Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have been waging a fearsome, pitched battle with anorexia, trying to overcome it. It is indeed a lonely battle that requires discipline and perseverance. I am no shrinking violet, and will battle it to the death! I mean, who wants a skinny, undernourished DelBloggolo. Besides, a fat head on a skinny body is weird!

Over the years, people know me as a picky eater. I pick everything. I don’t like to brag, but I’ve been on more diets than pounds lost! I am also a very light eater, nothing dark! I subscribe to the theory of the glass: half filled or half empty (Half Jack Daniels, half no Jack Daniels). Something like that describes my dietary philosophy. Half skinny or half fat: Anorexia vs. Obesity, that is the question.

Here is the answer: Mi fame!

That is my motto: it comes on my family crest, which hangs in the Il Del Bloggolo Istituto, somewhere in Naples!

My family has a motto as a whole, “chiuso, i cercare di mangiare qui!” (Shut up, I’m trying to eat over here!)

Jokes are made about Italians when they talk with their hands. The reason that happens is a very old tradition, dating back to before the Romans and Zio Julius Caesar! Legend goes, and holds true, that Italian food is so good, the Italians are always eating: thus with their mouths full, they learned to speak with their hands. It’s where the deaf people learned it.

Italians speak very loud: you know it when they are shouting. How are they shouting you ask? Their hands are over their heads! “Hey! Lower your voice!” (They lower their hands!)

Don’t thank me for this, it is a pleasure to relay all this vital information.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I went to the Apple Store in the mall where I purchased my new computer to find a 6 - 9 pin prong plug. As I left the store, I decided to return to the store and inquire about Apple printers. My old printer will not be recognized on the new “Snow Leopard system’.

Turning around, I march back to the store and find the young salesman again and ask.

“Well, we don’t have any printers on display, but we can go on the internet.”

We look, and I inquire as to price. He then asks me: “When did you purchase your computer?”


“This week?”


Did anyone tell you about the printer rebate?”

“The what?”

“The printer rebate. We are giving for a two-week period after purchase of the computer a printer rebate. You get a new printer.”

“For free, as in nothing?”

“Yes, do you have the card you purchased the computer on or the receipt?”

I show him the card.

“Stay right here, I’ll have someone get it for you.”

I pay cash for it, but get a rebate back inside of 30 days!

It paid to go back!

Friday, January 29, 2010


An Individual I know owed me $10, and during the course of a JETS game party, that individual wanted to get into the box game and needed $5. Turning to me the individual asked if I had $5 I could lend. I said that all I had was a $20 bill.

Taking the $20, the individual went canvassing the other members of the party, the individual found $15 change and proceeded to settle debts with me.

“Here is the $10 I owed you, and here is the $5 I borrowed, we are now even!


My wallet somehow felt uneven.

Me: “Wait a minute!”

The Individual: What’s to wait about? I borrowed $10, gave you the ten, and also included the $5 for the box game! We are even!”

Somehow it was making sense, but somehow I still felt a little short!

“You mean we are all squared away?”

“Yes, that was easy, no?”

The moral of the story boys and girls is: Don’t do business with TLW (The Little Woman)!

Thursday, January 28, 2010


This time of the year is a sad culmination of the holidays for me. A time from after Thanksgiving until the 28th of January, that I must say is the hardest, cruelest, most painful time of the year in my life.

29 years ago, I buried my son. I read those last words, and I think I am reading about someone else! But no, a stark realization overcomes me that it is me who I write about.

They say time heals, that the memories fade and it gets easier. I have to wonder about that, since I remember it all, vividly. I don’t wish to burden you as a reader, but to remind you that we all have pain. It is a real part of life, just like joy is, just like a smile on a child’s face is happiness for both the smiled and the observer.

Today I will visit his grave, and then I will sit in his garden, a garden that I built with my bare hands, to always remember him by. I needed to do that for him, just him, only him. The garden is lifeless today: it is winter. But in the spring it will come alive, the tears will dry up, and all the good memories of him will come alive.

I’m lucky in a way. I have a wonderful wife that shares that pain, we feel for each other, but we will go on and laugh and tease, dance and sing like anyone else. Be careful, I like to play tricks on people, make them laugh, and so I hope you can make me laugh.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I received an email from my niece Laurie O’Hara, a special gal in so many ways. I thought I’d share what she has to say with you, because it affects us all in a way. It is her fight to help her dad fight cancer.

Her Dad, John, is a great Dad, a great guy, and also a great brother-in-law. He is an excellent role model for sons-in-law.

John, like everyone else, doesn’t deserve to have cancer, and I pray for him everyday. I also pray for his family, my sister his wife, their three children, Laurie, John and Jennifer. They are wonderful grandparents, and great with their son-in-law Gerard, a class act if there ever was one. The family is very special to me, and they are rallying around John and giving him great support.

Laurie is participating in a relay in June to help her dad fight.

I would like to quote Laurie:
“It was a year ago that my Dad started suffering from a cough that he could not get rid of. After many doctors’ appointments and many tests he was diagnosed with lung cancer. My family was devastated by the news. Since his diagnosis my Dad has been going for chemo treatments once every three weeks. Due to the type of cancer he has surgery and radiation are not an option for treatment. We are grateful that the Chemo has kept the cancer from spreading so far and it has not prevented him from changing his lifestyle to much, although the treatments are beginning to take a toll on my Dad and he is becoming more and more tired with each treatment.

We are grateful that the treatments have kept the cancer from spreading and we are hopeful that the treatment will help him to be as active as possible. I am hoping that by walking and raising money for cancer, others will someday have a cure for this horrible disease. Thank you for your support and please keep my Dad in your prayers.”

Won’t you go to this page?
and donate to the American Cancer Society, and help to fight cancer? It may be your fight someday, too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Since I chair the Bellport High School Class of ’64, I think I shall single out one of the committee members for a special feat! That being her birthday today, and the fact that she is an amazing gal!

Pam is a very dignified lady who has shown a lot of class since I last saw her 45 years ago. In those 45 years, a lot of sorrow has taken hold of her life, yet she seems to exude charm and character, and not wear it on her sleeve. She lost a husband and a son, but she demonstrates that life does indeed go on. That life needs her, and she needs it. There is no “poor me” attitude from her, just a business like attitude that can catch you off guard when she says something funny.

We were an item in 4th grade. But they (The school system) shipped me out to a different schoolhouse in 5th grade, and we never really mixed again. Childhood romances are just that, childhood romances, sweet, innocent, and brief.

There are people in this world I admire, people like TLW (The Little Woman), family and friends, and Pam fits in that category. If anything comes from the class reunion, it will be the great sense of happiness I feel in the reconnection I have with my classmates. The committee alone is worth all the work.

So Pam, I can’t undo the grief, you have done it yourself in a way. I can’t express how sorry I am that 45 years has elapsed in our friendship, but your openness and honesty, your good cheer and great humor, helps heal that pain, and encourages me to reconnect with the whole group.

Thanks and Happy Birthday.

Monday, January 25, 2010


As I contemplated my next move, whether to leave the channel where it was, or change it (I wrestle a lot with that decision) the phone came alive. Caller ID said it was TLW (The Little Woman) calling.

Reaching for the phone, I gave it my ‘Helloooow” for sexy babes that I like to employ.

“Yes Dear?”
“You can call for the pizza now, but have it delivered. I’m running late because we had a lot of excitement at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company, so I don’t want to have to wait at the pizza place to pick it up.”
“Yes Dear.”

I figured, a bank robbery, with TLW single-handedly talking the robbers to death, thus saving the day and receiving a huge monetary reward. One so big I could call an architect in Hawaii to pick out a nice lot for a three-story home on the beach!

Arriving home, TLW was all excited, brimming with eagerness to tell me what had transpired at her place of employment. I happened to be in the midst of an ‘All In The Family’ show, and was really amused, so she was kind enough to hold off for the last five minutes of the program.

Finally the show ended, and she stiffened her back, on the edge of her seat, and related to me her ‘adventure’. It seems there was a Mr. Dumb Ass that has been forging postal money orders to the tune of $12,000 and was trying to do it again at the drive-in teller at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company! The teller was wise enough to see something was amiss, and stalled Mr. Dumb Ass then convinced him after a while to enter the bank. While being stalled, the good folks at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company called the police who arrived almost immediately.

For the next hour and a half, the police had the man seated while they called “downtown” for Colombo to arrive, where they would question Mr. Dumb Ass.

As they were leading Mr. Dumb Ass out of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company in handcuffs, TLW had to pass him. Mr. Dumb Ass, his eyes fixed straight ahead, somehow caused TLW to look away. SHE DIDN’T WANT TO EMBARRASS HIM!

Said I: “Toots, the dumb ass has already been embarrassed, you should have wished him a nice day!”

Sunday, January 24, 2010


It has to be her fault. She gives them all the advice, and they ask for it! Me, I tried to stay out of it. Since 1973 I tried, then I tried again in 1987 to no avail!

What am I talking about? #’S 1 and 2 sons. Let me explain, or as Ricky Ricardo used to say: “Let me ‘splain, Lucy”.

In order to do so, I have to go way back to when I proposed to TLW (The Little Woman). I thought: Here is a congenial, beautiful gal; I know she would make a wonderful mother for my children. Well, that is true, but…

One would think with all our old fashioned values, learned at great expense from the disciplinary measures applied to us as children that something would stick on our kids! No way Jose!

It seems a state of euphoria exists between the two of them.

I have a theory about why. #1 Son lives in California, away from me, and #2 Son, for the most part lives in Purchase, away from me. You see a trend here?

Finding these two pictures on the Internet: makes me think: are there any more out there? What else will I find?

Parents should take ownership when the kids go astray, off the deep end, or just dress funny. TLW, Take ownership.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Now that the high school reunion is in full throttle, on its way to becoming an event, I am starting to feel the effects of the long years gone by. I am saddened that I never kept up the contacts of these wonderful people that constituted my graduating class.

One of the reasons I feel this was is that many feel like they could be my sisters and brothers in a way. And like my sisters, their pain would have been my pain, and it would have been my time to comfort them as they may have comforted me.

Pain is sorrow with a caveat: that being the closeness one feels with others.

On the committee there is a friend that worked in the same field as me, and I could have helped that career go further. To that person I say: “I’m sorry.” Another person speaks with such emotion, that it is all heart felt and real. I love that in people, I understand best their hearts. One committee member I remember from my days in high school as always being kind, considerate and friendly, she comes to my house for a meeting, and she brings her kindness in the form of cookies! How did I ever discard that friendship? One travels from New Jersey, because she values friendship, old and renewed! She is a beautiful person who knows the real work of God. One is a retired schoolteacher, who sits and listens, the best lesson I ever learned. What else could I have learned from that? How much better off would I have been with knowing that person? One is a workhorse! Working unceasingly to bring in the names and addresses we need. When I was down over the years like we all were at one point or another, I wonder if I would not have been down so much, if that person had been there with a helping hand? Finally, there is one committee member who I can only say exudes grace and charm. Having suffered great sadness in her personal life, has demonstrated that life goes on. I let that person down, when I was needed most! Again I must say: “I’m sorry.”

I am looking forward to better days, now that we are all reconnecting. I think that it best spells out the fact that as humans, we do indeed need each other. I know I need friendships: I tend to get caught up in the everyday details of life, and loose sight of the fact that there are some truly wonderful people out there! Not only is there family, there is old jobs, college, TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) friends, the hood, just about everywhere I look!

I created a blogue for the reunion, and I think I will keep it going, long after the reunion!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Please forgive me, for I am giddy and happy.

Yes, it is like buying a new car! New, sleek, big, colorful, beautiful, and that is just the wireless mouse! It also comes with a wireless keyboard, and the thing is 27 inches of wide screen computer!

TLW (The Little Woman) climbs the stairs last evening to see the monster at work. As she entered the room, she said: “Now let me see all the bells and whistles!” It has a build in camera for shots and movies, and it is loud. You should see the filing system visuals! INCREDIBLE!

You wonder: “Who the heck needs 27” screens?”


After a month of no computer, I have 500 emails to sort, and the need to get a new printer since the hpdeskjet 990cse does not produce a driver for my operating system! Plus, not all the applications or programs work from the old Classic Mac System. But other than that: perfect!

But, I am happy to have the thing in my possession almost ready to run! It is such an important commodity, computers. A lot like a car or TV or for that matter, a mate! You can’t live with them, yet you can’t live without them!

Now here is the kicker, it speaks to me, and it listens to voice command. I just have to be careful not to say: Oh $&!#.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


The residue of the last night’s storm clouds hid the early afternoon sun overhead. Turning left into Main Street Patchogue, I followed the cars ahead of me in single file, looking for all the familiar landmarks. Suddenly, something was amiss! Something was terribly wrong! Where was Rollic Inc., the place I grew up in? Where was the factory that helped me pay for my college education, and fed us as a family?

There on a corner where it once stood, as majestic as an old European cathedral, or any column building in Washington D.C., was an empty space! The red walls and glass block single storied building, a symbol of stability and hard work, of help and agony on hot humid days, the edifice where I grew to appreciate poor people, and vowed never to be one, was gone forever. The building was a special landmark, one that said “Patchogue, NY”, as clearly as the Eiffel Tower says “Paris”.

To Dad, Rollic was a second home, and as his first home, he spoke and took care of it, lovingly. The family of workers was poor, Italian and Irish workers, mostly women who toiled the rows of sewing machines, their heads down, being fed by floor girls, piles of cut cloth that they transformed into colorful overalls or shirts for children.

For me, as a student working part-time, it was a physical challenge. Dad was the boss in the shipping department, and I had to make sure to work harder than anyone else there my age or any age for that matter. I was the boss’s son: no one would justifiably say I was slouching off!

The loading and unloading of 18-wheelers, up and down a long incline or ramp, especially on long hot and humid summer days, with no air-conditioning, a flat tar covered roof the only protection from the elements! Climbing the wooden skeleton shelving, nearly to the rooftop, picking orders and flinging them down into canvas wagons. You couldn’t complain to Dad, he wouldn’t hear it. It was paying my education, giving me money for my empty pockets, and guaranteeing my future.

The people I worked with, students like myself, and poor uneducated workers, with grammar and diction problems, women who could not afford to leisurely live their lives, worked hard hours, believing in only God and country, and often cursing both in their poverty. Dad was considered high paying, he owned an education beyond the eight grade, and so he was paid more, and given responsibilities. To everyone he was: “Tony”, the foreman, the boss, and ‘the’ guy that took care of the back where the big trucks came in and out of.

It is a shame that we can’t save a building like Rollic. It was built in the 1930’s and helped transform Patchogue into a hard working community of post depression generations as a prosperous and productive people.

I myself can’t believe it is gone. When I passed the place it once stood, I thought: “Dad, you are truly gone, now.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Some of the planners and thinkers in this world need to get in touch with #2 Son (Mike) in a hurry! So much time and energy, not to mention money will be expended by just listening to him.

Yesterday he sat down during the Jets football game and made his announcement: “Why don’t they green everything? Make it a law that we have to green everything!”

Me: “What do you mean, like painting the town red?”
#2: “Heh heh, no, you know make everything environmentally speaking, greened.”

I often wonder who “they” is, and since there was only he and I in the room, the “they” he speaks of is a mystery. My bigger question is: When “they” is done, who (or is that whom?) will pay for it all? I’ve notice this trend going on for a while, where he and the politicians spend my money, on their ideas, and I just watch it get spent.

Why don’t they come up with some ingenious ideas that don’t cost me money? Oh, I don’t know, maybe something like cutting expenses, maybe their salaries, or as ‘real’ public servants, do it for nothing! One may wonder: “How would they eat if they do things for nothing?” Good question, but I assure you they would still be doing better than me without a salary! Let’s face it, they raise a campaign fund, use it and what is left is usually used for defending themselves in a court of law. Usually, a court of law is where if I may quote them: “I am looking forward to my day in court, where I will be fully exonerated!” That last sentence comes from Politician Etiquette 101.

#2 Son has a bright future. His ideas are well meaning, and someday will be very practical. (He is a smart kid!) As for all the politicians, they future is usually clouded, and most probably don’t want us to know what they did to get where they are, until their day in court.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Grandma Frances would have her birthday every January, but died in 1991 at the age of 97! If she had taken better care of herself, she would be alive today. But no, she insisted on eating red meats, spicy cheeses and hard salami, wine and often got emotional. At least she didn’t smoke.

She was a nutritionist’s nightmare, a living testimony to bad habits.

Once, while a very impressionable young teenager, Dad and I went into Brooklyn to have his taxes made out by a friend of the family. It was a Saturday afternoon, in probably early spring, and he decided to visit “Grandma”, as we called her. Arriving on Fulton Street, we parked the car and almost under the shadows of the el, stepping over the grating for the IND line that ran under the street, the noise said: ‘Grandma’. By then there was the deterioration of the old neighborhood occurring, so in some ways it was a sad visit.

Grandma was all excited to see us, and made us stay for dinner, even though she had eaten! Racing down her long hallway that ran adjacent to the railroad flat rooms on the bottom floor of the building, she threw a steak or two in a wire holder, dropping it over an open flame on a gas stove in her basement, or cellar as we called it. The smell from the meat cooking was overpowering my ability to reason, let alone my ability to speak, as my saliver was activated at an uncontrollable pitch, as I sprayed instead of said! When she returned, she took out a crusty loaf of Italian bread, some hard salami and a hard cheese with a glass of wine, to try to control my salivation problems.

In the time it takes to say salad, she had the wine (homemade) the bread, cheese and salami along with the best salad ever made, from the homemade wine vinegar. A tasty vinegar that always made a simple salad a treat!

Grandma knew how to live, and was very generous.

Today, TLW (The Little Woman) strives to cook healthy, as we all do. That is, no fats or bad stuff according to today’s nutritionists. I myself cook from a Weight Watcher’s cookbook. I have been watching what I eat all these years and only suffer from: high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. I’ve only had one heart by-pass operation, so I guess all that dieting and watching is working!

Who knows, maybe I’ll live to next Tuesday! (If I watch it)

Monday, January 18, 2010


And still no computer!

Between the holidays, the fact that it is an Apple computer, and the news that it took the hackers a week to diagnose the problem, send it out to California, wait another seven business days for the part, get the part and find out it was the wrong one, reorder it, and have Apple send it overnight, but it gets shipped by land, another seven days, and now the problem of it over-heating, I am ready to kill!

My biggest worry is the computer is an old system, with no Intel in it like the newer Apples, means that if I need to buy a new one, I need new programs also. The newer Intel versions don’t read the old programs. This is another way for Apple to make money.

I also have folders for; old novel, new novel, a book I am designing for the NY College of Podiatric Medicine, my class reunion, AHRC work, DelBloggolo, Ellen’s Way Blog and fundraising for the church committees, all the files may have to be recreated!

No good deed goes unpunished.

I have had some sleepless nights worrying about the whole thing. Come hell or high water, I will get things done, be sure of that. My mood is quickly becoming sour, and my disposition slightly unsweetened!

I guess I have to be patient. I call the hackers, and they say they need to do it right: they don’t want to release and it not work. It makes sense; I’ve gone this far, so if I pull it, I will probably have to wait even longer.

God! Maybe in the next life, I’ll become a computer wizard.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Years ago, when Mom and Dad had conversations, they generally centered around his or her family, us kids or maybe once in a while about the house, or even the car or Dad’s job. Sometimes Mom or Dad would divulge some little story about their past as a child or young adult. I would always lean forward to listen to a wonderful, and sometimes: funny story, since I am a historian by nature. The stories were always fascinating!

TLW (The Little Woman) and I seem to do the same thing, however, our scope is broader, our interest more diverse, and our conversations: unceasing. We enjoy talking to each other, and I find that it is really wonderful to have a mate that can relate to things in a worldly manner. Usually, her conversations are very interesting, her opinions very insightful, and her willingness to listen to me, a blessing in that she respects what I say.

I think it is a nice way to live, having a partner who goes beyond the daily routines of life, and can carry one to other worlds, and help each other see another point of view. I guess it is a lot like reading a book!

Lately she is taking a high road in her conversations when it comes to the involvements that I have going. She won’t comment on why I do something, rather on what I am doing while involved. I discuss an idea with her, and her head starts to generate ideas for me. She looks and sounds like the creative director at Wunderman, Ricotta and Kline Advertising! Because of her I have started my high school reunion, because of her I get involved in the church, and because of her and my daughter, I get involved in the agency board. She never takes any credit for what I do, yet she is the reason behind it in a way,

I remember when we were dating, I came up with an idea for my company, that the boss had patented and it was listed with the Library of Congress. We would see each other every morning on the train and she would listen to my progress with the idea. Even then, she was supportive, and always gave me level headed responses, honest and helpful.

Today, after another conversation, this on banks and the economy, I walked away feeling like I had gone to the library! It made me feel good to know we have something to talk about of interest every day. Be it the economy, state of world affairs, or the sorry state of the teams I root for, TLW is on top of it!

Good for me!

Saturday, January 16, 2010



The other morning I was driving to an appointment, when I came to a light on this rolling, restricted, meandering road, where you can’t or shouldn’t do more than 30 mph. Being a good scout, I stopped and waited for the light to change.

The turned from red (Stop or you get a ticket) to green (I’m outta here!)

As I pressed my triple E shoe on the pedal, a sudden grey flash went by me on my left! The car had violated all the traffic rules of the road. Rolling into the northbound lane while heading south, it also went over the zebra stripes the fan out to make a left hand turn. Bypassing me and a long line of cars behind me, I though: “That crazy SOB”, actually is was more like “YOU CRAZY &*%^&% SOB!”

I, am a man of few words!

I thought to myself, “that crazy Bast@%) could have killed me!” And where would you guys be wondering: What ever happened to what’s his face?”

Well the idiot didn’t get far, and was stuck behind traffic that was waiting to turn right at another light at a major intersection. Being how I was going straight, I pulled up next to the traffic rogue.

It was a little old lady! Intoning with both her mouth and hands to hurry it up! The old girl must have had a real need to put her life in jeopardy!

Friday, January 15, 2010


Every year, without fail, TLW (The Little Woman) has to be reminded. As she reads this (if she does) she is wondering about what?

Today is the day we got engaged, way back in 1971!

A rose is a rose is a rose.

She was beautiful then, and still is! Back in those days, we cared a lot about appearance, these days: we are stuck with each other! I’m happy to be stuck, and I’ve been stuck on her since I met her.

That day was such a special day, when she got on the train not expecting me to give her the ring. She wore a maroon pantsuit with her ruby birthstone, and reprimanded me for not telling her I was going to give her the ring! She then stood up and paraded up and down the aisle of the car, showing off the ring, accepting congratulations!

She was beautiful then, she is beautiful now.

When I look over, across the side table, watching her snore and dream away, her mouth open (It usually is), in her jami’s and robe, feet sticking out from under the blanket that drapes over her legs:

She is beautiful now as she was then.

Happy semi-anniversary, Toots, I still love you!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Being how I am a professionally retired person, it gives me license to be cranky, crotchety, and ornery. These are now the traits I admire in people!

While dressing this morning, I had the news on TV and there was a commercial coming up, and the TV newsman said: “After the break, a report about a really bad accident that occurred in Suffolk County.”

Last year I was sitting in an office discussing business with two partners. They were talking up a storm about what their services included, except the partner was yawning frequently. Afterward, I mentioned to the other guy that: I found his partner offensive, and said that if he was going to yawn, he should have stayed away. His partner responded: “Please excuse him, he is going through a really bad divorce.”

And then there is the time when I was speaking to a fellow board person, and she wanted to eat lunch soon, stating she was really hungry. I responded: “Really?”

What is it with all of us? We tend to abuse words in the worse way possible. We are all included in this, yours truly is no exception.


Can we have an insincere accident? We can have a good accident! A really bad divorce? I would think a divorce is enough, a bad divorce seems extreme, and a really bad divorce seems incredible! A really good divorce must be when the lawyer sends out his bill.

Really hungry? And I’ve seen and heard this used in advertising, suggests that you can be in different degrees of hunger, such as: really hungry as opposed to insincerely hungry.

Fortunately, I really don’t have all day to really write about this.


Boy, what a pain in the butt I am!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


As we entered the house Sunday morning, returning from our ritual of Mass and breakfast, TLW (The Little Woman) made an announcement: “I’m turning the heat up slightly, it is too cold outside.” Indeed the cold was overtaking our lives, and everything seemed to hinge on the cold outside.

Now at this point I have to ask: have you ever seen something in use for the first time and wished you had thought of it first?

Back to the conversation.

Me: “Well, there are things such as sweaters.”
TLW: “I don’t have a NOSE sweater!”

Yes, a light lit up in my head! I could envision TLW in a nose sweater! What a great idea. You’ve seen those blankets they sell on TV with the sleeves? Well, how about the blanket AND the TLW Nose Sweater?

I could get a little airtime on some obscure cable channel, like SNY and sell it.

For a limited time only! Just $19.95! THE TLW NOSE SWEATER! No more turning up the thermostat, no more breathing into you shirt to keep the old proboscis warm. The TLW Nose Sweater comes in blue, green and brown to match your eyes! It also comes in grey to match the inventor’s hair, what is left of it! Call NOW, and we will include free of charge a heating pad for your toes! But you must act now.

Well, I better start thinking about what I will do with all the money I will make selling the TLW Nose Sweater. Maybe I’ll use some of it to pay my way out of the suit SNY will have on me for the cost of the airtime.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


It was Christmas morning, as I sat in my recliner and watched my kids open their presents. It is the tradition of Christmas morning that the youngest opens their presents first, then up the pecking order until the oldest gets to open his.

This Christmas morning was no different, and now it was my turn to open my present from #2 Son, Mike.

“When I saw it, I thought of you right away, Dad!” exclaimed #2 son. It was to be a monument to my generosity? Maybe a tribute to my being so wise was being unwrapped by me? Perhaps a testimony to my kindness as a father lay under the wrapping paper.

As I dug through the paper, #1 Son Anthony and TLW (The Little Woman) watched closely, as I fumbled with the tape and paper offering from #2 Son.

It was about the size of a large hamburger patty, but its shape suggested something else! My curiosity was now holding me hostage, my hands trying to interpret the shape and meaning of the gift.

#2 Son once again repeated himself: “When I saw it, I thought of you right away, Dad!”
I was becoming excited, almost overjoyed by the thoughtfulness of a gift from #2 son.

Finally, I pried the paper wrapping loose, freeing the mysterious gift from its jacket of holiday cheer. There it was! Its odd shape fit nicely in my hand, and I must say: I was surprised by the originality and sentiment! “Good gosh!” I thought, “Is this what #2 Son thinks of me?” I was indeed humbled,

#2 Son had managed to combine my two favorite habits into one statement! A Sudoku Book shaped like the cover of a toilet seat!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Recently my best friend Phil called me with some bad news. He said that his lovely wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. It shook me up, so I know it really shook him up. His pain is my pain, we’ve been friends since 1965, and you do the math.

Linda went for some tests and they discovered her cancer was a little deeper than they originally thought. They hoped it wasn’t invasive, but discovered otherwise!

I called Linda the other day and spoke to her. She had just gotten back from the doctor, the report on her situation, and she said that she was about to call an oncologist and to start scheduling radiation treatment. I assured her, that I was there for her, as was TLW (The Little Woman). She sounded like her spirits were high, that she was, as she said: “Lucky so far” and that she felt that her luck would hold out.

Linda is a great mom, a great wife, and a great friend. She thinks of herself as a wife of Phil, my friend, when she is a friend of mine, too. Yes, she is humble. She has been very supportive of Phil, and I know she will continue to do so, in spite of her own troubles.

Why do women have to have this terrible thing? They are such noble creatures that bring nothing but beauty and good sense to this world. Yet, men mistreat them, and God gives them the burdens of childbirth and the ugliness of breast and cervix cancer! They sometimes raise their children with great sacrifice. They take second place to their husbands in some cases, and never complain. They work and worry from dawn to sunset, and go unappreciated sometimes. They are expected to be cheerful, yet bear the burdens of the family. Their children call for them when there is trouble, not their fathers, and they are always on the forefront, protecting their children fearlessly, if not ferociously.

If women ran the world, this would be a better place, without a doubt. I can make jokes about women, and let’s face it, all men do, but we all know in our hearts, we would miss them terribly if they ever left us.

Please pray for my friend Linda, and continue to pray for my brother-in-law, John, and all those that suffer from cancer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


In life, there are triggers that once they go off, automatically bring back a memory. For me, there is one particular trigger I love to pull. It is watching: ALL IN THE FAMILY!

The show was extremely popular and cutting edge in 1971. Everyone watched and everyone commented on it. It was a show that spoke volumes about America’s attitudes in regards to each other, the political scene and the whole world at large.

In 1971, TLW (The Little Woman) and I were married. Prior to our marriage she decided I needed to visit her family. Not just Mom and Pop, but all her aunts and uncles and any cousins that might be around.

One Saturday evening, in the early spring before the wedding, out we went for I think a St. Patrick’s get together for her family in Queens. It was Norman Lear’s set! Queens style duplexes, filled with in this case: Irishmen, gathered together to party. There was her Aunt Mary, and her Uncle Eddie, along with her aunt Connie and Uncle Mike, plus a whole slew of others I can’t remember. They sat on the set of what seemed to me to be the All In The Family studio, waiting for their cue to start the show! They dressed like Archie and Edith, and I felt like the “Meathead” (Hey, I heard that!) sitting amidst the clan of Irish working class people.

They greeted me kindly, probably wondering what TLW saw in me, and I just assumed a low profile. Grabbing a scotch and soda that was offered to me, I sat and observed.

If you ever sat with a truckload of Irishmen, you are lucky. They get that twinkle in their eyes and a lilt in their voices after a few drinks. But, they always smile, laugh and joke, and their eyes scan the room for concurring views.

This night, Uncle Eddie, who was a Jonathan Winters look alike in girth and height, had his accordion out, and was serenading Mary, his pretty wife. As he sung and played: ‘Mary’ tears were streaming down his face, love was in his heart, and the whole room of Irishmen was becoming melancholy. Maybe it was the scotch and soda, maybe it was the tears, or maybe just the music, but I left that night knowing I had a good thing about to happen to me!

My mother-in-law, Helen, was the real Edith Bunker. I think Norman Lear modeled Edith after Helen Manning. She was the sweetest lady I ever met. She always had a smile on her face, an opened heart, and a wonderful sense of honesty. She could get down to the level of a child and make him feel important, but she soared over many an adult I ever knew.

Dad, or Jim as he was known, never really erupted until he was in a party. There he would have his little whisky and start to make people laugh. He was a very serious person, a hard working Irishman who feared God and Helen, and maybe not in that order!

But every time I hear the music intro for All In The Family, I am taken back to a wonderful period in my life. I had a great gal for a bride, a great career before me, and would not change a moment in time from those days.

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Now that the holidays are over, I get a chance to complain about them. It seems to me we as a people are too self-centered in our views.

TLW (The Little Woman) came home one evening complaining about how some of the members of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company had issues with the establishment’s decorations for the holidays. Now, holiday’s means Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years. It does not mean Hanukkah only, it does not mean Christmas only, and it means both!

It seems that the members whine about where the Nativity is placed in juxtaposition to the Menorah, and the opposite. The wanna-be bankers try to accommodate the complainers, but that is a losing battle. It seems you can’t even put up a Nativity scene or a Menorah without offending someone! Since when did public space become solely a Christian or Jewish right? Why can’t a religion have a place in public to celebrate a beautiful thing like Hanukkah or Christmas? A period of love and joy should not be denied to people. If your religion needs to be showcased prominently, then you are losing the point of it all. Why can’t a Jew or Christian wish a fellow worshiper a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah? I could understand if it stood for murder or meant death to someone, but it is a good, sweet, honest wish of a season. CHRISTIANITY EVOLVED FROM JUDAISM! Jesus was a Jew! Why NOT cover ALL the bases?

Then I got an email from a neighbor of mine who chastised me for not using ‘Christmas’ in my wishes for the Holiday Season in an email I sent out! He then went on to boast how he complained to his bank, (The Wanna-be Bank and Truss Company) how the Nativity scene needed to be more prominent. Apparently, the Wanna-Be bank accommodated his wishes, and this made him happy.

If I sound cranky during the "Holiday Season” you can understand why, now. Come on people, isn’t there enough acrimony in this world without messing up the Holidays, too?

I responded to my neighbor, telling him that I sent the email out to all on this particular list, that some of the people were celebrating Hanukkah, and NOT Christmas!

I wonder if he would be offended if someone wished him a Happy Hanukkah? Does he not offend someone by making his Christmas wish a blanket one?

How self-centered and righteous are we all?

Happy Belated birthdays to: my lovely niece Sara, and my brother-in-law Dennis.

Friday, January 08, 2010


I have been operating for the past 4 weeks without my computer! I took it to a bunch of hacks about 4 weeks ago, at least it seems that long, and it still hasn’t been fixed! I’m told tomorrow or the next day, while up to a few days ago it was: “we’re waiting for the parts.”

My parts are wearing thin! Come on already, what’s taking so long?? I think the mistake is that I took it to a non-Apple shop, because I figured they would charge me an arm and a leg. I have a feeling this outfit will charge me even more!

Without the computer, I am reduced to watching TV, doing the little things around the house that annoy me, and talking to the dog. The dog is still angry with me for mentioning her in my blogue, a couple of days ago.

My whole life is on that computer, all the work I’m doing for different things, and I am falling behind! So what do I do in the meantime? I tried to do some artwork, but am uninspired to work. I can’t do anything with meaning, so I start a project and quickly abandon it.

The issue is that I have so many projects going on that the thought of starting an art project is not enticing since it is one more thing on my plate. One thing that is good from all this is: I created some really nice recipes while I have some down time. A great way to cook ordinary rice, a great topping for white fish that is even better when left over! Anyone interested: let me know.

You know that when you are bored, the temptation to eat becomes greater. That is the most dangerous of times for me. I start to look forward to eating, and I eat too much. I feel very bad that I’m using TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) computer in the interim, but I need to write my blogues. What would I do without TLW? Maybe put the recipes down and save them?

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Many times in the course of the last 36 years, I have often asked myself that question. What if? What if I was born a minute sooner, or a minute later, what would have changed in my life? What if I had become a teacher, or never had mumps that resulted in my deafness, what if I never took the train, and not met TLW (The Little Woman) one morning?

The biggest question I have that reoccurs in my mind is: What would have happened if my daughter were not born brain-damaged? How much more easier life would have been, What if my son Joseph had never gotten sick and died, how much happier life would be?

Of course if any of those things did not happen, you would not know me as you do. My life would be different, maybe more self-centered, maybe more angry, or maybe more giving and happier. There is an old saying: God closes one door and opens another. It’s true, it does happen that way. I sit on the board of directors and I do for a reason. My reason is to help others, not just Ellen, and it makes me feel better. It is a selfish reason in some respects, and I guess noble in others.

The loss of a child is a singular catastrophe, whether it is in death or disabilities. A child with a disability is a singular catastrophe: both are filled with anguish for a mother and father, both are painful.

But sometimes we can harness the pain into a force, a force that can change things for the better, even if it is a little bit. Sitting on that board, or on a committee, helping people with disabilities feel even a little better heals me. But it heals me because although the child may not realize what God has wrought, the parents do, and so I work.

It strikes me that ‘What if?’ is the hardest question to answer, but the easiest to respond to!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


I finished my newspaper, and started to plan my day. The first thing on the docket and the thing that TLW (The Little Woman) wanted done was the installation of a new hood for over the stove. Having purchased a new stainless steel stove, TLW didn’t like the perfectly good hood we had because it didn’t match. I suggested that she hold out her hands, and notice that they don’t match either, but it was no dice, put up a new hood.

I started by covering the stove, so not to damage anything during installation, got the new hood out and my tools. Once I take out my tools, TLW immediately gravitates toward the toolbox, always has, and always will. She likes to ‘help’, reading instructions, taking out her own tools (usually a butter knife) and telling me how to do it. We usually get into a discussion about how to do something that we both agree on, we just state it differently, so we can confuse each other!

I started to unscrew the first of four corner screws when the dog decided it was time to go out. I stopped, let her out and went back to the screwing. I was screwing around and TLW was approving of it! As started to re-screw when the dog barked, she was ready to come in. I stopped what I was doing and opened the door and gave her a treat. Back to screwing I went, this time on the rest of the screws and the removal of the hood. As I was in the middle of removing the hood, about halfway, I decided I needed to go to the bathroom. Stopping in mid removal, I retreated to my office and conducted business. Returning to the job, TLW was side by side with me, as we struggled to undo the old hood. Once we undid the mounting, TLW decided it was time for her to visit the office and she excused herself.

Once she returned, we undid the wiring and disconnected everything that needed disconnecting. It was at this time that the dog needed to go out again! Thoughts went through my mind of wiring the dog to the wall, turning on the electricity to check it out and perhaps, just perhaps get something done without having to give out treats.

TLW, in her element had the instruction book opened and decided to be the foreman on the job. Having read the instructions myself, she announced what I needed to do. Yes, the dog needed to come back in; the wiring was hanging outside the wall for the fan and lights, and looking very tempting. Instead I resisted and got another treat for the dog.

At this point in time, the new hood was put up on the stove so we could start to assemble and mount. Of course, like any project, the dog needed to go out, I had to go to into the garage for more tools, and TLW now needed to answer the phone. As we all returned, the dog had her treat, the phone was answered and I had my tool, we read some more of the instructions. Something about a blower wheel, a retaining ring and motor slots, all needed to be coordinated in one movement, while holding up the hood, letting the dog out, having to get a larger screw driver and listening to the instructions.

Once we rewired the hood, let the dog out and went to the bathroom, answered the phone, found the missing screws and heard some more instructions, and let the dog in, fed her a treat, and decided not to wire myself to the wall, we mounted the hood!

We were finally done! The dog disappeared, there were no more instructions to discuss, our bladders were empty and no one wanted to speak to us on the phone.

I guarantee you, if I had another project, the mutt would reappear, the phone would ring, we all would need the toilet and the instructions would once again need explaining.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The black and white ones, of course. They take me back in time to when I was a child, and even before I was born. My curiosity is such that I image what life was like in a tenement building at the turn of the 20th century. I even try to image what kind of response I would get if I could go back in history and tell some guy on the Great plains in the west, say in 1850, what science would do!

Watching an old movie gives me vignettes of time from my past. A simple thing like the face of an old clock tumbles me into history, living on Hull Street in Brooklyn! Suddenly, I see a young mom or dad, a pigtailed sister, a cooking grandmother. I hear the sounds of the subways and overhead els, right here in quiet Holbrook, NY!

One of my favorite shows is Mad Men, about the advertising business in the late 60’s and early 70’s in NYC, when I was a pup graphic designer. The flavor, the odor, the sense of being in the greatest city, high up over Manhattan brings back such great memories.

The black and white movies: in conjunction with the old black and white photos of the family and places I lived in, triggers those little vignettes I speak about. An old Hudson or Studebaker, with that distinctive smell cars had back then, ignite the senses and rekindle the dreams and hopes I had!

The sudden whiff of baked bread, the lazy drone of a propeller plane crossing the afternoon sky, the instant flash of an object not seen in 50 years all bring me back to life as I knew it. Sometimes I pass a schoolyard with a church, and I am in grammar school once more, waiting for the bell to ring as I march off to class, while playing, on a cold winter morning.

But music, that old unifier, that thing that really makes the world go round, that is the best thing to have when my mind in traveling in the past! The lyrics are reminders, recreating the feelings and attitudes of life back then.

It is funny and sometimes painful. Sometimes it saddens and sometimes it makes me wish for the old days, once more. I know they were much simpler times, filled with hope, yet contentment. We all dream, and we all dreamt back in the 40’s and 50’s. When the dreams turned to reality, we turned our backs on the dream and took for granted the reality. It is then that new dreams evolve, and newer ‘old days’!

Monday, January 04, 2010


I got a call from the Macaroni Man that his fiancĂ© Kim’s dad had passed away, suddenly!

Kim is a very sweet woman that makes my nephew happy, has a good sense of humor, and is a hard worker at a bank. On occasion she will visit us when the Macaroni Man is watching the game with me.

It got me to thinking about the demise of anyone, and how much we miss him or her once they are gone. We never say how much we are glad to see them when they are alive, but die just once, and you will never hear it. Probably the only thing that can sustain us in pain, sickness, poverty and any sadness is the words: “I love you.” Those words are short, quick to say words, which have a lot of strength in them. They are words of appreciation that seem to somehow have died. Why are they so hard to say? I am lucky, my sisters have used that phrase: “I love you” to me, and I use it to them. I don’t say it enough to my wife or sisters or Mom, or my children.

Sometimes saying words can be meaningless. Actions indeed speak louder. Just witness my wife, and you can understand. TLW (The Little Woman) is a silent lover. She loves by her actions and reinforces the love with more action. There are thoughtful things that she does, not necessarily loud or big or attention getting. But at the end of the day they leave an imprint as to where she has been!

One of the hardest things to do is visit the bereaved, yet in their sadness, they need to be consoled, need to be assured, and they need to assure us that it is OK to infringe on their time. How hard I find it to enter a home or funeral parlor to offer my condolences, the only thing I want is to remove their pain. But in situations like that, I feel inadequate in the ability to do so. I feel like an interloper, an infringement that has to be endured by the bereaved. Yet I have a heavy heart for those that greave.

The good news is that the sun shines in all its glory the next day! People will keep memories alive, and will go on with their lives, long afterwards. That is good, it is indeed time that heals, time will always go on, and so we go on too.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


TLW (The Little Woman) and me have certain tastes that define us. When It comes to
books she has a preference for girly love stories with some kind of mayhem, (I am worried about the notebook), and I like biographies, stories about sports figures and military heroes, politicians and people who make a difference in life. Our food choices are close, but our politics are not always on the same track. When it comes to TV, she again likes murder mysteries, with some kind of science behind it, like forensics or some other twist, while I like sports and occasionally a mystery. We both love movies, but I tend to go for the old ones, in black and white. TLW knows all the movie stars and motion pictures, and I don’t.

Recently I was in the kitchen ‘shopping’ in the refrigerator, when I heard a cry come out of the den. Being a really good husband, I immediately made a note to investigate after I closed the refrigerator door. Entering the den, there sat TLW, a frown on her face, as she informed me that: the channel that does the home refurbishing and decorating HGTV and the Food Network channel would no longer be televised by my cable company! A dispute was keeping the two from making nice. I immediately sat in my chair to allow it to sink in.

The thought that I would no longer see Tyler, and Paula, and Guy, not to mention Mario and Giada made me nuts. Not only that, but now, when there was “Nothing on”, as TLW says, she would direct her attention toward me, in the middle of a drive down field, or a hit and run situation. This indeed WAS a serious situation!

Me: “What are we going to do?”
TLW: “I don’t know about you, but I’m going to put on my pajamas and get comfortable.”
Me: “Is there anyplace we can get help?”
TLW: “Well, let’s see… we could go to the store and get two magazines, one on home repair and one on cooking.”

There was a pause in the rhyme and rhythm of the conversation. I finally broke the impasse.

“Who should go out?”

There was a pause, a long one. Then…

TLW: “Hand me the remote.”

With the remote in hand, TLW promptly feel asleep, the channels flying by me with her hand welded to the channel button.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


It was the last Sunday of the old 2009-year, as I sat in front of my TV. Surrounded by #1 Son, (Anthony), The Macaroni Man (Chris), his fiancĂ© Kim, and a new addition that evening, my God-son and Nephew, my older sister’s (much older) son: John.

We were all awaiting the Jets game to start, as they would take on the favorite Colt’s with their 14-0 record vs. the Jet’s 7-7 record. The predictions were pretty obvious ones from all in attendance.

Chris had declared the Jets losers, way back in August when he saw the schedule for the season, and continued his mantra up until game time. John was a Steelers fan: based on names from the 1970’s roster that he liked, and just to be a pain-in-the-ass, and #1 Son and myself were desensitized, dye-in-the-wool, Jets fans. We were used to bleeding and sobbing.

The game started and we waited to get crushed. We would bleed with our boots on, our plane was ready to dive once more into a ship, our pistols loaded with one last bullet for ourselves. TLW (The Little Woman), the only one smart enough not to root, had reserved rooms at the local hospital, and was stocked with plenty of first aid. Having been married to me for so many years, she knew, between the Jets and Mets, what she needed to do.

But something strange happened. Something so unexpected, that it left us all in a stunned silence! When the game was over, the had Jets won! (The last sentence was not a typo) God deemed it THAT I HAD SUFFERED! (At least until the playoffs) The Colts had done the unthinkable, taking out their starters, their stars and putting in scrubs for the duration, as they held a 6-point lead!

Of course dear readers, this is the truth, and here is another. Because God took pity on us JETS fans, we will probably be condemned for another 45 years without a Super Bowl! I will try to live that long!

Friday, January 01, 2010


First, let me wish all of you a Happy New Year! I hope 2010 is a particularly happy year for all. Maybe the economy will climb out of the tank, the USA will climb of Afghanistan, and I can climb out of bed more cheerfully this year!

I usually don’t make resolutions, or when I do make a resolution it is that I won’t make any! Confusing?

Today is dedicated to watching football, talking with TLW (The Little Woman) and making plans for the future months ahead. Last night was spent in the hood, celebrating New Year’s Eve at TLC’s (The Lovely Carole’s) home, where all the nabes gathered for the original amateur hour. More on this at a later date.

Today starts the first week of a new blog: ‘Ellen’s Way’

Ellen’s Way is not for everyone. Nothing is funny about it; it is a way to offer comfort and resources to parents, siblings and professional to inform, on the subject of developmental disabilities and related topics such as autism and all kinds of disorders. It is meant to be informative and helpful. People will help others learn about the issues they face in this unfortunate world. IT will relate anecdotes and experiences. This will not impact this blog, which will publish everyday I can do so.

So the New Year begins. First, make it a safe one for yourselves; don’t take any risks with your lives or those of your love ones. Remember that I love you all, and want you to continue reading, and please, let me hear from you once in a while.