Monday, September 29, 2008


#1 Son!

He goes to an Indian or ‘Native American’ casino and wins $1,500! He sits down the first time in his life at a slot machine, and he wins!

Like me, he was expecting Sitting Bull to be behind one of the tables, maybe Geronimo making change.

I’ve decided I’m Native American.

I was born here. The “Native Americans” were born here. Their ancestors came from somewhere else, like maybe China. Mine came from Italy. TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) came from Ireland.

I understand the U.S. Government sets up programs to help Native Americans. Where do I get in line?

I can attest to the fact that I AM a Native American. My Mother used to yell at me all the time. “STOP RUNNING AROUND LIKE AN INDIAN.”

Mom, didn’t use a tomahawk to discipline me, she used a wooden spoon. That worked out pretty well, it kept me line for the moment and I got to taste what she was cooking that day! Of course, it would have helped if I didn’t say: “Needs salt!”

Well, the old reservation needs me.

Keep my pals Joan and Anita in your thoughts and prayers.



Okay, I’ve been quiet about it long enough. I’ve decided to take things out of my own hands and give them to the doctor! For over a year now, my right arm, the top shoulder area has been in a lot of pain. I can’t raise it, extend it forward or sleep with it.

The other day I took a sliding door off the track and the arm almost fell off! Then I went to place a ladder against the house, and I couldn’t raise it! Then finally, yesterday I went to open a jar of olives and couldn’t, because it was new, and unopened. It used to be I would get a call from the kitchen, or TLW (The Little Woman) would bring a jar to me to open. I HAD TO ASK HER TO OPEN THE JAR! She couldn’t, so she got a can opener and it opened.

I am considering arthritis, tendonitis, bracitis, or if you have something you think would fit the description, let me know, I need to communicate with the doctor. Just click on the “comment” and write.

There is a strong possibility that it will clear up and I die from hunger, waiting in the doctor’s waiting room.

Please try to remember my friends Joan and Anita.


Sunday, September 28, 2008


The other day, I was talking to my much older sister, Tess on the phone. In the course of our conversation, she asked if I had shaved my beard.

Confused I asked her why. She said that my blog that day showed a picture of me without it!

(This is strictly to Tessie)
Tess, What is this, truth in advertising week? Do you think I would take a picture for my blog every time I feature myself? Nooooo!

I don’t do too much retouching either. If you noticed, the body complexion and the head complexion were not the same in my baby picture. Also, I think I didn’t wear glasses when I was that age. Oh, here’s another hint, the grey hair. I mean, come on, I don’t even read this blog!

Today’s picture is more authentic. If you notice, I put a lot of thought into it.

OK, you readers can come back now. (Just a little discussion with my much older sister Tessie.)

So, do I go to the photographers every time I want a picture of me?


Please remember my pals Joan and Anita in your prayers.

Thanks if you do.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Yes, to test you youngsters out there.

I’ll give you a hint. It comes from my buddy Jim Pantelano, and was used often by yours truly in Brooklyn.

Here’s another hint; it is a ball.

Give up?

It replaced the roller skate when I had friends to play with, and when I didn’t! This multi-task object was also an object of great affection, and need. You could play ‘stoop’ ball, ‘hand’ ball, ‘punch’ ball and ‘slap’ ball, not to mention the king of them all; ‘stick ball’!

The Spaldeen was THE ball of preference. You never said ball, you always said: “Ya got a “spaldeeeeeen?” Many times when a Spaldeen was hit so hard it split, we would climb a roof, and look for a ball that was hit out of play and onto that roof a game before. With an old sawed off broom handle that older Sis wasn’t flying on anymore, or Mom wasn’t using to sweep with. Often the newly found ball was an old weather beaten ball that had lost its softness. Hard as a rock, the ball still had life!

In on one bounce it came, off on the fly it went, deep, deep, deep, it flew over to the next street. Two sewers acted as home plate and second base, while a curb or parked car were first and third base. A car moved, no problem, the curb was the new base.

You lined up defensively in a row for the most part.

Stoopball was for two things: self-amusement I, and self-amusement II. Self-amusement I was to spend time by yourself or with an opponent, and generally went five points on a bounce when you threw it against the steps, and one hundred points if it hit the edge of the stoop and flew back to you. You miss the catch, your opponent went to try and beat your score. On the fly was often greeted with: “Ooh, ooh, ooh! You faded back, hands cupped like you were catching rainwater, eyes skyward!

Self-amusement II was where you play the game, not to win, but to rile the person living in the building with the constant pounding of the ball against the stoop. This was often earning the tormenter threats of hot water, death or worst: I’ll tell your parents!”

If you were a girl, you bounced the ball with a little rhyme. As you bounced, you crossed one leg over the bouncing ball without hitting it.

So far, all I recall of being bored was when I got older, and we moved away from Brooklyn. Hull Street was a wonderful paradise for a kid to grow up on.

Please remember my buddies Joan and Anita.

Friday, September 26, 2008


When I was going to college, then working, I often heard the song: “See You In September.” By the Happenings.
They played the song at the end of the summer, every year, and I could never understand it. They should have played it in June! Or am I crazy?

I'll be alone each and every night
While you're away, don't forget to write

Bye-bye, so long, farewell
Bye-bye, so long

See you in September
See you when the summer's through
Here we are (bye, baby, goodbye)
Saying goodbye at the station (bye, baby, goodbye)
Summer vacation (bye, baby bye, baby)
Is taking you away (bye, baby, goodbye)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in the summer moon above
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to a summer love
(counting the days 'til I'll be with you)
(counting the hours and the minutes, too)

Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
Bye, baby, goodbye (bye-bye, so long)

Have a good time but remember
There is danger in the summer moon above
Will I see you in September
Or lose you to a summer love
(I'll be alone each and every night)
(While you're away, don't forget to write)

See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
I'm hopin' I'll
See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
Well, maybe I'll
See you (bye-bye, so long, farewell)
In September (bye-bye, so long, farewell)

Being how I hate the summer, the welcoming breezes of September were a contrast to behold from the heat and humidity of New York summers.

It seemed like a second spring to me. Starting a new school year, the books were new, the clothes were new and the attitude was the same old attitude: Back To Work. I liked the challenges of the fall, and before you knew it, it was Christmas! Christmas was that magical time of the year when we all got together to have my favorite meal, the traditional Christmas Eve Fish dinner.

It seems that the sun is more intense in the early fall. There is a snap in the air, and the nicest days come about. Sunny, warm, and dry, until mid October when it starts to rain.

My appetite starts to get better as does my energy level, I do a lot more around the house because I feel good, and the weather becomes more invigorating.

I know, that a lot of you enjoy the summer, the gardening, the out door cooking, and going away on a vacation or two, but negotiating the ac, the heat of the car, running into an air-conditioned store and out into the blazing mid day heat and humidity is no fun.

I hate sleeping in the ac at night. The next morning you wake up cooled off, you step into the hot shower and dress, then you start to built up a sweat as the humidity of the day starts to increase. Ugh!

Please remember Joan and Anita, and all those that are ill and suffering.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Right now, as I write this, #2 Son is getting ready for school.

Let me rephrase what I just wrote: #2 Son is in a ritualistic preparation for school. What is happening is a slow beat of a drum, and some “vocal rendition of a song is going on right now. #2 Son in falsetto voice, IS SINGING ALONG! Please allow me to rephrase that; he is gurgling and wailing along. It sounds like a human sacrifice of some kind.

The beat is steady; the progress for getting ready for class is NOT so steady. It may give you hope for a blog from a mental institution tomorrow, if they allow me use their computer.

The sounds emanating from his room are what I heard when the movie; “The Last Of The Mohegan’s” got a hold of that white guy and tortured him. Then there is the image of Sigourney Weaver in her underwear as the space alien tries to take a chunk out of her. Either movie she was in.

If I may quote some of the “lyrics”.


This is what makes me meet new neighbors. They come over with a fresh cooked meal and say: “I know you had no time to cook for your family, what with the obvious anguish and suffering.” Then they hand me a dish of chicken, introduce themselves, I say “thank you” and tell them they are very kind.

Sometimes when he does these “songs” raccoons come into the yard and start to mate! We have a large raccoon problem in the neighborhood, and it is all #2 Son’s fault.

People have said in the past they like the stories of #2 Son. I will not tell too many, since my credibility would be suspect, not because they are false, but because they are so strangely true!

I for one am going to the library to rest.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Today I got a wonderful surprise. My buddy on the Internet, Jim Pantaleno from my old neighborhood, and school in Brooklyn New York; Our Lady Of Lourdes sent me this picture. I will on occasion add others he sent me, and I will post them on the blog. Do you know what this is?

Jim has from time to time sent me photos of the church, the neighborhood and re-kindled old memories, and in some cases has sharpened them.

If you don’t know what this is, it is a key. Not just any key, it doesn’t fit any doors except the memory door. It is the key that: allowed any kid five years and up to be happy for as long as Mom and Dad allowed us out doors. It was better than ice cream, candy and soda pop. It was used on evenings and days off from school. It allowed us to fly through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, and travel at the sound of the wind in our ears! In all four seasons!

It is a skate key. You used it to close the two clamps at the end of each skate that held onto the soles of the front of the shoe. Too tight and your toes hurt. Too loose and you wind up lifting the front of your shoe off the skate, causing you to have to stop and reset the clamps. A leather strap tied your ankle area to the back of the skate. It was all you needed for fun. The wheels were made of metal and as you skated on the concrete sidewalks, they wore out, leaving holes in the wheels!

You could fly around the block probably 5 times faster than if you ran! You didn’t have sissy shoelaces and high ankle tops for protection. Your protection was your hands as you fell forward, scraping your knees. You got up in pain, and skated some more! We couldn’t afford bicycles in those days, plus there was no place to put one if you lived “Upstairs”. But you didn’t want a bike, or miss it at any rate. Skating was when there was no stoopball, handball or pickup game to play. You could amuse yourself, all alone, all day long.

If you were bored growing up in Brooklyn, you were probably tied up in some basement by an older sibling.

Please remember those that suffer, especially my good buddies Joan and Anita.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Our back sliding door that leads to the pool is in need of repair. It seems that the bottom stile metal surface is separating from the door. I tried to glue it, but the glue refuses to adhere the two components.

In comes TLW (The Little Woman) who suggests that I glue it then duct tape it to hold the metal plate to the wooden stile. I try that but I knew it wouldn’t really work, and it didn’t.

TLW did another round of suggestions and came up with a better idea, take the door down glue it and put a heavy weight on it to keep it together.

This morning I took the door down by unscrewing a long strip of wood that held the sliding door in place. Along with the sliding door, also a stationary second door does not move, as the slider does.

This morning I took the door down, glued it, put some bricks on it as it lay on its back, and by the end of the day was able to put the door back up! TLW comes homes and runs her inspection. She starts to complain that the glue did not take! I get upset and go to look at the door. SHE IS LOOKING AT THE STATIONARY DOOR, NOT THE SLIDER!

Sticking my heart back into my chest, I see how someone could get confused and mix the doors up. But the pronouncement came next:

“Being I’m a left-handed person, I’m used to applying logic.”

Well, EXCUSE ME, I’m a mere mortal right-handed person, prone to silly illogical conclusions! But, I did marry her, No? Wasn’t there SOME logic in that?

Remember my buddies: Joan and Anita, they need our prayers. So do all the cancer patients out there.


Monday, September 22, 2008


Listening to all the hoopla about the history of Yankee Stadium as it closes, I can claim to have witnessed some of it.

At 16, I rode in a car with my friend Anthony Moran, an avid Yankee fan. We were heading up to the Bronx and the chance to watch Roger Maris connect on his 61st home run, and break the Babe’s record. We were excited to be able to witness history, although we weren’t quite sure it would happen.

Sitting high up in the third tier behind home plate, we watched, as the Baltimore Orioles would throw a future Met, Tracey Stallard out on the mound to do the pitching. Stallard went into his windup, and pitched, and Maris connected! The rose on an arc toward the right field stands. The fans erupted and history was made!

The curtain call was my first time I ever witnessed that in baseball! The Yankees had to push Maris out of the dugout, as he doffed his cap, amid a million flashing bulbs from the press photographers and fans!

When Maris connected, I did something I never did in my life, stood up and cheered with Yankee fans! The man had set a major league mark for 162 games! It was a tainted record, because the Babe never got to play 162 games in a season. He hit his homers in 154 games. The dreaded word, a curse if you will was applied to the Yankee Great’s record, ‘ASTERISK!’

Most people in their right mind would consider babe Ruth a former Yankee. I consider him a former coach of the Brooklyn Dodgers! I was suffering from the fact that I didn’t have a New York team to root for, just one to root against. God I tried to root for them, but the Yankees instilled in me a dislike for their swagger, and dominance. They had it all, and I knew it. The Dodgers were in LA now, they were fading from my baseball heart. But hope was springing eternal. Yes, the Mets were on the horizon! A New York team I could root for! It would be the return of National League Baseball to New York!

Remember my buddies Joan and Anita.


Sunday, September 21, 2008


And it costs only 20¢!

The other day I took my car to my mechanic for a NYS Inspection. I’ve been going to this mechanic, Mike Sabotino, for way over twenty years. As I was paying, Mike asked me how retirement was going then asked how old I was. When I told him, he said he didn’t think I was that old!

A day later, I went to a seminar by my broker who I’ve known now for ten years, Ed Costello who asked the same question. When I told him, he too said he didn’t think I was that old. I thought: “WOW!”

Today I went to my bagel shop and bought a buttered bagel with a coffee, and usually I pay $1.75, a senior citizen rate. The going rate for you youngsters is $1.95. A young lady was taking my order. She tallied up the bill and announced: “$1.95, please.”

I puffed my chest out and looked around at all the old guys. Yes, I was too young for the discount! I was a young guy once again. You guys can have your 20¢ discount, I’m going to drink from the fountain of youth. Hey, maybe the young lady will ask for my phone number.

Please remember my buddies Joan and Anita

Saturday, September 20, 2008


One of the good things about cleaning up is that I saved to begin with. What does that mean? It means I find things long ago missing, nice stuff that I thought I had, thought I never had, or thought I should have. All along, I had it!

Gets confusing, I know, but think about it. What ever happened to that old tuna sandwich? HERE IT IS, UNDER THE PILE OF GREEN STUFF GROWING, WHICH BY THE WAY, I NEVER EVER WATERED. Talk about a green thumb.

I have found old memos, letters, booklets, photos, business cards from 1970, pamphlets and brochures that I have never read. What did I do with the stuff? I put it into a new pile for future reading. I just know that someday I’m going to carve out some time to read it.

If you look at the bookshelves, there are countless program instructional books for programs I have long ago stopped using because of their antiquity, but figure if anything happens to my newer program, I will have a backup. I even keep old hardware to run the old software. I mean, how would I ever run the backup software without it? Try explaining THAT to TLW (The Little Woman).

I have books that date to pre-college days!

In fact, I have underwear and ties from the 1960’s!

Maybe it is all sentimentality on my part.

Remember to pray for Anita and Joan

Friday, September 19, 2008


The dinner was delicious, the crowded room was filled to capacity and all was well. The representatives of Merrill Lynch were giving their presentations, the ups and downs of the market, the man from Lincoln Financial Group did a banged up job as did the young fellow from John Hancock, doing their bit of annuities, and dessert was on the horizon.

Behind the screen was a large set of windows that over looked the view of beautiful Lake Ronkonkoma.It was hard to pay attention with the sun going down behind the lake and trees. The sky was a fiery red, and cast its reflection on the surface of the lake!

TLW (The Little Woman) and I attended by an invitation from our man from Merrill, Ed Costello, to attend his seminar on financial planning. Ed was feeling confident and being an honest man, had every reason to be so. He gave a compelling and informative presentation and the food was fabulous.

Suddenly, Ed came over to my table and whispered in my ear. I thought he asked if I enjoyed the presentation and I said: “Yes.” He grasped my shoulder in thanks and returned to the front of the room. As Ed walked back to the front, I thought how strange that was that he would ask me that. Then, before he could say a word, I felt impending disaster.

Ed: “Now I would like to ask a client of mine, Mr. Joe Del Bloggolo say a few words about Merrill Lynch.”


Fortunately, I was able to recover without notice, and if I don’t say so myself, got a rousing round of applaud form the attendees!

TLW, on our way home inquired how long Ed and I had planned my little speech. When I informed her that it was only the last moments before I gave it, she didn’t believe me. I told her, I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT ED ASKED! I am deafer than a doorknob, with only slightly more intelligence. It wasn’t all bull like the Merrill Lynch logo!

Please say a little prayer for Joan and Anita, thanks

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Better, I should try to find a cure for the common cold than try to clean my studio! It has become a breathing ground for memos, letters, notes, books and computer software, let alone computers.

Last year at this time I tried to fool myself into thinking; I could clean up the mess. All I did was make more room for more mess, but nice piles of mess. When I worked, I never had a messy office. People would stop by and comment on the lack of disarray, and say how neat it was.

Now I have more projects going on, requiring more paper and information than I hoped to ever have to deal with. The mail is the biggest culprit, a daily bombardment of letters and info from organizations and research I do.

What I need, now that I’m retired, is another wife. (God help me). Another wife would strictly attend to the clutter that is enveloping me, threatening to suffocate me. She would be, The Bossy Woman (TBW).

Of course, this has a down side. She would compare notes with The Little Woman (TLW). I also fear how I would be referred to at that point.

TBW: “Tell what’s his name to try to keep the studio neat.”

TLW: “Please, that’s your job, now, you’re getting the big bucks.”

TBW: “Yeah, but you get all the anniversary presents!”

TLW: “Hey, I’m married to him 24/7, you get to get away from him 9 to 5, except when I’m off on weekends, then it’s 9 to 7 on Thursdays and Fridays.”

TBW: “DAMN, I knew this was a bad idea.”


Try to remember my friends Anita and Joan, they need your prayers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008



TLW (The Little Woman) took me to a new mega market yesterday to join. We already belong to COSTCO, did belong to SAM’s, and now BJ’s. This folks completes the Holy Trinity of mega marts, for TLW.

As we cruised through the massive building, TLW started to compare prices with other stores including COSTCO. She complained about how some items were cheaper in WALMART’s than BJ’s, and as we entered the final ½ mile of perusing, declared: “Well this worked out, I didn’t put one thing in the basket!” Famous last words that always haunt me. “Well, I can use this, they gave me a introductory coupon, and I can use that, I can never find it in Costco.” Said TLW. That led of course to other items, with and without coupons, and the carnage began.

By the end of the cruising, I couldn’t even move the darn basket!

There is a lesson in this, boys and girls: Don’t count your empty basket until you are safely in the parking lot.

To me, the biggest problem with BJ’s is: THERE IS NO FOOD SAMPLING GOING ON! I actually had to go home for lunch! I didn’t get a chance to savor the smells of the little chicken and/or pasta samplings, there was NO desserts sampling going on, DERE WUZ NUTTEN!

Remember my pals Joan and Anita. Thanks

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Dear Readers,

This is a summer that tries my soul. First: A good friend Anita with cancer, then my cousin passed away, then a dear friend of the family. This weekend I got more bad news! My brother-in-law Tom has an older sister named Joan. Joan is a woman that everyone loves to see in my family. There is no one who doesn’t love Joan.

Joan has been diagnosed with cancer!

Joan has two children and grandchildren. She lost a wonderful husband named Don a number of years ago, but found another wonderful man named Ernie. She is living a happy life with Ernie, and Ernie deserves a wonderful gal like Joan.

Joan needs our help. She needs our prayers and best wishes. She also needs to go to Boston for a second opinion. If you don’t believe in prayer, invoke what you do believe in, and hope she goes to Boston, otherwise, pray she does.

In 1986, when the Boston Red Sox lost the World Series to the New York Mets, she graciously endured my ribbing her. Being a class act, she could not be any other way. She took my stupid jokes and laughed with me, after she initiated the conversation! I suspect that that is how she is. A soft-spoken kind woman, who offers so much by her presence, needs us to pray for her. I would ask to pray for you too, if God Forbid you needed it.

She and I share something. We are the God Parents of my beautiful niece Katie. That made it even more special for me.

I will put up everyday, a small reminder to all of us that she needs our help. It doesn’t cost you anything, is an unselfish act but it IS the greatest gift you could give.

I don’t want a world without you, or without Joan.


Monday, September 15, 2008


Birthdays! Yes, birthdays all over the place. First my Dad, on the 9th, then TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) Dad’s on the 12th, then I hear the 14th, my future Niece Kim’s, my Nice Niece Laurie Ann (sounds so melodious!) on the 17th, then on the 18th, my nephew David, who marries Kim on October 12th.

January is a cold month!

I guess every family has a month where there are plenty of birthdays. Actually, in my family the month of March is another. Two sisters, Theresa and Joanne, a niece named Jennifer, my two children: Ellen and #1 Son, Anthony, my Irish nephew Gerard and my best man Phil and his lovely wife Linda.

No excuses for July!

Then in July, TLW’s family picks up the torch. With my beautiful sister-in-laws Sara, Angela and Maureen, and there is someone else, but I can’t remember who it is.

November starts the cool-off season!

Pleasantly, the next wedding in October forms a treat for the family. Kim, my future Niece will join the clan, and already is being embraced by all of us. Being a classy kid, she seems to fit into the scheme of things very well. Not only is she beautiful (I have competition now) she is smart. What really amazes me is I haven’t scared her away yet! But I happen to think she will be a great member of the family. MY NEPHEW BETTER TREAT HER RIGHT, OR ELSE!

Her only drawback is she is too thin. (Another bit of competition for me) She needs to eat! But that is probably David’s fault, he steals things off her plate when she is not looking.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I happen to be researching some info on NYC for my book. As I go through the pages of the books I took out of the library and the DVD I just viewed, I can’t fathom being able to understand all there is about the city.

Without a doubt, it is the most interesting of places to be. As they say: “There is New York City, and everywhere else.” I’ve been to London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Florence, and Montreal, all over Ireland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, not to mention Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego and a host of lesser-sized cities. New York still feels the largest, in height, and vitality. The people move about with great haste, the traffic, always present, offer the life and future of the great metropolis.

When I graduated college, I went straight to the Big Apple for my first job. I sat high up on the 34th floor on Lexington Avenue; surveying Gotham from the corner office, I was in. I recall looking uptown along Lexington Avenue, watching the flow of traffic and comparing it to a blood stream of a human being. The traffic pulsed along the streets, the traffic lights giving it an interrupted flow, like a slow pulse, that would never die, or maybe a dance that made you change rhythm back and forth.

I remember the elegance among the ordinary, the beauty and the ugliness that made the city what it is. The professional atmosphere and the glamour that it promised excited me.

Everyone had a job; everyone seemed to be going somewhere, everyone seemed important. The doormen, the high fashion stores, the landmarks, the taxi horns and the roar of the big delivery trucks, double-parked and no one seemed to mind. The women were fashionably dressed, and the men wore their suits and ties, school aged children walking to school in their school uniforms.

The city towered over me, the buildings keeping one in constant shadows or perpetual sunlight. The smells of the restaurants, igniting my senses as I hailed a cab, or walked to another office on business made a statement. The large austere banks, seemingly swallowing you up in their business attitudes and solemnity of business and finance made you feel small and inadequate.

If you dared to venture down into the subways, you would notice the humidity that lingered long after a humid day, the crashing rattle and rumble of an arriving train, that took you into darkness, and then magicly into another world. The people, speaking in languages you could at times understand, and at times left you wondering.

There was something for everyone! You wanted a simple meal or a gourmet feast, just crossed a street or went next door. Some of the streets ironically were tree-lined, most were not. Lobbies in skyscrapers all had their own identity. Newsstands offered; newspapers or magazines, snacks, gum and cigarettes, you were always supplied.

Business mixed with finance, which mixed with residential neighborhoods. New York City offered a historical lesson, everywhere you looked, and everyone ignored it.

The many costumes people wore from native lands they arrived from, paraded up and down the broad canyons of city life. If you were from another land, or were not, New York City was home to you. Somewhere there was a bastion or enclave of comfort that made the great city; and could be called home for anyone.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


When I was a young feller, and met TLW (The Little Woman), life was full with good times and wonderful people. The future was exciting, and life was good. Recently some of those wonderful people have passed on, and life doesn’t seem so good, and those of us that are left, I have to hold a little closer.

I don’t wish to be melancholy, but when someone you know passes on, it always triggers memories. Driving through TLW’s old neighborhood, where I first met her, the memories are really stirred up. Her family, Aunts and Uncles, and people she introduced to me because of her family. The church where we married, the stores and restaurants we frequented, all bring back pleasant times in my life. I guess I adopted TLW’s haunts too.

Attending a funeral mass for a good man, that left many good memories, (see yesterday’s blog,) leaves me sad. Larry lived in TLW’s world, and that is how I met him and his lovely wife ‘Prudy’. As I was driving to the church, I realized that life is like a piece of paper, where my name is the center of the paper, and everyone else, TLW, my kids, Mom and Dad, and all my family, friends and acquaintance’s names are written on the paper. Whenever someone is born, I add a name on the paper, whenever someone passes on; I cut the name out of the paper. When I step back, I see holes in my life.

There is a lot of joy to be had in life if we want it. But using good judgment and common sense are important to the input of that joy. I married TLW, and that was the best thing I could have done with my life. She has given me special memories, that I will savor the rest of my life. My children have all made me laugh at one point or another. No matter what happens, those moments remain special because they made me happy. Sometimes the memories are blended into one child and another, not quite sure which child did what to make me laugh.

I accuse TLW of not laughing enough, yet I know she is probably laughing at me, and thinking at least; “he can be amusing”. She laughs best if she laughs at herself. Or me.

So hang on, laugh, love and share good times. Be giving, and thankful, it is all we get.

A special thought for my Father-in-law, Jim. Today would be his birthday!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I pulled in front of the arrivals section of the airport yesterday around 11:30 AM, and peered into the distance. I was on a mission to bring my baby-sister MaryAnn, to her daughter’s Annmarie’s home. Little Sis was visiting for a few days and needed a ride to get to her daughter’s house.

Peering into the distance, I pulled over to the curb in front of the main terminal and waited. As I did, a security man about 90 was patrolling the area. He noticed me waiting and start to walk slowly toward my car, indicating in an almost cryptic manner that I should move along. The closer he got, the more noticeable his ‘twitch’ became. Oh, I knew what he wanted, but being a pain, I decided to wait for him to walk the whole distance before I left. I know he has a job to do, especially on 9/11, It wasn’t that I’m mean, its’ that he had a nasty look on his face! Did he need to be nasty to begin with? Me, I did the old geezer a favor, he got in some exercise.

As I moved away, I noticed my Sister, all spiffy in her uniform, she is now an airline stewardess. Funny, she was always “bossy”, now she looks the part. Actually, when I pulled up I thought: “OK Mr. Security Big Shot, look who I picked up! She can kick your ass!”

I’m proud of MaryAnn, she did things that others dream about having courage to do. She had a plan and did it! She is a tad over 39, and became an airline stewardess! My baby sister! I’m proud.

PS, she can kick my ass too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


There’s a man named Larry I knew. I say I knew because he just passed away. He was really an acquaintance that I’d meet every 15 years or so at some function. He could sit and hold court and in his very wise way assessed and surveyed the world at large.

With his high-pitched voice and years of working under the sun, he could hold you in the palm of his hand, and make you laugh. He could play a tune for you on an organ, and make you feel good.

His humor was of the high kind. He laughed at himself, and loved everybody. He never tried to put you down, but you knew he had a measure of every conversation he had.

I once teased him about a local issue. It seemed he was on the warpath about the possibility of the local airport expanding their runway. Larry was dead set against it. Visiting him one day, I suggested that they were planning to move the runway down his street, and across from his house, they were building a hangar.

Larry entertained the idea for a moment and played out the possibility, giving me the whys and whatnots of such a bad idea, then looked at me, and laughed.

I hope he can laugh from his vantage point way up there. He has a special place very high. He was a good man. I’m sure he made some mistakes, like I do and maybe you too. But he loved his family and his God and country.

Goodbye Larry, the world is less today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Yesterday, September 9th, was my Dad’s 92nd birthday.

Dad wasn’t a very fancy man, didn’t even finish high school. He didn’t even live to see his 75ft birthday, dying from lung cancer.

Dad had a great love for his grandchildren. His first grandchild had her birthday celebrated on the 17th of every month for a full year! He would haul the whole family down to my Sister’s house, with a cake and we would have to sing: ‘Happy Birthday’!

Other things made Dad who he was. He insisted on a steak dinner on Saturday nights, and pasta on Sundays. He had to have a big bowl of soup on Monday nights. On Sunday evenings, he would send us out to the deli for cold cuts. Dad would then make the best sandwiches I ever had, with left over salad and mayo. Dad was a master. But come those summer evenings! Then his genius took hold! He’d get a tall glass and fill it with cream soda, vanilla ice cream and cantaloupe pieces. Sometimes he’d add a little milk.

Mom was the religious person in the house, but unfortunately, Dad would get a hold of me and re-teach me a prayer or two. For example, in the “Our Father” Dad rearranged the pray where we said: “Give us this day our daily bread” to: “Give us a steak and our daily bread.”

He was a great storyteller, and had a wonderful sense of humor. Just like Mom, when things were good, they would tease each other, and even a bit of playful fisty cuffs would occur, with Dad running away for his life!

Every time I watch a ballgame, I think of Dad. He took me to Ebbets Field to watch the Brooklyn Dodgers play. We would watch the game son TV and he loved Jackie Robinson and all the Dodgers. He taught me to love the game, and tried to make a pitcher out of me. One day, he got a rubber ball and squatted down in front of my Grandmother’s house, and told me to pitch. I threw the first pitch, Dad missed catching it, and smack into his face it goes! “OK, that’s enough for now!” said Dad.

Helping people was Dad’s passion, and taking me along to assist him was part of his gift giving. We did almost everything together, including working together when I was in high school and college. He would help widows and sisters or people who he thought needed some kind of help. He lent money and my time very freely.

I really hope he is up there, sitting in front of a TV with one of his favorite snacks, watching the Brooklyn Dodgers have a big inning.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I like to think that I can keep up with the latest things in life. Something new and I’m all over it. Like TV and Radio, they get more complicated as time goes by.

Sirius Radio or an LCD or even a Plasma TV, I have investigated. So, what’s the problem?

Well, once I get something new, I learn the basics and don’t bother with the “extras”, deciding all I want to do is watch a TV show or listen to the radio. I mean, who cares if it IS High-Definition or not? I’m happy with black and white. Hell, TLW (The Little Woman) doesn’t even need to speak English, and I’ll still love her.

The other day I took out my cell phone and perused the many buttons. I know two things: One, I can call out, and two, If I leave the phone on, someone will call me! I went to the messaging section then the “Tools” and found out I can leave ME a memo! Yes, I was so proud. I discovered that I could leave me a memo. So what do I do? I tell TLW: “I discovered that you can leave yourself a memo!”

Now I am kind of found of TLW, but she put me over the edge. When I told her of my new discovery, she said: “Now all you have to do is figure out how to retrieve it.”

She’s right.

I hate when she’s right.

Monday, September 08, 2008


As an innocent victim of marriage, I have inherited a family friend. TLW (The Little Woman) had an Aunt Mary, (Everyone should have one) who had a friend named Rosetta. When Aunt Mary passed on a few years ago, TLW and particularly her older sister Maureen decided to get in touch with Rosetta. Rosetta and Aunt Mary were very close old friends.

Rosetta a widow; is a sweet lady that has an extreme hearing loss. Rosetta will feed you, entertain you, and in my case, find something for me to fix while visiting.

The other day, the phone rang. It was Rosetta. Talking to Rosetta on the phone is like talking to a Chinese cab driver that does not speak English. You can get in the cab, but it won’t get you anywhere you want to go.

Rosetta: “Hello? Who’s this? Can I speak with Ellie? Please? Its Rosetta!”

Me: Oh hi, Rosetta, how are you?”

Rosetta: “Who’s this? Michael? Joe? Is this Ellie?”

Me: “I’ll get her.” (A frown on TLW’s face as she takes the phone.)

TLW: “Hello, Rosetta, Its Ellen.”

Rosetta: “Who’s this?”

TLW: “Ellen”

Rosetta: “Is this Joe?”

TLW: “No it’s Ellen.”

Rosetta: “Michael? How are you dear?”


I’m starting to laugh.

Rosetta: “Oh Joe, how are you!”


I’m starting to uncontrollably laugh.

Rosetta: “I’m looking to speak with Ellen, Joe or Michael.”


I’m on the floor, holding my sides, laughing. TLW turns her back on me.

Rosetta: “Would you do me a favor please, and have Ellen call me back? Thank you dear.”

TLW: “OK.”

Sunday, September 07, 2008


The other day TLW (The Little Woman) bought a new toilet paper dispenser to mount on a wall in our half bathroom. The one that was there was getting bent out of shape. TLW loves to put things up that she buys and I of course am grateful for the attempts.

As one of her primary consultants, (Happy the cocker spaniel is the other,) she wished to confer with me on where it should be placed. I have learned long ago, it is only to keep me from saying: “Why didn’t you ask me?” Once TLW has made up her mind, nothing I say will change it.

“How about under the sink where we had the last one?” she said.

Consultant #2 (Me): Oh, I don’t know, how about there? (Pointing to an opposite wall.

TLW: “No!”

Consultant #2 (Me): “Uh, how about there? (Another wall)

TLW: “NOOOO! It will be in the way of the men when they stand there.”

Consultant #2 (Me): “Oh! OK, how ‘bout there?” (Pointing to where the old one was.)

TLW: “Ah! I knew we could agree!”

This woman had a brief case filled with legal documents if I dared to dispute where I know the dispenser will go.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


It was a lunch of old creative people. Gathering to remember old times and friends, and any enemies we might have made, we ate.

Bill, one of my favorite people and I had laugh after laugh. The food was good and the wise cracks constant.

Bill has retired from writing direct mail and sweepstakes, and now works part-time for the IRS. He related to me an interesting fact about your tax dollars. THEY GET WASTED!

It seems that having a budget means that you spend every cent of it. If there is a surplus, you must spend it down. Being creative in the spending down is very important.

For example: In the budget is money set aside for over-time. Bill’s department is way over the scheduled work they needed to do. They don’t need the over-time. Another department is on-schedule. They don’t need the over-time, either. What do the geniuses of the IRS, the people who demand their payment and you can go to hell do? They send Bill’s department to classes so they have to spend the overtime on the other department who will carry the load. Remember that, next time you look at your income tax return, or pay into the system. WE NEED REFORM.

Friday, September 05, 2008


I really don’t remember it happening. One day I was in college, Joe Cool, and now: Joe Old!

How do these things happen?

Getting older is no fun after you reach 50. Then things start to happen. Things go bump in the night, mainly my sleep, and foods become your mortal enemy. Exercise is your tormentor, and your spouse, your soul mate, reminds YOU, that you are getting old. She goes off to the playground, I guess.

You watch people dancing and you say: “Oh, I can do that!” Then you try to get up to do it, but just about get up! One day a contemporary is moving about, the next day gone to the after-life. Makes me feel wonderful. Your kids make fun of you for getting old, but little do they realize they are old to others already.

I recall my conversations being about buying property, investments, raising a family and careers. Then we went on to our children’s schools, taxes, and college tuition and now, sadly it is about medication, and arthritis. And, do you have a will? The question: “How are you feeling?’ when asked of you becomes reality, not rhetoric or politeness.

Saturdays on a ball field, playing, then one day watching my sons, then watching on the TV. My how they’ve grown, my, have I’ve grown old!

Don’t feel sorry for me. I decided to grip life by the lapels, and enjoy my life. From where I’m sitting, I should be happy that I’m alive, but not surprised. But I am. We all are. We know that tomorrow is theory, not fact, because we don’t know what it will bring.

One of the best ways to live life is to laugh at you first. When you can’t laugh anymore because you used up all your material, laugh at your surrounding. And what is it about you that you can laugh at? You can laugh at your heritage, your family, your outlook on life, even your religion, and most of all, YOU.

Always remember this: I like you; I think you have real value to me as a person. If I can interact with you in any way, my life is enriched. It is just a fact. You have the harder job; you have to like me. I hope I can measure up.

While engaged to be married, TLW gave me a card; I’ve kept the sentiment in my heart all these years. It goes simply: “Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”

Thursday, September 04, 2008


It was early this morning. The sun was rising and early morning peacefulness was suddenly shattered! Happy, my pain in the ass cocker spaniel was barking up a k-9 storm, jumping up on the door and very agitated. What was wrong??

As I walked out the door, on my way to get some breakfast, there it was in front of me! The strangest thing I had ever witnessed! My neighbor the lovely Carole, was walking down the street toward her house. She was smiling and almost dancing! BUT HER FEET WERE NOT TOUCHING THE GROUND! Something like Jesus walking on water!

Staring in amazement, I looked up at her. (She was very high in the air) In a singsong voice she said: “They’re gone! Off to school”, and something about there really being a God!

So boys and girls, if there is a lilt in YOUR step, a perpetual smile on your face, and giddiness about you, then you too have school age children. We salute you, we who have raised our younguns, and withstood the harsh realities of summer vacation, and the joy of back to school fever.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I’m sure that is what Mrs. Marx or Mrs. Lenin must have said as their little anarchists threw their first Molotov cocktails.

Although #2 Son is not throwing bombs, I like to refer to him as “Our Little Communist.” Of course he hasn’t read the Communist Manifesto yet, I’m sure he agrees with it.

Blue is red and red is blue. Good is bad and bad is good. So states #2 Son’s manifesto. He believes that the controlling class should stop being in control. However, all the capitalistic trappings should be given over to the people, whoever the hell they are, and we should continue to make money and pass it on to the people.

This is a very complicated doctrine, for both the bourgeois and the proletarian. Let’s face it; being a commie when you have a TV, DVD player, and an endless supply of Cheerios, a car and insurance, clothing and cigarette money supplied, is very hard. How would you like to be a commie, and your parents are not playing along? They better not, after all, who will fund the revolution? How will he raise the flag of international workers everywhere in the world on an empty stomach, and a yen for a butt?

He was going to march this past May Day, but overslept. Fermenting all the revolutionary theory must have left him too tired to march! His philosophy is that we should give everything to the workingman. Everything I own that is. His stuff he still needs. He belongs to a political party that IS non-subversive, just what he needs, a place to legally vent.

Of course, some of what I write is tongue in cheek. It is up to you to figure what that is.

Monday, September 01, 2008


The newly paved street is suddenly the focus of a lot of attention. The local child population seems to be centering on it and hoping to get every drop of summer freedom there is. As I drive by, I see the dread in their eyes, the slow sad movements of their run and play.

It is a sorry time. I’m almost moved to tears. The ice cream truck makes a final run and the little darlings cling to the hope that the day will last forever, as they see their summer freedom fade away to a memory.

As parents and grandparents, let us join in song, to lift the teary eyes of sadness and disappointment as they take their showers (don’t forget to wash behind the ears), shiny shoes, get their brand new clothes, books and pencils (don’t forget the erasers), and the little darlings mount those steps for the yellow school bus!


It was a Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I had been dating TLW (The Little Woman) for a while, and was falling head over heels in love. I know it sounds hokey, but it is the truth.

In our time together, I learned that she had never eaten lobster, so our first date was for a lobster dinner. The other thing TLW had never experienced was my four sisters. An Italian had married into her family, and another was about to, but TLW never met the Italian covenant at home.

That Friday morning dawned grey and cloudy, as I picked her up for breakfast. We went to a diner in Sayville and I asked her if she would join me for dinner at my house. I realized that the potential was there for her not getting a word in edge wise, since she didn’t talk with her hands.

The table was stocked with the leftovers from the day before, and the whole family present, including my four sisters. Stocked with food that tasted even better the next day, and Mom’s Italian turkey stuffing was ready for another test drive. I couldn’t wait for TLW to taste it.

To make a long story short, she got lost in the crowd! Yes, “Miss Manning” was just like one of them! I NOW HAD FIVE SISTERS? No, thank God, but she was immediately assimilated into the sisterhood. There was even some advice on how to deal with me! (The witches.)

After dinner, we went somewhere, and I asked her to marry me. The next morning, Mom said; “What a nice lady, she is just like your sisters!” “In spite of that Ma, we are getting married.”

Of course, she never really speaks with her hands, so she just listens when we get together with my family. But boy, can she cook! Just as good a Mom and my other sisters, the Sunday sauce is made like she was a Napolitano born there. Any every Friday night we must have pizza. TLW, beautiful, smart, and a great cook who loves Italian food!

I’m pretty lucky. And, by the way, you should try her Italian stuffing.