DelBloggolo

Thursday, November 30, 2006

THERE’S NO “WE” IN “I”

A few weeks ago TLW (The Little Woman) informed me that: “we have to paint #2 Son’s room.” This job that we have to do is very difficult, tiring, time consuming. It requires hiring an excavating Company, and an archeologist just in case.

The first thing to tackle is the ceiling, and because winter is coming, I thought I’d give it two coats. I started yesterday and finished this morning, and now we have to dismantle the walls. This will require removing a few “Workers” posters, pictures of Lenin and Che, Fidel and Mao, leaders of the “workers” world. I am hoping that #2 Son becomes a “Worker” and works more than 2 half days a weekend. It’s not the time you put in, but the fervor according to Hugo Chavez the Second!

Whenever I get to start on one of these projects, it usually means a whole lot of preparation, which includes: cleaning, dusting, vacuuming and moving furniture, it requires finding and placing drop cloths over the furniture and on the floor. It means not only the work, also the cleaning up and putting away, I mean, I hate this job!

I have to get the young revolutionary to pick up this workers cause, man the paintbrush and overcome the oppression of the upper class (TLW), and liberate me from the physical exhaustion.

When my Dad was dying, he called TLW to his deathbed and told her she had to carry on the tradition of “supervisor”, after all he would no longer be around to tell me what to do, and being how TLW is good at it, she could take on his responsibilities when ever I had work to do.

Last night was reminiscent of years gone by when Dad would leave me in charge and he would go get some coffee. He’d come back and start his inspection. Well TLW came home last night and did her check. I asked her how we did, and she said: “Good!”

Back in the early 90’s or maybe late 80”s TLW and I decided to have the house exterior resided. The siding was begun by professionals during the week and stopped for the weekend. I decided to have some fun with Dad, and told my parents to come over. He didn’t know about the siding and I grabbed a carpenter’s apron and a hammer and met him at the driveway looking like I was putting up the siding. He comes over and says to me: “What are you doing?” I tell him I’m putting up siding for the house, and he taps it with his fingers and says: “It’s too loose.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I GAVE AT BEST BUY

Yes, every salesperson’s dream come true entered Best Buy this past Sunday. TLW (The Little Woman) and I are blood donors, and in exchange we get plasma.

Last week our 61” TV died for the last time. I certainly wasn’t going to give it more money to run, so we decided to buy a new one. We got a new fangled plasma 50” color machine.

Being a semi-literate consumer, I asked the young salesman who intercepted us, scratching his palms as he did, what the difference was between an LCD and a Plasma TV. Little Nicky explained the LCD, and then went on to explain the Plasma setup. It went like this:

Lil’ Nicky: “with a plasma, you get to go to our plasma exchange.”
Me: “What’s that?”
Lil’ Nicky: “You get a plasma TV in exchange for your plasma. You see, you pay and pay until we bleed you dry, and then you can take the plasma from the screen and have it injected into your bloodstream in time to catch one more commercial.”
Me: “Wow!”

Of course, I happened to mention this one model, which happened also to be the most expensive model he had on the floor and asked: “Would you recommend this one?” Lil’ Nicky said (and I’ve heard this before:) “I own one.”
HE owns one, so it MUST be good, yes sir lucky me!

When can you deliver this? I asked. Lil’ Nicky says: “ Now let’s see this is 2006, and with a little luck I can have it scheduled for the 34th Thursday in 2009, which by the way, there are no interest payments until then!” Wow, another lucky break, why do I deserve such good fortune God?

TLW decides we need a table to sit this baby on. We hunt around and tell Lil Nicky that we are looking for a table. His eyes light up to match the holiday spirit and says: “Take your time.” He now explains that we will have to turn the sound up full blast because we don’t have the proper speakers and that the speakers on the TV are really not the best way to have sound. We bite, he smiles, he is developing a rash in his palms as he directs us to a unit that you plug all your stuff, DVD, VCR, Cable, vacuum cleaner and coffee maker into. Now all I have to do is go to cablevision and ask for a HDTV box, or it will look like I need glasses to correct a very bad eyesight problem. Lil’ Nicky ask us to do him a favor, when we hang it on the wall, would we mind getting an electrician so that when the installers deliver the TV, the wires that will go into the wall from the hole they will make is up to code?

As we sign the contract, Lil’ Nicky asks if we would be interested in a universal remote, one that will run all the satellite operations such as the VCR and DVD or garage door. The remote costs only $250 down and ten years to pay for this convenience. We say: “NO THANK YOU”

It’s starting to get dark, and Lil’ Nicky has to get home soon or his Mommy will come for him. As we are walking out the door, one salesman stops Lil’ Nicky and asks him: “Did you play the lottery today?” Lil Nicky says: “Nah, I did better than that, I got the Del Bloggolos today!”

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SHE’S A BEAUTY!

We test drove our new Tempurpedic mattress the other night for the first time, and let me tell you: she’s a beauty! After the headache of dealing with Poncho Villa’s gang when it was delivered, (See previous blog; "Carumba, Give Me The Damn Tool)) I needed to test drive the sucker and get my money’s worth.

Being how I like to read in bed books, magazines, and newspapers and do cross word puzzles, raising the head of the bed to the height it can go makes everything easier. The puzzle was great because the ink in the pen doesn’t lose the gravitational pull it needs to write. Also TLW (The Little Woman) can fall asleep while watching TV with her eyes opened or closed and never has to worry about gravitational pull either.

I like to rest my eyes, an old family tradition that dates way back to my Dad. So, although I never fall asleep, (I have to sooth the dog from the snoring noise TLW puts out or thunder and lightning,) the bed would naturally keep me from drifting off just as my recliner does while in a sitting position.

You can actually watch the TV without getting your neck tired from bending it on a pillow, and as for reading, the book relaxes in your lap as you can raise the knees from the knee riser.

The mattress is very heavy with its thick foam like density, but when you lay on it, it conforms to your contour as if it was cradling your whole body. (It will have a lot of cradling to do!)

The pillows that come with this sleep system, (everything is a system these days) weight about a ton, somewhat like a sand bag but once you lay your head on one, forgeddaboutit! Very comfortable!

Why am I telling you this?

I don’t know!

P.S. You also get a great night’s sleep on it too!

Monday, November 27, 2006

CHANGE HERE FOR MY CHILDHOOD

Saturday along with our forage into the heart of Brooklyn Heights, we also visited the NYC Transit Museum, that personally speaking as I always do, slammed me back into my childhood, growing up in the Bushwick and Bed-Sty sections of Brooklyn.

It seems the transit system trains and buses were so much a part of my childhood. More massive, lumbering and swaying back and forth, lights flickering or electrical sparks exploding in silence with generators pounding out a steady beat and a hiss that seemed to stop the noise, while they idled in the station, are all things I grew up with.

My Dad would take the subway to Canal Street every morning to go to work, with his fedora and winged tip brown shoes, returning at night with the NY Journal American folded under his arm as he climbed the steps after a long ride on the IND from Canal, filled with stories about Harry and Joe The Fin as we sat down to dinner.

The Elevated BMT would slide by my neighborhood at the end of Hull Street, and every once in a while I would look at the green and black industrial looking passenger freight cars, since that is what they were, and think about my Dad if he was working. I often went down to Fulton Street and waited for him to come home from the “City” as Manhattan was called (even though I lived in the “city” in Brooklyn.)

My Mom would take my on the trolley than ran along Stone Avenue until service was discontinued in the early 1950’s, and I remember how it resembled a subway car.

But the funniest recollection I had last Saturday was of my Mom’s old Olympia Typewriter, it was a portable non-electric, and when she typed it, I would watch it come down the track and imagine it was the “A Train” pulling into the station platform from the front. I must admit it is strange imagery, but I was just a kid of maybe 4 or 5 years old.

Then there was the smells of the old subway stations, with their tiled walls and dark grey floors, dark track beds and green or red lights that waited for the next incoming train to arrive. It seemed everyone dressed up in those days when they went somewhere, even to the doctor’s office, ladies in their dresses and hose, hats with flowers and laced covers and men in their fedoras and wingtip shoes, all milling about the station platform, doing a crossword puzzle, reading the newspaper or passing through the green painted turnstiles with thick wooden sections that held one person after another who deposited his nickel, or people exiting the station through the prison like bars of the revolving gates.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

THE HEIGHTS 0F BROOKLYN HEIGHTS

Did you ever find something beautiful by accident, something so beautiful or wonderful that you didn’t want to let go of it? Yesterday was just such a find. Traveling into the city by train, TLW (The Little Woman) and I were heading for a day in first: Brooklyn; then NYC. Our primary objective was to visit the NYC Transit Museum in Brooklyn, then jump on the subway and head back to NYC for dinner and a little more sightseeing.

When we arrived in Brooklyn at the museum, we had a little time to kill before it opened and decided to explore the neighborhood a little. Now if you are familiar with this area of Brooklyn, you know what’s coming. As we were walking, TLW became excited and started to have the felling of deja vue. She suddenly realized she had been there before, on jury duty about seven years ago. The boy from Brooklyn was about to be guided from a girl from Baldwin on the hidden beauty of Brooklyn!

We started to explore to the neighborhood where she strolled seven years ago on her 2-hour lunch breaks from court. It seemed like we were in Boston or old Philadelphia or even Georgetown in the D.C. area. Beautiful old brownstones, with restoration everywhere, tree lined streets and churches that dated to the 1800’s, and tuck in the middle of this were wonderful old hotels, history was staring over us, from the old Dutch to the to the old English, from the 1600’s through the turn of the 20th Century. One could almost hear the clop-clop of horse drawn carriages, and smell the smells of life back then.

Complete families of grandparents, parents and children strolled the streets, children were laughing in the playgrounds and old people basking in the warmth of the sun. We stopped a very beautiful older lady and asked her for directions to the waterfront. She led us to God’s canvas, as we followed her guide and came to the Promenade, which is really an esplanade, but for some reason people call it “Promenade.”

The sky was cloudless, a wide expanse, greater than anything in Big Sky Country in Montana, a panorama of blue and cerulean magnificence, and under it lay the skyline of Manhattan, and out in the middle of the harbor: Lady Liberty, standing in the warm golden sunlight, and on the promenade hundreds of people, sharing this wonderful secret of God’s hand, strolling, and sitting on the park benches that lined the walkway. The people came from all over the world, and like the entire greatest city on earth, different languages could be heard, all smiling and laughing, with cameras clicking and posed smiles. And little children who will one day look back on their past, and lovers who both old and new, strolling hand-in-hand: will remember this day too.

A beautiful day, a beautiful woman, a beautiful experience!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A DIFFERENT KIND OF ANNIVERSARY

TLW (The Little Woman) must be something kind of special. Actually she is special, and yesterday was an anniversary that brought back very fond memories. Yesterday, the day after Thanksgiving, even though the date itself may not be the same, was the day I asked TLW to marry me. I mentioned it to someone yesterday and they asked me what her answer was.

I am a sentimental old fool. I even remember the date that I gave her the engagement ring, January 15, as well as the wedding day. The only day we can’t seem to remember is the day we met.

It all started on the Long Island Rail Road, one workday, when she got on the train and sat with her girlfriend and I saw her for the first time. I was sitting with a group of people that I sat with every morning, talking, or playing cards or just reading the paper. I had a few girlfriends in the group that I would date, and TLW would get on and put her Daily News in front of her face and listen to what we were saying! But I remember her beautiful face behind her very business like glasses and demeanor, and it was love at first sight.

One morning the trainman, a friend of mine came over to me before TLW got on and offered me a bag of homemade chocolates, which at first I refused, and thought about it and then got an idea and took them. These chocolates were my introduction to TLW. She got on, I worked up the nerve to go over to her, introduce myself and offer the chocolates. I asked her about some news that was current in the newspaper, which she couldn’t answer, and then I knew she was using the paper for a prop. It was love. Bells rang, there was commotion, and all the riders got up at once it seemed. It also seemed we were entering Jamaica Station.

Whenever we fight or should I say argue, I often think, why didn’t I just eat the damn chocolates, and realize that I got something sweeter instead.

What was her answer when I asked her to marry me?

She said: I’ll get back to you.

I’ll have to remind her to answer that question.

Friday, November 24, 2006

THE LOAN OFFICER

TLW (The Little Woman) is now a “Loan Officer”, (which means life has gotten harder for me.)

I now have to think twice before asking for a small loan from her, say for $5.00. It seems that if you borrow from her bank up to $20,000, you don’t need any collateral, but if I borrow anything from TLW over $1.00 will require her to ask for and secure collateral from me. She explained to me that this is to keep her sharp when she sees someone who she may suspect to be a risk or at least shady in character.

Her new powers also require that I request an appointment first. Not only do I need this appointment, she makes me wait in the living room! Now I guess the waiting could be bearable if I didn’t have to fill out all those forms, then get them notarized.

Living with a banker, one with “Officer” in her title is very intimidating, and I’ve been not sleeping well at nights, since I took out the loan. I can pay back the loan itself, or principle; it is the interest that troubles me. I swear I will never borrow money again, unless it’s from a loan shark, say #2 Son.

TLW is even starting to dress like a big shot. A long necklace, long hung earrings and long dresses, to remind the borrower that the payback is LONG, has now become the operating standard dress code!

This is a hard woman, suddenly!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

BUON GIORNATA TACCHINO RIPIENO!

Happy stuff turkey day! May your stuffing be complete, both for you and the turkey.

I was thinking about the holidays and what this all means, and I couldn’t help but think of my grandparents and father-in-law. It seems to me we think of faceless and nameless pilgrims from the Mayflower, cavorting with a few Native Americans that also remain nameless, and we miss the real Mayflower.

It seems to me that we should be celebrating immigrant day. The day that our ancestors came here, for the most part not knowing the customs and language of their new home. My Grandmother came here as a 15 year old girl, and raised a family, grew a business and had many grandchildren, and we all owe her for that voyage she made. The same thing can be said for my Grandfathers, and Great Grandparents.

TLW (The Little Woman) too, has her Dad to thank for the same very reasons. Although he didn’t come from the same place, or share passage on the same ship, tomorrow should be the day we celebrate his courage, his journey and his sacrifices here in America, as we see the wonderful family he has.

So tomorrow, think of those who thought of the future, not only theirs, but ours, and preserve that memory every Thanksgiving day.

HAPPY STUFFED TURKEY DAY!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NONI AND HIS POLO BARONI

Every now and then as I rest in my retirement (Between chores), I think of people I worked with in the past and realize some of them are rich in character. One such individual is a gentleman named Noni. Noni worked for the print production team, and spoke a very difficult dialect of English. I could never really understand him, but like everyone else in the company who knew him, I loved the guy.

Noni was very proud of his Pilipino homeland, and often spoke of it. He would on occasion wear what they call in the Philippines: a “Polo baroni”. It simply was a blouse that resembled a tuxedo shirt that was worn outside the pants, never tucked in. It was considered dressed up.

One of Noni’s endearing habits was to be the first one at work, and the last one to leave, sometimes working on Saturdays. He had one complaint, that being when it was Friday, he couldn’t wait until Monday. Not to be judgmental, but boy, was that annoying! He also had a habit of parking in the same spot every morning, and I decided to have a little fun with that.

In 1991, the company acquired computers for the first time for the graphics department, and it offered me great opportunities for mischief. I decided to create a traffic ticket that I could post on his windshield under his wiper blade. I took great pains to make it look like it came from the Port Washington Police department, and the infraction was “Parking too close to the ground.” At some point me and a bunch of my cohorts, including Noni’s boss gathered around the one way mirror window that overlooked his car, and convinced him to go out to his car to get something. Noni sauntered out to the vehicle and immediately noticed the “Ticket” and grabbed it off the windshield. Reading the ticket, Noni starts to look at his car, and gets down on his hands and knees and looks at the distance between his car and the ground, and goes to the car next to him and does the same thing! By now everyone watching this from inside is in hysterics, screaming and laughing out loud. I have him totally convinced that he is in violation, and I decide to go outside and pretend I know nothing. He meanwhile is carefully folding the ticket in half to put in his pocket. He sees me and calls me over.

Noni: {poij v[aj q0j ka’p? (Hey Joe, can you figure this out?
Me: (after taking a while to figure out what he just said) sure Noni, you got a ticket for parking too close to the curb!
Noni: {P;okd jf;woij;kncp;ouh ;a? (How come I never got one before?
I look at his New jersey license plate and say:
Because you are from New Jersey.
Noni: Lpoiajvopaij po [ofje[oif. (Are you @*$%&$@(&$# me?)

It took Noni most of the day to realize at the bottom of his ticket that he should pay the fine in cash to: who else? But me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

FINDING MY WAY IS EASY THE SECOND TIME


I always like to practice, especially if I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before. Take yesterday for instance. I was invited to the newly weds apartment for the first time. The newly weds are my niece Annmarie and her new husband Greg, who I consider my nephew. There was some confusion over “next Saturday” as I thought she meant the immediate Saturday, but she meant the following Saturday. So TLW (The Little Woman) and I drove a good 15 or 20 miles to figure that out!

Well yesterday was the right Saturday, and greeting us at her door was my lovely niece with her famous smile and red hair, looking beautiful as ever. Her apartment was immaculate and spacious for the two people that live there. Also there were her mother and brother (The macaroni man), his girlfriend Kim and Nana the matriarch and equalizer. She has a boyfriend at 88 years old and I can’t believe it!

Well the diner was exceptional, the host and hostess great and I was feeling no pain. I was informed I was finally meeting Henry, Nana’s beau, on Thanksgiving Day and that I had to promise to behave, this coming from both Nana and TLW. I’ll try and see how long I last. But if Henry expects a different edition of Delbloggolo that the rest of the family doesn’t know about, there may be problems.

Meanwhile, great photo, no?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARYANN!

Or “Mary” as she likes to be called. We in her family, her Mother brother and sisters all call her MaryAnn. There is no other Maryann in this world quite like her. She can talk faster than a runaway tape recorder, she can move faster than a speeding bullet (sorry Superman), and can do the dishes so quick, you could lose a lot of weight if you live with her.

Mary has two wonderful children, Chris and Annmarie. Annmarie was married a year ago, this Thursday, to a wonderful fellow named Greg.

When I was growing up, there was a very squeaky wheel, one that didn’t let much get past her nose, one that could fight for her rights, yet was always graceful if she lost an argument. Of course she would explode, and rage like Mt. Vesuvius, but she was very much her own person. She never rated on me, always was compliant but did things her way, and God help you if you got in the way! With curly hair, and a freckled complexion, she was a beautiful child and now is a beautiful woman.

Having courage is something I admire, especially in a woman. Facing what life brings to your front door can be an ordeal, and Mary faced some tough stuff with more courage than I could find. Fortunately she has many friends, and her family loves her, so she could do battle and not lose.

Back in I believe 1975; Mary married a fellow named Carl, a genial and pleasant man who loved his wife and his kids very much. A few short years ago, he passed on, and Mary would face the challenge of her life, raising the bar for parenthood, as she insisted that her two children finish their education and stay in college. These two kids wanted to quit college and go to work to help her out, but she would not hear of it, and because of her and their hard work they graduated on the same day. It was the triumph that I personally witnessed, and it was my proudest day as a brother. I couldn’t take Carl’s place as their father, but I could help them celebrate the occasion as if Carl was still alive. As I witnessed the graduation, I kept thinking: “They should put Mary Ann’s name of each of those diplomas.” Whenever I see her kids, I think of that day.

Today we celebrate her birthday, and she is one of my personal heroes in my life.

Happy Birthday MaryAnn, we all love you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

CARRUMBA, GIVE ME THE DAMN TOOL!

Yesterday was the big day. The day Sleepys delivered the new bed to my home. Of course they were running late and didn’t arrive until hours after they should have. They told me that the delivery would be between the hours of 8 and 12 noon, but it was closer to 8 and midnight.

The bed arrives as three Mexicans or Hispanics jump off their truck and start opening up the back doors. They immediately start unloading the truck and little children and women are jumping out, and bring in the new bed, all the while looking over their shoulders! I try to explain to them they must take out the old bed first, since it isn’t the largest room in the house. No Comprende! Aye, aye aye!!

So they climb the steps with two heavy beds under their ponchos and struggle as they juggle and twist, dancing and stepping, looking not to bump into walls and furniture, all the while looking over their shoulders. They see what I’m talking about and sheepishly place the new beds into the hallway, blocking the stairs. They stand the old bed against the TV! I’m starting to get a little unsettled.

Zapata opens up the bag of nuts and bolts, while el Gato, (he did all the bending and twisting) took all the heavy pieces of bed frame and started to assemble, all the while looking over his shoulder. El Cabbeza Loco assists while periodically answering his cell phone that rang to the tune of “La Cucaracha”, all the while looking over his shoulder.

Zapata now decides to assist in the assembly of the bed frame. He pulls out this bracket and they all start conferring in Espanol, rattling off in low tones and rapid fashion what sounds to be a dilemma. What do we do with these strange brackets amigos??? All the while looking over their shoulders, they try.

They fiddle and position, referring to the assembly instructions, (which by the way did NOT come in both English and Spanish!)
They can’t figure it out, after 20 minutes! I’m really starting to loose my patience.

I tap on Zapata’s shoulder, he jumps, all the while looking over his shoulder. I take the instructions and tool, look at them and show El Cabbeza Loco how to do it, for not only are they on the wrong side of the border, they are on the wrong side of the bed, and are trying to fit the headboard brackets to the foot of the bed!

Immediately they all jump in and start to assemble. La Cucaracha starts to play again on the cell phone, and while El Cabbeza Loco does a Mexican hat dance around the room trying to answer, El Gato is checking for either the U.S. Border Patrol or the U.S. Dep’t of Immigration and Naturalization to see if they are looking for him. Zapata hands me the remote to operate the levels for the bed to raise the head or foot of the bed. He says: “Senor, see if it works.”

I open the remote to see if there are batteries, (there are) and position them so the remote works. I test the bed: nada! Nunca, nothing! NOTHING!! It doesn’t work. El Gato jumps under the bed, I tell them in my most diplomatic voice: You gotta program it. Zapata grabs the book and starts to do the work of three men, namely: Mo. Larry and Curley. He turns to the page on how to program a dual two remote bed, but we are a single remote. I instruct El Cabbeza Loco to plug in the bed, and Zapata to give me the book so I can program the remote.

I program the remote from the correct page and it works! I think to myself: “Maybe they should apply for unemployment and an English lesson to go with the new American first language, Spanish.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

TLW AND I ARE SEPERATING!

Yes, it’s true! TLW (The Little Woman) and I are going our separate ways. After years of shopping together, we reached an amicable agreement to never shop together again. She will get control of the credit cards, and I will be named on the credit report.

It seems that we give off an aura of vulnerability whenever we enter a store together. A salesperson can sense it and immediately make a sale. Yesterday we were supposed to go to Sleepy’s and buy a bed frame for #2 Son, and walked out owning not only a bed frame, but a new bed, that you not only sleep in, but pay for over 36 months! This little beauty has everything you could ask for: it acts as a flat bed, it raises the head into numerous positions, as you like, and it raises the midpoint as well as the feet. We can actually be comfortable reading a book or newspaper, or watching TV. You are supposed to go from rest to deep sleep in 4.5 seconds. (Unless #2 Son is out after curfew.) And get this-it VIBRATES! The last time I was on a vibrating bed was in Paris on my honeymoon, and it cost me a coin, not 36 months of payments.

We had no plans to make such a purchase, but TLW cared enough about my comfort since I have been complaining about lack of sleep for about a year now, due to arthritis pain in the shoulders and legs at night.

The salesman asked an innocent question: “How old is your mattress?” We answered: “Over 20 years!” and the Bum whispers: “Thank you God.” All the salespeople we meet whisper that.

It isn’t enough to get a sales pitch, no, he had to have a scientific demonstration complete with a computer, a hard sell video, and complete knowledge of the skeletal system and “Pressure points” of the human body. According to him, the pressure points from my body as I lay on the test bed, shows considerable discomfort, and I should have died years ago, but forgot to lie down!

But first as does a small ship about to be overwhelmed by pirates, we have to fire one shot, or at least put up some resistance with the pirate across the table from us. Do we really need a new bed, the one we have is really in very good shape.

Pirate Black Bart: Every ten years or so you should get a new one.

Suckers: But it doesn’t even have an indentation.

Pirate Black Bart: Do you know that bed mattresses gain twice their weight in bed mites and dust and bed mite wastes?

Suckers: Is that so?

Pirate Black Bart: Yes, and besides; you deserve a new bed after 20 years, it more than took care of you.

We signed on the dotted line, and after we did, he like all salespeople we ever meet, took his bandana off his face, so we could see what he looked like.

Monday, November 13, 2006

MR. PALOWITZ, WE LOVE YOU!

Way back in 7th grade there was an art teacher of mine that really introduced me to the real world of kooks and odd balls. This was a crusty middle-aged man that was out of his element teaching 7th graders about art and philosophy of creativity. Mr. Palowitz was his name.

Mr. Palowitz was probably the reason I was inspired to enter the art field to begin with. He was my first experience with a bohemian attitude about life and the freedom of creativity and need to be free to express oneself. Although I never emulated his lifestyle, I often use it as a reminder to keep loose and not be afraid to speak or create what is on my mind.

The first thing about this man was his hair, which was falling out at an alarming rate, with dandruff showering out on art work as he leaned over to view each creation. This was complemented by his lack of a decent wardrobe, which consisted of a tweed jacket and knit tie that might not necessarily work together, but met the standard dress code for teachers that wanted to work.

Halfway through the school year Mr. Palowitz announced that we could no longer call him Mr. Palowitz, but instead must call him Mr. Paul. He had legally changed his name he said because he hated his old name! So Mr. Paul it was.

Mr. Paul. Or should I say the “New” Mr. Paul was a very honest man, very often making remarks about his wife and kids, or some teacher in another department, along with the physical traits of his victim for illustrative purposes. The one thing Mr. Paul hated was school. He once told the whole class that every morning, he would rise from his bed, go to the top of the stairs and yell down: “I hate school!” At Christmas time, Mr. Paul would take his kids to Abraham and Strauss, a store that sold all kinds of things, allow his kids to play with the toys, and leave without buying anything! Yes, Mr. Paul was a cheap old bastard.

The final thing that left an indelible impression on my young mind was the sight of Mr. Paul standing in front of the class with his tie cut in half! “What happened?” we asked, and were told that he was leaning over the paper cutter to cut some paper and his tie was under the blade, and he didn’t realize it. He said he refused to take off the cut tie because of the silly rule about wearing ties that teachers had to obey!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

OK, I CONFESS, WHERE DO I SIGN?

Yesterday at breakfast, what I always suspected of TLW (The Little Woman) was confirmed. Yes, she is a naturally born private detective! By a series of deductions, careful observations and a keen eye, she can solve some of the mysteries that can perplex any ordinary mortal.

This raises grave issues for me, as now I must be squeaky clean and have childlike innocence in my everyday life style. There is NOTHING I can hide from her!

Every Saturday morning when I get up, I find TLW sitting in her chair, either reading a book or a newspaper with a cup of coffee in her hand. I get my coffee and join her. We sit and talk and finish our coffee and she gets up to get dressed. We leave our cups next too our chairs on the table.

TLW is a southpaw, a lefty, I on the other hand (figuratively and literally) am right handed. As she makes breakfast for us, she got our cups from the den to pour coffee, and being how both our cups are from a set, she paused, and weighted which cup was which. She settled on who was who and poured. I noticed this and said: “Just pour, it doesn’t really matter or get fresh cups.” Being the Jessica Fletcher she is stated: “No, you are right handed and I’m left handed so I just check on which side of the handle the little drip runs are.”

Once we were looking for my baby sister’s new house for the first time. It had rained hard earlier and we couldn’t be sure where the house was. There was a stream of muddy water running down the road and TLW said: “Just follow the mud stream, your sister doesn’t have a lawn in yet.” She was right!

I am talking about a devout fan of: Columbo, Murder She Wrote, Monk, Macmillan and Wife, and every detective show that comes down the pike including all your CSI derivatives..

There are other occasions where this has occurred in the past that is to numerous to mention, and now it has me thinking: What the hell did I do, marry my Mother? I got married to get away from Mom’s intuition and careful observations, not to mention her impeccable timing in nailing my sorry ass to a wall every time she suspected I was up to something.

Oh well, I guess it’s the straight and narrow here on in.

Friday, November 10, 2006

DEEP DISH OR NY STYLE?

I recently saw a report on the differences between Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, and New York Style Pizza. Three tests were conducted: one in Chicago, one in New York, and one in San Francisco, to determine which pizza was the best. The Chicago version is made with a pan that is about 2 to 3 inches deep, loaded with tomato sauce, and various items such as: peppers, cheese, onions or whatever else there might be laying around. The NY style is flat, on a shallow pan or tray, and is made with tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesano cheese.

The results of the test in Chicago as in NY and San Fran were done by local fire departments. Chicago favored the Chicago style deep dish by a margin of 9-2, in NY it was unanimous 11-0 NY style, and in San Francisco the overwhelming majority approved the NY style pizza by I believe 8-3!

What does this all mean? It means being original, (NY style) is always best, being a copycat that tries to be original is sad (Chicago style), and geez, those firefighters in San Francisco sure have a culinary advantage over their brothers in Chicago!

I myself prefer NYstyle, which is really a Neapolitan round pie as there is a thicker version that is square, called a Sicilian pie. I think pizza has to have a nice blend in taste of crusts, sauce and toppings that make it an artful endeavor. Loading up too much sauce is never a good thing, because who wants to drink their pizza? Peppers and onions on a pizza in my mind is a no-no, and those people should be fined. The worse offense is putting either pineapple or cheddar on it and calling it pizza. Those practitioners should be shot. (Without a trial).

Tonight I will have my favorite: the Grandma pie, which is a thin crusted plum tomato and basil marriage, infused with chunks of garlic, and of course topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, oozing and stringing as you eat it. The flavor is enhanced by the very rich taste of extra virgin olive oil. I must admit, I never met any slutty olive oil.

One more thing, mozzarella is not a Jewish cheese to add to matzo ball soup, and should not be pronounced: “Motzarella.”
Now pass the parmesano cheese and let’s eat. Oh, don’t forget to bring some napkins and dry red port or beer.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

THE CURTAIN CAPER, OR ANYBODY FOR HOT CHIPS?

Last evening I discovered that TLW (The Little Woman) uses me as a model for her lessons in her religious class. She teaches little 7 year olds about God and the opposite, namely me.

Many years ago, when I was just a pre-teen, my parents went to the city to bring my little Italian Grandmother home for a few days for some occasion or other. My sister Fran and I were left behind for a few hours and in the days of black and white TV; things could get boring in a hurry. It was this very occasion that TLW used for one of life’s lessons.

As that evening progressed, I became hungry, or should I say hungrier. I decided to make potato chips, and my young and able assistant, my sister Fran would help me, whether she wanted to or not. We got some potatoes and sliced them up, pour some oil into a frying pan and dumped the potatoes into the pan. Not looking crisp enough for my liking, I jacked up the flame all the way. Suddenly, the pan caught fire, and an orange-yellow flame began licking out of the pan, and I decided I would just carry it over to the sink, and pour tap water on it. Big mistake! The flame leaped out of the pan and onto the curtains that draped over the sink! I quickly ripped off the curtains, and did a Mexican hat dance on them until the flame went out. Surveying the damage, I noticed that only the middle of the curtain was burned, so I decided to cut it away, and sew it up.

My assistant Martha Stewart and me laid out the curtain on the floor, and using my Mother’s sewing kit cut and sewed. When we were finished, we decided it looked pretty good! We hung them back up and reasoned that my Mother would be so unhappy about having her Mother-in-law in the house for a few days, that she wouldn’t notice a thing.

We waited anxiously for the return of my parents and I was suddenly overcome with a religious furor that I could not begin to describe. We heard the car pull up and the doors slam. A little bit of Italian told me they had indeed arrived. My heart started to beat faster and faster, as the voices in Italian got closer and closer. Suddenly the door opened, I crossed myself and made a mental note to change my underware as they entered the kitchen. “WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CURTAINS!!!”

Fran the stool pigeon revealed all.

The lesson TLW taught?

Well boys and girls, when you do something wrong, you should say you did it, and say you are sorry.

Of course it helps a hell of a lot is you are out of range of my Mother’s backhand.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I’M DELBLOGGOLO AND I APPROVE THIS MESSAGE

Well today is Election Day, and the sooner it is over the better. I can’t stand politicians from any party; they are all sanctimonious phonies, who will steal us all blind before we even know it.

I don’t know what is worst, the guy who got his hand caught in the till or the screeching woman who tries to paint a more human side to her persona.

Local politics are the worst. Here we have a few school districts who have not only mis-managed the money entrusted to them, but are also caught stealing. To further complicate the matters at hand, they give jobs out to family members, who also take advantage of the opportunities to steal from us. It would seem to me if you are a politician, you shouldn’t be allowed to give out patronage jobs to family members. If the politician is a crook, why wouldn’t his wife and family be one also?

The Congressmen run and when they do, the only time you hear from them is when they need your vote. There is one in particular that states in his re-election ads that he is working for this and that, but I haven’t seen him or heard him do anything. I guess the check is in the mail.

I will on occasion cross party lines and vote for someone that has a message, or has indeed demonstrated that he or she is a doer, and there is proof. Most I will hold my nose and pull the levers.

Well, I don’t know who I’ll vote for today, either Jessie James or Bugsy Moran, but be sure my nostrils will be pinched together.

Monday, November 06, 2006

CIAO, BABY

No, I’m not leaving, that is the name of the restaurant TLW (The Little Woman) and I visited yesterday. My nephew, the macaroni man gave us a gift certificate to the place. (See my blog on “My Nephew The Macaroni Man. April 8, 2006)

It sits in a very busy strip mall and when you enter, the first thing you see is the bar, populated by young people (anyone under the age of 30), looking at you like you are naked. I checked my fly and continued on to the young lady that stood behind the desk and asked for a table. She said: “Walk this way”, and although I tried, it wasn’t working for me.

We were seated at a table that was squeezed into a long line of tables that almost touched. A young fellow came over with aspirations of becoming a living Henny Youngman, opening up his act by asking me if I had ever been to Ciao Baby before. I said “No” and asked him how long it was around. He said 7 years and I said “No wonder I never heard of it before!”

It’s not enough to have one waiter: we have to have two! One would take our main course and appetizer order, and one would take the drinks and desserts. They start off by reading the “specials” that take about 1 hour 20 minutes. Interceded by jokes about the physical appearance of the new Henny Youngman. This is followed by an explanation of the printed menu, and the fact that you can ask for anything you want, and they will try to make it.

We decided by ordering what TLW wants. It is a meal for two, and a “great” dish, I mean great in that it is a huge platter for about 6 people! But to order it, we have to get by Henny Youngman again, exhorting us to order it. “Oh, I order this myself, and love it.” Says Henny. Well that is good enough for me.

The problem with these places is the help wants to please, like every mouthful they ask “And how is everybody doing here?” after six mouthfuls I was ready to make Henny join his idol, the real Henny Youngman!

Dessert time and Henny’s sidekick appears, and as we look at the dessert menu, suddenly a beautiful young lady appears sitting next to me, which causes me to jump out of my skin, because she must have come down from out of nowhere to encourage me to order anything on the menu, which comes in a 3-dementional format, tossing around all the fake desserts and really making me want to order now.

As we drive home, I feel like I had just sat down to eat with an insurance salesman who happens to work for the mob, and better push the food.

The food was great, the ambiance wonderful, and the gift card was really appreciated, as well as the help that tried.

Thanks, Macaroni Man, I had macaroni, and like you it was great!

Friday, November 03, 2006

HELLO, I’M MR. FIXIT, BUILDIT, OR IMPROVISE IT.

Yes I am a man of many hats, that all fall under the guise of “Husband.” My job is to bring my truck for large purchases, load them, assemble and throw out the old stuff.

TLW (The Little Woman) decides all the domestic issues such as: what we buy, what we throw out, what we eat, and what I say. I decide the more important issues such as do we support dogs or cats, do we like France, and do we wish to continue recognizing Red China. As you can see I am very important.

Yesterday I put together a new coffee table for our den, something not too expensive that we could mess up without feeling bad. TLW went off to work and I proceeded to erect this thing of domestic beauty, which weights about as much as the rest of the furniture combined, and has enough parts to recreate a rollercoaster.

I took out the instructions, laid out all the pieces and took a rest. (No need overextending myself). To successfully complete this task I realized I would need a dish, a spoon and a box of cereal. Once this was accomplished, I decided to take a break and eat what was in the dish, as I pour a little milk into it and in a cup of coffee. (No need to overwork myself.)

I was really ready to begin when I decided that I needed to go the bathroom. I figured that since I was going there I should grab the morning newspaper and read it to catch up on the day’s current events, being fully prepared to have an intelligent conversation with even Senator Hilary Clinton if need be. (I can multi-task with the best of them.)

That completed, I looked at the instructions again and decided to take an aspirin since my hair hurt, and I like to rest after all the bad news in the morning edition. (Being up on current events and physical comfort are all-important to me.)

As I figured out all the tools I would need, calculating it all on paper so as not to waste any time, (I’m a stickler), I got a Philips screwdriver and sat in my easy chair so I could read the first instruction to begin. Then it hit me, I better get this down on my blog!

Well it’s all your fault that the damn table isn’t put together yet! Thank you very much.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

MY SISTER WAS AN ONLY CHILD

The day I was born, the Brooklyn Dodgers were playing a game against the St. Louis Cardinals that the Bums lost. Although they lost, they managed to keep it close, losing 15-3. I was born right across the street from Ebbets Field, and my Mother could see the ballpark and the game from her room in the Swedish Hospital.

Being how I was the first and only son my father had, when he saw the score he kind of took his time coming around to visit me at the hospital. My much older sister Tessie was his good luck charm. Whenever he took her to the games, they won, I get born once and the Bums lose! Tessie could do no wrong, but I sure could. It took six years for my Mother to convince my Father not to put me up for adoption!

My Dad decided that he had to break the schnide, and decided to take me to a game. The game was a Friday night against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 18th, and it would be just him and me. I was hyper all week, going to my first game, seeing the team live for the first time. This was a great time, and marvelous moment in my young life! No black and white TV, no sir, pure live Dodgers!

We take the overhead El, change to and underground subway train and arrive, emerging from under the network of sewers, water mains, electrical and gas conduits. I immediately see the rotunda of Ebbets Field, as we enter and Dad gives his ticket, we climb the ramp and use the catwalk to our seats behind home plate. I’m immediately struck by the green expanse, magnified in color by the lights for the night game, the clean white chalk lines and bases, and most of all: my Dodgers, in their snow white uniforms, with the red numbers under the chest and the black shiny spiked shoes. Surrounding this magnificent edifice is a red clay substance to frame the field of play.

The game begins and before you know it, the Cardinals are pitching a shutout, Stan the Man Musial hits one over the right field wall onto Bedford Avenue, Jackie Robinson gets a hit, falls asleep at 2nd base and fails to score on a base hit!

We lose the game; it is a long and quiet ride back to the old homestead. Pop is not too happy, and I’m beginning to think maybe he’s trying to outrun me home, so I get lost and can’t find my way! But no, it was just that he was slightly perturbed and just wanted to get home.

Later that year, sometime in August he took me with some friends and found the solution to the schnide, bring Tessie! Yes, bring Tessie and my curse would be broken!

We play the Cincinnati Redlegs, with Big Ted Kluszuski tagging one into the left field stands where we were sitting.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout
But there is some joy in Mudville—mighty Tessie has won out.

And so the curse was broken!

REWRITING MY MARRIAGE VOWS

“And do you Delbloggolo, promise to take TLW (The Little Woman) in weight gain or in skinniness, in enforced diet or guilt that YOU ARE EATING THAT! in laying around or off your butt and working around the house, as long as you both shall have to?”

The love stuff we already covered in the first 35 years, this is real business now. Marriage is a wonderful institution and I am committed. It is a lot like Halloween, in that after a time, you take off the mask and deal with the weight gain of the first 35 years of “candy” from all the tricks and treats. Of course I still love TLW, but now we have to deal with the realities of our lives, the children, the bills and the weight that claims us as we fight to stay younger, and try to protect our health.

I hate my doctor, not for any reason than he is the same age, but thin. He is giving me the medications, and once a year he gets really personal, without buying me dinner! I go and feel sheepish as he looks at my weight and doesn’t say anything. AT LEAST INSULT ME, DAMMIT, DON’T JUST LOOK AWAY.

One of these days, I’m going to be skinny, and so thin that you won’t be able to look at me without saying: “Please eat.”

I wish.