Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Did you ever have a day when you can’t think of something to say? You know, you go to a funeral of someone and don’t know how to comfort or present yourself to the survivor. Or you see someone who you promised to call and didn’t, and know you forgot to call? What do you say?

There were days when I sat down in front of my drawing board to design an ad or create some project, and all I can do is draw a blank. It made me uncomfortable. Well it is happening right now, I don’t know what I want to write about: my mind is drawing a blank. I do know that there is something I want to say, but for some reason I can’t call them up!

Writing a blogue is all about keeping a diary of sorts, recording what you see and remember, and relating experiences either past or present that happen to you, the writer. It is usually fun, and good way to get it all off your chest or not.

There are so many petty annoyances that occur that I could be here all day, but you don’t want to write about the same old things, nor does the reader. It takes some control to write these things because you don’t want to offend the readers.

Politics is taboo, as is religion, and sex. So your choices of topics can be limited, unless the taboo topics are treated with humor and consideration. Being how I have turrets of the brain I have to be careful, it just comes out of me.

I could quit writing, but then that compulsion overcomes me and there I am again, writing! Maybe I could use a break, and take a few weeks off, but I know I would have difficulty with that.

I guess I’ll just try to relax and not worry about it today. Thanks for your patience.

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

You should


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Sam Levenson
Every now and then, I like to remember someone who has made an impression on my life and has honored me by allowing my being his or her friend. Such a person was named Bob and existed once, he was smart, logical and good, all the virtues we try to achieve, and owned one more we hardly see, honesty. Bob was a man who never bragged about himself, but he had a good homespun humor about life with the philosophy of a Sam Levenson.

Bob, Jeffry and Evy
Bob was like a Jewish mamma, he gave you the obvious and lamented the reality, always shedding light on a subject and making sure that morality held its ground. He didn’t use needless vulgarity, shunned personal attacks and lived like a humble man but owned a fortune in gifts from God. He had a wonderful and caring wife “Evy” and his son Jeffry, who seems to own his dad’s lust for humor and goodness. He WAS a funny man.

He could tell a good story, remember his past and past history, and always you felt like you were there with him as he related a story about himself.

What I remember best about Bob was two things, his dignified friendship and his love of his family. He was a family man who valued those who loved him and valued likewise their love.

In his later years I would pick him up at his home and bring him home because he needed a ride to work. I treasured those times and we would drive and talk about our past, his love of baseball and his good sense about everything he knew, touched or saw. He was special: he respected me as much as I respected him.

Then one day Bob was gone, and with him went a great person, so special that God called him in. I guess He needed to shore up Heaven, and Bob was the best fix. But he left a void in my life, just from a simple friendship! How was that possible? Yet his magic withstood even death, cheated it in fact, as he still lives on in my life and I think of him often. Thanks Bob, tell the big guy I did recognize goodness when I saw it.

Being Jewish, he was buried quickly and I went to the graveside with everyone who cared about him. The Rabbi asked if anyone wanted to say anything before we left, and I had so much I wished to say, but couldn't. I couldn't think that I would be able to interfere with the good memories we were all harboring in our minds and hearts, it just would not be good enough for the man.


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

You should!


Monday, October 20, 2014


Upon my elevation to: ‘most holy’ by joining the altar boys, there were certain schedules, and duties, not to mention monetary opportunities not to be missed, that presented themselves to yours truly. Mom had gotten overconfident that I was a sure thing and a shoo-in to Heaven once I put in my time, maybe even the priesthood. I was beginning to think that way myself: but had some reservations. Then I met this little gal in 4th grade and decided, no, I don’t want to be a priest. Coupled with the notion that my job here on Earth, God’s Earth was to torture my sisters, no matter where or when, I totally came to grip with the fact that I was not so holy, and enjoying every moment of it!

Around this time I was scheduled by the priest to serve at a funeral mass, and started to think that maybe this whole idea of being in God’s service was not for me. I mean, a dead body in the same room as me! I didn’t think so, and relayed this bit of information to Jerry, my best friend. But Jerry had a keen analytic mind and a sharp business sense, along with knowing something I didn’t: someone paid you to serve at the funeral masses! Wow! Money! Then he laid another bombshell on me-they paid you to serve at weddings also! This was getting heady now, and I could see myself arriving at these things in a chauffeured limo.

Every morning before school started, I had to be up early and down at the church to serve daily masses. I’d get on my bicycle and pedal my way to the church, do my duty and return to catch the bus in time for school. Mom made sure I was up and at ‘em, bright eyed and bushy tailed. But come a Saturday or occasional funeral mass during the summer, I was ready at the crack of dawn, figuring how much I could make. Then one day I got my first call, a funeral mass.

Pedaling down to the church, I lay my bike down and go into the church sacristy and peer out into the rows of pews, and all I can see in my nervousness was the dark church with burning candles and some people scattered throughout the church. It was dark and foreboding, creepy and sad, and I was about to need a change of underwear!

I don a cassock and surplice and join up with an Jerry and the priest and we go out to the altar and stand at the head of the altar steps as the funeral procession begins the sad journey up the aisle with the coffin, heading straight towards me, my heart racing and my eyes must have been bulging, as all I could remember was my first grade teacher, old Miss Langon laid out in her box one afternoon as I stopped with my sister to say goodbye to her.
I remember the last time I was at a funeral Mass, my first-grade teacher, old Miss Langon had died, and I went to the funeral parlor with my older sister on our way home from Our Lady of Lourdes School one afternoon. I went to the Mass the next morning to make sure that she was indeed dead and wouldn’t be yelling anymore, besides, I had to go because the school made us go. She was a cranky old maid about 150 years old, with a grey bun and thing legs in floral dresses. She carried a ruler around with her like a cop carries a nightstick, but used it more often on little first-graders.

Fortunately, the coffin along with the parade stopped right at our feet as we turned and the service began. All through the service I kept glancing over my shoulder, making sure the coffin didn’t move and that the box was still closed.

Finally, the Mass was over, as they led the deceased away! A feeling of relief and gratefulness came over me that nothing happened to me. Then this man comes into the sacristy and has this very macabre look about him, and motions us with his index finger to come to him. This was it! I was going to meet my maker I thought. Compelled I moved slowly, almost quaking, as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a white envelope and handed a few bucks to me and my partner Jerry! I had arrived and I wasn’t dying just yet!

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

You should!


Sunday, October 19, 2014


Growing up as a young baseball fan, I loved the Brooklyn Dodgers. To this day I can remember all the 1955 Dodgers, their numbers, positions and spot in the batting order. In those days there were two other baseball clubs that I hated with deep intensity, the New York Giants, the bitter rivals of the National League and the New York Yankees, perennial winners of the World Series. They were rich, could buy the players they needed when the occasion called for it and had a tremendous amount of talent!

The recent talk of “Core Players” that we hear about of the recent Yankees were nothing compared to the guys of the 1950’s. They had color and talent, interesting and well hated by yours truly, they made baseball in New York City and especially in Brooklyn: interesting.

Men like Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Phil Rizzuto and: Yogi Berra. Berra was their catcher and a damned good one too. He could throw you out if you tried to steal, and he could hit, anything you threw at him, from the pitcher’s mound or from the parking lot or the overhead El out in behind the outfield wall at Yankee Stadium.A three time Most Valuable Player, and member of the Hall of Fame!

God did I hate to see him to come up against the Dodgers and when he did he usually caused damage. But he was more than just the enemy: he was a genuine gentleman, who could let it all out against an umpire. He was a family man who raised his children and stayed with his beloved Carmen until her last breath.

He was a sailor during the big one, World War II, fought on a PT boat and was at Omaha Beach, supporting the landing.

Recently someone or some group of low life individuals broke into his museum, something he was so proud of and stole part of his life away, MVP plaques, World Series rings and memories right from his heart and soul! Someone stole from Yogi! Someone reached out from the gutter and robbed the man, a decent man who gave a great sport some wonderful and colorful history to replay over a hot stove or even in our collective minds.

I truly hope they find the low-life bastards and maybe they will. After all: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”

The following are some of Yogi's famous observations on baseball and life in general:

Lawrence Peter Berra's Wisdom

"You can't think and hit at the same time."
"The future ain't what it used to be."
"We were overwhelming underdogs."
Reminiscing about the 1969 Amazing Mets
"If you ask me a question I don't know, I'm not going to answer."
"I wish I had an answer to that, because I'm tired of answering that question."
"Never answer an anonymous letter."
 When asked if he wanted his pizza cut into four or eight slices.
"Four.  I don't think I can eat eight."
"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours."
"All pitchers are liars or crybabies."
"Slump? I ain't in no slump... I'm just not hitting."
"The wind always seems to blow against catchers when they're running."
"A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical."
"Bill Dickey is learning me his experience."
"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."
"We're lost, but we're making good time."
"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."
"I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won twenty-five games. What I don't understand is how he lost five."
"I don't know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads."
"If people don't want to come out to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?"
"I'm a lucky guy and I'm happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary."
"I'm not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did."
"In baseball, you don't know nothing."
"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"
"I didn't really say everything I said."
"It ain't the heat, it's the humility."
"It gets late early out there."
--> déjà vu all over again."
"I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did anything wrong on the field. I'd never seen him dive for a ball, everything was a chest-high catch, and he never walked off the field."
"Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets and the kids out of the house."
"Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded."
"So I'm ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face."
"Take it with a grin of salt."
"It ain't over 'til it's over."
"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."
"You can observe a lot just by watching."
"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there."
"We made too many wrong mistakes."
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

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

You should!


Saturday, October 18, 2014


Or: at least the delivery guys.

I get two newspapers every morning. I like newspapers and hope they stay around for awhile. I get Long Island Newsday, and the scorned since I can remember: New York Daily News.

Now Newsday is considered an OK tabloid, better than the News and less than the Times, the paper of newsprint and snobbery, snobbery since everyone likes to quote the Times. “Did you read in the Times Sunday about…” No, I did not, why? Because when I read that damned newspaper it puts enough ink on my fingers to print another edition of the thing, plus, it is written so that it takes a lifetime to read an article. But you are well informed when you read it you say? Well just the first three paragraphs should be sufficient to get the gist of the story across. Their motto: “All the News That’s Fit to Print” should be changed to ‘All the News that Fits!’

The Times however is a London Times Wanna-be, a newspaper that is authoritative and historical. Its role in World War II was monumental, used as a weapon and means of communication to bring down the tyranny of Adolf Hitler and his Nazi thugs. But OK, so what?

My beef is with the News, THE tabloid and paper of great scorn but a tradition handed down by my Dad. Every morning he would give me a nickel and send down to the corner candy store and get the New York Daily News. I’d return and he would read it with a cigarette and cup of coffee. Dad would read the newspaper backwards, starting with the sports section and paging until he got to the front pages. That is something I do with tabloids myself now. Dad died of lung cancer and I suspect he died that way from either: the coffee, newspaper or cigarette every morning.

But the beef already!!

Ok, my Newsday carrier delivers my paper every morning at the door, I open the front door and reach down, and can with my eyes closed get the paper! Nice! Not so the Daily News. His delivery system is like a drive-by shooting, his car speeding by, the paper thrown the air and flying at my house, where it usually lands –UNDER MY CAR! The damned fool!

To his credit, when it rains, he wraps the newspaper in a plastic bag, before driving by, flinging it and landing it under the old horseless carriage, however, when Chippy does that, he scrapes the plastic bag open, causing my newspaper to get soaking wet!

Now in my day, when I delivered the newspaper on my bike, it went into the mailbox or box provided by the newspaper, and so I never needed to wrap the newspaper first when it rained.

Oh, one more thing, one morning Chippy shot me the Wall Street Journal! Yes, can you imagine someone delivering both the New York Daily News AND the Wall Street Journal!

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

You should!


Friday, October 17, 2014


I got it! Yes, I still do and I had to prove it recently!

With my beautiful granddaughter Darby Shea coming to visit me for the coming Christmas holiday (I wonder if she’ll take her parents) TLW (The Little Woman) and I needed to get her a crib to sleep in. We were going to give her our bed and we would sleep in the den, but we figured her parents would feel we were spoiling her.

So out we went for a crib, and it had to be safe and well made and found one. We took it home and I decided to put it together sometime before Christmas. TLW went off to work one morning and I decided to put the thing up then. There were railings, dowels, head and base boards and of course all kinds of screws to screw with.

When I graduated from kindergarten, my diploma said I was a ‘Doctor of Puzzles’ and so I took it to heart and looked at the crib unassembled with no, and I mean NO instructions!

TLW had a photo of the crib and said that morning: “You don’t need this, do you? I can throw it away, right?”

And only 1 left over  part!
Never let pride get in your way. I said emphatically: “YES!”

Assembling a crib is a tricky job to say the least with instructions, without instruction it paralyzes one. I stood there motionless and wanting my mommy as I surveyed the parts and the different holes for dowels and screws. Maybe I should call TLW and ask if she still had the picture? I decided not to because I didn’t want to hear her.

It was Déjà Vu all over again as a young father. What is particularly daunting is the fact that some of the pieces had holes on different sides and you have to figure out what wooden post goes where and why. Plus there were three kinds of screws with the same head, just different lengths! This requires a certain amount of stupidity to even try, but try I would.

Taking the jigsaw puzzle approach, I found two pieces that looked like they might go together and began. The day turned out to be warm as I stood in the bedroom without the air-conditioning running, sweat was starting to run down my square head, dripping of the sharp edges. I’ll be damned if I run it in the middle of October no matter how hot it is!

Slowly, piece-by-piece I managed without too much rancor or cussing and swearing, and a minor “Oh No!” to watch it develop before my eyes!

Finally after switching only two screws, I finished! The crib was done! And the cool fact is that I had only one piece of board left with nowhere to put it and no screws or dowels for it!

Somehow I want to cry yet something tells me there is a reason for it.

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

Maybe you should!

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Thursday, October 16, 2014


We all go through life knowing well-meaning people who like to and want to help. They tend to jump every time something happens, you drop a spoon or piece of paper, and by the time you bend down to pick it up, you bump heads, because he/she is there before you realize it hit the floor!

You are in a group conversation, and relating a story, usually funny and someone in the crowd wants to tell it too, they interrupt, destroy your train of thought, and are on the wrong track, this becomes a nuisance. It makes me nuts.

But those are human traits, the ones we all deal with and go through life with these petty annoyances. But…

What happens in today’s world of electronic devices that are created by someone who transposes his habits to the device when he designs it? What am I speaking about?  Spell check!

The other morning TLW (The Little Woman) complained to me she couldn’t download an app because it wouldn’t spell correctly on her android. She complained she typed, but the words kept changing. She is new to android so she didn’t realize or see the offering on the top of her window by spell check. I explained to her what was happening and what to do and she will try that.

I personally would like to rid my phone of spell check, even though I am a notoriously bad speller. I type sometimes, never looking at what I’m typing and before you know it, in a long paragraph where there may be a wrong choice by spell check, that assumes things for me I don’t want assumed. This makes me annoyed: as I have to poke through the words to get to the wrong word and fix it. Even as I fix it, it is jumping to another word I don’t want, causing me to screw up yet another word or two.

My solution is easy, no messages to type, if I want to tell you something, I’ll call or write you a letter by hand, the Hell with spell check.

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

You should!

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