Thursday, August 21, 2014


Sitting in Citi Field at the ballgame, there was this young couple with two very young boys, maybe 5 and 7. Dad was intensely watching the ballgame and mom was watching the brood. The Mets were playing the Chicago Cubs and it was an enjoyable evening.

Both boys wore a big red ‘C’ on their blue caps and seemed to be intent on running down the aisle to the back of the Cubs dugout. The younger of the two seemed to have all the plans and the older just went along for the ride. They would run down the aisle, get to the dugout and as the team came off the field, they would beg for a ball from the players. This was going on with adults too, looking like seals clamoring for a fish!

The older boy would stay only until he thought the chances were over of getting a ball, but the little guy hung on, until the area was cleared of seals. His mother kept an eye on him the whole while. Finally he would give up and return to his parents.

Being how cute this kid was, I decided to engage him in a conversation, and maybe I’d learn something.

Sitting directly in front of me I tapped him on the shoulder.

Me: “Sir, oh sir?”

Turning around, he stares at me as his father and mother are watching, amused that someone was calling a 5 year-old sir. Taking off my hat I lean in and say:

Me: “Would you be willing to trade your Cubs hat for my NY Mets hat?”

His eyes lighting up and a big smile across his face he says: “OK!”

I turn to his father and say: You better get this kid back to Chicago before he adopts another family too!”

The father laughs and says: “Oh, he can be bought easily, we’re not even from Chicago, but Baltimore, and I don’t know why they are such Cubs fans!”

Kids, amazing how they think!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Robin Williams
The recent death of Robin Williams has left a huge dent in our lives it seems. More and more people are realizing the effect that suicide and depression can have on the survivors. The fear of losing someone to anything but old age is abhorrent and nightmarish and destructive.

If you lived in the 1950’s, and suffered from depression, you were scorned and made to feel worse, until the worst you felt was to take your own life. You were told you were lazy, to snap out of it, to get yourself together. You didn’t voice your own fears and the demons continued to run and ruin your life!

Today things are changing for the better to help people realize depression is a clinical disorder, not something you do to yourself, but your chemical makeup. If you are short or bald, blue eyed or brown, tall and hairy, there is nothing you can do about it, and nothing obviously to be ashamed of. But we do have people who measure you and criticize your being, and take delight in that.

No one wants to be depressed, it is paralyzing and debilitating, a cruel twist of luck and we need to understand it better. Today’s society is way too advanced for ignorance to rule, for prejudice to root and for hatred to dominate. The Internet has given us instant access to knowledge that was never available as it is now. People are expressing themselves and revealing that the truth is, depression is real. I wonder how many of us in this world have gone untouched by depression in one form or another?

If Robin Williams was such a beloved figure that he was, then his death and suicide were not in vain, he told us that those you love can indeed suffer, what can you do about it? He told us that depression is still hidden, that no matter who you are, you can be touched by it. There are sick people in this world, people who will use depression as a weapon, who, will talk about it to others in a secretive way, not realizing that they probably are talking to someone who may be depressed themselves, or know someone related to them with depression.

Some of the smartest people I know have clinical depression as it can strike anyone at any time, but like a cold or disease you may have, they go to a doctor and have it treated. There is no cure for depression, but there is treatment and medications that can turn the tide.

But like I said before, the ‘survivors’ are the final victims, the ones that pay the price daily, that suffer from the horrors of knowing their loved one died at their own hand. The ‘survivor’ goes on the next day a little less in spirit, a little less in joy and a little less in who they once were.

Let’ not judge people with depression, instead lets stand next to them and reach out a hand. Ask them, let them tell you what they feel, let them take you down their dark tunnels and black holes and don’t pretend to know because you could never know. Most importantly, don’t let go, give them encouragement and support and most of all, love.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014


There are no actual photos of Fred, not even an image in a mirror!
Recently, I went to lunch with a guy I enjoy seeing. Whether it an organized meeting or a lunch, or even a chance meeting, I am happy to see him. There are too few people in this world who are genuine, people you can count on or trust, or leave behind any personal problems you may have in your life and just enjoy the company. That guy is Jim, a former English teacher at the local high school and current president of the Suffolk AHRC Board of Directors.

Jim has been President for a few years and is entering his final term of office, and so far there have been no impeachment proceedings, no assassination attempts or terrorists acts, that is doing a great job!

Often I visit up in Albany with Jim, a fellow Board of Governors as a representative of the agency and member of NYSARC, that state governing organization.  Along with two other gentlemen, both like Jim, class guys who happen to be Jewish. I bring religion into this because there is a reason: as you will soon see. Fred and Ken AKA Running Muskrat, are also representatives of our Chapter to this NYSARC meeting and it is our want, no our duty to stop at Arthur Avenue in Little Italy up in the Bronx on our way home for dinner, as a reward for what we do. Read my blogue dated: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 for more on that.

This will be the scene of many more lunches hopefully.
Well last week on Thursday, Jim and I had lunch at the Main Street Bistro in Patchogue, and like Little Italy on Arthur Avenue, we were seated outside in the back courtyard, a great place to dine. It has umbrellas and tables and chairs, an outdoor bar and the food, inside or out, lunch or dinner is spectacular! The price is just as spectacular.
Part of the rite of 'Baptism' by Fred and Ken
The young waitress seated us and got our drinks when Jim quipped: “Just like Arthur Avenue!” “Yes” I said, “all I need is water and two Jews.” It was last year on two different occasions, once at a hotel bar with Ken and once on Arthur Avenue in a courtyard restaurant by Fred, that I was ‘baptized’ with water, both of them baptizing me by spilling water accidentally! They of course will NEVER live this down, and I, born a Christian, have indeed put an exclamation point to the process of Christianity.
This is me after one of my ceremonial events with Fred and Ken!
But the lunch was as pleasant as you could possible get, the weather was perfect, the food and company made the week for me, and frankly, if Jim ever lets his guard down again, I’d like to do it once more.


Monday, August 18, 2014


Some people suffer from heartburn, or constipation, or even the evils of psoriasis, but me, I suffer from algae. Every morning this summer I arose to look into my pool, only to feel the shame and guilt of having algae, knowing full well that those around me with pools might be witnessing it and thinking: “What is going on in that pool?”

Going INTO my local pool supply place, I feel the need to sneak in and avoid contact, but darn it, some salesperson, usually about 19 years old will come up to me and loudly ask: “CAN I HELP YOU?” In a low voice, barely audible, I say I need help with algae. “YOU HAVE A ALGAE PROBLEM?” This is followed by my surveyance of the store and his “FOLLOW ME!”

The young man gives me about $2,000,000 worth of chemicals, testing a water sample I give him and pronounces rather loudly: “YUP, YOU GOT ALGAE!” With the chemicals comes a printout about 50 pages long written in 6 point Futura Condensed Light, detailing what I need to do, when to do it and for how long.

After about a ½ hour of hauling the chemicals to the car, I then unload these big plastic containers, bottle and sacks of chemicals, from the car to the shed where they will be stored. I am determined to get this to work!

I think: “Tomorrow.”

I go inside, sit in my chair and take a nap, for tomorrow will come too soon and the algae will still be here with me in my pool.

The next morning dawns bright and hot, and oh yes, throw in some humidity, a perfect day for the pool! And so I open my chemistry kit and begin the process of mixing, pouring and measuring and dumping, some into the skimmers, some into the pool itself, it tales all day. As evening settles in, the task in over, I will look in the morning and witness the results.

Morning comes, the water is clear and perfect, I will go into the pool in about 12 hours to give the chemicals some more time. It rains that afternoon. Yes rain, with wind and I know what that will mean. I go to my files and call the pool guy, “Come close the pool.” “Why so early?” asked the pool guy. “BECAUSE IF I BUY ONE MORE CHEMICAL IT WIL BE A DEVORCE AND I WON’T BE ABLE TO EAT UNTIL DECEMBER. AND DON’T WALK, RUN HERE!”

And so I look out at the pool one morning and see the cover, stretched nicely across the pool, the day overcast. The pool guy said I should in about a month pump some water out of it to keep the level at a certain height. “But don’t worry, it looks like a good month before you will need to.”

That evening begins the worst storm in history, leaving 15.5” of rain, flooding the world and considered a 500-year event! Guess I’ll go pump the pool.


Sunday, August 17, 2014


The 'HOLY' grounds
Yes, going to the ballpark and paying three times as much for something!

That's Bill next to Princess Pat
Last Saturday evening, at the invitation of Bill, the beleaguered husband of the Princess of Foxwoods Points, a Yankee fan no less, and I attended a Mets game.

Keeping a low profile
Being a Mets fan, as you know takes some courage, you need to wear a disguise upon entering Citi Field, and you should NOT try to seek out the cameras when they pan the ballpark, because you might be seen.

Being as I am a Mets fan, we those brave souls who stay to the end, root for our team win or lose, unlike any other baseball team in New York, we are prone to listening to our wives. Mine upon leaving for the day said: “Make sure you take a coat or jacket with you tonight at the ballpark because it will get cooler!” So off to Bill’s house where we will go with another Mets fans home to pick up the fellow who has the tickets. I find Bill looking at his TV weather. “Bill, my wife told me I should wear a jacket in case it gets cool tonight, but I won’t, besides I don’t want to have to carry it around all night.” Bill punctuating the air replies: “Exactly! I’m not bringing one too!”

Really nice seats!
Baseball is not what it used to be. In the old days of Ebbets Field and Shea Stadium, you went to the ballgame, had a hot dog with a beer, maybe some peanuts, just like in the song, and went home, win or lose. Your experience was complete and as expected. Today it has all changed, but I’m not sure if it is for the best? There are the many concessions that sell hotdogs, some sell beer and wine only and some sell sausage and peppers sandwiches. There are Taco places and you can get sushi! There is even one that sells fish only! There is a bridge called the Shea Bridge, and the big screens that display what you just saw, over and over again! You have to hunt for the balls and strikes count amidst all the electronic messaging they throw up at you and of course there is the in-seat food menu they hand out.

Looking at the menu and seeing the prices, I decided to get out of my seat and go to the concessionaire and buy my dinner. One of the good things about the new experience at the ballpark is, with the many food places, there is no wait. But when you pay for a hamburger with French fries and a soda, you PAY! $25.25! The only thing missing from that experience is the seller wearing a mask and saying: “STICK ‘EM UP!”



Friday the 13th fell on a Wednesday this month, as I am about to tell you.

It seems that the day dawned grey and rainy, torrential comes to mind. Yes, the world was preparing for the great flood and no one told me, along with the fact that I thought TLW (The Little Woman) was pregnant.

Kill me... NOW!
It all started out innocently enough, looking out the window as I arose from my slumber from the evening before. The rain was driving across the street and down toward the end of the block, making more noise than a jack hammer. As I dressed, the pounding force of the rain and wind made me think: “Gee, I’m glad I don’t have anywhere to go this morning!”

Not being the cautious type, I made my way down to the kitchen for that first cup of coffee and sat down, near where TLW sits with her morning coffee.

Not being bright enough to keep silent I say:

“Wow, listen to that rain!”

Her: “Yes!”

“It’s really coming down!” (No kidding you damned fool.)

Her: “You know, I feel hungry for some strange reason.”

I stare at her.  (Don’t look you damned fool, that’s even worse!)

Her: Why don’t YOU go out and get us some breakfast sandwiches?”

I could think of at least one reason not to, but I learned long ago to answer her when in disagreement with a curt silence. This is good because she doesn’t Know it’s curt and I then don’t get into trouble. But I am the master of my house, ruler of the realm I give her a firm but definite answer: “Yes Dear.” (A cowardly SOB if ever there was one!)

I get my rain hat and take myself to the front door. It is ugly out there, I question the wisdom of my obedience for the sake of silence. A wise man once said something about this I’m sure, it is just that I can’t recall it.

Determined I step out from under the portico and advance toward the car, when suddenly I am pelted with Caspian Sea sized raindrops, slapping me around and soaking through my clothes! Reaching the car I sigh and drive off, tooling away at 25 mph, when suddenly: the whole world in shrouded in water, cascading down upon my v-hick-el where I immediately test my brakes while preparing for a drowning death! My brakes work so I stop for a red light. I get to the store, and swim to the front entrance, and climb inside where the owner is telling me she was just draining out her flooded back room! “Oh! Too bad, I’ll have a fried egg on buttered roll with bacon and cheese and a scrambled on a buttered roll with sausage and cheese.” I said it to her very sympathetically like, and hope she took it the same way.

Driving home with the sandwiches, I start to wonder if this another pregnancy I am dealing with? Getting home, I walk into the house and an greeted by TLW.

“Are you pregnant?”

Her: “No, why?”

“Because only a pregnant woman sends her husband out on a morning like this!

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Saturday, August 16, 2014


Add caption
When I was in college, someone told me that if I wanted to be ahead of the game, become a leader I should learn to take up Public Speaking. In other words, give a speech that would hold people in their seats.

And so the first speech I ever gave was for my final in that class called Public Speaking, and from there, I seemed to find myself in that situation from time to time giving speeches. Now I know that when I give a speech, I like to have fun, make a joke about someone or myself and get to the point. I try never to speak too long and leave them with a tear or two if possible. I once had a daycare worker come up to me once after I had given a speech as President thanking the staff at my agency’s Staff Appreciation Day and tell me how moved to tears she was from what I said. I think she was moved that I finally shut up.

I have spoken in business meetings, and as a volunteer as President in front of large groups, I like to speak publicly. I’ve given eulogies, toasts, and commentary to large groups and may still be doing that even after I am done writing this.

However, I hate to hear speeches, never enjoy them unless the speaker is accomplished, people like Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and Winston Churchill, held my attention, as did FDR from what I read and JFK.

I notice that when people speak who don’t normally do this kind of thing, they seem to rely on the same patterns as everyone else, they read their speech picking out the phrasing of others, using them over and over again! It seems like they bought a shell and just added the words. It seems to go like this:

“Thank you. I would like to thank (fill in the blank) and (fill in the blank) for the fine work you do. I don’t know where we would be without your contributions (fill in the blank)

The timeless contributions to society to make life better for (fill in the blank), have had a timely effect on things, and have done so in a deeply profound way.” At his point a little Churcillian may go a long way here. (fill in the blank) “has/have done so much for so long for so many.”

If you can remember these key phrases, you are a speechmaker and ready to go on the circuit, you may get a gentle applause and I hope no one throws a shoe at you. But remember this, don’t be afraid to speak, don’t dread it, it is a chance for people to see you in another light, one a little brighter that you are so willing to make a damned fool of yourself, just like me.


Friday, August 15, 2014


Maybe HE knows
I have an old buddy from high school who I keep in touch with on a semi-regular basis. He calls me and I call him, we exchange insults, me being older than him, and he being dead but forgot to lie down.

There is a friend of ours who we both kept in touch with, who lived in Florida and recently was reported to have passed about 3 months ago or so. It was posted on Facebook and I took it as fact because the person a woman who reported is a good kind person with no malice, a fellow classmate from high school also.

It seems she was called by the deceased son, and made that clear also. Everyone knew he was sick with cancer and I think many of us took it to heart.

Then yesterday my phone rings and who is it but my old buddy, once again leading with an insult and laughing I gave him one from me.  He said he had just spoken to the deceased and I immediately interrupted him that the fellow was dead. This sudden news did not affect him or sway his conversation away from the fact that HE had spoken to the deceased! I asked him if he was sure and he said yes he was.

Well, he swears he spoke to the deceased, the lady on Facebook swears she spoke to the deceased son, and darn if I can figure it out.  But I’ll tell you, I’m not going to look for answers, no, I want to see how this ends up too, I’m sitting back, yet everyone is saying that I should let them know when I find out. Fat chance, but if I do find out, I’ll let you know. It comes with your subscription to DelBloggolo!