Wednesday, October 01, 2014


We have all lived through it, you take a loved one to the hospital, or you even see it on some drama show, in the hospital waiting room. You’ve just rushed Fronte Brutto your third cousin to the hospital, it might be a fall, or stomach pain, or severe case of the runs, and with your family you gather together waiting to hear what the verdict is, Fronte Brutto is at death’s door, and you can only hope, the doctor can pull him through.

Finally the doctor comes into the room after 4 hours, you all rush up to him and gather around, to hear his words first-hand, will Fronte Brutto make it? He begins to give you the news, as you hang on his every word, you look in his face for expressions that give you a sense of how bad it is, can he save Fronte Brutto?

Suddenly whomever you are with puts a death grip on your shoulder, we are now talking coverage first then healing. Pretty scary stuff: no?

Well recently I spent some time in the waiting room of a Toyota dealership waiting to have my car serviced. It is the same thing, the same sense of gloom and doom of the hospital room as you give the car to them and just like Fronte Brutto, you can only pray.

As I sit among my equals in seeking God in mercy seeking prayer, the mechanic comes out, just like a doctor and gives the news, breathe held we strain to hear how much and will it live.

“Are you the owner of the black Prius?”


He consults his clipboard and avoids your eyes, speaking in a monotone that can only mean $$$ and lots of it.

“We (he) had to remove the concubator, reset the eliginator and retool the aloxipator, along with the normal service of the comogulator for the 3,051 mile checkup.”

The bill is so high he needs two hands to hold it!

“Will it live???”

“Well with normal driving conditions, and no excess breaking for trucks coming directly at you at over 65 MPH. it should last for a while.”

“Phew, and how much will this all cost?”

“Do you have Medicar?”

“No, Obama screwed up on that.”

“Well with parts costing 59 cents and labor it comes to… ummm, carry the 9 plus cost of Christmas shopping… $902.”

“OK, bill it to my new address: The Daily Prune Poor House.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014


“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

OK, it’s been 54 years since I heard those words, and in those 54 years I have paid my taxes, and for it there was a screwed up invasion of the Bay of Pigs, (I never got anything out of it, not even wet pork!) the Viet Nam war, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Watergate scandal, an impeached president, a Mid-East Iranian hostage crisis, and a failed embarrassing rescue, Iran-Contra, a thousand points of light that left me in the dark, a president that did not have sex with that woman, and “It is what it is” plus other semantics, and invisible weapons of mass destruction, Enron and Dick Cheney, 9-11, 2008, and now a president with no foreign policy but does salute the Marine guard with a cup of coffee in his hand, unemployment and the endless drug war, not to mention racism, bias towards gays and the Mets.

So my suggestion is to heed the late President Kennedy-don’t ask… or in his words “ask not.”

So what does the government do with all my money, and for that matter your money too? Do you feel like you are doing the right thing in enabling bad behavior? If my wife went out or if I did for that matter and paid obscene prices for toilet seats, there would be hell to pay for it. The government does it and we marvel at it. They could call any housewife and get a clue as to a good bargain, get the toilet seat on sale.

My suggestion is to send in lieu of money to pay taxes, coupons-yes, savings coupons. Cents off here and cents off there and it amounts to a lot of money from 313.9 million people! In fact it is such a good idea, when you mail in your coupons, the post office will make a buck too.

And some of these projects we spent untold millions of dollars on, like landing on the moon, what happened, did we lose interest?

I don’t mean to sound cranky, but I paid a lot of money into social security, Medicaid and Medicare, finally can tell the difference and now will try to figure out Obama care, AKA The Affordable Care Act, and should I? It sounds like the first time the Conservatives or the Republican Party get into power the old repeal maneuver will be employed. But hold one hand on it, because when the Liberals and Democrats get back into power, you guessed it-Obama care! Now here is the beauty of the Affordable Care Act; it’s for people who can’t afford health insurance, and if you can’t afford Obama Care, then you pay a penalty, something you can’t afford.
Not with THAT woman
But hey, let’s not blame everything on the Federal Government: there is still the state and local clowns who run their own circuses, who have their hands out also. Take Governor Christy, not my governor but a good example. You want to screw with him? He’ll send you to the Washington Bridge, during rush hour, so there.

Of course how could we not mention those wonderful folks at town hall, you know the ones that control recycling, garbage pickup and snow removal. A fine bunch of yokums who have no idea what they are supposed to do, have no ideas and somehow seem to stay in office, long after they die.

But the late and great President Kennedy said it all: see above.


Monday, September 29, 2014


And those were the nice ones who yelled at me.

In the mid-fifties, there was a fad for young boys who played on the streets of Brooklyn. In those days, there were plenty of produce stores with empty wooden crates stacked somewhere where you could steal one. Being poor, we took what we could and improvised.

You took an empty crate and mounted it on a 2”X 4” or even a 4” X 4” board and then got an old pair of roller skates dismembering them and mounted the wheels on the front and back of the board.

This was our form of getting around, since it didn’t pay to own a bicycle with all the traffic and concrete that existed, plus the temptation of someone stealing your bike if you left it alone for a minute. This was the poor kids bike.

If you grew up in Brooklyn or the Bronx or even Queens, you heard the grating sound of roller skate wheels as they rolled by. It wasn’t a pleasant sound, and if you passed the same people enough times, they would respond some how.

On my grandmother’s street was a club for Italian men, called the Republican Club, and they played pinnacle all day long, drank coffee from demitasse cups drank shots of whiskey and smoked these old rope like stinky cigars called “DeNapoli”.

Dad was a great father in many ways. When he couldn’t afford to buy me something, he would look for an alternative instead of saying: “Sorry kid.” Since I didn’t have a bike that he could afford, and the fad on the streets was a wooden scooter, Dad built me one. I never in my life asked him for anything, knowing we were poor, and with the exception of Christmas, never verbalized what I wish I had, knowing with 3 other kids he just wasn’t going to afford it.

On Saturdays, during the spring and summer, I would go over to my grandmother’s house and in the front was a store, a novelty kind of gift shop that Dad owned and ran. I would go with him and keep him company and amuse myself when I could. Dad kept the scooter at my grandmother’s house in the basement so that I had it when I got there. There was no room in our 3-story apartment house, so grandma it was.

I would mount bottle caps or decals or paint things on the box and scoot up and down the street sidewalk. In front of the Republican Club sat some old geezers that sat on the sidewalk and chatted with each other. The first time I would go by, they would stare me down, the second time they would pull out their cigars and yell: “Get the hell outta here, you little a bastard!” or  “Basta, Madonna me!”

If I were bold enough to try a third time, they would yell: “A ma bafongul!”  a nice way of saying: “Kid, you coma by a one more-a time, I’m a gonna killa you, or tella you fatter!” Me personally would opt for death, because my “Fatter”, he no-a like a to hear that I was uh facema!

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm


Sunday, September 28, 2014


I'm not even sure who this is
Every morning I come down from my shower, dressed and ready to roll. I have a cup of coffee that I enjoy and there sits TLW (The Little Woman) watching the morning news, and this is a daily ritual including weekends and holidays.

On the TV every morning is the weatherman, John Elliot, who annoys me to no end. I think the guy thinks the show is about him. But in spite of my annoyance, he will show pictures of celebrities who have birthdays on that particular day.

Usually about 3 or 4 people are shown with their name and age and he mentions them and life goes on. Except for me, that is. If this person is younger than 45, chances are I don’t know who the heck they are, where they came from, or if they just snuck their picture in the lineup for a thrill.

Where have I been? These are supposed to be celebrities, famous people, and I have never heard of them! It reminds me a lot of when you went to school, got sick and stayed home for a day or two, returned and the teacher starts the class where they left off, but you are lost.

Then there is Facebook. The younger crowd has their own dialect, say things I have no idea what they mean, and it seems all so now while I seem all so then! This is not good. I read the newspapers every morning, I read books and am part of the social media, it is not like I am not informed. WHO THE HECK ARE THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN???

I decided not to get too upset about it, no, I will continue to go my blissful way, unencumbered by extra names and things I probably don’t care about anymore anyway. Let’s face it, nothing is so important that I would want to mention it while trying to get it off the tip of my tongue! God knows I do enough of it already with the people I do know.

Hey, I'm old, leave me alone.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

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Saturday, September 27, 2014


The afternoon was quiet: I sat watching the TV, and a great sense of quiet was overcoming me when suddenly the phone rang.  Lifting my eyes from my stupor, my caller ID was telling me that it was someone I did not know. The compulsion to answer it was great, even though it might be sales call, and even though the number was unfamiliar to me. It could be a friend or a confirmation for a doctor’s appointment for TLW (The Little Woman) or, the Publishers Clearing House asking me to be home for a big fat check.

Reaching for the portable phone I picked up the receiver and asked rather annoyed who it was.


“Hello? May I speak with Joseph, please?”

“Who’s calling?”

“Joseph, my name is Megan from ABC Travel.


“Joseph, my job is to call past travelers and introduce …”

“Your new job is not to call me anymore, and since I’m in a good mood, I will commend you on a fine job, in advance of your not calling me. Have a good day.”

It seems that the ‘DO NOT CALL LIST’: does not work, these morons call anyway. Sometimes when they call and ask for me personally, I say: “Hold on I’ll get him.” Place the phone down and wait for them to hang up.

There was a time when the Do Not Call List was real, people joined the list and no one broke the law, now they flaunt it. Being in advertising once myself, I know there are many restrictions in what you can do or say, and there are lawyers around to remind you.

I get on the average of about 4 calls a day: all sales calls and at a certain time period. I know this is America, and the seat of capitalism, but leave me alone already. I have tried to be nice, understanding (TLW’s idea) and devious, and nasty (my idea) but they don’t stop. I think I need a new strategy, maybe order something and not pay for it. That is morally corrupt, so it might work.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm


Friday, September 26, 2014


As the fall draws into the summer heat, and the children are all off to school, it takes me back to a time long ago that makes me smile at my own expense, Mom’s joy for the beginning of school.

It was very annoying.

First she would look at me, then break out in song, singing: School Days” in her most unappealing voice. This went on every year, until I went to high school. In particular the days I went to elementary school in Brooklyn were the most painful, a smile cracking her lips.

Right after Labor Day, when the school would call back all its students, Mom would take us out for new shoes and clothes to start the school year, along with composition books with the black marble covers that said: COMPOSITION then left lines for your name and class room.

But the night before was the worst! Along with the singing she would polish our shoes, starch my shirt and that morning, make me lunch. Sadly, summer was over, I had to now leave my freedom for the rigid discipline of the school. God I was unhappy! Not only could I not go out and play with my friends after dinner as I had all summer long, I had to sit and listen to warnings of grave consequences if I did not behave!

Then the morning of the first day of school, the past night went too fast! Going to bed that night, I though I had at least the night for final summer freedom: I slept through it all. And the next morning through sand encrusted eyes there stood Mom at the foot of the bed, a smile transcending the summer into the school year! Oh the pain. It seemed that the word Freedom was used a little too much with no American flag in site!

And so it went, every new school year, year after year. Mom had her silly times for sure at my expense.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


I would like to share with you something very inspiring to me, something that makes me personally proud of my heritage and grateful for this great country we call America or the United States. It could probably have been written by: an Irishman or German or Chinese, Pole or Russian, or any nationality that would fill in the blanks. I find it beautiful and found it on a Facebook page.

"I am an Italian American. My roots are deep in an ancient soil drenched by the Mediterranean sun, and watered by pure streams from snow-capped mountains.
I am enriched by thousands of years of culture. My hands are those of the mason, the artist, the man of the soil. My thoughts have been recorded in the annals of Rome, the poetry of Virgil, the creations of Dante, and the philosophy of Benedetto Croce.

I am an Italian American and from my ancient world, I first spanned the seas to the new world. I am Cristoforo Colombo.
I am Giovanni Caboto known in American history as John Cabot, discoverer of the mainland of North America.
I am Amerigo Vespucci, who gave my name to the new world, America.
First to sail on the Great Lakes in 1679, founder of the territory that became the State of Illinois, colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, I am Enrico Tonti.
I am Filippo Mazzei, friend of Thomas Jefferson and my thesis on the equality of man was written into the Bill of Rights.
I am William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
I am an Italian American, I financed the Northwest Expedition of George Rogers Clark and accompanied him through the lands that would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. I am Colonel Francesco Vigo.
I mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines. I am Alessandro Malaspina.
I am Giacomo Beltrami, discoverer of the source of the Mississippi River in 1823.
I created the Dome of the United States Capitol. They called me the Michelangelo of America. I am Constantino Brumidi.

A. P. Giannini
In 1904, I founded in San Francisco, the Bank of Italy now know as the Bank of America, the largest financial institution in the world. I am A.P. Giannini.
I am Enrico Fermi, father of nuclear science in America. liasion
First enlisted man to win the medal of Honor in World War II, I am John Basilone of New Jersey.

I am an Italian American. I am the million strong who served in America's armies and the tens of thousands whose names are enshrined in military cemeteries from Guadalcanal to the Rhine.
I am the steel maker in Pittsburgh, the grower in the Imperial Valley of California, the textile designer in Manhattan, the movie maker in Hollywood, the home maker and the breadwinner in 10,000 communities.

I am an American without stint or reservation, loving this land as only one who understands history, its agonies and its triumphs can love it and serve it.
I will not be told that my contribution is any less nor my role not as worthy as that of any other American.
I will stand in support of this nation's freedom and promise against all foes.
My heritage has dedicated me to this nation. I am proud of my full heritage, and I shall remain worthy of it.

I Am An Italian American.”

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm