Wonder and Winston

Tommy deplores the window between the Super Bowl and the NCAA tournament.  It’s gray in Cleveland which is even worse than losing every football game all season long.  He’s not really a movie goer because he spends most of the experience in the theater annoyed by people around him who can’t eat popcorn without bag crunching and chewing like cave men.

But my good friend Dawn gave me a streaming tipt to see the movie Wonder the same week my awesome niece and goddaughter gave my trophy wife an illegal link to download movies and yesterday they locked the doors, closed the drapes, and did a lot of crying and laughing.

Tommy has written too much this week.  And he apologizes, but senses the feds are onto him and may have to drive somewhere after 7:30 mass this morning in the disguise he has planned.

Enjoy the Ride!

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What's The Matter Here?

When Tommy travels, he actually becomes Larry David.  He has a close friend that sees Larry in Martha’s Vineyard and says he treats everyone like he is the class ass bully that he really is.  Like he is on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Tommy should never have been gifted with two eyes and two ears because that is four antennas for a guy that can’t stop using them.  It’s why he doesn’t sleep.   His RideMyWords rollercoaster runs all night long.   He never stops looking and listening.

The last two months, Tommy’s antennas have been dialed into two camps: Trump and Travel.  And he can’t stop thinking “What’s the Matter Here?  He can’t close his lids because he can’t believe what he just saw and heard.

Tommy’s college crush Natalie Merchant nailed it about a little boy on Morgan street (Amazon Prime Princess #4’s name) that lived a miserable life and she watched it and acted on it with her words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZkwDdpahIA

Enjoy the Ride.

 

 

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On Golden Pond

Getting old is starting to get old.  
 
Tommy supposedly was born a full-haired toe-head with six-pack abs and his first words were "you are in for a treat." 

Enjoy the Ride!

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Shelter from the Storm

Tommy left 730 mass this morning in a great mood before Bob Dylan dropped into his car radio singing Shelter from the Storm. 

Now Tommy is a big Dylan fan and his words always resonate immediately and once again made him think.  About needing a shelter from the storm.

He got home and his Sunday NYT had two front page articles about the Michigan State “Doctor” that ruined two hundred lives while those in charge of him helped him hide and lied about what they knew.

The second  article was about Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Taial, who was imprisoned and then “Freed” from the Suadi Ritz Carlton after 80 days looking “thinner and sporting a scruffy salt-and-pepper beard,” in tennis shoes eating a salad.

What?  Enjoy the Ride.

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Pills and Passwords

Tommy hates doctors and needles and prescriptions and blood work and colonoscopies and endoscopies.  And people that buy lottery tickets and cigarettes from a shelf no one can locate at convenience stores.  And people that write checks and enter the amount in their checkbook at Giant Eagle and tell stories about themselves while everyone in line starts thinking of bad things like killing her right now with a National Enquirer, or the whole rack of them.

His trophy wife has diagnosed him with all sorts of ailments, which he has addressed one by one with denial.  He even wrote his own eulogy.

Enjoy the Ride!

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Club Vent

Tommy has admitted he is a serial patronizer and demonizer at restaurants, but one place he absolutely loves and would never demonize is this establishment where he grew up, in Bay Village, called Vento, or as they call it la trattoria Vento.

It’s a few miles down the road, the food is to die for, and for him, it is Martinis from It’s A Wonderful Life.  And there is no better time to go than Christmas time.  Which for Tommy, begins the day after Thanksgiving.

Tommy runs into people at Vento repeatedly, which he normally doesn't care for or embrace, but with this place, he loves it.  He is so close to home, he knows he can always excuse himself and get in bed pretty fast.

So the other night, he and his trophy went there with a close friend and ran into another couple they adore and grabbed a table for five after a little wait.

And half way through his first vodka soda, they started a new club which is going to change the world.  And everyone in town is talking about it.

Its called. Club Vent.  Its Club Med but there is no hill climbing or meeting strangers for one nighters.  It's just bitching about things in your life and it was a ton of fun from the get go.

Enjoy the Ride.

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All Come To Look For America

Tommy spent a lot of time in Central Park.  It was his go to place every chance he got because he treasured every minute he spent in its every nook and cranny.  Accessible and affordable.  A perfect landscape to take a stroll and look around at lots of people from all walks of life just enjoying it and a lot of Starbucks.

But his one regret was not being on the grass listening to Simon & Garfunkel with tens of of thousands of others on that lawn because he was a youngster carrying around his heavy Norton Anthology, stuck in a bad dorm in upstate New York, doing college.  An unfortunate miss.

Tommy downloads a handful of songs from YouTube but listens to them often.  With all the shit that has hit the fan in America, his go to song right now has been from that Central Park concert.  Called America.

Give it a listen and Enjoy the Ride!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFAoWwUwknc   

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Bathrobe Karaoke

Tommy and his trophy wife have done their fair share of entertaining others recently.  A god-awful brick oven meet and greet for 75 from our backyard pizza oven in hurricane conditions for hungry but patient guests followed by turkey for 20 just family folks a few days later in better conditions.   We love to have parties, but this week was over the top, even for us.

So he was looking forward to some Tommy Time on Saturday night and did what he never does.  He put on his bathrobe, entered his new Tom Cave in the basement and watched football.  Finally by himself.  In his new heaven.  No one could screw this up.

He fell asleep for over an hour from sheer exhaustion.  The cooking and cleaning finally hit him.  But his reward was short-lived, as he awoke to unwanted uninvited voices upstairs.  He thought it was all just a bad dream, but wandered up the steps to find out.

Before he got to the top he sensed guests, dammit.  And knew their voices.  What the hell?  You got to be kidding him?  He tied his robe real tight and opened the door with a smile like he could somehow fake enjoy this moment and them, but his mind was racing with why and who would show up at 11:30 PM Eastern at his house given his sleep depravation issues and his issues period.

And what he didn't foresee was that he was walking into one of the best nights he would remember forever.  He suddenly felt no shame being underdressed in front of his favorite millennials and two of his best pals Bob and Ann.  And before he knew it, it was 1:30 AM Eastern and every song they sang and danced together into Bob's Mr. Microphone and traveling boom box was classic and unforgettable.

Enjoy the Ride.

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The Countess of Black Friday

Tommy doesn’t shop to compete.  So he never has bought into this game of getting up early the day after Thanksgiving to buy something that is some how on sale for a half a day before it is going to be at that same price for months after.

But he wanted to get his trophy wife a laptop for her new exciting gig and he was getting bagels for his four Amazon Prime Princesses anyway.

So he stopped by Best Buy 40 minutes before they opened to check out the crowd. 

He expected huge lines but saw just four people in line.  And hundreds in cars in the parking lot wagering when to get out against the others.  He looked to the left and saw a couple doing things to each other and whispered “Judas Priest do that at home” and made his way to the door and became number five in line.  And then he met the Countess of Black Friday.

I was a Blackberry guy and still miss the typing advantage but sometimes when I listen in to a conversation I just start typing. Like I still have a Blackberry I so miss.

So the Countess began and never stopped.

Enjoy the Ride!

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Tornado Chili

Tommy fancies himself as a pretty good cook.  He’s hosted dozens of Thanksgiving dinners in lots of locations and been a fabulous and respectful guest in other kitchens. But he is excited this year to give it a try on his home court after several years dining in Manhattan (thanks Mom & Dad),and at the Foxes and Farleys.

My trophy wife and I battle with close neighbors and dear friends, the Durkins (not their real names), over chili.  Their Mary Kate (my 5th daughter) and our Laney who are BFFs have suffered through many nights of Tommy winning the war over the best chili, with Mary Kate casting the deciding vote.

So when Tommy convinced them to come over Sunday night for his chili, he was excited, and prepared.  And put on an NFL game he could care a less about but needed background noise while he stirred his pot and thought about how satisfied his guests would be.   And winning again.

But then, the game seemed to end but it was way too early.  And News 5 Mark Johnson came on.  Pretty Scared.  For 45 minutes.  A terrible tornado was on our doorstep and moving home to home with a vengeance.  Could the Durkins even make it here for Tommy's chili from a street away?

Enjoy the Ride!

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Am I Larry David?

Tommy fell in love with his trophy wife because she had great legs and knew a good thing when he came Nocking.  Their first love was anything Hollywood but they also both loved live entertainment.  They were the youngest couple with aisle seats at Playhouse Square in Cleveland way before downtown became the CLE.

They loved being on the road and dropping in to hot clubs with hipsters after dining with foodies.  The Redhead Piano Bar in Chicago.  The Carnegie Club in New York. You name it, they got in because she was the only Luck be the Lady Tonight that could get their crowd in any door no matter how many front row seats or leather couches next to the stage she needed to score right here right now out of their cab years before Uber drivers scared everyone diving out of smelly vans because thank God their app already paid for it.

He knew he picked Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong when they were dating and she hijacked someone’s limo and had them drive him and eight of her loveable college friends for a drink at the top of the John Hancock building and said to the driver when they exited “pretty sure this was taken care of already.”

But then there were babies and early mornings and kids crying and throwing up out of nowhere and TV became the only club they frequented.  Four gorgeous girls that needed years of attention and a ton of financial backing for clothes they grew out of every few months.  He had no idea how babies in diapers could perfect running up debit cards and our Amazon account like a pinball machine.

But if you know Tommy, the one thing Tommy needs is Tommy Time.  And for him, it was Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Scott.  But Larry David is the real deal.

Enjoy the Ride!

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Patronize and Demonize

Tommy was once accused of going to Longhorn Steakhouse six days in a row for their Jalapeno Pepper Poppers they no doubt just bought from Costco like he could do himself at one third the cost. 

He and his brothers ate on the patio at Max & Ermas four days a week in the late 80s and early 90s where the Promenade now stands in Westlake until the Promenade ran them out of business.   Or maybe it was that they never figured out how important it is to clean the restaurant after a long weekend of misbehavior and beer spills inside the bar.

So they took their talents to the Winking Lizard down Detroit Rd and ate there almost every day on the patio or at the bar inside for over a decade.  Until that closed because the innards of that establishment included ghosts and dead bodies of farmers and hunters that had warned city officials that they would take revenge for every piece of land stolen or gun confiscated from ugly sheds that were never updated.

The next stop was Ironwood, next to the infamous Moosehead, where Westlake and Bay met until Dr. "Breaking Bad" Arson showed up and lit a match to old wooden walls, a gas grill and dynamite.  Ironwood is pretty much run by a Nock sister if we ever had one, Dawn, who just gets it done and doesn’t call you “honey” and never stops moving the whole time you are there.

But there is patronizing and then there is demonizing.  And sometimes they go hand in hand, one leading the other.  He will explain.

Enjoy the Ride!

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50 Livingston

50 Livingston will forever live in my mind.  My brother Mike found it while I was finishing up at Hamilton College in 1985.  Rented to us by George Spanakos, the Donald Trump of Brooklyn. 

Our term there was shorter lived than it should have been because we were having the time of our lives.  But my Dad’s high school friend named Mouse (no story needed) died out of nowhere and Mike felt like he had to replace him. 

But our year together was epic, and for me, one I will forever miss and remember fondly.  Across from the Parker School and the controversial “Sliver Building” being built against everyone’s wishes right in front of us.   A No. 2 pencil straight up to the sky and large numbers of applicants that couldn’t wait to pay for a higher floor.

Mike was my hero.  Scored way better than me on the SATs, got into Williams with people like Steinbrenner and Sayles and Dominick Dunne, and introduced me to a ton of great people I to this day will never forget.  His class chose him as graduation speaker.  He started out with a shoutout to the Seniors and Senioritas, and every paragraph got better.  His speech was so well written, I reread it in the campus newsletter many times after.  And his influence on me as a writer is another blog.

It was 1983 and he talked about multiple cars and wives and houses and the ridiculous lives his classmates would actually live and I sat there proud to hear it and be related to him.  He was that good.  His predecessors and peers that spoke before him that I knew went on to great careers writing sitcoms.  In Hollywood.

 

Enjoy the Ride.

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