Cartoon Boy

Good day.  I just published my first children’s book called “Cartoon Boy”. In short, it’s about how an 8-year-old boy copes in an enlightening way with Dad’s walking disability through his imaginative and original cartoons with baseball as the glue that bonds them. He creates a world where he and Dad would be able to walk, run and play baseball together.
I endure challenges to overcome on a daily basis. This is a sensitive and somewhat synonymous story. I wanted to give relevance, strength and attention to those families and kids who struggle with a disabled parent. Reality mixed with fantasy somewhat equals coping. My publisher, Christine F Anderson, and I would like to send you a copy of the book to showcase. Thanks, Tony Evangelista

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The Flat-u Force©

The Flat-u Force©

Evil comes in different forms. However, good can be gross, irreverent, crude and comically contagious.
Chance, coincidence, stereotypes, prejudices and ironic events are the dynamics behind the adventures of Flatucat and Rodster©. When a foul accident occurs, a notable scientist turns evil. Two mortal enemies join together to form a true bond and alliance, to combat the vile exploits of this villainous doyen. Through their odiferous journey, they all, (good and evil), recruit and discover new and perpetual friends and new ways of disgust to help each other’s unasked for disposition.
Powers come from all different modes; some from within, and other times not. But, many climaxes in their quest are absurdly encountered.
In this comic shock genre, young adults will be hysterical over their pursuing antics.
We would appreciate and embrace the opportunity to send you the entire manuscript, (or comic strip, if you will) of, “The Flat-u Force©”.
Since all of the characters are of a comic nature, an appropriate illustrator or animator is of paramount importance.
As with any of my writings, I use Dragon Naturally Speaking Software exclusively.
We welcome your contact and feedback at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Tony Evangelista
tonye13@Hotmail.com
and
Rodney Fulton

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I Can Walk©

I Can Walk©

“I can walk, I can walk”. He gleefully shouted with surprise as he gracefully walked across the empty and shallow room.
He looked down at his youthful and strong legs and feet and saw and felt no swelling, no pain and stood erect with ease. He felt no pain in his limbs. He was even trimmer and younger than before. No big belly.
He walked faster and faster back and forth across the smooth bare tiled floor. Since he had just his socks on, he glided like a playful child would across that polished floor. He slanted his now agile body weight to balance himself as if he were sliding into second base. In fact, he actually slid his body against the floor and imagined himself stealing a base as he did when he was just a scrappy kid in a sandlot. With this sudden burst of vitality, it was an enlightening revelation.
Of course, it brought him to wonder what was going on.
The room, which was extremely bright and laced with thick white blurry fog, was a stark bold place, yet gentle and soft as powder. There were no windows or doors. There were just walls of blurry white fog that covered them and its ceiling. He walked further to explore a long stretch of what seemed to be a hallway, again surrounded and bordered in bright white fog. The temptation to walk and run forward was irresistible. The path was so long that he was able to run to what seemed like an eternity to cover. He ran, jumped, skipped, slid, tumbled, did pirohettes and acrobatic moves that he never thought he would be able to do again (not that he practiced pirohettes). He thought he heard faint music in the background so he started dancing with his imaginary partner to a waltz.
He was totally immersed, hypnotized and taken by this sudden freedom. Not since his prime of life, did he feel this youthful abundance of joy of movement and freedom from age and what accompanies it.
It was then he thought he heard a voice. There was no one there, just a faint voice. It had no instruction, no familiarity and no tone. It was just a comforting indistinguishable voice of reassurance and direction. He continued dancing. But that embracing voice kept supporting and encouraging his impromptu and delightful performance.
Slowly, there were others joining him on this fuzzy and vast dance floor. There were people he knew in his adventurous life. Some he recognized instantly, while others it took a while to familiarize with. As they all danced slowly, they nodded to him in recognition and admiration. Nothing was said, just everyone continued dancing contently and naturally.
Then came a couple that he was very fond of throughout his life.
“Aunt Laura, Uncle Joe, I haven’t seen you for so long.” He said with proud humility and sincerity. They then switched and he was dancing with his good dance partner, Aunt Laura.
He was greeted and welcomed with warm gestures from everyone.
As he danced, a band began to appear. He knew some of them. Isn’t that Rick on trumpet and Jerry on trombone? He thought to himself. He wandered off the dance floor to join the band. They didn’t stop playing music. But standing upright next to them was a huge bass fiddle. Just like the one he played and carted around for many years. It was as if it had puppy dog eyes and it was begging him to play it. He positioned his hands and body against the smooth varnished wood of its neck and strummed the perfectly tuned nylon strings. As he played the bass, the rest of the band turned to him and nodded in approval. That’s just what the music needed, a backbeat.
As they played beautiful music, the crowd grew and enjoyed dancing to their serenades.
It came time to stop the music. As he mingled with his bandmates, he then went to sit down.
Not long after he found himself in that comforting place, in another room with the same features, a woman stood in the same fashion as he. She stood there and a little state of confusion, blinked her eyes and gazed with wonder all around. She took a few quick steps and again found no pain or discomfort in her legs and body. She took several deep breaths to consume the fresh air of youth and being.
Taking sudden and rapid movements, she darted about looking for something, anything. A chair, table, counter, any object to hold, touch, move, something physical to relate to. She started pacing, walking, skipping until that long hallway appeared. She first thought that it was too long and too strenuous to handle walking through, but a voice reassured her otherwise. She thought nothing of that delicate voice. She didn’t question it or distinguish it as a voice. She just kept on skipping down that lengthy walk way. After a while, she realized that she wasn’t winded, out of breath, tired or strained. She was just confused of her odd surroundings.
Then she stopped and looked down at her familiar yet unfamiliar legs. They were strong, pretty, energetic, slim, and swift. She looked around with sudden head movements like a squirrel does.
She picked up a faint sound of music in the background. She slowly and cautiously ventured toward it. Peering through the fuzzy white walls, she gradually walked on through its border. There were faint images of people dancing. Not all of the same people as before. Again, some she vaguely recognized and some she knew. It didn’t dawn on her to go over to anyone. Curiosity and the sense of foreboding was still in charge.
With great suspicion, she inched her feet closer still. She walked quietly and gingerly like a cat would wanting not to be noticed. As people turned toward her, they recognized her. With some uncertainty about her, she didn’t know what her appearance would be. There was no mirror of vanity to check. She extended her arms and gave a quick once over to her slim and shapely body and figure.
With a smile inside her, she liked her body, clothes, shoes, jewelry and other personal adornments. She gently put her hands to her hair and touched it. She knew that by just the touch that it was to her liking. Now that she was a little more comfortable and secure, she proceeded to walk with self-confidence.
Still a little bewildered by all this, she mustered up the courage to move on. As people waved, smiled and greeted her, she nodded back in uncomfortable and uncertain smiles.
Continuing onward through the crowd, the people she saw were more familiar and friendly. Then she spotted her mom and dad. He ran to them like a child would run to their parents. And then she saw her grandparents and other family members.
But then, the crowd parted and as it did, this beautiful woman eyed HIM from across the room.
Immediately he cried out “Agnes, I knew you were coming, but so soon?”
They took each other’s hands, hugged, kissed, and he escorted her to the majestic dance floor. The dance floor cleared for their unaccompanied and intimate performance. They danced and looked in each other’s adoring eyes like they did when they first met many years ago. Between them dancing, the gleam in their eyes and the cloudy and fuzzy background, it was heavenly.
The crowd dispersed quietly.
There they were left there all alone. Locked arm in arm they strutted and stared at each other adoringly like they did a lifetime ago. As they walked slowly, they passed through a gigantic tunnel void of clouds or anything. They looked through its what seem to be a glass view and saw their children, grandchildren and immediate family all doing fine.
This pleasing landscape contented them with profound pride and concrete reassurance. They looked happily at each other, gripped each other’s hands tighter and continued walking with the fuzzy white cloud at their sides.*

*Dedicated to my parents, Anthony (July 21, 1932-March 2, 2013) and Agnes Evangelista (February 3, 1931-March 19, 2013).

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What Happened?©

3/1/12
What Happened?

Exactly. When did the words “what happened?” Replace the common word we use as simply “what”? When someone simply calls their name to get their attention or to ask them something, why do they ask “what happened?”
“Nothing happened. I’m just getting your attention.”
Instead of the proper way of asking “what was that you said?”
Or inquisitively, “what did you say?”
Or to offer someone to help: “what can I help you with?”
Wouldn’t just the simple one word ‘what’ suffice? I mean, it’s only one syllable.
Or even, the more polite term “excuse me?” (Well, depending on one’s tone.)
Even the working class, “huh” would be less syllables, albeit less attractive.
Did I miss something? Did I not get that memo or e-mail? I don’t live under a rock and I’m not that out of touch. It’s just like a few years ago when the word “issue” replaced the word “problem”. I understand that the word “issue” encompasses a lot more, but it’s a safe word to use instead of the connotation of “a problem”. We don’t say “Houston we have an issue”, which has become a generally accepted American phrase.
Our speech, or should I venture to say, lack of respectable speech, has devolved over the last few years.
I used to work in a call center and it seems that, the word “issue” was replaced with the word “problem” to mask the ugly odor of a “problem”. God forbid we could admit that we have or caused a “problem” or a “mistake”. And the word issue encompasses a lot more than the word “problem” so I guess that’s the grey area.
Another hideous, demeaning and regrettably generally accepted word is “stupid”. When in doubt of using a correct vocabulary word like “wise” or “you’re funny” or “sarcastic”, or even, “silly”, for example. When in doubt or when one doesn’t know what to say, for whatever reason they say “you’re stupid” when someone makes a funny. What a way to complement them on making you laugh or being witty.
“You stupid”, it’s not even spoken correctly.
Do we lack such creativity or basic education as a free, diverse, society and culture in such terms? That may not be a fair question, sorry. I don’t mean to sound stereotypical, or smug, but, most of the people that use these vernaculars are usually a younger, yet educated generation. And of course, it’s contagious when they lack the basic communication skills, vocabulary and usage. And that’s a sad commentary on younger generations because they pass it on to younger generations etc. etc. etc. And so
It seems that we also rely upon our facial expressions, inflections, and tone of voice to convey and express who our exchange of ideas, commentaries, verbiage, and communication skills instead of using the befitting and appropriate vocabulary and adjectives.
Let’s refer (or I should say: let’s open up this can of worms), to the word “like”. This falls into that utterly abysmal and absurd category.
“I was like…”
“She was like…”
“He was like…”
“And we were all like… Aaaaagh, when he said that”. You must tilt just your head back and forth and side to side, when you say those phrases to yourself to get the proper effect of describing a situation or repeating what someone said. It makes for much more entertaining.
It’s snuck in to various sentences of speech so casually and barely noticeable that it’s become ‘like’, acceptable.
“Like, ya’ know.”
I watched a talk show recently, (and I’ll spare the young celebrity’s name here) but he used the word “like” 25 times while explaining a two-minute story. I rewound it and counted them for accuracy.
The word like is used so often in conversation, that it’s ignored, accepted and easily spread and written. We see it in movie scripts, TV episodes on the like.
Knowimean? Do you know the pronunciation and meaning of that word? “Know what I mean?”
“Hear me?” Or “understand?”
Do we need that affirmation at the end of a statement?
But seriously, and sadly, last summer I saw a woman with her group of little ones, aged about 4-9, following her to their car in the parking lot after grocery shopping. She exclaimed loudly “are all you MOFO’S there?” Do I need to translate that unsightly anagram for you? I’m assuming you, as a reader, understand that undignified term because it’s become a distressing generally accepted oxymoron or compound word. Some may find the word ” MOFO” a funny or cute word, but is that something you want to refer to your entourage of children as, and a reflection of your own dignity and lack of self-respect?
Is this too cynical or a questionable observation of an apathetic social media generation? When we write the letters u or r in an e-mail or letter, people are so used to texting, that they forget to write real words.
Not to group together or again stereotype an age range or ethnicity, but it seems a shame to embarrass yourselves with such inane traits. What happened?
Exactly.

Tony Evangelista

https://tonyevangelista1.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/what-happened/

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Coaching Little League With MS As My Assistant Coach

 7/11

Coaching Little League With MS As My Assistant Coach

 

On March 10, 1997, when I was 37, I was diagnosed with MS. It just happened to be my wife’s 37th birthday. What a ghastly and ironic bummer.

About a week later I received a phone call from the administrative coaches from Little League, since I had applied as an assistant coach for my first son, Dominic’s, team, he picked me. I had assisted the year before and I guess either they liked me or not many fathers volunteered. Also, my younger son, Joey (8 years old), was now ready for the ritual of Little League. And I had applied as head coach. I was overjoyed yet cautious. It was what I wanted, but I wasn’t sure if I could physically handle it. At the time, I was walking with an unbalanced gait. I didn’t want anyone to know I had MS but then again, I didn’t want people to think I was a drunk either, since I walked like one. So I fessed up and told him I was just diagnosed with MS. He was taken aback by it, but he had enough faith in my ability to coach.

I had the wonderful opportunity and time to coach since I owned my own business and had the flexibility of giving my time and energy to coach.

Out of all the things I’ve done in my life, coaching Little League is the most rewarding and worthwhile experience.

To show kids the basics or mechanics of baseball or the fundamentals of team play, I found to be very gratifying and exhilarating. Without a doubt, it was tiring and challenging, but well worth the effort. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. As if parenting alone didn’t test your patience.

I coached both teams while running my own retail business and took care of my house duties.

My father said as he watched me struggle with my juggling act, “Are you nuts?” But I did it anyway. I dealt with coordinating all the kids scheduling and quirks and silliness of eight-year-old boys. We lugged the equipment around from field to field each week while helping my kids with their homework each night.

But, I couldn’t hide my obvious physical assessments. The kids and parents noticed my stumbled and unbalanced walks. In fact, there was one bratty eight-year-old boy who said to me a few times, “why do you walk funny?” I could have smacked that little monster. I ignored him while his father just pulled him aside and told him to hush up. Another time I was on the field next to first base and one kid was so happy that we won and hugged my legs so hard in joy, since that was his height, and I lost my balance and ended up falling with him on top of me on the infield dust. It was a little embarrassing but we got up laughing. And there was another time when I tripped into a puddle near the dugout and got my entire leg pants soaked. But of course, that wasn’t funny.

The following year I didn’t coach. I started walking with a cane and had to get a real 9-5 job, which unfortunately ended my Little League coaching days. Subsequently, I found it more and more difficult to go see Joey pitch on just Saturdays. Between driving and the physical struggle of it all, was just too much for me. It was so disheartening not to see, nurture or appreciate Joey’s competitive baseball talents develop.

Then in high school, Dominic joined the track team and I wasn’t able to go to any track meets or even practice to watch him run because of my progression to wheelchair status.

But with despair and challenges come in sight. An inspirational bug stung me to create my illustrated children’s book called Cartoon Boy © which is about how an eight-year-old boy optimistically deals with his father’s walking disability through fantasy and his boyish imagination.

Overcoming daily challenges and its accompanying ironies is my full-time job which I welcome and embrace.

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Ode to My Marvelous Muse

1/23/12

Ode to My Marvelous Muse

            I always liked to write but I’ve been writing seriously a short time which is only about the last two years. I have had family, friends and other writers help me with my English, grammar, vocabulary thoughts and words, but no one compares with inspiration, motivation, encouragement and gives me constructive criticism like she does. She’s too humble to admit her talents and praise but she knows how I admire and respect her.

            We met through a friend of a friend. She had told me she was a professional librarian and I immediately thought of a woman with bifocals hanging down from her neck with an eyeglass chain. But she clarified what a professional and modern librarian does. They read a lot for schools, libraries and similar institutions for their selected inventory.

We hit it off well together and before we knew it, we were e-mailing manuscripts, copies of my thoughts, ideas, blogs and stories practically daily. She especially liked and helped me greatly with my narrative and illustrated children’s book called Cartoon Boy©. Her sincerity and thoughtfulness was authentic, immeasurable and priceless.

            In fact, I consider her my unofficial editor. I feel uncomfortable and uneasy if I post or publish anything without her “seal of approval”. I don’t even like having anyone else read it before she does.

            I don’t know if writers experience this, but when I find myself writing anything, I think of her reading it and wonder what she will think of it. Like a kid, I almost feel like I’m showing off to her. I feel her presence standing behind me as my “guardian shadow” while looking over my vulnerable shoulder but in an angelic way. She’s not doting or hardly critical. She speaks the truth and always looks out for my best interest without asking anything in return.

            Even when she says I use too many adjectives or claims I’m didactic, I learn a great deal from her intuitive traditions. She’s quite knowledgeable, professional and most intriguing.

            When others turned their back on me or wrote me off or did not believe in my work or me and counted me out, she’s right there to always inspire confidence in me. She doesn’t lecture or talk down to me. She’s objective, succinct and to the point. And she has a unique perspective of seeing another person’s point of view and brings it to my attention when I don’t see that perspective. I always value her opinions, insight and input.

            When we first met and I told her about my children’s book, she informed me how tough that market is and that if she did read it, critiqued it and put her two cents in, she didn’t think I would appreciate her involvement.

 She enjoys reading and appreciates my efforts and writing and I sometimes feel like I write just for her.

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A Little Dose of Frustration and Irony

1/6/12

A Little Dose of Frustration and Irony

 

            It may sound like a cool title for a song, but to me, those two words-Frustration and Irony-go hand-in-hand and are synonymous.

            I could be sitting comfortably in my power wheelchair watching television with my best friend “The Glorious and All-Powerful TV Remote” in the right spot on my lap, not too far forward, not too far from the left. But just at the right comfy spot where my left index finger (my main functional finger) can comfortably press the correct buttons. Since I usually watch programs that I recorded from the DVR, I fast forward through the commercials, (could this be a statement or commentary of societal convenience and priorities?). As I’m about to press the button, a wrinkled blanket which sits on my lap blocks the path from the remote to the cable box. Or someone or something blocks its path. Or I’m turned just at the wrong angle to block its path.

Another superficial example would be if I’m at work or home on my computer, where my right hand, fingers and right elbow have to be situated and placed at just the right position, height and spot to control the mouse movements since I’m limited in dexterity and strength. To ensure that my fingers don’t slip off my mouse, I put some sticky pine tar on their fingertips. And as an added precaution, I put little winged walls on each side of the left and right clickers of the mouse. Just so my fickle and unreliable fingers don’t slip off. I finally get comfortable and positioned correctly and what happens? The computer doesn’t recognize my mouse clicks. Or the voice software gets stuck. Or background noise corrupts my commands and closes the Windows or programs. Or the blasted microphone gets bumped and dangles off the desk as it did just now while dictating this long sentence.

This may sound trivial, shallow or annoying to read, but these little daily nuances, pile upon a cynical wall of bricks as they wobble brick by brick.

Forgive the trite expression but “if it’s not one thing, it’s another”.

 

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