DelBloggolo

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

FOUR SISTERS – OR IS THIS ANY WAY TO LIVE MY LIFE?

Yes, four (4) sisters. More sisters than I need. You need a sister? Have I got a sister for you. All my life has been populated with women, and although I know how they think, I still don’t understand them. Now when you are not the oldest child in the family, you notice how much power the oldest child can wield. When the oldest child is a girl, brother watch out! They become dictatorial, all powerful, omnipotent, regal, or downright bossy. You won’t see that again until you marry. They make you do everything. They make your life miserable, bossing you around starting each sentence with “Mommy said,” even though Mommy is nowhere to be found.

And where is Dad? Dad is hiding out in some broom closet because he’s tired of being bossed around by two females. One does not limit his misery to just the oldest sister, no he gets younger versions of the same torture, all with their own unique brand or style. Many times I thought I could maybe throw MY weight around because of my position in the pecking order. No way Jose, they yell “MAAAAAA!” And of course Ma is always around too yell, “Leave your sister alone.”

Let me give you an example, and a story that is true as the day is long. One fine Saturday afternoon, during the summer sometime many years ago, when all my Mother’s children still resided at home, I walked into the living room and noticed my Dad was watching a Mets game on the color TV. All of a sudden, one of the younger witches went over to the TV and changed the channel on him. I immediately said “Hey-you can’t do that!” There was an immediate response to that with kicking, biting and punching by the little witch, and as this was going on, one by one all the other witches joined in. Do you know how difficult it is to defend yourself, and NOT belt one of them? Well when the dust cleared, my glasses were broken, my shirt pocket ripped half off, and I had a 3-inch cut on my neck. And where do you ask was my Dad? He went down stairs to watch the black and white TV.

Fighting is not the only past time for this covenant of class A number 1 witches. They could maintain a steady stream of ways to annoy me. One is to run the vacuum cleaner into my feet as they do their chores, or take the dinner hour when I’m sitting at the table in the middle of my meal, enjoying a good pork chop, when sister #3 has a date, but can’t go out until she does the dishes. Well, she just grabs my plate, empties it out in the garbage, and starts to clean the dish. There goes pork chop and all. It didn’t end there, as my Mother sent down orders that I was to become the official photographer of all family events that featured either sister #3 or #4. Sister #3 played the clarinet in the school band, and sister #4 was a baton twirler in the same band. You are talking parades all over Long Island, chasing the band, and shooting the same two until you become downright exhausted. Did it end there? No! “You will help sister #4 with her twirling, she needs practice.” This edict was from Mother #1. And who got the Father’s Day presents? It wasn’t me.

At the age of 18, I decided that I would enter the monastery and become a monk! I figured that if I took a vow of silence, it would be a small price to pay, and I could hold out in some alpine monastery where they couldn’t find me. Thinking that if I took a vow of silence, it would keep them at bay since none of them can keep quiet longer that a few seconds, and it would discourage their tracking me down. The trouble with this little plan was you get bossed around a lot by the head monk, or the monk key.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them all, as long as they stay married, and boss someone else around. As it is, I got my own boss at home, and frankly, I think she was hired by the 4 witches just so life doesn’t get too enjoyable.

Monday, May 29, 2006

YO SOY UNO AMERICANO!

Yes, but you would never know I was in America. I visited a hospital this weekend, in Uruguay, South America or Brookhaven, NY, I forget which. My first problem was answering some simple questions for the patient. The interrogator was a male nurse from probably the Philippines. His questions were somewhat ordinary such as: “When you av a bowwell movement, do you have trouble googoling?”

I became more alarmed as I noticed the wall had signs in two languages, and I thought that maybe I was in Ontario, but no, those signs are in French and English, these are in Spanish and English.

To further complicate the situation, the patient’s roommate was Hispanic, and the TV was tuned to a Spanish station. The room was packed with Hispanics who I think were coming into the country illegally through a hole in the toilet floor of the hospital room. After a while of sitting, I would jump up a do the rumba, finishing it up with the cha-cha, along with the nurse who was holding a rectal thermometer as I swayed to the Latin beat of Trini Lopez.

Of course there were a few Americans walking about, but they were pushing sunshine carts, and medicine tables. The doctors were all Americans, who spoke English to the nurses, in turn screwed it up anyway. It’s good to know you are getting screwed in your native tongue.

As I walked to and from the room, I noticed a lot of little Hispanic children in flip-flops with their mommas chasing them, yelling, “I calling the gringo!” The child would yell "EEEEEEEEEEEEYYAAAAAAA" You would think they would yell in English!

Well I guess I’ll voy a la mi casa ahora.

Adios amigos

P.S., To Steve O, I think we will have to make a lot of noise to get a present. Let’s try Nima.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

HEY MA? RICHARD DON’T LOOK SO GOOD!

Poor Richard, we knew him just a short while. He was faithful and true, and although he never acknowledged us calling him, he was always there when we looked for him, then one sad day, Richard died. Richard was a pet, a pet that never begged at the table, never jumped on the furniture, and never ever made any noise. and never slept on the bed. Wow, what a pet he was. He couldn’t do any tricks, and he never was in the way. Richard you see was a gold fish. You must wonder how Richard got his name, and I will tell you. He was named after a commercial photographer who used to come to my house every morning to deliver the day be fore’s shoot for my company. My son Michael who was about 6 years old at the time would greet Richard at the door and let him in. Richard the photographer was a bit pompous, and even named his house. (Driftwood) The name was apt if you considered who was living there.

My little son one day decided he needed to have a pet. Having grown up with four sisters, I knew what a pain pets could be. My immediate reaction was to say no, then considered it a few moments more and said no. I put my foot down before we got any pet. My wife however thought otherwise and getting a pet had to be a compromise, so I lifted my foot and followed the little woman to the pet store where we purchase a gold fish.

Well Richard swam around a little bit, and I gave Michael the standard lecture about the responsibility of owning a pet, how he would have to clean the water, feed it and walk it. He understood everything and promised if I weren’t busy doing those things, he would get his Mother right on it.

One day the unthinkable happened (it was the third day of owning Richard), he was doing the sidestroke sort of on the surface of the bowl. The Little Woman in a panic calls me at my office and tells me the bad news. I told her I would call her back so I could gather myself composure and weep silently by myself. I called back and told her to go buy another fish. She thought it was a truly remarkable idea, and praised me for it.

Well Michael came home from school to a black fish, and wanted to know what happened to Richard. We told him that Richard grew up! That’s what happens to gold fish, as they get older.

Three days later, my wife called in another panic, “Richard the II is dead!” said she, “Put a bunch of Books in front of the bowl so he doesn’t see it” says me. But wait, Michael discovers Richard floating on the top of the bowl, “Hey Ma, Richard don’t look so good!” “SHUSH, he’s sleeping” This was a Friday. On Saturday we told Michael that we were getting a dog!

Michael forgot all about Richard.

This is the end of a very sad fish story.

THE LIE, AND LIRR – LOL

Having commuted over 37 years either via the LIRR or the LIE, you can’t help but people watch. People watching cures boredom, and helps you pass the time away. Watching people on the train is particularly more interesting and fun because you can take a longer and closer look at your subject. Of course in the New York Metropolitan area, there are two kinds of trains, and two kinds of commuters. There are the suburbanites that travel to work on a weekday via the LIRR, and there are the subway travelers who live on the subways and shop, eat and sleep on the locals and expresses as they rattle their way across the five boroughs. You should not confuse them with the straphangers who ride the subways from the various commuter lines out of the suburbs.

Among my favorites on the LIRR are all the married men in their thirties, who are committed to their wives, but are making calculating judgments of the young ladies about them. They are dressed nicely and behave admirably in the a.m., but in the p.m. are a little looser in their demeanor about such matters.

Another group I find fascinating is the clique, the club of usually card players. The card players consist of all ages, both men and women, and the women are usually in their 50’s or 60’s. The women can swear, smoke and yell like the men, drink you under the lapboard, and can’t recall if their husbands are alive or dead.

The most endangered of the travelers is the sometimes traveler. They are greeted with pity, anger, and annoyance, as they break all the rules of travel on the LIRR. Their first mistake is getting on before everyone else. They take a seat that is usually occupied by the card players. These seats are facing each other and are usually at the end of the cars, front or back. All of a sudden, the card player finds the intruder, and it can become embarrassing to watch. They greet the interloper with a cold stare, say not a word, and try to pretend the invader doesn’t exist. A great deal is made out of taking out the deck of cards, displaying the lapboard, and spreading out, hoping the outsider gets the hint.

Then there is the lady who occasionally goes into the city to visit or see a play, or has some temporary business to conduct, and decides to take a commuter train during peak hours, after a huge crowd has boarded the train. This is important because the trainman becomes very busy trying to acknowledge monthly, or weekly passes, and the next stop is coming up quickly so there isn’t much time. The lady decides to buy her ticket from the trainman. Not only is she going to give him a large bill to try to cash, but will ask for directions to boot. She will in this transaction, find some questions that will stall the whole exchange of money and ticket. This is my favorite of all the travelers.

And of course, you can’t forget the sleeper. He or she gets on and hangs the ticket on a button or hat or some device so the trainman can see it. Once the head is rested against the window or wall, the arms folded and the feet crossed, he is out! The newspaper reader will annoy the sleeper. Yes, the newspaper reader can be annoying to the sleeper, as he keeps awakening the sleeper with his arm movements, and the crackling of the paper.

Last but not least is the loud mouth, usually a construction worker, who rides in a gaggle of construction workers or tradesmen. He tells jokes no one but the group understands, but everyone on the car can hear. He is in his late twenties or early thirties, carries a newspaper he never reads on the train, and totes his lunch, sometimes in a pail, sometimes bagging it. He wears a yellow construction hat, a red plaid jacket, worn boots, and visibly carries his cigarettes.

As you can tell, I’ve been studying these people for a long time, and find them all amusing as well as irritating, but they all contribute to life. Thank you people, one and all.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

MURPHY

My man Murphy, worked under me at my old job. I inherited Murphy and he was the kind of guy that could kill you with cooperation. Mr. Murphy was hired originally to do small color illustrations for stamp sheets, and he was a pretty good illustrator. As the company grew, Murphy was doing less illustration and more design work. Murphy was not a designer. Murphy was a pure and simple man. Very religious was Mr. Murphy, steeped in the traditions of the Catholic Church and his Irish background, and very active with his parish.

Mr. Murphy was also the father of many orphaned and abandoned children that he adopted. So much so that his own sons stopped talking to him because he spent so much time with the adopted children. One of his sons never spoke to Murphy because he had a child of his own, and felt his child should know his Grandfather better than he did. Murphy was married for the second time when he started adopting children, and his sons where all from his first marriage.

Mr. Murphy was a bit of a war hero, having flown off of a carrier during World War II, as a radioman in a dive-bomber.

Mr. Murphy was also very much a tormentor of his superiors, and those that had never met him before. When ever a new copywriter came too town fresh out of school, he or she was paired with Mr. Murphy to do small jobs and corrections. Murphy never liked to do anything but paint. During the day he would be caught painting pictures of a landscape or a still life. So Mr. Murphy devised a way to get the copywriter to believe that he had a lot of weight in the company, and at the same time get out of work! The unsuspecting copywriter would come to him with changes that needed to be made and Murphy would tell the writer that he had lunch that day with the company president and she said she didn’t want to make those changes. Naturally the poor copywriter would get hell from his supervisor because the changes were not made and come back to Murphy with the same request, with a little more force behind it, and murder in his eyes for Mr. Murphy.

Mr. Murphy had a big bulbous nose that was red as an apple. Mr. Murphy liked to tip back a few at lunch time, and would come back from lunch even more determined than he was in the morning not to work too hard. This required a kind and loving hand to intervene and get Mr. Murphy jump-started again. This was a task that was almost daily for me. I would get him going feeling totally exasperated and like I had put in a full day already.

Mr. Murphy liked to wear cowboy shirts with those rope ties and metal knots to hold the tie in place. Smoking a pipe, and painting his pictures, he was a happy camper. He drove a yellow Toyota Corolla, and it was so old that it was held together with duct-tape. I asked him once what he does if he has trouble on the road. He answered: “whenever I hear a noise I don’t recognize, I put on the radio, if I still hear it, I make the radio louder.”

One day in 1991 the company announced that the art department was going to be computerized, and everyone in the art department was going to take courses in the various programs. Mr. Murphy was our big concern. He did not disappoint us. He learned absolutely nothing. So it was left up to me to teach and coach him in the use of not only the computer, but also all the programs, which I was not that proficient in myself. Mr. Murphy was extremely reluctant to learn the computer, but was willing to at least try it. His frustration mounted as he tried, and had everyone in hysterics as he made attempt after attempt to master the machine.

One day as I was going through the rounds with those assigned to me, I came to Mr. Murphy’s cubicle and found his monitor turned off, and on top of his computer was a bowl of water for cleaning his paint brushes. Murphy had finally found a use for his computer. It was then that he told me he as retiring, and suddenly I felt the whole of his world crashing down on him. With all the children he was committed to, he couldn’t afford to retire. I talked him into staying on, and I started giving him the simplest of simple jobs I could find to hide him and get his name on some of the assignment sheets I would have to hand in to Human resources. Then one day the company decided to pare down staff, and offered good incentives to retire to those of retirement age. Mr. Murphy jumped at the opportunity, and chose my birthday to do so. Now every year he calls me on my birthday, and wishes me a happy birthday, I wish him health. I miss Mr. Murphy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

IF THERE’S A NUN AROUND, SHE’LL FIND ME

Well I’m reporting back on last night’s gala event. Yes, the Little Woman’s school reunion. It consisted of former students of a Catholic High School that no longer exist. For the most part it was a smashing success because it had an open bar.

Attending the event were 160 virgins. (This WAS a Catholic High school after all.)

I immediately went into my frustration mode after finding the bar. The same hors de ores were served, and I began my juggling routine of glass, appetizer and napkin. Unfortunately they don’t pay jugglers. The event itself was uneventful, as people went around staring into other people’s chests to check out either bust size or names. Everyone squinted in doing so, and I kept wondering “Are those your real teeth?

The food was nothing special, and neither were any of the long speeches given by the same nun under different disguises. She had me fooled with the moustache but not when she put on the hat.

When we got there, a nun immediately singled me out as to where I should go. A short little lady, with short white hair looked at my named tag, which had MY high school and graduation year on it, and I think she was pointing to the outside of the building. Fortunately, the wife came and rescued me. This incident was a harbinger of grief to come. Omens of great magnitude, which will forever in the annals of nunnery, have my name and picture posted as persona non-gratis.

We chit chatted for quite a while with those at our table, people we did not know, and the conversation was pleasant for the most part. Then they decided to sing the alma mater. I never saw 160 people whisper all at once before! This is the fight song? This is a peace song! No, this was a big secret. There was no music or dancing, so there were no lines at the rest rooms. All the older ladies looked like former nuns, so it was really hard for me to get my bearings. Fortunately the three ladies that accompanied me to this event where never nuns. Believe me.

Anyway, as we were leaving, the Little Woman decided she had to use the rest room, and I was left standing like a chootch to wait for her. As I stood there, a lady comes up to me all smiles and says “Did you have a nice time tonight?” I look at her nametag; it says “Sister Mary Margaret” a nun! I said, “Yes Sister, I had a wonderful time.” She looks at my nametag, and I decided maybe I should explain my presence. I immediately go into an explanation by saying that I never went to the high school; however, I did go to Catholic School when I was younger. The only difference I state is that “The nuns were meaner then.” That is not good to say and hope to continue a conversation. She left me facing the wall.

Monday, May 22, 2006

OH YES YOU ARE!

Today was a strange day for me. I took a personal day off to see a podiatrist about my podia’s, and everything got very confusing.

It all started when the Little Woman gave me her book of recognized HMO providers under our health care insurance. This book is about as thick as a phone directory, and has headings for all the different specialties, such as: Podiatrist, Endocrinologist and enthemologist. I needed to find a podiatrist and naturally looked under Podiatry. I called for an appointment and got one for 11:00 A.M. I arrived a few minutes early in case I needed to fill out forms. As I sat through my appointed hour, I noticed the nurse was taking people who came in way after my appointed time. I inquired and she said she would be right back. About ten minutes later she was right back and apologized, and said somehow my name got lost in the shuffle.

In I go into the inner sanctum and get weighted, increasing my tonnage as she flipped the weight around the scale. Into the little room I go and sit on the table to begin my lower back pain ritual. She takes my blood pressure and temperature (orally, thank God.)

“The Doctor will be right in.” So I prayed that was so. All of a sudden this very attractive woman walks in and I think that she doesn’t look like any of the nurses I ever had. She introduces herself as Doctor Neitzski, and shakes my hand. I thought, her podiatrist’s hands have been touching feet all day, and after viewing some of the feet out there in the waiting room, I wondered if she could surgically remove my hand, as a favor.

She sits behind a computer and asks for forgiveness, as she has to inquire about my medical history. Hey, I forgive easily if they are: beautiful, or give potential needles.

I give her a list of medications I take, which includes dosage and frequency. She is grateful AND impressed! She starts to ask questions, like why I am there? For my podia’s and because I have diabetes, how long I’ve had diabetes? Etc.

Finally she asks me, who treats your diabetes? I answer her question with “my Primary Care Physician.” She says: “You can’t have TWO Primary Care Physicians!” I get confused. She looks at me, I look at her, we both look at each other, and she says, ”I’m a Primary Care Physician”. I respond, “But you’re my Podiatrist. She says, “No I’m not, I’m a Primary Care Physician.” I come back with “Are you sure?” I must admit that was a snappy comeback, filled with intelligence and shows a great mind at work.

Turns out the publishers of the resource guide mislabeled her and her partners practice.

I have a new Primary Care Physician as of today! If I don’t change it, my old Primary Care Physician will be pretty upset since I’m paying for his grandchild’s education.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I’M GIVING UP WATCHING THEM BUMS

No, not the Brooklyn Dodgers, but the Mets, Jets, Islanders and Knicks. In fact, you can throw in the Dragons too.

What brings this on?

Well have you looked at the salaries of these bums? They make more money individually than most charities bring in. Why? Because I used to watch them lose, that’s why. But no more watching, for now on I will be devoting that time to prayer. Yes, I’m going out and buying me a rosary, and some Buddhist prayer beads. Every time a game comes on I will whip out the beads. I’ve been thinking of getting two or three sets of beads to change off from one season to the other.

In the winter, instead of watching the ice cold Bums from Uniondale skate around on ice like little schoolgirls, I pray. Instead of watching the droopy draw giants of the Garden dribble up and down the hardwood, I pray. In the fall, instead of watching the vegetative behemoths of the gridiron, I will indeed pray. The summers will be free from the black and blue overpriced, and under talented softball team that plays at Shea Stadium, why, because I will be praying.

This afternoon, I will go out and find a religious store that specializes in prayer beads. I was thinking of getting something in a nice green for the fall, since it will keep me from getting depressed over the fact that summer is over. I thought for the winter, I needed some kind of colors that take away the coldness of the season, so I think orange with some blue would be nice. Summer can bum me out, with the oppressive heat, and think some cool colors will help. How about black and blue and for a little color, orange?

Once I get the beads, I need something to pray about. It gets kind of boring and repetitious to pray for world peace all the time, so no, that’s out. Of course there is world hunger, but the little woman has ME on a diet already, so no, no world hunger. That kind of takes all the big issues up, since I already pray my 18 year old will find a wife and move out.

OK, maybe this isn’t such a good idea, especially the way all this praying stuff is panning out. Maybe I can open up a church of my own. I’ll call it St. Del Broccolo the Martyr, with services held at Hooters every game day.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

EMAILS-EGAD!

Being on the internet and having a email service exposes me to a lot of junk and con emails. I’m sure you get them too,

“Dear Sir, I am Barrister Scmuckagooler, and represent the estate of Thebulliscrap in Nairobi, and we need to transfer the sum of $65 million and thought that you might be interested in a cut of 40%. I just happened to be thumbing through the Holbrook telephone directory and thought, what a nice name, I think I’ll share 40% of $65 million with you.”

I get at least 3 or 4 every week, sometimes on the same day! I always respond, suggesting that they should have sex with themselves, or even maybe family members. They still send the emails no matter how I try to offend them.

Then I always get “Send this to at least 50 million people in your address book. If you don’t mail this out to at least 50 million email addresses you will break the chain and suffer from perpetual wedgies.

Now folks, I don’t mind e-mails, but please, attach something I can use, like a cash voucher, or electronic boarding passes to Honolulu. I promise to send you a postcard everyday.

I happen to have over 4,000 emails that I haven’t thrown out yet-they have information that I might need someday. Besides I tried to get rid of some of it, but it just won’t go away. I delete it from my list, but it goes somewhere else and taunts me about the number that have accumulated. Could my email cache’ be possessed???

Sending emails is another thing I don’t like to do. I always go to the address book, and never find the name I’m looking for. Yet I know it’s there.

Then there is the email that gets sent back by the email monitor, or something that says in effect “here is a huge list (about 10 full pages) of electronic code, and somewhere in this code is the reason we returned the email.” “Try and find it sucker.”

Now I’m starting to get emails for: Viagra, (I don’t need it, I have a taxidermist) Birth Control organizations, Home Businesses to start, mortgage companies, and restaurant chains.

The email world is a very lonely one, with a lot of people trying to break into it and make me: worried, horney, sexy, hungry

Friday, May 19, 2006

COMMUNICATING WITH MY 18 YEAR OLD SON or DAD, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING ME?

I have a confession to make. I have an 18-year-old son. We try to not appear in public together because if we did, it would have very serious consequences for his social life and self esteem at that moment. I can fully understand this fact, and figure they may be the same issues the Little Woman has. So I have decided to join an organization that helps you understand your child’s point of view. It is called “So Much Understanding Can Kill” The idea is that you knock yourself out trying to understand and be accommodating in all aspects of your child’s life. This means listening to his/her political opinion, social evaluation of your pathetic life and buying into anything he/she tries to run past you.

For the sake of expediency, I will refer to the organization by its more popular name – SMUCK. Now SMUCK meets every Saturday night while your child is out. Meetings start punctually at 7:00 p.m. at the Agnostic Assembly of God, led by parents of former children, who allow their parents to go to church by arranging it with the home that also provides a caretaker. The concept is once you complete the course that is offered you become a SMUCK.

For those of you who do not have an 18-year old at home, conversations are usually very one-sided.

For instance:

Me: How’s it going?

He: OK

Me: How was school?

He: OK

Me: Did you learn anything today?

He: Yeah

Me: What?

He: I forgot.

Or perhaps you are sitting peacefully one night watching the TV, when all of a sudden the SWAT Team arrives, the Police surround the house, and the fire department is on it’s way up to his room with a ladder from the lawn, and twenty guys with axes going up your staircase to his room. You look at the little woman, she pops her eyes wide open, so you do the dumb thing and go investigate.

Me: What’s going on????!!!!

He: Don’t worry about it

Me: What do you mean don’t worry about it, what happened????

He: Nothing, now go back downstairs.

Well the organization teaches you to go back downstairs, and believe that nothing is going on. Once you are fully convinced, you become a SMUCK.

I am having trouble passing this course, but knowing that if I try hard enough I will someday do so. After all, I signed up for a similar course in the past when the Little Woman would tell me things I shouldn’t worry about. I passed back then with flying colors. She hung the diploma up in our den, but decided to take it down because it would be just another thing to dust. The name of the organization? “Don’t Offer Prevailing Emotions”.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

CLARABELL IS DEAD


Today is a very sad day in my life. Another chapter in my childhood is permanently closed. The glad days of yesteryear are gone. First Buffalo Bob Smith, now Clarabell, who next, Mr. Bluster??

Clarabell was a clown. Not just any clown, but a clown with style all his own. Clarabell was the epitome of what clowning is all about. If someone calls you a bozo, you are a loser, because Bozo the clown was a cheap imitation of Clarabell. If I call you Clarabell, you really know how to clown around. You are innovative, even funny in a funny kind of way! Clarabell would answer with his single “Honk” of a horn on his box, “Yes”, and would answer a double “Honk – Honk” “No” with his other horn.

Along with Hoody Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith, and a whole cast of characters among them being Trapper Pierre, played by Robert Goulet, my weekday afternoons about 4 or 5 o’clock where spent waiting for the antics of Clarabell. Yes Clarabell was a teacher. He taught me how to salt my sister’s sandwich when she wasn’t looking. He taught me about pies in the face, and how to make mischief when all was serene.

Every afternoon the show started:

It's Howdy Doody time,
It's Howdy Doody time,
Bob Smith and Howdy Doo
Say Howdy Doo to you.
Lets give a rousing cheer,
'Cause Howdy Doody's here.
It's time to start the show,
So kids, let's go!

And so no longer will I be able to sing those lyrics.
The smile that graced my lips is forever dormant; I will go through the rest of my life, without Clarabell.

Will he be missed?
Honk

Will there ever be another?
Honk – Honk.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

SAUL – ARTIST EXTRAORDINAIRE

There are a lot of people that I have met in my lifetime, some are ordinary men and women and some leave lasting impressions that help shape your attitude. One such person is Saul. I will not use his last name for obvious reasons.

Saul was a very fine artist. Saul was such a great artist that he worked during the depression for the government painting murals for large public buildings. He got what is called a government commission. Having painted a mural or two I know how difficult that can be. Saul was the creative director for an agency that I worked for back in the early 70’s. Saul was married to the boss’s sister, so he was very influential in the decision making on a creative level. Saul spoke in short and to the point sentences, and was always cheerful and well spoken. He carried a patrician air about him, with white, starched shirts and tailor made suits. He had a full head of white hair, and a well-trimmed moustache. Saul was a very handsome man.

Saul would arrive every morning at 10:30 a.m. punctually. By 11:00 a.m. Saul had a full cocktail glass of vodka on his desk, as he read a magazine on art. By 12:30 Saul was out the door visiting his mistress who had a lovely apartment around the corner from the office. She was a beautiful girl, and lived in a very expensive place, well furnished and stocked with all kinds of booze, particularly vodka. They would lunch together, and Saul would return to the office about 3:30 p.m. He would sleep at his desk until 5:00 p.m. Some days, before he went off to lunch, around 11:30 a.m., Saul would pull out some reference material, and would draw sketches for cowboy novels. The sketches would be the cover art for the book jackets. The amazing thing about Saul was he was one-handed. His other arm and hand were badly deformed from birth.

Saul was a guy who broke all conventional rules, wrote his own rules, and everyone loved him. I feel guilty because I should have been prissy and despised his life style, especially his cheating on his wife, but I couldn’t help myself but like him. Maybe I felt that I didn’t live in his shoes, so what did I know, and what business was it to me.

He is beyond a doubt, one of the most interesting characters I ever met. He made my life interesting, and I will always remember the great Saul.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

RACISM

There is a lot of debate over the past 20 years over whether or not the U.S. did the right thing in ending the war by dropping the atomic bomb over both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The argument goes we should not have because it killed over 175,000 innocent people. The argument for the bomb is that it saved an estimated 100,000 U.S. personnel minimal in a planned invasion. The Japanese have erected a shrine to the dead, and rightfully so, to recognize this catastrophic event, and every year at the time of the bomb being dropped there is a moment of silence at least.

There is a second argument out there about the rape of Nanking. The Japanese government refuses to recognize that it ever occurred, while China claims about 20,000 women were raped brutally. Plus the tens of thousands who were killed or murdered, makes it a tough sell for the Japanese too re-write their history to deny these things ever happened.

In reading about both events, and the points of view of both sides, one of the startling facts that one must consider is the amount of terror and degradation that was perpetrated upon China by elements of troops sent by Japan that came from Hiroshima! It seems that wanton killings were the norm from these units, and numerous war crimes, too numerous to mention against the Chinese people. A people of culture, and peace, who wanted no part of war, and who suffered dearly for the fact that they were Chinese, at the hands of a barbarian army of invaders. These very Chinese people who taught the Japanese much of their language and culture many, many years ago.

Another factor to consider is that Japan mobilized all of its population, and the estimates are that if the U.S. were to invade Japan, over 2 million Japanese people: men, women and children were going to die.

I fully understand that Japan is a civilized society with a beautiful culture, and Japanese are for the most part a very peaceful race, steeped in a lot of tradition. Unfortunately some of the tradition is not unlike the Old Prussian mindset of militarism and codes of honor. It is a racist mindset just like that which exists toward Asians in the west. Obviously, if you look at all that has been given to the world, you will find great gifts from all races, and all cultures and all have a profound effect on all cultures.

I think Japan must recognize the Rape of Nanking, as they although weakly recognized the fact that they used enslaved “comfort women” from all over Asia for their troops.

I guess racism is going to slow us all down as a human race, and unfortunately, there are all so many great people from all the races that inhabit this earth, that we should be embracing, and looking for the next cure for cancer. The person who finds that cure may very well be coming from Africa, or South America, or Asia as well as North America.

I know that I don’t care where you come from, or what color your skin is if you can help make my life a better life to live, and can perhaps save my child or wife’s life. I think we should look into the face of every child on earth, and ask: do we really want to inhibit or deny him or her the pleasures of life?

Monday, May 15, 2006

MY PAL JOEY

There is a little corner of joy in my life now. I found it, or should I say the Little Woman found it for me. This is a sacred hallowed piece of mortar and brick. Yes, it houses food. But just not any food, it houses Italian specialty items. These items are definite links to my childhood. Items of which I speak have a special meaning to me. It reminds me of times and places I visited just yesterday when I was still a child. (If you ask the Little Woman she will tell you nothing has changed.) The name of this place is called Iasenga’s Italian American (They sell sauerkraut) Pork Store & Catering.

The smells of things like fresh Italian basil reminds me of my Grandmother’s kitchen on a Sunday morning, while she cooked for forty million relatives, and still remembered to give me a meatball to taste for her. Her fridge was always stocked with fine salami and cheese, all imported, and when you ate it, the smells would make you wonder if you had changed your clothes or taken a shower in the past month or so. Her pasta ( we called it macaroni) boiling in a pot, dishes flying across the table and landing at the exact spot it was intended for, her vegetables frying up in a sauce pan or skillet as she spoke her Italian with sharp orders for both daughters and daughter-inlaws in executing her culinary triumphs for the day.

This Mecca of culinary happiness is located around the corner from me, and can be reached during store hours almost immediately in case of an emergency. It is run by a fellow named - Joey. Joey has been testing his stock, and recipes for years. Joey stands at 4’9” and when he lies on his back he is 4’9”. If Joey were to do cartwheels he would be 4’9” at any given point. He and I along with the Little Woman planned out the menu for my son Michael’s High School graduation party. Joey is a nice fellow trying to make a living, and by God I will help him do so. We talked trays and half trays, and rolls and such, and I must say I had a great time! “We don’t use junk, we use the good stuff” said Joey. Spoken like a champion I say. Joey will even deliver the goodies to my house on the day of the party! HoBoy!!

Joey is now my new close and personal best friend. I hope you make him your best friend too, and invite me over once in a while to eat.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

Today is the most sentimental day of the year. Today we celebrate the Mothers, all kinds, shapes and ages. We celebrate their teachings, their love, their keeping us all civil, and thus protecting and nurturing civilization.

We all have a Mother, or a mother figure in our lives.

We all treasure our Mothers, if they are with us or not. We never forget. Mine spent many years working at home, and now that Dad has passed on, she volunteers her time to a hospital. My Mother-in-law was anything but a “Mother-in-law.” She loved her grandchildren, got down in the dirt so to speak to play with her children. She always had a smile, and laughed easily. She never gave me an ounce of trouble or regret. I miss her.

There are Mothers out there who deserve special credit, because they are extra special. They bare their troubles like champions, with grace and dignity. Of course my own Mother, my wife, who has seen more than her share, my sisters Theresa and MaryAnn, my niece Laurie and my sister-in-law Angela, all are great women, all should be honored.
There is one in particular, Mrs. Garrity, who above all epitomizes the idea of Motherhood. Mrs. Garrity had many children, all are or were successful in life because she and her Husband taught them all values. She would make anyone a great mom.

I didn’t marry a wonderful woman by accident neither did any of my brother-in-laws. These wonderful women were all taught values by someone. All the clean cloths, wonderful meals, great conversations, and clean home come from someone teaching those values.

To my Mother, Olympia, my Mother-in-law Helen, My wife Ellen, my sisters, all my sister-in-laws and Motherly nieces, remember this, you will never be forgotten, and you will all or have already left a legacy for years to come.

In the future, I will be writing about other special gals who weren’t mentioned her, but will be, because they are admired for who they are, and what they accomplish to this day. This includes a mushroom lady in Maryland named Sarah, and a world traveler from Mystic named Maureen, A nipster from Connecticut named Fran and of course my baby sister Joanne, and a couple of special nieces named Jennifer, and Jean Marie.

Happy Mothers day Mom,
I love you.

COME WHAT MAY, MAY I COME?

In a couple of weeks, my wife and I, along with her sister Maureen and Maureen’s first husband Steve, will be attending a high school reunion of sorts. All three are past members of the high school, which I never attended except to pick up girls. This is a reunion where everyone knows everyone but me. Yes, I will be the main attraction as people try to figure out who the hell I am, and what the hell I’m doing there. Well, the little woman invited me, and I responded, “Yes.” She should have looked disturbed, but instead looked relieved, probably because all the old paunchy and bald men who no longer are attached will not be hitting on her.

It is unusual for me to be a glutton for punishment, however every now and then I do get suicidal. I figure this will be a good test for me to see if I must behave any different than I usually do at functions. (See my April 26th blog.)

I like to attend events where there is no pressure. This will have all the pressure in the world. I have to behave myself that day because I can’t embarrass the little woman. I will do my best to uphold that point of view, but I just know something will happen to me. I promise I will give you the results on Tuesday the 23rd of May.

Being at a function like the one I am going to is like coming to America for the first time. You don’t know anybody, they don’t know you, and think all kinds of things about you, "Who did she marry!" Well let me tell them something. They probably are close to being right. However I will immediately be drawing my own conclusions. I hope their conclusions will be more favorable than mine will be of them. Being the stranger means in a way you don’t speak their language. Maybe I’d fit in better with a high school crowd of today.

I can hold my own in conversations about: Life, art, sports, politics, music, literature, but shy away from quantum physics. Can cut a rug, but no high wire routines. Can build with my hands as well as talk with them. So I have enough to converse, and give a good accounting of myself. There should be all kinds of people there, with all kinds of talents, and they all solve simple problems their own way. For example:

Embarrassing Moment
A very shy guy goes into a bar and sees a beautiful woman sitting at the bar. After an hour of gathering up his courage he finally goes over to her and asks, tentatively, "Um, would you mind if I chatted with you for a while?"
She responds by yelling, at the top of her lungs, "No, I won't sleep with you tonight!" Everyone in the bar is now staring at them. Naturally, the guy is hopelessly and completely embarrassed and he slinks back to his table. After a few minutes, the woman walks over to him and apologizes. She smiles at him and says, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. You see, I'm a graduate student in psychology and I'm studying how people respond to embarrassing situations."

To which he responds, at the top of his lungs, "What do you mean $200?"

Friday, May 12, 2006

LET IT RAIN-THE PERFECT DAY

My idea of the perfect day is for it to rain. Rainy days seem to give off a certain charm if I have nowhere to go. I particularly like it to rain when I have chores to do outside, and don’t feel like doing them.

Don’t get me wrong, I like sunny days, but those dark rainy days are something special. A nice way to spend this special day is: in my easy chair, my wife and son out somewhere, and me and my dog, snoozing on the chair together. If you see my dog, you can become inspired by the way she puts her heart and soul into sleeping.

Yes this is lazy, just what I like.

There is nothing wrong with laziness, if you do it properly, and in a dignified manner. First of all you need something to be lazy about. You just can’t be lazy. You need a chore or task facing you to qualify for lazy. If you are some amateur, who doesn’t do anything, and likes to lie around all day, you are not lazy: you are a bum. I’m talking professional lazy here, where you know the task will be done, but you have a reprieve. (Ellen if you are reading this, please understand the rain is not my fault!)

Now obviously you can’t sleep all day long, you must eat. You must be able at some point to get up out of your chair and feed yourself. At least I must get up and eat. My suggestion is a can of soup, while it cooks, what you can do to pass the time is take a short nap. Once you have eaten, you can then return to the business of being lazy.

You may be wondering how to get in the mood for relaxing on a rainy day.
Rule #1 Kill all the lights
Rule #2 Recline on your back
Rule #3 Listen to the rain
Caution-Do not try this at work, it tends to piss-off the boss.

One of the surprises in life is the TV. Not to watch, but to help you fall off to sleep. There is a certain cadence to it that lends itself to inducing one to sleep. It has an effect like listening to the rain fall.

I do hope these pointers and tricks help you, and as I do more research, I will pass it along to you.

And remember th a t a ……………zzzzz…………zzzzzz………………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, May 11, 2006

THE ARMY HAS IT RIGHT “HURRY UP AND WAIT”

Recently I went to the doctor’s office for a visit. This doctor is my “Primary Care Physician.” Once you have a “Primary Care Physician” you are considered really important. I used to have a doctor, but then the insurance companies came along and complicated things. It seems they needed more paperwork, and decided I needed it too.

For the sake of expediency, I will call my “Primary Care Physician” a doctor. In fact that is what I call him right to his face, and he doesn’t get angry.

Now my doctor had to send me to a specialist one day, and gave me a referral to this specialist. When I was given the referral, it came in the form of a long piece of narrow paper that looked like the receipt you get at the supermarket. When I saw that I immediately became suspicious thinking I had somehow purchased something I didn’t know about.

But my experience in the waiting room is always the same. I go into the room, look about, and see about one and a half million people ahead of me sitting there, with long, worried, unhappy faces. The television is blaring, and the younger guys are all sprawled out in their chairs, while the receptionist is doing her best to ignore me while I am standing on her chest trying to get her attention. Finally she looks up and says, “Yes?” This makes me very happy since she could have said “No.” I say my name and we cover the insurance, because if I don’t have any, they will get the bouncer out of the closet and toss me into the traffic outside.

Once this little bit of business is completed, I start my quest for a seat, looking for one that is not next to a: sneezer, cougher, sprawler or cell phone user. Now I wait. Usually I have a book I am reading, and know it will be hard to concentrate with all the noise from the TV, but I try. Slowly, one by one people are called. By now my body hurts. I’ve been sitting there over an hour past my time. I am getting angry, I’m starting to think to myself as I see these poor old people, who can hardly walk, stumble to the door “Suck it in and go home, you old coot.” Then I think, God will get me for that, but I don’t care, He’s not waiting over an hour like I am. FINALLY!!! The nurse calls. “Joseph?” No that’s “Joseph the waiter, who has all the time in the world to sit with all these losers, while the doctor is probably reading his stock portfolio.” I go into the inner sanctum. “Joseph, go pee in this cup, then we’ll take your weight.” Tell you what lady, you go pee in the cup, I know you can’t take my weight because you never take it properly. I pee, come out of the toilet feeling really self conscious as I hold the cup, and the nurse takes the cup, (I’m hoping she chug-a-lugs” it), as I step on the scale. I put my other foot down just as she is done sliding the weights around and says “thank you, now follow me.” I follow her into the examining room, and can’t help but notice how beautiful the leaves on the tree outside the window look. I sit. I sit some more. Still sitting. Yup, still here, I get impatient, look out the window, notice how the snow is sticking to the ground, nurse Hildegard comes in again, sticks the thermometer in my mouth, takes my temperature and says “the Doctor will be in, in a moment.” About 45 minutes later the Doctor flies in. “Good evening, how are you?” How am I??? How is a cat dumped in water?? That’s how I am. “Fine” I answer, like the sniveling coward that I am. (He does give needles) “What can I do for you today?” (You could go away, that’s what you could do for me today.) He takes my blood pressure-“270 over 90 million,” I wonder why? He takes out his rubber band, wraps it around my arm and sticks a needle in it. Pulls out the tube from the syringe and puts in another tube to draw even more blood. I wonder how he doesn’t push the needle in further when he does that. All this blood, and I haven’t even paid him yet.

My Doctor is about my age, with a well-trimmed beard, flat stomach and Jewish. (Only the best for me.) He will now without saying anything to me, make me feel inadequate for not being a doctor, not having a flat stomach and not being Jewish. He goes on a tirade about people who are over 65 who are leaving their Medicare subscriptions for private coverage and maybe expects me to do something about it.

We go into his office, with what looks like the back of a pharmacy, with all kinds of sample drugs. He opens my file, I move to the edge of my chair, always expecting the worst. This is it! I have months, maybe weeks left, should I call my wife to come and get me? I’ll be in no mood to drive myself after “THE NEWS.”

He says to me “Do you want 30 or 90 day subscriptions?”

WHAT ABOUT THE NEWS??

HEY, AM I GOING TO LIVE TO SEE ANOTHER DAY IN YOUR WAITING ROOM????

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

GOING LIKE 88

Today is my Mother’s birthday. 88 years of Olympia! The enforcer, the cook, the disciplinarian, the mediator, the scourge of bad little boys, the loving Mother, because she said so, because you better, she was all that and as we say in the ad business, “Much, much more.” She never drove, but she drove her children to always do better.

Mom had a unique cure for all who ailed: it was “You’ll be fine, now go to school.”

She raised 5 children, no pets, and NO in-laws. She demanded we be clean, both in body and language. She made sure we mixed it up when we should. She was a saint with the devil in her. (See the button story.)

She was the oldest of three girls, raised without a father, and a sickly Mother, who put her three daughters in a home while she went into a hospital for a time to heal.

My Mother never worked, my Dad wanted her “home with the kids.” She was greeted with great joy when we got home-“Hi Ma, I’m home!” Olympia took care of other people’s children, besides her own. She made our home happy when there was sadness, and her laugh still echoes in my mind and heart. She is the best cook I ever knew, and filled the house with great aromas and taught it all to my wife.

You could tell Mom a joke on Monday, she would laugh, and on Tuesday repeat the joke, and she would laugh harder. She knew when you were faking it, and she let you know. She can be very critical, yet understanding, can swear with the best but seldom did. She kept a wooden spoon handy to keep a certain party in line. Her funniest line was “Wait till’ your Father gets home!” after every infraction incurred by a certain party. Her house was spotless, tidy, and everyone did his or her share to help at a tender age.

Every Friday mid morning until noon, she mopped the kitchen floor, and spread newspapers so we could walk on the floor at lunchtime. Whenever I smell pine-scented cleaners of any kind, I think of the spring days she would have the windows open, the fresh air blowing in gently, and the smell of her clean house.

Today she volunteers for Brookhaven Memorial Hospital, three days a week. It is her life, after years of staying at home. She still contributes to the world at 88 years. It only goes to show you the human spirit never rests, but seeks new horizons, and challenges.

It seems very appropriate to me that her birthday falls so near Mother’s Day, and some years on Mother’s Day. She will be forever in my face, reminding me of what is really right, long after she is gone. She is not perfect, neither am I, that she taught me too.
Happy Birthday, Mom.

Love, your only son

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

IT WAS AS PLAIN AS BLACK AND WHITE

Years ago, my oldest son asked me what life was like during the old days in black and white, and how it felt when the world turned into color. As usual he was testing my grey matter.

Of course he meant the days before color TV. He wasn’t around but I was, and could give him the perfect insight. I explained that one morning everything turned to color, and the world had to make changes quickly to accommodate the new and colorful world.

First thing was the flag; it went from the good old grey, white and grey to the good old red white and blue. The grey peril of Grey China became the yellow peril of Red China, as did the changing of the Grey Russians to the Red Russians.

Baseball had a tremendous changeover to colorful uniforms from the dingy grey. The Cincinnati Greys became the Cincinnati Reds, as the Boston Grey Sox became the Boston Red Sox. Some things didn’t change like the Chicago White Sox and the Black Sox scandal.

Whole human races had to adapt, the Asian grey race suddenly became the yellow race, which made it difficult to understand why Grey China didn’t become Yellow China.

Mother Nature was greatly improved when a grey cloudless day suddenly became a bright sunny day, with blue skies but still kept the white clouds.

The music world was turned on its collective G-clefs, when the song titles of many popular hits were changed. The ever popular “I want some grey roses for a grey lady” suddenly had a new feel, as did “Grey skies, nothing but grey skies”, and of course the ever popular catchy “The grey rose of Texas.”

Movies over night changed. Not only was the celluloid turned grey to color, but also “How grey is my Valley” suddenly had a new and exciting twist. Again, some titles didn’t, for instance “Black Beauty”, and "The Long Grey Line."

Interestingly, when I view old photos from the turn of the century, I can’t help but notice how people looked and behaved in the posing of the photos. They all stood squarely facing the camera, hands at their sides, looking older than their years. The children all looked like they just got a good spanking, the women looked like they were really sore at the old man next to them who was only in his mid twenties. But all the people in the photos looked like they were poor, and not one looked like he or she was grey with envy. And never, ever did anyone ever look grey with embarrassment.

Monday, May 08, 2006

SLOPPY JOHN AND PRINCE VALIENT

There once was a fruit and vegetable stand that stood around the corner from where I lived in Brooklyn. It was a great source of amusement to my friends and me. Being only 7 or 8 we needed constant amusement. Often we would load up our cap pistols and run around the corner and “attack” this produce stand and solicit a response from the grouchy old man who owned it. He was called “sloppy John” in English, but we used the Italian version when referring too him. For the sake of clarity and spelling, I will use the English version here.

Next to the produce store sitting on the corner was a bar or gin mill. It had three entrances to it, one on each side of the building and one on the corner itself. Often we would load our cap pistols, run into one side and out the corner, whooping it up and firing our cap pistols that disturbed all the drunks. It is where I learned to curse in English, as I listened for the sworn vows of revenge, and the descriptive adjectives that accompanied the curse words. Life was fun.

One day my friends and I decided to raid the produce stand so we could play sword fighting. Sloppy John had crates and bushels he would discard along a wall in front of his store. The tops of the bushels were round which made for great shields, and the crates provided us with our swords. When we raided, we realized there were no crates on the sidewall, but were all stacked inside the store. We ran into the store, grabbed what we could, and continued to run out the store. Well old Sloppy John, comes out after us with a broom in his hand, and throws it like a spear, and as I’m running by the scale, the broom flies through the scale! Seeing that he was such a great spear thrower, we decided to test him again, ran by the second time as we usually did, and Sloppy John was waiting for us! As we flew by like wild Indians, out comes this big old Irish Setter that begins to chase us down the block and around the corner. Never owning a dog, we all were scared silly, and headed for our stoops and hallways. Unfortunately for me, I trip on the sidewalk, and the dog catches up to me. On my back, pinned to the ground by his front paws, tears streaming down my face, thinking I’m going to be eaten alive, the dog is licking my face!
Then just like that, the animal just sprints away, and my sword fighting days were over.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

SHOPPING FOR MULTINATIONAL CATERERS

June 24th is the big high school graduation party for Michael, my youngest son. There will be about 50 people invited. Unfortunately there will be no bride present, where I could kill 2 birds with one party. Since there are about 50 people, there needs to be food to feed them with. The little woman and I will select from different types of menus, and hopefully there will be variations in the menu that will be not the usual fare, but new and different goodies.

Thinking about all this food makes me realize how my family has grown from the 5 of us, in which 4 started out in Brooklyn, in a very narrow Italian environment, to a multi cultural mix of all the people I truly love. Now we have Italian, Irish, Polish, Black, Vietnamese, English and Japanese among others that constitute the make up of the family. It is a great mix, and I realize how good it is to see them all.

We have become the true “American Family.” Do you realize that not one individual would I replace! Not one, would I like not to see at the party? We have them by adoption and birth. Marriage has been good to us for the most part. Now here is the kicker, I love my in-laws as well as my own family, and consider them all worthwhile and important to the structure of the personality of the family as a whole.

Now if you take my brother-law John, who was the first to join the family, and make it six, a Polish fellow with great tolerance of his being Polish and being teased about it, you realize that we have made a very long stride. Right away he hit it off with my family. After a mild sedation of my father when we told him that John is Polish, Dad immediately took to him. He cleared it with my grandmother, and after a mild sedation she said “HoKay, Johnsa nica boy.” I’m sure once my sedative wear off I’ll still be “HoKay” with it too, after all its been 41 years!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

MY DOG LOVES ME, BUT HATES TO SHOW IT.

I live with an American Cocker Spaniel, buff and white color, that uses the moniker Happy. There are a few varieties of cockers, but basically either English or American are your two leading brands. The American has a flatter head, and a very short tail. Mine is an American, and has a short tail and a short temper. It likes to bark at anyone who does not live in my house. If you are greeted at the door, it is usually Happy barking and ready to fight, somewhat like my wife if I wake her up from her nap on her chair at night. She doesn’t bite, but her bark IS worst than her bite. The same is true with Happy.

Happy has other jobs around the house that she performs at a very high level. Happy: eats, sleeps and poops. Her pooping is at a fever pitch, as she places it all over my yard. If you look out after the newly fallen pristine snow, what suddenly appears are the hot spots and brown discard that she so lovingly places wherever there is none.

The Little Woman long ago taught Happy to notify us immediately if she needed the great outdoors for her duty time. At the base of the sliding door leading out to her private latrine there is a small bell hanging from a ribbon or string of some kind. If we are not attentive to her need to poop, she will go over to the bell and smack it with her paw. Of course Happy picks only the best times to ring it, when I am ready to sit down and eat, or when I get comfortable in my chair to watch TV or read the newspaper.

Some people tell me she is a great watchdog. I believe this is so because that is all she does when I am eating. She sits on her hind legs and stares at me, waiting for me to give her some. She will growl if I don’t. She will spend a great deal of time when someone is cooking, waiting for something to fall on the floor.

When Happy is not sleeping, eating and pooping, she is staring out the front door, waiting for people who are minding their own business to go by, so she can give em’ hell. If you step on my street at the very beginning, which is about a mile north, she will start barking.

Vacuum cleaners are her worst nightmare. When she does something that makes me angry, like the time I picked up a garlic knot, with stuffed cheese and pepperoni, she jumped up and snatched it from my hand; I threaten her with the vacuum cleaner. All I do is go to the closet where it is kept, and she trots off upstairs to hide until it blows over.

My Happy is a dog that loves lettuce. Yes, Happy LOVES lettuce. No, we don’t have to season it, just drop it on the floor, and she’s “Happy.” When I used to work at home, every afternoon around 5 p.m. Happy would come up to my studio and get my attention. It is time to cook, get out my lettuce. Feed me!!!!! If I didn’t move, she would nudge me with her snout. Like any woman, very demanding. You have to treat her right.

As far as reputations go, hers is famous. Everyone knows that “Happy is a misnomer.”

You must wonder why we call her Happy. So do I.

Friday, May 05, 2006

MY EXCELLENT COMMAND OF ALL THAT I REMEMBER

It seems that I have a reputation in my family for putting an “S” after a name when none exist there to put, and taking one away when it should be there. The best example, and my rotten older son keeps bringing it up is Seaver vs. Seavers. I’m not sure which is which, and I could have looked it up before writing this, but it would be best if I left it alone and better illustrated my point.

Bending my memory has been one of my favorite pastimes. Recollecting the bending is my older son’s favorite pastime, slightly behind baseball. I might caution him that it is a family trait. That IT WILL HAPPEN TO HIM! I have a hunch it might be starting already. Such events have occurred causing great laughter on my part when it struck my poor Dad. But my son has the most fun. Not only did it strike my Father, but his brother also. For instance, there was a ballplayer named Wally Backman on the Mets. My Uncle Joe was telling my Dad about a play he had made, and kept calling him Backus. My rotten son (This is why he is rotten) “corrected” my Uncle and said it was Tabacus.

It’s not just the “s”, but names in general. I will try to recall a name from the past, and will say it “Starts with a B” when in reality it starts with a “M” but there might be a letter in the name near the “B” letter that confused me.

Please do not be mistaken and think its dementia, or Alzheimer disease, it is truly not. I can remember what I ate 35 years ago on a date with the little woman, and the names of all the Brooklyn Dodgers that played at Ebbets Field. But if the topic doesn’t particularly interest me, I can confuse facts to a degree. However, you should pour it slowly so the egg mixture does not cook too quickly while mixing. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

FROM AN ACORN GROWS AN OAK

On the wall of my office there is a paper place mat from an Italian restaurant that I ate at a while back with my son Anthony. This placemat I speak about comes from the restaurant that Robert Blake the actor was accused of murdering his wife in, or near by. The reason I have it is that it is autographed by a special person that my wife and I have adopted on the TV screen. His name is Josh Peck, and he is a very fine actor. We have seen him in a number of shows on TV, and watch him frequently on a show called Drake and Josh.

Josh Peck is a very humble kid with a lot of success in his future. He has appeared in; The Guardian, Mean Creek and Fillmore, and to show versatility Mad TV, to name a few. Josh made his film debut in the film, Snow Day, and appeared on The Amanda Show. He also starred opposite Alex D. Linz and Zena Grey in the film, Max Keeble's Big Move in 2001. Josh appeared in several films, including Spun and Mean Creek, for which he received critical praise.

More recently, Josh appeared in the film, Special, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2006. He voiced over as Eddie, one of two possum twins in the animated sequel, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, in March 31, 2006.
My son has written for his current show on Nickelodeon called “Drake and Josh.”

I was out on business or it may have been a gift trip my son gave me for Christmas one year to Los Angeles, when he asked me if I’d like to meet him for dinner. I said absolutely, since I sensed if my son liked him, I would too. Needless to say, he is an actor just like Tom Cruise, but with brains, acting ability, and charming character. He had a great line he quoted from his Mom. We were talking about Florida for some reason, and I mentioned I have an Aunt who lives in Boca Raton, and he said his Mom says it’s “God’s waiting room.” If you can catch this kid, please try to, and you will fall in love with pure talent, good looks, and just a great kid.

It’s an easy name to remember, Josh Peck, and you will thank me for it, because you will find a Hollywood rarity, an actor you genuinely like.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

SELF-TORTURE AND OTHER FORMS OF HOUSEHOLD CHORES

What was going to be a pleasant Saturday this past weekend turned out to be worst than the Battan Death March.

What happened? Well I wanted to plant a few bushes in front of the house, and took the little woman with me to the nursery to purchase what was needed. The little woman said we need some mulch, and since it is cheaper to buy it loose, we would go that route. 5 yards worth. Do you know what you can cover with 5 yards??? If you lay 2” thick, and spread it evenly, you can pretty much (pretty mulch) cover the U.S and that includes Alaska and Hawaii. I had the stuff delivered and deposited on my driveway. At 11:30 it was delivered, and I started the process of planting and spreading, over the area for the bushes, and around my property where I saw fit. Soon I realized that it was indeed too much mulch. (I love it.) I started getting desperate, and started offering it to neighbors, and strangers, and relatives, and anyone who was wondering what the *&^%$#@@!! #%*^%# that smell was.

Soon creeping back pain took over, along with stabbing pain in my foot, as I toiled in the sun and lugged wheel barrel after wheel barrel to different locations in my yard. Shovel, fill the wheel barrel, push it to wherever, and dump. That was the exercise. I thought that it would substitute for my walk for the day. I didn’t figure for the whole month! The little woman was safely away somewhere with a pre-scheduled event, and my son was busy emptying the cover of the pool of leaves, so there I was alone. As this labor continued on my part, my son was miraculously finished, showered, eating something when he came over to offer encouragement. It went something like this: “boy, did you ever notice that the more you shovel, the more there seems to be?” He said this on the other side of Mount Mulch, so I really didn’t get a glimpse of him, but I did hear him.

My advice to anyone who reads this: don’t buy mulch loose, and if you do, ignore it.

Monday, May 01, 2006

HEY DUDE!

Friday was my son's senior class trip. It reminds me of my senior class trip when I was in high school. Now you have all seen the pictures and have taken part in these trips, usually to Washington, D.C. Usually a class picture is taken in front of the Capitol with the dome showing in the background, with you in there somewhere.

My class trip was to a phony “Dude Ranch” in up-state New York that we went to on a yellow bus for the day. (It might have been in Westchester County) We saw: fake cowboys, horses that should have pulled milk wagons that we were suppose to ride, and oddly, a lot of milk wagons. They had a huge barn, very neatly laid out with nothing in it except hay on the ground. We were lined up as prisoners would be, and assigned a horse, which I was introduced to. My “Horse” was named “Apache,” which scared the hell out of me since I was never on a horse up to that point. It was a buff and white small horse or large dog with a saddle. The horse was suffering from spring fever and wanted the Friday off. I held my breath then got on. We were led out of the barn and along this trail that led to the barn. I don't know HOW they did that, but they did. Along the way, my faithful companion and horse Apache would rub along the trees to try to knock me off! I guess Apache came from another country that didn't speak English, because this stupid horse would not listen to me. “Stop” went unheeded, “Go” went unnoticed, the dumb horse would not listen. So I decided to elaborate a little when I spoke. “Stop you dumb ass” and “go you glue bucket” did not inspire Apache.

Finally when we got back to the barn I asked when the next bus or train left for Bellport, but kimosabe the head “cowboy” says “hold on there partner, we're having a real cowboy lunch, don't you want to take part in it?” I thought, “that must mean bar-b-q spare ribs, steaks and roasted pig. I was close; it was baked chicken.

Now you ask about the class photo do you? Well we couldn't take one because there was so much horse shit laying around that we couldn't get everyone in the picture without half of us standing in it.