Saturday, October 31, 2009


Thanks to my sister, Mary Ann, #3 sister.

Subject: Fwd: Ben Stein CBS Sunday Morning Commentary

I only hope we find GOD again before it is too late ! !

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against.. That's what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?'

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW..'

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Friday, October 30, 2009


And there was, as I drove down the street to go to work. Actually, I was driving to the train station in Ronkonkoma, New York. As I drove with my neighbor Bob, we noticed what looked like a dummy on the side of the road. Being how it was the day after Halloween, we figured it was a left over from the night before, some trick-or-treater playing games.

Something told me to stop and back it up to investigate. Pulling along side the wooded area where we say what we thought was a dummy turned out to be a man, laying for what looked like a few hours in the wet weeds from the night before.

There was a woolen peaked cap covering salt and pepper hair. On closer investigation, it was a real man! He must have had a heart attack on his way home from work or on the way to work.

I drove back home since cell phones were not invented yet and called the police. We drove back out to the body and waited for the Suffolk County Police to arrive. Finally, the squad car comes and then and second one.

“Alright” says one policeman to another after questioning us, “put some tape around the scene like they do on TV.”

“Like they do on TV!” Did I hear that right? So, like they do on TV, they put some tape around the scene.

I wonder if they went out after that to get a donut, or went to a commercial?

Thursday, October 29, 2009


You have to call a niece and ask her how long she’s been married, so you can calculate the age of your suit!

If it falls below your waist, you can’t see it.

Your chin is now rubbing your toes.

You’re cooking with gas, but the trouble is you have an electric stove.

You pray the screaming 2 year-old kid with his parents will fall out of the aircraft.

You fall asleep on your chair, the first thing in the morning, after a good night’s sleep.

Your wife is afraid to awaken you because you might be dead!

The word ‘sex’ brings a smile to your face, but you can’t recall why.

You remember when… what was I saying?

A 50 year-old looks like a kid.

You read the obituary about a 93 year-old who passed away, survived by children in their 60’s and think: “Wow they’re old!” and realize they’re your age!

You bend down on both knees to do something, and your knees fall asleep before you do.

You need help to get out of your chair, and wish there was someone to help you out of bed!

You have less sight, hearing or taste, but pain is increasing.

The older you get, the slower you move, but the faster you age.

You have to read this with glasses.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


In the process of trying to track down old classmates and have them attend a reunion, things can get a little strange, and very funny. I just got a email from one of my classmates, describing a response she got from a James Hayden who she thought was THE James Hayden from the Bellport High School Class of ’64.

She writes:

“Hi Everyone,

I thought I would share this response from James Hayden, who I found through Linked In.

Don’t you just love his humor?


He wrote:

“Dear Ms. Sperakis,
I regret to inform you that although my name is James Hayden and I was graduated from high school in 1964 I am not the one you seek. My graduation class had their reunion August last and I unfortunately could not attend. I was out of the country, not incarcerated as so many of my class were (or should have been).

I want to wish you all of the best of luck in finding the one you seek. It's funny how those few years are remembered by us for good or bad over so many other years and events. Since I was graduated in 1964 I've been around the world nine times and visited over 140 countries but high school sticks most in my memory, though I try and not dwell on it.

If you get desperate and can not fine James Hayden from the Bellport High School class of 1964 I would certainly entertain the idea of substituting for him as I didn't make my own.

Good luck.
With kind regards,
James Hayden
Dark Harbor, Maine”

This can only happen in real life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Then I’ve flown lately! It seems every time I go to the airport to fly somewhere, I find a reason to hate it. Recently I flew to Albany for a convention, and took Southwest Airlines. I hate Southwest Airlines. They designed a boarding system that is anti-people, doesn’t save you any money, and is just as confusing as the other airlines. You have to get a boarding pass, 24 hours before take-off, and you have to print it off of the internet on their website.

What I do is stand by my computer, and at the stroke of pre-24 hours, I push the print button; my assigned place on the boarding line? W60. Yes, at the stroke of eligibility, I get a wing seat, not even in the cabin! Meanwhile all those people are ahead of me! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!?

I arrive at the airport and put all my stuff in my jacket. Change, wallet, keys cell phone, everything goes into the jacket. The jacket goes through the conveyor along with me, without a hitch. What’s wrong? My carry on luggage has drawn attention. As I watch, fresh from my triumph, they grab my bag, and open it! Homeland security has detected a danger to the homeland! I am now under scrutiny.

You must be wondering what that bomb toting SOB is carrying in his luggage that got the good people from Homeland Security all in a tizzy, why they are scrambling fighter jets now, and the Marines are entering the terminal? Well, I’ll tell you.

Shaving cream! A whole can of ‘shaving cream!’ Yes, I was plotting to shave somebody while I flew across the land! I am a despicable terrorist! They immediately seize my toiletry, and confiscated it will do no harm to the good ole US of A! I had an oversized can of shaving cream!

OK, I start the process of getting on line between the assigned poles, and listen to the third grade teacher with the microphone tell me what I better do. Words like: “Only” “One at a time” and “DO NOT” came from the man’s mouth. People look at me suspiciously, thinking or wondering: “Does this guy really belong in front of me?”

On the flight home, I strike up a conversation on the boarding line with a lovely woman, who has a slower response rate on her computer than even I do. We talk, and suddenly, the thought police come and pull her out of the line! They frisk her and toss her back like an undersized striped bass, landing at my feet. She tries to regain her dignity, composure and spot in the line, which with my help she does. We pretend like: nothing unusual, this happens at the checkout counter in the supermarket, and on countless bank lines all the time.

I feel wild and rebellious, so I let her ahead of me into the cabin, whispering: “I think we are breaking the law!” Heading down the aisle, waiting for people to wrestle their luggage while claiming a seat, there sits this guy who catches my eye. As I get closer, he smiles at me and says: “Hi!” I, being a known terrorist now, but cleanly shaven, respond in kind. “Hi” I say in English. “Aren’t you Dominick?” he says. “No” I respond, but if you DO see Dominick, tell him what a handsome guy he is, and how well shaven in spite of this ^$%#%$@ed airline.”

Now, sit back and click on the movie, my pal Jan from PCH sent me.

Monday, October 26, 2009



This past weekend, I had the pleasure of watching a presentation that has left me inspired, and convinced that there is good in this world if we only seek it.

At the NYSARC, Inc. convention in Albany NY, I witnessed a work of greatness, one which makes all that I do have some hope for a better tomorrow. It seems that people with Downs Syndrome are as capable as anyone in this world. That the arts in particular are a noble form of expression, and that if we can use the arts, we can better anyone’s life.

There is an organization called: ‘Sprout’. It is dedicated to filmmaking that does many things, but the most important one being: lifting the human spirit, and destroying the prejudices that we seem to harbor. “Prejudice is the worst syndrome”

The Executive Director: Anthony Di Salvo took his audience on a tour of his work, a great masterpiece of filmmaking. A man that has sacrificed a lot of potential earnings with his talent, and unselfishly made films that truly benefit: mankind. So, his time wasn’t wasted, but well spent.

Yes, it is about developmental disabilities, but I promise you, it will be memorable. They are all thought provoking and enjoyable, and just viewing them will enrich you.

It is about people that live and die just like you and me. It is about people who can express themselves on canvas, on paper, and on film, just like you and me. They can portray themselves, and they can portray others. They are serious actors and they more importantly, teach us all lessons on life, love, determination and triumph.

Thank you Anthony Di Salvo! And thank you actors, screenwriters, directors and those that support this great work.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Recently I had a conversation with a set of parents that have a child who is under pressure. By under pressure I mean the child, (I’ll call him Joey) was living a hell on earth. Why? Because his chemistry, his state of mind was such as he is unable to cope with everyday life. He wants to cope, but he can’t!

Joey’s parents have done all they can do to try to stabilize Joey’s life, and their own. They realize that the circumstances that affect Joey, affect them too. They suffer greatly as they witness their child’s pain. The pain is emotional, and can be physically debilitating to all. They don’t want to lose the very child they once held in their arms, nor do they wish to lose the emotional ties that bind them as a family. They share the pain and the small triumphs, but it is theirs to share, and no one else’s to judge.

Joey’s parents complain that people judge Joey, and those judgments are based on how those friends and relatives would handle the situation. Those that judge come to the table, armed with experiences, based on a normal situation, that demands certain social protocols and expectations. It is precisely the same protocols and expectations that Joey’s parents once had. Lack of experience causes us to make determinations about people that eventually change. So what happens?

As in life, we learn and make adjustments. Soon what Monday held, Friday doesn’t, we learn something along the way. Joey’s parents learned that Joey couldn’t reasonably handle things. A job, a class in school, perhaps just going out in public causes Joey to stop functioning, he cannot emotionally cope, so he withdraws from society. He begins to feel less about himself and his abilities. And so the pain increases.

The judges reason that the parents are not handling Joey correctly, that if they had to deal with it, Joey would be walking a straight line, would be an ‘A’ student, and engulfed with so many friends, that you could fill an arena with them.

You have to walk in someone else’s shoes to fully understand the journey one embarks on. We are all too quick to judge, and don’t take time to try to understand. Sometimes we relish the sadness of others, because we need to justify our own shortcomings. Mental and emotional pain is nothing for the untested to judge, nothing for the inexperienced to determine the course of action. What is needed is for people to stop judging, that only pours more fuel on the painful fires and anguish of parents and victims with these mental disabilities.

It seems everyone is an expert, everyone has the answers, and everyone is the first to judge what they don’t understand.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


In spite of all the bad that is in this world, the good still shines through!

I noticed a lot of young people having babies. Babies are born out of love, usually, and they manufacture more love on their own. It seems that you put a newborn baby on a stage and all they have to do is poop, and people will applaud!

I recall three instances when Mom brought home a new baby, and the kid would be hysterical! I figured it was because each time, the baby was a girl, and my Mom already had a girl at home. Women being women, there was no room for another, so the kid would cry. Each subsequent one would cry louder than the last, realizing the pecking order they were in. Then as they got older, they learned from the oldest on down, the common enemy: me, so they stopped crying, and started planning.

Recently, we had a birth in our family, Alexander John Schneider. He looks like his; mother, father, uncle, and both sets of grandparents, and if he had a sister, he would look like her. Anyone who is sane: looking at the baby will see that the baby looks like me. One of the things that will happen to Alexander John, is that when his sibling finally arrives, we can stop calling him: Alexander John, and just use Al. Well, I’m going to be the first! Meet Al, and parents: get over it!

The baby you see standing: Melinda: is the grandchild of two very nice people who are hell bent on spoiling the kid. I must say; being how beautiful she is: (Al is beautiful too) I would spoil her too, if I were the grandparent. As you can see, the kid does have a problem! Not enough time in the day! Yes, with both of them as grandparents, the kid is tired from all the attention. Jo-Ellen and Seth, the proud grandparents, take turns with the child. The problem lies in that one does the day shift, and one the night shift!

But everybody loves a baby that’s why I’m in love with youuuuuu!

Friday, October 23, 2009


That seemed to be the way I had to operate Sunday, as Toots II, (Lois), TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) look-alike partner from the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co., hosted a get together. The common ground for this get together was old friends meeting new friends. There was Jo Ellen and Seth, a great couple I met a few years ago through Toots II, Then as new arrivals to this happy group, and a wonderful addition were The Patron Saint of Foxwoods Points (Pat) and her husband Bill. Pat, again was a fellow worker from the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co. Meeting for the first time ever, Pat and Bill and Jo Ellen and Seth hit it off like they knew each other for a long time. I think it was the common bound of having to be in the same room with me!

Now all of this was done on red wine! We really didn’t need the wine, as seven people started to laugh and didn’t stop until we left. From about 2:00 pm until around 7:30 pm, the time flew by, as I fielded one joke at my expense after another, and enjoyed every moment of it!

The Hostess, Lois, did a great job of making people feel comfortable and at ease. The food was great and her gracious ability to tolerate me was exemplary! Lois was married to a great guy named Charlie. Charlie left his mark on earth when he unfortunately passed on a few years ago, in the kinds of people he associated with. Lois and Seth and Jo Ellen are prime examples. I feel because of Charlie, a paisano like myself, I met some wonderful people. Jo Ellen has a rich homey sense of humor, with a dignified cast to it, and Seth, a dry humor that lights up in his eyes, especially when he uses it on me.

I cannot be taken seriously when I get together with people, I tend to enjoy the company, and laugh at myself, along with everyone else. Zingers, and wise cracks were the order of the day, and fun is what life should be.

The Patron Saint of Foxwoods Points, was the only Italian besides myself who was present, but like me, likes to laugh at herself, and is so unpretentious, you just start to laugh at yourself even more! Her husband Bill, has a dry sense of humor also. Being the object of Pat’s jokes, he took it and gave it back, my kind of guy! He and I both spent our time sidestepping the barbs from the women, and shooting back.

TLW and I will host the next party to carry this on further.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


For the last three years, I’ve been going to the same little place in the morning to purchase a roll and coffee. In those same three years, I’ve become a ‘regular’ and they all know me. I like to do things on a personal basis, and think it makes for a better life.

Some of the characters I’ve met I’ve written about, and some of you have related to them. There was the spaced-out clerk behind the counter, (Didn’t get my joke about the Statue of Liberty on a cold day) the little old lady, (Someone’s child), and the lady that meets for an affair in the parking lot.

Today, I added a little more to education and philosophy of life. I shared a point of view with someone who just may consider it.

As I stood paying for my coffee and roll, this guy comes up behind me and starts to talk to the kid behind the counter.

Guy: Did you see the Yankee game last night?
Kid: Yup, man, that Girardi really made a boo-boo!
Guy: Yeah, think they’ll go to the series this year, or another no-show?
Kid: Don’t know.
Me: (This is where I come in) why don’t you guys do like I do?
Guy and Kid both look at me.
Me: I’m a Met fan, we are out of it early, and so we don’t sweat the post season! No agita, no sweat, no staying up late in the autumn, we are all well rested for the holidays!”

I guess I must have spoken in another language, the guy just looked at me and paid for his coffee. (I think he left a big tip!)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Way back in my day, when men were men and women ladies, there was a certain code of ethics. Men never swore in front of ladies, (even if the ladies wore moustaches) and ladies never used profanity, (even if they had moustaches.)

Boy has times changed!

As I sit in meetings where the group is informal, the ‘F’ word is tossed about as often as the ‘the’ word. The problem is the women use it! (The ‘F’ word, pay attention!)

Being a ‘guy’, I have been known to go off and swear; I even used the ‘F’ word once or twice myself in private. But when I hear it used so often, any impact it may have had, is lost! Besides the meaning of the word, it becomes doubly offensive when it shows no respect for the people who hear it. But it is most offensive when women use it.

I came from a family of four sisters. Never once did they ever use that word. TLW (The Little Woman) has never, ever used that word. I think of them as class acts. None of my sister-in-laws ever has gone down to that level, as have neither my mom nor mother-in-law. All the ladies are ladies, and that I am proud of. My nieces, on both sides of the marriage aisle have never used it in my presence, and again, I hope they don’t use it. I think not.

So, ladies, if you do use it, try finding another word.

And guys, there is NO double standard or excuse to use it. Not in front of other guys or especially not in front of women. Think of your mother or father, and think, how would they hear that?


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The other day I decided to go for a walk. I went into the hall closet and as I was reaching for my baseball cap, I looked across the hall, past the kitchen and into the den. There, lying on a chair with the saddest of looks was Happy my cocker spaniel. Her big brown eyes just stared at me and I felt very sad. Feeling guilty that she was just looking at me with forlorn eyes, I reached for her leash and waved it at her. After a bit of waving, she jumped out of her chair, and came over to me. Attaching her, out we went.

Happy is like me, she has to piddle every time she goes out! Well, she lefty her scent right in my driveway, and then decided to unload a small package at the foot of my driveway, in the street! I grabbed her and stuck her in my truck, and decided I would go to the lake, and sit and watch nature at it’s declining best in autumn.

As I drove, I noticed that Happy was starting to shake, and became very nervous and quiet, getting down on the seat and not looking out. Strange! Then it occurred to me: she thought I was taking her someplace to leave her for a few days, and she didn’t want to go, maybe to Kozy Noses for a boarding, or Pretty Puppy, for a hair do and grooming.

Once we reached the lake, (Lake Ronkonkoma), she perked up. And watched the mallards flying into the beach, the terns massing at the water’s edge, and this little girl who was sitting with her dad in the next car. Suddenly, she was her old self again!

AS I sat and watched, I took out a cigar and just leaned back and relaxed. Me and my dog and a cigar and all that was missing was a beer! Happy stood on my lap with her front paws, and together we were one. Beautiful feeling!

She is getting old. Soon, we will not have her anymore, and I will miss her. She nags me to give her lettuce at night, she tricks me constantly into giving her treats, she is bossy, making me carry her up and down the steps, but she is my dog. She plays on my guilt, and she loves me. I really spoil her!

That old dog is smart!

Monday, October 19, 2009


And I’ll get back to you.

Being I’m retired, it gives me time to do all I have to do. For instance: this blogue, everyday of the week, writing a new book and a short story, the next painting and of course cooking everyday. But that is just the tip of the iceberg!

I have to take on the 1964 Bellport High School Reunion, and a three-day trip to Albany, a half-day chairing a Guardianship Committee meeting, and now, a Power Point presentation for our Candlelight Ball, an annual fundraising event. This does not mean I miss my monthly board of director’s meeting, or some other committee meetings that call for my attention. I also have to paint a room or two and get the house ready for sale. In the wings, a book I am designing as soon as I get all the copy, for the New York School of Podiatric Medicine.

I often wonder why people don’t want to retire! If they don’t, they won’t get any work done! They claim they have to keep busy, not me, uh-uh, no, I rather take it easy. I mean, who needs all THAT aggravation! No, this is better, just enough time in the day to use the potty, relax for a moment then get a little something done. Huh?

What I need is a full-time secretary, a larger office and a conference room, and some staff would help, too!

Maybe a full-time job, just to get away from it all!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Or: theirs for that matter?

I’m in the midst of creating a Power Point presentation for a formal ball. The ball will celebrate 60 years of the Suffolk Chapter AHRC, an organization for developmentally disabled people. This is THE major formal event, black tie fund-raiser, and I was asked to do something to commemorate 60 years.

One of the things I wish to do is to include a song that could speak, or sing, the success of the organization. The success lays in the small triumphs that our people, those we serve accomplish. It will point out the successes of the day-care people, the administrators and the volunteers, supported by the mighty staff that lays its gentle hands on those of need. It will laud the growth in terms of bricks and mortar over the years.

But, what can you say, let alone sing? How do you approach the emotions that flow in the parents, the volunteers and staff, who give their hearts and souls everyday? How do I ‘assign’ a bit of music, a flow of poetic words, and a moment that can capture the spirit of this wonderful organization?

How can I tell the world, their world, and the world of the people that got short changed in life, the glory of their days? Is there a song? Are there words that say it all, or any of it? Can I ponder the music libraries of the world and really find a fitting song?

Will the words get in the way?

Can the song capture the glow of achievement of a small child mastering steps for the first time? Will it capture the giddiness of a parent who hears his/her child speak a word, just one word, for the first time? And how will I communicate the large triumphs, the children that learn to overcome their afflictions and take the first steps in free movement. Will it frame the pictured smile and uplifted heart of a staff that worked for that moment?

God help me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


TLW (The Little Woman) and I had the pleasure of spending a few days, (Maybe too few) with a very lovely couple of people. People that seemed genuine and just plain easy to be with. That would make them special! I’m talking about TLW’s youngest sibling, her brother Dennis and his lovely sweet wife, SS-I-L (Sicilian Sister-In-Law) Angela. They are a great couple that belong together, and make for a better world.

We spent the time in Colorado, taking in the sights and sounds of a winter wonderland in the summer! We toured Steamboat Springs, and road to the top of a ski slope in a gondola, viewing the down hill slope one would take on skies. I personally have been going down hill for years; so going up has become a novelty for me!

Dennis is President and CEO of a place called Community Residences. It’s a home for people who need one, who suffer from mental disabilities and society’s prejudices.

Angela, no shrinking violet herself, a retired schoolteacher who has volunteered her time to a local elementary school in Aspen Virgin, and has been recognized for her unselfish volunteered tutoring time and classroom assistance.

These people do only well for the world at large, and that has all the value in the world, it is gold.

I wondered if I would be able to survive spending time with another couple, with their wanting to choke me or commit suicide, but they were very gracious and put up with this knucklehead from Brooklyn.

So here are two people, helping adults and children, and doing it not as a job, but with a passion, as for mankind, and if I may speak for all; “Thank you!”

Friday, October 16, 2009


There are many things in this world that can vex me, causing me to lose sleep, or even, (God forbid) miss a meal. One of those things is Facebook, that thing that gets you in touch with your friends, or in my case, former friends!

I joined the thing when I decided to get my high school classmates together for one more reunion. One of them urged me to join Facebook. It is not unlike my being friends with bomb makers, and their giving ME the ingredients to make one.

I got an email from one of my former classmates, and she said I don’t answer her emails anymore, and so I know I am screwing up. If it is in Face Book, forgetaboutit!

"Remember that song "You Don't Send Me Flowers Anymore"? Well, my song to Joe is: "You don't answer my emails anymore:)" same tune..."

To anyone on Facebook who tried to communicate with me, you have a better chance of leaving a message with my doorknob! I suck at it!

One of my problems is I get some many emails, mostly scams and sales pitches, I just scoop them together and delete. I might mistakenly delete real emails I wish to read, but don’t see in my haste.

Many times, I get notices that someone helped at my farm. Some have sent me fertilizer and seeds and just helped around the farm! I try to do that and wind up reading some ad. I suck at it!

So Martha, if you still read this, please forgive me, and here are some flowers! I shot them myself!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


In the papers the other morning, there was an article about greening funerals. No concrete vaults or traditional caskets would be used, but wicker would be the way to ‘go’. They say (The article) that wicker caskets are the most environmental friendly way to depart.

All that got me thinking about my leaving this earth, and what I want.

Here goes:

I want first-of-all to be placed in an airline seat, not your usual casket. Secondly, at my feet would be enough clothes for a month, packed in a suitcase or two. This would be significant of my hopes of going ‘up’. The clothes would of course be shorts, and t-shirts for warm weather. A vacation, if you will. Thirdly, I want to have the airline seat placed on a carousel, that turns slowly, with a little mechanical hand that waves bye-bye. The carousel would be placed in the middle of the room, surrounded by chairs in a semi-circle. To make it fun for the two or three people that do show up, (the undertaker and maybe TLW [The Little Woman], a small bag of unsalted popcorn, (High blood pressure) that they can try to flip each piece into my lap as I turn to face them after each turn of the carousel.

Of course, I know that what I want is not what I’ll get. Being how I am already dead, but forgot to lay down, I will probably be in an old cardboard box, marked; THIS END UP!
In all likelihood, instead of an airline seat, I will be on an elevator with the “down” button pushed in. The clothing would remain the same, since where I’m going I should dress lightly as possible. I think the popcorn idea will stay, with #’s 1 and 2 Sons leading the way, tossing popcorn on my bald spot. As for TLW, she will be at home, throwing out all my stuff, finally. (I’m a pack rat.)

So either way, there will be a champagne celebration at the house, immediately upon release of the news: “Finally!”

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Or having dinner with some old friends!

This past Saturday night, TLW (The Little Woman) and I were invited to my older sister Tess’s house. Tess is a lot older than me, as you all know. (Even older than that!)

The dinner was great as usual: nothing fancy but the company was unusually good! Two people I always like to see, Tess’s neighbors, Donna and Tommy joined us. It was a fun evening, as we laughed at each other and spoke of habits I have tried to shed in the past and am now finally shedding, once and for all. That goes with idea that I pay for my habits with a few laughs on me.

My habit is I’m a saver. I save everything, and when TLW started on me, I have to admit, she is right! I reminded her that I now have to save our marriage since I’m taking a beating in the laugh department.

I saved a can of fixative from my college days! When I was cleaning, out the studio where I paint and do my woodcarving, I picked up the old can, and it disintegrated in my hand! This can was from the 1960’s! That is old, but I thought there was still some fixative left.

This habit of saving comes from my early childhood. I come from a poor family and everything was saved, nothing was ever wasted. We ate everything on our plates, and although we were poor, we never starved. I saved my pennies nickels and dimes, and once-in-a-while a quarter. Forget about dollars, I never owned one until I went to work as a youngster of 11 years old. But my clothes were always clean, repaired and shoes shined. Kids wore shoes in those days, and my pants were on my hips, not under them. I used to spend whole days hungry when I went away to live in college, because I only had so much money. Dad couldn’t afford to send me, so I worked at night, on weekends and during the summer to have money to pay for tuitions and books, not to mention carfare. Many a day I would hitchhike long, long miles to school and back!

A number of years ago I was in Virginia Beach, along with TLW and my kids. There was a fountain with coins in the bottom of the pool. TLW asked me for some change so the kids could toss the coins in the pool and make a wish. I just couldn’t do it! Cheap, yes, but instilled in me was the need to never waste. Of course, I got a ribbing from TLW, but then again, she comes from a wealthy family of land barons in Ireland, but still throws my money in fountains. This is done not to make a wish, but to keep me rooted in poverty and tradition.

Help me fight poverty-send me all your money.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Unless you are in a coma, I’m sure you are aware that the President received the Nobel Peace Prize, and has decided to accept it. I find it interesting that the pundits are frowning. They say that now that he has won it, President Obama has to live up to it! The thinking is that it will weigh heavily around his neck!

Whether you voted for him or not, you must feel some pride in the fact that an American, any American, let alone a standing President has won such an honor! But it DOES carry a burden. I know just how he feels!

A number of years ago, I was the recipient of an award, or recognition for my service to the agency that I serve on the board for. They the board, recognized my devotion to the agency over the years. What does that mean?

It means I can’t slack off! I can’t take a night off without feeling guilty, whether or not I have a legitimate excuse or not. It means I have to make my voice sound loud and clear, as I have already done. But what happens when I decide I can’t do it anymore?

Like the President, I got to where I am with the help of people that supported me. My wife, and family, my fellow board members and the wonderful staff all gave me a helping hand. The award I won should really go to them: they were behind it. If there was any success, they orchestrated it: I only facilitated it, with their help.

There are only two times when I don’t want to be in the spot light. One, when I am recognized for doing some good, and when I am making a prison break!

Monday, October 12, 2009


There is this fellow I know, who never stops working. I think of him as an unselfish ‘volunteeraholic’, and probably is a workaholic, to boot. I’ve known him about 15 to 18 years, and he is a very likable guy, and a fellow board member. For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him “Ken”.

“Ken” works 2 jobs, one at a major financial institution, and one as a mattress tester after work, at night. He takes his work very seriously. He spends his morning hours being financially responsible, then in the early evening, he dresses up with a suit and tie, and goes to his real job: mattress testing. Often one will find “Ken” working into the wee hours of the morning tirelessly plugging away testing mattresses. Overtime means nothing to him, nor does double and triple overtime!

“Ken” is dedicated to both his jobs, and over the holidays, if you walk along Fifth Avenue; you will see him testing in the store fronts. As you can see from this recent photo put out by Bed Bath and Beyond, he enjoys his work, and rain or shine, healthy or not, you can rely on “Ken”.

Once he was found sleeping on the job, and was given a big raise!

But his best work is done as a volunteer, doing only good, and bringing a sense of gratefulness from his fellow board members and parents like me. He has been with the Special Olympics every step of the way, giving up his time, and YES, even his testing job, to help run it. He was a great board president, a great committee member, sacrificing his work time for volunteering.

Thanks “Ken”, for all you do for the agency, my daughter, the financial world, and most importantly, MY nap time.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The other morning, there was an article in Newsday from an Associated Press piece called: “Most annoying?! WHAT-ehv-errr!”

I can see the little girls arguing with their parents and being told something they don’t agree with and saying: “WHAT-ehv-errr!” (Usually with a full set of braces.)

It seems a Marist poll was conducted, and 47% of Americans found the phrase annoying. Michael Hill, the writer of the article, went onto say that there are other annoying phrases that Americans find.

Bill Clinton (You have love him whether you agree with him or not, I think used one of the more current ones: “It is what it is” in defense of some indiscretion, and of course that is now being over-used. But, it is what it is, you know? Did I just say that? “You know” is right up there with “Whatever”, and deserves a special place in Americanisms, as the longest running annoyance going. Another oldie is: “Six of one, half a dozen of another” which I believe became popular in the mid to late 70’s. Anyway, at the end of the day… Oops! There I go again, two more that I hate, but we all use those!

I think we need to read a little more. More books, and maybe bring back those things they used to call: “Magazines” you know, those paper like things people used to carry? Because at the end of the day you know, we will lose all our creativity due to our lazy reliance on the computer, being how it is what it is.


Saturday, October 10, 2009


The Scrabble battle did not end in one night. A vengeful DelBloggolo was determined to regain his and his High School’s honor!

The next night the battle lines were drawn. I was taking a deep measure of TLW (The Little Woman), scoring big words and equally big points. The insults were etched deeply in my mind, the offender sat across from me, and she was on the run! Desperately she contemplated each move, wiggling and squirming as she did. I had her on the run! No longer were the tiles going down so quickly, with so much deliberate purpose, to embed upon me a sense of doom. Instead, I was doing the mental torture, playing with her head. The echoes of her pronouncements about where she went to high school bounced in my mind.

We were reaching down to the final tiles! I had a seven-letter word that spelled: doom for TLW. Leading by 30 points, This would give me 14 going out with all seven letters!

I triumphantly put down my seven tiles. I had nailed the game.

Or had I?

After much thinking, TLW lays down a 10 point ‘Z’ over a triple word score, and finishes the word with ‘ed’. 32 points! Enough to overtake my lead!

Once again, I hear the strains of my doom.

“You are going to want to go to the dictionary on this.”

She places down her three stupid tiles.


“It means the last letter of the alphabet.”

“Who’s alphabet, AND WHO THE HELL SAYS: ZED?”

Off we go to the dictionary.

Once again, she pulls the fat out of the fire! However, there was one little technicality! I get 50 points plus, for going out with all seven tiles!


Bellport High School is avenged!

Don't mess with a Bellport boy, sister!

Friday, October 09, 2009


It was dubbed the “Second Honeymoon”. And of course, like any old married couple, without children or dog around we did what you’d expect, we played Scrabble.

The tiles were all arranged perfectly on my tile holder, I had a word, ‘at’ all lined up. TLW (The Little Woman) went first.

TLW: “This is going to make you challenge me, but I think this is really a word.”

Me: “Really!”

TLW spells out the word with her tiles, slowly placing each one with deliberation and slow methodical movements, while watching me out of the corners of her eyes.


TLW: “Frond!”

Me: “What?!”

TLW: “Frond” I think it means something to do with big or feathery.

Me: “You don’t mean Flume, do you?”

TLW: “I’d say we check it on the dictionary in the laptop.

Off we both go, TLW leading the way. We call up the dictionary on the laptop and sure enough:
“Origin: 1745–55; < L frond- (s. of frōns) branch, bough, foliage
–noun Botany.
1. an often large, finely divided leaf, esp. as applied to the ferns and certain palms.
2. a leaf like expansion not differentiated into stem and foliage, as in lichens.”

Smugly with the emphasis on the ‘ugly’ of smugly, she says: “I read a lot, and after all: I DID graduate Seton Hall!”

But does she leave it at that? Noooooo.

A little later: V-I-S

Me: What the hell is a “vis???”

TLW: “Oh, you know, “vis-à-vis.”

Me: (Under my breath) Oh Yeah, vis-a-vis this.

TLW: “Let’s go to the dictionary. I’m almost sure it is a word.”

“Vis; Croatian island in the Adriatic Sea, the outermost major island of the Dalmatian archipelago. Its highest point is Mount Hum, at 1,926 feet (587 m). Its climate and vegetation are Mediterranean and subtropical, with palms, Mediterranean pines, citrus, eucalyptus, cacti, and early vegetables. Fishing and canning are economically important. Wine making is also important, and Vis has a long history of fine wines.”

And I’m having a long history of feeling like a red haired mule: beaten. I'm surprised there are no "Fronds" in the description!

Tomorrow: Some chickens come home to roost.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


The announcement was made.

“We are having dinner with Doug and his wife. The place we are going to is an upscale Italian restaurant, but you have to bring your own wine.”

The “we” of course is TLW and me. Doug is a co-worker of TLW’s who works at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company.

“What kind of wine should we bring?” asks TLW. "I think Corrine is a connoisseur of wines.”

Me: “Oh! Well I really think it depends on the menu, what you order. Red meats, red, fish: white or blush or as they say: ’rose’! Do you know what you are going to eat?”

“No, but I like a red!”

Me: “Well, get a red. But get something that is a little classier than Al’s Wine for $2.50 a gallon. Get a decent bottle with a cork.”

“Why don’t you get the wine?”

“O.K., I’ll get the wine.”

I go to the liquor store and scan the many bottles of red wine. There is Spanish, Australian, South American and German. Not being a big wine drinker, I see some tantalizing bottles for $3, but buy a nicely bottled, Italian wine. (No self-respecting Italian would buy anything else.) That would fit nicely on the table. I purchase it, $40 worth of decency, and step out of the store and feel self-conscious because I feel like a wino, an old guy carrying around a bottle of wine, dressed with a t-shirt, jeans, and a baseball cap!

The morning of the dinner date, we discuss the wine.

Me: “So, Corrine is a wine connoisseur! I better get a dress shirt for the dinner then, if I’m drinking with a connoisseur, I better dress like it.”

TLW: “Oh, I don’t know if she is, it just seems like it.”

To think, I passed up Al’s Wine, on sale for 2 gallons for $4.00! It seems last Tuesday was a bumper crop for grapes.

P.S. Corrine didn't need to be a connoissur, she is a beautiful gal with a smile longer than any vineyard! Doug, made a great partner to compliment each other and made for a great dinner party!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


I’ll be among them. Until they discover who I am, of course!

Last night TLW (The Little Woman) and I sat down to watch TV (We find it convenient to sit), and she said that there was nothing on. Throughout my career, I was paid well for my ideas, so I gave her one.

“How about we put on the MAD MEN episode we recorded?

Setting up the show, we leaned back to enjoy it. Well, I did, she just leaned back and started to drift off! Watching TLW after dinner is like watching grass grow, you don’t see it immediately, but if you look long enough, it gets taller! TLW drifts off too sleep. But you all know that. Being how TLW had the remote control, it is her job to fast-forward the commercials. After the first commercials ran, you guessed it (didn’t you?) she fell asleep! You must be thinking: “That’s impossible, not TLW! Maybe you, you old meatball, but not TLW!”

Yes, A-S-L-E-E-P! Out cold, lights out, diminished orders, light questioning, but asleep. She can still do all those things in her sleep, just not as much!

So, I started to sit through the commercials, as she slept them off, along with the show. Being a good husband that I am, and loving too, I let her sleep, you know the old saying: “Let sleeping wives sleep.” Finally, the show ended, and the TV started to ask me questions in her place. “What do you want to do with this episode?”

It was time to do either of two things” 1) take the remote, or B) wake her and risk my life. Being a husband, I choose too risk my life once again. (The remote is not considered a sharp instrument),

“Toots, Toots!
Her: “Uuuhycgyad!” Looking surprised and confused. That usually happens only when I say something intelligent.
“Toots, ya gota fix the TV!
Her: “Uh, oh” Stares at the TV, goes to fix it, and falls asleep. That’s A-S-L-E-E-P!

I went to bed: I think she is still down there A-S-L-E-E-P!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I’m sorry, but I need to make a comment or two about things in general.

The other day, as I was leaving a supermarket, there is a lady that works behind the counter. She is in her late 60’s, and her hair is dyed blonde.


No women in her late 60’s or older should try to fool me by that much. She looked very unnatural in her coloring. She was obviously a brunet, who turned grey, then blonde. I doubt that it was a natural occurrence. Her skin coloring and features just made her odd.

My Mother did just that. She is fair in complexion, but her hair was black. As she got older, on went the blonde look, and I had a hard time talking to her as my mother, more like a stranger, as my mind drifted toward who I remember, not the look in front of me. In both cases, I wondered if the two ladies mentioned were looking for boyfriends! Dad was alive at the time, and would not dare suggest she do that. (Don’t go telling her I said this.)

There are black and Hispanic women who dye their hair blond, and I can’t help but tell myself: “That looks silly!” I think women can dye their hair, just die it to your natural color. You will still look beautiful, ladies, and natural.

Then as I stroll through my neighborhood, I notice a lot of homes that renovate and change their windows. Particularly ranch homes seem to opt for a window that was designed for a different kind of structure. The windows are too big or wide for the architect’s original design, so it looks out of place. Sometimes I see covered entryways to the front door, again something that should be for a large home, is out of place.

I think both women and architecture are beautiful in and of themselves, neither of which should be tampered with.

Monday, October 05, 2009


The beauty of the Class of ‘64 is that it remained not only beautiful, but got better looking as the meeting wore on! Yes, as you can see, they are all gorgeous, and here is the kicker: You ready? THEY ARE ALL OVER THIRTY!

With the exception of myself, a great looking crowd, no? And you know they are smart, after all, they ARE Bellport High School graduates. You should have seen the gal that took the picture: I had to go home with her; she was SO Sexy! (TLW)

We discussed a number of concerns I had, and the suggestions came fast and furious, mixed with a lot of laughter, the meeting lasted for three hours, and a lot was accomplished. If you ever head a committee of any kind, these are the types of people you want on that committee; bright, experienced, take-charge types, that don’t need prodding to get something done. I think our faculty would be proud of us today!

There are a number of us, that I like to think are on the committee, that were not present, who have already done a lot of research in finding people, people who are either ill or live too far to attend.

So thanks to you guys, class of ’64, for all you have done, and will do, to make our reunion a reality!

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Michael Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch $71.8 Million
James W. Stewart, BJ Services Company $34.6 Million
Brian Roberts, Comcast Corp. $40.8 Million
John Faraci, International Paper $38.2 Million
Eugene Isenberg, Nabors Industries $79.3 Million

All are leaders in the business world! Those numbers after the companies they lead are their total compensation packages! That’s not all that makes them interesting. Each to a man, is leading his company down the toilet!

You still wonder how we got into this economic mess?

Politics has a lot to do with it, but not all of the mess is political. There are other pressures exerted by lobbyist and special interest, which cloak and support the failure of big businesses, while tying the hands of the small mom and pop operations.

Incredibly stupid tax laws, and obscene regulations by state and local governments add to the burden. I know there is a concept that we should tax the rich, but I wonder what that really does. The rich find the loopholes; the poor find the burdens, when the rich are taxed. If we were to give, tax breaks to businesses that invest the money they make into health plans, salary increases and reinvestment, that should be incentive, not punitive. How about those companies investing in the superstructures of this country? Pay for roads and education, lift the burden of taxes on the middle class, have the guts to pay their workers decent wages, and make this country better for all of us!

We have an issue with race, yet the profit makers don’t address getting into the communities and bringing people together. A lot of the race issue stems from not only bigotry, but: economic hardships, get big business to close that gap! You would be surprised how fast bigotry goes away when we all eat and prosper.

Those five individuals at the top: are no more successful than you or I would be, running those companies, if they are failing. Instead of removing them for their poor performances, they are highly compensated! Amazing!

Not to say that big business is the cause of all the problems in this country, and I don’t wish to politicize the issues, just point out the thinking out of the box that a profit can make, when used profitably for mankind.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


It came and went! The summer of ’09: was the shortest in terms of heat, or the longest spring of ’09. One way or another, where were the crazy, hazy days of summer?

What was it Mark Twain said?
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

Now he could claim New York, too!

I spent hundreds of dollars on my pool, and I had a crew come and open, then close it. Chemicals are stockpiled in my shed and garage, I spent the whole summer trying to eradicate the green fungus that seemed to stay all summer! I spent two whole days in the pool: that was it!

Time to sell the old place and move on to a quiet 2-bedroom condo. No more maintenance or upkeep, no more pools, and just a central air-conditioned place to live. Give me the comforts of leisure, and someone else work.

Mind you, I mentioned often how I hate the heat and humidity of summer, how I dread it coming. But even I need a little summer. Is the summer of ’09 an aberration? Did we screw up the universe somehow?

My Mother-in-law, used to think that since man landed on the moon, the whole Earth system is screwed up! I used to laugh at that notion, but maybe I should pause a little to think about it.

Friday, October 02, 2009


The other night, I sat with TLW (The Little Woman) at the dinner table. We were discussing the upcoming Class of ’64 graduating class of dear old Bellport High
School. I mentioned that I invited the committee to our home to further discuss plans for the event next Memorial Day weekend.

As the discussion wore on, I invited TLW to join in the meeting, since I value what she brings to discussions and plans. Graciously accepting, she did hint about a worry she had, that she would be drawn into doing some of the legwork. After all, she mentioned that she was a graduate of another school. I assured her it is only to pick her brain, since she would have good ideas and a calming influence on my enthusiasm.

Suddenly, I was sitting with a female Don Rickles, as she busted my chops, giving me the business about her school versus mine! Responding was impossible, since I was laughing so hard. She mentioned having to take a test to gain entrance into her school, while mine was public, that apparently I wasn’t smart enough because I would have to pass a test to go to her school. There were other zingers, which had me on the floor.

After she went back into serious mode, I realized how far TLW has come since she went back to work. She works with the general public now, has been for over ten years, and enjoys it. It also gave her a lot of self-confidence! At my expense!

It seems now that where I used to dominate conversations, or was told to relate some funny incident, she now does. To think: she was once quiet, shy and reserved!

Thursday, October 01, 2009


As I sat behind the signup table in the back of the church in the vestibule, I was prepared to do my duty for God and my fellow man. I was selling raffle tickets and tickets to the Italian dance, the job was “simple” as they told me, and I quote:


This was all said while a father was trying to calm down a screaming brat, the choir was being piped into the vestibule overhead, and a lady was asking ME, where she could change her baby for a baptism and what time it was.

After selling a few tickets and raffle books, I got the hang of it. The people were coming fast and furious, shoving money in my face while I was trying to do someone else’s raffle book or dance ticket.

Suddenly, a young lady and four people who suffered from Down’s syndrome entered the building. They disappeared into the church, and I went on selling tickets.

About ten minutes into the service, one of the people, a young woman who had Down’s syndrome came out from the church, and over to my table. Looking intently at the prizes on the table, she then read the signs about the raffle. Taking out one of the raffle books, she proceeded to fill out the slips, and then decided to deposit the whole book, stubs and all, into one of the prize packaging we were offering for the raffle. We just watched, and when she was done, thanked us and went back into the church.

Everyone sat stunned, as a silence seemed to punctuate the whole affair.

As my partner sitting next to me said: “What can you do?”