Monday, July 25, 2016


Recently I did a ‘walk through’, that is: I visited a home for people with disabilities to make sure that the residents were being treated well in their residence. I have done many of these for the Board of Directors that I am a part of. My daughter lives in a home with a similar concept, except that she is non-verbal and so there are accommodations made for her. As board members, we are aware that the ultimate responsibility is on our shoulders that those we advocate for are given the best possible.

In this one home, I visited I interviewed a gentleman who I immediately took a liking to. He is a middle-aged gentleman with a shy and self-conscious disposition. When he speaks to you, he looks down and when he speaks, he thinks about what he says before speaking, so he is teaching me something important.

I interviewed him about life in his home and his daily program, and he expressed himself in short sentences, followed by my name. I’ll call him Oscar.

“Oscar, what are some of the things you like to do?”
“I like trains, Joe.”
“What is your favorite train?”
“The Long Island Railroad, Joe!”
“Ever been on a train?”
“No Joe, I don’t have much money.”

Well, my next project is to find a way to get Oscar on a train ride, maybe experience a bunch of trains in one place. I’m also looking into finding a museum that allows one to board a car or two, and maybe a model railroad tour somehow.

I know I have an old set of trains, maybe if I get some of it to work again, I will give it to him, and perhaps find a book on trains. Of course, I need to clear it with the agency to know what his limitations are with me from a legal and physical sense.

When my friend died in the rehab home, I realized that people are alone in this world, no matter who surrounds them, and to be part of a group of people and not have involvement can be a very sad thing, so I found Oscar, and he and I will walk a path of his choice.

Saturday, July 23, 2016


--> San Genaro was the time every year when Brooklyn came alive. It was the proof that the Church was the cornerstone of most Italian and Italian/American’s lives. It took everyone out of their apartments and brought them on into the streets. Like a church bazaar, one would with children in hand, traverse the closed off streets and visit each tent, stand and group, searching out things to eat and buy for the kids. There was always the puppet, a sword carrying string controlled old knight of ancient Italy, that was traditionally sold and got the attention of little boys, as did the toy sword and scabbard.

I particularly loved the atmosphere, as twilight graduated into darkness, bringing a greater illumination to the feast, the colors highlighting the joy and pleasure of something different. The smells of the peppers and sausage, the zeppole and even the hot dogs filled your need to go insane if you didn’t partake, even after a pasta dinner an hour before! Pizza, pizza, pizza, and the storefront pizzeria or the portable ovens, selling by the slice with coke in hand! After all, this was a party, and Dad took his mind off of his day at the factory while Mom closed her kitchen for the night to bask in the idea that someone was going to wait on her for a change.

The local parish priest, walking along in his long black cloak, getting requests to have cannoli, or slice of pizza, on the house, after all, he was next to God! Grandmas, given the right of way, as they stepped along the crowds, who deferred to them in space and time, giving them an arm or sweet word or two about how great they were.

There was the Neapolitan dance, the Tarantella that exploded throughout the festivities, the music captivating and enticing, as young and old ladies danced, often together. There was the  warm glow of happy hearts and smiling faces, faces that always welcomed and pleaded with you to eat, enjoy life. The fuel for the fire of love was often held in a wine glass, red and made from pride and love of heritage, it said: La dolce e vita!

There was a particular side of the feast that made me forget Sister Hairy Mary my third-grade teacher: the rides. Not just rides, but rides that came out of a truck, one you would see from time to time for 5 cents as it traveled through the neighborhood in the summer.

Then when things got dark, there were the fireworks, lighting up the night sky, a wondrous explosion of color, formation and noise, all wrapped into one, sending awe and shudders through my body. And when it finally ended, there was the parade, a religious procession, reminding us all of who we are and where we come from.

These are some of the memories I have still implanted in my brain, or memory channel in my old age, an age filled with many stages of recollection of a time long gone and loved.

Friday, July 15, 2016


There seems to be a wide acceptance to rudeness and flaunting of good deportment, the law, and good manners. Now I have good manners, for the most part, they were implanted with a wooden spoon between stirrings of the pasta pot, Mom called it ‘Gentle Persuasion’, and she persuaded well. 

As I drive, it seems it is getting scarier and more dangerous to drive, with people just pushing themselves in front of you at the last minute, as they make a move, then put on a blinker, which not how it works.

Most of these issues have to do with cell phones and their use, or misuse.

The other day I went to the barber shop for my customary reaping of what hair I have left, and got a middle-aged woman as a barber, as she motioned me to her seat with a smile. I used to go to a barbershop that advertised “Topless Barbers” but the hairy chests turned me off!

Anyway, in the midst of the haircut, this lady’s cell phone rings, and she got a text message. She put down her tools of the trade and picked up the cell phone and started texting back! Am I just old fashioned or is this not the right thing to do? I sat there as she texted and fumed, and was ready to explode when she returned to the job at hand. She met my eyes and I gave her the meanest, dirtiest look I could conjure to express my anger.

Someone should put out a book like Emily Posts’ on etiquette. It seems that the cell phone has invaded our good senses and destroyed our manners, and if a cellphone was built with a screen that was hot, we would all be walking around with blisters on our noses!

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Recently, we have been all reading about; ‘Black Lives Matter’ Blue Lives Matter’ and of course, ‘All Lives Matter.’ These phases are fueled by the hate that transpired with the attacks on policemen, a sad commentary on American Society.

As I have said before, I visit a woman who permanently resides in a rehab facility in Southampton. A frail sickly woman, who is very sensitive and sweet, she sits in her wheelchair and waits from one meal to the next, no one to talk to, no family and friends. Her life was over years ago when she was involved in a terrible auto accent that killed her husband and left her without her legs! The trauma of the accident left her with memory loss and difficulty bridging her thoughts in verbal form. One arm  sits at her side, a mere appendage with no function left, and the other arm her only source of control of her body and the punitive world around her.

I wrote on my birthday how sad I was because that day I visited her to give her a prayer book she said she wished she had, A Russian Orthodox English version of the prayer book. I asked her if she read at all and she assured me she could. I couldn’t find her anywhere that day when I came to visit and was directed to her bedroom, where I found her asleep in her bed, so I left the prayer book on her serving tray and as I was leaving a nurse came in and woke her, so I returned to her bedside. She was pale, hardly able to open her eyes and her voice was weak and very low. It pained her to see me and so I said I had her prayer book and would leave it for her, as the nurse inserted some kind of reader contraption onto the point of her index finger.
I left very apprehensive and felt that maybe the end was near. I decided to return today, thinking I would call first to get a heads up on her condition. I called the rehab facility and after repeated attempts by the operator, and receptionist I could not get through. So I decided to just go and see for myself how she is.

I got off the elevator and said hello to one nurse I knew, and then turned the corner and started toward her room, down a long corridor, which houses the nurses station at the end of it. As I approached, I notice the nurses who knew me were watching me as I came toward them, conferring like something was going on. As I passed my friends room, her name was no longer there and though maybe they moved her. But the nurses gathered together and came up to me, it was then I knew my friend had passed, just as I feared.

Although I feel sad about her passing, I also feel glad that she did, for her sake. It seems she just gave up her spirit and passed. No fanfare or drama, no sobbing or fear, just her will,
to pass as the nurses explained it to me.

I truly hope that she got a chance to read her prayer book, that it gave her some solace in her final hours, maybe it was what she needed and this was God’s way to give someone who has suffered greatly in her past, without friends or family a chance to find comfort. Maybe my daughter’s broken leg was for a reason, without my daughter in that rehab to recover, my friend would not have met me, and I would not have gotten her a prayer book she wished she had, something she requested prior to her last days and my last reading.

Somewhere up in Heaven she sits, not without legs or use of her arms, but with a spirit that rests from the turmoil and tragedy of her past. She is now an equal to all who have past. Small in stature: never diminutive in heart, but with her soul and spirit now who she is, like all of us will someday be!

But we do not take the time to think about people like my friend, they are shut up somewhere in a nursing home or hospital, never to be counted again as part of the world, just a statistic in this cold world.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


If you lived in an Italian/American household, there were certain things that could not be changed or reinvented to your liking. Be it food, prayer or just everyday living, some things never changed.

If you are a man, and you sit at the table, you better have a shirt on. This rule was the first rule you learn since it is the first thing you remember about life in the household. Why? Because food was involved. You showed respect to Mamma, under the eye of Papa.

Pizza was the bread of life for Italian/Americans, and to this day it still is. Originating in the late 18th century, the poor of Naples added tomato to their yeast-based flat bread, and so the pizza began. Until about 1830’s, pizza was sold from stands and out of pizza bakeries, pizzerias keep this old tradition to this day in America too. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba in Naples is widely regarded as the city's first pizzeria. Today in America, as the tradition was carried over to NYC, NY I believe, the tomato and cheese combination is sacred. Pepperoni and sausage was added later on when it gained popularity by Americans, but not in Italy. Today it is bastardized with all kinds of crap, that the Italians in Italy (Neapolitans) consider a No-No to put anything other than tomato and cheese on it! My opinion is that they should find the SOB who put pineapple on it, and hang him from the nearest tree or street light. Never, ever buy a commercial brand pizza, it is considered cardboard and crap.

Speaking of the bread of life, when you sat down to eat, bread was present on the table. There were no oils, vinegar or butter to add to the bread, it was a supplement and should be enjoyed plain with your meal. Grandma would toss a loaf on the table and you broke it with your hands!

When Grandma was the master cook of the family, and later Mom, pasta was presented first. Then she put out the meat: meatballs, sausage, and Involtini or braciola. You NEVER ate the meat with the pasta, it was just a bad thing to do if you were Italian. Then you finished off the meal with a salad, which NEVER came first.

If you ever go into an Italian restaurant in America, never expect to eat a full course meal with wine that includes: an appetizer, a pasta dish, a meat dish, a salad and dessert with an after dinner drink in the allotted time the restaurants prefer. Better you eat at home, at your leisure, so you can fully emote, with both hands and voice, both in English and Italian!

In the old days, if you were dating a signorina from Roma or Brooklyn, make sure you introduce yourself to Papa. Papa usually had un grande bastone to equalize you attitude with his about what should happen on the date with his daughter.

All potential new members need to clear customs or grandma. Are you marrying someone? Get that important interview asap. This is important to show respect and honor your grandparents. It is also a good idea to get them on your side before you bring home to Mamma and Papa your new love interest, in case they don't like him or her.

Finally, one of the biggest No-No’s is putting cheese on fish! GOOD GOD! Do that in front of an old timer and he would get up and walk away from the table, never to look or speak to you again! You would be dead to him or her.


Monday, July 11, 2016


I’m not being unfriendly, just giving you a friendly warning. It seems that whatever I do, or wherever I go, something happens to make me nuts.

Recently I was on a particularly busy highway, cars coming from all directions and you slow down and creep sometimes and sometimes you pick up speed. This road after a while reduces from two lanes to a single lane but always crowded. This one particular morning as I was traversing the concrete path, it was wide open when I got on! I couldn’t believe my luck! No one on the road and I was going to make great time! Just as I thought that; right in front of me was an entrance ramp to the road, and what do I see but a landscape truck with a trailer put in front of me, slowing me down to 20 mph!

Then there was the time in Boston as I was about to park in front of a hotel to register, some moron from Parcel Post cuts in front of me and parks his stupid brown delivery truck so I can’t get by!

OK, you are in the supermarket, you see me on a line, what do you do? Avoid getting behind me at all costs! Why? Because some lady has 2,000,000 items and no one was on the 12 item or less checkout, so what the Hell! She should be hung, shot and shamed, and they should charge her three times as much.

The other day I was out buying my wife a birthday card, and after a while of reading the different cards, finally picked one out, so I go to the registry in the card store, and a little old man has the young lady behind the counter in a deep trance as he is talking to her about his past, I think he was at age 4 when I got behind him. Being he was old, I didn’t want to rush him, and I wanted to be respectful, so said nothing. That didn’t stop me from wondering when his funeral would be.

Walk on a crowded street and as you look for an opening to pass, there walking ahead of you is a lady with a stroller and 50,000 of her children, all lined shoulder to shoulder, makes you want to support population control.

My wife and I go to a restaurant and get a nice quiet spot, when comes a mamma with another 50,000 brats, all loud and annoyingly restive, making me want to tie her tubes around her neck.

I know, I sound impatient, but try to remember, this all happens usually in one day’s time.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


I don't like to play politics on this blogue, but I will make exceptions. We are entering a very important time in our history where the Constitution of the United States will be tested and strained to its full capacity. In our electoral process, we have been handed two very questionable candidates for the highest office in the land, the Presidency of the nation. Our selection must be made beyond the political arena and be viewed with the discerning eye of our forefathers when they laid the footprint of the governance of the union.

Both our assumed candidates have flaws as we all know, one, Donald Trump is considered too divisive, inexperienced and flip-flops on his stances, while Hilary Clinton is considered untrustworthy all through her political career. What worries me most about Clinton is the fact that there is always smoke when she is around. Scandal seems to be her partner, and there is no time in her political history when there wasn't a scandal associated with her. Here is a list:

Hillary scandals have always had email issues. That had to do with "privacy." As Secretary of State, she sent emails via a private server working from her New York residence. Doing so, her aides were able to discern which emails to turn over to the State Department, when requested, and which emails not to. Because of the secretive, sensitive nature of some of the emails, this has become one of the many Hillary Clinton scandals.

The next scandal is somewhat tainted, but it does raise questions. Paula Jones worked for Arkansas government when Bill Clinton was governor. Jones alleged Bill Clinton sexually harassed Paula Jones when he was a governor. Filing a suit in 1994 for slightly under a million dollars in damages, the case was settled out of court. In 2015, Paula Jones interviewed with reporters that she believed that Hillary Clinton knew all about the sexual harassment yet did nothing. This she alleges, but you can't take it to the bank.

The Clinton administration was found to have over 700 FBI background reports on their Republicans rivals, and so all sorts of questions were raised. One question was that of the director of the Office of Personnel Security, Craig Livingstone, and how he came to have that high-profile job. As the story goes it was Hillary who pushed for him to get the job as she was close buddies with his mother.

Norman Hsu was a big contributor and fundraiser for the Democrat party during Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign of 2008, being the man collecting contributions to the Democratic Party, from a variety of "sources" both foreign and domestic who went a long way to promoting Hillary's candidacy. It turned out that HSU was a criminal, and more than that a fugitive, who had been scamming people and businesses for many long years.

Vincent Foster, a well-known Arkansas lawyer, was a childhood friend of Bill Clinton and worked closely with Hillary at The Rose Law Firm during the 1970s. Under President Clinton, Foster joined the administration as the deputy White House counsel. Foster suffered from depression and in the July of 1993, he committed suicide in his Virginia Park home with a single gunshot. Most said it was suicide, but many claimed it had to do with Hillary and Bill and some "foul play."

Jorge Cabrera supporter of the Democrat Party in the mid-90s wrote the Clintons a personal check of $20,000. Just a short time later, Cabrera was arrested in a drug bust in Miami and was given 19 years behind bars.

As First Lady, Hillary went on an official visit to Bosnia and met with American troops stationed there. Returning home, she told the press that she had come under sniper fire and could have been killed at the airport when she arrived. Just one week later and Hillary took back those comments claiming she had "made a mistake" in the recounting of what actually happened.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also used a personal email address to conduct official business. It is alleged that she used her personal email to conduct all her official business. She claimed she never sent or received "classified" information but there is no way to verify her statement about this scandal.

In the Spring after Bill Clinton entered the White House, the Travelgate scandal was born, when seven White House employees were fired for questionable accounting practices. It is alleged that Hillary knew all about the seven firings before they actually happened and may have had a part in them.

The Bill and Monica Scandal. Monica Lewinsky worked closely with Bill Clinton at the White House. She was an intern and had an adulterous sexual relationship with Bill. Hillary totally denied that her husband did and said on the record that the whole thing had been a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

When the Clintons left the White House and the incoming Bush administration came in, allegations of "damage, theft, vandalism and pranks" became public. The Clinton's moved from the White House to their New York home allegedly took items from the White House which they shouldn't have, totaling $190,000! The couple ultimately returned the items, but the scandal lives on.

A series of scandals attributed to the Clintons known as Whitewater materialized. They purchased hundreds of acres of land with their personal friends Jim and Susan McDougal along the White River in the Ozarks. The deal failed and many business dealings of some suspicion broke out. Along with the Lewinsky scandal "the first domino" that haunted the Clintons for years to come began.

The Clinton Foundation, set up by Bill after he left the White House was meant to be a nonprofit operation and to deal with issues like global warming and climate change. Allegations at the time of the startup stated that the Clintons used the foundation to forward their own personal agendas. Once again it was alleged that shady dealings and dishonesty prevail, that last to this day.

Back in 2012, four Americans were killed during attacks on a US diplomatic compound in Benghazi, including the then-Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Hillary Clinton's conduct as Secretary of State was brought into question due to her various email accounts and the way she used them. Did the accounts expose important information that helped the enemy?

Hillary Clinton made a tidy profit of $100,000 trading on the cattle futures market back in the 1970's, along with a personal friend at the time who worked for Tyson Foods Inc. According to a 1994 New York Times article, Tyson Foods received $9 million in government loans, deeming the whole sage very unsavory and questionable.

Bill who made a profit for giving 45-minute speeches at various institutions, along with daughter Chelsea, and Hillary Clinton. Chelsea's standard fee in 2014 was around the $65,000 mark, Hillary reported a personal income of $11 million for a total of 51 speeches she gave in just a year!