Friday, April 30, 2010


This is not a fire and brimstone sermon, no this is what my day was like at the cardiologist the other day!

My appointment was for 11:30 AM, and I was scheduled for a PVR (To check for blood clots in my legs so I can save money on Plavix, (to help prevent blood clotting).

After that ordeal, I would then go and get a nuclear stress test. This was after the day before, going for an echocardiogram, a carotid scan and get fitted for a halter. (I really don’t have the chest for a halter, or the legs for a mini.)

So this young medical woman, very friendly, in fact she asked me to take off my clothes down to my underwear, (In front of an open window!) gets me to lay down on this table, and begins to place these pressure inducing strips on my ankles, calves and thighs, applying pressure to read the blood flow. When we are done, she takes me to this techie guy, fresh from the Philippines, who says he will put a needle in my arm, that it will pinch! Maybe in Manila it pinches, but in Smithtown, NY, it hurts!

Then I am led to this room with what looks like an MRI machine. You lay on a bed, and it takes you into the scanner. You have to lay on your back, with both your arms over your head, being very still! After a while, you arm sockets start to hurt!

After the SOB tortures me, I have to wait in the waiting room for an hour or more. Finally, after watching the movie ‘Titanic’ with: Leonardo De Caprio, Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates, on the TV, we go into another room where he starts to stick nuclear meds into my arm through the tube that is sticking out of it. This is getting very sore, and it hurts, just like it pinches in Manila! This is the stress test part: all the while I’m thinking I’m still going on a thread mill! As they inject more stuff into my arm, they keep asking me how I feel. That part doesn’t bother me, but the arm is really sore. Finally he comes with one more needle and says that the stuff I’m getting will get rid of all the meds that are in my body. This goes right to my head!

“OK, you can go into the waiting room again, and we will call you for a few more pictures, and you can go home!"

This is at 2:30 pm. I sit through ‘Meet the Fockers’ another movie with Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. I watch the whole Focker movie and then some. Finally they call me again. And, once again the scan with the arms over my head, perfectly still, the tube still in my arm!

I leave the place at 4:30 pm! That is 5 whole hours of hell, waiting, torture and taking off and putting on, my clothes!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Now that the Masters is over, and Tiger had his best opening round ever, are we finished with the scandalous Tiger, and back with the under par Tiger, in other words: are we finally out of the Woods?

I’m not the fan I used to be of Tiger Woods. However I admire his ability to play the game, even if he has sullied his reputation. What he did I never figured him to do, yet so many of us disappoint ourselves and loved ones once in a while. I’m sure I can’t cast any stones, yet betrayal is hard for me to accept.

There is Roger Clemens and others similarly who have sullied their sport, and lost the adoration of their fans. It happens in Hollywood, politics and everyday life.

There are druggies, wife beaters, cheaters, schemers and perjurers, all about us. They may be us at one time or another, or someone we love or know. The harsh reality is: it is most of us in some form or another. It is what life is about, not what life shouldn’t be.

We relish when a politician slips and falls, when we discover infidelity in a neighbor or friend, we bask in the spotlight cast on those caught in some crime or scam the brings down the high and mighty.

I don’t know of many who fall into the categories I’ve just mentioned. Not in the big, media attention way, and thankfully so. Most of the people I do know are good, honest, kind and law-abiding people. But they are good, honest, kind and law-abiding people with the potential to do wrong. Me first!

I know you can’t make judgments without first-hand intermit knowledge of the events that unfold. What kind of pressure caused someone to err? Sometimes it is monetary need, job security, and need for love. We like to paint the evil picture, not the unbiased one, because then we can put it all in a category and move on, leaving the victims to pay an awful price in their career, and personal lives.

When I was working in the city as a young designer, a major airline was a big client of ours. The contact of the national carrier had given us so much work, that I was working Saturdays and Sundays for weeks at a time. My boss had invested huge amounts of money and time into the account. Then one day the account rep said to us we had better start paying him some of the money we were making, and paying it under the table!

My boss was an honest, good and religious man. He was also loyal to the people who worked for him. If he reported the situation, or refused to cooperate, he would lose all the business of the airline, and would have to fire or lay-off half of the staff, and move out of very choice office space in the heart of Manhattan! He chose to cooperate, but in the end lost everything!

As an outsider I would say he was a crook, but as an insider I would say he was a victim.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Today I went to the cardiologist to do some tests. Sitting in the waiting room, I thought about this week and the fact that I had a lunch date with a priest, and now my cardiologist is waiting for me!

I remember that song from so long ago, Anema e’ Cuore (SOUL AND HEART) sung by Perry Como.

That was love: this is something else!

So the cardiologist gave me a thing called a halter. You have to wear it for 24 hours straight. The technician said:

“Now you can’t shower with it on. You have to wait 24 hours!”

“You mean I will be stinking when I show up tomorrow?”

“Is there any way you can come in late?”

Frankly, I don’t think I have the chest for a halter.

The doctor was running late. He kept me waiting for over 20 minutes, then I discovered why!

The patients ahead of me were all over 80. When one was next, the nurse would have to yell the name. Then go over to them, and shake them awake, then yell their name once again. Then they would slowly, and I mean slowly get up from their chair. All were wearing a reference to their grandchildren. Once they were standing, slowly they moved to the examining room! Did I mention they all were wearing sneakers?

One lady wore jeans that had embroided along each leg, a white floral design! This went with her high boots, and funky hat, it didn’t go with the walker!

The nurse called for me, butchering my last name as he did. Looking around for the guy he called, it dawned on me, IT WAS ME!

Following him into the examining room. He said in perfect English. AHHlai downonda table pleeze Butt fierst takehoff you toppp.

He takes out this jell and starts smearing it all over my chest and sides, sets up a computer, his fingers dancing across the key board like a digital Fred Astaire. Once he is ready, he takes the device that has a ball on the end and starts to stick it into my chest, hard!

For a half hour, he is trying to hide the device in my chest, when finally he gives up.

They send me home with the halter, and with it comes a diary that I have to keep. They want me to record all my activity. I read: “ACTIVITIES: Sitting, walking, strenuous exercise, eating, smoking, urinating, bowel movements, intercourse, taking medication, or emotional upsets, such as anger or sorrow.” If I may, I’d like to add one more. READING THESE G*%#@$&*(&&^$%^#&^%(*&%%#&&%^ INSTRUCTIONS!

“URINATING!” “BOWEL MOVEMENTS” “INTERCOURSE!!” Who is my doctor, Hugh Hefner?

Next to the activity you are suppose to put down the symptom you feel.

Here is my latest entry:

ACTIVITY: Second Jack Daniels Manhattan
SYMPTOM: Feeling Great!

Tomorrow I go for a PVR, the treadmill and a break down.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


The other night, TLW (The Little Woman) came home from her class that she teaches for 2nd graders on religion. In her hands was a gift bag, decorated with hearts! This could only mean one thing; she got presents from the parents of the kids she teaches! That means somewhere in there is chocolate! Yes, chocolate!!!

I’ve been blessed: TLW doesn’t care for chocolate! I am the only one in the house besides her. You do the math.

Ceremoniously, she starts in by taking out the cards. Oh, she has to read the cards, thanking her for being a good teacher. This is the opening shot across my bow. It says:
“Hah hah, I got presents and YOU don’t.”

This is not childish: this is deliberate cruelty to my humble, pointless being. I don’t get presents unless I send them to me. (When I do, I don’t put postage on them and they get returned to sender.)

Then she takes out the presents, one at a time. She makes piles, one for stuff she will keep, one that gets stored so someday she can toss it, and then there is the pity pile. That’s mine! In the pity pile is chocolate. I get the chocolate, AFTER I look needy. I can look very needy for chocolate.

I do a lot of work for her classes. Every year I have to photograph about 26 classes for a poster I make. Then I have to make about 10 to 12 books a year for her class, one for each kid she teaches, a front and back cover, then a inside front and back cover, for each kid. But she gets the presents!

“OOOH! Chocolate! You know I should get the chocolate because of all the work I do for you!”

“Hmmm… OK, you can have them, but first: who’s your momma?”

“You’re my momma”



“Good boy, now beg.”

(Hey, I happen to like chocolate!)

“You want me to bark too?”

Monday, April 26, 2010


The other day I had lunch with a priest. No, not a voodoo priest, but a regular, run-of-the-mill priest. Nice fellow, Fr. Dan, but a little naiveté, since he asked me to run his fund raising! There were other people there, but still, I had some concerns.

For instance, what happens if anyone has wine? Will he jump right in and do a consecration? Or the bread, will he break it first, then: pass that around?

OK, so the waitress comes out with my plate, what happens? Does Fr. Dan say grace in a public place? Does he bless it first? Do I stopped and bow my head or make a sign of the cross? Will God hunt me down for writing this?

Should I even be eating with a priest? I’m not really all that religious, so I wonder about these things.

Now take the Pope. Will he be converting the bread and wine into beer and pretzels first? After all, he is German by birth. If he does, bet he gets a lot of converts. I personally will become deeply religious.

I had to practice all week simple phrases. Anything that might come from a conversation had to be practiced, so I didn’t slip. For instance: “Gee, that was FUNNY!” It could come out: “God&$#* that was ($^##(^% FUNNY!”

I can sometimes evoke the name of Jesus when something surprises me. Again, for instance: “Wow, she has some rack!” could come out: “Jesus, get a load of those!” So you see my concerns.

My suggestion is NOT to stand too close to me from now on!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It was a beautiful morning. The sky was blue, the grass had dew dropped coating of sweet morning, and I was well rested and fed! All was well with the world!

As I stood outside on my front yard, a garden hose in my hand, a young lady was walking by, books in hand and moving like it was the last mile before execution. Her face was long and I feared for a moment it would scrape the ground and cause scaring!

Yes, she was heading to call her friend next door to me, Christine, and off to school they would venture.

Sometimes I’m very reticent to speak up, let alone sing out. Not this time. No, I would bellow out the ever-popular ditty, sung right after the Labor Day holiday, mostly by mother’s across the land.

It goes something like this:

Up in the mornin' and out to school
The teacher is teachin' the Golden Rule
American history and practical math
You studyin' hard and hopin' to pass
Workin' your fingers right down to the bone
And the guy behind you won't leave you alone

Ring, ring goes the bell
The cook in the lunch room's ready to sell
You're lucky if you can find a seat
You're fortunate if you have time to eat
Back in the classroom, open your books
Gee but the teacher don't know how mean she looks

Or, this one for the more conventional:

School days, school days,
Dear old golden rule days.
'Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic,
Taught to the tune of a hick'ry stick.
You were my queen in calico,
I was your bashful barefoot beau,
And you wrote on my slate,
'I love you, Joe,'
When we were a couple of kids.

I chose to sing the latter.

If it weren’t for the grace of God, I would not be here writing this. You see, that child was unarmed! If she were, I’d be dead by now! The look she shot me across the lawn was a mixture of drop-dead and the middle finger, all rolled up into one facial expression!

Am I mean? Probably. Do I deserve that look? Definitely.

Should I stay indoors until she moves out of the neighborhood?

I think so!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


TLW (The Little Woman) was describing a woman to #2 Son who they both know, but #2 wasn’t quite sure of.

“She is tall, with a pretty face, a bit of red in her hair, says she knows you, Michael. She’s not skinny skinny, but she is thin.”


“WHAT is “Skinny skinny”? I inquired.

“Well, that would be someone like (someone we know), she would be skinny skinny."

#2 “But Ma, she is NOT skinny!”

“Well when I was growing up she would be considered skinny."

Me: “So what would you call a fat person?” Getting nervous.

“I don’t like to call people fat. I would say: she is slightly beyond her prescribed or ideal weight.”

“So because you are trying to be polite, you have shifted the categories and renamed them.” I think this is being politically correct.

Of course there is another category she always uses for people with anorexia: “Thin thin thin.”

She has over the years: re-ordered life so that even Darwin would need to take heed.

So, slightly beyond prescribed or ideal weight.” is the new “fat”!

We now have ideal weight as: “Who Cares”

There is ideal weight with good looks and youth as: “Annoying”

Thin as: Skinny Skinny and

Anorexia as: “Thin thin thin”!

If you see yourself in any of these categories, get something to eat and get over it.

From someone who is: skinny skinny and delusional.

Friday, April 23, 2010


No, this is not a Jesus speech!

What I’m talking about is when I go to church and they make you sing. Well they get up there in front of the congregation and raise their hands like you are suppose to follow them.

But what about us who wish not to sing? You know who we are, the ones that stink at singing. Why should I make people have a good time laughing at me while I try to warble? Is this what Jesus wants?

I don’t think so.

So I have developed my own version of silent karaoke, I lip-sync with the others, and give the impression of singing loudly, as I open my mouth wide as I do so.

This is a lot like stealing without getting anything. I make the lady who is waving hers arms and hands at me to sing happy, while at the same time making those around me happy, by my not singing.

This has worked for years: and was really developed when I was very young in grade school. I would not have studied something, the teacher would lead us in it, and I would move my mouth like I knew it all! It worked.

Don’t give me that what if!

But I have come to the conclusion that the people who go to my church must all be sinners! Why would God send me to a place to sing, if he wasn’t punishing someone? Ergo, those sinners!

If YOU ever find Jesus, and he happens to be laughing, know that I am singing at that moment.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Playing Bingo is a process, not unlike a carpenter, or dentist, or even a physicians! Bingo players need to have their equipment, and it must be color coordinated! Bingo players also are like ballplayers, filled with superstition and ritual. Bingo players are like the nuns in a church during a Mass, very strict and devoted.

As the night began, I was given charge of selling the bingo books, the books have about 20 sheets of bingo cards that like I said yesterday: sell for $20 a book. I manned my post and waited for the first of my many customers.

The first lady announced herself by demonstrating her smoker’s cough. Looking into my eyes, her eagerness apparent, said: “I’ll take two. One from this pile and one from that pile.” In her hands is a knitted bag with slots to hold about 5 or 6 different color bottles of a marker ink to play her games. She carried chips, and set up at a particular spot in the room. She was uninterested in anybody or anything else but her mission to win.

Another woman comes to me, and asked: “Do you have any progressives?” In my panic of not knowing what the hell she is talking about, I point her to another person, my finger pointing like a roadside arrow, flashing to the right, my tongue numb. (Do I have any progressives? No ma’am, I’m very blasé.)

I scanned the room as it filled, people were spreading out the cards and setting up the bottles, with one bottle in their hand, ready and poised to mark as the numbers were called. The place was getting crowded quickly and suddenly, as quiet as a church, as the first number of many is called out in a very long night.

Heads are all bent over their playing area, their arenas of chance. Brows knitted they concentrated over the many cards spread out, like what in front of them was a job application or their taxes, or some obscure story they must to read. They all play their games a certain way, do certain things to bring them luck, believe in something maybe supernatural or at the least, an unknown force of destiny!

As I chatted with my buddy Jim to pass the time away, TLW (The Little Woman) is waving to me silently, but frantically, like I was on fire, trying to fan the flames. It is her “You are doing something wrong” wave which differs from her “I cooked this too long” wave, or “the baby needs to be changed wave.” Just so you know, TLW knows how to wave. I look at her, my heart in my mouth, my tongue once again, numb and try to figure out what is wrong.

She whispers: “You are talking, you are distracting the ladies over there, about 200 yards away!”

“Is it alright if I breathe?”

“Will you be making any rasping or gurgling sounds, or any kinds of sound waves that emanate from you oral cavity, or for that matter any cavity that you so possess?”

“Well I can’t guarantee the last part at my age, but I will try to control the first part. TLW shakes her head: “no” and walks away. Jim and I just shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes. These ladies don’t mess around!

I guess what I’m saying is the whole idea of bingo takes on a religious connotation is that there is much devotion and reverence to the game. I can’t understand it, since like fishing, there is no challenge, just luck, and sometimes, or most times it can be lousy!

The people seemed to be enjoying this night out. There is camaraderie amongst the players, and a relationship with the staff that operates and controls the games. It is their social life, their time. They don’t seem like readers or theater goers, or even movie viewers. Just Bingo and maybe TV.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Recently TLW (The Little Woman) was recruited to help out with the Agency’s weekly BINGO game, which helps us raise money to support programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities. When I see the little children who are starting out life in such unfortunate circumstances, my heart goes out to them, and I need to do something. The fact that my daughter, an adult also benefits makes me want to do it even more.

It seems that the BINGO staffing is always short-handed and the wonderful lady that runs it, is in her mid to late 80’s, the need to get her help is important, and to do what we can paramount to avoiding disaster.

Feeling sorry for TLW who was going right after work, I told her to come home first and pick me up, and we would do it together.

Working BINGO is like working in a women’s prison rec room!

They come in after working and have their paychecks cashed, on a Friday night, ready to play! These women, and a few men scattered throughout, seem like they all work in a factory of some sort. I say that because of the way they dress, the fact that many of them are in great pain when they walk, and many are just nice plain humble people who have nothing else that can make them happy.

I was in charge of selling game books, which run $20 a book.

“Give me 3 books, sweetie. I want one from each of those piles.”

“Yes ma’am, here you go, that will be $60!”

Sixty bucks comes across the table, from a heavily perfumed and manicured set of wrinkled and disfigured fingers!

I’m not sure if the lady drank or bathed in the perfume, and have to hold my breath for a moment.

“Here you go, three books, and thank you and good luck!”

“Wow!” No one wished me good luck before!” Boy, I hope you are hot; you could be my lucky charm.

Desperately I look for TLW who is out on the floor selling stuff.

One lady comes up and reached into her ample bosom and pulls put a $20 dollar bill, I get it still warm.

“One please, and do you mind if I pick it out?”

“Not after that!”


“I said: go after that.”

She spreads out the pile of game books and selects one like it was a deck of cards.

“Now, don’t let me see it.”


“I said: Will that be it?”

One of my buddies from the board of directors is there helping out, and while the games are being called, you don’t do anything but sit around and chat.


Don’t EVER talk during the game: the ladies don’t like it!

“Eh can ya keep it down overdere, I can’t concentrate overhere!”

She can’t concentrate over one number! It is only one number, and it is also pictured on a TV monitor!

I decide to go outside to get some fresh air from the heat that is generated in the game room. As I decide to come back in, the game is in intermission, and a herd of large gamers are heading my way for a smoke break! Fear overcomes me as I jump to the side: as they swallowed up two other guys who were standing outside. Poor bastards!

These are poor people, who after work only want one thing, to play BINGO with their earnings, and you better be prepared to offer it right!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The following was sent to me by one of my lovely committee members for my high school reunion. Kathy Sperakis, a school mate from 4th grade, sent this to 20 people, and I pass it along to you because it is important to let those morons in congress know what we really think!
Really important! Hope you all do it! This will take less than 30 seconds to read. If you agree, pass it on.

An idea whose time has come
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term; that they didn't pay into Social Security; that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment); while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform ... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop. This is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come.

If each person who receives this will contact a minimum of 20 people on their address list and, in turn, ask each of those to do likewise, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

Monday, April 19, 2010


Really, I don’t get a chance to do so. TLW (The Little Woman) says it all for me!

The other morning, I announced that I was going to purchase some seeds and fertilizer for the old homestead. Clearing my mind I awaited the inevitable question:

“Did you look in the garage to see if we have any left?”

How do I know it was coming?

Here is another sample.

“I’m going to the store to buy some chicken breasts for a chicken dinner (See March 22: “Sometimes I just give up”).

“Did you check the freezer outside in the garage?”

“Yes Dear!”

“How about in the kitchen freezer?”

“Yes Dear.” (Like I would only check one freezer.)

Then she can go the other way.

“Why are you saving this?” she will inquire.

“Because I love you?”

“You are such a hoarder, saving everything. Why are you saving wire?”

OK, I’ll throw it out (Under my breath: “that’s not the only thing I’d like to throw out.”)


“Oh, nothing, just praying out loud.”

The garbage man comes, takes away my wire and the next day, I need it once more.

“I have to go to the hardware store to purchase some wire.

“Did you check the garage first?”

“Yes Dear.”

“How about your tool box?”

Under my breath: “I’d like to check….”

You get the idea.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


While I was in Costco looking for printer’s inks, I had to go. You know that feeling when you have to go, and there is nowhere to go. The place is crowded, and one of the things you don’t want to see is running water, so what do I get?

A little kid is sitting in his mother’s wagon. What is so bad about that? You asked.

The little bugger is singing the “pee pee song”! Yes, you read that right, the “pee pee” song.

You would wonder why a grown man would get so upset about something so innocuous.


Try to be grownup when the store is crowded, there are long lines to check out, and the woman has that brat singing like a junior Sinatra, the pee pee song in front of YOU!

My teeth start to float up to about my ears, I am making sloshing noise that they can hear all the way back to the meat freezer.

But is he happy just singing? I’m glad you asked.


He has to now hold himself, something that I am near doing myself. If only he would stop singing. I resort to what I always do. One: dance, and ‘B’ stick my tongue out at him. He stops singing. He looks at his mother and then at me. He’s maybe 4 years old.
He does what he resorts to: You ready for this?

He sticks his middle finger up! Yes I got the four-year old bird!

Am I #1?

Saturday, April 17, 2010


For the last 35 years or so, I’ve been watching my weight. Every year it gets easier to watch!

Recently, I needed ink for my printer, a HP 8500, with dual carbs and 4-speed tranny, chopped and channeled.

Entering into Costo, where TLW (The Little Woman) told me to go (she does that a lot) I head for the printer’s inks and select the right ink for my printer. Do I go out the door after paying for it?


I have to look around first. I like to look at the appetizer section and the bakery and the meats. Kind of like a toyshop for a kid. As I traverse the store, there is various food tasting sites. Out of the hot oven, they place in little paper cups or napkins different types of foods to taste.

So, that morning at home I had a bagel. So they call it. I must say: the bagel is made with only the freshest sawdust, and ersatz butter, left over from the kitchens of a gulag, along with a cup of coffee that came from a pod! This is what I call breakfast. Why? Because my doctor is annoying, my wife helps him be annoying, and so do the bastards that make all that crap I have to eat so they can make money and I have to starve!

When I used to think of breakfast, I thought of bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes and waffles, with buttered rye toast, and coffee that came from a coffee pot that perked its little heart out. You threw in a donut and you were set until lunch. On Sunday you added a buttered Kaiser roll!

Now you say breakfast and I think of lunch, because breakfast is non-existent.

So here I am, standing in front of a woman with a hairnet, and clear plastic gloves, divvying out morsels of food, food that smells good, and taste good. I try it, and think, WOW! I should take TLW here for our anniversary! Ca-ching goes my calorie counter, Chicken wings in a honey glazed sauce. Ca-ching goes it once more, a tiny piece of cakes with nuts and chocolate. Ca-ching goes the counter once more, this time it is a small helping of ravioli filled with cheese.

I think: “I hope they are running out of things to sample soon, I’m feeling the pound buildup!

Mercifully, I run out of testing stations, I make a dash for the checkout, but alas (There is that darn Shakespearian quote I use) I am getting harder to move! I have gained 20 pounds in the last 15 minutes!


I start to shake as I enter the parking lot, looking for (Really guessing) where I parked my car. I think: The fat police will jump into the car and make me drive to a fat farm!

Guilt, you are my shadow!

I get home and try to forget the whole experience, but alas (there it is again!) I can’t shake the mistake I made. At this rate, I’ll never get “Too skinny” and curse my luck.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I would think that some of you have seen the recent TV showing of the Shroud of Turin. Usually, when something scientific is revealed, I just listen and try to follow, and wait for the results that the show provides.

This is due to a complete lack of scientific interest, that I sit passively as the truths are revealed. Not this time. Nope, I knew all along what was going on!

I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that two things were done to come to a conclusion as to what Jesus looked like. One was the use of computerization and my knowledge of Photoshop, that enabled me to follow AND understand what the problems were in this endeavor, and Two: my artistic experience in understanding anatomy, light and darkness (the essence of drawing).

It is very liberating to understand something from a professional lifetime, and see that I learned my lessons well enough to be paid for them, and to communicate and receive new knowledge from that same experience.

There is also a third force that was at work, the use of photographic technique. Now you may say: “Wait a minute Joe Bob, you DID mention Photoshop, didn’t you?” Well I will say two things to you: One, my name isn’t Joe Bob, and Two: Photoshop is NOT photography, just the enhancement of an art form, that when done properly, needs no enhancement.

So where do we go from here? I for one will go get a cup of coffee, and ponder a nap.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


It’s April 15th; did you send in your taxes?

A lot of people scurry about the last minute to fill-out and mail their tax forms to the IRS, and sit back and wait for the possibility of an audit to ruin their lives. Me, I have my own tax problems, but not with the IRS!

First of all, I’m too chicken, and so is TLW (The Little Woman) to cheat on the tax return. TLW won’t even exaggerate, while I might look the other way a little. But no, this is not about cheating; this is about preparation, every year.

It starts out in February when we receive our forms from our accountant. The man has been doing my taxes as a business since 1973, and as a family for just as long. That is 37 years we have been working together! In those 37 years, TLW, the little efficiency factory, has gotten all the paper work, receipts, bills and what nots together for the cpa to work with. Every year!

Every year, she leaves something out, or in question, or may make a slight mistake, every year. Am I complaining, well, listen to this:

Every year, the cpa calls, me that is. Every year he asks me questions, and every year the same thing happens. I DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER.

So, every year I feel like I just stepped off the plane from china where I live, and people are asking me questions in English, like I should understand them.

Phone ringing-

“Hi Joe! It’s Ron, Ron Goldstein.” (Nice Jewish kid, if I have to go to jail, at least I gave it my best shot.)

“Hi Ron, how are you?” (Darn, its THAT phone call time of the year again!)

“Great! Nice weather we are having. How many years have we been doing this?” (In other words, before I have to call your wife you dumb ass, think this year you can answer a simple question?)

“Oh! I guess about thirty something…”

“Yeah, I see on your tax return you are claiming only two deductions, and a chance at fifteen to life. Are you claiming Michael as a student?”

(I haven’t the foggiest what she did, I just sign where she says and mail it in)

“Well Ron…(Trying to sound like I know what the hell she did, and/or I know what I’m talking about) to tell you the truth… err uh, that is.”

“You want to have Ellen call me?”

“Sure Ron.” (That means: You betcha, I do, oh I do! Please let me get in touch with her ASAP, and clear this confusion up, before I have an epileptic fit, shortness of breath, and agita, coupled with spasms of sorts.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


It was April 14, 1967, and a lot went on that day in history. For one, the Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 3-0. LBJ was a caricature on the cover of Time Magazine and I almost died.

It sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Making a caricature of a standing President! Huh? What’s that? Why yes, I almost did.

43 years ago, as an art major at the New York Institute of Technology, I sat in the passenger front seat of a ’56 Chevy and passively watched as the drive tried to make an impression on a crossing red pick-up truck that ran a red light! It happened so fast, and I was so relaxed, that I never tensed up enough to cause anything worse than a compounded fracture of my right leg, and a lot of glass in my scalp.
There was enough glass in there to make it look like a faux diamond collection, as the doctors picked it out, one tiny piece at a time. Having just left my anatomy class, I had a large drawing pad on my lap, and I was just doodling on the cover when I looked up as the car swayed to the right and I saw the truck speed by.

To this day, I wonder why all those things were in place, that it all saved my life! If I had died, this would have been ghost written! It is bad enough I went through the windshield from the impact, and that the engine was sitting between the driver, and me and at first I thought it was sweat coming from my brow, but no, it was blood.

It took several hours (3) for the people in the emergency room to reset my ankle, and when they did… well, read that headline again.

So today, whenever the weather gets damp, whenever I stand too long on my foot, whenever I go dancing, the pain becomes excruciating, and the memories flood back like a torrent of rain, all of it funneling through that first sudden awareness of the ache.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Having retired in 2006, it hit me recently how much I don’t miss Monday morning commutes!

Recently, I had to drive to East Setauket to attend a doctor appointment for my daughter Ellen. I like to attend them so I know first-hand how her health is. Although she lives in a group home, she still needs me to advocate for her, and both my wife and I do that.

The morning was dark, dreary and raining extremely hard. The rain came down so fast, the windshields could not be wiped off fast enough. It took me back to my days when I did that every morning. Driving in traffic, the frustration of dealing with stalled traffic and the downpours that would occur, especially on a Monday morning! Usually there was a meeting waiting for me, a presentation of some sort, or a rush to get something to the printer. I would become aggravated by the traffic and delays, wishing I were home with a cup of coffee and a newspaper.

Tuesday dawned just like Monday did: hard rain, wind, dark and dreary. Ah! I had nowhere to go! The weather channel was playing, the shots of red taillights, and the oncoming blur of yellow headlights, all in long continuous, unmoving lines.

If I weren’t so busy, I would just close all the lights, lean back in my recliner and enjoy the sound of the rain coming down, maybe read a little, maybe find an old movie.
Retirement, it has its privileges!

Monday, April 12, 2010


I was on my way out the door a little while ago to see a client of mine. Suddenly there appeared TLC1 (The Lovely Carol) from next door. In her hand is a key with an alarm setter and a small pad with names and numbers.

TLC was in her happiest of moods and on the verge of leaving for Mexico in a few hours, and wanted me to watcher house, and get her mail. No problem, took the key and pad and we went our separate ways.

It didn’t take long!

In the early morning hours of Monday, about 2:00 AM, TLW (The Little Woman), is scurrying around the room, looking out one bedroom window, then the other, as I watched. Something told me she heard something. Sure enough, she approached me. Suddenly she was reaching toward me and shaking me. Recovering from the wounds of her vigilance, I climbed up off the floor and asked what was wrong.

“The house alarm from next door!” she exclaimed, in a rather urgent manner. With all her concern, she still managed to slide back into bed, cover her head, as I quickly got out of the room in my skivvies, and raced down the stairs to find the alarm.

Not thinking there was anyone else in the house at 1:45 am I turned the corner to come face to face with #2 Son’s girlfriend who happened to be sitting in my chair, as I reached for the alarm!

Not saying a word, I got the alarm setter and fired away, stopping the noise, or so I thought.

Running upstairs, I dressed and went over in a heavy driving rain and cold, cold wind to the house to check. I searched upstairs and down, including the basement, and checked all the rooms to make sure no one was hiding that may have tried to break in and still be there.

The next morning, there sits TLW.

“So what happened last night? Did the police come?”

“No! It was quiet.”

“You know, I heard it again this morning!”

“You heard the house alarm again this morning?”

“Hmmm… maybe it was a car alarm!”

She picks the worst time of the day and weather to make mistakes for me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Every year at this, the DelBloggolo editorial staff will be celebrating: April 11th as a national holiday! Why? Well isn’t it obvious? Pay attention!

The lovely lady you see is my future (daughter-in-law), who I will adopt as my own daughter when she marries what’s his name. Her name is Courtney: TLC2 (The Lovely Courtney), and there will be no living with me.

This is one smart gal, and yet she is still marrying into the family with me in it!!!

Actually, the whole family is excited about that, and from nieces and nephews, to sisters, grandmother and Mom, we await the day #1 Son gets what he does deserve, a wonderful gal. We are always proud of Anthony, but this time he outdid himself!

Having met Courtney in June, we have nothing but pride that she will become part of the family, and hope that she can find it in her heart to like us as we will love her.


(My God, she’s even prettier than me!)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


And I have the two lovers right here in the picture!

That guy is: “The Macaroni Man”, Christopher, my nephew and a direct descendant of Zio Felice, my grandmother’s brother.

Zio Felice came over from the “other side” as they used to say, on a boat. Half way across the ocean, someone told him, while he was standing on the deck in his grey fedora, white shirt and black tie, black suit and brown shoes, that there was NO macaroni in America. As he approached the railing for the long swim back to Italy, they restrained him and told him it was only a joke.

The young lady in the picture is Kim, his fiancé. It will be her job to feed him macaroni everyday of his life. And God forbid if he goes on life support, it will be liquefied and fed intravenously.

Every Sunday during football and baseball season, Chris comes over for dinner, and hopes it is macaroni. He eats the small D’italini for breakfast, spaghetti for lunch and ziti for dinner. He keeps a reserve of rigatoni for snacks, and will often pop them out and pass them out to whoever is near by!

As you can see, Kim is a beautiful gal, who will blend in with all the beautiful women that exist in my family.

Now the “Save The Date” is all about August 21st, 2010, when Chris will be eating macaroni from a new source, mainly his very own “Little Woman”! Yes, the boy popped the question and she popped him back by saying “Yes”!

His Mother is my sister MaryAnn, my mother’s favorite child, since she is named Mary after my mother’s mother, and because she has natural curly hair. The fact that Mary Ann is always straightening it out so she doesn’t look adopted doesn’t matter.

Mary Ann was left on our doorstep one morning, and when Dad went out to get the morning milk bottles, brought her in by mistake. Mom was made at Dad a whole week because the milk went sour! Macaroni Man works as a math teacher, and the lovely Kim, when she isn’t making macaroni, works for a bank, so she can converse with TLW (The Little Woman), who works for the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company.


Friday, April 09, 2010


What is this? Just yesterday I was looking at some babies, thinking, wow, how small they are. Next thing I know, THEY are having babies.

Who am I talking about, my nephews Marc and David. Well, their wives are having babies, and this all can’t be! Yes Kim and Nicole are contributing to the family crowd!
I remember when we were all having babies in my family. All the kids seemed about the same age, and now, with my creaky body, I marvel as how quickly things have changed! I am too old to have children tugging at me, and I watch the younger generations having them and thinking to myself: “Better them than me!”

But I envy their youth and enthusiasm. New babies are like new cars, they have a special pleasant odor, that is until there is some kind of emission, if you catch their drift.

But bringing home a stranger for the first time, one that takes over the home and all the importance, especially for the first-time parents, is exciting.

When our youngest, #2 Son, Michael came home, there was a huge sign over our back doorway to the yard that read: “WELCOME HOME MICHAEL! It was done in those days with a single 12-point letter that was repeated in the shapes of the letters that comprised the sign.

You placed the kid on the kitchen table, next to the fruit bowl, and wondered if the kid would fit in the fruit bowl. We tried and he did.

Of course, it is always a surprise when an announcement is made about babies coming. Then they are born, then they get married! All in the course of what seems like a week!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Something has been bothering me the last few years. Strange as it may sound: it is the need to thank people who’ve made sacrifices in the past that I never acknowledged until recently.

I read where all the immigrants have come to this country, and unless they are Irish or English in heritage, they had or have a language barrier. When I think of my grandparents, I wonder how that played out for them.

I often wonder about my grandmother, coming to America at the tender age of 15! My grandmother was a young girl, still a child, coming to a foreign country alone, where the language was not understandable. I think she probably had a sponsor of some sort, but still, that had to be a frightening experience.

In all my years that she was alive, not once did I ever say: “Thanks, Grandma, you did something wonderful!”

And how she prospered! She lost her husband, my grandfather to Spanish Influenza, early in their marriage, and with three small children, raised them in a small shack in Rockville Center! She married my grandfather’s best friend, and then went on a rampage for a little Italian woman, who built herself an empire right in the middle of the great depression! She owned a fruit and vegetable store, a restaurant/pizzeria, and many tenement buildings! Often with the depression, she lent out money and forgave the loans, suspending rents when people lost jobs!

Dad told me that she was the forerunner of the godfather. Not violent, but if you needed help in the neighborhood, you went to Zia Francesca, and she would make things right!

I asked Dad: “How?” and he never would tell me.

While she did all this, she also held a job sewing buttons on coats, and would bring home: work at night.

There was very little she could say in English, and that astounds me.

There was one other thing about her that she was most famous for. She would organize bus trips to shrines in upstate New York, and plane trips to Italy for an orphanage that was named after her. The money she raised built the place! She never bragged about, just got busy and did it.

If you sat in her kitchen, or were lucky enough to, you would feast of the best food in the true Italian tradition. All of it was cooked by instinct, never had a recipe, yet: could remember countless dishes and all the ingredients they took! She couldn’t read! She was never educated.

On Sundays when the total family gathered, there would be a countless stream of visitors coming to pay respect to Zia Francesca, and untold countless phone calls because of a bus ride or plane trip.

She died at the age of 97, still the matriarch and still relevant to everyone’s lives.

Today, her family is large, too large to figure out, and it all started from a little 15-year old girl with courage.

La ringrazio, la nonna

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


On the 25fth of March, I went to the Stony Brook Dental Clinic for my daughter Ellen. A regular dentist or one that is irregular can’t see Ellen. However, at the Clinic, students from the dental school get first-hand learning experience, and are expendable, so they are thrown into the pit of working with people that have fear and physically respond by kicking and flaring out!

The dentist, a lovely and articulate woman, was extremely good at it, and so was her assistant. Standing off to the side but observing was this beautiful young woman, who I think was a student. She never said much but did smile at me a lot, so I smiled back!

My observation is that she is too pretty to be a dentist, and probably will be booked solid once she starts a practice.

I know I will be going to her daily, just to get my tooth cleaned, because that is all I will have left in my mouth by the time she becomes a dentist!

Looking about this very long room of cubicles and/or stalls was a whole gaggle of students wanting to become dentists. I’m not sure they are all potty trained yet, but they were young!

I got to think as I sat there, how Dad wanted me to become a dentist. Now that I am retired, I could have been a retired dentist! Perhaps a brain surgeon if I had any, or maybe a retired shyster or even a retired hold-up man.

I guess it is too late for any of us that are retired to feel bad about what could have been!

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been.”

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Today is my son Joseph’s birthday. He would have been 31 today. Someone once told me that it looked like my head was cut off, and put on his shoulders: he looked so much like me!

He is a reminder of the past, a reminder of the love within the four walls of my home, and a reminder that others in this world have pain too.

I can’t forget my son, so I can’t forget the love and/or the many people in this world who suffer. I guess I could just go on, live MY life, and not worry about anything else, but I’ve been there, felt the heartbreak and the pain, and the cold emptiness that sits like a cape on my shoulders.

He didn’t live a long life: he wasn’t even 2 years old when God called. He had no chance to do anything in life for himself, or others, yet he has touched me all these years, and reminded me, I have to open my heart and give.

There are people out there I genuinely care about, people who I’ve known all my life, some I met after many years of absence, and some I have yet to meet. We won’t dwell in our sorrow, instead we will laugh in spite of it! We will watch a sunrise as well as a sunset, sing a song and paint a picture. And God forbid, if need be, hold each other’s hand when that time comes. But I hope to be there.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Being how I’m the chair of the fund raising committee for the church, my first meeting started out strangely. I requested that everyone who is on the committee, check off their name, and if their name was not there, to put it in.

Then the meeting started, I gave an overview of the master plan, and invited comments.

Most of the members are way over 60, and have been doing this for years, each at their own committee. I assured everyone that that would stay the same, and that I would invite any new enterprise that is suggested to the committee.

A gentleman to my right speaks up that he wants the Knights of Columbus to raise money for a heart defilabrator by having a dance. He explains that he is a member of the Knights, and sets down his plan.

I listen and the plan calls for a dance that the knights would run.

I ask how it will be paid for. He replies, “Why the church, of course. The committee agrees as a whole and we shake hands on the deal. I find out the next day that these Knights were never on the committee, and were just looking for a place to hold a dance, and that they were NOT members of the committee to begin with!

I don’t like to be conned, and will not stand for it. I notify the Knights that I am asking the teenagers of the parish to get involved, instead.

This does not sit well with the Knights, and go all over the Internet with their complaint against me!

Frankly, I’m honored that the Knights would take the time and trouble to bad-mouth me: it makes me feel important! However if they need to hear my end of the story, here it is.

Sunday, April 04, 2010


The dance was flowing smoothly, and it was one number after another. TLW (The Little Woman) decided to purchase some 50/50 raffle tickets near the entrance to the church hall. Behind the table selling the tickets was a young woman who was pleasantly endowed. She was doing a brisk business with unusually happy husbands and spewing, hateful, and unusually silent wives with long faces.

“Did you see how that woman was dressed?” inquired TLW after the purchase.

“Gee, No!” (A lie)

“You mean you didn’t notice her cleavage?”

“Gosh, I’m sorry! I’ll go take another look. You know I only have eyes for you!” (OK another lie)

“She really was dressed inappropriately for a church dance!”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk!” (One more lie)

A few days later, my good buddy from one of my fund raising committees tells me he found someone to help out on the Golf Committee.

“She sold 50/50 raffle tickets at the dance. Did you see her?”

“Yeah I saw her!”

“Well she dressed that way to sell tickets, we sold a lot of tickets.”

“You mean I bought a lot of tickets!”

“Well she is willing to help you out”

“Of what?”

“On the golf thing there!”


“She runs a restaurant, and works there after 8:00 pm every evening. I told her your are coming to meet her.”

“Gee thanks!”

Now I have to figure out how to tell TLW. I decide to tell her straight out, get the lecture and/or disdainful look out of the way, and suck in up like a man, and visit the woman.

“Toots, I’m going to meet the lady who sold us the 50/50 raffle tickets at the dance.”


“She wants to help out on the golf committee thing.”

“Did you see how she was dressed that night?”

“Gee, No!” (still lying!)

“You mean you didn’t notice her cleavage?”

“Gosh, I’m sorry! I wish I had now. You know I only have eyes for you!” (yup, still another lie)

“She really was dressed inappropriately for a church dance!”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk!” (One more before I hit the road)

Unfortunately, like the raffle tickets, she has something I want. (To speak with her. Get your minds out of the gutter!)

But, alas, (A little Shakespearian I learn) she is running late. I decide to wait. Having dinner, I felt it safe to go into this establishment. Waiting I see signs of food, nice signs. I see a sign for ice cream. Two big mounds of vanilla ice cream. I love ice cream! That reminds me I’m there to see the lady. I lose, I order a hot dog, eat it and wait some more.

Finally she arrives, we speak, she is very modestly dressed and very pleasant, exchanging information, I leave.

Arriving home, there sits TLW, in her chair, waiting.

“How did your meeting go?”


“Did you get something to eat for free?”

“No” (Half a lie, I paid for it.)

“Hmmm, I’m surprised?”

“It would be wrong!”

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 03, 2010


The family, that is.

Between my four sisters and their children I did a head count after talking to Mom last week. She said with the arrival of 2 new babies coming, she would have 11 great grandchildren!

That’s five children, 14 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren!

That is pretty good, since not all her grandchildren are married yet.

When I remember back to Brooklyn, growing up and the small nucleus of people in that little walk-up, it amazes me. How wonderful for her to see occur, to see what was started in November of 1940, to what it is by October of 2010!

It is indeed an interesting family, we’ve had great joy and great tragedy, but we have always stayed cohesive. There has been the ‘firsts’ that we achieved, the first to go to college, the first marriage, the first grandchild, all those are wonderful and fruitful things.

My sisters have done great things in their lives, as mothers and wives, raising great children, which are all reflecting back to Mom, and her values. These very values are what I used for a measuring stick, so that I found TLW (The Little Woman). It made me last longer than I should have, and to need to see all these wonderful people is what keeps me going.

These are the things that I count as riches. They are the sounds of voices, the sights of faces, and laughter, joy and gladness of being with them, can not be substituted by anything else.

And now one of my sons is about to marry! That is more joy and I look forward to a wonderful couple, that I can call my children! Wait till you meet Courtney!

Friday, April 02, 2010


Recently, on a Sunday afternoon, certain employees of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company joined together for some live entertainment.

The sisters of Eastwick as I like to call them, mounted a bus for the trip to the Queensborough Performing Arts Center for a performance by a wanna-be Neil Diamond. (What else did you expect?)

Pictured from your left to right are Pat (The Princess of Foxwoods Points), Lois (Toots II) and the ever-present TLW (The Little Woman). or Toots I. These Covent beauties at one point tried to recruit their husbands to join them, who promptly turned down the Wanna-be’s invite, since it is like drinking non-alcoholic beer, at a minor league baseball game, while eating tufu hotdogs!

None of this dampened their enthusiasm, as they dined at the exclusive (You guessed it) wanna-be Italian ristorante: “Mamma-You Wanna-Be”!

Returning home, TLW was all lit up with excitement, praising the eggplant rollatini, but no mention of Mr. Wanna-be Diamond.

“Did you see the show?” I inquired.”
“Yes” she responded, if somewhat unenthusiastically.
“Wasn’t it any good?” I persisted.
“It was fine until Toots II noted his real name was C. Zirconia!”
“But didn’t you expect a ersatz diamond?” I countered.
“Yes, but it got a little dicey when Pat suggested and we followed, her suggestion.”
“What was that?”
“That instead of clapping after the performance, we yell out: Clap-clap-clap!”

Thursday, April 01, 2010


TLW (The Little Woman) that is!

Married to me, you must be wondering: “HOW?”

Well, she got this mailing called: VISA Black Card! Yes, that prestigious circle of people which only get this mailing. You or everyone you know may have gotten one too!

If you demand only the best of what life has to offer this is for you.

The membership is “limited” to ensure that only the highest caliber of personal service is provided to each member. And get this, there is a 24-hour concierge service ready to assist you in all you personal, business and travel needs.

“OK, Mr. Del Bloggolo, has much does this wonderful news costs?” you may be wondering.

Are you sitting down? Only $495 for the account holder! That’s right, just pay them $495 and you become exclusive. AND, you don’t need “Dummy” stamped on your forehead to do that! Say TLW wants to include me on this wonderful deal, well just shell out another $195 and I’m on!

"Is there interest?" you ask. Only 13.24% What a deal!
You must be thinking: “This is too good to be true, Mr. Del Bloggolo, where can I sign up?”

Well, for just a measly $100 I will send you TLW’s invitation, we already removed the name and address, but hurry, supplies are limited, and it is a first-come, first-served basis.