Thursday, June 30, 2011


I got a call one day from my brother-in-law Dennis, TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) younger brother, inviting me to go to a ballgame with him and my nephew Matt. Being a die-hard Mets fan (I die a little bit after each game) I said: “Yes!”

We agreed to meet at Citi Field ballpark in front of the stadium by the big ‘Home Run’ Apple at 5:30 pm. Arriving at the ballpark I find a parking lot and pull in, rolling down my window to pay.

“That will be $19.00, please.”


“That will be $19.00, please.”

“But I’m not paying for the guy behind me, just my car.”

“That will be $19.00, please.”

Things are changing; you’d think they would wear a mask if they want to hold you up. I know that things are bad financially for the owners of the Mets with the Bernie Madoff suit, but don’t try to balance your books in one day!

After some shock treatment, I proceeded to park and went to meet everyone at the big apple, where I watch untold numbers pose for picture taking. It is a wonderful thing to watch people make fools of themselves, kind of makes me feel I’m not alone.

I must say the neighborhood does draw a bad element, mostly people from Philadelphia in their Philadelphia Phillies jerseys, some posing in front of the apple and holding their throats in a choking fashion. Funny, how the Mets always lose in the late innings, the apple does take on more meaning when it does come to choking!

Today ballparks are very expensive, a soda is $4.50, and a frank over $6 and beer requires proof of age and a second mortgage, not to mention the cost of admission. I was going to buy a souvenir after the game, but my upset stomach and disgust with the team was enough to bring home from the game.

It was a nice night to watch a ballgame, unfortunately only the Phillies showed up to play, the Mets came for the buffet after the game and their paychecks. My brother-in-law looked relaxed and laid back, and my nephew Matt looked like he was having such a good time, I almost reminded him he was watching the Mets, but didn’t want to spoil his mood.

For years the Mets fans would complain about their old ballpark, Shea Stadium being so drab and uninteresting, so when they decided to build a new playground, thy had the architect do it blind-folded, creating some very interesting and meaningless configurations for the playing field.

If you are tired of life, wish to punish yourself, or just don’t like to have any money, then I suggest you try a Mets game at Citi Field, you’ll be sad you went.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Every now and then I break my promise. Every now and then something sickens me and makes me angry. This is the kind of “Change” many Americans voted for in the last presidential election!

"A leader can give up anything - except final responsibility."
John C. Maxwell

Barbara Walters comments on Jane Fonda: "She can lead her present life the way she wants and perhaps SHE can forget
the past, but we DO NOT have to stand by without comment to see that she is:
"honored" as a "Woman of the Century".
I remember this well, Never Forgive A Traitor."

For those of you too young to remember, Hanoi Jane is a bad person and did
 some terrible things during the Vietnam war. Things that cannot be

 For those who served and/or died... NEVER FORGIVE A TRAITOR. SHE REALLY WAS A TRAITOR!!

 and now OBAMA wants to honor her......!!!!
 In Memory of LT. C. Thomsen Wieland who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton


She really is a traitor.



This is for all the kids born in the 70's and after who do not remember, and
 didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers 
and sisters had to bear.. 

Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the '100 Women of the Century.' BARBARA WALTERS WRITES: "

Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never
 known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific
 men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam


The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll.
 In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho
 Lo Prison the ' Hanoi Hilton.'
 Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in
 clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace
 Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.
 He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the
 subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant's feet, which
 sent that officer berserk.
 In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which
 permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied
 application of a wooden baton.

From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6
 years in the Hanoi Hilton',,, the first three of which his family only
 knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive.
 His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation
 for a 'peace delegation' visit.
 They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that
 they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper,
> with his Social Security Number on it , in the palm of his hand.
 When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking
; each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you
 sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment
 from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each
 palmed her their sliver of paper.

She took them all without missing a beat.. At the end of the line and once
 the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned 
to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper..

 Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions
that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured
 by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held
> prisoner for over 5 years.
 I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia;
 and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi . My North Vietnamese captors
 deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a
 leprosarium in Banme Thuot, South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle
> near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My
 normal weight is 170 lbs).

We were Jane Fonda's war criminals...

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi , I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her..
 I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POW's
 received... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the
 North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient..'
 Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my
 arms outstretched with a large steel weight placed on my hands, and beaten
 with a bamboo cane.
 I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I
> asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer
 These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored
 as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget....' 100 Years of
 Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the
 blood of so many patriots.
 There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's
 participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to
 forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on
 her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.


USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron,

Chief of Maintenance DSN: 875-6431
COMM: 883-6343



Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Dining out is now becoming a matter of criterion that has to be met for me to have a good meal. The categories include: Taste, originality (too much is bad), price, service, (Asking me if everything is alright too many times, interrupting my conversation is a real killer), size of tables and noise level all play into the final analysis as to whether or not I like the place. Portions are not so important as I get older!

There are two things I like to avoid in a restaurant: whinny little brats that scream, cry or carry on, and large groups. The large groups NEED to laugh out loud, making sure that everyone hears them. Unfortunately, it is usually a woman in the group who does that.

The other night, I was in a quaint little restaurant, going on someone’s recommendation. Two things happened, 1) I had the blandest dish on the menu, while TLW (The Little Woman) had a truly delicious dish, and B) a gaggle of women, about 5 sat and made such a racket that it was distracting. Although the restaurant was very inviting, the ability to control the din makes it unlikely I will ever go there again.

At this particular restaurant, TLW asked me how my food was, and I told her I was not happy. She immediately stuck her fork in and ‘tested’ my observation! Scooping up as much as a fork could hold.

“Hmmm, taste like there is some prosciutto in it!” said TLW.

“No, no prosciutto, if there was it would have had some taste.”

In goes her fork once more, scooping and piling.

“Hmmm, maybe not.”

“But it sure is bland!”

Out comes her fork once more, it is starting to look like a shovel, and tests it again.

“You want to taste A rigatoni?”

I have discovered that fancy doesn’t always guarantee good, that sometimes the ownership trips on their service and high pricing. Every now and then, I go to Port Jefferson, and walk along the shopping area and will stop for a little clams or shrimp, from a crowded, noisy counter with a few tables, paper napkins and everyone in shorts or dressed casually. The best food, the best atmosphere and times are usually had in places like those. I don’t want that when I pay over $120 for a meal for two however! In other words, the price I pay has a direct correlation to the ambiance.
Going into a Nathan’s for a hot dog or a clam bar for some clams, and Mamma Lombardi’s for a fancy meal all have their place in my moods. A diner is nice in some circumstances, like when I crave a charbroiled cooked hamburger, or a nice tuna on toasted rye, but all have expectations and usually live up to it.

So after all these years of dining in one establishment or another, I am becoming a pain-in-the ass! Getting old is hard to do

Monday, June 27, 2011


There is baseball.

As I took my daily stroll one night, two young boys about 7 or 8 were on a lawn, in their Little League baseball uniforms, tossing the ball to each other. Another love affair had started and it took me back to my youth, and my sons.

The uniforms looked fresh on the kids, and the look of pure concentration was etched deeply into the smooth young faces that wore the uniform. From their looks, I knew it was a ‘warm-up’ before they were off to play a game, maybe their first game of the season.

I recall the excitement myself, with my blue Bellport Bank uniform, Mom having it clean and ready for me, playing catch to warm-up before we were off to the cemetery grounds on Station Road to play ball. I had made the ‘Majors’ for the Bellport Little League, not the farm team, a great source of pride. Not only that, I was the starting second baseman, due mainly to my aggressiveness and fearless approach to a grounder, no matter how hard it was hit toward me.

Then there was #1 Son, I’ll call Anthony, who had the same game face the little leaguers wore. His mouth and lips pinched together as he raised his foot to toss the ball. The ball field was a hallowed sacred grounds: for ‘Anthony,’ mimicking the big-leaguers from TV, the toss, the catch, his idol in his minds eye, being reenacted through the beauty of what is Little League.

Ah baseball, she was every little boy’s love affair, the freshly chalked foul lines, the smell of leather that pervaded the field, the coach with his ball cap on and his clipboard in his hand, all of us eager to take the field and play our hearts out.

The games came usually at twilight, and lasted only 6 innings; enough to witness the gloom of evening once the last out was made. The anticipation of ice cream, and some poor dad’s windshield needing to go to the auto pane shop for a repair from a fouled ball that inevitably found his windshield!

And the next day, oh the next day! Reliving the 2 or 3 at-bats, the chances in the field, the batting average for the day, all cemented in memory that would live on.

I am grateful to those that took the time to organize the Little Leagues, the football and basketball team leagues; they gave my sons a sense of purpose, of belonging and healthy safe things to do. The organizers need more credit issued to them in the sense that we recognize what they really mean to children, especially young and impressionable boys.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Every morning and afternoon or evening, I take a walk for reasons that are obvious: guilt. Walking is supposed to be good for you, so you do it and I’ll take a nap. I walk around the block once, about 10 minutes time, and if you do that twice a day, that fills the daily minimum requirements for annoyance, according to my doctor. As I walk, I notice things about my neighbors that the early morning dew reveals!

“It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...”

For instance, there are the garbage days, those days everyone puts out their trashcans the night before, and some of them have the residue of life, peeking out of the can. Such things as old furniture, mattresses (Stained so bad I could tell the original color) and old toys, a sign that the kids are growing up, also seem to tell a story.

“It's a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?...”

Then there is recycle day, when on alternate Wednesdays you put out your newspapers and old mail, or bottles and cans. You know what kind of week they had by the number of liquor bottles or dead soldiers are sitting in the red cans. Some tea drinkers live near by, but I try not to talk to them, they give the rest of us a bad name, it’s kind of sobering! But the number of bottles is very revealing, it tells how many children live there, and as the bottles turn to beer cans, how many teenagers live there, usually, a six pack a kid.

“I've always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.”

One of the things I love to do in my walks is look at the different lawns and landscaping. In my neighborhood, there is a big reliance on big colored blocks. It makes people feel good to build these little walls of block and then put in flowers and shrubs. I think the block was originally created as a retainer wall for mounds of dirt, but some of my neighbors use them as roofless blockhouses for look. One neighbor built what I call Fort McHenry. Grey block, about 5 high in front of the house, encircling flowers, and little American flags dotted around the perimeter of the wall! I can’t figure out why.

“So, let's make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we're together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
Won't you please,
Won't you please?
Please won't you be my neighbor?”

I miss Mr. Rogers, he wrote a great song, my niece Laurie Ann and I grew up on that song!

Won't You Be My Neighbor
By Fred M. Rogers
© 1967

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Once you reach a certain age, you notice that the world is unsupervised, unregulated, and unknown! Furinstance. I have a pillbox for every day of the week. Every week like a ritual, I take pills from the different pill bottles and stick them into the little daily compartments marked for each day of the week. You would think this is a good way to stay organized, medicated and have a clue as to which day of the week it is.

My calendar has the days of each week, starting in January, and ending in December, all 52, with Sunday as the first day of the week. In the order of days, it starts with Sunday, ALWAYS! My pill dispenser starts with Monday! I can remember the workweek starting on Monday, but never the calendars. What does this have to do with the price of onions? I don’t know if I should start and stop, or stop and start! If it doesn’t seem annoying enough, when do I recognize the week starting, when do I refill the pillbox days, why is the manufacturer of the pillbox screwing up my daily routine? Don’t I have something else to complain about?

Look, I’m a creature of habit: I like order and routine to some degree. If I look at a calendar and it says: Monday, it means MONDAY. That means that I can rest assured that Sunday is in front of it, not at the end of the friggin week!

You must be thinking: “Gee meatball, there must be more important issues in your life to worry about?” Yes there are. Furinstance, there is my car and the gas station. Muhammed, and his brother Mohammad, pump gas at my local fuel up pump at Gas Is Us. Muhammed comes out, or should I say strolls out, cigarette in hand and looks at me. No: “Hullo” or “May I hup hew?” No, he just looks at me. Ok, we both know what we need to do, so I say: “fillerup” why mince words? He sticks the nozzle in the gas tank and disappears. I won’t see him until the next time I come to: “fillerup.” So I sit long after the tank is full, waiting for someone who isn’t smoking or chatting, and happens to be passing by to undo the nozzle and take my money.

Mohammad shows up, sticks his hand out and I feed him money. He removes his wad of bills and counts out my change, hands me the money and says: NOTHING! Not: “Dank hew” or “’Ave a goud day” or even “Poor Osama sure got his, huh?” Nothing.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Being the groom’s father in a wedding, you are excluded from being a member of the wedding party, you don’t escort anyone down the aisle except the wife, but you do catch some of the costs. The big deal is made on three dresses, the bride’s, the mother of the bride’s, and the groom’s mother. In fact, you are not even supposed to wear the same kind of tux as the wedding party! YOU, are an outcast.

Recently I posted a picture of TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) dress and got many compliments about what it looked like. NO ONE asked me about my tuxedo. Well, it is time to reveal what it looks like.

Now remember, I have to be different, if anything, the only thing I need to match is the price of some bills and TLW’s color of her dress in my tie.

Not gonna happen.

I was thinking, it is July, probably a hot and sweltering day, with a fan in a church that has no air-conditioning, and I sweat easily. I have to be comfortable the whole day, so I have decided to do something about it. I went to Tuxedo’s ‘R Us, and had myself fitted for a special ‘Tux’ just for the occasion!

I must say: I look marvelous!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Last month I went ahead against my better judgment and did something that I shouldn’t have. I worked hard! Yes, I know you are all smart mouthing me right now, but I wish I had listened to my inner self.

Mom doesn’t like the idea that she is ‘getting old’ as she states it, after all she is only 93, and I think I have that same stubbornness in me.

This one Saturday, I decided to take apart a section around my trees in the front yard, that are surrounded by railroad ties, that are thick, heavy and rotting. Inside it and surrounding the trees are pachysandra that my son and his cousin planted many years ago. Getting a small sledgehammer, I knocked out the ties, removed the plantings and then decided to cut the ties in half with a handsaw. I decided I needed the work out and this would be good for me. Dumb.

As I write this, my back is aching, my legs hurt and I have a blister on my hand, over the thumb! If I don’t move, nothing hurts, scratch my nose and goodbye! It took me half a morning and all afternoon to do the job, sawing being the hardest part. Pulling the plants wasn’t exactly a joy either.

I discovered I am not 35 anymore! Crap, I’m not even 65 anymore!

I think I will lie down and hope for a speedy death, if you send flowers, please make sure TLW (The Little Woman) can plant them.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The other night, TLW (The Little Woman) informed me that we had a mouse residing in the basement, and that “We” needed to set a trap.

TLW is very liberal with the word ”we”. You see if you turn the
‘W’ in we upside down, it reads ‘ME’!

This unsteady letter formation has been going on for almost 40 years! Seems that TLW addressed her remarks to me that I had to set a trap for the mouse. I said I didn’t have any on me, so she went into the basement and pulled one out to set.

Reading the instructions on how to set this trap, a round black trap that I have set before, she asks if we should get cheese for it.

“NOOO, the mouse is pretty smart, besides the cheese is low fat, they like peanut butter. You have to realize, mice today are better educated, have more sophisticated taste. Besides they will never settle for low fat cheese! Oh, no, silly woman get the PEANUT BUTTER!”


“Of course I’m sure, after all I did kill one the last time!”

Out comes a jar of peanut butter, plain, not chunky. The mice have a most discriminating taste and would not live in a house with just cheese.

“Ewe, the peanut butter just pops out!” said TLW.

“Don’t put so much in, he won’t ask for a doggie bag!”

We examine the trap the way she is putting in the peanut butter, and I wipe it clean put a paper towel under it and we place it.

I go back to the jar of peanut butter and realize: we will not catch the mouse!

The peanut butter is low fat too!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Today’s special blog comes from my business partner, Pam Rae. Pam and I have defined our business plan to start making Russell’s a place were people can have fun and still be helping out others of the Not-for-profits of this world, and places like fire departments and any organization that needs to raise funds. Our hope is in our hearts, and we plan to see it through.

Creating Russell’s Tour & Event Planning has been a labor of love. Two old friends that got together by chance with a similar agenda, decided to put their passions together to do some good for others, putting it up where it counts.

In our decision to build the business, we decided to look at it as a venture to help and give something to this world, that many businesses don’t put in their business plan, to help people with both physical and mental problems with resources in terms of some of the profits we generate. We feel we will take a salary for Russell’s and dedicate the business for not-for-profit agencies and organizations that need help in raising money.

I think we are proud of our company, and we hope to do a lot of business in the future helping people with the many issues that prevail and raise the funds they need. Any profit Russell’s generates will partially go to both The Compassionate Friends and AHRC Suffolk. The participating agencies and/or organizations will add on their profit margin and all that goes to them. These agencies and companies will not invest any money into Russell’s they will only benefit.

We are planning a tribute memorial to Ground Zero and the 9/11 monuments, a crime scene tour and will planning trips to Sedona, Arizona and overseas to France in 2012! There is a Jewish/American Heritage tour scheduled in August, and so much more planned.

We want Russell’s Tour & Event Planning to succeed. We want this because it makes the world a little better and maybe there will be more hope in this unfortunate economy that so bleeds the not-for-profits.

Russell’s is also looking to run events for various organizations, such as memorials, party’s and religious and cultural events to not only commemorate, but to be fund-raisers, taking staff people away from this down time and allowing staff to stay more productive, while Russell’s does all the leg work.

If you know of a company that could benefit from Russell’s involvement, give us a call at: 631-801-2231, or email us at, you won’t be sorry.

Pamela Rae


So who cares? You’d think a June day would be filled with a lot of history, The Japanese surrendered on Okinawa, but really, they had to. The rest of the world took a pass on June 21st. Most June 21sts are bright sunny and warm, a great day to make history. No one is getting wet or snowed under, so go out and do SOMETHING!

But no, not anyone but the JAPANESE got out and made history!

I am really disappointed in my fellow Americans. There had to be something to do on June 21, just hanging is not good, we have history books to write, high violence video games to create, even the news casts are quiet. Come on people, I have a blogue to write, and nothing to complain about!


There is a lot that can happen in one day, we just have to go out and concentrate. I for one plan to make a little history next year, I will then write about it and deny it all in a court of law.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I have spent a lot of time and effort for nothing. It seems I work hard at something and I get no recognition, but screw up once and I hear about it! As they say in Brooklyn: “Furrgetaboutit!”

Of late I have been walking every morning (something I hate), being careful about what I eat, and taking trouble to realize how much fat I avoid eating. In the process, I have noticed a difference in my weight, and in my clothes, I am on the verge of a new wardrobe. I am so happy with the results I am actually worried my tuxedo won’t fit for the wedding in July.

Early this year I went to my doctor for one of my checkups, and when I weighted in, I had gained a few pounds over the holidays. I was fine, but the doctor did mention it to me. (I really had a snappy comeback, but I didn’t use it because it didn’t come to me until the next day!)

So a few weeks ago I go the doctor, and his crackerjack aid or nurse, escorts me into the inner sanctum to wait some more. She is in her late 30’s or early 40’s, and is much too quick to do things, always in a hurry. She has an attitude (You know the type, they think that without them the office would cease to function) and I once gave it to her on the phone. I step on the scale, and she haphazardly slides the weight without looking at the results, half looking and puts on the chart more weight than I was!

Then to make it even worse, she goes into the examining room and she sticks the thermometer in my mouth while trying to put the plastic safety cover on it. I take it and slip it all on and she says she will be right back. As I sit there, I realize the dumbbell never put it on! I’M SITTING THERE WITH THERMOMETER IN MY MOUTH, AND THERE IS NO READING!

So I decided I have to start giving hell to these people, after all, they are supposed to know better and they don’t do their job properly, because they want the world to know how hard they work, when in fact it is hardly working!

Maybe I’ll tell the witch doctor he needs a new witch nurse.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I wrote about Father’s Day yesterday, when it is today. The reason is that today TLW (The Little Woman) and I are married 40 years! Who knew when we got married that day so long ago this day would come so soon!

We have been through a lot together all these years, the crazy economies that existed in our day, the children living their lives, the emotional pain of losing a child to developmental disabilities, and one passing on, all have a large part of the memories.

“I can't remember when you weren't there
When I didn't care for anyone but you
I swear we've been through everything there is
Can't imagine anything we've missed
Can't imagine anything the two of us can't do”

That first apartment, the mice, oh the mice on Munsell Road in East Patchogue. We would watch TV on the couch and hear the trap go off, and I was sent to set up the trap for the next victim, but first dispose of the latest.

“Through the year, you've never let me down
You turned my life around, the sweetest days I've found
I've found with you ... Through the years
I've never been afraid, I've loved the life we've made
And I'm so glad I've stayed, right here with you
Through the years”

I remember that first Christmas very vividly. We were just starting out, we had very little money for ourselves to spend, and like any new couple, we were just trying to establish ourselves. I needed a new watch, mine had stopped months ago, and that morning, when I woke up, and we exchanged gifts, I looked into a stocking she TLW hung, and found my watch, repaired! It is funny how something like that can mean so much.

“I can't remember what I used to do
Who I trusted whom, I listened to before
I swear you've taught me everything I know
Can't imagine needing someone so
But through the years it seems to me
I need you more and more”

It was TLW who has put me on countless guilt trips about my diet. Never once did she make me do anything but make up my own mind about things. She got me to stop taking sugar in my coffee and tea, and I think it may have kept me alive to this day. (You can blame her)

“Through the years, through all the good and bad
I knew how much we had, I've always been so glad
To be with you ... Through the years
It's better everyday, you've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay, I'll stay with you
Through the years”

When we had our first child, our pride and joy at the time, and discovered she was not living up to our dreams of a normal child, we pulled together, cried a bit, then put our heads together and decided to do what we could for her. It was about her, not us.

“Through the years, when everything went wrong
Together we were strong, I know that I belonged
Right here with you ... Through the years
I never had a doubt, we'd always work things out
I've learned what love's about, by loving you
Through the years”

When one of our children died, we could have broken up at that point, many couples do, but instead we comforted each other, never thought of doing anything else.

“Through the years, you've never let me down
You've turned my life around, the sweetest days I've found
I've found with you ... Through the years
It's better everyday, you've kissed my tears away
As long as it's okay, I'll stay with you
Through the years!”


Saturday, June 18, 2011


I was looking at some photos of my Dad, and of course I immediately could feel the way I felt when he was alive. There is a certain mood: a certain sense that one feels when we see our parents. That feeling can come to us as we think of them: I guess it is always present.

With Dad it was a sense of expectation from him, and he from me. He was a spark for his daughters, they could do no wrong, and they all loved him. The relationships were all different, but the underlining fact was that he loved them all, and I can tell you very honestly, equally.

He was hard on me: I always had to have a job, always had things to do around the house, and was expected to go to college. There was no opportunity I could pass up, no reason to pass one up, and no complaint could be listed: just work and work some more.

What was he doing? He was making me realize that whatever I did in life, I would be responsible for it. Wherever I went, whomever I associated with, I would bare the consequences: good or bad! What he was saying was: if you have any children, YOU are responsible. If you rob a bank, YOU are responsible, and if you marry and have a family, you better be responsible, and better prepared than you are now kid!

I don’t regret much of my childhood, I wish I had a brother, but four sisters was a wonderful blessing, more money would have been good, but I’ll take the need to work and fend for myself, it taught me many lessons in life, all from the master hand.

Dad was not a linguist, not a wealthy man, he came from the common elements of immigrant parents who did not speak English, and worked very hard to get to where he was, just like other children of Italian, Polish, German and Slavic non-English speaking immigrant families. It was the best of times, and indeed the worst of times, but it was my time, and I think I prospered from life lessons taught by people like my dad, parting his experiences to his son. There were other dads out there, ones that I respected, people who taught by their experiences, their examples, and who I understood to be just like Dad, so there was instant respect.

I hope there is a heaven, and if there is, I know Dad is somewhere up there, fixing some widow’s screen door, or giving some poor person a ride somewhere in his old jalopy, maybe wiping his windshield clean because his blower doesn’t work.

I know that even in heaven, he would shun life’s conveniences of both having and not giving.

Your only son

Happy Father's day to some really great Dads I know, and grandpa's too. Grandpa Manning, my brother-in-laws, all past and present, my best friend Phil, my neighbors both past on and living, and a great grand dad and dad, Ava's grandpa from the old neighborhood: Jim.

Friday, June 17, 2011


It happens every morning. #2 Son, Michael has a deep love, a driving dedication, a profound passion for, and complete surrender to: sleep.

He was born 5 minutes later than he should have been, asking for 5 minutes more before exiting the womb.

As I write this, the boy is out cold on the couch in the den, the TV is on loud and he has 5 more minutes before he gets up, this is from the call he got 10 minutes ago. He takes this work seriously!

This reminds me of my lost youth, so long ago. I had an innate sense of time with a built in alarm clock. If I needed to get up at a certain time, not the usual time, then by golly I did, on the dot! Never failed. Mom never called me to get up; never came to the door and yelled: “you got to get up!” No, she yelled: “Clean up this messy room!”

My years of going to college, then the Long Island Railroad were based on schedules, time was important, and I had to allocate the time from the time I got up until I went to bed that night, making for very quick days, timing was everything.

But # 2 Son has us all on schedule to get him up, keep him on time, and ready to cha cha. One morning recently, he thought he had about 40 minutes before he needed to get going, when I found him outside having a cigarette.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING, WE LEAVE IN 5 MINUTES!!!” said his proud father.

“What, we got time!!!”


In that little time he had coffee, finished his cigarette, had a shower and dressed in time for us to get him to work with time to spare! Amazing!

The boy loves to take me to the edge, the very edge! Timing is everything. “Michael, move.” And Michael would shuffle along a little. His pace in life is such that the end of the world will have to wait until he’s ready. He should not walk along the avenues of New York City with its quick paced strollers, he will have footprints on his back in five minutes of his stepping on the pavement!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


As I write this it is May 18th, and the news is on the TV. On the screen are three people celebrating their birthdays, one of which is Reggie Jackson, the hitter of home runs and the stirrer of drinks on the NY Yankees. Today Reggie is 65 years old. One of the commentators on the TV says: “Reggie Jackson, 65 today! HE LOOKS GOOD FOR HIS AGE!”

I’m offended!

How is he supposed to look? Reggie is younger than me, so obviously I look like hell.

I am reminded that as I get older I change, due to the aging process, we all change and we all will look older. Getting older is a sign of intelligence and craftiness, meaning we were smart enough to last this long. Yes we drive slower than others younger, we eat earlier, go to bed earlier and probably arise earlier than those younger. We also hurt more, don’t sleep as much during the night and sleep too much during the day. We are the older generation, we do all these things, and we do them well.

Then one day we die, and they lay us out in our pine box with brass handles, gather around us and say: “Gee, he looks good!” Gee, does he? “He looks like himself!” Who is he suppose to look like? I was wondering if I could get a proxy for me? You know a look a-like. Someone who wants to go, maybe a lot of bills and no money, someone who when he goes to meet his maker can get away with it.

How come when we see a 2-year old, we say: “He looks tall for two”, but we NEVER say he looks good for his age? What we look like has no bearing on how we feel or how long we will live. Remember Jack LaLanne, looked terrific until the day he died at the age of 96, and I bet he even looked like himself in his pine box, but the fact remains, he is dead! Maybe he should have taken better care of himself.

What it all means is its in your genes, how long you will live, and how long you will look like you are living.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


As I write this, it is May 21st, the day the world is supposed to end.

It is 6:57 am, and we have until 6:00 pm before things go kaput. There is so much to say, and so little time to say it. I have decided to make my last will and testament on this blogue.

I leave all my worldly possessions to … wait a minute, I don’t have any, TLW, (The Little Woman) has it all!

OK, then what can I say. I have two books out from the library, and frankly I’m surprised that they allowed me to take them out beyond the date! Well at least it saves me a trip to the library.

I was supposed to clean up the pool so they can open it, and I think maybe I should put that aside for one more day, no sense working for tomorrow when there may not be one.

I find it interesting that the TV and newspaper have both put up the extended forecast! They are predicting good weather, so there goes a what promised to be a great week!

Now I’m thinking, lunch will be my last meal. Maybe I should go into the city and have a great time, maybe the ‘Four Seasons’, defy my doctors orders, have a high fat high calorie lunch, with drinks and lots of laughs, but the problem with that is: 1.) I will lose my appetite the closer we get to the end, 2.) I will lose my appetite the closer we get to the end!

So just in case, let me say this: Frankly, I’m sick and tired of all of you and it is about time you knew it. It is always about you, you, you! Well, times up, get over it.

However, if this is all a crock, the world will continue, let me say how really wonderful you really are, really. Wouldn’t have it any other way. Really.

P.S. There may or may not be a blogue tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Is all it takes to make me feel good! Just the thought that what it stands for can give me a warm fuzzy feeling all over.

Often I wonder about all the mistakes we have made as a nation, but those mistakes emanate from individuals who do things for expediency, not necessarily for what is right.

As a nation, as a people, this country still does the right thing when it comes to humanity. We don’t look at ourselves as entitled to anything because we are Americans, but we look instead as humans, that is what America is all about. We are the world’s conscience: we are the reason that there is some order in the world. And when we go astray, the populace rises up and demands we correct things, we are after all: Americans.

I see the people who protest in the streets against their governments, who can make effigies of Uncle Sam, who burn our flags and I think, you fools do you know we are a people, not a flag, you can’t beat us, we are the Best In The World, we are Americans. We can overcome any tyranny, any doctrine, any evil that pervades this earth, because we believe in the basic tenet of God, Country and Family. We find our strength in our religions, in our faiths, in our love of God, and the respect that Jew, Christian or whatever will be free to pray however he or she chooses. WE are not afraid of non-believers, we respect their right to not believe, we re Americans!

All of our faith, all of our love comes from that one small American flag, it represents a huge and responsible nation. God blessed America for a reason.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Since March of 2006, I’ve been writing this blog almost every day! Hard to believe that I did that! The satisfaction of writing, and getting response is really a wonderful experience, but I was wondering.

I don’t make any money for this. I don’t receive once shekel, not a red cent, nothing, not even enough criticism to continue. I am toying with discontinuing the blog, and shutting the lights off when I leave the composing room of Del Bloggolo. It will mean firing my editorial staff, my research staff, everyone!

Five years is a long time. Maybe you have all heard enough of me after five years. Maybe you haven’t heard me in the five years. I still have plenty to say. I just don’t know how much anyone wants to hear from me anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I am doing it not for money, which is obvious, it is for the fun I’ve had for the last 5 years. But there is a sense of diminishing returns, or maybe even being forgotten. So I think, maybe it is time to quit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


The problem is it comes too late!

I often wonder how many days I have in my lifetime. I wonder how many of those days were productive, and how many days I squandered. How much time we all squander in our lifetime?

I think the time I used to spend with my kids was well spent, the time I courted my wife, and the time I used to teach myself were all great times, well-spent and for the most part: enjoyable.

But there are some days that I probably wasted. Especially the idle days of my teen years, the days I spent not heeding advice from my elders, because I didn’t know any better and didn’t care.

When I was a young man, in my early teens, my Dad told me I would have to work in my idleness, that days off from school were for earning money, not fooling around with my friends.

Then one day after my college years, I discovered that idleness was a luxury, with children, a house and a job to maintain. The idleness was sweet, enjoyable, yet played on my consciousness. Being idle was becoming harder and harder to do! I had hoped to be an active member of the CPS (Couch Potato Society) as I had my couch fitted as a form fit for my reclining body. It was a great life only on Sundays, when the football or baseball game was on, and I could encourage TLW (The Little Woman) to go to her mothers with the kids.

If the Sunday was a bright sunny day, and the temperature in the perfect range, my idleness suddenly was ruined, by my guilt. I’d look at little #1 Son or my daughter, playing on the floor, and I’d stuff them in the car and off we went to the bay or lake or park, buying them ice cream and then feeling better about going back to the couch. Of course TLW had a little to do with my plans, as did my guilt.

Today in my retirement, idleness is not a factor, because I have so much pressuring me that I just don’t want to be idle, can’t seem to be comfortable with it, and find no way to be part of CPS anymore. I do on occasion get tired, when I do I sit down for a few minutes, and think about what I should be doing, I’m sure like all of you do, the guilt takes over!

I wish I had all the idle times back to relive. I could have learned something else, maybe another language, read or wrote a book, or maybe a piece of art or music could have come from my hand, or maybe just helped some older person in need of physical help.

With age comes wisdom, unfortunately: too late!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


It seems that I am always drawn into conversations with strangers, usually women. I’m standing on line at a supermarket, and some lady is standing in line ahead of me, and offers me the opportunity to move ahead of her. I usually decline, but it opens the door for her to start up a conversation. The price of whatever is the topic, or she has so much and I only have one item, ‘so pleased go ahead’ she begs.

Recently I was in the ‘Men’s Wherehouse?’ (SIC) to rent a monkey suit and some mother with her son starts up a conversation out of the blue. Not being rude, I join along and we talk. We talk about monkey suits and the old days.

I go to a store, about 2 minutes before it opens. As I wait for the establishment to open a woman will stand next to me, make a comment and we have to talk. It is 8:58 am, and the store advertises breakfast. Who is eating breakfast after 9:00 am she wants to know. I think this face of mine demands speech, but not from me.

Even TLW (The Little Woman) talks to me. Sometimes I just stand there, and she wants to know why! My dog, a female, barks at me all the time. Why? Usually she doesn’t want me in the bathroom for long.

One day I was standing on line at the post office. This lady comes in behind me, holding a baby in a carrying seat. Placing the baby down she starts to talk to the baby. I look at the baby, and of course I have to say: "How old?” This starts her on a long dissertation about her child’s age, how the kid eats and sleeps and what a good baby she has.

Once I even got a wrong number and the lady wouldn’t get off the line, telling me how she just hates it when she dials the wrong number!

But my favorite is when I am on my laptop, sitting in my chair, TLW is on her laptop, sitting in her chair, and she asks me how to do something, reading out loud to no one but me, to answer her questions, defining differences about html vs. pdf, all the while, working on my computer!

I think I’ll go get a nose job and wig, but I’m afraid the nose surgeon will be a woman!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Well, I finally did what needed to be done. I got a tuxedo for the wedding, and I look MARVELOUS! I went to the Men’s Wherehouse and waited about 1 hour behind the two other parties ahead of me. The two parties were prom people. Teens and their moms, picky, picky moms and their kiddies, making color choices, then asking me what I thought.

After a discussion about tuxedos that have the Cary Grant look, the Bond look, and now the DelBloggolo look, one mom asks me what I thought about the spats look for shoes, a tuxedo with black and white shoes. They look stupid, so I said: “Sure, he’d look great in them.”

The look of fear suddenly came across he kids face, a cold gripping fear that mamma would make him wear those shoes. It’s so nice to give advice to strangers.

Finally #2 went for his fitting, now this is a kid that once slept on my chest as an new born, now wear HMS Queen Elizabeth size shoes and a 16 inch neck!

As for me, my neck seems to have grown a bit too! When I got married, I was a size 16 neck: and 40 years later I’m a 19! The guy who measured me was using a shortened tape measure on me.

And so #1 Son will get married to TLC, (The Lovely Courtney), #2 Son will look spiffy, and their father will look MARVELOUS!

Thursday, June 09, 2011


The trip to the vet was tense. TLW (The Little Woman) was holding Happy as I drove. Entering the animal hospital, it all came back to me, the visits, controlling her, her shaking whenever we came. Happy took her time as we headed toward the door, and left a little deposit, and I applauded her, thinking if I went to this, I’d want to voice my opinion too! Upon entering, she was very quiet, hiding her head like an ostrich, as we waited.

There were other people in the waiting room, all laughing, and chatting, and I wondered how they could do that on such a horrific occasion?

Finally the time came, the aide came out and asked us questions, hard ones, that needed an answer, and all that could come out was the shell of a word, a breath, a whisper. The doctor was a young man, very reassuring, and very calm. He seemed to understand what I needed, what TLW needed, what we needed.

I lifted Happy onto the table for a process that would take 30 seconds. 30 seconds would separate us forever, I would lose a little love in my life, something that is hard to find, forever. Happy watched the doctor as he shaved her front leg, clearing the skin for the needle that would put her out of her misery, but start mine again, once more. I could not help but remember that trip home, the first time we met her, they put her in a red and white striped box, TLW holding the box in the front seat, as she playfully popped out of the cover, jumping around, and here I was, doing this.

She searched the doctor’s face, as he finally applied the fluid, her eyes just staring at the doctor, not knowing what was happening, not resisting, not knowing. Suddenly she was on her side, falling off to a sleep that would carry her away from us forever.

If you come to my home, and see a bell hanging near the door to the yard, it tolls for Happy.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Sometimes in life you need to make a decision that is hard. Sometimes the decision is one that can haunt you. Today we will put Happy, our cocker spaniel to sleep.

By 4:30 pm, we will be at the Sachem Animal hospital to do this dastardly deed to my good friend.

She was a very faithful dog to us, she was clever, not just smart, but could get you to do things you didn’t want to. She loved the family she was a big part of it, protecting us from strangers, never trusting anyone from outside the household. Yet she had an innate sense of who was important to us. There was Mom, who Happy never ever barked at, she just knew who she was. #1 Son came home twice a year, and she knew he was part of the family.

My Dad would tell me tales about his dog, Ginger, but Happy could put rings around Ginger and convince him to kiss cats.

I look at Happy after making a decision that she is better off, and I can’t look at her, the guilt swallows me whole, it carves out a large part of my inner being and I feel the emptiness. I remind myself to be a coward, and not look into her eyes when we bring her.

As Happy got more infirmed the more I thought of the final trip to the vet, that fatal day for Happy when I would make the ultimate betrayal. I have thought of the drive with her innocently sitting in the back, not knowing what would happen.

Right now I hate myself very much, I know she has growths all over her body, scales that lay hidden under her coat, big cancerous growths on her face and legs. I know it is time, she is blind and deaf but I know also she could live longer, when nature takes its course, but that would be too painful for her and all of us.

AS I write this, she is lying in the foyer, unsuspecting, keeping cool, sleeping comfortably. In 22 hours it will be over, maybe by the time you read this. Tonight I had left over chicken, which I should not give to Happy; it is bad for her anal glands. I don’t care.

Happy is about 18 years old, has lost all her ability to control her bodily functions, she can hardly walk and just barely sees, I hope she can’t see me tonight when we bring her for her one last car ride.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011



Yesterday, June 6th, I got some very bad news.

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote about a lovely lady from high school that I reconnected with at the reunion. I wrote on June 12, 2010 in my blog:

We all have to face the grim reality that there is an end, and no matter how we prepare for it, either our own or someone else’s, we never can deal with the finality of it all. Marlene Fox Strong was ill, very ill, we all prayed for her, we all knew what was in store for her, but we prayed in hope and the belief that nothing was certain, maybe something good would occur from our prayers.

Marlene knew we knew, I wrote to her asking how she was doing, but got no reply. She didn’t want anyone to know how she was doing, because she wasn’t doing well. She took her own demise with quiet dignity and taught us all a lesson in life: What you need to give is the sunshine, not the clouds of life.

I realize now just how wonderful a thing the reunion we had was. Since that reunion a number of us have passed on. But before they did they reconnected with their classmates and together we built some new memories. They childhood and teenage years are filled with life and joy, the memories won’t fade, they will just play on. These newer memories, built in just the last year are the bitter sweet memories of age, of reconnecting, and of wiser minds, still young in spirit.

I cherish all my classmates now, more than when I was in high school. We are a group that tries to get together as often as possible, and a love is growing that no one can take away from us. Since May of 2010 we have met for bar-b-q’s and a reunion in April down in Florida. We are having a cruise in the end of August and another bar-b-q in a week or two.

We the class of ’64 Bellport High School say goodbye to Marlene, she has left memories in our hearts, we have not lost her so much as she has made us conscious of her and each other. We thank you for that Marlene, you will not be missed, but always loved and remembered.


Only more painful! I got a call from the copywriter, and professor that the book I design for almost 2 years was in. Could I come over and get a copy?

Hmmm? Let me think about it for a moment. How about right away?

And so I went to claim my copy of my child. A proud moment in literature, and sweeping triumph for design, and a glorious day for all free lancers everywhere!

After working late into the night, over tedious graduate lists, faculty and reference, (The actual design was easy, it’s the copy proofing and reading that kills one) the book was done!

No more squeezing type together to make it look right, no more looking for photos, references and reading and re-reading the same old copy, looking at the same old pages, time and time again, we were done.

Seeing it for the first time, my chest swelled, the rich gold lettering, jumping from the royal blue cloth it was stamped on. A tear was beginning to form in the corner of my eye, I soon realized: I should have charged more!

As I quickly scanned through the book, looking at the placement of the photos, a tear was beginning to form in the corner of my eye, I soon realized: I should have charged more!

Going through it page by page, looking at all the beautiful type styles, color and elements in place, I soon realized: a tear was beginning to form in the corner of my eye, I should have charged more!

I thought of all the money I did charge, and the fact that TLW (The Little Woman) would be taking her cut, a tear was beginning to form in the corner of my eye, I soon realized: I should have charged more!

I get the feeling I should have charged more! Really!

But, my baby was born, it just that I should have charged more. Darn it!

Monday, June 06, 2011


The beaches are still there. They are the silent testimony to the thousands that died one day on the shores of Normandy. The day was June 6th, 1944, a day that made the world hope once again. It was a day when America once more spent her treasury, and more importantly her most prized possessions, her youth on freedom. So few are left. 1,000 of the survivors of that war are dying everyday!

But who is this young man who jumped out of a plane to parachute behind enemy lines in the dark stillness of night, who stormed a broad beach under withering and relentless gunfire, onto blood stained sand, who scaled the cliffs of Normandy under impossible odds, who was more scared than he could ever be again? Who was this kid who stood in water up to his chin, his buddies floating by, the water dyed red from the horror he was facing.

What made him wade through it all, facing uncertainty from one moment to the very next, not knowing when he might be next? And what kept him from crying? What kept him going? What made him even willing to be there that horrific yet glorious day? Who was he?

His name was Peter, Paul, Jim, and John, it was Jose, and Aldo, Stanislaw and Pierre, our great grandfather, or maybe our grandfather, some of us could call him Dad, or uncle, or even cousin. But whatever we call him, he answered ‘The Call’ under the saddest of conditions: nobly! Who was he? If you said to him he was a hero, he wouldn’t necessarily agree with you, after all he would say: “I was only doing my job!” But he was not just a hero: he was a liberator, a protector of freedom, the God-given opportunity for the world to save itself through him, and now he is dying off!

Is there anything in this world that we have done for him? I know we put up some monuments to commemorate the day, I know there are statues in Normandy France, and in the USA, but what have we really done for him? Some of us may have recognized him and said thanks, and some of us may have even shook his hand, but what have we done for him lately?

It seems we have all taken what we own, our freedom for granted, for all those brave young men that died that day on the beaches, and the days before and after, paid for! We need to remember them better than we do, not once a year on Memorial Day, or the anniversary such as today, but everyday. We must respect his valor, his sacrifice, a willingness to die for his country. We need to teach this to our children and grandchildren. They need to know they inherited a world of freedom that no one can repay those kids on the beaches. They need to know how he felt when those amphibious landing craft dropped their doors, the sounds and fury of the war in his ears, how it scared him, his friends and buddies dying all around him. They need to know.

They need to know they can drive anywhere they want, vote for something called a better world, all because of him. They need to know.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Every night before I sleep. I go upstairs, brush my teeth and then take off my hearing aids and go to bed. It is a routine, designed for no reason other than the simple structure one has in one’s life. We all have some structure.

Last night, I went up to brush my teeth when the phone rang. This is unusual since it was near 11 PM! At that late hour it is unusual to get a phone call. My fear was that something might be wrong! As I heard the phone I was closing the toothpaste, and made a turn toward the stairs and ran down to find out who that was calling. The phone rang once only. It was divine intervention.

Going into the den, I noticed TLW (The Little Woman) was not on the phone. In fact: she was leaning out the back door in the den, and looking confused. Turning on the back outside light, she couldn’t see, but I could. There, in the middle of the pool, standing on the cover, was a white a buff form, not moving.

Shooting out the door, past TLW I go to the edge of the pool. Happy is too far out in the middle of the pool, in danger of going through with the cover and drowning, cover and all!

Looking very frightened, Happy stood frozen standing out of reach for me to get her. I decided to reach down and try, still she was too far out into the middle. Final I lay down, no shoes on, flat on my stomach and tried to reach her. Maybe an inch separated us, if the pool cover gives in, we both could drown, getting caught under the cover, disoriented! The more I stretched, the closer I could get. I needed to move my body just an inch more, then I could grab her collar, but now my fear is I will definitely go in. If I go too far, I will fall in, cover, dog and all. I look at her standing there, looking at me, almost saying: “DADDY, SAVE ME!

I could imagine what people would thing: “The moron drowned trying to save a dog! How dumb was he?” I inched up just a bit more. I could feel my body teetering at the edge, my leverage being just so. I could also feel the chest area where I was cut open for a by-pass surgery starting to remind me of days past. I reached out and tried one more desperate time, whispering: “Hold on baby.”

Those big brown eyes peeking out in the midst of white fuzzy face and floppy ears, staring at me, still, frightened and waiting for me to resolve her crisis, I reached one more time.

Grabbing onto her collar, I feel a little relief, but the fear now is her weight and my balance will carry us both into the drink and that will be that, since I am over the deepest end of the pool. I hold on to Happy and inch back, she won’t move! I realize I need some height, and raise my torso with one hand on Happy and one on the edge of the pool. I lift her by the collar and yank her up into the deck of the pool: she is safe! Getting up, my heart is now racing, my chest heaving, I pause at the entrance to the den, just trying to catch my breath. I had stepped in dog poop in my stocking feet, which were also wet from stepping into one of the plastic containers filled with water that hold the pool cover down.

Whoever rang my phone once had saved Happy’s life! If I didn’t go down to investigate, she would have been dead!

Saturday, June 04, 2011


For the past year I have been getting hints from TLW (The Little Woman) about what I should get her for a present. “Maybe for my birthday you could get me a Kindle, Toots II has a kindle, and she is always holding it under her arm, wherever she goes! She can download a few books and says she loves it! You can surprise me with it.”

Now here is the issue. Two years ago I offered to buy her one, said it was the latest thing, and technology can be great! “Oh, no! I need the real thing. I have to have a book in my hand.” So I acquiesced to her need to hold a heavy and cumbersome book in her hand as we traveled, or she read at night in her chair.

Then there is the issue of her downloading anything. This is the same woman who couldn’t retrieve her email once, who looked at me like I had two heads when I got our first computer way back in 1991!

Today, she can successfully operate both a Mac and a PC, cannot only open her e-mails, she can forward them to others!

The presentation of the Kindle was from my daughter and son Michael, for Mother’s Day. I started by getting little Ellen (Who is taller than Mom) home for dinner. Then I stuck the kindle behind me and had just the Mother’s Day card in my hand. #2 Son was away at college, so I signed the card for him.

The Kindle was in a plastic bag, hanging from my belt, behind me, the plan being that I had only the card.

“Why are you crinkling when you walk?” Asked TLW.

Needless to say she was very happy with her present, and vowed to cancel the Doubleday Book Club, then immediately, if not sooner had me configure it and started to download her books. TLW, a modern mom with a kindle to read, the lady who once eschewed anything electronically, was in full swing and knocking them out of the park! Electronically, of course.

Friday, June 03, 2011


It seems everyone loves capers, and no one loves capers more than TLW (The Little Woman). Every Mother’s Day I ask her what she wants for the day from me for dinner. Every year it is the same thing, Chicken Francaise. I make my chicken with capers, it seems to bring the flavor out a little better.

I set up a bowl for flour and one for egg-beaters, that work better than eggs, and have less cholesterol.

Clean the chicken breast, and flatten.
In a nice pile on waxed paper:

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese (optional)

2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped parsley (optional)

Flour, about a cup

Minced garlic (optional)

1 Tablespoon of capers, rinsed

Enough egg-beaters to coat each chicken breast twice

1 cup of white wine. (a table wine.)

¼ cup of lemon juice

1 Stick of unsalted butter

Mix the first four ingredients in a bowl

Dreg the chicken in the egg, then the flour mixture, then the egg and then the mixture once again.

In a heated olive oiled saucepan, gently and slow as possible cook the chicken on both sides, remove from the pan and start the sauce, by;

Raise the heat to high adding white wine, lemon juice and capers, scrapping the bottom of the pan, then add a half a stick of butter swirling the sauce as you do, then add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the sauce, return the chicken back in pan and let it cook in the sauce for one minute more.

You can substitute for the butter, but warning: It may not thicken as well, and the flavor will be missing something. The fat will be the same no matter what else you try!

I like to make my chicken Francaise with linguine, so I make double the sauce for the pasta. You can also make it with fresh green beans.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Since I’ve been married, TLW (The Little Woman) has asked for pizza on Friday nights. This is because she hates to cook and Friday night would be her night off as a mom and housewife. Traveling home from the railroad every night, left me in no mood to want to cook, even though I love to.

Then when I retired, she went to work and the tradition stayed, and we have evolved into a more sophisticated patron of pizza, choosing a particular type, called the Grandma Pie. I happen to like this type because it is made with plum tomatoes, basil and garlic, and all the ingredients are fresh.

In our quest for pizza happiness two things happened along the way that had a profound effect on my enjoyment of the Friday night ritual. One was finding the Grandma pie by accident, and two ‘Rosie’.

The accident happened one Friday when Albert’s Pizzeria happened to deliver the wrong pizza to my door. Not knowing what TLW had ordered, I took the pizza and paid for it. It was not my usual square pie, but it looked interesting. Its soft melted cheese seemed to claim all the unoccupied landscape that did have the glistening plum tomatoes, fresh basil and garlic. The smell and look of things reminded me of when Mom or Dad made homemade pizza when I was a kid. Taking one bite and I knew two things: one they weren’t getting this pizza back and two, this was the new Friday night routine! As sure as I’m a holy man… as sure as I’m a religious man… ok, but I do go to church every Sunday… a lot of Sundays, the delivery guy came back with the correct order, saw it was too late, so he gave us the pie we had ordered for free! Boy, what a night!

So we started to call every Friday night and this wonderfully friendly lady would answer:

“Albert’s, pick up or delivery?”

“Pick up, I’ll have the Grandma Pie! The name is Del.”

“Can I get you anything else?”

“That’s it.”

“That will be 25 minutes, Mr.Del.”

And so every Friday night:

“Albert’s, pick up or delivery?”

“Pick up, I’ll have the Grandma Pie! The name is Del.”

“Can I get you anything else?”

“That’s it.”

“That will be 25 minutes, Mr.Del.”

Then the conversation changed.

“Albert’s, pick up or delivery?”

“Pick up, I’ll have the Grandma Pie!”

“This you Mr. Del? How are you? Can I get you anything else?”

“That’s it Rosie.” We had introduced ourselves formerly one Friday.

“That will be 25 minutes, Mr.Del.”

Before you knew it, the Grandma pie was synonymous with Mr. Del.

Then one Friday I called in and a tiny little girl’s voice answered, it wasn’t Rosie! No longer was there that assurances that my pizza would be there for me, that they would even have the correct order! It was a cold and disappointing feeling, knowing that Rosie was no longer there, that this stranger was taking my order! Why it felt like I was kissing my sister. The warmth that accompanied my pizza on Friday nights with Rosie’s reassuring voice was no more. This pain of separation lasted for too long, and I was eating just ‘pizza’.

Then one Friday I called in.

“Albert’s, pick up or delivery?”

“Pick up, I’ll have the Grandma Pie!” The voice had changed! Could it be?

“You mean the pie with the fresh basil, plum tomatoes and garlic?”

“That’s it.”

“Is this Mr. Del!”

“ROSIE! You’re back. How great is that!”

“That will be 25 minutes, Mr.Del.”

That night, the world seemed right again, that night pizza had warmth, and taste, and damn it was good!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


The week prior to Mother’s Day, I went to the store to shop for TLW (The Little Woman) for a Mother’s Day dinner. I make dinner for her, even though she is not my mother, but sure acts like it, sans wooden spoon!

Looking as disoriented as possible, I started to stroll the aisles to get what I needed. My supermarket likes to play mind games with me, put olives in two different places, give me a hard time at the self-check out and sometimes the people are even nice to me. The fish guy, for instance, loves me, I go to his display and I’m the only one all day who will. They put the fish next to the red meat section, thinking maybe someone will buy fish by mistake.

As I am strolling toward the chicken, (She wants Chicken Francaise) I fall behind this woman who is pushing a cart with one hand and from the looks of things, has an ear ache in her right ear. Slowly she is pushing then stopping her cart, holding her right ear and on the loud speaker, they are advertising the moment’s specials. LOUD and clear comes the news, with little editorial remarks to supplement the deals, like: Ready for the grill! Just pop these rib eyes on your bar-b-q and you are ready! Only $X a pound!” Then a lady comes on and tells us all about the produce specials. How come men meat, women produce? Symbolic?

Since she is start and stopping, I decide to go around her, and discover she is really on her cell phone! As I pass, she raised her head up with a prayer tilt and yells: “Will you shut the #^(% UP?”

Apparently, the noise from the loud speaker was making it hard for her to hear on the cell phone.