Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Watching TV is becoming a chore! Listening to gosh awful commercials in particular and the fact that they run with such frequency in one hours time is outrageous. Having been in print advertisement all my professional life, and direct mail or as they say “Junk mail”, it might be just me, that doesn’t understand what the hell is going on.

There is a commercial for a sandwich for Quiznos that is downright stupid and offensive. A young individual makes guttural sounds with his mouth (at least I hope it is his mouth) while eating a sandwich to sell it or a chain of sandwich shops. All the people in the ad are in their 20’s and 30’s, and I suppose that is the market, and is the way to reach them!

Can you imagine a college trying some of the techniques employed to try to reach the same demographics? Are we stupid sometimes, serious others and do we shift from moronic to intelligent from one moment to the next? Do we make guttural sounds to sell cars to this group of consumers? How about medication, guttural sounds?

You sell to children with: cartoon characters, superheroes, etc., but come on guys, we are grownups now!

We used to sell medications with fake doctors, animated pain to stimulate your imagination into thinking; “yeah, that’s what I have, and I bet it looks just like that!” Well this same sandwich company has another commercial where a guy walks around with an IV and trades it in to a fellow worker for a sub sandwich! Like Hell, anyone would do that. Same company, two ads, same assault on your intelligence. Are they clever? You might think so, and probably they are, but amusement can sometimes overshadow product awareness. OK, this is not enough? How about the one with the father pouting that he wants cheese in his sandwich and his little son tells him to grow up? And what does Daddy say in response? “No, you grow up.”

I think I’m going to “Throw up.”

One good thing about print ads, you really don’t need to read them to know who is selling what. A quick glance tells you company and product. No distraction or chance of missing the product.

I know I’m not hip, cool or the cat’s pajamas, nor am I the bee’s knees or the snakes hips, but I do know that it is silly to buy a minute’s time, fill it with something stupid or unbelievable and them reveal at the very last moment what the hell you are selling. Take 60 seconds and repeat the name of the product, describe it and sell the taste, stupid.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Or blind mice. Whatever, we were there. Just view the photo. Left to right, my brother-in-law John, the Polish Prince, yours truly, Joe Del Bloggolo, and the heir to the throne of Polish Prince, the Connecticut Yankee, or should I say Red Sox, Tom.

It was not too long ago, I think it was last week, when we were the ones giving parties for Christenings and scurrying around the house, getting the beer cold and the chips dipped, while following directions from our wives at a staccato pace. Now we just sit there. Out to Pasteur, one with an upset stomach, one with a beer and one with his arms in the process of giving up.

We can’t seem to make the seating work, as we are relegated to the one spot in the house, away from the dip, the beer treasured as our only source of refreshment. If you look carefully, you will see more hair on John’s lip than on all our heads combined.

What do we talk about? We talk about our jobs or retirement, our sources of income and benefits. We used to talk about “Debbie Does Dallas” and football or baseball. The biggest and most lengthily conversation is about; Pains. All our pains, either real or imagined are the topic.

Our wives drift off to converse in the kitchen, younger than we are and getting younger. Our children now reside all over the country, doing things for themselves and their families, and doing it the same as ever it was done by us. They now do the scurrying about, holding the parties and get-togethers for their children.

Three old men, worried about the cost of gas, and the pain of holding it in, in mixed company. Does it all sound depressing? Actually it is. But hey, look around you, you will be in the same boat for sure, and maybe are already. But with the rights to getting old is the right of being passive in raising little children again. The joy of going home without worrying about diapers, school the next day, or feeding them is reward enough. Old age has its rewards.

Here is today’s quiz; which one of us is serious, which one is crazy and which of us is in Canton Ohio this week? The winner is allowed to age gracefully.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Every now and then I get brave and try to have a conversation with #2 Son. This of course presents certain kinds of risks, one of which is learning something I ‘m sorry I learned, from his vast mental storehouse of facts. Of course these facts are original in concept, and beyond any normal adult’s comprehension.

I could give you examples, but then you would have your day ruined too. Although the information is not critical in and of itself, one might wonder how he ever came upon such conclusions and evidence to “substantiate” the facts.

#2 Son was always a free thinker, free spirit and fun loving free-for-all individual who has not only marched to his own drummer, but has more often than not, created and his own parade. Standing on the sidelines, watching the parade go by, has often left me wondering what it is I witnessed.

This is not a criticism of #2, but actually an admiration for creative thinking, unusual and interesting points of view, that often leave me proud, if not on the floor, secretly laughing my guts out.

Most conversations start off with a question, which leads to his answer, which in turn leads to another question, which leads to exasperation on either his part or mine. An explanation is then in order, and an assessment of me and my generation is then presented and I am left wondering, what the hell just happened.

TLW (The Little Woman) better understands him, and somehow can cadge the beast from running completely wild. Age is indeed catching up with him, as he is becoming more of an adult. I just hope that his zest for life doesn’t ever leave, because the world should really experience it at least once.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Tomorrow I haul my tookus into Kielbasa land, home of the Polish fringe of the family. To insure my safe entry into the state, I will be taking the Polish Prince himself, my Brother-in-law, John.

If you know anything about Connecticut, just like Poland, if you try to enter without a kielbasa strung around your neck, they ask for a passport. If you have one on, they say: “OK, he’s one of us.”

We will be visiting my niece Jean-Marie, the only person I know of with her very own hyphen in the middle of her name! This is a Polish tradition that dates way back to the Tartars, trying to open a deli in Poland when Ivan-DaPerogie set up shop and sold his very first kielbasa.

The occasion will be a baptism of Jean-Marie’s newborn baby; Grace Lauren, or should it be Grace-Lauren? It will be a debut of sorts. Little Grace Lauren or should that be Grace-Lauren, into the family that harbors, Uncle Joe. (No, not Uncle-Joe). The child has a lifetime to get over it.

The family will be playing the Polish National Anthem; Buy Me A Pork Chop. (Family Joke)

There will be Nana, the matriarch of the Italian clan, and various aunts and uncles, both Polish and UnPolished. We will sit in the house and try to make conversation in Polish, or we will sit outside and try to figure out what we said, if it is Polish we were using inside. Heir to the throne of Polish Prince will be Tom, the honoree’s grandpa, and we will all learn the word for grandpa in Polish. (See photo) Also, we will be updated by Tom of the latest funny stuff from the internet, all with a Connecticut accent.

So the family is expanding in the true American fashion. Different nationalities have come to play and all are welcomed.

What we need is some Jewish humor and we can all feel good.
So pass the rye bowl dip, gimme sum chips and since there aren’t any Jews yet in the family, Mozeltov!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Since retirement, the organization in my life is in continual flux. There is a need for reorganization, and a burgeoning growth of interest that is taking up my life. Perhaps it is really consuming my life and I can’t keep up with it. I am trying very hard to throw out things that I accumulated over the years, things that really are not important, but I make them so, and cling to them.

My studio for instance is slowly being reorganized, but it takes so long I wonder if it is worth it? And my old studio I had in the basement is still in a flux as I use it too, for projects for TLW (The Little Woman) and in which I paint in the winter using oil and turpentine.

On top of everything else, there is now sculpture to develop, and my newest thing, glass painting. Where am I going with this all? It is my retirement, and I am keeping busy, but since my life is more carefree, and my interests need the whole of the house, I am running out of space. I am grateful so far that this blog has been confined strictly to the computer for files and research. I have the work with the agency for retarded and developmentally debilitated who spring from the Suffolk County chapter and the large state parent organization.

Maybe I should go back to work and take it easy again, at least I used to get in a short nap once-in-a-while.

I’ve been trying to organize myself now for over a year and I haven’t been able to do it. Couple this with the fact that in 2008, I will be working with a marketing agency on a consultative basis! All the files I planned on throwing out I may now need once again!

Oh, Lord!

Friday, October 26, 2007


He’d let me do all the switches.

I went to Staten Island today along with TLW (The Little Woman) to visit the Institute of Basic Research, It is a 2 hour drive at best, but with commuter traffic on a rainy day takes well over three. We used TLW’s car for the comfort of ride, not the economy of gasoline.

When you drive TLW’s car, you are now driving with sacred motorized holiness. There is not much you are allowed to touch, or would dare to touch if you are smart. TLW sits next to me, and monitors my breathing, gas consumption and use of all electronic doodads that exist, with spot checks of pulse and eyesight.

With the rain coming down slowly at first, I noticed the windshield wipers going very slowly, and as the rain picked up, sped up accordingly. As the temperature changed, and the windows started to fog up, miraculously, the blower went on. As I discussed the heaviness of the traffic, again another miracle: the radio suddenly was spewing out traffic reports.

I was becoming slightly scared as each new phenomenon occurred, until the sun rose for me to tell it was not a miracle! IT WAS TLW! Yes, she does not trust me to make the major decisions about how fast the windshield wipers should go, or if the windows are fogged up enough to warrant putting on the rear defogger or blowers. At first, I was a little put out, then realized that what I had is a co-pilot, someone to “Help” me drive the car. But TLW doesn’t stop there, no sir Bob, she can also break before me; predetermine what lane to be in before the GPS, and hold on to my throat. I will not mention her running feud with the GPS. Fortunately, I didn’t have to separate them this time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Being up in Albany, one would think that things would be cool. One is closer to the North Pole, and higher north you go it should be cooler. While at the convention this weekend things were anything but cool.

As we sat in a long meeting, one that was scheduled before dinner, the fire alarm suddenly went off. Being in a room with over 400 people, one gets the sense that perhaps everything is surreal, and the alarm is just a mistake. These things just don’t happen, or at least shouldn’t. You look around and everyone looks confused, should I get up and leave the building, or should I just ignore the aberration of the moment? Do I run like hell or just be cool and walk out? Should I knock over anyone in the process, or should I help others who may not be as agile as I am? I decided to walk out, there being no panic to deal with and go out the building. There was more smoke outside the building than I could find inside, as the staff was puffing away and shortening their life spans. It seems the commotion was about a pot in the kitchen that let out steam and it went into the ventilation system, which in turn set off the alarms.

Which leads me to the next day. We are all sitting at lunch when my associate Fred says to me: “Hey, look at that!” It seems about five men with the letters on their backs that said: “FD/EMS” were filing into the room. Jim, another colleague wondered what was going on. Being tired of the lousy food, the endless speeches, the constant applauding and standing ovations, I suggested that either someone was ill, or someone had caught fire. Although everyone at the table laughed at my tasteless joke, they pretended disdain!

Hey Guys, hose down these phonies!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


TLW (The Little Woman) left this morning for work, and as she did, instructed me to call about a tax rebate that NY State offers for middle-income property owners. She gave me a phone number to call, and my tax returns for what reason is still unclear. I only made one mistake. I called.

I got the usual response to the number dialed, and it was a menu of options, for Spanish and any other first languages there are in this country. English, was also offered, and I thought I’d take a shot at that to see what happens.

I was told in electronic voice that all the lines were busy. My call was important to them, and that it would be a three or four month wait, since all the operators were busy. So I put it on the speaker and went to the city, shaved, ate breakfast and joined the local old age home to speed up the application process since once I get through with the call, I could just check in.

Finally a human voice! “Hello, my name is Joe Del Bloggolo, and I’m calling about the star rebate program.” A long pause, then a “Hello?” I state my case again and spell out the name for the lady from NYS. “HEMMM can’t find your name. What did you say your name is?” “Do you have a zip code?” Thinking: “No you moron, I just happen to be very popular, and everyone knows where I live.” But being a gentleman that I am, I gave her my zip code. “Sorry, you’ll have to call the tax assessor’s office and ask for a Swiss number, map number, and their mother’s maiden names.

I call the Assessor’s office and get Ms ASSessor herself. “Hello, my name is Joe Del Bloggolo, and I need a Swiss number, and a map number for the Star Program.” “Do you have a personal ID number?” “Huh, what’s dat?” “You know, it’s the number that is very long, that has dots and dashes with anything else we can throw in to confuse the taxpayer.” “Where do I find it?” “Why on your tax assessor bill.” Of course. And to think, I don’t know the number. “Oh wait, do you have a zip code?” See above. “OK, here is a number you can use. 0100 0.70 .950 .00. I have a few dots left over, would you like them in your number?” I thank her for the info and call back the state. I got the usual response to the number dialed, and it was a menu of options, for Spanish and any other first languages there are in this country. English, was also offered, and I thought I’d take a shot at that to see what happens.

After I put it on the speaker and went to the city, shaved, ate lunch I read War and Peace in its entirety, when someone got back to me. “Sorry, I can’t help you, let me put you on hold and get someone else who can help.” NO, NO I BEG YOU DON”T DO THAT! After I put it on the speaker and went to the Library of Congress to check out a book on killing state workers, a gentleman gets on the phone and asks, “Can I help you?” “Yes, my name is…” Well, you know the rest of the story.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The day was a long one. Traveling three and a half hours on the road, checking in, going to a meeting from 4:30 to 5:45, attending a long winded dinner, of applauding, standing ovations and more applauding, back to a meeting until 10:00 PM, and capping it off with a reception for an Executive Director, that would last until 12:30 PM.

I was an early arrival to the reception, hoping to get a drink and just to unwind without conversation, and let my mind feel free to drift to thoughts of home and other pleasant things. As I sat there, a voice called out; “You look tired.” I looked up and there was a gentleman sitting alone as I was, at another table halfway across the room. He repeated himself, and I was unsure if he was talking to me. I looked at him and pointed to myself, and he shook his head. “Yup, you look tired, had a long day?” Slowly rising from my chair, I drifted over to his table and sat across from him. “Yes” I said, relating it all to him. I recognized him as one of the speakers at the meeting earlier. Being a man of about mid thirties, he was very serious in his demeanor, and looked like he had very little to smile about.

We chitchatted a bit, and asked each other the usual questions one would ask when meeting a stranger. His name was George, and offered no last name.

My colleagues started to arrive one-by-one, filling all the tables, while those from my agency joined me, and the night continued without incident. George however, was getting a lot of attention, suddenly becoming surrounded by very pretty young ladies, who took almost personal possession of George, and good old George loved every minute of it. Me on the other hand had Fred, Ken and Jim to talk to, and frankly, I didn’t think they could offer up enough attention to not want to go and join George. I must say though, at this point TLW (The Little Woman) kept appearing like a vision, reminding me that she is all I need, so George had to do for himself, while I took comfort in the fact that Fred, Ken and Jim were going to be my center of attention for the evening.

As the evening ended and we all started to drift back to our rooms, George was seen being escorted out arm-in-arm by two gorgeous young women. With his slow shuffle and unsteady gait, he walked by me and said: “Good night, Joe” and gave me a wave.

Why I tell you this is? Because; George has Downe Syndrome. On that day he: got up in front of over 400 people in a delegate assembly to speak, introduced himself to a stranger, made a new friend, attended a formal cocktail party, and walked out with the adulation of many beautiful woman. Two of which were escorting him arm-in-arm, leaving me to think; “Yes, all the work we do for the developmentally and physically disabled is paying off.”

Monday, October 22, 2007


In all my glory and agony. After spending a very long and tiring weekend in Albany, NY, it is good to be home. You see the problem is just that. Problems. I get to Albany and go to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, that over looks the Capital building, and go to the front desk. “Sorry, we are not taking check-ins until 4:00, PM.” It is 2:00 pm and I have two hours to kill. Along with two other colleagues, we decide to look for something to eat. We find this great sandwich shop, walk around a little and head by the hotel one hour later. Of course there is a long line of people checking in. I looks like one of those lines that one sees at a gate for popular tickets to some popular event.

After about 30 minutes on this line, I reach the front desk, get my key and off I go to my room, 809. I slip the key in, and nothing happens. I turn it around and slip it in, nothing happens. I turn it upside down and try again, nothing. I get frustrated and read the key info, stick it in and nothing. Leaning against the door, feeling tired, sick from a head cold and angry I try one more time. Nothing, nada, nien, nunca, nil, and uh-uh. I march down to the lobby to the front desk, the long line is longer, I will not get on the line again. I look for the concierge, to tell him my plight, but he is busy with people, I side step to the front desk and out loud tell the lady: “my keys does not work: she looks up and takes the key, asks me for ID, my room number and redoes the key.

Now in this great land there are many ways to inform people about what they should do. One is newspapers, radio, TV, billboards, and even the cheapest form of all: word of mouth. She informs me of what has happened. “Did you put the key near a cell phone or credit card? Because if you did, don’t.”
Well gee, thanks, could someone have mentioned this to me when they gave me the friggen card? Hum?

In my room, finally, I start to unpack and suddenly hear a juggling at my door. Now who the hell is that, I ask myself. I go to the door, and there behind it is some guy with his suitcase, garment bag and key, trying to get in the room. He looks up and says: “Oh, are you in this room?” “Yes I am” states I. As he heads back to the elevator, I tell him: “Don’t put the key near a cell phone or credit card.”

Back to my room, as I pull out the ironing board, and start to iron a shirt I need for dinner when all of a sudden phone rings. “EYELLOW” “Yes. This is the hotel staff, could you state you name for us, there seems to be a slight mixup.” “Yes, DelBloggolo” “Thank kew. Sorry to have disturbed you.” In my mind I’m think, “Yes, that’s spelled Y-O-U-I-D-I-O-T.”

Back to the ironing board, the door starts jiggling again, and this time it opens! Fortunately, I’m still dressed and who is it but a staff person holding a little bottle of body lotion. A cute little Asian lady with a heavy accent trying to convey that she thought the room was unoccupied. Yes, with a long line of people in the lobby, waiting to climb in with me. “Ha-hue iron!” “Yes, you never know who might be dropping by.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I’ll be taking a few days off this week, and will be back at it on Monday. The reason being is I will be away in Albany on some business until Saturday.

One of the things I love about these trips is the hotel always provides a restaurant and bar on the premises, and therefore I can stay up as late as I wish, and not care about driving. I mean, if I start crawling around, I won’t get run over, at least I’ll be in the hotel, maybe not in my room, but on the premises.

One of the problems that always plague me is the fact that I usually can’t sleep the first night in the strange bed. Try as I might, I can’t drift off. This time I plan to get up and dress, and go down to the lobby and have a drink to help me sleep if I can. The reason I have trouble is usually I get to my room about 10:30 pm, after a meeting in which I am all charged up.

I will be with other board members, and being old fogies, they will be asleep at the meeting, never mind getting them to go for a drink.

Usually there are a couple of dinners I attend, then boring speeches, then to a conference room for some heavy duty meeting. Fighting sleep as it creeps up, I will be immersed in papers, ballots and arguments, as people will line up behind a microphone to voice their views to the dais.

By Saturday night I will be out of steam, and filled with lots of stories, observations and maybe chuckles to bring to the table on Sunday or Monday.

See you then.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Yesterday, TLW (The Little Woman) and I decided to pick-up my daughter Ellen from her group home, and then swing on down to Ridge, NY to attend a dedication of a new “Individual Residential Alternative” (IRA) home that was just built for retarded people. The home was being dedicated to a fellow chairperson for Guardianship, my good friend, Claudia Nemias.

Being how I have never been to the location of the new home, I took my GPS to help me get there. I attached the unit to the windshield, and ran the wire over the steering column to plug it into an electrical socket. I drove off to the LIE service road to get on the expressway, and as I made a right hand turn onto the road, the car felt like someone had taken over the steering wheel, and forced us off the road! Fortunately, no one was on my right as the car veered off and I had to jam on the brakes and fight the steering wheel.

The wire had slipped into the small groove the separates the steering wheel from the column, and being the wire is rubber, stopped the steering wheel from returning to it’s original position. Scared the hell out of both TLW and me.

To top off the day, we pick up my daughter, drive to the IRA, and discover that a farm is offering free pumpkin picking, hay rides and pony rides for all of Long Island, Connecticut, and as far north as Canada, south as far as Florida, and west as far as the Hawaiian Islands, or so it seemed. When we hit the road where the IRA is, the traffic was unbelievable, bumper-to-bumper, for about a mile!

Being how my luck is so good, when I finally arrive at the house, there is no place to park, the traffic is still heavy, and the farm that was making the mess was right next-door! I finally found a space across the street in an abandoned lot, next to a rifle range. With the sound of: “pop-pop” in my ears, heavy traffic going both ways and my daughter being very unsteady, a nervous TLW and myself tried to negotiate traffic, while holding up and steadying my daughter while we crossed the busy highway! We get into the crowded house, only to discover my daughter didn’t want to stay, so back across the road again, under the same conditions.

Monday, October 15, 2007


One of the earliest recollections I have in my life is of me in my Mom’s kitchen in Brooklyn. The room was the last of five rooms, and facing the backyard. The apartment itself was on the third floor of the three-story walk up, and on one side was an alley. The alley led to a two-door garage, and the doors swung open like a barn. Inside the garage was stored; two frankfurter carts.

The carts had two large wooden wagon wheels, and a big red and white sun umbrella with stripes that radiated out of the center top. I would watch the owner of the cart, as he would pull the cart out in the morning, and return it in the evening, slowly pushing it in the alley into the garage. Whenever I watched him, I felt that I was peeking over his shoulder, grabbing a glance and intruding on his privacy, all the while being compelled to look. I was maybe 4 or 5 at the time when I first noticed this, and was always fascinated by the sight. To this day whenever I see one, I stop and remember those days and my curiosity about the cart.

The wooden cart had these little compartments all over the place, with a few sticks for mustard and relish, with a compartment for the rolls and two flip doors that lay flat on the cart. Inside those doors were frankfurters, in hot water, which the vender took out with a big long fork, with one hand, and grabbed it with the bun in his other hand, while the doors were flipping, all in one motion. Then he slapped on some mustard, went to a flat laying cover and with the same fork, pulled up some sauerkraut and gently placed it on top of his creation. The final touch was the reaching down to a low shelf where he kept his napkins, it was a little fascinating rolling restaurant, and it was the class of the streets of the city called New York.

There were other vendors along the streets, the fruit and vegetable man, the fish monger, and even a junk man, with a horse that clopped down the street, leaving a clue to the fact that he had gone by, laying in the streets, that looked strangely like straw that was eaten. None of them could match the fascinating frankfurter man and his wonderful cart.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


It was a long overnight flight from NYC to Dublin Ireland, and landing as we did at 8:00 am Dublin time, I was tired and all the while being a little anxious. Getting off the plane, we entered the customs area when I noticed that my hearing aid tube; that connects the mold in the ear to the actual aid had a slit in it, and made it difficult to hear in that ear.

Passing through customs, we ventured over to the car rental counter where we had reserved a car, and thinking about the broken tube, I figured I could tape it with some scotch tape and it would work until we got home again in a few weeks. Sitting behind this long rental counter was this young attractive woman, smartly dressed and looking very efficient. After finishing up the paper work and showing her my license, and getting the keys and instructions for the car, I thought I’d ask her for some scotch tape.

Me: “Excuse me, but do you have a piece of scotch tape I could have?”
Her: “Looking at me quizzically, “Pardon?”
Me: “Scotch tape, I need just a small piece.”
Her: And what’s wrong with Irish tape?”
Me: “Huh?”
Her: “What do you need the tape for?”
I show her
Her: “Oh, you mean cellophane tape!”
Me: “Oops, sorry.”

Take me out of my environment and look out for international incidents!

Help keep this country great, write to:,
Tell ‘em “get outta here already.”

Saturday, October 13, 2007


It’s been over a year now, and as I gradually empty my studio of over 40 years of files and records, I do so with trepidation and deep concern. In 2008, I will be working for an up and coming direct mail agency that is requesting my expertise. Although I am retired and plan to stay that way, I agreed to do it on a part time basis.

As I sift through the books, pamphlets and resource material, I am now afraid to toss any of it, and I know if I do, I will soon wish I hadn’t. You know the old saw that once you toss something, you discover you need it.

Going through the material, a lot of what I saved makes me wonder; what the hell I was thinking about at the time. I even saved old appointment books, and desk calendars because of the little notes I scribbled on them.

The mess goes beyond the paper; you should see the volumes of records I saved electronically! There is enough stuff here to fill the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institute, all the buildings.

TLW (The Little Woman) keeps admonishing me that I save and am a pack rat. I remind her that that habit kept her around. My comment leaves her looking regretful!

There is a huge volume of paper and electronic files that comes from two organizations. The New York State Association for Retarded Children, now legally known as NYSARC, of which I am a member of the Board of Governors, and the Suffolk Chapter Association for the Help of Retarded Children, where I am a member of the Board of Directors and chair a few committees. This material is building daily, and I know even as I type there is stuff on its way to me.

Between the project of cleaning out my files, a sculpture I am working on, a portrait I am painting and now glass painting, along with the board work and travel, and soon the free-lance, I am going to be one busy little trooper!

Fight mental fatigue; write to;,
Tell ‘em; get the hell out of here.

Ps-the photo is really not me; I’m a better shaver than that.

Friday, October 12, 2007


For weeks now I’ve been plagued by the Supermarket Nazi. It is a woman about middle 60’s and very bossy. It seems if I got into my local Waldbaum’s, and all I have is a few items, she will track me down and make me come over to the self-help scanner.

I don’t particularly like the darn thing, because it shouts out instructions to me in a very authoritative voice, sounding like my old first grade teacher Old Miss Langin. Old Miss Langin was a mean old witch who once threw me in a dark cloakroom because she thought she heard me say something, when I didn’t. (It must have been her knees cracking) She even called me a: "Bold, brazen chatterbox”! Me, at 6 years old, wasn’t even allowed to talk at home, let alone in a classroom. Seems the old hag died the next year while I was in second grade, and I went to her wake to make sure she was dead. Then went to her funeral Mass because I went to a Catholic school that she taught me in. Got the whole morning off from class!

But as they say: “ I digress.”

The Supermarket Nazi will always scan the other checkout lines to see who has a little that can be scanned by the self-help machine. It seems she is always catching me trying to slip by on one of the lines with real people, and she calls me over all the time. SN (The Supermarket Nazi) is not very tall, maybe 5 feet high and has a slight weight problem, wears glasses and sneaks up on the mirror every morning when she shaves. She has a very bossy demeanor and is mean or meaner, more or less.

I seriously contemplated getting a wagon, filling it with stuff and getting on a line, then when she looks away, ditching wagon as I got to the checkout girl.

Yesterday I needed Chinese noodles to complete a dish I was making for dinner, and all I had was the one item. I wanted to challenge her once more and drifted toward the checkout line without getting on. Sure enough she found some other husband who shouldn’t have been there and while she worked him over, I went through the checkout process, paid the cashier and slipped out, waving the plastic bag with my sole purchase in her face, almost doing a victory dance on the way out the automatic doors!

Victory was mine.

Score your own victory, write to:
tell ‘em: “get the hell out of here.”

Thursday, October 11, 2007


The big day arrived when I took the big step. I went to the Social Security office and applied for benefits!

My appointment was at 11:00 AM, and the pain from the dentist is much easier to take than the pain that I experienced.

Everything is automated except getting things done. I was told when I made the appointment that it would go quickly, and indeed the actual interview did, what didn’t go quickly was the wait. It took one full hour of waiting. If that wasn’t so bad, the screaming little girl who accompanied an over loud PA system that nearly blew away my deaf ears made for a very uncomfortable wait. The wait was so long, I thought my primary care physician was behind all this.

On top of everything else, there was the trip into Patchogue where the office is located. Having left the house with a reasonable idea as where the office was, when I got within ½ mile of the office. All the streets and sidewalks were being ripped up, causing me to become a little disoriented from detours, as I trudged from a parking lot to a lot of twisting and turning over a mile of trampling torn up sidewalks and streets.

There was this one Indian fellow, about his early thirties, with his wife and small daughter who were wrapped in traditional Indian clothing, with big red dots on their foreheads that accompanied Papa as he went back and forth to the guard desk to get application after application as he screwed up one after the other. Applying for a Social Security Card, holding his passport in his hand, he would take large strides back and forth, creating a very comical scene for me to amuse myself for an hour.

Of course, not everyone is looking to retire or get Social Security cards, and the waiting room was busy as some business took seconds, some a long time, and some needed to come back again. I just hope that kid isn’t there again when they have to return. I know that by the time I got out of there, I needed another shave and a Valium.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Went to Wal-Mart to get an oil and filter change, and drove to the area behind the store where you should bring your car. I sat there a few minutes and some young fellow comes over to me and tells me to leave the car and go to the counter in automotive and register, because his punchboard was down.

In I go to the automotive counter and what do I see but a long line ahead of me. There is a young woman taking payments and an older gentleman, who looked like one of those retiree’s you see in a hospital volunteering his time behind the computer entering customer information for their cars to be taken care of.

The man is new, not just born, but new to the job! The man is screwing the paperwork up, royally! The man is making me nuts. The lady ahead of me now takes her turn and to avoid spelling her last name, gives him her license to read from. The man just got slower! He may be rehearsing for his wake. He has a death grip on the ladies license and is pecking on the computer with one finger, the other hand holding onto the license. He hits a key and shakes his head, no. He peers at the license and hits the keyboard once more; he stares at the license, and asks the lady some questions. The lady, being slightly overweight by about 200 pounds, shifts her weight to rest her feet, while hanging onto the counter.

Finally, it is my turn. “Can I help you?” says the gentleman.
I’m thinking: “Yes” before I die of old age, please.”
I tell him my story and he asks me for my phone number.
A long line behind me is growing by the moment.

The printer next to him is spewing out sheets of paper that he is taking from the tray and placing next to the computer, which he is mixing up because he is not watching what he is doing.

The young lady meanwhile, asks a customer if she can help him. “Si, my kar is ready?”
“I’m sorry, there is no paper work yet.”
“Lady, he poot da woirk nexxt to da compuuter!”

The young lady looks and sure enough, Senior Valesques is correcto mundo!
“George, don’t touch the paper-work, let me worry about it.”

The young lady now has to sort each four-page document for each of five customers, and her frustration level has now reached the level of the five waiting customers and mine.

Retired people should not be seen or heard in public. They don’t have the speed or dexterity to do it fast enough for the general-public, just ask Senior Valesquez.

Three old men

Three old men are at the doctor for a memory test. The doctor says to the first old man, "What is three times three?"

"274" was his reply.

The doctor worriedly says to the second man, "It's your turn. What is three times three?"

"Tuesday" replies the second man.

The doctor sadly says to the third man, "Okay, your turn. What's three times

"Nine" says the third man.

"That's great!" exclaims the doctor. "How did you get that"?

"Jeez, Doc, it's pretty simple," says the third man. "I just subtracted 274 from Tuesday."

Send your indignation to:,
tell ‘em: “Yo no hablo Espanol. Por favor.”

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


If you shop with The Little Woman (TLW), always remember, and never forget, that you are on her home field. She has the home field advantage and will use it.

Being married to one of the best shoppers I know, she buys more than I can afford and still keeps us solvent! TLW has over the years shown me things when she shops that truly impress me, and I always remark: “WOW!” Just today she wanted to show me something in a large retail store, and by a simple signal: the use of her index finger flexing, and the simple words: “Come with me”, not unlike a teacher with a bad boy, she will take me to some area that interest her and in turn will have to interest me.

She knows all the nuances of shopping, getting on line, how to react to the words; “Next” and has the quickest draw on the credit card this side of the Mississippi River. She wanted me to pay for some paints I bought, and said: “Use the CitiCard®” as I fumbled in my wallet, she had whipped out her card and paid for it, before I could get mine out!

I know I have said this before, but it warrants repeating, she could be dropped by parachute blindfolded into the middle of a mall, one she has never been to before, I would then park the car while she waits in the mall, she will find the car!

Her shopping is like the invasion of Europe during WW II, it is meticulously planned, down to the smallest details, every store is put in her itinerary and no motion is lost. This helps her to shop for more. When she has completed her missions, I will suddenly see a huge pile of plastic bags moving up my driveway and into my front door, and a little person, TLW will be holding all the merchandise, and her overloaded pocketbook!

Well I live with a legend, and I guess being awed is no longer new to me, just a daily shopping occurrence.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Pass the arsenic. I need it. I can’t win, and I told TLW (The Little Woman) she married a loser. The Macaroni Man, my nephew, came over to watch the football game with me, and I swear we are the only two Jet fans left. The reason we are the only two left is that they STINK REAL BAD, AND WE DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER!

I mean, I had a double by-pass, yet I root for the Jets, and if the doctors find out, they will find a rest home for me where they don’t have radios, TV or internet service for me to know what is happening to those stinking bums.

There I was Sunday, a beer at the ready, chips in place set to root on to victory. Maybe I should stop before the kickoff and kneel down and pray. Will it help? Not if some crazed fan of the other team is praying. And what if it’s a nun praying against my team? Will Jesus smite me? And what exactly is a smite?

I have decided not to pray for victory, but to pray for the end of the season, or of a life on Sundays that will keep me away from the TV. Away from the misery and frustration of the football season.

So starting Sunday, I will take up knitting, buy up all those books on knitting and different colored wool to while my time away until the opera season opens. So if you need socks, scarves, sweaters or gloves, put your order in now,

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Today TLW (The Little Woman) and myself visited Chinatown on another “Get Up And Go” tour. Taking the Jitney Bus out of exit 63 of the LIE, we motored in NYC via Brooklyn and the Manhattan Bridge on a clear and sunny if not somewhat hot day.

Arriving in Chinatown I noticed how crowded and foreign it all seemed to me, as the people like those in Chinatown in San Francisco go about their morning rituals of certain kinds of exercise, based on either dance, physical fitness, martial arts or karate. And to think I thought they were just showing off all this time!

One of the great things about the area is that the Chinese people are not only industrious and hard working, but very friendly and willing to invite you in to their stores and shops, as well as places of worship. The photo you see is a shot taken of the front or main altar inside a Buddhist Temple. Prior to that, we visited a store that sold offerings for funerals, toy-like items that are given at the wake of a dead individual to honor and/or mark their departure. Next to the store on either side was door after door of funeral parlors for Chinese people, all leaving at once to bury their dead or going off to China to be bury them.

One of the things that westerners like to do is shop in Chinatown, and buy very cheap costing rip offs of original jewelry, women’s pocket books and other pricey items. The problem with all that is the police often raid and when they do, the shop keepers run the risk of closure and/or arrest, along with the confiscation of the goods being offered as well as those purchased by the customers.

We happened to appear on the street as a raid was going down. Jewelry was switched right before as eyes as we walked the streets, shop keepers took their clients to hidden rooms and kept them there until the police left! On the bus going home, we heard of fellow tourists who were caught in the raid.

The historic value of the area is great! It started in the “Five Points Area” with the Irish, then the Italians and then came the Chinese. All have left their mark on the city in this few square blocks that in 1920 housed 20,000 Chinese people and today over 250,000 working, swarming industrious people from China and their families that they have started here.

We saw Al Smith’s street, the Church of the Visitation, started as a meeting hall by the British, then converted to a Catholic Church by the Irish, then the Italians took it over and People such as Mother Cabrini, Enrico Caruso, and the great Jimmy Durante prayed at. Now the mass is said in both Chinese and English!

For dinner: we went to the Triple 8’s and feasted on Dim Sum and 4 main courses, each better than the last. 8 is considered lucky to the Chinese, and it seems that the dominate colors are either red or yellow.

Next month the Rainbow Room in midtown Manhattan for what I hear is the “feast of all times.”

Saturday, October 06, 2007


After a long flight to LA from NY, and renting a car and finding our hotel, me, TLW (The Little Woman) along with my #2 Son was very tired. It was around 3:00 AM, Los Angeles time, and we were finally finished with dinner at the hotel inn, and TLW was at the counter to pay the check, reaching over to hand the man the check and cash when a man moves in front of her and pushes her aside to pay his bill. Now TLW was there first and it was clear as the dawning day. I was a few feet away, as the fellow and his family left the building and TLW finally paid.

Angered, she asked me if I saw that, and twice as incensed as she was, I responded: “Yes I did!” I knew that I wanted to get my hands on the bum, but figured it was too late; he was long gone. I mentioned to my wife my feelings and she said to let it go. She being non-violent and me being a nasty bastard from Brooklyn, I didn’t want to let it go.

As we step outside to go to the hotel, whom do I see but the bum standing there with his whole family, wife, kids and either mother or mother-in-law, chatting in a foreign tongue!

Positioning myself to be in direct line with the stinker, I walk toward him and as I pass him, give him a shoulder block and wait for his reaction as he goes reeling back. He and his clan start chatting in gibberish and look at me but don’t do anything. I was really hoping they would start something, because I was frustrated, tired and angry that they would treat my wife that way. It would have capped my long day.

Well, needless to say, TLW didn’t reprimand me for my actions, and even if she did, I would still act the same way.

There are few instances in my life where I would act so belligerently, but mess with my family and watch out.

TOMORROW; China Town

Friday, October 05, 2007


I went to bed last night around 11:00 PM, and could not fall asleep. I think that part of my problem was that I was overtired and hungry. Another problem was the creeping humidity as it crept up to a higher number, making the night muggy.

Around 2:00 AM I turned on the air-conditioner and went downstairs and took some small crackers to rid myself of the hunger, having eaten a decent dinner, I am surprised that I was so hungry! I tried to go back to sleep with the ac running.

I got up again about 3:00 AM, and found these pills that are called: “Just Sleep”, but I have a feeling they are more than just sleep. At 3:50 AM, I looked at the clock and realized I wasn’t winning the battle.

When I looked again it was 8:00 AM! The pills finally kicked in! After breakfast and a small errand I ran, I decided to do some painting, so I set up out in the garage, opening the front door to get some light, and discovered I couldn’t do it. Try as I might, the fumes from the turpentine and linseed oil along with the oil paints were too much to deal with, as the day got hotter. After lunch, I gave it another shot and finally gave up.

Tomorrow I will try again, and only hope for the best. I know this is all boring to you, but it was my day.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


It’s funny how a simple thing in life can trigger an emotion or thought. A certain smell can carry one back to his childhood, a noise that reminds us of some obscure thing in our past that we thought we had forgotten.

My neighbor Rich Ignellzi came over last Saturday with some fresh figs from his backyard fig tree, and gave us a plate full. Seeing the fresh figs carried me back to Brooklyn, early 50’s and standing in my grandfather’s backyard, under his grape vines, looking out into his garden at his fig tree, and eating them right off the tree, ripe and sweet and fleshy. Eating figs is one of life’s true pleasures, the fig’s tiny seeds nesting in between my teeth.

Grandpa had homemade wine, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, mint, pears and apples. Grandpa Ralph was a country boy from the hills of Naples, and Naples never left the man.

My grandmother would jar all her tomatoes, and using the fresh basil, jar it with the tomatoes for use in the future. Her sauces were spicy and delicious, and the aroma in her kitchen emanating from the fresh basil and parsley all came back in one quick moment in time in my own kitchen, just by looking at the figs.

On Saturday nights, she would be down in her basement, standing over an old gas stove, flame high with a steak in a wire rack and she turned the steak to cook it on the open flame, and as she did, she made the whole neighborhood hungry. Then the big salad with fresh tomatoes and basil would be the accompaniment to the roasted steak.

Thanks, Richie, it was a bigger deal than you thought, a simple gift but a great pleasure.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Today I had a meeting with my financial advisor, a man of great interest to me, and to my retirement. I got into his Melville office at about 11:45 am; he invited me to sit down and had a report ready for me to read. His words were: “you took in more than you took out, congratulations, ready for a little lunch?”

Being an Italian like me, any celebration is followed by food, and of course, it was Italian food, of the finest quality. We went to a little place in Melville and sat down, after a cramped ride in his little sports car. It is reassuring that he is doing so well, since he is doing it on my dollars to some part, and he is an honest man that I know for about 8 years now.

We tend to exchange experiences and adventures in life, and as we did, he mentioned his trip to Las Vegas, and how life has passed him by, being he is 46 years old. The babes in Las Vegas all extremely young and beautiful while the lines to get into a little place for a drink are long and the ownership selective. He said he felt like he was out of the game, or the game was over. I reminded him that the game was over long ago when he said: “I do” then went ahead and did it anyway.

Being how I mysteriously grew older since my wedding day, I have often envied the younger fellows, unmarried and alone, going home to an empty place, with no one to listen or talk to. It is at that point that I realize how lucky I really am to be bossed around by someone. To be able to share a meal, a TV show, a joke or a cup of tea. Hey, it is the good life indeed.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Sunday was the big day! The day that both the Mets and Jets were on TV, and at the same time. Big game for the Mets, and a regular but important game for the Jets were to be played. The Jets were playing their conference rivals, and the Mets had to win in order to stay alive for the playoffs, no win and there’s no tomorrow.

The Macaroni Man was coming over to help me watch and cheer my teams, and I set it all up for the big day. The remote for set for an easy switch from one game to the other, without pressing more than one button. The TV screen was dusted and ready, the chips were laid out, ice in the glasses, soda filling the crystal iced glasses to capacity, napkins on the ready.

Go to the kick off at 1:00 PM, watch the first series of downs, nothing happens, switch to the Mets, 4-0 Mets losing! Oh no, 4-0, but it isn’t even the first inning! I watch a little more, 7-0. Doom starts to rear it’s ugly and familiar head in my TV, laughing at me in defiance, and causing the Macaroni Man to moan, groan and reach for some aspirin.

Macaroni Man starts to pace, I start to contemplate suicide, but think what if they make a comeback. TLW, (The Little Woman) says: “could they make a comeback?” I respond; “oh yeah, they can comeback next year.”

Back to the Jets, losing now only 7-0, still early, maybe Chad Pennington can lead them back, if not, I would like to see another “Hanging Chad”.

Back to the Metsies, 8-1, God help me, I decide there is no point in watching the unwatchable. Back to the Jets, they wind up losing, and so the rest of my day went. Last I saw Macaroni Man, he was wandering around my neighbor’s shed looking for something to eat. Hope he can share it.

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Monday, October 01, 2007


Growing up in Brooklyn, my Mom along with her sister would on a nice day gather up us kids for a long walk to Picken Avenue, a long commercial center with outdoor vendors and small shops that lined the street.

On these usually sojourns, while Mom and Aunt Marie would gossip and push the two baby carriages, I would look at the different sounds and smells of the area, with its predominately Jewish merchants selling every conceivable dry goods one could imagine. The prices were reasonable I would assume since Mom was thrifty, and we all got something. I would get a belt, or socks or underwear, my Mother maybe a pan or plate or whatever.

Usually these events occurred after the weather had cooled off considerably, and the days were good for the long walk. I can still smell and taste the Knishes, golden brown and salted, being careful not to bite too deeply into one for fear of burning the roof of my mouth. There was the smell of the chestnuts roasting, and hawking of hotdogs and drinks. It was like a giant bazaar, the only thing missing was the camels and donkeys.

One day the two sisters entered the small store of a dress merchant, descending two steps to enter beside the stoop of the building, long rows of dresses hanging on racks. Mom picked one dress off the rack and asked how much.
“For you lady, twelve dollars.”
“Twelve dollars!”
“”Lady, that’s very reasonable.”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, twelve dollars, let your wife wear it.”
Now you know where I get it from.

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