Monday, July 31, 2006


I was just lying around the house yesterday after the ball game savoring my first Sunday night retired when the phone rang. I never pay attention to the phone ringing because it’s never for me. The Little Woman picked up and said her usual and told me it was for me! Me??? A call for me????? Are you sure? She say’s its Bill Wortman. BILL!!

Bill is an old friend of mine from the Clearing House days, and we did a little partnership together when I left the Clearing House. Bill is a very talented writer who wrote for the Clearing House, and was so good at it, he convinced a lot of people to buy magazines, and products for their home.

The thing about Bill’s phone call is that it immediately shot me through the past six years or so, and put me in another time frame, and I realized how much life has changed in those few short years. It sounded like Bill, and the same laid-back attitude was there, as was his sense of humor. I figured the only thing that really changed was the time, and the color of my hair. Hearing from Bill was like going home again, seeing memories that you thought would always be present but aren’t, and times you took for granted.

Usually the phone rings for the kid #2, who has a running connection with every female in the universe his age. A cutesy “Hi-is Mike there?” is how I’m greeted when I pick up the phone. Not “Hello, this is _______, is Mike there?” Not at all like Bill, who said his name very nicely for the Little Woman. You must understand that the only calls I get are from the Little Woman when she’s at work and decides to phone in instructions under the guise of a favor. At least she calls. Thanks for the call Bill.

For now on, I’m going to start paying attention when the phone rings, who knows, it may be for me, and on the other end of the line it may be you!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


Yesterday started my retirement. I have decided that I will actually do some adjusting in order to feel retired. One thought is to not wear a watch, since where am I going anyway for a few days? Second thought is to shave every other day.

So far it doesn’t feel like I retired, and probably won’t until Sunday night or Monday morning, then I should get a better sense of retirement.

Now that I am taking over the day-to-day job of managing the house, the Little Woman will act as general manager. First thing I think we should do is put our heads together and work out a trade for my stupid dog. All the dog does is bark at people, beg at the table, and you know what outside in my yard, which I have to chase after with a hose to clean off. Maybe I can throw in the #2 son as a package deal for a French maid.

Today I will watch the Mets play, and read the Sunday papers, keeping that part of my life intact. Of course part of this routine will require periodic eye resting. Eye resting is what my Dad used to call it, and I always wanted to be like my Dad.

One thing I will NOT need is my GPS to get from the couch to the refrigerator.

So until tomorrow, when I am fully rested, ciao.

Friday, July 28, 2006


I often wondered what the final day of my professional career would be like. Well, I’m about to find out. Today I will leave home when everyone else is starting their day, I will cruise at a leisurely pace and when I get there, I get there.

It will be a difficult day in many ways. I will be saying goodbye to the best people as a whole I have ever worked with. Not once did I see anyone slack off, all have a smile and a ready laugh, everyone jumped to be helpful. Some people I will remember for their kindness, some for their expertise, and one individual I will remember for both.

You can’t find a better gentleman than Frank our computer guru. The man is a genius, waiting to get even better. I think he is the most loved of all the people that work there. He is on demand, has a demanding job, and always comes through. Frank always has an answer to any question, and you run smoothly as an 8 cylinder Rolls Royce in your workday. Frank is so loved by his peers there is a group of cartoons by a very good aspiring artist named Tom, who through humor has chronicled Frank’s life, from the smallest details to his wedding day.

This morning has dawned dark and dreary, but to me the sun still shines, today is hot and humid, and to me I feel a cool breeze. Don’t get me wrong, I will miss what I enjoyed most, what I struggled for to obtain, what I became. It took me away from poverty, allowed me to retire at this age, and defined whom I am. The trouble is you have hours in which to do things, restrictions with capabilities of presses, and budgets, and sometimes people can get in the way, not to mention Monday mornings.

Yesterday I had the good fortune of having been treated by the two groups I work with, the front end of the business and the back end. The twain met in Mamma Theresa’s and the lunch was great because of the company involved. Thanks gals, I love you all.

So goodbye rush hour, deadlines, meetings, frustration.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Every kid of Italian heritage has or should have an Uncle Tony. All my cousins did, and so did I. My Uncle Tony was actually my Dad’s sister’s husband. Uncle Tony was a mild meek gentleman who spoke broken English and really loved his booze. Married to my Aunt Angie made him that way. She was a domineering woman, with strong will and a take charge attitude, probably just your average wife. (Only kidding)

Uncle Tony was such a boozer that my aunt would hide the booze on him. Meek as Uncle Tony was, he wasn’t stupid. He would arrange to play hide and seek with his kids, and would find the booze where it was hidden!

One of his favorite past times was barbequing at any time of the year, including during a blizzard. Old Uncle Tony would announce around supper time “I make a nice a fire!” Out he would go and make the fire and cook for my aunt.

One year it was graduation time and my aunt lived in a duplex with my father’s brother Joe. They never got along and on the rare occasion that they did, something would always happen. Uncle Joe had a son who was graduating, and my aunt had a daughter who was graduating. My Aunt Angie was visiting with my Uncle Joe’s wife, (who happened to be my Mother’s sister, two brothers married two sisters) and Uncle Tony came home from work, and goes over to my Uncle Joe’s house and Aunt Angie says to him “Tony, go upstairs and get dressed for the graduation tonight” Of course she meant upstairs next door. So off goes Uncle Tony. Uncle Joe comes home and is told his clothes are all laid out for him on the bed upstairs. Just as he is ready to go up, who comes down but Uncle Tony, all dressed up, and ready to go, in Uncle Joes suit, shirt, tie, socks and shoes!

Once, Uncle Joe and Uncle Tony went fishing in a local lake. They were sitting in a rowboat when all of a sudden Uncle Tony decides to stand up and as he does, falls out of the boat! “Helpa, hime gonna drrrown, I can’ta swim!” He was sitting in the water, the water up to his chest.

When my Dad was dying, Uncle Tony was living in Florida and was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and somehow found out about my father who was dying here in New York. He goes to my Aunt and says while shaving “Shine a my shoes I’m a going to visit Tony.”

Not too much later Uncle Tony passed on from a heart attack, and when he did, I thought: “I wonder if he’s playing hide and seek up there?”

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Way back in my senior year in high school about when Washington crossed the Delaware there was a guy by the name of Benny Galliano aka Benny Da Buffer, who was transferred from a Brooklyn High School to Bellport High School because he got into too much trouble. He belonged to a gang in Brooklyn, and often “Jitterbugged” which meant street gang warfare. The reason Bellport was selected was because he had an uncle who owned a factory making clothing in the Bellport area, the his parents figured as far away from the city as possible was good.

Benny could be a bad influence on the Pope, let alone Bellport High. He had a heart as big as the great outdoors, but sometimes the brains of a fish. Benny’s sense of humor was tremendous, and could also improvise Elvis at a moments notice, and people for the most part liked him once you got to know him. He stood about 5” 9” and was slightly overweight. He had a fat nose and a face for radio (He knew this because his Mother told him so.). His eyes were set very close together, and it made him look like a thug.

I met Benny after a few weeks of school had started as he was transferred from Brooklyn. He just gravitated to me and we became friends. I think it was because my shop teacher assigned him to be under my wing and we got along great because of some similarities (Brooklyn, Italian.) Benny just could not retain anything. Soon he was coming to me for help in English, Math and Science classes for home work and soon we were spending afternoons doing review of the class work for that day. He begged me to do it because if he failed, he would be thrown out of the house, sent to work in his uncle’s factory, and they would take away his shinny new fuel injected Bonneville which he hoped to add an additional carburetor so he could keep all the neighborhoods he frequented, awake at 2:00 am. Benny loved to be noticed. Almost every day we reviewed, going over the same things again and again and it started to come together! Benny was learning, Benny’s brain was now the size of a whale, and because of the constant review, I was not getting my home work done like I used to. I would have a job after dinner, and when work was finished, I had to stay up late for my written homework to be completed.

June finally rolled along and I check the board in the hall wall next to the Principle’s office to see who was graduating. As I go I see Benny walking in the opposite direction, with tears streaming down his mug. I rush to the board look for my name then look for his. There it stood Benjamin Galliano! “What the hell???” What’s wrong with Benny? I go looking for him and find him on the pay phone talking to his father. I go up to Benny and overhear him saying that maybe they made a mistake and forgot to put his name on the list! “Benny, what the hell are you talking about?” I yell. He turns around and say “Joe man, I can’t talk right now” I said “Dumb ass, your name IS on the board” And as I say it, I’m starting to smile, and he says to me “Man don’t mess with my head” I grab the phone and talk to his dad to tell him that I saw the name. I drag Benny down to the wall, and point to his name, he looks at me and plants a kiss right on my forehead. He was so scared of not graduating, he was blind to the idea of his name on that list!

After the graduation ceremony, I went over to where he was standing with his family. There among his family is this little Italian lady, who grabs him by his cheek and says “You sonnamabitch, you graduate!”


Lately I'm in a state of euphoria. I march around the office and people stopped to ask what I'm smiling about. I answer with what comes immediately to mind. The number of days left before I hang it up. Sometimes they don't even ask; they just stick out their tongues at me. It's nothing but ugly, vicious jealousy that makes them that way. I know because I've been there. One person, a lovely lady said, “You should be skipping down the halls.” I tried it and do feel a little ridiculous, but maybe that feeling will go away.

It's hard to take a deadline seriously, although I work hard at it to maintain some integrity, after all they are paying me, so I try to work hard. I have the Friday afternoon step in my walk, you know the one I'm talking about, when the weekend approaches. Well guess what, I have it on a large scale, almost dance-like, and I must remind myself not to sing out loud.

I have noticed new phenomena with the eminence of retirement: I'm very forgiving! My son wants a ride, no problem just hop in the car. The Little Woman wants to rebuild the house, just wait here while I get a hammer. You want to borrow money, forget it. (I guess it only goes so far.)

I feel a constant giddiness whenever I think about work that needs to be done for next week, and want to jump for joy because I won't be there. I've decided I can't stand me either, but I can't help it. I'm sure this feeling will quickly escape me once the Little Woman starts issuing orders both verbally and written.

One thing I do know is that I will definitely miss everyone at the office, because they are all very pleasant and professional. I have never witnessed a harder working group of people, who also make it great to be around them. And just about everyone I tell that I'm retiring, wishes me well, and is very happy for me. My sister's think it's the best decision I can make besides saying “goodnight” to them when I visit.

The funny thing about it all is I called my 88 year old Mother to tell her, and before I could, she tells me she went back to work at the hospital! Now how do you tell your Mother that after she tells you she's going back to work?

Monday, July 24, 2006


I’m seriously thinking of applying for sainthood. The pepperbox that lives with me never sleeps like regular people should. The Little Woman arises at 3:45 am everyday, and immediately swings into action. Clean a house, maybe a room, or if you like, a garage.

One morning about 6:30 I awaken and go to the toilet with every intention of returning back to the sack to continue my long night’s journey into daybreak as only I know how. My mistake is I should never look up as I go from one room to another. Silly me, I notice something going on, some activity that I know spells my doom. Sure enough, there she is in my son’s room, busily furrowing around in one little corner. I should have dropped the idea of the toilet and ran back to bed, but no, her magical powers have gravitated me to see what she could possible be doing at this hour.

She bought an air-conditioner for my son’s room that is portable and comes with many parts. She happily sees that I am awake and decides to make it a family affair. The Little Woman recruits my son from his sound sleep and off we go downstairs to carry up this very heavy piece of equipment that is only portable because it has wheels. It weights about as much as I do; only I’m prettier! We haul it up two sets of stairs and down the long hallway to where the prodigy spends most of his time when not working or in school.

I think to myself “Ah, done, I’ll go back to what I was doing, sleeping.” I climb into bed, feel the nice air-conditioning that is working in my bedroom, (he had a fan which he was happy with) and close my eyes. I feel the bed cave downward, I am of course afraid to open my eyes. Stupid me, I do and what do I see? No, not Santa but the Little Woman with a Cheshire cat’s grin as she leans down looking at me.




“We need to put it together”

Out of my bed I go, and march down the hall once again.

The parts are arrayed before me, challenging parts, part that an engineer and scientific team on vacation from NASA should be looking at, not an old guy about to retire. We discuss the project, we read, we get confused, we figure it out, I go back to bed. I lay there 5 seconds and it dawns on me, I never went to the toilet!

Saturday, July 22, 2006


One of the Little Woman’s requests for her birthday was a couple of tickets to a Ronan Tynan Concert. It was held outdoors on the rainiest, most humid evening possible. When we got to the concert, I thought it was going to be rained out since there was a long line of older people with umbrellas standing and waiting to get in. We went to the end of the line and popped open our umbrella like everyone else. At first I thought that the people on line were from an old age home that just arrived, but soon it dawned on me that it was really what the audience would be. Mostly older people and mostly Irish!

Well bejesus tis was indeed a grand night for the old sod. As we moved into the theatre, the rain for the most part stopped. We found our seats and settled in after wiping them dry from the rain. Everyone had some kind of article in which to dry off the seats from towels to toilet paper! Mine was a clean handkerchief that got cleaner with each wipe.

John McDermott was the opening act, and I must say he was indeed grand! Sang like a bottle of stout as it pours into a frosty glass on a warm summer’s evening in Killarney. He sang one song about his “Old Man” that left me wishing I could see mine again.

Then the main attraction, Himself! Yes indeed, Ronan Tynan, more animated than I could ever remember him being. His voice booming out from the speakers, clear as a bell, unfortunately his band drowned him out at times.

The house was not full by any means, but what there was, was a sea of green, with Irish flags and Irish laughter. On the whole the concert was great, but the seats were torture to both the Little Woman and me. They were not very deep and cut into the underside of my legs as we both squirmed and wiggled to find a comfortable position.

Behind us sat the Irish Queen of Tynan Music, applauding loudly and screeching at every turn, giving body language to every song introduced by uttering little encouraging words such as “oh yeah” or “OOOH” or just screaming.

In the midst of all this Gaelic festivity in the sea of green among the Sons of Ireland sitting with his Irish wife and listening to Irish music - the Italian from Brooklyn.

Friday, July 21, 2006


No, not Jackie Gleason, but me. Yes once upon a time I was known briefly as the “Great One” It all started when I was in the 4th grade in Mrs. James classroom at East Patchogue elementary school. Mrs. James liked to assign homework to little kids that would like to do something other than.

There was a fellow classmate by the name of Dennis. Dennis was one of those kids that never got into trouble, did all his homework, and kind of blended into the walls of the classroom. He had gotten his homework paper back and before handing it in to Mrs. James, put some kind of self-descriptive title on it. I asked Dennis what it was and he said: “Oh, I put anything down that I want.”

One day Mrs. James’ assignment was to write an autobiography. I wrote my paper, and before handing it in, though of Dennis and signed it at the bottom “The Great Joseph Del Broccolo.” I could have put anything down, but felt I should shoot for the top. Unfortunately, Mrs. James took issue with the signature and when I got it back she had penned at the top in large red letters: “I don’t think you are so great Joseph, have a parent sign this and return it to me.” Geez, what a witch!

When I saw the comment on top that Mrs. James had so callously written, I immediately put two words together. One of the words was “Oh” which is a very versatile word that can be used in many ways. For example: “Oh!” Or if you like: “Oh?” You can use it to go along with other words like “Oh, no!” The other word was “Uh.” Although it is a rather simple word, it really has no meaning by itself. For instance if you say: “Uh?” or “Uh!” you sound like a cave man. However, when the two words “Oh” and “Uh” are put together in the proper sequence, they can convey a very definite meaning. Upon seeing the comment on my paper, I immediately arranged the two words thus: “Uh-oh!” This conveyed the meaning that best described my predicament, deep shit.

Thinking long and hard, I had to figure out how to run this little disaster past my Mother the disciplinarian, (I always thought she was Catholic) and not be killed. All night I thought and thought and by morning the answer took care of itself. I would have her sign it just as the bus is coming! “Brilliant!” you say. Yes indeed.

Me: Oooh, here comes the bus Ma! Here sign this.

Ma: What is this???

Me: Hurry, or I’ll miss the bus!!


Me: Uh (there’s that word again) it’s permission to do special home works.

Mom signs the paper but not without a good finger pointing and threats to my person when I got home. Oh, (There’s that other word) she also threw in “Wait till your Father gets home.”

I had survived for future troubles!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Last Tuesday I hadn’t planned on getting to my office until later in the morning, since I had a chore to do first. I was fast asleep enjoying the extra time in the sack. Suddenly my body started to take off in a rhythmic beat that could best be described as marching through Georgia!

I peeked open one eye, and looked about the bedroom. To my chagrin stood the Little Woman in front of the TV with her back to me. The old telly was on and a tape was plugged into the VCR while the Little Woman wore a harness of some type.

Being the curious soul that I am, I opened the other eye. Madam was in a full workout burning off both calories and my sleep. In the corner of the screen a number was showing the distance she had gone up to that point while just standing in one spot, or should I say gyrating and contorting and dancing in one spot. She was literally going nowhere, but fast! I am blessed with the absence of conscience, since I weighted the possibility of my getting my lazy ass out of bed and joining her. Thank God good sense prevailed, and I came to realize, I was looking at the same tape she was, counting off the very same miles she was, and felling a lot more relaxed than she was. I wasn’t even sweating!

After a mile and a half of having “Swan Lake” performed at the foot of my repository, I decided there was no hope of capturing the good feeling I once had for sleep, or love the I usually have for the Giselle of the ballet de la bedroom. I got out of bed and went to my armoire and selected my stuff. Now I have to pass this exhibition of physical fitness, and show off my exhibition of physical neglect as the Little Woman is in full gear shifting from left to right to left to right. The only way one can get by in a situation that was just described is to get in the rhythm, stay in sync, and move deftly by. Of course you should be in more than your shorts when you do.

That one little movement, was enough exercise for the day, one that had barely started!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The party’s over, time to put away the toys, gather up the mementos and head on home. Yesterday I served notice that at the end of the day on July 28th, I will be officially retired. I feel somewhat sad that I am retiring, but feel the time has come. It is no longer fun, it is routine, it is hard to stay on top and it is so automatic that I am designing in my sleep now. Of course who I am will now have to be redefined, and my inner self will have to come out more.

On the plus side there is the volunteer work for the Agency I serve on the Board of Directors for, and there is my love of painting, drawing and wood sculpture. I have started a love affair with gardening that germinated this year, and I love to create new recipes and will start a cookbook of my own with low fat low carbohydrate meals. I can follow a Mets or Jets game late into the night now when they are on the west coast and not worry about work the next day.

Maybe now is the time to start worrying about myself. Life is getting short, and I really want to feel a sense of freedom, of independence, and if I have the opportunity, why not? Let the younger generation continue the struggles of raising families, and hard work, I’m tired. So goodbye work world, hello new world, and maybe I’ll find some new field to explore and enjoy.

Monday, July 17, 2006


A dog was chasing a cat down the street, and they were both walking!

Now that’s hot! But why does it have to be so hot? And what about this humidity?? OK, so I’m complaining. Why not, the heat takes away a lot of the fun in life. I prefer cool rainy days myself, and whenever I hear someone say they can’t wait for spring, I think to myself “will the heat and humidity be far behind, can you wait for that?”

I can understand nature’s need for rain, but the heat and humidity and I can’t understand. When the temperature reaches the mid 90’s and it’s humid, how can anyone think or care about anything? You don’t feel like eating, because you raise your body temperature. You don’t want to do any physical activity because once you do you start to perspire. If you walk a street the heat generates from the concrete, you can’t exercise so what have you?

Fortunately for me I do have a pool to cool off in. The pool will keep you cool if you stay in it long enough, but you must be careful of the sun so you don’t burn. I have a floating lounge chair that I sit in and I drift aimlessly around the pool. Of course getting into the pool takes a lot of work. You want to change into a bathing suit, get a towel and walk over the hot ground and ease into the cool water, a little at a time or just dive in. In either case you are shocking your body, and once you are in… you notice you have to go the toilet! So out you go, dry off because you don’t want the Little Woman hollering at you for getting “My floors” all wet.

I feel concern for those who have no pool. They may have air conditioners, but they cost electricity, and seem to make noise if its not central air. How long can you listen to that steady “rrrrrr” or whatever noise it makes? When I worked while I was in college and high school, the factory had no air conditioner that worked. All it had was a giant fan that was supposed to cool off a large room with high ceilings that were flat and made of metal and tar covered. The heat was so unbearable when climbing and running up and down a ramp to load and unload trucks, your feet would get wet and blistered from the heat and humidity.

I hate to say it but the only place that works for me is work.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I don’t think I get it any more. I watch these commercials on the TV and I don’t understand any of them. I suspect the sponsors don’t really care either, as long as you become distracted, confused and have to turn the volume down as it kicks into high gear, while persuading you that you should buy what the logo or voice over says they are.

One commercial for Suzuki has a guy in a parachute jump off a cliff and land into the Grand Canyon just to drive off to work in his Suzuki SUV! I have a couple of questions about that one.

1. Why does he park way down there?

2. Why did he buy a house at the edge of the Grand Canyon, I mean you can’t raise a kid there?


Another favorite of mine is the perfume for women. I can understand the one where everything is black and white, but the perfume bottle is in color. But why is the girl who supposedly is wearing it sitting like she is on the toilet, waiting for nature to take its course?

How about the ones for the Viagra like products, the guy is in his thirties, and can’t perform! Get another wife or girlfriend or see a doctor pal, you got issues either in your love life or your health. If you need a jump-start, get a set of jumper cables, hook up and turn on the ignition baby that should do it.

Now the very worst offender of communications is the ads for medications that show people, lots of them, standing around atop a mountain, usually multi race older people who are all facing the same way. You have no idea what the hell they are selling, and the voice over says; “Ask your doctor about GERBERTOL, the orange pill.”

Like they used to say: “Where’s the beef?”

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Way back in the old days of penny loafers and high school hops, there lived a character by the Nome de plume of Richard Scarpetta. His classmates called him Scarpetta and other less civil names, with obscene adjectives before his name to express the feelings of those who knew him.

Mr. Scarpetta was a wiry little guy who spoke with a lisp, and in the process contorted his mouth as he managed to say idiotic things. He was once accused of having sex with a chicken, although I don’t believe a chicken would be THAT stupid, and Scarpetta did deny it! The chicken may have been his only date in high school.

One day we were in gym class and it was the week of gymnastics. That was the week when you worked on rope climbing, parallel bars, the horse and the rings. If you remember the rings, you held one in each hand and got a running start to swing with the rings in your hands, and did various tricks like slipping your foot onto your wrist, letting your hand go for a split second as you pushed your foot by, and then grabbed the ring again.
Everyone in gym class had to perform these types of exercise, as did Mr. Scarpetta. Everyone stopped and knelt at the edge of the mat that was laid under the rings so if you fell the fall would be cushioned. Under the scrutiny of his classmates, Mr. Scarpetta approached the rings, grabbed hold and took a running start as he went into his routine. Not for very long. Higher and higher old Scarpetta went, as faster and faster he pushed himself. As he went into his first exercise, the incredible happened, he let go as he ascended toward the ceiling and wall and flew smack up against the wall, with his head leading the way, down he crashed too the very bottom of the base of the wall. Face down in a crumbled heap laid the man. We all rush the wall and turn Mr. Scarpetta over on his back. And there he lay with the biggest bump that could grow that quickly! Knocked out cold, he starts to stir and finally opens his eyes.

“Mr. Del Broccolo and Mr. (I forget who it was), help Mr. Scarpetta to the nurses office right away, says the gym teacher Mr. Hurdle. Guided gingerly to the nurse Miss Wagar, we knock on her door and guide Richard in. Miss Wagar is an older woman, with grey hair that took much abuse through the years from the very students she helped. “What happened?” inquired Miss Wagar. “Richard flew into the wall,” says I. Miss Wagar looks confused so I relate the whole episode to her. She starts to question Scarpetta about why. He says he was tired. She asks if he had breakfast that morning. He says “No.” Miss Wagar then says to Scarpetta, “What would happen if I got into my car in the morning to go to work and there was no gas in the tank?” Scarpetta: “You’d take the bus?” “Go back to class Mr. Scarpetta, you’re fine now.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


It seems that every time I anticipate getting something that I want that is due me, either the individual responsible forgets, or there isn’t any more left, or worst still, they just discontinued the practice.

The other day I got the announcement that #2 Son wanted to go to a store to buy an electronic game for his computer. I reluctantly said “OK” and drove to this large chain store that runs itself. That means there is never anyone around to help you, but it pulls in a lot of money anyway.

#2 Son selected his game and I thought the ordeal was soon over. It was only beginning. As I started to head to the checkout, he was heading in a slightly different direction, more towards the opposite way!

Me: Where you going?

He: Over there

Me: Why??

He: You’ll see

Me: (fuming, getting antsy and losing some of my composure since I had other things to
do, building a sweat and feeling just downright annoyed) Oh!

We wander over to the i-pod section where Mr. Big Bucks is about to purchase an i-pod.
Have you seen an i-pod lately? They have really perfected the product to a tiny little piece of plastic and some kind of electronics that can fit under your tongue! Flatter than the ace of spades and it come in black or white. The cost of this little electronic marvel that fits under the tongue?? Why a mere $200! $200???????? I could buy a week and a half worth of groceries for that. I could pay a good deal of a car payment with that, I could buy some nice clothes with that, and none of it would fit under my tongue.

So Mr. Big Bucks makes his selection and off to the cashier we go. When he goes to pay he realizes he is short of money. He looks at me like I should pay for it. I look at him like he’s a stranger to me. We are talking $259 before tax! I reintroduce myself to him and tell him he has to put one of the items back, he does but announces that I have to accompany him back to the shelf.

We finally arrive at the cashier again and he pulls out a wad of folded, crumpled bills, that look like they were in the bottom of his shoes for six weeks and gave them to the cashier, an unsuspecting young lady who took the trouble to sort it all out. She discovers that she is short $2 for Mr. Rockefeller’s change. Mr. Rockefeller, the multi millionaire that he is says, keep the change. Nice! $2 tip for taking his money! At $3.25 a gallon for gas, and my time, do I get any of this?? NOOOOOOOO

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


As I was saying yesterday on my last post, I worked for a Company, where Dad was the retail foreman. The owner of the company was a very wealthy old geezer, but with a generous heart. The Old Man had a temper and usually exploded every half hour on the button. My working there in his sanctuary of money didn’t help his blood pressure. He wore very fancy and expensive alligator shoes, a gold and diamond studded ring, usually very fancy expensive cashmere sweaters and silk shirts. He wore glasses that would allow his eyes to pierce through his lenses and always had his hands in his pockets, except for once. (See below)

The Old Man was married and had three sons that worked for him. Being how he was used to having his way all the time, he had a secret crush on a certain young married woman who designed children’s clothing and worked for him. I’ll call her Chesty McGuire. Chesty had a certain gait, and a sweet disposition, and although she was older than me by a good number of years, I WAS looking for a tutor for some social issues I had, and often thought about “Hiring” her for the job. Chesty had her studio right smack in the middle of the shipping department for some reason that I could never figure out. Then one day by accident I discovered why. It seems the Old Man and his sons all stayed in the front in their air-conditioned offices, rarely venturing out to the shipping department where I lurked (often on hot days in a bin resting a few dozen feet up) near a giant fan. Dad called me over and told me too bring this carton to Chesty in her office. I took the carton over to her office and noticed her office lights were out, so I just opened the door. Well! To my great chagrin and surprise there was Chesty on her cutting table with the Old Man’s hand in a very interesting position on her anatomy. Needless to say, we all were surprised, and jumped in different directions. It was Oscar day! Yes, we all earned an Oscar for pretending nothing was happening and nothing was seen of my particular interest. I just asked where she wanted the carton (I really wanted to ask if she needed another hand) and acted as if nothing happened, like I missed it completely. The Old Man was the best actor of us all, recovering rather nicely as he wandered away with his hand back in his pocket.

From that day on, I had shortened hours, a slight pay raise and given an opportunity to design for his clothing store, doing murals and signs that kept me busy, while he kept Chesty McGuire busy.

Monday, July 10, 2006


When I was in high school and college, one of the places I worked was at a company that manufactured children’s play clothes. It had a large contract with Sears Roebuck and supplied all the Sears stores throughout the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii.

I worked in both the retail and mail order devisions at the same time, in the shipping department and picked orders, packed them, labeled and routed them. I loaded and unloaded huge tracker trailers filled with heavy equipment, bales of corduroy and other materials. More often than not, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t stand on my feet at the end of the day, and would lose 5 pounds a day in sweat from the stifling heat that came through the metal and tar roof in the height of the summer heat.

None of the above stopped me from having my fun. I was a rotten guy who was always on call to perform some trick or mischief. There were targets out there that lent themselves to my amusement. One such victim was John the porter. John spoke broken English and smelled like he slept in garlic. He would wear these brown shoes that looked like he stepped into them in a hurry, with the heels of his feet outside the shoes, bending down the backs of his shoes. He was always dragging a large cardboard cylinder that contained whatever he swept up, while pushing an industrial sized broom. We (my assistants and I) would wait for him to leave the barrel in the middle of the floor, as he went off to sweep some isolated spot, where we would load his barrel with a heavy bucket of concentrated glue. We would put the whole bucket, which must have weighted about 70 lbs. into the barrel and covered it with tissue. He would pour whatever he swept into the barrel, and off he would go dragging the bucket of glue in the barrel when he would stop short, lurch back off his feet and start to swear at us in his native tongue.

Another victim was a little old lady that was the biggest witch that ever lived. Her name was Libby, who was about 4’ 6” and had a very mousey appearance and a hunched back. Out of the blue she would accuse anyone of doing something to her that no one did. Finally we got disgusted with her baseless accusations and gave her something to yell about. Libby would hang an apron she wore over her clothes on a hanger that she attached to a screen fence that separated the warehouse from her packing station. The screen fence was floor to ceiling about 20 feet high. One night while we were working late and she was home, we took her apron on the hanger and put up about 15 feet. My Father was the foreman in charge of the retail division, and was always on alert for our shenanigans. Well old Libby lets out a high pitch squeal and a yelling I have never heard before, as poor old Dad come flying out of wherever he was with my name on his lips.

There were other characters like; Joe the Barbarian, (Joe ran the cutting room where he was a slave driver) The Washwoman, (would gossip about anyone) Meester Gordon (mostly Hispanic women worked for him) a whole host of women who ran sewing machines that have felt the wrath of our humor. Let me state that I wasn’t the ringleader all the time; just most of the time and always had willing accomplices to aid and abet.

The company was named Rollic Inc., and had a theme song on the radio whenever they ran an ad that went “YOU’LL LOVE YOUR ROLLIC JOB!” Can’t say that I did.


Every now and then I spend a day that turns out perfect and burns in my memory for a long time. For the Little Woman’s birthday we celebrated at a popular restaurant for brunch. The restaurant sits along the harbor side of Port Jefferson, amid many different sized yachts and boats of all types and lengths.

The day itself was somewhat perfect, mostly sunny and only slightly humid. There were: Sunday strollers and casual shoppers and curios lookers casually dressed who strolled the streets and docks of the Port, looking into store windows and yachts that lined their way, licking ice cream cones and treats from the local vendors.

There was no hurry, only the enjoyment of freedom and curiosity as we peeked into the million dollar play boats, some tied to posts, some sitting out in the middle of the harbor. Our brunch was at a perfect spot in the restaurant, next to a window that overlooked the dock and the ferries that docked and unloaded their passengers and cars before loading new people and cars for the trip back to Connecticut.

The Little Woman and I strolled after our meal around the area hand and hand, It was like the old days, before children, before all the bills, before all the concerns that occupy our modern world. We stepped into and out of shops without the intent of buying, but if something caught our eye, we wouldn’t hesitate. We smelled the confectionary concoctions, the garlic and the musty odors of shops, and restaurants, that lent to the overall atmosphere; we talked about little things and shared the latest gossip we heard. There were no high standards in our chats on this day.

Everyone should take a day like this, and share it with someone special, I think it means we stopped to smell the roses.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I was 35 years ago that we married; yet I still consider her my girlfriend. She was and still is beautiful. I call her my girlfriend because it reminds me about how I felt about her when I asked her to marry me. It is hard to believe that we are so much older, yet I love her more than the day I married her, and in spite of all the troubles and tribulations that we faced, not one moment would I ever change, except maybe to wipe away some past tears.

Of course I’m speaking about the Little Woman, and don’t care if the world knows it.

I still look forward to spending my time alone with her, savoring every moment together, looking to buy more time. She is my companion, my buddy, my friend, my love, and my reason to get up in the morning, my reason to stay alive.

How old is she? She is old enough to be wiser than she ever was, more beautiful than I can remember, and gracious enough to live with me all these wonderful years. She is old enough to call home and a refuge.

I would hire her to do any job, and put her in charge of the details. I would beg her to stay a little longer to keep the room brightened.

Happy Birthday Ellen, you are the Little Woman only in my ramblings, but THE WOMAN in my heart.

I love you,

Saturday, July 08, 2006


I happened to marry royalty! Yes, I married the Queen of Pizza Eating. She reigns every Friday night at home in our den, working her way through slices of pizza, and for 35 years it has been the custom.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of diet is currently vogue, what kind of dietary restrictions she may impose upon herself, on Friday its pizza. I myself may have started the trend since it was customary when I was growing up, but then again it may have been the Little Woman who started it when we married. We grew up where Friday was a meatless day, so a cheese pizza was the order of the day.

We have in the last few years devoted ourselves to a certain style of pizza called the grandma pie. It happened quite by accident one Friday night. We ordered a pizza, and asked for a delivery. The pizza came in a square box instead of the elongated rectangular shape we were used to. I accepted delivery and though it strange that the shape of the box was different. I paid the delivery guy and brought the pizza inside and opened it. It was the grandma pie, a square pie made with plum tomatoes, fresh garlic and basil. It is the best pie in the Albert’s pie arsenal. You cannot get, and I repeat cannot, get this made anywhere else like Albert’s makes it.

At first I was angry that they made the mistake, but decided to eat it anyway. I took one bite out of it, and the delivery guy knocks on my door, just as I am savoring this beautiful creation and thinking: “wow, this is good!” Too late for the deliveryman, so he gives us free of charge the pizza we did order too! I hope there is a place in heaven for him.

The Little Woman’s dedication to pizza is not the cheese, not the sauce, not the freshness of the dough, but the fact that she doesn’t have to cook or do dishes.

As I write this I am expecting her Highness, the Queen of Pizza any moment now, since it is Friday evening and she is picking up the pie. But she is not alone in her adoration of the pizza.

My dog Happy is devoted too. Whenever the pie is delivered, Happy runs to the door and barks up a storm at the deliveryman, when he leaves, she does a 180 and heads to the pizza, and sits on her haunches as she waits for one of us to toss her the crusts. I really think that my Dad has come back as Happy the dog. Happy like my Dad loves lettuce as well as pizza.

So as I am about to sit and imbibe upon this culinary delight let us

If you would like to verbally punch me in the nose, you can by writing to

All insults and abuse will be kept strictly confidential

Friday, July 07, 2006


Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is now coming out with 100 new words to add to its collection. These are words that people are using in their vocabulary to express in creative ways, without using the hundreds of thousands of perfectly legitimate words already in the book. Words or phrases such as: “mouse potato, computer geek (is there any other kind?) unibrow, soul patch and biodiesel” are all new expressions coming out of our society.

Not being one to want to stop progress, but since the late 1970’s with the invention of the word “humongous” a stupid word if I ever heard one, these types of new words seem to be popping up, and seem to be useless. I would think that soon ordinary conversations are going to be rather foreign to my poor ears as I try to decipher what the hell people mean in years too come.

Fortunately I have translators such as #1 and #2 sons who use this kind of vernacular to some degree, or at the least are out there to understand it better than I can. #1 son and I used to go to church together in the old days when he lived at home. Being on the cutting edge that he was, #1 son introduced me to the concept of “Suits”, meaning someone who had to deliver or maintain an important job or deliver an important message. When we entered the church we would scan for “suits” to see if there was anyone lingering around in a suit, which meant that that person was going to deliver some kind of appeal or address after the service. If #1 son or I saw such an individual we would make a “Bee line” to the door after communion. Yes, I was a bad influence on my child.

Here is a sentence I would imagine would evolve in the months to come, that will be sanctioned by Merriam-Webster:

“Hey, cool soul patch, where did you find the minutes for a mouse potato?

“Hey chill, (most sentences will start with “hey”.)

“Yo, blueberry me.

Of course this is only what I think is right around the corner, most of what I just wrote I’m not even sure I know what the hell I said.

If you want to know what all this means, just “google it”, and leave me alone.

If you would like to respond to this or any article I write, e-mail me at

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Fourteen years ago this very morning, my older sister (very much older) called to tell me she was a grandmother for the first time. (See how much older she is!)

It was a great day for the world as Stephen O’Hara joined the rest of the clan, as his Mom and Dad my niece and nephew: Laurie Ann and Gerard became parents. There was great curiosity as to what Stephen would look like. Would her look like his Father, or his Mother, or (Gasp) his grandfather John?

Fortunately he didn’t look at all like me, so a great sigh of relief was heard throughout the birthing world, as we celebrated this great event.

Now I tell you, there is one thing that is true: Stephen is destined for great things. He has a great gene pool, he is very handsome, (he looks a lot like his Mom and Dad), and his physical abilities along with his large mental capacity will carry him through life.

I feel that although it’s his birthday, we should especially congratulate his parents for having such a great kid, who is rapidly growing into adulthood.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006



No it wasn’t Cousin Brucie, but the reunion of the Little Woman’s cousins. It seems someone had the idea that the cousins should have a reunion, and it was a very good idea. The reunion consisted of only two families of the four families, the Little Woman's and her Uncle Mike, but it was very harmonious and being an in-law, I found it to be the highlight of my 4th of July weekend. Missing was the Little Woman's two brothers, but we managed to hang in there and it all came out fine.

It is always good to see people you happen to like, and one and all were very new to me, even though I know them. That sounds silly, but after years of not seeing them, it becomes a reintroduction to not only the past, but also the remembrance of nice people that we lost touch with.

Aside from my sister-law and her husband, everyone else was missing in our lives for many years. There was the Host and Hostess of the event, Lou and Jan, two very nice and sincere people that made you feel special. Neither of these two spoke of themselves, always focusing on everyone else’s comfort. Lou was making me tired as he constantly checked to see if the glasses were full and the seating comfortable, while Jan, the Little Woman’s cousin put out a great spread, while charming us with her conversation. She was a great hostess, as was Lou a great host. Being invited to their lovely home was special, as was meeting three special children that left an impression on me that said, “these are great kids.” All three children had a purpose in life, career wise, and they took part in the constant concern for our entertainment and comfort. I mean, here was this old geezer, and they brought me a special house drink they made. Nice job kids, nice job Jan and Lou!

Then there was Tommie and Annette. I always enjoyed talking to Tommie. He always had and still does own an upbeat attitude, won’t burden you with his sorrows, and makes a wonderful complement to his lovely wife Annette. Annette can relay a great story, retell her experiences, and I would recommend that you call her to tell you about her experience with the game “Brain Age”, she will have you in hysterics. They have a beautiful young daughter named Christina, and the last I saw her; she was a little girl on a Christmas card. She is now a strikingly beautiful young woman in college, with the sweetest disposition.

To round out the cousins in fine fashion, and with a great smile and laugh was Mary Beth, the youngest of the cousins. Mary Beth has the best laugh, upbeat attitude, full of life, and really lent herself to the gathering. Mary Beth reminds me a lot of my own sister Mary Ann. Mary Ann is a pepperbox of activity, and vocalisms that hold your attention.

Then there was of Steve and Maureen, with Maureen leading the conversation, about nothing but memories, correcting the family history, and telling great stories of the past.

Of course poor Steve and myself couldn’t get a word in edgewise when the two sisters meet. “Pass the (________)” fill in the blank was all we could get in, and that was to each other.

The Little Woman was in all her glory, as we left thinking: Wow, what a great time we had. Thanks to Lou, Jan, Tommie, Annette and Mary Beth, not to mention all the younger cousins for their kindness and hospitality.

Ellen, Maureen, Steve and me.

Monday, July 03, 2006


When I was about the age of 8, I used to go to my Grandmother’s house, where my parents ran a gift shop in the store portion of the house in Brooklyn. Everyday after school, we would walk over to Grandma’s do our homework, and then play with the neighborhood kids. One of the things a kid did was build his own scooter out of a wooden vegetable crate and a 2”x4” plank. You would nail the board to the box, get a pair of roller skates, separate the front from the back wheels and attach them like-wise to the front and back of the plank. We would decorate them, paint them, put bottle caps on them with designs of all kinds. Once the chariot was complete, we would race them up and down the sidewalk, making a racket as the metal wheels would run along the concrete, and the noise would go up into the empty box to magnify it even louder. One day my Dad made me a scooter that was perfect. It had a clean new crate, and straight pine plank, and even had handles. This was a Cadillac!

Next door to my Grandmother’s house was the Republican club, occupied by old Italians that were retired, and wanted to get away from their wives, while playing cards, drinking red wine and smoking these gnarly Italian black cigars that really stunk up the place. My Grandfather was a member of this social club, and every Sunday to get away from his screaming grandchildren and gossipy conversations that went on in the kitchen would get into a good old game of pinochle, the game of life and death.

Many late afternoons, these old geezers would sit on wooden chairs outside the club, which was a storefront and chat or argue in Italian. As I scooted buy in my Cadillac, one-by-one they would get annoyed, swearing at me in Italian. Being 8 years old and not caring, I would scoot closer and closer with every pass. Looking too evoke the most fury, I would just graze their legs, until one of them would chase me limping on foot, with Italian swear words a mile a minute, holding a glass of wine and a gnarly old black cigar in his teeth, while waving his arthritic fist at me.

“Ooh Fah!” “Come on, get-the-hell-out-of-here!” “Manuggier-STOPPER DAT NOISE”

These were the sweet little old men. The meaner old guys would yell “Hew liitler a bastard, STOPPER.”

That’s Mr. Littler Bastard to you Senor.

You must understand that there wasn’t a whole lot you could do except that and try to peep into the storefront across the street where the gypsies lived.

My folks store sold lamps, vases, kitchen gadgets, gift items and candy and Italian Ices. In the heat of the summer, when some days we had to stay there all day as my Mom watched the store, and my Dad worked in the city on Canal Street, I would load up on lemon or chocolate Italian ice, sucking every last drop of melted flavored ice, practically swallowing the little white pleated cup in the process.

There was always what I called a “Nut for the week” who would come into the store, stand at the entrance and proclaim the end of the world, or some unemployed politician who would proclaim some outlandish idea, where my Mother or Grandfather (if he wasn’t at the club) would chase him out with a broom.

Being how Grandpa loved to play cards, he would be playing from around 11 a.m. until he was called or cajoled out of the club for Sunday dinner. Years earlier, my Grandmother got her revenge on poor old grandpa. She would send someone over to the club to tell Grandpa that the dinner was ready, and everyone was waiting for him. This would go one for over an hour before he would finally come home. Grandma, being the smart woman she was, decided not to take it anymore, and called the police, telling them that there was gambling going on at the Republican Club on Fulton Street. Over come the Police with a paddy wagon and arrest the whole lot of them. Grandpa, in handcuffs is marching in line to the paddy wagon and says in Italian “Francesca, tell them that you know me, they will let me go in your custody.” She looks at the cops and says in English “Ima No Knower him, the bum.”

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I decided that what this country needs is compulsory naptime. Working in an office, the company should set aside ½ hour of every afternoon for naptime, regardless of your position or status to help facilitate better actions and decisions. A well-rested mind is a mind that functions best.

Think of how much smarter we would all become in our decision making by simply taking the ½ hour to “sleep on it.”

You have a major issue that continues to come to the forefront; you can “give it a rest.”

I myself am constantly seeking new ideas, ways to better the bottom line, think of how much more comfortable the thought process would be by that ½ hour of closing my eyes and imagining the solution to problems.

Being a morning person, my best ideas come in the early morning hours, after I awaken from a good night’s sleep. Imagine what can happen if I awaken from a good nap in the afternoon. It would be like hiring two Joe Del Broccolos creativity and all. My company buys me lunch everyday, so that issue will have to be addressed, as I will get hungry again, as I do whenever I wake up, not to mention two salaries for twice the creativity.

God knows that when I don’t get my rest, I become cranky. I hate cranky, and think it should be stamped out before it rears its ugly head. With that ½ hour of naptime, I’ll be well rested, and happy.

You might be thinking: “yeah, right – naptime. My boss will never stand for that.” Well he shouldn’t, he should lie down like the rest of us. The company should make it a rule: no phones calls, no talking, and if you snore, close your door. That last one could be printed and hung on a wall:


Mondays are another issue that would benefit by naptime. How many Monday mornings do you come into the office tired from the weekend? Well, with naptime you get to rest it off. You are actually working off your tiredness and benefiting the company. Back from a vacation, maybe you worked around the house that week, or did mountain climbing; don’t tell me that a nap wouldn’t help about 2 pm in the afternoon the first day back.


Saturday, July 01, 2006


You have all seen her standing there. She’s usually about 5’4” tall, sometimes thin as a rail, and totally bored out of her mind. She is just 17 or 18 and has an ingrown hostility that she harbors for anyone not cool, or over the age of 30. She can hardly speak or write, and the last time she smiled in public she was about 12 years old. I’m talking about that little girl behind the counter, the one who is in customer service, the one that should greet you with a smile and act like she’s interested in helping you.

I go into a sandwich shop, look at the menu, unsure of what I want because of the many choices. There behind the counter stands Ms.Wanda Iwonderwhy, salesgirl and franchise representative, public relation’s best foot forward, our public school tax dollars at work, ready to take my order. Well almost ready. First we need to get her attention. I look at her; she is looking at the ceiling, hoping I go away so she doesn’t have to make this sale.

Ms. Iwonderwhy finally looks at me and says: “Yes?”
I think, “Great, we are building a relationship!”
I say: “I’d like a Tuscan Sandwich.” she counters with both a long face and a question; “You want the roll or the ciabatta bread?”
“Ciabatta bread.”
“You want an old one or a new one?”
“Huh?? Uh a new one, I don’t like anything that is lying around for a few days.
Suddenly our relationship is reaching a newer and higher plain, one of mutual understanding.
“What’s the difference?”
“Well look at the ad on the wall and it tells you.”
That’s what I like in a relationship, honesty, and total disclosure.
“Give me the old way, the meat is probably fresher.”
Without another word, she walks away, looking bored, as she slinks toward the meat pile to assemble the sandwich. I watch her closely, taking care that she doesn’t spit in the sandwich.

I firmly believe that before Ms. Iwonderwhy leaves this Earth, she will have either become a traffic maid, work for the MVD, or a prison guard at some women’s facility in a upstate New York jailhouse.