Tuesday, August 22, 2017


The other morning as I was leaving the gym after my workout, I saw something that disgusted me all morning. There is a white van, with a ladder on the roof that parks in the same spot every morning in the gym parking lot. The owner goes every day to work out and is a man in his early thirties.

I was parked two rows ahead of him and as I backed out and turned to leave, there was his van. But something was a little different this day, his back door was opened and as I passed he was standing behind the opened back door and watching me with a worried look. I studied him for a moment then noticed it, his ‘swantz' was hanging out discharging a yellow flow! Yes, he was pissing behind his door. (sorry for the vulgarity!)

What is disturbing is that there are many young and old ladies who use that parking lot and might have been in my place as he lowered himself to a debased mode. There was no excuse for this since he is young, works out and could have simply gone to the gym, go downstairs and go into the men's locker room where there is a toilet.

I have to wonder what he thought when I looked into his face with disgust, disdain, and repulsiveness. How can one do that? Is there no shame anymore? Do we not have any morals anymore that we can employ, no limits to set for Human Decency? Has society turned us into wild animals? Maybe he thought I would not see him embarrass himself because he figures my head might be on my cell phone?

What have we become?

Monday, August 21, 2017


You can send me to jail, but please, don't send me to Home Depot.

I entered the Hall of Horrors last Thursday and was greeted by a nice woman with a smile and clipboard. Being as she was greeting me I asked if she could tell me where I could find some picture frame hooks and saw tooth hangers. "I am sending you to hardware", then lifting her clipboard thumbed through the pages and said: "Aisle 13."

Aisle 13! I should have known, lucky aisle 13, where they hide everything when I enter the store. If you've ever been on aisle 13, it is a long sorry place, devoted to lost souls who drift up and down the aisle, sometimes for days.

I begin my tour by giving it a general once over where millions of products attack your senses, and this is only one shelf. Slowly, I pan the shelves, looking at each piece of merchandize and wonder if I've passed it yet. After the second-time down Lucky 13, I decided to slow way down and look for the packaging with peeled eyes. The problem is that now I am tired, my back went out and I think was waiting in the car for me, when suddenly I hear a sigh! Looking up I see another poor soul, adrift in a sea of haze, fog, and confusion, trying to get off the island so to speak. Our eyes meet and we exchange angst, trading one horror story for another.

"How long you been trying?" I inquire.

"Well, I've been up and down this aisle a few times already! You?"

"Since Tuesday of last week."

"Wow! You didn't get out at all?!"

"Right you are, I'm hungry, gotta pee and very tired, plus my wife will start to miss me if I'm away more than a few days!"

I explain what I'm looking for and we both start to look, slowly, but not the bottom shelves, our backs hurt. Suddenly this kind and friendly gentleman disappears and I stand there, wondering, what happened to my new close and personal friend?

Drifting back in a daze, I freeze when suddenly I see a woman come racing over, almost out of breath she says she understands I'm looking for something. "I heard you are looking for something, let me show you where it" and leads me to aisle 12. I was being freed from aisle 13!  I might be home in time for Christmas! But will it be in time to shop?

Taking me directly to the items I needed she says, "I rescued you!"

Sunday, August 20, 2017


For the past year, I have been driving a Toyota Prius. A pearl colored gem of fine driving beauty with a bad habit, it criticizes me. These things are getting too smart for their own good. My car gives me an inferiority complex with its holier than thou attitude when I shut the motor off.

Every time I take the car out if gives me a grade when I'm done. It's like that last day in school when they hand out the report cards.

"Good temperature, try to ease on the acceleration 51/100.
"Good steady driving speed, try to use better deceleration 65/100.
"Maintain more steady driving speed, use Eco guide 76/100
"Nice haircut, maintain cleaner mirror 80/100
"You found your way without getting lost, yea for Joseph! 100/100!

Do you realize how difficult Tokyo has made it for me to shut off my car? Do you realize how ashamed I am every time I pass a Toyota Dealership? It's starting to ruin my appetite for sushi.

Often when you talk to an auto mechanic, he refers to a vehicle as a ‘she'. In my case, the car is a ‘she', since I can't make it happy. I give it three more years and if it doesn't straighten out I'll start cheating with a cute little Volks Wagon down the block. But then it might say: "Achtung! Vhy won't you listen to me?" "VE have vays to make you drive right!"

For many years, I have owned a Toyota, all sorts of models and the Prius is my favorite. I've owned the Camry and the Carolla and the Rav 4, all great cars, all good to me. But the latest is getting annoying! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017


To all the Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews and minorities of all kinds that traverse through this great country, you may think that your progress for equal rights is reset back to the 1950's. You may feel that all the hard work toward your inalienable right to be an equal citizen has been thrown out the window and you need to start all over. As the President's words echo through your hearts and minds, words that are infamous not only for what they say but for what they don't say, have heart, this is America.

The Freedom Riders, Dr. Martin Luther King, NAACP, CORE, the Hispanics who are here working menial jobs, sacrificing themselves in body and spirit, the Muslims who have fled the unimaginable horror of war upon their homes and culture, or their religion being exploited and persecuted even in America because of bonehead ignorance and a refusal understand with grace and dignity others who are different than them, do not despair.

Perhaps it is good that Donald Trump is President for now. Perhaps his being is exposing the undercurrent of white supremacy that undercuts our civilization, his silent collusion with Nazism in this present-day America that seeks to re-establish a madman's mental midget sickness with all his present-day followers, will finally bring it all to a head, and we can deal with discrimination all at once. You can't fight what you can't see, and you can't correct what you don't admit to.

The silent majority needs to now take a stand. We need to re-stitch into the fiber of our national conscience, morality once again. If you believe there is a God and that he will judge us all, he will not judge the evil that lurks, the Neo-Nazi, the white racist, no, theirs is a sickness, instead, he will judge all of us who know better and didn't speak out, we will be the culprits.

Simon and Garfunkel had it right: "Silence like cancer, grows" and it grows until one day we are so deafened by it, it strangles us and we exist no more!

Friday, August 18, 2017


The Volks Wagon Upchuck
As a young junior high school student looking to make some money, I had a neighbor named Mr. Haller, who delivered Newsday newspapers on the North Shore of Long Island.

Every Saturday I got in the back seat of his Volks Beetle and a pile of newspapers and off to the North Shore and his route to deliver his papers. He paid me and I was happy to have the job. It paid for stuff that occupies a young teenager and it made me feel like I was responsible for the job and Mr. Haller.

There was one problem, however, sitting in the back seat of a Volkswagon riding the roads of the North Shore made one's stomach queasy. As the deliveries went on along the winding and up and down roads, my stomach became weaker and weaker, to the point that a cold sweat would begin to form on my forehead.

To make matters worse, it was the middle of the dog days of August, the heat and humidity taking a toll along with nausea that went with things. Add the smell of newsprint and you had the perfect storm to heave, maybe on Mr. Haller's head. I was miserable.

Did I ever say anything about how I felt? NO. I wanted the job no matter how sick it would make me. It was money found with hard work and I was taught that you never turn down work.

I was the real originator of the Volkswagon Bug, the real bug.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Somewhere in this world right now, someone is sobbing, somewhere it is dark and somewhere people fear for their lives. Somewhere a child is dying and a parent is cast asunder from the joy of happiness because of it.

We watched this past Saturday the events in Virginia and we look in horror, appalled that we can be as Human Beings so base, so ugly, so terribly misinformed about people and their rights to happiness.

Tell me where I am missing the truth. Tell me how one race is better than another, just tell me. Tell me why as a white man I am superior when I know damned well if a Black or Asian doctor can save my life, why would he not be qualified?

Where can I go to find out how racial superiority can be measured. Did not Hitler find out the hard way that it doesn't exist? Tell me how as an American, I can place my hand over my heart and pledge an allegiance to a flag that stands for equal rights for all men who are created equal and we still deny those rights.

Tell me how wrong it is to try to give and share with people the joy of life, the chance to raise a child and educate and feed it? How can it be so wrong? Tell me how anyone profits from keeping people down, how an ideology built on hatred and sickness can continue to exist with the ugly history that exists along with it.

Once I traveled through a Hispanic neighborhood and witnessed something special, the joy of life they have, the music and dancing, the upbeat approach to life in spite of the hatred generated because they are immigrants. It was a happy place. All my life I have studied and worked with Jews, and found out they are people that laugh, people that study and practice law, and medicine, who educate and get educated, not as stereotyping them, but because they do it as individuals who happen to be Jewish, yet there are Blacks and Hispanics doing the exact same thing.

If you are white, have you ever sat down with a black person and found yourself laughing? They are a great people, once my wife and I were in Brooklyn looking for the right subway line to get to Penn Station. We were in a Black neighborhood, and down in the subway. I asked one person on this all black car which train I should take, and they all helped out, they were all eager to help. If I am racially superior, should I listen to them? Seems like we found the right subway OK, thanks to them.

As long as there is fear, there grows hatred, and hatred grows violence. It is a cycle that we all need to overcome. I cannot ever condone my doing something that will deny an individual a freedom, right or a basic glass of water. I cannot allow children to suffer and live in fear because of who they are. We should all be celebrating each other, lifting each other out of the darkness that turns color to blackness and dims the light that should be in each and every one of our hearts. If we don't we are cheating ourselves and trying to fool God.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


As she walks toward you, you would swear she was programmed, each step in robotic rhythm,
her head straight ahead and focused. It seems the steps measured by some outside controlling force and a programmed destination that does not vary from Sunday to Saturday.

If you can get a good look at her eyes, you will see a masked face, almost Parkinsonian in appearance as she walks, arms at her side, sometimes holding a plastic shopping bag as she trudges through all kinds of weather. Her face tells a story you could not see from a distance, one of longevity and social timidness. The blaze of the noon-day sun, the extreme heat, and humidity, the glancing blows to the face of a sleet or ice-storm, does not deter her purpose in being on the street.

#2 Son once offered her a ride in bad weather, as did I, feeling sorry for the soul who had to venture out in weather conditions that would leave the bravest and heartiest to stay in bed. Her response is always a polite "No thank you."

Every Sunday TLW, (The Little Woman) and I sit at the same table in a diner and have breakfast, and the window we sit next to overlooks the parking lot in the front of the building where my car is parked. Every Sunday at the same time this mystery woman cuts through the parking lot to pass my car and our window, and as she does she will stop, bend over and pick up a cigarette butt, this is predictable.

But she seems to be all over the neighborhood, at all hours of the day, from in front of the diner to the shopping mall many miles away, too far to walk, yet she does and back again. I've seen her under the Long Island Expressway overpass, and so, from one end of the town to the other, you can count on her to be seen.

My wife and I marvel at her Constitution, every day, no matter the weather. She is not a skinny woman, in fact, she seems built heartily, and there is no breaking down of her gait or determination as she must be in her early 60's.

In spite of trying to keep busy in my retirement, there are some things I am aware of in my community. I try to keep an eye out for my neighbors and their property, and any stranger that populate the neighborhood with what may seem as no purpose. This woman is definitely not a threat, but a curiosity.