Monday, January 12, 2015

New Sample from October Storm

            It would be a few days before anyone found Alberto Gonzalez.  Barring unexpected visitors or suspicious neighbors, the old man would be pretty ripe by the time his American born son made his weekly visit, around noon on Saturday.      
            He was an easy kill for Jose Falto. Alberto lived alone in the single-story, yellow stucco house in Miami’s Little Havana.  His wife had passed away the previous year. Alberto’s habit was such that at dusk, just after dinner, he would come out from behind the security bars that covered the doors and windows of his house—imagine that; he owned a fucking house.   He would sit in a plastic folding chair beneath a shade tree on the meager front lawn and light up a Cohiba.  Jose recognized the familiar aroma as it lingered in the humid October air. Cohiba was Fidel’s favorite. Alberto was an indignant son-of-bitch; a fucking communist until the very end.
            Jose waited in the car parked across the street. He would let the old man finish his smoke, and then when the bastard would get up to go back inside, Jose would come up from behind and force his way into the house. That was his plan. The street was quiet.  The eighty-one-year-old would offer little resistance; he was too weak and too old.  Fuck him.
            There would be no investigation, no autopsy.  When the kid shows up on Saturday, he’ll figure Papa died in his sleep. In the cafes along 8th Street there would be some chatter about the communista, about his history; a body guard for Fidel Castro, he paid a smuggler to get him to Miami after El Presidente started getting a little leery about his inner circle. It was a smart move; everyone else was executed.  No. Nobody in Little Havana would mourn Alberto Gonzalez.
            How could the fucking bastard be so unrepentant? He had no friends in the exile community. Sure, they tried to talk sense to him, and when that went in one ear and out the other, it would get angry: “Why are you here you fucking hypocrite?” 
            Alberto needed to justify his sins. The revolution was for the good of all, and those who stood in the way deserved what they got.  Fucking Americans would chase a Nazi to the ends of the Earth and that bastard can just sit there blowing his communist stink up everyone’s ass. 

            He had stood over them as they begged for mercy.  He would listen for a few seconds and then pull the trigger.  Pop!—and then silence. He liked that quiet moment when the begging stopped.  And then the next one on his knees, hands tied behind his back and his eyes locked on the motionless body beside him, he would start to beg. If they didn’t beg, they prayed. If they didn’t pray, they cursed and spat at their murderers. It didn’t matter; they all ended up the same way—laying face down in the dirt with blood spilling out of the back of their heads. Never had Alberto felt such power, such glory!  He was fucking God!—at least until he realized that Fidel was God, and that without El Presidente, Alberto was nobody; just another poor Cuban who believed the lie—and still believes it, at least until he finishes that Cohiba. Without a gun, Alberto had nothing but his big fucking mouth.  That was what he would take to the grave with him. Fuck him.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

October Storm Sample

           When would the Cuban come back?  At 5:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, Bill O’Malley put the key in the lock to the door of the Bergenline Avenue store he bought with money borrowed from his children—forty-five hundred dollars.  Over a period of two years, with business better than he had expected, he paid back almost half of the money he had borrowed.  Business was good, and at fifty-five years old, after spending the best years of his life in low-paying, bullshit jobs, he was making more money than he had ever made in his life—the American Dream. 
            But things were changing.  It was late October in the year 1962, and a revolution two years prior and over a thousand miles away, had brought a flood of Cuban exiles into the town of Union City, New Jersey.  It was nothing anyone could have predicted—not Bill, and certainly not his children. The actions of a rag-tag band of Marxists ninety miles off the coast of Florida had brought this Cuban into his store.  The well-dressed man, accompanied by an equally well-dressed associate, made an offer to buy him out.  It was not a reasonable offer; it was an implied threat.  The Cuban, who made a point of exposing the .38 under his jacket, said he would be back and that he expected a decision. Bill, a hard-boiled Irishman from the cold water flats on Manhattans west side, would not back down, no matter what the cost.  He would try the right way first. 
            The morning after the Cuban showed up, Steve the cop was making his rounds.  Bill told him about the shakedown.  Steve the cop, his fat face red with rosacea from too much alcohol, never looked up as he sipped a cup of customary free coffee.  He said, “What can I tell you, Bill; things are changing.”
            Bill: “What the fuck, Steve?  Some spic comes in here and wants to take over my store and you tell me things are changing.”  Bill grabbed a bar rag and aggressively wiped the spotless counter top in front of one of Union City’s finest.  Steve remained silent.  He couldn’t bring himself to look Bill in the eyes.
            “You’re supposed to take care of your own, Steve. And what about Sal? He’s not happy with the cash I’m giving him every week?”  Bill stopped wiping, his anger reaching a boiling point.  “You can’t even look at me, can you?  What a fucking pussy.  It’s twenty cents, Steve.  The coffee is twenty cents.”
            Steve the cop looked hard at Bill, reached into his pocket, and tossed a quarter on the counter.  He said, “Keep the change.”  He got off the stool and walked out of the store without looking back.
            Bill didn’t know what Steve the cop knew.  As Steve walked away, he thought briefly about going back and telling Bill to just take the money and get the hell out.  Bill wasn’t producing the kind of numbers the Italians wanted, so Bill had no value to them.  No, Steve wasn’t a fucking pussy; he was a survivor just going along with the program.  He had a good wife, three children, and was eighteen years into what would be a nice pension payment.  Having too much to lose, he couldn’t bring himself to go back and tell Bill—who he genuinely liked—that the Cuban who showed up in his store had been a Captain in Batista’s corrupt police force prior to Castro’s revolution, that he had developed a working relationship with Meyer Lansky and other mobsters who were investing heavily in Cuba’s casino industry before the revolution.  Bill didn’t know that on New Year’s Eve, 1959, the Cuban fled the island with a reputation that drew the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency, who recruited the exiled police captain to lead a division in an invasion designed to oust Castro and remove the communist presence just ninety miles from Key West, Florida.  Important people lost big money because of that communist piece of shit, and they were determined to get it back.  They thought they had the right guy in the White House to get it done.
            Steve knew Bill kept a .38 under his counter, but Bill didn’t know that the Cuban was trained in guerilla tactics by the United States military in Panama.  And Bill didn’t know that when the Cuban was sold out by Bill’s America five minutes before he and his men stormed the beaches at Playa Giron, that the Cuban would relinquish any remaining sense of altruism he clung to.  Instead, the Cuban would be captured, witness the execution of hundreds of his friends, and then be held and tortured in Castro’s prison for two years before the guilt-ridden government that sold him out, paid ransom money to bring him and others back to Union City, New Jersey.           
            The multitude of Cuban refugees that flowed into Union City, primarily to work in a burgeoning embroidery industry, presented a marketing dilemma for the Italians that ran the rackets; the Cubans liked gambling and playing the numbers, but the cultural and language barrier kept them out of the local bars and newspaper stands where the merchants were paid a cut to take the numbers from their regulars.  Cubans, disciplined and entrepreneurial, weren’t much for the bottle, but they loved their morning coffee while socializing and talking politics with their own.  Jose “The Captain” Garcia presented the perfect resume to the Italians; he was a deft negotiator who spoke unbroken English—albeit with a Cuban accent; he was considered a hero in the Cuban community; and most importantly, despite his easy demeanor, he was a natural born killer.  Having already created the first “Cuban Social Club” out of a hole in the wall on 26th Street, just off Bergenline Avenue, his business was up and running when he sought out the Italians to finance his expansion.  The “bolita” would be run through local businesses controlled by Cubans.  To avoid any unnecessary violence, the Italians who ran the rackets were more than willing to take a cut of the action and a few points on the financing. It was certainly a lot easier than learning the language.  The politicians and the cops, who always got their fair share, did exactly what the Italians told them to do—just look the other way.  That’s what Steve the cop did.  That’s how things worked in Union City.       


Monday, November 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Morning in Union City

          It was Thanksgiving, 1967, when I was awakened by the faint rumbling of drums.  The incessant beat, echoing through the quiet and empty streets grew closer by the minute.  The panes on my bedroom window, which looked out over West Street, began to vibrate, slightly at first, then increasing as the marching bands from the north and south converged on 25th Street.
          In a small heap on the floor beside my bed were the clothes I wore the day before: a pair of blue jeans, a dark blue sweat shirt, and black Converse sneakers.   I dressed as if the house were on fire, and then ran through the railroad rooms yelling “Parade!  Parade!”   Without regard to who heard my shouts, I was out the door and sprinting down West Street.   
          It seemed every kid on the block had huddled at the curbside along 25th Street where a line of garages with empty driveways provided an unobstructed view.  Looking up and down the street, people sat on the hoods and trunks of parked cars, small children were on top of the cars, and the adults, their elbows resting comfortably on pillows, watched from the window sills.  Three cars were lined up on West Street.  A motorcycle cop positioned his bike at the intersection of 25th and West, closing the street to traffic.  A man, his wife, and their two small children, got out of one of the cars and hurried to the corner to watch.  Another man emerged from another car, rested comfortably against its hood, and lit a cigarette.  
          The lead police car crossed Bergenline Avenue, its emergency lights flashing as its siren chirped intermittently.   As the drum beat grew louder, my heart beat grew faster.  Behind the police car were the color guard; a lead girl carried some sort of staff, two girls behind her hoisted an American flag and another flag I could not identify.  Marching to the beat of the drums, the wide-eyed smiling contingent was flanked by four girls twirling white rifles.  While the uniforms were certainly eye catching—short blue and white pleated skirts, white patent leather boots with jiggling blue and white tassels, perfectly snug blue sweaters with thin silver ropes running side to side, and a fuzzy white beret atop their lustrous heads—nothing gripped my eyes more than their bare legs.  Catching myself gazing just a bit too long, I looked up and locked eyes with one of the smiling girls who no doubt discovered my transgressions.  She smiled and winked.
          I felt a tug on my hair from behind and turned to see Ralphie Aiello standing right behind me.  Although he was three years older than me, he stood about the same height.  He was a bit squat, with a square-shaped head, squinty eyes, and a pug nose.  In any state of mind, his face appeared to be grimacing, always revealing a thin set of teeth with a seemingly permanent yellowish residue.  The dark blue woolen beanie he wore was pulled just over the top of his ears, its brim covering his eyebrows.  In his raspy, almost Popeye-like voice, he grinned devilishly and said, “Hey Johnny, I think she likes you.”
          Following the color guard were three orderly rows of girls who marched in step and thrust blue and white pom-poms in a synchronized fashion.  They wore similar white boots and the same fuzzy white cap.
Poking me in the back, Ralphie said “Hey Johnny, betcha can’t wait ‘til you’re in high school.” As he had a habit of doing, Ralphie was annoying me.  It was not by intent; it was just the way Ralphie was. 
           As the band approached, the members raised their brass and rolled from the drum beat into a number that in its simple magnificence left me breathless.  It pounded its way straight into my heart, taking complete control of all my senses.  I was awestruck.
            My momentary trance was broken by Ralphie shouting over the music and directly into my right ear.  “Johnny!  Johnny!  Do you know what that song is, Johnny?  I betcha don’t know what it is, do ya, Johnny?”  I didn’t know what it was, and I admit to being curious, despite the source.  “It’s the Notre Dame Fight Song Johnny.  I betcha didn’t know that Johnny, did ya?”  It was all too obvious that Ralphie was exuberant in knowing something that I did not know.                  
            As the band moved just beyond our position, a throng of cheerleaders in blue and white saddle shoes, blue and white pleated skirts, white woolen sweaters with a big “E” on the front, and carrying pom-poms, chanted, “Let’s-go-Bulldogs!” followed by a clap, clap; clap, clap, clap, and then another  “Let’s-go-Bulldogs!”
            The crowd on our side of the street joined them in the chant with the intermittent clap.  On the other side of the street, the people competed with, “Let’s go Hillers!” followed by the same intermittent, clap, clap; clap, clap, clap.
            Ralphie said, “Come on, Johnny!  Let’s march with the cheerleaders.”   Ralphie was tugging at me, trying to pull me into the street to march along with a group of other kids who had joined the march.
            Something inside stopped me from marching in the street, but it wasn’t going to stop Ralphie.  He didn’t just walk with the cheerleaders as the other kids were, he marched to the drum beat, lifting his arms and legs up as high as he could with each beat.  I walked along 25th Street, peeking through the breaks in the mass of bodies, watching Ralphie march with that devilish grin, and watching the cheerleaders glancing at him and smiling.  Something big was happening that day and Ralphie was determined to be a part of it.
            I walked the two blocks west along 25th Street to Summit Avenue where the marchers entered Roosevelt Stadium through two giant green doors that were fitted into the twenty-foot concrete wall that enclosed the outfield of what was once a minor league baseball stadium.  As the marchers entered I could here the cheers from inside the massive building that encompassed two full city blocks.  Cops outside the doors stopped Ralphie short of marching into the stadium with the cheerleaders which I’m certain was his intent.  After making a minimal effort to convince the authorities that he was part of the group, he gave up. 
            Ralphie found me in the crowd.  We watched the marching Hiller band in their navy blue and orange uniforms follow the Bulldog contingent as they disappeared into the stadium.  The two giant green doors were closed, and Ralphie and I started walking back to West Street.  Most of the crowd had already gone home and the streets were once again empty.
            “I bet you’re not going to the game, are ya Johnny?”
            “What game?”
            “The Thanksgiving Day game, you jerk off.  What do you think all this shit’s about.  I bet you never played football, did ya?  Don’t worry, I’ll teach you.  I‘m gonna play for the Bulldogs when I get in high school cause I know Peppy, he’s the coach.  I’ll show you where he lives.”
            When we reached the corner of 25th and West Street, Ralphie pointed to a second floor apartment above a Chinese laundry on the southwest corner.

            “Peppy lives right up there.  Me and him are buddies.  Do you want to learn how to play football right now, Johnny?”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This is Why I Write

After completing Spiked Snowballs & Flaming Cats, I've received a lot of responses from people who have read the book in a single sitting.  When I received this response, it brought tears to my eyes.  The following letter is how it appeared in it's orignal form.  This is why I write.

Dear John,

A few months after my Dad got diagnosed with cancer, his yonugest sister Lucy moved back to NY. She was very depressed leaving all of us, especially while my Dad was battling cancer. 2 days after she moved, my uncle got her out of the house to take a walk by the marina, and my aunt was thinking about my Dad, looked down, and there was a St. Anthony medal laying on the ground. She mailed it to him, and told him to keep it with him, that he would be okay and St. Anthony would protect him. He carried that medal in his pocket.

The medal he gave you John, was the one my aunt found. He knew he was dying, even though he was positive with us, you could see it in his eyes, or at least I did. I know in my heart, he gave you that medal because he believed it would help and protect you, and he knew he no longer needed it.

Last week, my aunt was talking about the medal she found, and today, the story was in your book about the medal. It is funny how so many things are connected, and something as little as a medal signifies so much more. For us, it was a sign my Dad is still around.

Thank you so much for including that story in your book, it means more to all of us than you will ever know. My grandmother cried when I read it to her, because she was happy that after almost 4 years of losing him, someone other than our family remembered him, and honored him. You summed up my dad perfectly, his smile is etched in our minds and hearts.

Thanks so much! xo

  • Saturday, November 8, 2014

    The Underdog Advantage

                    After being inundated with the despicable trash that is being heaped on Tim Scott and Mia Love from EVERY liberal media outlet, it’s time to have “the conversation” again. 
    What has confounded social scientists, educators, and policy makers for over one hundred years is the test score gap between blacks and whites.  While their have been some improvements in recent decades, blacks on the wholesale level, still lag behind whites on intelligence and aptitude tests.  Let me make this perfectly clear: any intellectually honest person who has studied this issue extensively understands that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that blacks are genetically intellectually inferior to whites.  It just isn’t so.  In fact, most social scientists that have studied this issue have concluded that blacks possess the same innate intellectual potential as whites.      
    Don’t expect me to provide the answer or solution to this striking, age-old enigma; I drive a truck for a living, scored 800 on the SAT and my GPA was like a C+. I didn’t finish college.  I am not a genius; I am an underdog.  I won’t go as far as to label myself an overachiever; in my own 55-year-old mind, I haven’t even come close to my potential.  But then again, I’m not done yet.  
    To understand where I’m going with this, I have to take you back to a baseball field over twenty years ago.  As coach of my son’s T-Ball team, I was told that I could pick a number of kids from my 1 win, 21 loss team to try out for the T-Ball All Stars that would play in a county tournament at the conclusion of the season.  If the team were to win the county, they would play in a state tournament, and then a national tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.  Of course this was back in the days when you kept score and there were winners and losers. 
    I took my 6-year-old son to the field for the tryouts on a Saturday morning.  There were probably 100 kids trying out for15 roster spots.  Every kid took a few swings, and went through some fielding drills while the coaches marked sheets on a clip board.  When the tryouts were over, the kids sat on the bleachers and the coaches called out the names of the 15 kids that made the team.  My son’s name didn’t get called.  I could see the disappointment in his face; he wasn’t crying, he just looked really pissed off.  As we walked through the outfield on our way to the parking lot he slammed his glove to the ground, turned towards the field and started pointing at the kids who made the team and were now beginning their first practice.  One by one he said, “I’m better than him, I’m better than him, I’m better than him, and I’m better than him.” 
    I picked up his glove, got down to his level, put my hands on his shoulders, looked in his eyes that were now starting to water, and said this to him: “There will always be someone who is bigger than you, faster than you, smarter than you, and stronger than you.  You can’t control that. The only thing you can control is how hard you work—and that, when it’s all said and done, is what will set you apart from everyone else. “   
    To all you liberals who fear the success of virtuous men and women of color, and then attempt to disparage their achievement because they threaten the status quo, I say this to you: you’re the fucking problem.  Excuse my language, but I curse when I’m pissed off.  When you tell people they’re not good enough, that they’re getting screwed, that they don’t have a chance because the system is stacked against them, you give them an excuse to fail.  For people of color, whose path is definitely not easy, sometimes all they need is an excuse to give up, an excuse to fail.  That’s why they call the hard road, “the road less traveled.”
    I could have said to my son: “Hey Johnny, these are a bunch of redneck, yahoo coaches and I got a New Jersey accent, and they didn’t pick you because they don’t like me.  But don’t worry, I’ll complain to the league commissioner and we’ll change this unfair system so that every kid can be on the All Star team, or better yet, we’ll just get rid of this bullshit system that’s screwing us royally.  Don’t worry little Johnny, I’ll take care of this for you.  And don’t cry anymore—we’ll get even with these sons of bitches.”
    The Brookings Institution, in a study about the test score gap between blacks and whites concluded this:  “Parenting practices appear to have a sizable impact on children's test scores. Even with parental education, family income, and the mother's AFQT scores controlled, racial differences in parenting practices account for between a fifth and a quarter of the racial gap on the PPVT.”
    Liberal politicians, simply stated, are bad parents.  They’re enablers, they have low expectations of those they govern, point the finger of blame at everyone who opposes their will, and shroud every issue in fairness and justice.  They inculcate flawed oppressor/victim belief systems that justify anger, destroy the will, and ferment permanent hatred.   Why?  Well, failure is easy; it attracts lots of followers looking for an excuse.  Congratulations Tim Scott and Mia Love, true underdogs.  You took the hard road; hopefully, others will follow.
    One last note: In 2003, John Daly Jr., as a sophomore, was the starting right fielder for the Saint Thomas Aquinas Raider baseball team that went on to win the Class 4A Florida State Championship. In the picture above, that's John Jr. on the top of the pile. 


    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    How Conservative Talk Radio Can Kill You

                Just a few of weeks removed from America’s first jihadist beheading in Oklahoma, a wacked out jihadist in Ottawa goes on a shooting rampage.  A week prior, another jihadist in Canada used his car to run down a couple of people.  In New York, several police officers were attacked with a hatchet. News articles rightly claimed that the events “stoked fears” and subsequent preventative actions by law enforcement agencies are proof positive.  ISIS and the Islamic terrorists have the world looking over its collective shoulder.
                Common to each attack is an unstable individual influenced by anti-western rhetoric propagated by Islamic radicals through social media channels.  Rush Limbaugh, in so many words, went so far as to say that rot-gut, anti-American propaganda taught by Howard Zinn acolytes in western schools, from kindergarten through college, can foster, in the unstable mind, a level of justification for violent attacks.  Limbaugh, along with Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck—the three kings of talk radio—are obviously aware of media influence on the unstable; each has a paid security detail accompanying them when publicly vulnerable.
                But how does all this attention to gloom and doom affect the general public—you and me?  The country has been through a pro-longed period of extreme economic difficulty and 9/11 still lingers like a mild case of national PTSD.  Economic difficulty and uncertainty give rise to individual stress. Make no mistake; the chance of you dying from a heart attack worrying about this stuff is far greater than the possibility of getting your head lopped off by a jihadist. Admittedly, the threat of attack, either by an individual or organized cell,  is real; terrorism is on the rise due to the failed and delusional leadership at the national level—a Howard Zinn acolyte occupies the Oval Office.  The guy who is supposed to protect us, can't even protect himself. But don’t expect the recent failures of his own security detail to provide a much needed reality check—that would shatter the world view he clings to like those people who cling to their bibles and guns.  Psychologically speaking, people actually do cling to things when the going gets tough.  I would argue that it might not be a bad idea to cling to a gun (if it makes you feel safer); and the virtues extolled in the bible trump a vacuous liberal doctrine fraught with all kinds of unexpected consequences, the doctrine our leader clings to even as it blows up in his face.  
                The political expediency of conservative talk show hosts delivering body blows to a president that’s on the ropes has its merits; for the first time during his presidency a healthy majority of Americans are starting to see through the intentional lies and manipulation—and that’s a good thing, to some degree.  On the other hand, it is fostering a level of government mistrust not seen in the history of this country as people come to grips with incompetent leadership at every level and the chaotic everyday reality that’s not in line with the rosy picture the administration is painting.  The common refrain among informed, rational people is, “There’s no leadership.”  It’s like being in a car speeding down the highway without a driver at the wheel—we’re just waiting for the big impact.  The persistent uneasiness keeps us on edge and talk radio rhetoric plucks at our impulses, not to inspire violence, but to affect elections. Anger is a great motivator.  For the economically and socially vulnerable, who see government as their protector and provider, it’s like watching Mommy and Daddy being beat up and dragged away by an angry mob.  The natural human tendency is to wonder, “Who’s gonna take care of us?”
                This is where we are as a country. We’re scared to death and we don’t even know it.  But as individuals we have coping mechanisms, most of which are either psychologically or physically unhealthy. We engage in denial, we drink, we eat, we spend, we party, we take pills, we vacation—that’s what people do when they’re stressed out.  And then we feel guilty about our excess, which makes us feel bad again, so we repeat the process.  When 9/11 shook our national consciousness, George Bush said, “Go to the mall.”  And we did, until the bill came due in 2008—and then the music stopped.  The hangover is still lingering as the antidote wasn't what the doctor ordered—it was a deceptive placebo with little if any effect. 
                This short version of the last 13 years is an interesting insight into how the common man is perceived by those in power; we are seen as weak, easily manipulated, prone to bad behavior, and lacking any sustained will to address serious problems. Good for them, bad for us; weak people are easily swayed by shiny stuff, candy, and the tried and true class envy tactic.  At this stage—with our national will at an all-time low—their perception is probably accurate, which is a scary conclusion considering the national consequences.  
                Conservative talk radio, exhorting the virtues of self-control, financial responsibility, individualism, and the self-made man, is a constant reminder of how screwed up this country really is right now. The virtuous stuff is really hard.  After just trying to tread water for the last six years, even the virtuous are beat up, tired, and looking for the nearest watering hole.  This leads one to wonder, “Who’s going to fix the big problems?”          
                In the book, The Willpower Instinct, author Kelly McGonigal posits, “Humans have a natural tendency to focus on immediate gains, and changing course to prevent future disaster takes enormous self-discipline from all members of society.  It’s not just a matter of caring; change requires doing.”  

                Good luck with that; and whose gonna do what?  Fuhgetaboutit! 

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    Amazon Purchaser Reviews

              "John Daly expertly weaves present and past in this intense, raw, honest story of his life. The flashbacks to his teenage self were timed perfectly giving readers a chance to catch their breath. He shows tremendous courage when he opens up about his self -professed failures and exposes himself to his readers in a way that most people would not be able to do. His brutal honesty can only be a result of finally accepting himself for the man he has become; a man that is loved by his friends and family and most importantly himself.  Spiked Snowballs and Flaming Cats is a story that touches your heart. The author has a gift for making you feel all the emotions you felt as a teenager, and then seamlessly you're relating to him as a husband and dad. Well done! Looking forward to more"--S.Roos

              "What an incredible book Spiked Snowballs and Flaming cats is, this book will make u shed tears, smile and give you goosebumps. I am just so taken back by this book and lost for words. If you have not read this book, you really need to get it asap and you will enjoy every second of it. Just Love this book!!!"-- Jenine

              "When I first was made aware of this book some of the details I heard peaked my interest to put it on my list to read. Then I saw the cover and read the title. I was a little confused but went ahead and read it anyway. It turned out to be the most compelling and emotionally charged item I have ever read. John C. Daly brings you into his life, and into his shoes. This memoir has made me look at my own life with renewed passion and made me know that life is precarious. To strive to get the most out of life, and love dearly the people in it."--Vinny