOP platform really was.

Instead of breaking down into the specifics of the party platform (because why should I when Romney wouldn't even bother), I would like to air out my feelings on why the GOP not only lost the White House against a weak and vulnerable incumbent in a poor economy, but why they did so poorly as a whole across the country. It's a simple premise: The majority of Americans are not extremists.

Did you feel the Earth move after that statement? Me either.

A follow up to that premise: All Americans have mothers, wives, sisters or daughters. This premise stands on its own with no further explanation from me if you have been following politics at all the last few years. If you haven't...well, shame on you!

I registered myself as a Republican a few years back because I simply can't stomach New Jersey's brand of Democrats. In a state known for it's political corruption, Democrats here have been in control for some time now and benefit the most from the political machines. But make no mistake, the New Jersey GOP is right there next to them, hands out and doing it just like the Democrats in areas where they manage to take complete control of the government. So, in the classic "lesser of two evils" choice, I surrendered my status as "non-affiliated", grit my teeth, and registered myself GOP. I did this because I believe, out of the two parties on both the state and national level, the GOP is more likely to shift gears and "change the face" of the party. Outside of NJ, the Democrats have no reason to change things up. They have been winning in most of the places they care about, and will probably win the House back by 2016 if the GOP keeps shooting itself in the foot.

I am, to coin a phrase, hoping for some change in the Republican Party (yeah I just can't let that one go). It must be obvious now, even to the hardiest of the Tea Partiers, they can not secure enough poor and/or white and/or poor white people to get ahead. The agenda is not only "out of step" with what I like to think of as "normal Americans", it's in some cases out of touch with reality.

Here is what I think the results of this election, and the ones in 2010 and 2008 tell us:

We the people want a fair health care system which is accessible to every citizen. We the people want things like Social Security and Medicare to work. We the people want marriage equality, gender equality, and educational equality. We the people want gainful employment which doesn't require applying for food stamps to feed our families and should not require union membership just to be treated fairly and like human beings. We the people want fair immigration reform and a realistic solution for the underclass of illegal aliens living in plain sight and placing unneeded stress on our institutions. We the people want a strong military, used properly for the security of our nation. We the people want fair taxes for all, without "loopholes" for any person or corporation, so we can pay for all of this without "fiscal cliffs" and putting our grandparents out on the streets.

This next thing should go without saying but I will say it. The people have spoken and they do not want the snake oil which was is being pushed by so many people carrying an (R) after their name. We do not want a GOP which is identical on nearly every policy to the Democrats when you discount the so-called "social issues".

I think down deep, what we really want, is more than two choices in elections. I think that day will come, but right now the priority needs to be taking back the GOP from the crazies. Then we can have a rational discussion about the role of government within the party, and emerge with a platform which makes sense to "normal Americans" and offers an actual contrast with Democrats.

I'm looking forward to seeing if the GOP can look in the mirror and admit its flaws. There is no way this party will ever win the White House again as it is currently composed. While that is a good thing in the short term, because Mitt Romney was about the worst choice for President I can think of for a list of reasons longer than my arm, in the long term having no viable second party (never mind a third) will lead to the loss of liberty for us all!


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...that is what the last few weeks have been for me and my family. I have a whole new meaning for the word "family" as well, but I'll get to that.

I guess I should have seen the signs of impending epicness when I was up in Jersey City with both cell phones sitting out in the car while I took the civil service promotion exam and my wife was sitting in the Emergency Room at Overlook thinking her water broke. This turned out to be a false alarm, but it was a perfect example of how "the best laid plans" will nearly always get upended from now on. We were both worried she was going to "pop" on that day and I would miss the test. I could have taken a make up, but it would result in my name getting on the promotion list late and probably losing any chance at the position this time around.

Anyway, I managed to get through that test none the wiser. By the time we were all done (a group of us rode up together) she was back home and didn't even tell me about her ER trip until the following day. So there was no frantic message waiting on my voice mail, but I would have been beside myself if she had delivered and I was two counties away and I made my displeasure known!

Veronica was scheduled for a C-section on November 7th, however our boys had a different idea in mind. As we began to learn how Hurricane Sandy was going to take a left turn and head in our general direction last Friday, one of our little guys (the one cramped into a corner of the womb on the bottom by his brother) decided he had enough and started the process a bit early. Veronica had no idea, other than some general cramps and back pain (which she had off and on for about two months). Lucky for all of us she was scheduled for a doctor appointment that day. They got one look at her in the office and sent her right across the street to Morristown Hospital. Also lucky was the fact my mom had gone with her since I had to work, so she had someone there for support instead of facing it all alone until I could get to her.

I got called right after a meeting with the department brass for preparations and coverage for the impending hurricane, and had to charge out of there. We had a packed bag with what was needed for the hospital stay, but Veronica didn't bring it with her to the doctor (and unknown to me had removed a bunch of stuff from it in frustration after her false alarm). I had just enough time to stop at the house to get the bag, and made it to Morristown with about an hour to spare while still wearing all my gear (which I didn't even think to take off at the house).

Nervous would be an understatement for me. I was about to jump out of my skin. I wasn't worried about our little guys at all...I was worried for Veronica since she was the one going under the knife and there is no way I could face this world without her. Unreasonable fear of course considering both she and the babies were supposed to be perfectly healthy according to our awesome doctors, but still it was there and it was showing through loud and clear to those who knew me well enough.

All turned out well, and at 4:27 PM Anthony joined us in this crazy world. His brother Vinnie #2, who was supposed to come out first but latched onto a rib and fought the doctor, came along with the loudest most horrified wail I had ever heard at 4:29 PM. Just like that, we were parents!

Everyone was happy and healthy and we were tucked away in a pretty nice room in short order. I kept in touch with work over the weekend, and actually was able to contribute in a small way as our official "voice" providing storm updates on Facebook/Twitter from my ever so handy iPhone. Ah, smart phones...what did we do without them?

It was such a whirlwind of activity and meeting our newest family members and hands on lessons from the nurses on the unit it was about two days before everything sunk in for me. I had been running in total "react and respond" mode, taking care of everything that was needed that I hadn't taken even a moment to think about what was going on.

The moment came when I had a fussy Anthony and I decided to download a silly app on my phone that sort of mimics a mobile. It played a lullaby while these cartoon animals bounce to the beat on the screen...and he was mesmerized and calmed right down. Veronica and I had been watching Boardwalk Empire streaming over our iPad after eating dinner, and I had sat back down on the bed with her...and watching this just brought me to tears as it all hit me. I was someones dad. Two someones. Made me miss my own father like hell, and just get knocked back on my heels by everything it meant and how something so silly I did made his little world all better in that moment in time.

We found out on late Sunday we would be discharged on Monday morning, as Hurricane Sandy was heading directly for Atlantic City. Lovely. Another ton of hectic rushing around for me moving bags and car seats and what not and we were on the road and headed home, as the wind pushed my truck back and forth along Route 24. By the time we got home and got settled, the predictions about the hurricane were dire and making us both nervous as hell. They mostly turned out to be correct, but unlike Irene last year our immediate area didn't get the worst of it. We lost power at the house around 9, and camped out with our little ones in middle the family room because I was concerned about something hitting a window with the wind gusting up around 90mph...

...we wound up having to break camp and head out to my mom's house in the morning as the temperature continued to drop. We are still there as I type this. My mom and Gino have been great, even letting us take over their bedroom so we had enough room to stay with the babies. Of course I have had about four solid hours of sleep since this began and I feel like a complete zombie...but I suppose that's how it goes, right?

At least we have somewhere to go, many people lost their homes and some their lives to Hurricane Sandy. Some have no power and no way to get to someone who does as the temperature drops. I don't know if the Jersey Shore will ever be the same. Places I was just standing a few months ago have been washed into the Atlantic Ocean. Entire towns have been flattened. It's an incredible feeling, all of these major things happening at once.

Having to stay home from work to protect our newborn babies, when events like this are why those of us who took our job for the right reasons are where we want to be. In the thick of it, helping in any way we can as the world comes apart. Ah, the balance of work and family strikes already! Family is going to win most times, as it did this week. Work will always be there, the chance to get to know my sons will only come once.

We had our third wedding anniversary last night. Never thought we would celebrate it sitting at my mom's house (one of the few blocks with power in the whole town) after having just fed our two sons. We never even had a chance to get each other presents. Guess we have two, right?

Someday this will make an epic tale for me to spin to our boys. I'm looking forward to that, and all the epic journeys that await our new family.

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things — wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. In a world that is cutting down its trees to build highways, losing its earth to concrete...babies are almost the only remaining link with nature, with the natural world of living things from which we spring” — Eda LeShan


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...with today being my only day off after working the last six, you would think I could sleep in and be nice and rested, right? NOOOOOOOPPPPEEE! Up at 6:30 AM and unable to go back to sleep. Seriously? Seriously.

I had a hard time falling asleep with the pregnant wife kicking me all around the bed, then I got woken up by one hell of a vivid dream. I was at work, at a dispatch position. I was talking to a unit in the field about a leaving the scene accident, and I had called up a surveillance camera in the area to check for a direction of flight. I could see the unit I was talking to, and a bunch of other people in the area. Normal day, but very super DARK cloudy. I turned away from the video feed to answer a phone call, and when I glanced back there was a TORNADO touching down. I felt frozen to the spot as it approached all the people, many of whom I saw get swept away. I didn't see that happen to the officer, but I was unable to raise him on the air after the tornado passed by. The last thing I remember is dropping alert tones and calmly (because we're always calm behind that mic) sending everyone I could raise into the carnage I could see left behind on that camera.

No rocket science behind the dream analysis here. There's a lot of tension at work, and a tornado touching down there is exactly what I feel the tension is doing...tearing the place apart and scattering everyone around. Plus I am concerned about the amount of time I am going to be taking off. I don't have such a huge ego to think I'm not replaceable...but I am one of the "fix it guys" and the other two are both going to be unavailable at the same time. I hope some other people step up. I'm sure some will if given the proper chance, but it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out while I am out for a month.

The tornado motif is also easy: We had a few warnings for them in this area (highly unusual) and one actually touch down in New York City. For those not in the know, this is NOT the part of the country that normally sees that sort of weather. And tornados freak me out. So I am in no way surprised to see it as a "boogyman" in a dream.

I'm also tense on a personal level, with Veronica able to "pop" anytime between now and the scheduled C-section date.

It's been a long time since I had such a vivid dream that I could recall the exact details 12 hours later. Reminder: RELAX.

We will return to the usual "format" for my musings when I next sit down to write.

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