Saturday, April 30, 2011


That is the first line of a hymn sung in my church. It keeps going on in my head, and I can’t seem to shake it, since I got up this morning!

Oh, by the way, this is the day that we bring #2 Son back to Purchase for his college classes. There’ll be no more subtle reminders that he is home until his Easter break. No empty cigarette wrappers that say: “Gee Dad, it’s good to be home.” There will be no butts lying on the ground in the backyard, put there so carefully to remind us that he enjoys every bit of his stay.

Of course he is just a young guy, I don’t expect Suzie Spotless to be a young man, and he is if anything: typical of other young men.

I was marveling on how well he has moved along. He is the baby, but he is also the hope for the future, mine as well as the unborn. He is a very sincere guy, (a kid in my eyes) who really wants to make the world a better place! I hope he changes his mind about some things, like wanting to work in the Middle East, but he intentions are right, and maybe we need somebody like him to step up.

When he was a little boy, about a year and a half, he would dance to the Jeopardy music theme and had all kinds of toy instruments, including a set of toy drums my father left off at the doorstep and took off, after leaving them! I though with all his toy instruments, #2 Son would become a musician when he grew up, completing an art or creative trifecta and I was happy about that. We would then have a writer, artist and musician from the same family, a great thing to find no less under one roof!

Instead of music, #2 Son turned out to be a writer, and politician, causing me to wonder where he gets it! #1 Son is a professional writer, and I like to dabble, but #2 is channeling his energy into something else, something I didn’t expect, reporting on the Middle East! He even started learning Arabic!

Friday, April 29, 2011


I am always the last to know.

As I have wandered through life, it always seems to be filled with surprises, and the older I get, the more surprised I get. What surprises me is I get older! This morning as I went to the bathroom sink, I stood in what I thought was a line, waiting for the old man ahead of me to get done, when I realized, that guy in the mirror, that old man I was waiting for, was me!

As I look about me, I watch a TV show and think: ‘Hmmm, that is an older person” I soon realize the older person is younger than me, maybe by 5 years!

I’m even finding it harder to gauge how old anyone over 40 now is, since I am so old. I look around the board conference room, where 20 some odd sit to make decisions, and realize that I now am one of the older members! The retired old cranky men of twenty years ago are no longer there; I am the retired old cranky man!

This startling revelation has taken a whole new sense to my life, one that necessitates caution. I have been holding the door open for younger men than me, thinking they should have the respect because they are older than me!

I see women who dress like my grandmother, and think, they are old, older than me, but you know as well as I do, they are not. What I want to know is why, as we get older, we accept the dress code of the older, why do we make ourselves look old? I know I can do it sometimes, and I have to stop and think: is this how I want to feel?

Pardon my vulgarity, after all, I am old!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I parked my car in the drizzle of the late March afternoon, waiting in the driveway for my appointment. The home I was going to review for my agency is a rather large one, sitting on a large parcel of property, set deep back behind two long driveways situated on either side of the property. But this is not about the house, but about the soul of the house, the people that live in it.

I was greeted at the door by the houseparent, who offered me coffee, and invited all who were in the house to come and meet me. Sitting around the table were some 4 or 5 people enjoying a late afternoon snack after arriving from their day program. One of the ladies sitting there invited me to sit down, which I did and offered me some rice cakes.

Ten men and women live in this abode, co-habitants that live in a peacefulness that inspires one to behave as human as possible, because life can be beautiful, that if we accept without reservation, offer peace to each other, and not judge, life can be beautiful!

One of the things that so attach me to people with developmental disabilities is their willingness to love, and to be loved. The people in this home were very high functioning, very well spoken, and just genuinely good in what one would hope to find in the spirit of people.

As I sat making out my report, I noticed that most of them were getting up to make the next day’s lunch to carry to their program. There was an order, and a peaceful cooperation among unrelated people, people that made me realize just how happy they were to be in a safe environment, cared for and caring for each other.

Interviewing a middle aged woman I asked her name, and she responded: “Geraldine, Geraldine Bosco, you know, like Bosco milk? B O S C O, Bosco.”

She related her job in her workshop program, how she loved it and how she loved living in her room. She told me she was going on a cruise with the other residents, how excited she was, and how she would have a good time, because she had never been on a cruise before.

Suddenly, I didn’t want to leave the house, I wanted to be part of this wonderful peace, this wonderful acceptance of a stranger like me, making me not want to leave!

I had visited the home last year, and I remembered some of the residents and one in particular. This gentleman was using what I think is called Wii-fi, but I’m not sure. He was bowling on his TV, and I mentioned to him I recalled that day. He said to me that he had to stop because it was “Messing up my bowling game, the ball in real life is heavy, the game fools you because you don’t have anything heavy in your hands.” I know I would have never figured that out on my own if I were doing both.

I went through my inspection of the house, as all the residents sat waiting for me in the living room. When I was finished, I stood before them, thanked them and told that that I would be back next year, just because, like last year, I so enjoyed meeting them.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Recently I got an email from an old classmate of mine from my high school years, and he sent me the following. I don’t usually like to post things I get in emails because that only encourages all kinds of stuff that I don’t want to read myself. But the following I think is true, and so I will share it with you.

Thanks Mike Wenger!

No matter what our kids and the new generation think about us,
To Those of Us Born
1925 - 1970:
At the end of is a quote of the month by Jay Leno. If you don't read anything else, please
Read what he said.
Very well stated, Mr. Leno.
1930s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!
First, we survived being born to mothers, who may have smoked and/or drank,
while, they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies
in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets,
and, when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps, not helmets, on our heads.
As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And we weren't overweight.
Because we were always outside playing... that's why!
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day.
--And, we were OKAY.
We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps
and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs,
no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms..
and we went outside and found them! We fell out of trees, got cut,
broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents.
We would get spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand, and no one would call child services to report abuse.
We ate worms, and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and although we were told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment..
Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!
These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever.
The past 50 to 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of those born between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who have had to grow up as kids before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and fortunate their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

The quote of the year
Jay Leno:
"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


My partner and I made a business trip into Manhattan recently to meet a potential partner in our new business Russell’s Tour & Event Planning.

The meeting went great, we have a new association with a great touring group called ADVENTURE TOURS, whom we will work with in the near future. I will write more on the tours and ADVENTURE TOURS in particular at a later date.

We met Ike and his lovely wife, who run ADVENTURE TOURS, at the famous NY City deli: KATZ, the Jewish Deli that has been the place for film makers to make some of the more memorable movies and scenes, such as ‘When Harry Met Sally’, and that famous scene where Sally overly professes her love.

This is pure NYC deli, the sparkling snappy attitude that so make New York City what she is. It is brash, fun, and historic, being established way back in 1888! The same building, the same location, still professing that I should, or we all should: “Send a salami to your son in the army,” coined back in the war years of the 1940’s. It is fast, crowded but a good crowded if there is such a thing. It says: “You are in the Big Apple!”

It is part of the beautiful cultural fabric, woven into the Jewish immigrant patch that sits next to the Italian and Chinese patches that make the history of NYC so interesting and fun.

The menu is strictly deli, Jewish deli, with knishes, kosher dill and pastrami, corned beef piled high and truly great hot dogs all, with the blessing of a rabbi. You have the rye to cover most of it, the matzo ball soup if you like that and it is just a great way to live for a change!

So if you wish to have a NYC experience, try a little deli, try Katz, you’ll thank me.

Monday, April 25, 2011


The Easter Sunday Mass was packed at Immaculate Conception in Westhampton Beach, every seat was taken, and for a church we had never visited before, this was a whole new experience for us: me, TLW (The Little Woman) and Sista Tanj-Gerina. We were there to witness the beauty of a certain Bell-choir that had one participant in particular, my business partner Pam Rae playing.

As we sat in prayerful silence, TLW decides to do a fashion critique of the statues. Yes, those plaster forms the church employs to watch over me and make sure I’m behaving. They are usually made in an advanced ceramics class, because you can’t find that mold anywhere.

“That statue of Mary has a garish color blue!”

“Whaddaya mean? It is official St. Mary blue!”

“No, it is too garish.”

Poking Sista Tanj-Gerina awake, I ask her opinion.

“Madonna Joe, don’t make me laugh here!”

“I’m sorry Sista, but this particular section, where we are sitting is where all the lightning strikes. Be that as it may be, what do you think about the dress Mary bought for the occasion? Do you think she should have gone to a boutique, maybe another color? And what about the style?”

“I don’t know nothing, leave me out of this.”

Returning to TLW she also comments on the statue of St. Joseph, standing next to Mary and holding the baby Jesus.

“St Joseph looks kind of dark!”

“Well, what do you expect, this is a vacation town, a place where you go to the beach, of course he’s tanned! Sista? What do you think?”

“Gee, I guess so!”

“Well Sista, don’t you think it nice that they kept the family together all these years? I must say though, I’ve been going to church for over 60 years, and I never saw the kid get older!”

“Joe, I swear, I don’t need any lightning right now, I don’t even know these people, Madonna!”

I think it is a shame that no one seems to care about saintly fashion awareness!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


As most of you know by now, Happy, my cocker spaniel has gotten old. #2 Son is starting to get like the rest of us for the overuse of the bell that she strikes with her paw.

The bell was put there (and it might have been her idea) to tell us she wants to go out. Then she will strike it if she thinks she wants to go out, steps outside and comes right back in. This makes us all peeved at her since she is doing it for a treat.

I have been thinking that maybe she is really senile, and not so devious. She is way past her life expectancy, but in spite of that fact, she will still jump up into a chair, arthritis and all. She limps from her hind legs, she has all kinds of growths on her, and she has slowed down considerably.

Most of Happy’s day is spent sleeping, and one day as we were both in the den, her sound asleep and me in my recliner, I suddenly hear this strange moaning, like a visitation from the dead! A sound so mournful I thought that the angel of death was finally coming for me. Covering all my bases, I said a quick Act of Contrition and started to review my life, realizing I had a lot of explaining to do, and wondered if I would need summer clothes. After about five minutes of this I realized on my way to the bathroom (I figured the explaining would take a while and I wanted to be comfortable) that the noise emanated from Happy!

But now I seriously doubt senility is a factor, unless you are talking about me. The other morning, she pulled a fast one as they say, striking the bell. Getting up I went to let her out, she stepped out and waited for me to walk away. Standing there she waited, and I stood and watched. She decided to go out of sight and then come back! TLW (The Little Woman) was sitting reading the newspaper and I remarked to her: Well this dog can’t be trusted to tell the truth! TLW: “True and you say she is senile, she knows what she is doing, YOU are getting senile when you buy into her.”

Saturday, April 23, 2011


There once were three of us, all working in the creative department, all good buddies, all having a time of our lives. There was Frankie: the head of the mechanical staff of people that put together the boards for production after my guys designed the comprehensives. Frankie was a genial guy, quick to laugh, even quicker to have a drink a smoke and eat, just like the rest of us. He was always plotting some trick to play on one of us, and when it backfired, he paid dearly for his indiscretion. At lunch time twice a week, usually Mondays and Fridays, he would sit at the round table, a fresh pack of Vantage cigarettes, and a glass of vodka, straight up, and a lottery ticket resting in front of his chubby fingers, as he dreamed of some secretary or clerk, or relating his latest home improvement he was enmeshed in. More often than not he would mix his words in both Italian and English, and always ending his sentences or thoughts with a little laugh.

Sitting in his usual place each of these luncheons was Bruce, or Brucie. Bruce could put the Jack Daniels Manhattans away like no one else I knew then or know now. He and I imbibed in the same drink, him more so than I. Bruce would sit and take out his black Pentel, and draw some elaborate picture in a cartoonish way, all the while making comments about someone in the office, as we laughed our heads off upon the observations. When Bruce went to work in the morning, he got what he could get done, when he came back in the afternoon, he was shot, or wasted, or just plain drunk! No one bothered to ask him questions after 3:00 P.M. When his office day was over, he would join Frankie, and off to the bar for a few more before heading home, their wives thinking they were working too late so therefore: too hard.

This was the ritual, every Monday and Friday, mainly because I didn’t go out with them the other three workdays, and felt if I did, I would be responsible for them, or would wind up just like them.

Then one day Frankie started missing work, a day here and a day there, and before you knew it, a week and then weeks. We were worried, he complained his stomach hurt constantly, and soon he was bed-ridden. Then one February afternoon, while Frankie was in the hospital, word came that he had passed on! A cold shock took over, the whole department stunned: people were walking around, their heads down, their faces expressionless. All I remember that day was how brown the carpet was, how I studied one little spot in my office, my door closed, quiet was dictating to me.

The following Monday, at the funeral Mass for Frankie, a lot of the company showed up, and afterward we went to our usual lunch spot, just Bruce and I. Going to our usual table, (The waitress always kept the table open for us,) we sat down quietly, and ordered our drinks. The waitress was told that we wanted our usual. She looked at us and said: “Two Jack Daniels?”

“NO! We also want a vodka straight up, and bring over a pack of Vantage cigarettes, too!” I don’t know why I said it, but I needed to say goodbye to an old friend. Bruce, looking at me asked: “How did you know to do that?” as he placed a lottery ticket down where Frankie sat. We ate, the ash tray sitting with a burning Vantage cigarette, and the vodka sitting there, all testimony to a lost friend.

And so it went for a few years, then Bruce and I both left the company about the same time, when his wife became ill with cancer, and he needed to take care of her for the first time. We commiserated about how to wash floors and do laundry, or even cooking a chicken, as he wife bravely fought to survive.

One morning, I get a call from his wife, Bruce is in the hospital, Bruce has mouth cancer, it doesn’t look good. It wasn’t, soon he was in hospice, but Bruce had one more drink in him, this time in the form of a dream he always had. He always wanted to move to North Carolina and build a log cabin house. He had gone so far as to order a kit, have it sent down south where it was sitting waiting for him to put it up. It was his design, and he was determined to live in it.

I visited Bruce one day, his house filled with packed boxes, he was moving south. The Hospice nurse had just left, and the next day he would fly down to his new place with his ailing wife. He had arranged an ambulance to take him to the airport, and special accommodations on a plane, and another ambulance when he arrived in Raleigh to transport him to his newly built home.

He arrived in his new home, and died the next day! His wife died almost immediately afterward. They had a memorial with the two urns in St. Lawrence the Martyr in Sayville, NY, his old parish. A few of us showed up that day, and there was no place to go afterward, no restaurant that could do us justice, just one more time, no matter how lonely.

Friday, April 22, 2011


That is my motto in the kitchen lately. I have decided that it is time to throw out the old and invent some new recipes for dinner, which will serve two purposes.

1.) Imaginative new dishes that I can create that taste great and,
2.) Make the dishes low fat and still taste like they aren’t low fat!

I’ve been thinking about all the meals I make, out of my head anyway, meals that are delicious but I don’t record the recipe, and will not remember it the next time I want to make it. This leads me to think maybe I should start planning them on paper first then executing them.

When TLW (The Little Woman) goes for seconds, then I know things are good, and she does that often. I think the reason the meals come out good is because I love to cook, always have and always will. So, why not raise it to another level? Create what I like in a safer fashion, still have taste and use good ingredients.

Mom is still a great cook at 93, my grandmother was a great cook until she died at 97, I think most of my sisters are and so is TLW.

Being a creative spirit, I like a fresh challenge, a new idea, and different way of approaching life, even at this stage of my life. TLW is more traditional, more cautious, but has shown amazing ability to be creative, even though she doesn’t think so. (The last time she showed any creativity, she decided to date a screwball, but she wound up marrying him).

So I will start to develop these ideas on paper, and if they are any good, I will post them here to share with you.

I think that if you have any sense, and you know how to cook to begin with, even a little, you can come up with new ideas. Being afraid to experiment with ingredients and flavors will not hurt you, so go for it, be not afraid!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Last month there was a buzz on the Internet because the President of the United States couldn’t get into the White House. He tried the first set of French doors, and they wouldn’t open, so he walked to another set that did open, and he got in. It was one of the top five hits on the Internet, and all the TV channels that cared ran it too!


I get locked out once in a while too, but I don’t think anyone would care to film it, report it or even want to hear about it. I know he’s the President of the United States, but aren’t there more important things he is doing that is newsworthy?

This inability on his part, to get into the White House, especially since he was elected into it, just points out how stupid things are getting in this country. Maybe this calls for some speculation. Did the Republicans do it, or did Michelle or one of his kids? I know, it was Joe Biden, that kidder! He is always joking and doing silly things!

Another suggestion would be that maybe he should carry a set of keys around with him. You know, with a chain that hangs from his belt and he can stick them in his side pocket. A nice dignified chain, after all he IS the President.

Maybe he should phone ahead, so the wife and kids know he’s coming, you know how sometimes you are cleaning out you sock drawer, and someone comes, and you really don’t want to stop what you are doing, even for the President of the U.S.

My fear is if he can’t get in, he might call the Marines to come and rescue him, by knocking down the door, and ruining a fine old French set of doors, probably from Paris, although they are nice doors, so maybe they come from Nice?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


It’s that time of the year, (March 25) when the colleges let out for spring break, and all the kids have to vacate their dorms for a week. The idea is that spring is here, so take a week and go smell the flowers. Well, I got news for them, it’s still friggin winter, THERE ARE NO FLOWERS YET, GO BACK TO CLASS! It is also the same week that coincides (Rhymes with suicides) with spring cleaning is just about to begin, just wait for aforementioned kids going back to school AFTER spring break.

Every time I go up to visit #2 Son to bring him home, it is like entering a room occupied by Al-Qaeda, you want to cautiously enter, you are afraid, very afraid of what you might find!

As I enter the apartment, I look around and ask: “Wow, the tsunami reached this far!”

“Yeah, the tsunami reached this far, whenever you are ready we can go.”

Getting home is like a two stage booster rocket: first stage begins with this conversation.

Me: “So, how is the semester going?”

#2 Son: “Great, love all my courses, except for fencing, it’s an elective I had to take one, so I choose that. Did Mom tell you what happened to me with the instructor?”

Me: “You mean about going easy?”

#2 Son: “Yes, he said if we team up with a girl, we should go easy! The chauvinist!
I mentioned it to him after class, and he said that it is a traditional men’s sport, women have never fenced before!”

Not wishing to get into any discussion that would require my thinking with a long drive ahead of me, as I passed the first of the many exits on the Hutch, I asked instead: “So, are you taking the Errol Flynn course of fencing?

“Errol Flynn? I guess, I never heard of him.”

“By the way, do they have a ‘History of the cinema’ you could take instead of fencing?”

Stage 2 of the trip: he leans back on his seat and falls asleep. Apparently he is starting his spring break on the road!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Recently I called my business partner Pam, about some pending issues when she informed me that she was having dinner at that moment with Sista Tanj-Gerina. As you know, the good Sista, who is known for blessing the multitudes, or so it seems as she waves her hands when she speaks, with a amen kind of Mamma Mia when she ends her sentences, had also taken one of her many disciples’ with her to the dinner.

Being how her tag along guest was one of her little pooches, she knew she would have a captured audience to hear one of her many sermons. She then decided to take the visit one step further and had the dog baptized! Sending the little dog out to the back yard, the little pooch decided to walk along Pam’s closed for the winter pool and then went onto the top of it, where she promptly fell between the seams that were coming apart and into the drink!

Seeing her little dog disappear, Sista Tanj decided that maybe it was too soon for a k-9 baptism and decided to get baptized herself, in pursuit of the little doggie. In went Sista Tanj, clothes and all, to rescue her companion, praying loudly as she did, or so it seemed, her hands were flailing wildly about in what one would assume was prayer.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, as Pam, a devote follower of Sista Tanj, fell first on her knees, then prone, at the side of the pool, stretching out her arms to Sista Tanj and her little friend, plucking them out one at a time.

Say; Hallelujah, say amen! Or as Sista Tanj said: Madonna!

Monday, April 18, 2011


There are things that many of my friends, (in fact both of them) don’t know about me! These are the hidden little facts that constitute my being, and if you don’t mind, I’d like to reveal them to one and all!

Ferinstance, being married to TLW, (The Little Woman) has given me caused to re-asses my status as a man. Did you know that I make “Educated choices”? Yes, the kinds that banks like. This has occurred only in the last 11 years or so of our marriage. Seems like before then, TLW allowed me to make my own decisions and the only one she says I made right was asking her to marry me. Since that time I became subject to her tutelage and that is how I got by. Then I started watching the TV, and what do I see, but a commercial for The Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company, where the members (We are not your ordinary run of the mill patrons), are making “Educated choices!” Mom must be proud of me.

But it goes beyond that, I am as they say an “Educated consumer”, yes, that’s right, me! Yes, once again, Mom must be very proud indeed. That is because I listen. TLW says I never listen to her, when in fact I’m too busy listening to her commercials! Being the educated consumer that I am, I make these educated choices, meaning that I do good!

The other morning I came down bright eyed, and bushy tailed, asking TLW what the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company slogan was, since I was a little down that day.

“I don’t know!”

“But when you have a commercial they say where the educated consumer or choice goes, and I was wondering who and the where of all that.”

Rolling her head back, she starts to sing the jingle to herself and ends with the “Educated choice” as her answer. I go get my coffee and wonder as I pour when she will ask me why I asked that question,

“Why do you ask?” she bellowed from the den.

“Oh, just trying to remember my status in this house, that’s all.”

But with all this education that the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss talks about, there is that little nagging issue that resides in the back of my mind. You work there, you’d think you know who you are! TLW needs a picture with her name on it to wear around her neck, telling her what she looks like and who she is. I guess with all these people that come and go all day long, it gets kind of crowded so you need to know what you look like when you go to the ladies room and comb your hair or fix your make-up. When you look in the mirror, you need to know who’s hair to fix, thus: an educated choice!

Sunday, April 17, 2011


A few weeks ago, TLW, (The Little Woman), came home and said: “Did you leave those DVD’s on the front entranceway for somebody?”

Me: (Being highly intelligent and filled with intellectual brilliance said) Huh?

“They’re on the kitchen table.”

I look, don’t recognize the handwriting that says “Del Bloggolo 70’s and 80’s memories” on the disc, so I whip out my trusty laptop and stick one of the three discs in. Up pops this old footage of my good buddy Phil, with his wife and kids, taken right before Washington crossed the Delaware! As I continued, I see my kids as small children and a young wife. I was the only one who didn’t change! Incredible!

Being hurtled back in time at the speed of light, I sat back in amazement wondering who could have done this! Then I remembered: my handsome nephew John, (looks like my side of the family) my older sister Tessie‘s (Much older) son had offered to transfer my VCR tape that was getting dangerously old and in danger of losing these wonderful memories to DVD’s.

What a great kid, what a great job! I highly recommend that if you don’t have it done, history is gone forever!

It had been years since I saw that last, and I started wondering how I felt about certain things, where that shirt was, (I hope I didn’t throw it out), it was a shirt from my sister-in-law Maureen that I loved, given to me when I had just passed 39, and there was movies of Mom and Dad and my sisters and their kids at Christmas Eve dinner. All this was like washing your brain and cleaning out the cobwebs to give your memory clarity, and better recall!

John, you are the best! What you did, you did for generations to come, grandpa’s great great grandchildren, will get to see him! He won’t be a figment or conjured up idea of what he looked and sounded like, that IS a wonderful gift! You have done a great service to the family.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


TLW (The Little Woman) came home one evening and started relating to me how she saw this baby at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company.

It seems there was a young man Mark, who worked at the wanna-be bank, got married, had a child, and then left for a new career. The man happens to be African American, and that is pertinent to this story. (Please, no whining)

Seeing a baby: sitting on a young woman’s lap as she sat with one of the wanna-be bank employees conducting her business, TLW said to herself; “My God, that looks just like Mark’s baby!” She then immediately pointed the child out to Toots II, Lois. Toots II agreed with TLW so naturally TLW decided to investigate.

After a conversation with the young woman, she discovers that the child is Mark’s niece, so naturally the child looks like Mark’s!

After relating this all to me, she then began to ask the $6 Million question:

“So, what does THAT tell you?”

“That they all look alike?”


Say: Goodnight Gracie.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Recently, I went to a home for people with developmental disabilities, which I visit once a year: to inspect for the board of directors for my daughter’s agency. As a member of the board, we have a responsibility to view these homes and other programs such as our workshop program, educational and day-treatment programs and report back to the board on how things are going.

This particular house has special meaning to me: since it was the first home my daughter went in to live with the agency. The home is just that, a home, filled to the brim with loving caring people that need love and help with their daily lives, and with the same loving intent from the wonderful people who care for those with developmental disabilities.

One of the hardest things on one of the hardest days of my life was when my wife and I along with Ellen’s baby brother left her off for the first time. We sat in what was a tense situation for all of us in my family. Ellen was unsuspecting that her mom and dad would be in a sense abandoning her, and it was killing us all that we were doing it. We knew that the long-term effects would all be positive, but we needed to fight through this feeling and do what we needed to do to make us all have better lives. Some day we would not be here for Ellen as parents, and we wanted our sons to be free of the burden and responsibility of the daily living of a person with developmental disabilities. We also realized that some day they would marry, and it would not be fair to lay that on their wives!

When we left the place, after being told not to visit for two whole weeks, we walked to the car, and could hear my daughter crying for us, that we had left her! It was a very heart-wrenching thing to go through, and the rest of the day was a complete downer, even though we knew it would mean better days for all of us.

In the ensuing years, Ellen prospered; thrived and grown into a young woman from the teenager she was when she entered that home. She loves where she lives, can’t wait to go back ‘home’ when we bring her to our house for dinner and holidays. When she enters her home, and sees a caretaker, she will immediately hug them to near death!

As I returned to do my inspection, the same feeling, one that I get whenever I visit my Mom, the sense of love, security and happiness pervades the building, and I love that place, it makes my daughter happy.

The agency provides Ellen with not only a warm bed and meals, but 24-hour nursing care, entertainment and peers. She is constantly under a doctor’s care and supervision as well as a house parent. She has a cook: someone does her hair and nails, and is treated better than I am! Good for her!

Homes like Ellen’s are essential, they do things that are unseen, they giver a sense of belonging to those who would otherwise be shut out of life, they give a sense of purpose to those who care for the residents, it instills a sense of relief that parents and siblings will be free to live and die without the burden and worry of what happens when mom and dad are gone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Being an old man, ready for the grave, the nurses at Aetna call on occasion to see if their investment is still worth the while. They usually call after dinner around 6:30 and begin their inquisition. The reason for the calls is the policy of the insurance company to foster good health, and keep an eye on me in case the wish to drop me from their rolls.

I am a stinker.

“How are you today Joseph? For quality assurance and training purposes, this call is monitored ” goes the first question, and I hit it right out of the park!

“Fine, nurse Cratchet!”

“Has anything changed since we last spoke?”

“Nothing but my under wear, nurse Cratchet.”

“Good, good, is there anything you want to talk to me about?”

“Well, lately I’ve been tired, I get sleepy in the late afternoon, especially when I didn’t sleep the night before, nurse Cratchet.”

“Do you know why that is?”

“I think nurse Cratchet that I am 66 years old, and like dog poop that lies in the heat of a summer afternoon, it becomes overwhelming, nurse Cratchet?”

“Oh no, you are still considered young, besides, dog poop will dry out, leaving no odor. When do you see your doctor again?”

“In a few months, I go every 3 months, whether I need to or not, unlike my under wear. There I try to be more consistent nurse Cratchet.”

“Do you know what keeps you awake at night, do you snore?”

“Oh, it’s the snoring all right, but I can’t seem to get her stop, nurse Cratchet!”

“Are you saying your wife snores?”

“It’s for you Toots, the Aetna nurse.”

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The way the Mets look this year, just take me out. Shoot me actually.

Being a Met fan has three phases: hope, tolerance and despair. I start the season off, excited, joyful and downright baseball giddy, around June I start getting suspicious, with bouts of nostalgia for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and by late August, I’m looking forward to the football season!

No one should have to live this way, being teased to distraction, watching all that money on the field not performing, when in fact the owners of the Mets could if any money is left from the Madoff crises, pay us fans to watch those bums.

Then there is the alternative: watching the Home Improvement network with TLW (The Little Woman). I’d rather have a pork chop or two hanging out of my back pocket in a room filled with hungry lions.

I also have to deal with the Yankee fans, which the NY newspapers call the “Cross town rivals”, a misnomer since the Yankees win all the time.

The first and only time I went to CitiField, the home of the Mets, I entered, saw the museum, and should have left at that point, but no, I had to watch them play. The Mets, by building the new stadium with the triple decks, haven’t made it high enough, I think it is possible a Met fan could survive a leap. Once again it wouldn’t work out for the Met fan.

Oh, there are other New York sports teams I could watch, but all those teams are really the Mets, just different uniforms, but the same results! The one team that seems to win, actually plays in New Jersey!

God, help me!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


She’s my mistress, sometimes my constant companion: it was love at first sight!

There are nights when you find us in bed together: Ms. Doku and me, I hold her gently, each stroke measured in love and patience, my mind set on the conquest. When she came to this country a few years ago, she had a reputation, one of being hot back in her native land. But that is what a mistress will do to a man, turn his head completely around, make him do stupid things.

Oh, TLW (The Little Woman) knows, she tolerates it because she knows there is nothing she can really do about it. Don’t get me wrong; Ms. Doku is not easy, she can be a fleeting pleasure at best, sometimes at the climatic moment, a disappointment.

Maintaining this relationship has been difficult, everyday, as often as possible, it is inexhaustible love, and I intend to pursue her as long as possible, as long as I can hold up, and keep my mind, even thought it is Ms. Doku who drives me out of it.

And what is the reward for all this pleasure, this insane lust for her, it is in knowing that it is after all a puzzle that I can continue to pick up and drop, not caring if I am caught in the act or not.

So Ms. Doku, Su as I like to call her, it’s just you and me baby, every night!

Monday, April 11, 2011


In DelBloggolo land!

If you don’t already, you really should be celebrating the day. Today is TLC’s (The Lovely Courtney’s) birthday!

As you already know, TLC is about to marry #1 Son Anthony on July 3rd, and we the editorial staff at DelBloggolo will shut down the office today and celebrate. This will include a double Jack Daniels Manhattan, a nice lunch and even a little dessert later.

Being the father-in-law to such a great gal is a heady responsibility; not just anyone can handle it. She is a very talented and imaginative young lady, with the emphasis on lady, and just a great kid. Recently we found out just how true that is. Spending almost a week with her in New Hampshire and Maine where she was born, we drove around to the different wedding vendors and an event planner so she could plan out her wedding. She is a great mind for thinking out of the box, and what she plans is very impressive.

I won’t tell you what she is doing, but I will tell you this: helping her was a pleasure, having a conversation with her was so easy and fluid, and knowing that she is joining the family is exciting!

So Anthony is indeed a lucky man, getting a grown up, not a child, and getting a real lady who makes us all feel good about life!

Happy Birthday Courtney!

Let’s celebrate.


I recently found out that a good man I once knew, for a short while, would have celebrated a birthday today. His name was Charlie, a big-hearted paisano that I instantly liked when we first met, passing away a few years ago.

I know Charlie from a engagement party I attended with TLW for someone who worked at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company. Charlie married Toots II, a.k.a. Lois from the same Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company.

Charlie had a very simple philosophy for his life: live happy and eat, and not necessarily in that order. He made you feel at home, had a great sense of humor, and really grew on you.


Sunday, April 10, 2011


The photo is of Albert Snyder, left, who is the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, center, whose funeral was picketed by members of the Westboro Baptist Church, which had vowed to hold protests at the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Green, who was killed by a gunman during a public meeting with Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson last weekend.

Having never been in the military, never experiencing the fear of someone shooting at me, when I go to a burial where there is a military funeral and send off, I thank God the person who fought survived to come home and finish out his life. What the psychological effect on the person’s life were afterward of being in any battle for a prolonged time over a protracted period, I can’t imagine. The horror of seeing a friend fall along side of me would rip my heart out.

As that funereal event plays out, the solemnity of it all, Taps being played, the idea that the dead man or woman risk all his/her days of the rest of what should be their natural life, that the event is connecting both God and Country, as the dead would want it, makes me realize just how serious war is, and how much we should avoid it.

We have these events, these memorial salutes and last goodbyes to honor and venerate their lives, not to foster wars, not to bolster militarism, I’m sure any man of sanity will tell you, avoid war. But life has its necessities, sometimes we do go to war, rightly or wrongly, and mostly wrongly, to protect ourselves and sometimes others. I have a lot of issues with the rush to send young kids into battle, and ask them to sacrifice their lives for me, to die on a battle field, based on others poor judgments, poor calculations in both diplomacy and tactics because of prejudices unreasonableness, not to mention greed.

The “Holy Wars” is a term that especially revolts me, making my stomach turn, thinking we as people could justify killing in the name of God! But this is not about Muslim extremist, no this is about some loose cannons that exists right here in the U.S.A., the so called: ‘Westboro Baptist Church’, led by a crazy man that hates gays among other things, preaches hate to a congregation of followers, and sends idiots to military funerals, to disrupt, disrespect the dead, the country and themselves, the protestors.

Over 44,000 pickets at funerals are proudly boasted by these people, from Kansas who will defend themselves before the Supreme Court, win their case as it is a First Amendment Right to Free Speech!

"This case is about a little church in Topeka, Kansas, engaging in public speech on a public right-of-way, about issues of vital public interest and importance," lawyer Margie Phelps wrote to the court defending the protests. She is also the daughter of church founder Fred Phelps and will argue the case before the justices.

Can someone please tell me how this consoles the families of the dead? Can someone shed some light on the “Christian works” this so-called church is engaged in? Where do I miss the logic of the protest, the point that someone or group of people are in mourning, need comfort, and some point of view, no matter how noble it could be, is even brought up?

Westboro's website says the legal dispute is about the "sovereignty of the Living God" and that those who fail to live up to God's standards should be punished. Phelps, explains that their decision to picket funerals "is to use an available public platform, when the living contemplate death, to deliver the message that there is a consequence for sin." That sin in their view is homosexuality and all government policies they think support homosexuals.

Albert Snyder certainly didn't want anything do with that message in 2006 when he buried his Marine son who was killed in Iraq and was not gay.

Someone should keep track of these bastards, and when they drop dead, we should gather to picket their send-off, maybe with a sign that says: Good riddance!

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Yes, there really is such a thing as an absent minded professor, and I ought to know, I work with him!

As you know by now, I am designing a book in collaboration with the author, a professor at a local college. It has been an ongoing project since 2009, and I am becoming punch-drunk from the experience.

The professor is a nice enough guy, always pleasant, laughs at himself, and is very intelligent and I enjoy his company, working with him is another matter!

He usually sends me a manuscript that I flow into my design program, and then he gets a copy of the design to make corrections where he has typos. This is ok, but he forgets I sent him updates and corrects old versions, causing me to look for things I don’t need to look for!

Recently he called me one afternoon, late in the day to talk some changes and said he would send me some new manuscripts to add to the book and change some pages with. HE was looking at old files, and I was looking at all updated material. As it is his desk is filled with papers, books, pens, pencils and photos, just like mine is, and his computers have files all over his desktop! Old and new updated files are on his desktop, and all too often he picks up the wrong ones, sending me into fits and frustration and dismay to say the least.

He said he would send me two files as attachments, they came and they were the wrong files! OK Professor, send them again! In they come, just as wrong as the first two! I suggested he get his act together, plan out what he was sending me and once he was all together, call me to discuss.

11:30 at night I get new files, guess what?

Friday, April 08, 2011


The other night, after a visit to New England, TLW (The Little Woman) was sitting in her recliner when she suddenly spoke up.

Reading an email survey from the Homeless Suites where we stayed the previous week, she started to read out loud the questions in their survey.

“What was your experience as a guest at the Homeless Suites?” was the first question.

“Joe! What was your experience at the Homeless Suites?” she intoned.

“Well, I …”

“Did you like the exterior the way it looks?”

“What’s to like, it was a parking lot! I think…”

“What about the lobby, were you impressed?”

“Well I thought…”

“What about the maintenance crew, were they efficient?”

“Well, I’d give them…”

“OK, I’m not doing what you say! Were you feeling safe, was the security good, were you feeling at any time insecure?”

“Only when we went into our rooms together, that was a little scary”

“Then you were fine!”

“What would you give the cleaning crew?”

“A five or six”

“But that is only mediocre, I’m giving them a ten!”

“But you complained to me that they missed all the corners in the toilet!”

“Well their mothers may be reading it, and I don’t want them to cry. What was your overall impression of the hotel from 1 to 10?”


“You are just a crotchety old man! I’m putting your name down in this survey, YOU can explain to them why you hate their mothers.””

I don’t like to give my opinion, it seems it must be too harsh, I should tell it like she likes it to be!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


I have a low tolerance for showmanship, especially when it comes to doing one’s job. Get in, do your job and get out. That was what I thought was my philosophy in life.

The other morning I came down after my shower, and TLW (The Little Woman) was watching the news. The day before I had complained about a weatherman, so this particular morning she had on another news program.

I started to watch the program, and felt like a fish out of water.

“I don’t know, I can’t get used to these people!”

TLW: “What people?”

“The people on this newscast.”

“TLW: “I put this on because you complained about the other show!”

“I know, but I guess I need to complain about something.”

So TLW changed the channel back to the old newscast, and my comfort level returned.

I think besides being a pain in the ass, I’m also loyal to my media choices. Once I start on something I stick with it, in spite of a particular irritant, besides I would replace one issue with another by switching channels.

For years while I drove to work in Port Washington, I listened to Imus in the Morning, who I feel is and was a lot better thAN Howard Stern, and on the trip back it was WFAN sports talk radio or talk radio that had a particular hosts that I loved to hear get angry at callers for asking how he was.

But when it comes to weathermen, they just irritate me when they think it is about them. JUST GIVE ME THE WEATHER AND GO AWAY!

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but rest assured it is VERY important to me.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


But not in my family is it just another day. It is a day of celebration, although it will not have a parade, or a feast or even a cheer. No, it will be a day of some solemnity and quiet reflection and not your usual kind of celebration. I guess we can call it a commemoration if you like.

Thirty-two years ago, on a cold and snow covered day, my son Joseph was born. After many false starts and come home phone calls from TLW (The Little Woman) Joseph was born in the sunrise of the day.

When I first met him, like with all my children, my chest was out about a mile, and my mind raced about what life would be like with the new person. This was my second son, and I felt like I was on a roll! He and I live every day together, at least in my mind. He never lived to see his second birthday, and why he died is not as important as that he lived. In his short life he never talked, never really walked, just barely stood up, but left a legacy of love and remembrance that will last my life time and span beyond my life. He and my daughter Ellen are part of the reason I give as much time as I can to help others, and try to leave people laughing and remembering that life is short, so why not enjoy it.

The first thing I learned was he refused to eat, rejecting his feeding, TLW gave me both baby and bottle and said: “Here, you try.” Cuddling Joseph in one arm, like I knew how to do from the first two, bottle in the other hand, I tried; and he took the bottle! I thought: this was easy!

In just less than 2 short years he was gone. But I will still celebrate his life, because he was here on this earth, giving his parents joy that he was ours. I don’t think TLW, #1 Son or even my daughter would trade even one minute of his life with us.

This is not to say I am sad, because I am not. I know he died too soon, but maybe I live too long. I will take what I can get in the joy department, and I will always remember, both the pain and the joy he left us with, but mostly the joy.

Once again, I wasn’t going to write about him, but I realize he as well as my other children are all alive in my mind, so why not? He lived and he gave my wife and I great joy while he was alive, as do my other children today. To deny his existence is to deny he lived, but he did, he smiled and laughed with us, and he played and he cried. He did all the things children do.

So today I will treat myself to something I enjoy in his memory, and be glad I know him. 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.

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

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


See the dew on the sunflower
And a rose that is fading
Roses whither away
Like the sunflower
I yearn to turn my face to the dawn
I am waiting for the day . . . “

So every morning I get up, I look in my closets and see years ago. It seems that I still have a lot of ties, maybe more than I need to have, but like friends, I can’t bare to part with them.

Not a sound from the pavement
has the moon lost her memory?
She is smiling alone
in the lamplight
the withered leaves collect at my feet
and the wind begins to moan”

You would think: “What do I need all these ties for now?” You could, but then you would think: “Where are you going that you need all those ties now?” Again you would be right to think that, after all, I am retired.

All alone in the moonlight
I can smile at the old days
I was beautiful then
I remember the time I knew what happiness was
Let the memory live again”

Funny thing is the withered leaves that collect at my feet are the very memories I have, places I have gone to, people I have met, and even meals I ate.

“Every streetlamp
seems to beat a fatalistic warning
someone mutters
and the streetlamp gutters
and soon it will be morning”

I can look at each and every tie I own, and a vignette will pop up of a time and place or person that made some kind of statement. I could chronicle my life, my career and say without reservation, this is how it happened.

I must wait for the sunrise
I must think of a new life
And I mustn’t give in
When the dawn comes
Tonight will be a memory too
And a new day will begin”

But only last year I purchased a new tie, for the high school reunion, and it is a stark reminder of a wonderful day! Old friends found, good times and another memory. I hope to be able to purchase more ties in the future, you see I don’t plan to really retire from life, I am starting up a business, kind of looking for a new day.

“Burnt out ends of smoky days
The stale cold smell of morning
The streetlamp dies, another night is over
Another day is dawning”

I still have my enthusiasm for something new. I need people who embrace challenges and are willing to take anything on, which is my nature, even on the board I serve on. I am on so many committees that I am losing track of the different meetings!

“Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me
You'll understand what happiness is”

I can bask in some great memories, and remember the bad ones, but if you look closely at my life, you see there is constant challenge and adventure, I am a very happy man, I can still plan tomorrow!

A new day has begun”

Monday, April 04, 2011


Recently I attended a Guardianship committee meeting, which I co-chair with a feisty old gal of 71 years of age. She is a great mind, shrewd and very logical. Together with a committee, we oversee the lives of people with disabilities and advocate for their financial and physical welfare along with their social interaction. We take the work extremely seriously and that is the way it should be.

After the meeting, we met outside in the reception area of the building, not far from the receptionist, a young lady at the time who was in ear-shot. There are people coming and going, and even consumers who traverse the area.

My co-chair invited me to sit down for a moment to talk about a committee we are both on. It is a community trust that we set up, free and independent of the agency and or the parent agency we work with.

“Joe, I got a letter from the parent agency, they want to know who is in the community trust and how much is in it!”


“I don’t know, they are asking. I hate those people as it is, now they are poking their noses where they don’t need!”

“Well, I don’t think you should, it is personal, and none of their business, how dare them even think about it! IT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!”

“YES, that’s exactly right (71 and feisty) IT’S NONE OF THEIR F#(&ING BUSINESS!”

Like a sailor, in front of the whole world, the little girl behind the desk, popping her head up in shock, and me, trying not to laugh out loud, holding it in.

All the way home, I laughed, by myself, out loud every time I though about it! People would stare into my car at red lights, and after a while I realized: “IT’S NONE OF THEIR F#(&ING BUSINESS!”

Sunday, April 03, 2011


It is Sunday morning in New Hampshire. The blustery wind of the dying days of winter is making one last call as I sit in my hotel room typing this. There is silence, as even TLW (The Little Woman) sits on the couch deep into her own laptop. In the next room, TLC (The Lovely Courtney) is quietly packing for her flight home to California and #1 Son.

The quietness in the room is only a loud comment of a short week well spent, planning for a wedding to come in July. Meeting the different people that run businesses in the town of York is an eye-opener. It seems that everyone knows each other, and because they do one gets a sense that things will go over smoothly. Praise rings out from one vendor about another, and assurances seem to flow like a babbling brook.

Small communities of business people, people like you and me who work all their lives but take pride in what they do seem to be everywhere! They are very accommodating, punctuating your request with their enthusiasm. TLC described her plans in detail, with swatches of colors and preconceived out of the box thinking, thinking which I feel everyone will enjoy attending the wedding.

TLC has imparted her enthusiasm into TLW (The Little Woman) and myself, and we see first hand some interesting and creative thinking. #1 Son has had a part in the planning and the conceptualizing, and this will not be an ordinary wedding day on July 3rd. The theme is based on the popular series Mad Men, and there will be a lot of nostalgia, charm and originality expressed.

The wedding reception will be at the York Harbor Inn, and as will the rehearsal dinner for the wedding party and their spouses. TLW and I will host the later, and get a chance to thank all the wonderful people that will be in that wedding party for so honoring the soon to be newly weds.

And so we wrap it up, joyfully knowing that #1 Son is getting a great gal, with a great sense of style and humor!

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Recently I went with my future daughter-in-law Courtney to meet with a cake maker. #1 Son Anthony is marrying Courtney in July, and she asks us to join her in meeting some of the people she will need help from for the wedding.

Arriving at a private residence, Owen Dyer, the owner of Confection Art greeted us warmly and escorted us into his warm home. The man takes pride in his home; work and making people feel good to be there.

After giving us a run-down of his past cakes, ranging in style and imagination, he presented us with about 7 or 8 samples of his work. It was an incredible experience and one that was surprising. Not being a fan of butter cream frostings, I now have a new respect and feeling about it. The man is a master of the oven and the pallet of tongue and art.

If you are attending the wedding, you will be enjoying one great piece of cake, one that is filled with imagination, flavor and originality!

The Lovely Courtney (TLC) is on fire with plans as the bride, selecting a great photographer, Patrick McNamara, Confection Art for her cake, and the York Harbor Inn for her reception. Her and #1 Son’s Mad Men theme is going off with a bang, from colors to d├ęcor, every step of the way, it is a creative wedding!

Friday, April 01, 2011


I usually rant and go on about TV, but a few weeks ago, back in March, when the Tsunami hit Japan, I realized just how powerful TV could be!

Years ago, if this horrific event had occurred, or when it did, someone in the U.S. would read about it, or see a report on TV and maybe feel bad but then turn the page. Today, with the Internet, high-speed connections with satellites and the high-definition TVs we all own, we can see almost simultaneously or live, events such as those that occurred last March 11, 2011.

Suddenly the whole world is in a flat screen TV, making us all keenly aware of the troubles out there, and putting us in the place of spectator and almost participant. We may not smell the smoke of a fire, or feel the tremble of a quake, but we will sense the horror of an event just as much as if we were there.

As I watched in horror, then spell-bound curiosity, I hoped that no children were in danger, that there were no people among the events that unfolded in front of my eyes. Seeing personal footage of destruction of private homes or office buildings and supermarkets being played, and watching whole sections of highways drift and shift, and to hear whole islands had shifted, I was horrified! Cars and planes and ships tossed about like toys, I was in awe, mesmerized, revolted and then taught all at once.

Suddenly I was concerned about a nuclear power plant that could and eventually did explode, about disease and displacement of people and felt the sudden pain they, the Japanese felt.

I guess TV does have a value, a place that makes the world better, if for nothing else, to help us understand other people’s pain.