Saturday, February 25, 2017


“Everybody form a circle
Put your left foot in
Your left foot out
Your left foot in
And shake it all about
You do the hokey pokey
And turn yourself around
Now put your right foot in
Your right foot out
Right foot in
Then you shake it all about
And then you do the hokey pokey
Turn yourself around
That's what it's all about
You put your head in”
etc., etc., etc.

Thank you for dancing with me!

It seems that the world has taken a new turn or dance step, going the opposite direction while spinning and doing it upside down! I look on social media and see the lines being drawn before, during and after the Presidential election. It seems that everyone is convinced that they have the correct opinion and everyone else should “do a little research.”

Funny how research works. First, you find an objective to verify your so-called facts, then it becomes easier to spin the truth. After all, it has been said:
“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”
- Isaac Asimov

But to get back to the dance on hand.

I am not by nature one to be ambivalent to what goes on around me, in the world and on Facebook. I find it fun to read the insults tossed about at one another. I can enjoy the fact that we all have opinions and that we can post them without fear of being arrested. I find it amusing that people will support planks and opinions just because they are represented by the party they vote for. They never cross party lines and will chastise you for not agreeing with them. THEY have done their “research”, you only find conflict within yourself.

The inner conflict has always helped me to decide and make a stance, or as they say, draw a line in the sand. Conflict suggests to me that you are weighing both sides of the argument, that you agree and disagree with both sides of a question. If challenges your morality, sense of right from wrong and finally what you hope the world will achieve. Challenging all the facts is only part of the issue, once you achieve the facts, you need to weigh them against your own dogma, and decide: “Is this right for all of us, is this the truth?

Recently I posted some truths that rubbed a Conservative the wrong way. He suggested I do my research, which is just saying: I don’t like what you posted, I don’t know what upsets me but I wish you would do your research. I think that perhaps his research may be lacking, or still on-going, yet cannot offer what upset him.

Well, I think I’ll go dancing some more.

Friday, February 24, 2017


After my carotid artery surgery, I gave myself a month off from the gym. The reason being that I needed to have some time with the healing process.

When I stopped going in mid-January I was on the treadmill doing 3.5 for 20 minutes, then I went out on the floor and worked out with some cardio and weights, not pushing myself to the limit, but staying limber and feeling good.

Giving myself permission for coming back a month after, I can only do 2.6 on the treadmill for 12 minutes! No workout on the floor because of how I felt from the treadmill.

To say the least, this is an unacceptable state of affairs, I want to get back to my old self and feel better, I will and it will probably kill me, but here goes.

Not being in the gym for a whole month, everything has changed! There is a game floor with a partial football grid, they moved all the treadmill machines onto one floor and the equipment is brand new and great, that is not the only good news, I weighed myself and discovered I kept my weight down-AND- I remember my combination lock numbers! I had great trepidation that I would lock my stuff in the locker and not be able to get it out!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend - provided, of course, that he really is dead.
There seems to be a rumor out there that I have passed, I know this for a fact because I am the one spreading it.

Since I signed up for the so-called: ‘DO NOT CALL LIST' the calls to my residence and cell phone have risen dramatically, somewhat akin to being Jewish and running through the Middle East with a target on my back and the words: SHOOT ME, I'M JEWISH.

In the course of my ordinary day, especially at 3:00 pm and later the calls start coming in. It has been my want to have fun with these calls in order to avenge the nerve of the caller for bothering me, to amuse myself on an otherwise slow day, or to try out new ways to aggravate people to the point of suicide.

Unknown, Anonymous and Private Caller are all fair game for my actions of levity and also disdain. I can answer them with a civil ‘Hello" or a rather gruff and angry tone. The later sets the mood for the caller to decide whether to say ‘Hello' or just hang up before engaging me.
I used to get the same call every afternoon around 2:00 pm from the New York Times. The same caller would ask me to subscribe to their paper. After about two weeks of this incessant calling, I decided to tell them what. The calls started with:

 "Good afternoon, may I speak with Joseph? Is this Joseph?"

"Yes, I'm Joseph."

"How are you today, Joseph?"

"Well, if the truth is known, the doctor told me I have brain cancer and have only a few more weeks to live."

"Have a nice day, Joseph."

Never heard from them again.

Since then I have improved my techniques with other ways to annoy or scare off the sales calls.

One day I got a call from a salesman asking for me, with caller I.D. I knew this was going nowhere for him.


"Hi, this is Custom Vacations, is this the breadwinner of the house?"

"No, do you want to speak with him?"


"Hang on, I'll get him."

I call out: Hey Jerry, phone call for you!" I then say: "He'll be with you in just a moment. After half an hour I go back to the unanswered phone and hang it up. I do two things with this madness: 1) I tie up the phone for the half an hour and 2) it frustrates the caller who is waiting for someone to pick up.

On the rise is an avalanche of calls from diabetic supply companies. They think I have nothing to do but answer their phone called sales pitches. One such call came in one day with:

"HaLoa, may hi speek with de diabetic of the house?"

"I'm sorry, she died yesterday."

"Hoe, have a nice afternoon!

And so, it will go, new calls on new days with the need for new responses. So little time and so many calls to answer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Being a parent of a child with developmental disabilities, fear walks with us hand in hand. It seems that the older the child gets more complications occur due to body chemistry and the changes that go on.

My daughter is one of those children and my wife and I are one of the sets of parents that view the fear face-to-face. Our biggest problem is that my daughter Ellen can't talk, she can't tell us what is wrong, we live in constant fear that she is in pain and we don't know it!

But what can we do? We discuss the situation with the neurologist who with all his/her professionalism, still knows only two ways to treat: the manipulation of doses of medication, or physical solutions such as wearing a helmet. But what else is there?

Years ago, we took Ellen to the Center for Basic Research and they did an incredible job of evaluating her medications and throwing most of them out. New meds were prescribed and we had a remarkable change for the better in Ellen's behavior and health.

Recently Ellen has been once again acting out. She becomes very agitated when it is time for her to eat. Like her mother says to me every so often, we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. When and where will that be?

For 44-years we have been groping in the dark for answers to questions that have no words, and so we can't recognize the answers. The shame is we don't know the questions so we can't see the answers. Like one walking in a dark room we can only probe blindly, in fear that we will slip up and lose our child.

It has taken a toll on our health, the pain is difficult to understand. We lost a child once, and we mourn him every day, yet so do we mourn Ellen every day that passes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Zia Francesca to all, MY grandmother!
She could cook and discipline!
Growing up in 40's and 50's, one of the things that always fascinated me were the hand's people had. To me, the hand is an expression of many things and the deeds that they are capable of. The hands I seemed to study the most were my Mom's and Grandmother's hands. It started when I became aware of Mom's wedding band. Like Mom it was not too pretentious, in fact, it was plain and simple looking, and just like Mom. Mom was a beautiful woman, but simple in her outlook as she would understate the obvious and made her life as uncomplicated as possible. That was good.

As I would study her hands, I would think how well she cooks with them. These hands created so much goodness in so many ways. They kept the house clean and spotless, they created great meals and they were the reason my clothing was mended, my shoes polished and my hair carefully combed. It was Mom who would guide me through my reader with her index finger, and yet give me careful instructions on what she wanted from the grocery and how to get there, describing things in terms of size and direction.

Like my Grandmother, her hands were expressive. She could talk with them with a passion of a great orator, always getting her message across succinctly and with clarity. Her punctuation was impeccable, to the dot.

She used to make knitted or crochet blankets and baby dresses for people, sew curtains together and make dresses for my sisters. Watching Mom knit, I once decided to ask her for a red sweater. I wanted a red pull-over sweater and Mom enthusiastically agreed to knit it for me. The day came when she was finished with the sweater, and it looked beautiful, red as a fire engine or the best Macintosh apple! Only one thing wrong, she made the sleeves so long it would have fit a gorilla better! My suspicion has Mom had something on her mind for a while.

Not only could she cook, she could bake. Every day we had a cake in our house that she made from scratch. Marble cake, Muenster Cake, Plain Butter Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake, Easter pies, Christmas Cookies, all pouring out of the talents that supported her ten fingers!

Grandma was a cook in the true sense. She taught my Mom how to do it and do it right. When I go into Italian restaurants and order the old-time dishes, the very meals that sustained Italian/Americans during the Great Depression, Grandma comes to mind. I picture her standing over me looking into my plate, knowing what is right and what is wrong with the dish.

She gave orders to her daughters and daughter-in-law who would pitch in to help cook the big Festa Italiano that went on every holiday, using her hands to demonstrate how much of this and that went into the pot or pan, or when to toss something into the oven.

But those magical fingers that guided her hands were gold. They told a story just like Mom's, a story of love that we as children were recording in our hearts and souls because love was what it is always about. God rest their souls and the souls of all the mothers and grandmothers who have passed this way once and left their mark of joy and love!

The funny thing is that today the Moms and Grandmas strive to keep the traditions alive, they cook and bake and do all the things that we once experienced and took for granted, and that love is still there. Maybe I'll come by one day, and you will invite me in, and I can live one more day with Mom and Grandma.

Monday, February 20, 2017


If you are like me you receive a lot of information that you think is important, but you just don't have the time to act upon. Having an active email accounts for most of the information you get. Of course, the TV news does contribute to the glut of information also. Snail mail can and will if you are not careful fill your mailbox with an avalanche of paper all regarding health and what you should be doing for it.

Some of the things you read and hear make you feel overwhelmed, fearful or just plain guilty of inaction on your part. You struggle with the issues you do deal with, but someone is always nagging you to do this or that, keep your blood sugar low as well as your cholesterol, your blood pressure maintained and your intake of cancer producing foods at a minimal.

Sometimes I feel like a criminal, running from the Department of Health!

I recently had to change eye doctors because he made me nuts. He was an expert on eye care but a nuisance when it came to my diabetes, always citing numbers such as A1C and giving long speeches on diabetes and eye care, all things I am aware of and understand.

I take enough pills daily, some twice a day that when I walk I jingle! There are other pills I could take but enough is enough. It has become a major issue for me because I think of all the side effects that they can impose on one. I think I'm losing my sense of taste, and wonder which drug is causing that, or is there some new player in the mix of medications I will need, or is there something else that is wrong with me?

If I peruse the Internet, I see something about losing weight, I click and out comes this white talk board, with the narrator practically screaming, telling how I can lose weight immediately. Of course, it never does, it keeps putting another example complete with a drawing that materializes in front of my very eyes. Being an artist I wonder how anyone could illustrate something so fast? I know that at the end there is a sales pitch coming, in maybe a half hour of this nonsense so I never get to the end.

I used to laugh at how much medication my grandmother took, and now I can match her pill for pill, she lived until she was 97! Will I? Probably not, because the constant reminders will kill me.

Sunday, February 19, 2017


In today's world, everyone wants to sell you something. It comes in all forms such as radio, TV, newspapers and telephone, not to mention the Internet.

I once made the mistake of joining one of those sites where you get ‘free' stuff. Just answer a few questions. A few questions usually range into the hundreds which lead you into another hundred questions and then another, you become entrapped in an endless stream of product sell. They ask for information: "Where do we send your FREE stuff?" they ask.

When I worked for a major direct mail company, we ran sweepstakes to enhance the sale of magazines and products, and we always offered a ‘FREE GIFT!' Yes, a Free gift. I usually get gifts from my family and friends and don't pay for them.

Once a company knows you are a diabetic if you answer their questionnaire, they immediately contact you, once you quit the questionnaire. There are hundreds of companies out there who sell diabetic supplies and all of them contact you.

Recently I got a call from Akron, Ohio. Who do I know in Akron? My caller ID does not disappoint me, it can give me the hint that it is a sale call coming in. The phone rings and I wonder who it is from Akron. Having nothing better to do I answer it.

"Hello, may I speak to the diabetic in the house?" This is the same old sales pitched cold call.
"The diabetic! She died!!!"
"OH! I'm so sorry, have a good afternoon!"

They won't call again.

Then I get the computer pitch on the phone.


"Hallow, we are calling about your computer, we detected you have a serious virus. You are in front of your PC?" (I own a Mac)

"Why, Yes! As a matter of fact! What's wrong?" (I'm on the kitchen phone.)

"We can see that you have a virus infecting your compuuter! We need to rid it immediately."

"WOW! Thank goodness you called in time!"

"Yes, now go to your hard drive and open it and go into utilities and what do you see?"

"Hmmm… I see a bullshit artist!"


"Yup, I see a bullshit artist."

"What are you saying?"

"I see a bullshit artist and he is on the other end of this phone conversation, a thief and lying son of a monkey's whore."


"Yup, a real low life from Pakistan, the asshole of the world!" and I hang up.

One day, I went to the telephone, that object that sits on my desk to make a call. The object of my call was some service assistance for my computer.

With a cup of coffee and a notepad and sharpened pencils, I dialed the number for my service rep.

maybe my granddaughter should screen all my calls?
"Thank you for using your touchtone keypad. For English; touch one, Para Espanola; dos, for operator assistance; please stay on the line." Touching "1", I patiently waited for the next available operator. Humming a few bars from Beethoven's Ninth, I sipped my coffee and fiddled with a pencil. Finally, assistance arrived.

Him: Hallow?
Me: Huh??
Him: Hallow, ow mhay I hyelp hew?
Me: Hi, I'm looking install some type fonts, and for some reason, they are not reading in my program.
Him: Hew av a Mock ora Peecee?
Me; I have a Mac.
Him: Verrry goood, did hew gho to preefonces?
Me: Huh? What? Give me that again. I'm sorry; I'm hard of hearing.
Him: I sade; did hew gho to seestem preefonces?
Me: Where's that??
Him: First hew gho to hopple menu. See hoppleontop?
Me: Huh?
Him: Ontopseehoppleen corner?
Me: Hopple een?
Him; Yes! See eencorner?
Me; Totally confused; Oh, yeah, now I know what I did wrong! Thanks for your help.

Tired of all this racism against foreigners who don't speak English and try to help you in the good old US of A?
Write to;
Tell him; "Why don't you go back to where YOU came from, you bigot!"