Sunday, February 28, 2010


Why is it that people are becoming paranoid about the census? It seems that that tired old tradition of counting Americans is starting to meet resistance! Are we all doing something wrong, or is it the government?

Actually, I find the census taking a great tool for future historians as it was for me! Last year I went to the library and found a file on their computer for the 1919 census, which listed my grandparents, parents and aunts and uncles.

But why are Americans so resisting the idea of the census takers coming to their doors and answering questions?

Is it the fact that there are so many of us now home, because of unemployment? Maybe the government shouldn’t be asking them questions. Or how about those of us on the precipice of losing a job? Do they have something to say?

Let’s not forget the retired, they may have some questions themselves. One would be: “JUST WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU BASTARDS DOING TO MY 401K?

Maybe the poor would be more receptive to the census. As the census taker comes to the door he can flash his credentials in the face of some hungry, out-of-work father of four, and the poor guy can hit him up for a loan, after all, the census taker has a job!

Ten years ago, people answered their door and all the questions without reservation. But this time it is a little different. What with Homeland Security and the growth of the internet, the power of electronic tracking and GPS technology, people are more reluctant to give any more information than: name, rank and serial number, as they say. We now view the government as a potential adversary, and a potential witness against us in a court of law!

And should the government be asking more than who we are: how many of us live in the dwelling, and maybe our ages? This IS supposed to be a head count for the ability of the government to gauge our growth as a people.

So, when the man or woman shows you adequate ID, which is a badge that attests to their who they say they are, make sure you don’t answer more than you need to. And make sure you see their ID.

I love my country, and I know why. It is because I can insure myself against tyranny, we all can, and we can remove the bums anytime we want, seamlessly.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


The other night, TLW (The Little Woman) was telling me I had to go on the Internet, and send a file to my accountant. He had to get this file in order to finish up my taxes.

Slowly she repeated the address and slowly I repeated it back to her, one agonizing letter at a time, one dot at a time. It took so long: we could have driven it to the man a lot quicker.

Reading a newspaper in the old days I could read it in the dark, and was too lazy to get up and switch a light on, so I did read it in the dark. Today, I need a magnifying glass, three 5,000-watt bulbs, and my glasses to read the headlines, meanwhile complaining that people leave lights on in empty rooms. It was probably me, forgetting to shut them off!

Typing is another story. I need lights behind me, over me and next to me, the screen has to be set for a large image, and that doesn’t guarantee I will be able to read anything I typed.

Driving, I must have my bi-focal to drive and read the dashboard. If I wear my $400 pair of prescription sunglasses, without the bi-focal lens, I can’t read the dashboard, or see the GPS!

Ever forget why you went into the refrigerator while cooking. How about that room you entered for a reason? Remember why? Or that object you put in front of you, that you will be putting away, as soon as you enter the room on the other side of the wall, where once you get into it, you forget what it was you were suppose to do, then forget all about the object you were going to put away!

Ever introduce someone for the first time to people you know, only to draw a blank on their name, one you use every day?

#1 Son gave me a small pocket recorder that I carry around with me. Trouble is I’m sometimes afraid to use it in public, because people will think I crazy while I speak into it.

The TV becomes an issue too. I can’t lean back in my recliner because the screen becomes out of focus! I then have to switch to another pair of single lenses.

The type on the pill bottle for some of these over the counter products are written for people with exceptional eyesight. Those are the younger people. The people that need the product can’t read the darn type!

Finally, how many times have you forgotten the name of something you told yourself was easy to remember?

At least you are kind enough to remember DelBloggolo!


Friday, February 26, 2010


The whole day was spent thinking about it. I wondered a lot of things, mostly about how much of a fool I would make of myself. I was going into uncharted territory, and I knew suspicion and even resentment would be in the air. I wondered how I found myself in such a situation.

I knew I had better be good and concise about what I said, and that I needed to convince people. Would they believe me, or even listen? Being warned about a possible hostile reception was uppermost in my mind.

As I climbed the long high stairway to the building, the parking lot was filling up. Was this to witness an execution, or was it curiosity? I wondered.

The large room was quickly filling up. The chairs were scrapping across the floor and the noise was becoming unsettling. I looked around me and saw no real familiar faces, let alone friendly ones!

I took a place where I thought I should and waited. People were looking at me and I think wondering: “Is this the new guy? Is this what will take over, and give me orders?” It was a few minutes before 7:30 pm, and the time was ticking by on my wristwatch. I took comfort that I still had a minute or two yet before I would bolt from the room and hide under my car somewhere far away from where I was.

Finally I saw him, the man that put me in this situation, this untenable position. Quickly he strode into the room and stopped to talk to some people. When he entered, everyone seemed to quiet down look at him. He acknowledged me with a nod of his head, and the meeting came to order.

A long and flourishing introduction came from the priest, as he addressed the crowd, and left me wondering when he would introduce me to the Parish Fund Raising Committee. After that introduction, I really felt the pressure. Here was a group of people, mostly over 65 and seasoned pros in the business of their separate committees. Silently they sat, their arms folded over their chests, not moving, smiling or even blinking.

The cat was now out of the bag! I was the new chair of the parish fund raising committee. Thirty-five people would report to me!

Slowly the words started to leave me, uttered through my throat, as I searched for the words, ideas and concepts I would introduce. As I spoke not a muscle in their faces moved, only their eyes as they followed me.

After my opening remarks, a strange thing happened! They all came alive, reacting to what I had said in an animated manner, which belied my fears. I had successfully presented my case, and had won them over.

These very same people, who for years ran their committees, who disagreed with the past chairperson, so much so that the priest had to fire that individual, who had ownership, who felt: “No one is going to tell me what to do!” were now asking to meet more often, to meet and discuss what I had introduced. Not only that, they were asking my advice,and listening to me.

After the meeting, they all came over to me and introduced themselves while wishing me luck. Many commented on what I had said! All positive.

I guess it pays not to get too crazy about unknown expectations, and just ride it out and hope for the best.

Thursday, February 25, 2010



That is the current state of family affairs in my humble abode.

It seems a little bit of history was learned this past weekend, in a conversation with TLW (The little Woman).

On Sunday we brought home my daughter Ellen. It is the custom to have her home every other weekend for dinner. She is a very good dinner guests, eats everything with both a flourish and a relish, consuming copious amounts of her mother’s cooking, and not leaving the table until it is all gone!

Being how there are so few words she can speak, if makes me saddened that she can’t say “Daddy”, or “Da Da”, no matter how hard I try. TLW feels, as I do, that she can’t manipulate her tongue and mouth to do so, so she only says; “Mama” or “Mumma”.

So when Ellen needs my attention, she looks me in the eye and says: “Mumma”, and I say: “Noooo, say Da Da!” This makes her laugh and says continues to say “Mumma”.

“Well, don’t babies learn to say Momma when they just learn to speak?” said I.

“No, the first words out of a babies mouth is: Dada.”

“You mean the other kids said Dada before they said Momma!?”

“Yup, and it made me mad, here I was spending the whole day with them, changing their diapers, feeding and entertaining them, and the first words they say are for Daddy!”

Of course today, they do a complete 360 degrees turn, when they call. Furinstance:

#2 Son calling from college: “Where’s Mom?”

“She’s not here.”

“Where did she go?”

“I don’t know.”

“When will she be back?”

“She didn’t tell me.”

“This is important, tell her to call me.”

Here is where I get stupid.

“Can I help you?”

A long pause

“Hello, hello? You there Michael?”

Quit fooling around Dad, have Mom call me.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


That magical time of the year, when TLW (The Little Woman) gets it into her head to start another room renovation. This one is on me, since I’ve been wanting to renovate the room for a long time!

We are talking master bedroom, and new colors, new doors and new curtains chosen by TLW. What this really means is an endless series of discussions on what works with what. Does this go with this, and do you want this opposed to that.

It is here that I give TLW a lot of sway, as it should be. I can give artistic advice, when it comes to color, design and what not, but she makes the ultimate decisions.

I think she should make the walls match my skin color (grayish green) or my personality, a kind of grayish yellow, so I can blend into the room, and hide out there, while she is looking for things for me to do.

Every year at this time, I start another project and hope to get it done before the summer heat and humidity set in. This year should be easier. The bedroom will get some new woodwork, window treatments with quality wood sills and molding and some nice new closet doors. We may even argue for refinishing the floors and tossing the rug.

I figure we should, we are always open to freshness, and it is a kind of renewal to do those things. Renewal gives a fresh prospective to things to life in general. The only problem with these plans is will I have enough time? We go to California in April to visit #1 Son and Courtney, and I have a few projects in the mix that need doing.

Then there is the yard, which should be easier this year in that all the gardens are now in, just some new planting and some trimming and weeding out of stuff.

And so another year has come, just like last year, only now, and I still am trying to get over last year!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


TLW (The Little Woman) complains that I am a one-ring man. That is, I pick up the phone after the first ring. She is of the opinion that phones should be allowed to ring more than once. This opinion of hers is built on her experience at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company (TWBBTC).

Their motto at the WBBTC is: “Let’s annoy our members, let them wait, scare them that we will not pick-up, if we don’t feel like it.” This along with their loan approval division: gives them a sense of importance and power.

All banks and wanna-be banks, along with the Department of Motor Vehicles, libraries and any government office: either local, state or federal will teach you that you NEVER, under any circumstance, EVER answer the phone on the first ring. This is so the caller can feel the sense of hopelessness, the sense of dire need of the good graces of the receiver of the call. This allows the receiver to enlarge in importance and to exude power.

I have a phone right behind me on a credenza behind my desk, which is in a location for me to conveniently reach on the first ring to answer it. I had NO idea that answering a phone on the first ring is so sociably unacceptable, so void of professionalism, that the banks and government frown on it!

In a recent conversation with TLW, she mentioned someone had answered her phone on the first ring, “you know, like you do” as she stated. Feeling the inadequacy I immediately slinked into deep embarrassment, not knowing where to hide my face, and as a result, lost tract of the conversation, causing me to shake my head either “yes” or “no”, depending on how I felt the conversation should be reacted to.

I am currently looking for a school or institution for phone etiquette that will help me wean myself off this filthy, unprofessional and socially unbecoming behavior. I am willing to pay anything to rid myself of this social stigma, which is causing trauma and sadness for my family.

Alas, I am only human, some of us smoke, drink or are addicted to sex, me it is the first ring.

Monday, February 22, 2010


The stark realization that things are getting bad!

I went to drop off some stuff at a printer recently, and it was about 10:00 am, and I started feeling hungry. I realized I had a lunch meeting at 1:00 pm, so I decided to swing around my usual route to my home and stop to get my favorite coffee in the whole world.

Dunkin’ Donuts makes the best to coffee, in my opinion.

I entered the shop and headed up to the counter, and almost immediately, I notice something is out of whack, but I can’t put my finger on it. The gentleman behind the counter is a middle aged man, who is very attentive, and focused on me. Hey, this IS Dunkin Donuts, where the goods are great but the service can be a problem. I ask for a small coffee, no sugar, and the gentleman signals one of his helpers to the order.

I pay and as I’m leaving, I realize what was bothering me

The man behind the counter IS a white middle-aged individual, and his assistant was a white middle-aged female. Both of them dressed normally, both spoke perfect English, and both looked like they felt out of place!

Usually, I find one of two kinds of people behind the counters of Dunkin Donuts, Seven Elevens and what not: Pakistani’s, just back from a jihad, or teenagers, pierced through the lips, nose, ears and eyebrows. One, because I’m deaf as it is, can’t communicate to me because of a very thick accent, and one who can’t communicate with me because they are elsewhere! (Usually texting)

I came to realize, business for Dunkin Donuts may pick up somewhat because the service is getting better. Two displaced individuals in the work force are taking the jobs away from the usual work force! The middle-aged white people are now getting the menial jobs! The two people I saw in the donut shop had probably lost their white-collar jobs and were working somewhere to tied them over!

Just think, service with an understanding, Service with a focused person behind the counter. I was tempted to go to my local gas station to see where they were in this scene of life, but needed to get home to do some work.

I wonder what will happen in the spring, when my lawn man shows up with his crew? I usually greet the crew with a Que pasa? I wonder if they will understand me?

I’ll tell you this, when Dunkin Donuts goes back to its regular crew of teenagers and Whacky Pakis, things are getting better.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I was having lunch with an old buddy of mine recently, and we decided we would go to a Chinese restaurant. Bill my friend has a lot of dietary issues, one of which is garlic and onions. He can’t eat them! So, we go to one of those restaurants that have a buffet, and watch all the overweight people fill their plates until their wrists hurt from carrying them. I, too have hurtful wrists! There he can control better what he eats, avoiding the garlic and onion dishes, which is mostly soups and rice or noodles.Bill is also an IRS agent. He tells me stories of people who don’t pay their taxes, get letters from him then challenge him on the phone. He never loses. He thoroughly enjoys himself, and laughs at the lack of intelligence that is out there. He wields a lot of power from his desk.

One story he told me was about a man who disputed that he owed the IRS $75. Bill took his call, and the man was adamant and rude. But Bill, never losing his cool, said he would investigate the man’s claim. A week later Bill called the man back and said: “You’re right, we did make a mistake!” The man had triumph in his voice. “You mean I don’t owe the IRS $75!” “Yes”, said Bill, “We made an awful mistake, you owe $7,500!”

Anyway, being the taxman he is, he watched as I opened my fortune cookie, which had the little fortune for me to read aloud to Bill.

It read: “They will be grateful that you cared enough to make it.”

I looked at Bill and asked incredulously: “What the hell does that mean?”

“Joe,” he said without missing a beat, “They’re talking about your heirs.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010


By the time you read this, Tiger, or is that Cheetah Woods is coming out to talk. Just when we buried Michael Jackson and the never-ending news coverage of his death (they now cover his doctor, and next month his fish monger), Tiger decided to feed the frenzy.

There are people that I don’t know: who might have died on my block, maybe cheated on their wife or husband this week, and have not received media attention, for good reason. They have privacy, no one really cares, and/or it is none of our business. Why do we need the coverage of Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods or any celebrity that goes astray? I can see attention to politicians, we elect because we feel they are morally on high ground. Except for Ted Kennedy, they don’t get re-elected anyway, and that we should know.

But think about this: the children of those people are the ones that pay a high price for our insatiable need to titillate ourselves, and seek even more non-relevant news to our pathetic lives. The mates of these people are suffering the loss of a loved one, or the embarrassment of infidelity by their spouse, and we revel in their agony?

Now if someone does cheat who is a celebrity, I’m not saying don’t mention it. Don’t drown me in it! That is the message. If there is infidelity, again, isn’t the pain of that bad enough? Do we need to drag the poor wife or husband in the mud, and do so: prolonged?

How come no one asks about the people that perform miracles every day of the year, those that go into Haiti and help the poor people try to piece their poor lives together? Where is the coverage of the money sent to the poor, and the turnaround in their lives made by the contributions of the ordinary guys?

I really hope this Tiger Woods coverage is brief.

Friday, February 19, 2010

IT"S 3:00 AM

And I’m wide-awake! Why, because a lot is going through my mind. I’m starting to see real progress with my high school reunion, we having made some final decisions and the invitations are going to the printer later this morning.

I’m also writing a proposal for a college research group, and the ideas are coming together, so I need to make notes and plan it out.

Speaking of colleges, I am still working on designing a 100th Anniversary book for NYC college, and I must say, I am happy so far.

I just finished up a lot of work for my daughter’s agency, AHRC Suffolk, and feel relieved that that is out of the way.

I’m still trying to find the time for looking for a new publisher for my book, which has been on the back burner for a few months, and I am in the beginnings of a new book that I had to set aside. This is all because my old computer went down on me, and now I am racing to catch up!

Speaking of the high school reunion, I am preparing a Power Point presentation for the big day, and that takes a lot of time. I’m putting in a lot of effort for my classmates, but it is certainly worth all the work. They are a great bunch of people and I look forward to seeing them all.

My golf committee meets on March 1st, and I have to meet next week with the Fund Raising committee, where the priest will introduce me to the groups. I think I better layout a overview and say a few words of introduction.

Tonight I meet with the web master of the website for the church, to discuss how I can utilize it and make smooth announcements without causing problems for everyone.

So as you can see, I am busy, but loving it! Being retired is not so bad.

I still need to write a blogue on Ellen’s Way: which I do once a week. It is a special project that is devoted to developmental and physical disabilities.

So that is why I am up at 3:00 AM, because I’m nuts!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Now that #1 Son is engaged, I am reflecting more on my married life, and what has happened to me. For instance, the other morning, TLW (The Little Woman) was busily replacing the sheets on our bed. I noticed that it is, or can be a big job at our age, and decided to help her. She tossed me a pillowcase and watched me struggle to get this pillow covered. The pillow is very heavy, and is one of those therapeutic types that are supposed to be perfect for sleeping with. It runs about a couple hundred bucks, but I don’t like it.

TLW deftly slipped the pillow into the case, while yours truly struggled to get it done. Laughing at me (That is not nice!) she watched me struggle then rescued me from myself. Almost instantly, smugness aside: the pillow slipped into place, perfectly.

Of course I have to now spend the rest of the day realizing that she got it done and I didn’t. But I’m a man, and can cast these little disappointments aside: I just don’t talk to her.

I’m like that a lot! For instance, I can’t wrap a present. I am a trained designer, use to making prototypes of all kinds, with precision cutting, yet I can’t wrap a present. It looks like I had a catch for an hour with Yogi Berra with it!

I once tried to fold laundry like TLW. Forgeddaboutit! I couldn’t replicate her sharp creases, tight folds and neat piles. No, I had loosely folded clothing that look like it needed to be folded. It doesn’t stop there. There are countless instances where TLW does the mundane: I never ever paid attention to it!

So how is it that married men live longer? Their wives alleviate the frustration, is how we live longer. Without TLW, I would have at the least harmed myself, if not killed myself from frustration!

You look at her, you would think she needs help, yet she knifes through problems like they were soft butter! Me, the butter is frozen hard and it is slice bread I am buttering!

The help is good, but the strutting, oh the strutting!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


No, not my singing, but the recent snowstorm. TLW (The Little Woman) came home early from the Wanna-be Bank and Truss Company because she was scheduled to, so it worked out well for her.

Going out before she was due to arrive, I quickly cleared a path for her to pull in, and as I was about to put the shovel away, she is blowing her horn, telling me to get out of her way!

I sat down in my chair, had a cup of tea and realized that all my hard work would be for naught, since it was still snowing, and we were only halfway through the storm!

The next day, I go out to shovel, and the snow is packed, and heavy. I start to shovel and realize: I need my snow blower. Into the garage I go, pull it out (The snow blower) and start plowing through it all. I go about 20 feet, and realize the cord is tangled. I stop, untangle the cord and restart. SNOW DAZE: the thing has died! I’ve had it since the early ‘80’s I think, so I guess I can’t complain. I realize what I need is a teenager, you know, one of those kids that is alive and vibrant, not like me?

TLC (The Lovely Carol) next door comes over and we chat. She says she will send overt (What else?) her teenage son, MMB jr. (My Man Bill junior) to finish up for me. See boys and girls, there IS a GOD!

But my grief is not over. I go to clear off my car, pull out the windshield wipers to clear off the windshield, and part of the wiper blade rubber sticks to the windshield and tears from the rest of it! It’s off to US Auto for some blades.

Only about a week for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training, so I will hold on.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


During a cold spell at night, I was taking this very warm blanket that my Mom made for us many years ago. I treasure it, and use it carefully, because it is very warm, and she made it.

After using it for a week, I was having dinner with TLW (The Little Woman) who mentioned it to me.

“Boy, you’re like an old man now!”

“How’s that?”

“You are under all those blankets the last few nights!”

“It’s cold at night.”

“Yes, but you NEVER did that before.”

I thought about it, and felt maybe she was right. Why depress TLW, after all, we don’t want to remind each other that we are getting old.

The next night, I went back to sleeping the old way, without the extra blanket. I slept that way for a night or two, when I noticed the blanket missing! Looking around the bedroom one night, TLW was already in bed, when I see a strip of the blanket popping out of from under her side of the bed!


She snookered me! Challenged my manhood, AND stole my blanket! I want my blanket. I WANT MY BLANKET!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

If you haven’t heard about it yet, I’ll let you know here and now-
#1 Son (Anthony) has popped the big question! Asking the lovely Courtney Hyde for her hand in marriage, they are officially: ‘Engaged.’

If you know me, you know how happy this makes me. If you know Courtney, you know how happy this is going to really make me!
Let me explain.

We met Courtney for the first time back in June, when she came with #1 Son out east for a wedding. Let me tell you, TLW (The Little Woman) and I were really impressed. She is as you will see a beautiful woman. She is not bad looking either. Who we met was a very intelligent, yet sweet person, with all the dignity and class one would want.

Now that this is happening, TLW and me can look forward to opening a place in our home, hearts and souls where she will reside forever as one of our own children. I look forward to spoiling her, no matter what #1 Son thinks.

Courtney, #1 is very picky, we waited a long time for you to show up, and bring some happiness to this sometimes sad and dreary world. For him to ask you, you are indeed special, and we will always be mindful of that. Unfortunately, you have to put up with me once in a great while, I only hope you will be smiling all that time.

The little sketch was #1 Son's attempt at a visual to help his plea.

WELCOME to the family, Courtney, and congratulations to Courtney and Anthony!

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Yes, it’s that time of the year again, when husbands across the land stand to be crucified for forgetting Valentine’s Day!

I recall a Valentine’s Day many years ago, when TLW (The Little Woman) presented me with a pair of boxer’s that had printed on them: “Love Hits The Jackpot!” I gave her a brand new vacuum cleaner.

Actually, that is not true, what I got her was an expensive box of Perugina Chocolates, which she looked at and said: “You don’t have to buy me chocolates, I’m not a big chocolate eater.” I said: “I know.” (They were delicious!)

Now that we are older, we go out for dinner, or as in this year, brunch, and are just happy to be with each other after almost 40 years. We will: probably spend the day quietly, maybe laugh a little and read the papers and talk.

Being married to her I learned that “Home” is just a word that exist solely as the place she occupies at the time I am with her. Home is at a store, the car, an emergency room, a sun lit beach if we are together.

But love did hit the jackpot, and I’ve been on target ever since! She is a great gal, a wonderful wife and mother. We were a natural, destined to meet somehow. We have been very comfortable with each other, and after all these years, like most married couples, still in love.

Over the years, I’m the one who remembers all the dates that are significant in our life together. She just makes them more special every year. I hope my sons have what I have in my life, for a valentine.

Two secrets to keep your marriage brimming:
1. Whenever you're wrong, admit it,
2. Whenever you're right, shut up.


Ellen (TLW, a.k.a. The Little Woman), I love you, you crazy kid, you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


It seems the snowstorm of February 10, 2010, has gotten everyone in a titter! Cancellation of schools a day before the storm hits, the number one topic being the storm, the newspapers reporting on it and the media in general milking it to death

Good thing the storm hit, news has not been that salacious lately, maybe a scandal or two, and the stock market heading down faster than an elevator in the Empire State Building.

This storm has made media giants out of weather men, the crawls across the bottom of the TV screen, reiterating what has already been said 4,000 times in the last hour, make it seem like we are being invaded by Martians or the some foreign power!

They tie low level reporters to phone polls, right under the traffic cameras, to report “live” the road conditions, counting the snowflakes, making it look like a pre-Super Bowl show.

Isn’t there something else to get excited about? How many people died in Haiti today, maybe? Or, let’s run a crawl across the bottom of our TV screens counting how many children died of hunger today, or went to bed, homeless!

The weathermen are just gushing with enthusiasm, making sweeping motions with their arms and hands, expressively detailing the flow of the cold front, wind direction and accumulations.

People the day before, run to the supermarkets, to stock up on milk, cold cuts, finger foods, and soda, to be “ready” for the storm!

How many storms in my lifetime do I need to realize that we usually survive these “events”? I think we all need to get a life if this is what excites us. I can remember driving in dangerous conditions, fighting against blizzard conditions, torrential rains, and once during a blizzard on the LIE, no windshield wipers! My Toyota Corolla had accumulated so much snow on the windshield, the wiper connections became loosened, stopping the wiping action, causing me to pull over. The driving conditions that late afternoon were so bad that there were no lanes anymore, but a free for all, hell bent charge to the east, trying to get home before we all melted.

When I finally got to my exit, eight hours later. The exit was totally gone, I had to plow through with the little Corolla, and make my way home!

Friday, February 12, 2010


As I walked with #2 Son on the campus of the University at Purchase, I couldn’t help but feel as Yogi Berra once said: “Deja Vue, all over again.”

Was it so long ago that I walked along the college roads at UNC with #1 Son? Was it so long ago that we discussed the future dreams and hopes? Was it so long ago that I made comparisons with my college days?

If I’m proud of anything in my life, it is that my sons are making good choices in their lives. Sometimes we make mistakes, because we are colored by what seems best, not really what is right. Sometimes we choose to recognize right from wrong, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, we can’t help ourselves when we make choices because we may have a problem or two that grinds us down. But my boys seem to have knack for what is right in the end. Mom and I are very happy with the directions that the boys are going in, and hope they stay the course.

When I was young, I swore that I would never marry. I felt that I would never be happy as a married man, since in spite of this blogue, I am a private man, who could very easily live with myself. Then TLW (The Little Woman) came long and changed all that thinking. I soon discovered: it is not what you plan that makes you happy; it is what you experience. Experiencing TLW made life good for me, and so the boys are experiencing what makes them happy is the only important thing in life.

You can’t live for someone else’s dreams or expectations. No, you can live only for yourself, to be happy. If your life changes directions because of extenuating circumstances, you change, but you must keep the inner-self happy.

#2 Son is smart, he is making the best of life’s experiences, and sometimes I don’t always agree with his choices. But in the end, I can’t flap his wings for him to fly, that he does for himself. When he does flap them, and learn how to fly, he will be a great flyer, and will soar high above any disappointment, just like #1 Son learned.

And here is something that is most important, if you don’t try something you’d like to: you will always harbor regrets.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Well, I read all the hype, saw all the promos, and heard all the predictions I care to. I read the comparisons and watched the game itself, and so what?

I love to watch football, and I do so every Sunday that it is on. I don’t get hysterical, I do make fun of the players, change there last names to match their performances, but eat my dinner if the game is still going on. (There are some things that I MUST do.)

But, the game between the Indiana Colts (Is Indiana still a state?), and the New Orleans Saints called “SUPER BOWL XLIV” was just another game. Why do I say that? How could I call myself a football fan and say that? Had these two teams met in the regular season would I have gotten that much hype? Would the newspapers be making comparisons such as what Indiana (Is Indiana still a state?), and New Orleans have? Which quarterback is heavier, or taller, or how many players are from Indian (Is Indiana still a state?), or New Orleans? Would I be going out to buy chili, finger foods and wearing painted faces or color-coded clothing, while bar-b-queuing in my back yard or tailgate because of the game?

This isn’t exactly the miracle of Lake Placid about to be enacted. This is not the good ole US of A against the evil empire, rally around the troops, boys! This is a football game. The winner gets about $80,000, the loser about $50,000. Hell, for $50,000, I’ll be a loser for one evening, AND you can forget about me next year, too, when the trivia question comes up, “Who lost last year’s Super Bowl?”

Who was the big winner? CBS was the big winner. If you don’t think so, ask the companies that paid for their two-minute spots, during the game.

It seemed to me that there was more airtime for the commercials than the actual game itself. Kick-off, then go to a commercial, time out, to a commercial, the head coach sneezes, to a commercial, to a commercial, well, to a commercial!

Now halftime is interesting. They pay some band to play their best hits, rushing through the list, while all of America is using their toilets, and refilling their faces, so no one is paying attention.

Next year, if the two teams playing have played each other during the regular season: I will try to find a tape of the game and watch it, instead of the Superbowl, because it will go a lot faster, and I won’t need hype.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


little by little.

Old habits die hard, and so do old computers, monitors and scanners, not to mention printers. Saturday was spent riding myself of antiquated computers and stuff, to make way for the new one I purchased. For years all that old stuff stood by me in thick and thin, and now it gets the final boot, out the door!

I can’t believe I’m humanizing my computers! What is wrong with me?

The space that the old computer took up is now used for planning my many projects, and for a small laptop I have for writing and keeping track of things, making me more than organized.

Let’s not kid ourselves; throwing all that stuff that still works out was a trauma for me.

Basically I’m cheap, except when it comes to TLW (The Little Woman). Once I buy something, or worse yet, someone gives me something, I hold onto it forever. I can be very sentimental, which leads to becoming a pack rat.

I have things in the refrigerator older than my kids! Underware that is so old, it has buttons, shoes that tilt to one side, from ware that the sides are starting to ware! But once I toss all the old stuff, and set up my studio, it felt good!

I now sit in the studio, a new man, something like that notebook you kept on the first day of school. It would be neat and organized, until the teacher started to get boring, and little noodlings appeared on the margins, and so you went for broke, you noodled the cover, too!

On Friday, 2009, I wrote about my messy studio and what it meant to me. You can look it up, but that is all changing, and for the better.

Around noon, I get a call from an old buddy of mine, a computer nerd who is coming to pick up a 20” monitor I gave to a friend of mine in the city. Charles is a great guy, who gives without asking for anything. He set up my new system with some adjustments that made me very happy, and now I am at full capacity. After all that time I complained about not having a computer (over a month) then needing new programs, all is right in the world. The only problem Dear Reader is that you are stuck with me. I’m sorry.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


9th February, 1950: A majority has been reached among the members of the United States House of Representatives regarding the hike in postal rates. As a result of a voice vote made on this day, sixty years ago, a bill was passed which had raised the rate of postal card rates from one to two cents. Regular letter rates would stay at three cents.

It was sixty years ago, today, and they haven’t looked back! Like the MTA in NYC, poor service and increases in the cost to run things only make a bad deal worse.

I met these two unrelated elderly people the other day, waiting for my doctor to open his office, in the middle of the Congo. The woman was very adept at taking public transportation, and the gentleman too, knew how to get around. The man was sporting a large backpack, and a cane. Walking and lifting his arms was difficult, but his spirit was very high, as was the lady’s. They were just nice people with some prejudice about how life is today, how the world treats them, and the fact that we seem to be losing our way as a people. One could see a vulnerability to their outlook, but they were making the best of it! Observations flew back and forth like a tennis ball in a tennis game.

Suddenly this ‘gentleman’ walks in about in his late 40’s. He was bald and you could see very into him, only. He never acknowledged the two elderly people, burying his fat nose in a catalogue, and at one point, while the old man was speaking, seemed annoyed and walked away!

Like the one-cent post card, common courtesy and respect is no longer in vogue. It got me thinking about things, and how much they are changing. Maybe I live too much in the past, but I talk to younger people, especially in their late 20’s and early 30’s, and they don’t seem to know their vocabulary, some very basic facts, and are only interested in cell phones, blue tooth and emails! The electronic world is making it so that they do not think, reason or have the slightest interest in things of beauty.

Very few are reading these days, although I see many young mothers taking their children to the library, it is for electronic devices for the child to learn from.

When I was in 5th grade in Kreamer Street School in Bellport, NY, I had a teacher: a Mr. Sullivan who took the books Tom Sawyer and A Christmas Carole, and read them to the class. It was the most fun I ever had in classroom attendance. For those moments that he read to us as a class, our imaginations built whole sets, with costumes and characters, which would rival the big screen! Not a peep was heard from anyone but Mr. Sullivan, as he took us up the Mississippi and into snow covered London town during the 1800’s.

I am hoping that instead of games, we will take these electronic marvels and re-introduce Hemingway and Faulkner, Shakespeare and Joyce once more, to a dying art, that of reading and writing.

Please read: and another point of view. Written by a very astute gentleman and co-blogger, Jim Pantaleno, read what he has to say, then bookmark his page, it is always worth the read.

The price of things is going up, the price we will pay if we don’t show some respect for the elderly, the respect for literature and life’s lessons will eventually cost us even more dearly.

Monday, February 08, 2010


TLW (The Little Woman) has sent the order down to me: start doing the yearly poster for the First Holy Communion classes. In her best executive manner, TLW sets the machine in motion. Her job is to see to it that I get to heaven, no matter what it takes!

My job is the impossible one, getting to heaven, and once I’m there, TLW can with all the angels and saints, tell me what to do, or I can go to hell! To achieve her lofty goals, I have to on a yearly basis, shoot some 20 classes of second graders at the church where they are studying to make their first communion, including her class.

Once the pictures are shot, then I create a large poster of all the pictures, and then the little children when they come to Mass, and see that their picture is not there, can cry. That is because they didn’t show up when I took the picture. Then after many hours of work on my part, getting the photos into my computer system, color correcting them, creating a new concept for the poster, printing it out and assembling it on a large poster board, some cranky mother will haul her kid into church, and stick a picture she took, usually slightly out of focus onto the board, hiding half the kids on the poster.

I love it!

It is fun to visit the little kids while they try to sit still, all the while squirming about, while the teachers try to control them. They all look like little husbands, listening to their wives while trying to watch a football game.

Teacher: “Who can tell me what went on at Mass last Sunday?”
Johnny: “OOOOH! OOOOH! I know!
Teacher: “Yes, Johnny?”
Johnny: “Some guy comes around and takes all your money.”
Teacher: “Noooo, that’s not it.”
Johnny: “Oh, he takes all my MOM’s money?”

Now I don’t really wish to brag, but I got most of those questions right!

Sunday, February 07, 2010


There was a show many years ago on TV, back in the late 40’s and early 50’s called: ‘I Remember Mama” It was a show about a Scandinavian Family, hard working people with Dick Van Patten as Nels, the oldest son. Based on Kathyrn Forbes's book "Mama's Bank Account", It started every show with:

"I remember the big white house on Steiner Street, and my little sister Dagmar, and my big brother Nels, and Papa. But most of all, I remember Mama." Included in the original cast was:

Peggy Wood as Marta Hansen
Judson Laire as Papa Lars Hansen
Rosemary Rice as Katrin Hanson
Ruth Gates as Aunt Jenny
Carl Frank as Uncle Gunnar Gunnerson
Alice Frost as Aunt Trina Gunnerson
Iris Mann as Dagmar Hansen (1949)
Robin Morgan as Dagmar Hansen (1950-1956)
Toni Campbell as Dagmar Hansen (1956 to 1957)
Kevin Coughlin as T.R. Ryan (1952-1956)
Malcolm Keen as Uncles Chris (1949-1951)
Patricia McCormack as Ingeborg (1953-1956)
Dick Van Patten as Nels Hansen (1949-57)
Roland Winters as Uncle Chris (1951-1952)

It was a great show that features true American values.

But today is not Peggy Wood I write about, but Helen Gurry. Helen was Mama, a loving mother, with old fashion values and a heart bigger than any wide opened space. She was a teacher, a parent, a mother-in-law, sage. When you saw Helen, you saw all there was, never trying to impress. Impress was not in her vocabulary.

Helen loved her grandchildren. When they showed up at her little bit of heaven, they took over the house. Her local grandchildren loved her like a mother: those from out of town did the same. She loved them all alike, without prejudice, without qualification.

She had 4 wonderful children, but you would think her in-law children were hers too.

TLW (The Little Woman) has told me stories how she would give her pots and pans to her children, and let them play in the mud. If you went into the family library, it was not uncommon to find pictures cut from books so her children could do a school report! Mary Margaret McBride’s cookbook was nothing but words, no longer pictures!

Often when I would show up, and there were grandchildren present, the living was converted into a camp ground, with make shift tents erected with the help of furniture and blankets! The kids, all interacting with each other, would enjoy the time, and would squeal with delight when Grandma Manning or Helen came by.

She wasn’t a great cook, but she wasn’t bad, just didn’t get into it like some women do. But she cooked from her heart: every spoonful was a ladle of love. She loved her Jim, a shoe salesman that built a wonderful family, a sense of respect for the world, and never allowed his kids to fight. On that shoe salesman’s salary, he sent four children to parochial high school! He loved his TV, especially the news programs and so enjoyed the Watergate hearings.

But Helen enjoyed all of life. You could find her singing out loud, or telling stories about her childhood, Picture a tree if you will. The trunk is a person(Helen), the branches: times of that her life, and the leaves, stories, many stories that sometimes never always got fully told because Helen went off on another story. Sometimes she would get back to the original story and everything was back in a neat bow!

There was the little known fact that she loved Superman comics, her father had a Pontiac (She pronounced it “PONT ti ac” and he would never allow someone to pass him on the road. She once got an obscene call, and before the caller could get started, she befriended him! Once she made a small infraction on the road, not fully stopping for a stop sign. She pulled into her driveway, as a policeman pulled up behind her. Her opening remark to him was: “And how are you, officer?”

Her kindness was quickly forcing me out of my home. It seemed every time my kids saw her, she took them to a store and bought them a toy! It got so bad: I had to ask TLW to ask her mother to stop.

When the family got together, she would listen, often adding to the conversation, and laughing, while everyone would get the giggles from it.

When her sister Mary visited with her husband Uncle Eddy, Helen would keep the wine line flowing, and Uncle Eddy would get redder than a beet, but was always fun and a gentleman.

Today is Helen’s birthday. She is missed everyday of the year. To this day, TLW would want to call her because of some thing that happened, and then sadly would realize, she is no longer aa part of us on earth.

I think Helen lives on strongly, without a doubt, and will continue to.

God bless you Helen.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Once a year I go to the Ophthalmologist for eye exam. Being how I developed diabetes from my heart bypass, once a year I go.

The doctor is a stickler on being vigilant with self-care, and likes to get in a patients face about diabetes care. The self-care issue and coming once a year are his two favorite things. One year I came a month later than usual, and he complained. “You were scheduled to be here a month ago! What happened?”

Once his nurse asked if I was taking my blood sugar levels regularly. It means pinching yourself in the fingers to draw blood, then read it, and then throw away the stick and do it again in a few hours. You do that diligently for the first months then you come to realize a few things. First, that my primary-care physician: Dr. Ohlawanabonga, could care less. As I sat in his office in the middle of the Congo waiting for him to renew my prescriptions, I said I need blood-testing supplies too. “If you want.” Said Dr. O.

Secondly: from hour to hour, a blood reading changes, from bad to good or worse, depending on what you do. So why stick myself every few hours?

Any way, the nurse (The eye doctor) notes on my record that I don’t. Well, Dr. Hurtzlikehell, enters the room, reads the nurses notes and says: “What would happen if I just kept putting money into a bad stock?” Looking at me like his question was a good one. “What would that REALLY mean? Huh?” I reply, “Either you are a very rich man with a lot of faith in the stock, or, you feel you have too much money?”

This time around, the nurse (That troublemaker) asks what is your A1c number. (This number is a marker for how well you are keeping control of your diabetes.) I always forget to ask Dr. O, so I said: “Just about 6.1.” (A very good number, so why not lie?)

In enters Dr. Hurtzlikehell when the nurse is through making trouble and asks:
“So how’s the diabetes coming?”

Unconvinced, he smirks, takes my folder and reads it.

“I see, VERY GOOD!” He then tells me: “I like to ask how the diabetes is coming along, then when my patients say good, but don’t know their A1C number, I get in their face and ask them how they can tell if they don’t know their A1C number?”

“Tsk, tsk! To think they would try to get way with that!”

Now don’t get me wrong, my primary-care doctor, Dr. O, knows that number, I see him every three months, he takes blood every time, so he feels he has it under his control. So why concern myself with things I don’t understand to begin with, never could, and never will?

Friday, February 05, 2010


Sometimes I amaze myself! I see something, and suddenly I have a curiosity about it, and it can become an obsession to a degree!

Driving to and from the agency that I am a board member of, I pass this monument along the way, in Islandia, NY. The monument sits at a three-corned intersection, which has no place to safely park, one’s car. The monument itself is a piece of marble or stone, or even granite, and stands about one and a half stories high. Atop this monument sits a large eternal flame.

On each of the five sides of the monument is an inscription and seal honoring each of the five branches of the service. Words are engraved, and in relief is the seal of each service. It is very impressive when one passes it during the night. The full-bodied flame, licking the air about it, signifying the holiness of the site, gives me goose bumps. It is like a reminder that calls out in the dark!

I think about the many good men that died, the different branches and service that was rendered by them. Then I get mixed emotions! Why the hell is the monument in such a dangerous place? I can’t get out safely to inspect it, put a bunch of flowers down to memorialize all those that died in the service of their country. Then I think, maybe it is better that we don’t thread on holy ground, don’t disturb the sanctity of it all. It is so special: we shouldn’t contaminate it with our presence.

Monuments are lonely things in and of themselves. They signify the passing of an event or person, or in this case a group of people. There should really be a flag there, near the monument. After all, they all served the same colors, red, white and blue.

Thursday, February 04, 2010



Many years ago, when I was growing up in Brooklyn, many of the neighbors invested their time by sitting either on their stoop (Steps leading up to the building’s front door), or sitting at their windows, looking down into the street. My street was no exception.

Usually in the summer only, there lived an old man who sat on a chair in his front yard. Never speaking, never moving, he just watched us play stoopball, scelzy, stickball or just running around. He could be found from early in the morning until late in the evening. He wore a pair of black pants, white socks and slippers. He also modeled a white sleeveless undershirt. His arms were folded across his chest, and I don’t believe he even ate!

Next door to him was a couple that sat at their third floor walk-up, overlooking the street from their bedroom window. We called them the: “Lampshades”, and they would talk to each other making comments no one on the street could hear, but you would witness them chuckling ever so often. Even in our building, there stood leaning in the doorway a gentle giant named Henry.

And of course their was ‘Comeonagetout’ Pronounced: “come ona get out” the lady who owned the building next door to us. She was an old codger if ever there was one! All these people helped to make up the complex personality that was Hull Street, Brooklyn New York in the late 40’s and early 50’s.

With the exception of the old man in his front yard, all the observers came under the childish scrutiny of my friends and me. But of all the observers, the Lampshades were given something to watch and react to.

Being how we were bored one late afternoon, as the couple stood their regular watch, my friends and me decided to engage in a little theatrics. For youngsters, we did a great job! We decided we would have an old fashioned donnybrook, to see if we could get a reaction from the shades.

The stage was set for a one-sided fight, me against three others! The plan was to have my friends gang-up on me, and make it look like I was getting the worst end of it. On they came, jumping on top of me and doing a great job of making me look almost dead! I lay under the pile lifeless, while they knocked themselves out making it look real. The shades became alarmed, and started shouting from their perch, high above Hull Street. “Hey! Stop that! Get off of him!”

Suddenly they left their window, which was our sign to duck inside before they came downstairs and into the street to rescue me. We sat in my hallway laughing ourselves silly, as we watched the old couple as they paused in their doorway, amazed that no one was on the sidewalk in front of my house!

That evening, after dinner, we all met again on the stoop, giggling at the lampshades. As we watched them in their window, the old guy leaned out and yelled: “YOU LITTLE BASTARDS!”

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


The two guys you see here are look a likes, no? Yes, that David Arquette IS a cad. Running around with two beautiful women who are celebrities! Why Courtney Cox and Amy Adams allow him to get away with this is astonishing!

Well the man does have astonishing taste in women. Become famous and you too can get away with that kind of thing.

Actually that is David Arquette with Courtney Cox, but the other couple is #1 Son, Anthony or Tony and the lovely Courtney Hyde!

Now I don’t want to sound prejudiced or biased, but I think that #1 and Miss Hyde make a better-looking couple.

I remember once in my youth (Yoot, for all you Brooklyn boys) climbing out of a subway in NYC, way back in the 60’s, and a lady coming up to me and saying: “Wow! If it isn’t Tony Bennet! Funny thing is, I took my wallet out, and it didn’t look anything like Tony Bennet’s wallet.

I once dated a girl in high school who looked like Patty Duke. I had a picture of her in my wallet, and would show it to people, and they would be amazed how much she did look like Patty Duke.

When I worked in Manhattan back in the 70’s, there was a typesetter that had an employee that was supposed to look like my brother. Not having a brother, I often wondered what my brother looked like that they should say that. I finally arranged a date to view the typesetting facility, and find out my look-alike had quit the day before!

TLW (The Little Woman) in her day was often thought to look like Billy Jean King! I never thought so, but people said it anyway. Then there is the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company where TLW works. In that building a certain lady works. She is known as Toots II, and is a dead ringer for TLW or Toots I. Not only do the ladies get mistaken for each other by customers, they even sound alike on the phone!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


The other day, I decided to go to the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company to cash in some coins I had saved over the past few months. Their Motto is: Like TLW (The Little Woman), your money is our concern!”

Arriving at the parking lot, a sudden feeling of being watched ascended, as I felt somewhat like I was visiting Fort Knox. The building itself is somewhat new, with the latest technology, and is a very pleasant place to pretend you are banking.

One other point should be noted here, it is the playground of TLW, where she works and eats lunch. (The latter, mostly) It seems every time I call, someone tells me she is out to lunch!

Entering the place, I go to my right and find two coin machines, where one can deposit loose change, and a receipt prints out how much is put into it, and redeemed by a teller.

In the process of emptying the container of coins, suddenly standing next to me as I am looking down at the floor for any coins that I may have dropped is a pair of familiar shoes. I realized I didn’t wear black straps on my shoes with high heels! I look up, and there stands TLW!

“Where did all that come from?”


“All that money! Need help?” (What did she mean?)

“Help? Me? No, I don’t need help.”

Suddenly the coin machine is not recognizing all the coins. This is playing into her hands! I wonder how much I’ll see after it is all said and done counting.

“You shouldn’t be so nervous, here… let me HELP you.”

Reaching into a small space she retrieves all the coin and throws it into the machine next to it. The machine is counting upwards of $150! She prints out a receipt or two and says: “Come with me.” I follow; after all she does have my receipts!

My original plan was to deposit the coins, go to the teller and get my money and run. We march to her desk where she sits down. As I enter I wave to all her ‘buddies in currency’ and sit. She is writing something on a small slip of paper. Reaching for the tube (I wonder how those things turn corners?) she deposits the receipts and the small slip of paper into the tube and off it goes. I’m thinking the note says: “Teller, send me back half the cash, and meet me in the parking lot after work, we split the rest 60-40!”

Actually, TLW IS very honest, but when it comes to money, I’m a nervous type, having never seen any since June 19th, 1971!

Monday, February 01, 2010


It’s happening a lot lately. The dopey dog gets up at 3 AM and I am nudged to let her out to do her business. Once I’m up, I can’t seem to get back to sleep! I start thinking about things and soon ideas start to flood my mind, then before you know it, I’m on the computer, at 3:15 am!

I shower at 5:30 (A public service), and dress and go downstairs for my coffee. TLW (The Little Woman) is usually patrolling the kitchen doing her thing. She usually rises by 4 AM, fully charged and loaded for conversation, suggestions, and more orders than a discount house with a fire sale going on before Christmas!

It is my duty to stand at attention and listen. This morning was orientation for the new toaster.

“Now this button is for bagels, you have to push it for bagels.” Sweeping her hand downward and pointing at the next button; “and this one is for warming things up, while this button allows the operator to defrost things like frozen bread and bagels.” I continue to feign interest, wishing to only get a cup of coffee.

Finally, squaring off and look at the dials she begins to expand on the features of the temperatures: “One and two are for light toasting, three and four are for medium, and five and six are for well done. Please note that there are two sets of toasting slots. You may use one or the other, both simultaneously, or not, is all this understood?”

Me: “Uh huh, but can I use the extreme left hand slot, along with the extreme right hand slot? Or can I use the two inside slots? Or, is it okay to use the outside and inside combinations without a bagel and toast combo, necessitating the use of two different slots temperatures?”

TLW: “Your parents withheld a LOT of information from me before we were married, didn’t they? I wonder if it is too late to get it under the “Freedom of Information Act?”

Just like a woman, questions, questions, questions!