Friday, September 29, 2006


This afternoon I decided to rest my eyes, and pulled back the old recliner, propped a book over my eyes to keep the light out, and started to rest the old eyes. I wasn’t sleeping, just resting the peepers for further use.

Suddenly I heard the phone ring but didn’t pay any attention to it since #2 Son was home, and it probably was for him anyway. I returned to my rest mode, and tried to remember what I was resting about when the kid comes down stairs and taps me on the foot, hands me the portable phone and says “It’s Mom, she wants to talk to you.”

After a brief interrogation by TLW (The Little Woman), where I usually plead either: ignorance, forgiveness or outright denial of the posed question I realized one of my eyes had gone bad. I mean really bad! I was so blurry, yet the other eye (right) was fine! Oh God, what happened?

The lens in my glasses had popped out of the frame, and it scared me to death. Now I had to get one of those little eyeglass kits and try to screw in the frame to hold the lens.

Have you ever tried to screw in the frame with the tiny little screws, and the magnetic screwdriver? The screw dances on the head of the screwdriver, my fingers are too big and get in the way of securing the screw, and I am going cross-eyed trying to manage the whole operation. Time after time I tried to screw in the tiny little screw, time after time it would not take.

I occurred to me that perhaps the screw was too large for the hole. I thought: nah, the screws should all be universal in size, especially since we are going so small. But being an inquisitive person at times, I unscrewed the handle of the screwdriver and noticed that the screw I was using was larger than the others. I chose another smaller screw, and thought: “Great even smaller, why not.”

The tiny screw went in on the first try! Yes! I did it! Or did I? Now I have to fit the lens into the frame, and align the frame holes to match for the screw. Of course you have to handle the lens and get fingerprints on the lens. I grab the lens, squeeze the frame around the lens and now try to align the frame and fit the lens and hold the screw and not look cross-eyed and ignore the arthritis that is now settling in my hand as a headache starts to take over.

Slowly I squeeze, squinting and twisting. In goes the lens; carefully I get it to fit properly into the frame as the screw sets into place! I look at the glasses and smile. I notice that the lens needs to be cleaned.

Somewhere children are playing, and somewhere the sun sets, somewhere flowers bloom in all their glorious splendor, but I’ll never see it, that damned lens popped out again!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Ever since I was about 7 years of age and able to fully read, I have been reading the Sunday comics from the NY Daily News, and later in life the Comic section in Newsday and even the NY Post. That’s 54 years of comic reading!

In the 54 years of reading the “Jokes” as we called them in my childhood in Brooklyn, I always read them quietly, and I must say religiously. I always make sure to read all the installments and the one panels too. Reading them has left me self-conscious because I am older with older children, and here I am still reading the comics!

But I was wondering why I do this and came to realize it is a good link to my childhood. I can go back to them every Sunday and just be the little boy I once was, in my quiet little world. It is probably the most peaceful time in my life, and I capture it every Sunday night. I get into bed and while TLW (The Little Woman) has on the TV, I read both the Newsday comics first, then The NY Daily News. I feel that self-consciousness as TLW watches the TV, and think I’m in bed with another grown-up reading the comics! But hey, we do see each other in our underware at one time or another.

I also try to read the daily comics too. Some carry through the week into Sunday and some are just entertaining. Even the strips with political commentary, whether I agree or not, I read. I love to see the different styles of art and coloration, verbal style and caricatures that the artists develop. I know from an early age the different styles are like signatures, Chester Gould’s Dick Tracey to Chic Young’s Blondie. The best of course is Peanuts, and I can read the same strip over and over again and not tire of it. Charles Shultz was a genius, with his commentary on everyday life, my association with Charlie Brown and all the different characters that inhabit his strip are in my life, including Snoopy. Pure genius!

It is the one outlet I will never give up, so I stay a child forever.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Now that TLW (The Little Woman) and I have settled into our new chairs in our den, an interesting phenomenon has occurred. It seems that we are both drifting, drifting, drifting off into sleep. For myself, the sleep is short lived. For TLW it is a total surrender to the sand man.

Actually, I am just resting my eyes, from the heavy duty that I put them through during the many years as a designer, so it really isn’t sleep, I just close my eyes and think. TLW on the other hand folds her arms, shoes off, remote in hand, blanket on, eyes closed and a warriors face, a face that says: “If you dare to wake me up, even if the house is on fire, I will rip your face off, and nail it on the back of your head.

We start the evening off by asking each other: “What’s on?” We end by saying to each other: “Why don’t you go to bed?”
Of course if you ask either one of us, “Who sleeps more?”, she will point her finger at me, but you won’t be able to hear her because she is snoring so loud.

The problem seems to be the chairs. The chairs are recliners, very thick and soft and cushiony. They envelope you and you can’t help but feel really relaxed. Right now, I’m on one of the chairs, typing into the laptop and

Monday, September 25, 2006


TLW (The Little Woman) and I on occasion will go off on the spur of the moment to shop for something we may need. It might be a TV, or a chair, or even an appliance like a dishwasher. Whatever we are out to shop for, we are “JUST LOOKING.” Just looking is very expensive.

A few weeks ago we decided to shop for recliners for our den. We weren’t going to buy, just look to get an idea what is out there. This approach of just looking is our policy. We went from store to store and town to town, starting in Huntington and ending in Hicksville. We see something we like and we buy it, while “Just looking.” A sales person sees us, asks if we need help and we say: “No thank you, just looking.” Then they scratch their palms!

That fatal morning:
TLW: “I want to take a ride to Route 110 in Huntington to look for some chairs for the den.”
Me: “Are we buying them?”
TLW: “No, I just want to look.”
Me: “OK”
TLW: “Now remember, we are just looking, not buying.”
Me: “We always say that but wind up buying anyway.”
TLW: “Well, not this time.”

We buy two rockers.

After we find ourselves using our credit card, we decide that we will keep the cost down, no frills, just keep the cost within reason. Keeping the cost down usually means it will cost me for scotch guard for the fabric, insurance, accessories, pillows for the couch to match the chairs, and maybe even lunch!

Usually from the end of the last word in the sentence “Just looking” to the delivery date depends on store policy.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Writing these little blogs almost everyday is a lot of fun, once I get started. All my creativity usually starts early in the morning, and the earlier it is the better. All my inspiration comes at the early hours because the blood is rushing back into my brain as I plot my day.

This early morning process has served me well in my career as well as in my hobbies, so I know it works for me.

But where does it begin you ask?


However, I do wash my hands before I type the blog.

I know, I’m disgusting, but, hey, it is the truth.


What can I tell you? I try to be honest and you are thinking what you will. TLW (The Little Woman) I’m sure is mortified by now, thinking: “I never knew he was like that? Why didn’t his Mother warn me?” Okay sweetheart, are you going to warn anybody when #1 and #2 get married. Nooooo-we want them married with children, no giving away family secrets.

I apologize for this little indiscretion, and pass the toilet paper, please.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Kevin Walsh
ORDER from

It’s finally here! What every nostalgic New Yorker has been waiting for! And for students of New York City history, who never experienced all of the past that NYC offered and still offers, this is a treasure trove!

Take a stroll down Memory Lane, view the finer details of life in NYC. See all there is to see and know all there is to know, of the things you have probably forgotten about New York City. Get a feel for life in the early turn of the century, go back to the past and view it first hand. Best of all, know where to look for it.

You will want this book if you have not followed the website from week to week, finding this a great guide to the past! If you have followed the web site, then this is a great reference for the future, and a great coffee table book. If you don’t have a coffee table, then this is a great reason to buy one!

There are tons of facts and tidbits, photos and categories such as:

All this covers the five boroughs and more.

There are great links on the website that take you to other cities, showing you comparisons and history. You will learn things that are fun to know, yet alone see in photos. Learn about the makers and shakers of the five boroughs, the details that gave birth to the greatest city on earth, the beautiful and the not so beautiful of the Big Apple.

The guy that designed and created this site and wrote the book, Kevin Walsh, used to work under me at Publishers Clearing House and did everything there was to do. He proofread, wrote and did mechanical art for my design group. Besides that he is just a smart SOB and brilliant in more ways than one, and just a genuine nice guy. So give the guy a break and buy his book already! It will make you a better New Yorker, and a better American. Besides, the price is right.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Yes I am, I just finished viewing the roller derby episode and can now say I am hooked. Can therapy be far behind?

Watching the show and hearing the voice over, it sounded like I was the voice over! My #1 Son writes it, and maybe I’m a little prejudice, but I do enjoy the show. The comments and points of reference that are made, I keep thinking: “Hey, that’s what I would say!” Of course my son says it a whole lot better than I could ever say it.

I suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome of the mind. There is a little voice in my head that I hear, and I carefully guard against it ever speaking out. The things it says are about what I see or hear, and sometimes I even feel ashamed of it.

If you love sports and competition, that is: competitions where others are doing the sweating while you eat and watch, then ESPN Sports Classics is for you. It is a very sophisticated look at sports commentary and production techniques with a twist, or should I say a twisted mind. The involvement of watching a game or competition of any kind with just the outcome in view is a shallow and unimaginative way to view sports. You need to view with other things that are just as important to the game as is the outcome or final score.

Allow me to elaborate. You are watching the Mets or Yankees play a game. The batter stands before the batters box, steps in and undoes his batter’s glove by undoing the Velcro. Between each pitch he does the same thing, tugging open the strap and closing it again. Velcro doesn’t come undone that easily. He grabs the top of his batting helmet and pushes it downward. He spits through clinched teeth, and if you are lucky, can catch the flutter of sunflower shells as they spring from his lips. All this before the first pitch is ever thrown! If the batter is a seasoned veteran he will even grab his crotch for you, or better still during a rainy day wipe his bat on it!

There are nine other positions that require those kinds of special skills on the old diamond. I wouldn’t even begin to cover the coaches, umpires or managers.

Of course Tourette’s Syndrome of the mind is not delegated to sports only. Listening to TLW (The Little Woman), your boss, somebody at the supermarket, and my favorite of all: the conversations of someone using a cell phone are all fodder.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


There are few things in life that move me to tears. Sometimes a commercial, other times a story about a success after hardship. Whenever any of my kids do good, I admit it, I get emotional. After I cry I call myself a sick SOB and move on. I try not to let anyone see it but I do sniffle in the eyes so to speak. #1 Son’s graduation from UNC, #2 Son’s graduation from High School and getting up out of bed when I call him come to mind.

TLW (The Little Woman) on the other hand makes me cry when she cuts down on the olive oil, or doesn’t bring me home a chocolate cream pie when she goes to buy a container of coffee for us. This too is sadness, and I secretly weep.

Well this afternoon I had a deeply spiritual moment. In the early A.M., TLW left on the kitchen counter a recipe for me to make. It is “eggplant soup” and comes highly recommended by my much older sister “Tessie.” This is my first attempt at soup so I diligently took the task on. I shopped for the necessary ingredients, making sure I was buying only the freshest ones possible. I started to cut, dice, peel and seed sorting and crushing garlic and cutting onions. I put it all in the pot and let it simmer for two hours.

It came time to test the attempt. I grabbed a slice of thyme and oregano infused bread and dipped into the sauce. Pardon me as I wipe my eyes again. The taste was, well I had to wipe away the little tears that formed on the corners of my eyes, it took the breath of life away from me momentarily as I fell back into a chair to compose myself and get over the experience.

If you would like the recipe, send me an e-mail and I will be happy to send it to you.
Caution: make sure you have plenty of Kleenex.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I have a habit of always finding myself on a line that will take forever. Usually at the supermarket I get behind a lady that needs to write a check. This will cause the whole world to slow down. Immediately the cashier or check out person shifts gears: slow motion. Get the manager-by calling him or her in a noisy crowded store, and hope the manager hears the page.

If that scenario is not good enough, try out the price check. You are next in line, but the person in front wants to buy something and it has no price. Again same store, same noise and crowd, and same page for the manager. The purchaser then slowly writes a check to pay for it.

Of course there’s the bank line, yes, the bank line. It’s lunch hour, everyone comes to the bank on his or her lunch hour, just as the tellers are all leaving for lunch! You of course are standing on the one line that extends across the street with a teller who is looking at the clock every other second. Who is she taking care of you ask? Some store clerk with a bag full of loose change, checks and stacks of cash that need counting, receipts, and mysterious slips of paper filled out.

This morning #2 Son was running late for school, and since he had only 2 minutes before class was to start we were in a real hurry. Guess how this turns out. We have to wait for a slow moving car to go down my block so I can pull out of my driveway that is now in front of us down the street. We finally turn off to the main road and BINGO we are behind Joe Cucchinello’s Landscaping truck and trailer, with 5 or 6 illegal aliens hanging on, smiling down on us at 12 mph. The landscaper turns off and we get a red light. As the light turns green what pulls in front of us? I’m glad you ask. I pride myself in my inquisitive readers. A SCHOOL BUS WITH FIVE THOUSAND SCHEDULED STOPS TO MAKE AND WITH NERVOUS MOTHERS HELPING THE LITTLE TYKES ON THE BUS AT EVERY STOP! Would the bus driver wave us on? NOOOOOOOOO. Finally I smell hope, we spot the highway and get on. Right behind the only truck with a wide load doing 4 mph and no way to pass him!

#2 Son was late this morning.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Did you ever spend time with deaf people?
I spent time with a deaf lady yesterday. She is a very nice and giving lady. She is very opinionated, but so what. I said: “SO WHAT.”

I attended a small dinner party yesterday with TLW (the little woman), a beautiful single young 32-year-old woman who is a veterinarian and her parents. The Hostess was a 78-year-old deaf woman, who is just happy to see you and chat with you. I SAID: CHAT WITH YOU.” YOU” “CHAT WITH YOU.”

Rosetta the deaf woman can barely hear what you say, and can’t understand what she hears. She wears two hearing aids, but they don’t seem to help her much. Talking to Rosetta means you can only talk about one thing for the afternoon. The reason you talk about one thing only is: by the time you are done repeating yourself and rephrasing what you just said it’s time to go home!

TLW: “Hi Rosetta, how are you doing? It’s good to see you again.”
ROSETTA: Come again dear?”
TLW: I said Hi, How are you doing, good to see you again”
ROSETTA: “Gas is high? I just paid $2.59 down the road. No dear, the price is not going up again.”
TLW: “No, Rosetta, I said it’s good to see you again.”
ROSETTA: If you say so dear!!???!!???

While conversing with Rosetta, I was sitting next to the young lady (Jennifer), and as I shouted she jumped. I had to apologize for yelling and she understood, but by the time we left, we were all a little jumpy and a little hoarse from all the yelling. That is, except for Rosetta.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Yesterday was what I hoped would be a great day. Yes, both football and baseball all in one afternoon. The best part was the games were scheduled one after the other. TLW (The Little Woman) had announced that she would be away all afternoon because of a baby shower, so the TV was all mine and ready for my assistant coach and my nephew, me the Macaroni Man. (See MY NEPHEW THE MACARONI MAN
8 Apr 2006)

For two weeks I prepped for this day, reading the rosters and stats of the players on both the Jets and Mets. Figuring out the strategies of both the gridiron and the diamond, bunt or punt. Yes, I was ready! Unfortunately, my teams weren’t.

My Mets were suppose clinch their division, which would lead them to the NLC Series, then vanquish their foes and trounce the hated Yankees in the World Series, with a win yesterday. My Jets, with a win over New England, would take control of the Eastern Division and rule for the rest of the year, then SUPERBOWL!

There is a fellow named Patrick Holland, a really nice chap with a bad habit and a keen mind. His bad habit is he’s a Yankees fanatic; his keen mind put into prospective the NY Mets and what METS stands for over the years. (My Entire Team Sucks) which has been pretty accurate until I thought, this year when all would change. They should name the team the NY Hoovers, because yesterday they did suck. The manager Willies Randolph looked like he was at the ballpark because someone gave him a free pass. He even got to sit with the ballplayers. Putting in one bum after another, with a lot of his stars on the bench, they get shut out by the mediocre Pirates from Pissburg. He was giving me the Willies.

The Jets on the other hand came out looking like flower girls at a wedding for two lesbians. They stunk, causing me to have trouble holding my fried chicken down, which by the way was as bad as the Jets. Their head coach, Eric Mangia learned all his football at the New England Patriots buffet table, and the team played like a bunch of green canolis in the first half. They staged a comeback, but it was not enough. They should not comeback, but go away.

Being an armchair quarterback is not easy. There is a lot of prep one must do to be successful: beer or Jack Daniels, chips or tacos, fried chicken or meatball heroes? All these questions have to be worked out one hour prior to game time or else you can make some bad decisions that may even agree with the head coach. So after all this preparation, conferencing with the Macaroni Man, the reading and analysis, we lose twice!

I tried to get help, going to a Sports Psychiatrist thinking he could cure my addiction to the two teams, but when I walked into his office he was wearing a Jets helmet and had his face painted orange and blue, mumbling something about the “New, New York Islanders!”

God, somebody help me!

Sunday, September 17, 2006


It seems that whenever I like something, it doesn’t like me. For instance: peas, carrots, corn, beets are all vegetables that I love. The problem is I’m not supposed to eat them because they turn to sugars, and being a diabetic what else is new?

Now my favorite of all time veggie is spinach. You read recently in the news how spinach now is under surveillance as e-coli is an issue. Spinach, what Popeye taught us kids in the 50’s to eat, is now banned and dangerous! Somewhere, Popeye is nauseated, swelling and vomiting away because he ate spinach.

What can be next?

IF YOU LIKE BEANS, OLIVES, ICE CREAM, MONEY, STEAKS, AND ZETA-JONES, BEWARE! All the above-mentioned will soon be on the endangered or banned, or I can’t eat them list. (Some already are, ice cream and Zeta-Jones.)


Bagels are long gone as is cream cheese, cake and donuts, oh how I wish I had one now.

I love lobster, shrimp, scallops and claims, soon will be verboten, as the diet Nazi finds out I like them.

Saw dust, marinara only. Maybe a little dust and some air with plain water will fill me up. Turkey? I hate turkey, never liked it, chicken I’m tired of since that is all I eat.

Listen: do me a favor? If I’m ever at your house, leave a box of the white powdered donuts or glazed or even custard filled laying open where I can squirrel one away? Please? OH, don’t tell the Little Woman I said that, not that she will deny me one, I just feel guilty when I look at her if I do.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Dear friends:

You are wondering what the hell does Felix Unger have to do with the price of onions. Well, I am Felix Unger. Yes that dust rag toting, quiche making, apron wearing househusband sob is really me, and it is scaring me silly. I’m starting to see dust in corners, spots on the glasses and recipes that need onions or something to kick it up a notch.

I can’t wait to do the dishes so I can sit down and relax; I even think I’m retaining water!

TLW (The Little Woman) is totally unaware of my dilemma, and if she were she would probably laugh at me.

So what am I to do?

I decided to fix the leaky faucet in the tub, rip out some trees in the yard that I don’t want, and eat right out of the pot (screw the dishes), and for starters go to a bar and start a fight. Of course this is my attempt to reclaim my manhood, and by God I will. The only thing in my way is I still have to vacuum the rugs, sweep the floors and clean out the dishwasher, not to mention the laundry. Oh, in case you forgot, I still have to plan dinner for tonight.

Joe (Felix)

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Way back in 1975 I met a man by the name of Frankie. Frankie was a free-lance artist that worked for me in NYC, and one of his passions was a good laugh. Frankie was a rotund fellow about 5’9” either way. Frankie was a good-natured jolly guy, who loved to laugh and play jokes on people. Although he never pulled any tricks on me up until then, he was a good prankster and got most people in the office. After a while Frankie left the company for a full time job.

In 1982 I joined Publishers Clearing House and whom do I see there but Frankie! Frankie had taken a job at the Clearing House and surprised me by hiding behind a cubicle as I went into my interview with my future Boss. After the interview, my new Boss Ralph said he had a surprise for me and led me out to the studio where Frankie jumped out. It was a home coming of sorts and we got caught up on the latest news with each other.

As the years progressed Frankie and I had some fun teasing each other and doing things that only friends would do to each other. One morning I arrived at work and went into my office, and as I unlocked the door I look at my chair and there sits all the supplies for the Photostat room, There was gallons of chemicals, photo paper, etc. that was delivered the day before. I immediately knew who did this and planned my revenge. I must admit it was overkill, but what the hell; it was for Frankie that I did it.

I rolled all the supplies over to his desk, put them all on top of his desk, along with his chair, and garbage can and anything he had hidden under his desk. I retreated back to my office and waited for Frankie to make his appearance. One of the Big Shots comes in, walks by his office and just shakes his head “no”. Frankie arrives and comes straight to my office, stands in the doorway and says “Good morning!” I nod a “Good morning” back and he drifts to his office laughing. All of a sudden there is a huge belly laugh as he discovers my handy work. He wasn’t done laughing yet. I make a sign that reads: “FOR SALE, ONLY A FEW THOUSAND DOLLARS, NEED TO SELL QUICKLY, CALL AFTER 11:30 PM” and hung the sign on his new car where it sat the whole day while Frankie worked and hundreds of people went by. Calls he got, even though he finally found the sign after 6:30 PM and removed it! What he didn’t see however was the string of Kotex I put together from the 6 or 8 boxes I stole from the Janitor’s closet. I hung the Kotex string on his grill, and since he approached his car that evening from the rear, he never saw the string, driving all the way home from Port Washington to his home in Kings Park!

Frankie passed away in January of 1992, and there was a large crowd of friends and family, that not only mourned him, but mourned themselves for losing a little bit of their lives too.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Yesterday TLW (The Little Woman) and I decided to go to the mall to look for some candles to place on our dining room table. Before we even got there, she decided we should stop at Penney’s, which is outside the mall, and see if they carried anything. Next to Penney’s is a furniture store the TLW wanted to visit to see if they carried coffee tables for our den. BIG MISTAKE!

As we entered the store, greeting us was a older lady about 67 or 68 with a name tag on and one eye half closed due to an infection that made her look like a pirate. The Pirate Lady gave a circular to TLW and asked where we were from. TLW answered and we continued into the store telling the lady we were: “Just looking.”

As we were looking at tables, the lounge chairs came into view and TLW immediately went over to them to check them out. As we started trying them on for size, with absolutely no intent of buying one, we suddenly hear The Pirate Lady behind us starting to give us details. Half listening we started trying on each chair for height, back and leg support when we reclined them and head support. From chair to chair we went, The Pirate Lady following us about, explaining every fabric, every color, and nuances in the construction of the chairs. We see a second row of chairs and everything repeats itself, The Pirate Lady following us, giving the details as we pondered suddenly which chair we would buy. I sat in this one chair that was the least expensive chair in the inventory and found it to my liking. It made my feet comfortable and held my head just right yet when I reclined it supported me very well in its firmness. I really liked it. The Pirate Lady says: “No, your body language is not good in that chair” My body language was not good for her commission. Since we were now suddenly buying, I had to compromise and choose a chair that TLW liked since we were buying two.

How did I come to buying two chairs?

The Pirate Lady!

Beware The Pirate Lady; she will sell you anything you don’t want to buy. Granted we talked about buying new chairs for the Den since we didn’t like the ones we own, and the purchase made sense, but the timing was a surprise.

The Pirate Lady was so good at selling that she even has a set of questions that she shoots at you from the lead question. As an example, she says to me as I sign away on the terms of the chairs:

Giants or Jets fan?

Me: Jets!?

She gives me a thumbs up and asks: Do you have any confidence in Chad Pennington?

Had I said I was a Giants fan, she would have had questions about Eli Manning. But it didn’t end there, no, The Pirate Lady then stayed in ear shot as we started to look for the candles in this store, and again The Pirate Lady gives us an assessment on accessories that the store carries.
TLW and I start to walk faster, The Pirate Lady picks up speed, we dodge left and feint right, and she’s right behind us! Panic is starting to sink in, we start to run to the front of the store, The Pirate Lady keeping pace when finally someone intercepts her and we burst through the doors and head to Penney’s.

As we walk around Penney’s, I’m starting to look over my shoulder, wondering if she followed us into Penney’s too.

P.S. We did find some candles, but The Pirate Lady haunted us the whole time!

Monday, September 11, 2006


This past weekend the family and I spent our time in North Carolina and Duke Country, all in the Raleigh Durham area to attend my cousin’s son’s wedding at Duke University. It is a very beautiful area of North Carolina, a campus that is prestigious and filled with old American tradition born of the Deep South. North Carolina may not be very deep, but deep enough to hear a “y’all” here and there and an always polite “Good morning” from strangers.

Getting around “Blue Devil” country is not easy. If you don’t have at least a map, don’t leave your hotel room. It is filled with country roads that have hidden street signs behind magnolia trees and woods, woods, woods. I was fortunate enough to take with me the GPS or Global Positioning Satellite system that I really needed to get from the airport to the hotel to the restaurant the night before to the South Point Mall to the Duke Chapel to the Washington Duke Inn on the wedding day, to the car rental to the go home the following day, in other words everywhere I went.

I discovered as I went from one place to another that a growing hostility was developing right before my eyes. It seems TLW (The Little Woman) was becoming annoyed that I had gotten a device that told me where to go. It seems that she has been telling me where to go for years and this was becoming a little unsettling for TLW. Where the device said turn here, TLW would want to contradict the wisdom of that move. I decided that she is afraid that I will be giving the GPS more attention, especially at Christmas time when the GPS and I will be celebrating our first anniversary. I tried to assure TLW that although I will be celebrating the anniversary, I would not forget her. TLW should understand that sleeping with the GPS will not in any way infringe upon her sleep, nor in any way compromise the gift I will give her on our anniversary in June. I have just about decided to hide the GPS for it’s own protection, at least until the hostility dies away and it is safe once again for the GPS.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I am a very brave soul. Every day I take my chances as I drive #2 son back and forth to the local community college. The college itself is not dangerous, just the parking lot and the exits from them.

Some of the kids have a blind faith in their ability to pull out of a parking space and drive off. What they do is close their eyes and yell: “Here I come!” This is taught at the Helen Keller School of Driving. You generally can catch them as they emerge suddenly from their space. The Stevie Wonders of aggressive driving.

Then we have the caller. This is the young lady who phones ahead to the next stop sign or traffic light. All this is possible because she had a phone job. Unlike a nose job, the surgeon adds something rather than takes away. With this miracle surgery, she can still lead a normal life, thank God! When she drives she doesn’t need her rear view or side mirrors, since you better watch out for her.

What college parking lot would be complete without a dude? This is a young fellow who wears baseball caps backwards, hangs his arm over the steering wheel and calls everybody dude. Thinks he and the SUV he drives are cool. Like the young lady ahead of him, his cellular is surgically added to his physicality with such permanence that he is able to phone in his next move every hour, on the hour, even while he sleeps, as the world eagerly awaits his next move. He generally follows you so close you can feel his breath on your neck.

The emergence of new phenomena: the Revolutionary takes on a whole new dimension. He usually drives an old car, in dire need of a muffler, paint job and fender. Generally smokes and slides in and out of lanes with abandon. Generally takes up all causes, smokes and has boots of some kind that are old and untied. Wears baggy pants and t-shirts with a message. His head is adorned to look like a revolutionary freedom fighter in Bolivia or some country in South America, waiting to kill a “Gringo” Can utter words but prefer not to since he would have to engage in a conversation. He feels all white men are the root cause of evil in the world.

As for me, I was planning on buying a Humvee to drive through the parking lots, but I hear you can get a good deal at the Pentagon for a used tank, WWII vintage.

Please Note: I will be taking a break from this Blog until Monday. See you then.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


You have nothing to lose but your sanity.

Number Two Son asked me yesterday how he could get to register to vote. I suggested he go to the library and get a registration form. Being how I was going to the library that day, I picked one up for him and brought it home where he immediately filled out all the information requested.

I have suspected for some time now that #2 Son is a commie, or at least a left wing bleeding heart. At his age so was I, even joining the JFK bandwagon of Young Democrats for Kennedy during the election year of 1960. Being how I was too young to vote, I handed out flyers and did other things to annoy my father, a staunch Republican.

When Vladimir was done filling out the form, he announced to me he was registering as a Republican, with a dumb smirk on his face. I suggested to him that he not reveal how he would vote, or be registered as since it wasn’t my business and he should be his own man. When it became time to mail out the form, it being a self-mailer with a gum strip, he became a little confused so I helped him. I couldn’t help but notice he wasn’t registered as a Republican but instead for some family worker’s party that has as much appeal to the general public as a flatulent horse standing in front of you.

#2 Son wishes to learn Spanish so he can communicate with the low scale work force, and take up their banner of impovishment and menial jobs. What and how I don’t know. If he wins a Pulitzer for all this, the world will applaud, but no one will ask where he got the money to do all this. He got it from a word that can translate in English or Espanol, Italian or Francais, Portugese or Romanian, German or Dutch-“Papa.”

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Well the day before Labor Day, Sunday my neighbors invited me over to their house (see Tuesday April 25) for a neighborhood party. At the party was a neighbor I see all the time and like to talk to because he’s my age or they’re about. Maybe he’s a little younger, maybe not, but I’m definitely prettier. His name is Tim and we can drink together for we are the big boys of the hood.

We were trying to prevent alcoholism in the hood by removing as much as possible of my Man Bill’s stock. Thank God for his lovely wife Carol who supplied us with all the necessary equipment and stock. In these very long, thin and narrow glasses we poured vodka, Liqueur Stregga, gin, Southern Comfort, and something else that escapes me. Sitting next to me was a sweet little old lady from Brooklyn that was visiting her daughter Christine. She tried to keep up but fell a little short. Fortunately she’s ok, after all she is from Brooklyn.

The action flowed fast and poured easy as we polished off one shot after another in our attempt to keep the hood sober. What ever was offered, we took care of, knowing our good deeds would be rewarded. And indeed they were, as they brought out “Avenue C Iced Tea”, a concoction of tea and the vile alcohol that shares space in the mixing pitcher. Members of the hood devised this concoction, and they should be commended for their fine work. Isn’t it great in America?

Monday, September 04, 2006


Today is Labor Day, and it reminds me of an incident that occurred many years ago on this very holiday weekend. I was visiting my sister for the holiday, and after dinner we were sitting outside on her patio with her next-door neighbors Lenny and Maria. Maria and Lenny are the parents of 4 boys who now are all grown up and married. But being boys they were rambunctious and alive with activity, and as you can imagine made for a handful for any parent., All four boys are good boys and were when they were growing up. Summer vacation for the parents was hectic, loud and probably very busy.

As we were sitting, Maria was getting happier by the moment, as she anticipated the beginning of a new school year in a few days. “I’m so happy I can’t wait for school to start” were her exact words as I recall. I left that evening thinking: “SHE is much too happy about school starting.” I decided to do something about it, and devised a plan for the next day. It was late Tuesday afternoon or early evening and I called Maria. The conversation went like this:

Phone rings –

Maria: “HELLO”

Me: “Hello, Mrs. Zafonte?”

Maria: “Yes?”

Me: “My name is Dr. Tobias, I’m the assistant school district supervisor and my office is calling all the parents of children in our district to advise them that due to a strike by the school nurse’s labor union, there will be no school for an indefinite period of time. By law the school district cannot operate without a full time nurse on the premises of each school building. We will notify you upon any change as to when school will begin once the strike is over.”

Maria: “Oh God, my life is ruined. Thank you for calling.”

I hung up laughing over her reaction. The Little Woman informs me that I better get a hold of Maria and tell her the truth, or the whole neighborhood will be in an uproar and the kids very happy, not to mention what she would do to me when she got a hold of my neck. I decided once again the Little Woman was right and got #2 son, then very young to come with me as a human shield. I drive over to her house with #2 son in front of me and knock on her back door. On her steps are three or four very happy kids planning their extended summer vacation. There stands Maria behind her ironing board ironing when I walk in looking like she needs a drink. I ask her: “Did you get a call from Dr. Tobias?” I tell her the truth.

There was no anger in her voice or in her face, but a big sigh of relief and she blurts out: “Oh thank God!”

Saturday, September 02, 2006


The Country is celebrating a holiday this weekend, and for the first time in years I can't really consider myself part of it. Being how I'm retired I can be a casual observer, and even advise as to how to properly celebrate the holiday. There are certain things one must do and consider in the ritual of this time-honored celebration. For starters: look at the time between now and Tuesday and say: "Wow, I don't have to go back until Tuesday!" If you don't care for that one, how about this: "Gee, I can spend Sunday afternoon and evening doing anything I want, and not care about Monday and work!"

You will need certain "gear" to facilitate the celebration of Labor Day. Tall beer glasses or long stem wine glasses, a snack tray and a good set of bar-b-q tools should help. Cross word puzzles and road maps will all lend enjoyment to the weekend. DON"T FORGET TO GET A BIG JUICY STEAK for at least one day in the weekend, and oh, before I forget, ice cream is a must end of the summer treat.

Of course once Monday evening comes, you should be immediately put on suicide watch as you fade into the Sunday evening blues, with weight gain, and the thought of going back to work. Don't forget to ask yourself: "Where the hell did the weekend go??"


Friday, September 01, 2006


It seems I’m getting an education on everything in the world, and then some. Sitting in the car with my son while I drive him to school every day has become a “learning” experience. #2 Son knows everything, sees everything and hears EVERYTHING!

I was up in my studio on the computer and #2 Son brings up what appeared to me to be a stranger. The “Stranger” had on a funky hat, beard and long hair. Of course #2 has to be funny and say: “I’d like you to meet my girlfriend.” Of course I’m not thinking that he’s kidding and say to myself, “Well at least this one looks more intelligent than his last one.” It came time to leave for school so I tell #2 Son to get ready to go, and as I go out the door I see the “stranger” as he is heading across the street to the Ignellzi household and realize the “stranger” is Joey Ignellzi! I shout out “Joey?” and Joey turns around and we chat. He tells me something about himself and I tell him of myself and off we go in different directions. Once in the car I ask #2 Son:

“How come Joey isn’t working today.”

#2 Son: “You know he isn’t in the food business.”

“Yes, he works with his Mom in a old age home.”

#2 Son: “Yup, the old people sleep on Friday, that’s why he’s off.”

With that I took him to school then went home and took a nap.