DelBloggolo

Monday, January 31, 2011

UNDER THE WEATHER


I was watching the news the other morning when the weather came on. I watch the news until the paper comes and then I read all the old news, rather than the regurgitated versions from the TV.

It seems to me that the weathermen are taking over the newscasts. TLW (The Little Woman) mentioned it out loud when John Elliot appeared more than once.

“The show seems to center around him.” Said TLW.

“You know, I think the same thing! And he tends to annoy me too. Seems like he is putting on a show for people.” I sometimes think that these weathermen do these little routines to be discovered and have a show of their own.

Then there is another turkey, Dave Price. Now this guy was a source of irritation every morning he went on the air. I like my news and weather without fanfare, jokes and deliveries that they must be rehearsing before they take to the air. There are some reporters I love, Willard Scott, Al Roker, Rich Cimino, all give a good honest report and can do it with a little schtik. Even golden boy Sam Champion gives it straighter than some of these clowns! The music bits, the costumes, the jokes… JUST GIVE ME THE DAMNED WEATHER!

I would love to know how many out there of you think the newsmen are out of hand in their little reports every five seconds or so it seems.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

DEAR GOD,


Dad always said: You have a great sense of humor. Dad also said You had to have one to make me! Well, I notice lately that You seem to be fooling around more than you usually do.

Let me explain: You are now giving us a snowstorm a week, or as I call it, a weekly snow storm! We pay taxes so that the plows can come down my road to clear the street so I can go somewhere. When they do plow, I get plowed in, can’t go anywhere. (I can hear you giggling, Lord.) Then I have so much snow that I need to pay someone to clear it out, and remember to keep our medical up to date for an impending heart attack I will eventually have if I do shovel myself.

But you don’t stop laughing at me. No, once I clear away the snow at great cost and labor, you go right into the autumn with leaves! Again, there are so many on my property, which I like to think of as ‘compost hill’! Once again, labor to get ride of it, then you go ahead and make even more drop, filling my pool, my yard, and of course my gutters and leaders.

OK, so You send me all this for free, and yet my neighbors across the street don’t get anything! (Is that a snicker I’m hearing?) It seems that all the snow, like the leaves, drift over to my side of the street! My neighbors across the way have a little snow and practically no leaves. (Except for the ones I’m going to start dumping at 3 in the morning, oops… You weren’t supposed to know that!)

Is it possible that You could maybe fool around at someone else’s expense for a change?

Your humble servant
Joe

P.S. Maybe we could work it out where I give something during the collection at church?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

IT DOESN’T GET ANY LONGER!



It started out at 7:00 am, and didn’t end until 9:30 pm! A day that would rival all days, one of as they say in the army: “Hurry up and wait!”

Hitting the LIE to return #2 Son to Purchase, I swung up the Hutchinson River Parkway, where all was running smoothly until New Rochelle. There, where the highway divided north and south with some wooded area, until just where it ends, maybe 3 miles, I stopped along with every car in America. Dead in the snow, the snow drifting down almost surrealistic, peppering my car with no one moving, I sat in my car. Inching at about 2 to 4 mph, we would stop for 10 minutes, and then inch again, the road icing, the snow wet but continuous, a fear creeping in that the road would ice up enough to lose traction and hit someone, after having the side re-finished a week ago, from an accident! And so I waited in traffic, a 15 minute at the most, a 3-mile stretch, took me 2 whole hours!

Having asked repeatedly if #2 would go back to school the day before, he said he didn’t want to go back until the last day! He must find his parents charming. As I looked at him, he lay there, in the font seat, sound asleep. You really can’t kill someone when they are sleeping, because it takes all the fun out of it.

I finally deposit sleeping beauty at school, and now have to get to another appointment, and it is after 10 am! My appointment is at 12:30 pm from the dealership of the used car I was about to pick up. “Please be here at 12:30 pm, so we can give you time to test drive and us time to inspect and clean the car, before the final paperwork” said the gentleman who sold me the car. But I must get to the WANNA-BE Bank and Truss Company to get my old car to trade in, and pick up some papers to finish the deal. I arrive at the WANNA-BE Bank and Truss Company, and get what I need, trading off cars with TLW (The Little Woman) who expected me back hours ago, and was in a state of near panic. (After all, I did have her car, too!)

Jumping into my old car, I go home, pick up the title for the trade-in and the check, and make it at exactly 12:30 pm!

“Thank you for coming on time, let me check with the guys to see about your car,” says Joe, the salesman.

He comes back: “It will be a few minutes, we have a little backup, want some coffee?”

Annoyed that I have to wait after rushing all morning in a traffic jam, I go to the coffee machine, and get some coffee. I also see some rather large cookies, (chocolate chip), help myself to one, and stop and think: “These bastards said 12:30, it is now 12:50, this will cost them another cookie.” I can feel TLW reprimanding me for the extra cookie, the fact that I didn’t ask for one first, and the fact that I used that language!

I go sit and wait, and wait, and wait. The salesman keeps apologizing, and I am getting really annoyed so I eat the other cookie. My plan: get another cookie if they don’t get a move on it!

It is 2:20 pm when the car is finally ready, except I have to wait. Yes, that is correct, wait. They now have to clean it. And how will they clean it? They will take it to the carwash!

As I finally leave, at 3:00 pm from COMPETITION SUBARU, I think: The only competition they have is with themselves, and they are losing.

It is now 3:30 when I get home. I have one hour to get ready for my board of director’s meeting. That meeting starts at 6:30 pm, but I scheduled a meeting prior to that one for 5:00 pm! It is a Personnel and Policy By-Laws committee joint meeting with the Executive Board to go over how we would handle policy down the road. A laborious and trying meeting, when you want to do it right, pleasing everyone (20 some odd members), and not make the thing your policy, but the agencies.

We go into the regular board meeting at 6:30 pm and that doesn’t end until 9:30, with forever reports and a great deal of discussion about my membership committee report being the center of it all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

IT NEVER GOES AWAY


Thirty years ago today, my family and I lost our child, Joseph. After all these years I wonder when I will heal. I know the passage of time has helped me to realize I need to continue to live my life that life does go on.

Funny thing about all that has ensued over the years is that I learned that I can make my son’s life, as short as it was, meaningful! I can dedicate myself unselfishly to other individuals who have not been given a chance like my daughter’s life, and I can come to understand that we each, in our own world can make a difference in someone else’s.

I look out at the landscape today, and I see the snow, the ice and the frozen cold feeling I had so many years ago when we buried Joseph. All that I felt then at his graveside, I can feel today. But it also reminds me of something else, the fact that I was surrounded by the warmth of family and friends. The tears I shed and we shed as a family, were shed by many that day. Although today we shed a tear in private, and alone, we as a family know that we don’t have to, we just do.

One hundred years from now, no one will care who I am, who my son was, and who when my son died was there, because of the lesson of life: Death is a singular event, one that will happen over and over again.

There are many people out there who have dealt with the issue of a child’s death, who will privately grieve, and some will continue to grieve collectively, but will have one thing in common: we do not and will not forget.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A TRADER

As I wail against buying foreign, and worry about third worldism, I went ahead and traded in my Hundai for a Toyota Prius. Having owned Toyota products in 1975 and again since 1991, and NEVER having had a problem, I decided to trade in my Hundai Sante Fe for a decent used Toyota Prius. Having a 2010 Prius already in my driveway, and loving to drive it, I decided to get this 2008 Prius, with only 35,000 miles and in very good shape. The price was too good to pass up, and so with an excellent Carfax report in hand, I made the decision this weekend.



Sitting in the show room of a Subaru dealership in Smithtown, TLW (The Little Woman) and I did business with this salesman who was a gentleman, all business and I think very honest. But I noticed something very interesting as I sat there. There was a young lady who was employed there, and she was wearing very high spiked heels. It looked like she was having trouble walking in them, and I nudged TLW and commented. Having thought that TLW hadn’t noticed, she began to give me details that I didn’t even see! Then looking across the room a little, another young good-looking woman, another employee at Subaru Smithtown, was wearing high spiked heels, followed then by a third one!



All three ladies looked like they were in agony as they trod upon the highly polished floors, spikes to the turf so to speak! But the feet problems did not end there! Our salesman got up to make copies, and sure enough, he had foot problems, walking very gingerly (no spike heels) and then, another salesman comes out from the back room, again walking like he was in pain!

TLW: “You see that? I wonder why everyone has a foot problem here?”

Me: “Yeah, they all walk funny, I wonder what goes on in the back room after hours?”

TLW snickers at my tasteless joke (I was roaring over it) and we just stare ahead, like nothing happened.



The car is packed with features like a navigational system. I remember when the navigational system was the steering wheel, now it is a GPS and rear-view backup camera! Once, all you had was a radio, am, and then they really improved it to am/fm! Now, satellite radio with DVD player and mpg players are the new features, along with electric windows and heated seats!

But nothing for foot problems.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SPECULATION


Recently there was some speculation on whether or not, the President of the United States dyes his hair. Being how he is the President, these things take on an importance to the press. Now I always put things into one of two categories: male or female. The press in my mind is female.

Have you ever spoken to a woman and commented on how good another woman looks for her age, and heard: “She dyes her hair, or she had implants or she is using Botox? That is a typical womanly reaction. The concern about those kinds of issues goes un-noticed by a man, and he will believe anything a woman throws his way. Already you see the male/female comparison.

Aside for a toupee’, a man does very little to hide his aging process, shoe lifts excluded. Older women, because of the enormous pressure that advertising and the press puts on them, and the comparisons to younger women that are made, get the short end of the stick. Funny thing is I find the older women more attractive, not because of anything other than they can be spoken to with the assurance that you will get a more realistic point of view in return. They tend to be less self-centered, and more assertive in their points of view. If they took away their makeup, they would still be the same person, do that to today’s younger women, all she will have is her I-pod to stare into, and nothing emanating from her mind. Of course this is not true for all of them, but spend some time on the road or in a mall and see what I’m talking about. There are exceptions: my future daughter-in-law is a very good example. She is furthering her education, switching career goals and planning for a happy future, not a mindless one in an I-pod. Then there are women with children, who learn fast that life is not about them only, anymore.

I consider my dog Happy an older woman. She can still be charming with age, her mind is still very sharp, can still tell me what is on it, and sometimes, will even out-think me. Although the last statement may not surprise you, it does surprise me every time she does it!

Of course all this is in a way speculation, because I can’t prove it to you in this venue, but keep in mind that I don’t dye my hair, wear a toupee or shoe lifts, so what you see is what you get. After 65 years on this earth, living with first 4 sisters and a mother, then a wife and daughter, I have enough experience with women to make these kinds of observations.

If you notice the First lady is always looking in the President’s direction, knowing: “Yup, he dyes his hair, who does he think he’s kidding?”

My only question is: are those gray hairs on his head from the job, or from her? I know where I got all mine, and frankly, I’m not telling.

Monday, January 24, 2011

TAKING A STAND



TLW (The Little Woman) decided to do a little surfing on the Internet and look up a company she does business with. (Weight Watchers) but I can’t tell you that. Sitting at the kitchen table, her laptop on the table and running, she started her quest for knowledge that would lead us to the promise land.

“OK… Now I have to type in my user name and password. What is my password? Darn, I did this yesterday and now I don’t remember!”

“Are you talking to me?”

“No, I always talk to myself when I do this, it helps me and relaxes me.”

“Well, don’t get into any arguments.”

Returning back to the dinner I was making, I stir, turn, and decide to go over to where she is.

“Don’t stand over me!”

“Oh! OK.”

“Now, how do I forward this to you, you said you would show me how to forward?”

“Well, I’d help you, but I can’t see that far from here.”

“I feel pressure, is dinner almost ready?”

I don’t answer and continue to prepare dinner, taking it into her plate.

“Do I have any time left? I feel like I’m running out of time!”

I think: “No, you are not running out of time, I am, soon you can collect the insurance and become a cougar.”

I envision the funeral, a closed casket with a “Let’s go Jets” sticker, and the obituary reading how I died of over listening to TLW work on the Internet.

That woman can talk pretty fast when she is on the Internet!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

GROWING PAPER

I seem to be falling behind in the race to discard paper and items of no use to me. The New Year has brought on new obligations and duties that require my handling forms, lists and sheets of paper! It is starting to make me wonder why I retired. Who retires and still has an office?



Instead of doing other things around the house, I am chained to a desk, making corrections and adjustments to a book I’m designing, and formulating new plans for a business I started. I guess being busy is a nervous habit. I remember Dad: worked all his life, retired and soon died afterward.



My grandmother was 97 when she passed on, but not before making one more phone call for a bus trip she was planning. My Mom decided that a lifetime of raising five children and cleaning and baking and cooking, was not enough, she went and volunteered in her 70’s at a hospital. She will be 93 this May, and will not miss a day of volunteer work at the local hospital.



But as I speak, more paper is growing behind me, beside me, in front of me, and under me. It is everywhere, and I need it all. The committee work, and plans just keep coming, and frankly, I will eventually collapse from all the weight of it.

Last night, I went to a volunteer appreciation night ran by the AHRC Suffolk Chapter, and had to stop myself from bringing home a list I already had in another form! To make things worse, I have ‘documents’ that sit on my desktop of the computer, that I don’t remember why they are there. Will I toss them, no, because then I will need them for sure. The idea is to get as much as I can on the desktop, not need it, and then I won’t have work to do. If I throw it out, I will be very, very busy.

I fully plan to enjoy my retirement, once I go back to work!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

GETTING GASSED


I decided to get some gas this morning, and discovered that not only are the drivers on the road crazy, they are nuts too, and America is getting dumber!

If I sound redundant, it’s because I find the two distinctly different. Crazy for the way they drive, and nuts to want to pay all that money to the gas station to fill their big old SUV. I have a SUV that I plan to get rid of. I hate the car, and the car hates me. It is not expensive to drive, and up until recently, when after 6 years of taking it in every 3,000 miles for oil, lube and what-nots (the what-nots cost a lot!), it had a fit one night on the Sunrise highway and croaked! Still it was only a 4 cylinder, and wasn’t all that bad to fill up. I used to love the car, while it was lasting, and while it was driveable.

It seems that people are not afraid to drive while distracted! As I was taking my wife’s car home from the auto-body repair shop, some idiot ran the stop sign and almost crashed into me! Yes, right out of the repair shop and going home! I see people going down my street like it is a speedway, way over a sensible limit, and on a cell-phone to boot!

We are repeatedly warned that the price of gasoline is strangling America, that we should be looking at small cars, with sensible gas mileage, but the cars are getting bigger and bigger. So I decided to put my money where my big mouth is, on a Prius. Yes, a car like the Prius is the answer to the problem of oil embargos, rising gas pump prices, and wasteful consumption of precious fuel, that will drop us in a third world status, while the camel jockeys from the Middle East live the luxury life, thank you USA.

Now for the dilemma: the Prius is a Japanese car, and so I will be a member of a third world nation anyway, while the Japanese will live the life of luxury.

If you can see where I’m going with this, tell the rest of us. America has to be a little more inventive, creative, and meaningful. A Stealth bomber will NOT keep us from being a third world country, it will get us there quicker.

Friday, January 21, 2011

THE WANNA-BE BANK AND TRUSS GET TOGETHER


Once a year, we gather together some of the employee’s of the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company for a dinner. Not being a real bank can be hard of the psychic condition of these nice people. Not only are they Wanna-Be’s, but when you enter the bank, be expected to make your transactions in Monopoly money. Any cash on hand is usually being spent on a birthday cake for one of the employees.

The suspects for this unusual gathering run the gauntlet from: The Princess of Foxwoods Points (Patrizia) to Toots II (Lois) the TLW (The Little Woman) look-alike. Sandwiched in between are either mates or friends of the employees.

When you enter the bank, head for either the teller line and ask if anyone can change the $5 chips into quarters for the slot machines that Patrizia runs in the ladies room, or head for the platform where you will find the “old-timers”. Look for Doug, who may seem like he’s busy, but is actually wondering how he ever got involved with rest of the crew under the age of puberty, that service the “Members” or look for Toots II, who will be listening on the phone to me as I tell her our son is not home yet (She even sounds like TLW on the phone!) Then if you are really feeling daring, and want to have something to talk about and maybe tell your grandchildren, there is TLW herself. She will be busy taking all of Lois’ phone calls so Lois can tell TLW what I wanted. This gets confusing if you are me.



Then there is a wonderful couple from Bethpage, who happen to have their citizenship papers and visa to be able to come to Suffolk County to visit. I speak of the Lovely and effervescent Jo-Ellen, and her sidekick, Seth. Both are expecting grandparents once again, and yet are still basking in the first grandchild. (Wait until they reach their teens!)

Bill, Patrizia’s husband, Corrine, Doug’s lovely wife (who tells Doug everything will be all right, once the little buggers he works with are potty trained and can count), and me round out this picture of good time Charlies.

Except for the fact that I forgot to put the cream in my pasta dish, the day was one of such fun and laughter, that it was a perfect blend of the right kinds of people, my kind.

Toots II had a little birthday party with a made from scratch carrot cake, (I did it) plus two other cakes, and the wine flowed.

I’m thinking of expanding this little group next year to include the police.

The Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company has adopted a new motto this year for 2011: "What we lack in membership,we make up for in enemies!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

THE TRUTH!


As I promised yesterday, as far as I can ascertain, the dinner was not so bad, except that I forgot to put in the cream in my Carbanara sauce! My chicken was good enough to eat, my special spinach complimented it, and my carrot cake, my home made from scratch carrot cake, with cream cheese icing with maple syrup was pretty good! There was no trip to the hospital emergency room.

But certain truths must be revealed now. Facts that will shock the world, and reveal the fact that TLW, was once again, playing with my mind!

Being how I don’t bake usually, and I had a very difficult recipe, TLW (The Little Woman) decided to patrol the kitchen while I was creating the cake.

If you remember yesterday the conversation went this way:

TLW: “You have to beat them until they are stiff!”
ME: “Hey, the only thing stiff around here is me, my arm is falling off! How’s that?”
TLW: “NOOO, they have to peeeeak!”
ME: “I’ll peak ya!”

Well, it turns out I could have used an eggbeater!
But TLW, wanted to mess with my mind! I beat that thing not once, but twice! And she knew I could use the eggbeater. But she wanted to see me go crazy! The mother of my children! I wonder what else is going on?

She will pay for this, oh, how she will pay.

You know her reputation for confectionary trickery goes back a while. Last year she made a sponge cake for a friend, a real sponge in the cake, using a sponge! So this doesn’t surprise me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

IF I KNEW YOU WERE COMING I’D A BAKED A CAKE!


Being an adventurous soul, I set out to bake a cake! I like to cook, but don’t often bake anything because no one eats it when there are only two people in the house!

Being how it was going to be TOOTS II’s (Lois Cope) birthday the next day and she was coming for dinner, I’d try one of her favorite cakes, carrot! There is a caveat to all this as TLW (The Little Woman) said:

“Lois likes it made from scratch!”
“OK, let’s Rock ‘n Roll!”
“You picked a hard recipe!”
“Is there anything easy about me?”

Suggestion: Don’t do it, buy it and say you did make it.

I know it is cheating, lying, deceiving, but you don’t whisk twice!

As I whisked as the instructions said, the yolks and sugar seemed to have a mind of its own, sitting on the “Dutch oven” as TLW called it.

Getting to the egg whites, the ‘kitchen Nazi’ reared her bossy head.

“You have to beat them until they are stiff!”
“Hey, the only thing stiff around here is me, my arm is falling off! How’s that?”
“NOOO, they have to peeeeak!”
“I’ll peak ya!”

Now the recipe I got is from the Food Network, and I have to say, it was not very detailed and explicit is not part of their plan. Being an idiot for trying, (which by the way, will happen again) I went about figuring it out to the best of my ability.

Well, the cake now sits in the frig, waiting to be tested, and tomorrow you will hear how bad I did. I promise you I will report the truth on this one, this includes all those that dared to try it, and what the emergency room looks like on a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HOW LOW CAN I GO?


Every Limbo boy and girl
All around the Limbo World
Gonna do the Limbo Rock
All around the Limbo Club


The other day, something overcame me, and I decided to dust the furniture! Moments like that really frighten me, and I think that maybe there is some evil that lurks in my house, that causes me to do such things. Usually, I do it like a round of golf, and in my bag is a long handled duster, a short handled duster, a rag, and a broom for corners and ceiling dust or cobwebs. I think this kind of behavior needs some serious psychotherapy, and I should be under evaluation!

Joe, be Limbo! Joe, be quick!
Joe, go under Limbo stick!
All around the Limbo Club!
Hey, let’s do the Limbo Rock!
Ahahahou!

Limbo low now!
Limbo low now!
How low, can you go?


Since the above-mentioned tools of boredom are in use, I also like to play some music. My cable company provides me with a TV station for Golden Oldies. I put it on, and being alone, I will at some point dance to the music, as my poor dog watches, and runs into another room to sleep.

But she’s by the Limbo beat,
When you move to Limbo beat
Limbo ain't and Limbo beat!
When back light to Limbo beat!


Well, as I happily dusting along the house, suddenly, the ‘Limbo Rock’ by Chubby Checkers came on. Getting caught in the music, I started to do the ‘Limbo Rock’, all by myself! Now if you know the music and the dance, it requires at least three people, one to limbo under the stick, and two to hold each end of the pole or stick.

Joe, be Limbo! Joe, be quick!
Joe, go under Limbo stick!
All around the Limbo Club!
Hey, let’s do the Limbo Rock!
Ahahahou!

Lalalalala…

I was all three.

OK, let me explain, the dog was in the other room, so there was no one to hold at least one end of the stick up.

Get you super, Limbo Girl!
Give they check to Limbo World!
There’s a Limbo Moon above,
You will fall in Limbo love!


Whipping out my long handled duster, I held it up with two hands, while hopping underneath it, turning around, giving myself a high-five, and doing it again, as I held the duster lower each time I went under it. That was exactly twice.

Joe, be Limbo! Joe, be quick!
Joe, go under Limbo stick!
All around the Limbo Club!
Hey, let’s do the Limbo Rock!
Ahahahou!


As I write this, my back is hurting, not to mention my brain! But don’t pity me, I just know the next time I will do it again, but hopefully, they will not play the ‘Limbo Rock’, because my limbs are rocked!

Don’t move in Limbo stork!
You're a Limbo stork!
How low, can you go?


With sincere and deep apologies to Chubby Checkers!

Monday, January 17, 2011

WHAT’S LEFT IS ALWAYS RIGHT

Or, “Hey Dad, why do old people oppose Health Care?”




Living with a politically conscious college student is a challenge. It is the futile breathing grounds of political discourse, the ensnaring grip of disagreement, the gauntlet is thrown and the kid gloves are off.

‘Dad’, based on his history is considered old school, out of touch with the future political specter, that of idealism and unlived experience that makes up youth. Does it matter that ‘Dad’ has lived 65 years? How could it possible match the life experience that and a few years of college found in my 23-year old son?

When I was in college, I was on a field trip to a composing room, where they studied and utilized the different typographic styles and taught to use it in a psychological manner to sway a point of view in the masses. One of the things said that day that left an impression on my impressionable mind was that 10 years from that moment, I would probably be doing something totally different than what I was studying for! It wasn’t true in my case, but for many of us in that room that day, it was.



Then there was what Sir Winston Churchill once said, and I will paraphrase it: If you are not a liberal as a young man, you have no heart: if you are not a conservative as an older man, you have no brains.

Then I am reminded about the Nixon/Kennedy debates in my high school years, how opposed to Nixon I was, how dynamic I found Kennedy. The arguments with dad especially heated and mine of course were based on “Information” while poor Dad, what DID he know? And finally while in college, how disappointed I was when I read a review of the old issues of US News and World Report, Time Magazine and Newsweek, and how Kennedy was viewed as unsuccessful in his presidency, and how he stood a strong chance of losing the election, before he was assassinated! Somehow, all of Dad’s points seemed to hold true!

In all those instances, time was the factor. Time changed things for me as they evolved on a personal stage, as well as on the world stage!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TOOTS II (Lois Cope)
From the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

WHAT HAVE WE TO SAY?

Since that horrific day in Arizona on January 8th, it has shaken up America to such a point, that I wonder if we will ever recover. Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman from Tucson gives her time and service to this country, and we shoot her! Is it her politics, her religion, or the fact that she is a woman? None of those seem like an excuse to me. This is the work of a mad man. This is also the work of a powerful gun lobby, one that looks to make money, and cares very little for the ‘Right to bare arms.’


But there are more victims than we care to discuss. Those who died, and those that were wounded, but also, those who are left behind, and those who will be damned for what happened, have now become victims.

Who am I talking about? I’m talking about that little 9-year old girl that was killed. Christina Taylor Green, an aspiring politician, a child that held the view that public service was worthwhile, murdered by a madman. We are appalled, yet the media seems to have all but forgotten her, and her parents. I know that the parents don’t wish to be singled out now, in their time of deep and sustained grief, but there lies the fact that they were robbed of their child, they were robbed of the joy, love and hopes of that precious child. Will the world soon care or remember?



And there is the madman himself, Jared Lee Loughner, the person who pulled the trigger, who may have if she doesn’t die, Gabrielle Giffords may be unable to function ever again like she once did. Her husband, Mark Kelly will be denied the love and affections of the woman he married: and now waits and wonders, if his wife WILL ever be the same. This Jared is the child of someone too. What has he done to them? What unimaginable torture, shame and grief, not to mention guilt will these people suffer? All in the name of some political idealism, we go to violence, and the quickest means to silence our enemies, the gun, rather than the ballot. Didn’t we learn from Lee Harvey Oswald, didn’t Surhan Surhan teach us anything? Is not James Earl Ray still burning in our minds?

Tell me why a handgun is sold. Is it an object that makes life better? Do these high-powered rifles that I have a right to carry doing good for the sick and elderly, the poor and hopeless? Have we lost our minds?

So once again, we keep from banning guns, and so once again we destroy the values of democracy, human decency and embrace the stupidity and insanity of guns and naked violence. And those who blame the different political parties out there and make it political hay, shame on you, have you no respect for the process, for the little girl, for the parents?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

TURNING ON MOM


There are few things in life more fun than teasing my mother. She has a great sense of humor and a great down swing with a wooden spoon! She has always made her kids nuts by the way she patiently spreads butter on toast, covering every square inch of it, walking all her life like she knew she would live a long time, doing things the last minute.

All Moms’ children take after Dad. We are all in a hurry, need to get things done quickly so we can go on to the next project, and hurry that along too! One other thing we love about Mom is she doesn’t get too excited, as in this recent episode.

It was the night before the big storm, and I called her to make sure she was ready to use her cell phone in case of an emergency.

“Hello Ma, how ya doin?” (Let’s face it, that’s how I tawk)
“Just fine.”
“Ya got that phone handy in case of an emergency?”
“Yes, Joseph.” (She calls me that all the time!)
“Well I don’t want any more repeats like the other storm we had.”
“Don’t worry, everything is under control.”
“Ya got the thing plugged into the wall?”
“Yeeeeesss”
“OK. Don’t hesitate to call me if you need anything.”

A few minutes later, my older sister Tessie (Much older!) calls.
“Yellow?” (There I go again!)
“Hi, I just called Mom on her cell phone and she doesn’t answer it.
“Maybe she should unplug it from the wall.”
“OK, I call her regular phone and tell her to do that.”
Five minutes later …

“Yellow?”
“Hi, it’s me again!”
“You just won’t go away!”
“I called her and she stood by the cell phone, which I called again, but she says it didn’t ring!”
“She unplugged it, too?”
“Yup.”
Maybe she should unplug the charger not only from the wall, but from the phone too.”

Five minutes later, TLW (The Little Woman) answers the phone.

“Hello, oh hi Theresa! (She says “Hello”)
OK, I’ll tell him.”

It seems Mom, dear, sweet loveable and now frustrating Mom, never turned on the cell-phone through the whole ordeal!

Friday, January 14, 2011

THE COLDEST NIGHT


Mom, dear Mom, has a stubborn streak. After years of yelling at me, and my sisters, not to mention my father, about NOT listening to what she said, she has decided that she shouldn’t listen to her children. I guess this is payback for her by ignoring us.

The recent storm we had the day after Christmas, Mom lost her electricity. This meant that she also lost her phone for some reason. Well into the storm, I decided to call her to see that she was OK. No answer meant to me that she was either at my sister’s house or my niece’s house, who lives close by. I started to call around, and no, no one had Mom!

The storm had hit the night before, and it was the early am when I called. We put out the alert, and my nephew Gerard went to her house to find her there! Mom, dear sweet Mom, had no electricity, no phone, and NO HEAT, over night. Mom had a First Alert device to wear around her neck, in case of an emergency, but it was a “Pain in the neck” to wear. This meant that under absolutely no circumstances, would she use it, even if it were in her hand! What to do with Mom?

Mom, dear sweet loveable Mom, the Mom that would pounce on me with her wooden spoon if I did something dumb, has a boyfriend. He is 87, she is 92, Henry is his name, and he is her boy toy. Henry is just as stubborn as dear sweet loveable Mom, he doesn’t think anybody, (and this means YOU) should need a cell phone. Doesn’t believe in cell phones, after all, what did we do with out them when they didn’t exist? I assume he doesn’t own a car, a TV or a wristwatch because he was around when they didn’t exist.

“Ma, you need a cell phone!”
“Nah, Henry says I don’t. Henry says he’s always around.”
“Ma, you send Henry home at night, you need a cell phone.”
“Please, what am I going to do with that thing?”
“What, Henry?”
“Huh? No, The phone!”
“Ma. You froze to death last night, you should have had a phone to call one of us to come and get you, or get you help”
“Yes, Joseph.”
“You know you had us all worried?”
“Yes, Joseph”
“Why don’t you ever listen to us?”
“Please, don’t lecture me.”

I order a phone, it comes in the mail, I go there and deliver it to Dear sweet, ever-loveable and contrite Mom.

I knock
“Oh! It’s you!”
“Yes Mom, I have the phone.”
“OOOOH!”

With me in large type is the instruction, which give her step-by-step instructions on how to use it, how to call with single number quick dialing, and an emergency button that will dial up each of 5 numbers I set up, in succession until one of us answers.

Mom does the dialing, and after a few times, she seems to have it down pat.
She hits the emergency button and my older sister Tessie (Much older) answers.
“Hi Theresa, guess what, I’m on my new cell phone!”
I hear a loud sound like someone crashing to the floor.’

“Ma, hang up before someone else gets hurt!”
“Listen you, don’t get so smart. You’re not too big to hit over the head with a wooden spoon!”
“OK Mom, we will plug this into a wall and just use it in an emergency.”

As I leave, I wonder: Will she really use it, or was that to just get rid of me?

Happy Birthday to my lovely niece, Elizabeth Manning-Gohlinghorst, a beautiful niece, Mom and wife! She has two great kids who must take after me, and a very smart husband to have married her!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

LOOSE ENDS


This morning, (Monday January 10th, I had to take TLW’s (The Little Woman) car in for some paint work, because #1 Son had a minor fender-bender over the holidays.

At the body shop they arrange for you to get a rental car through your insurance, and I waited along with two other people for Enterprise to pick us up and bring us to their office from the auto body repair shop. Waiting with me was a young woman and a gentleman, both going off to work after the rentals were made. I too had a place to go and was eager to get going.

After waiting about ten minutes, a young woman came from Enterprise to collect us and we all climbed into a SUV, the gentleman took the front seat, and I sat in the back with the young woman. Sitting in the back seat with a young woman is interesting. What she did the whole trip was bury her nose into her I-pod or whatever it is they do these days. This allowed her NOT to engage in conversation with anyone, not look or see anything, just run her index finger on the screen of the little device!

This phenomenon as I spoke of recently of occupying your time while surfing the net and walking is now taking over our whole social order. It seems we can’t talk or communicate with each other. It is bad enough studies show that the younger generation can’t write sentences with whole words, but also can’t write in script. They print because they can’t write. They abbreviate because they can’t spell out words, and now have become hooked on phonics!

Watch This

OK, so we don’t talk to each other, and we don’t communicate. As I got my rental and was driving home, I saw this young fellow walking along the side of the road. HE, wasn’t into a I-pod or I-pad or even a text message. No, he was carrying to large cans of beer, at 8:30 in the morning!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MARC, MY ILLUSTRIOUS NEPHEW AND NEW DADDY!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I COULD HAVE SWORN!


It was the 8:30 Mass, and they were all there in spite of the bad weather.

There was the lady that occupied the same pew as us, TLW (The Little Woman), and there was the young lady and her sister who always arrive after the priest, and even the couple across the way that the husband stares at everyone from boredom, and of course there was me, who should be left in the church after everyone has left, with the hope that I can become saintly.

There was also the little Spanish lady, very devout and very prayerful. She was here on a day when it wasn’t safe to walk because of the ice and snow that fell on the ground the night before. True devotion!

I looked at my watch as the priest gave his homily, and saw that it would soon be breakfast time as soon as he shut up, and got on with things.

I noticed that the little Spanish lady was now sporting a cane, and I thought how sad, that she needed it and was still walking to church with it. Surely God would forgive her for not coming anymore. (A great excuse if ever I saw one!)

Suddenly the priest departed the pulpit, went back to business as usual, while I’m sure giving up on me once again, and started his litany of prayers. But just as suddenly, the little Spanish lady reached for her cane. Just as suddenly, I found myself in silent, controlled hysterics! From my angel, she looked like she was using the cane to scratch her rear-end! Yes, sticking the cane behind her behind, and jerking it up and down, while looking up at the priest.

Holding in my laughter from this comical sight, it suddenly came together when she abruptly got the cane free from her coat to lay it down on the seat behind her. It seems the cane was caught on her coat as she tried to place in behind her on the pew! What I thought I saw was not the case!

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Church – stupid just figured it out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS


The snow was starting to accumulate, as I pulled into my driveway. All my chores were done before the snow would hit, and I could take the rest of the afternoon and devote it to some work. As I settled behind my desk, it hit me; there was one piece of unfinished business I needed to take care of.

Jerry, the guy I worked with on the Fund Raising committee, was very ill, and I had not been able to talk to him for over a week. Every time I called his home, at any hour of the day, no one answered. On top of that, the message machine that asked to leave a message in his voice was changed. This made me particularly worried.

I picked up the phone and called a gal at the church, who might know his whereabouts. She answered and told me he was in a hospice center with just days to live, I felt my stomach drop, once again.

Dropping what I was about to do, I went on the Internet and located the Good Shepherd Hospice, and immediately jumped into the car.

I arrived at this building that looked like a cross between a small chapel or office building and entered. Inside was a very serene feeling, the large rooms were void of people and seemed to be almost waiting for something to happen. Searching, I found a station of three women and ask for Jerry. Locating him was a surprise, since I expected a hospital setting, and instead found a suite of rooms, laid out for visitors and was cheerful and comfortable looking.

As I approached the bed, Jerry lay there, and for a moment I thought he was well tanned, but soon realized that it was the result of his illness, the one that would soon take him away forever. Wearing a baseball cap that said: “Veteran, U. S. Army”, he looked up at me and weakly greeted me. He had a left over lunch in front of him.

“Four to five days, Joe.”

“Well God’s getting a good man, Jerry.”

He just lay there, not answering, but not showing any emotions. His first question after that was how my car was, if it was fixed.

I know we all must go sometime. I know we don’t know when. I also know that we all will deal with it when the time comes in our own way. His way was acceptance.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE;
My Nephew, GREG SCHNEIDER, Great Husband, nephew and father of Al!

Monday, January 10, 2011

CAN’T BE MUCH BETTER!



Or, how to really enjoy a football game!

As you know, #1 Son, Anthony, got me some tickets to see the NY Jets play at their new Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. It has to be one of the best days of my life! I enjoyed every moment of it, and must say, as a Christmas present, it was really special.

We left the house early on a dreary foggy Sunday morning, and drove out to New Jersey in unbelievable time, arriving, as the tailgate parties were under way. If you have not ever witnessed this, it is something to behold. The people who do this do it eight times a year for the home games that are played. It is a cross between a picnic or bar b q and a bazaar.

Mostly SUV’s are parked perfectly straight in each space allotted for parking, with tables, chairs, bar b q devices of one kind or another, and tents, with flags and everyone arrayed in NY Jets attire, from scarves to coats, hats, shirts, pants and I’m sure, even underwear!

It is mostly a boy’s day out and a great excuse to eat and drink beyond reason, since it is 9:30 am! With games like beanbag tossing, and football, young and old have the time of their life! They visit other spots to chat and play games, like a mobile neighborhood, which stands for a moment’s time and then disappears after the final whistle of the game.

As we approached the monstrous arena they share with the NY Giants football team, the loyal legions on Jets fans line the path, with their tents and cooking smells attacking you. No one is eating fish, it is big old slabs of meat, baby! No fooling around. (Not that I noticed, anyway.)

Entering the stadium, we started to look for our section, which I figured was about two miles in the upper deck, but as we entered, it was standing in front of us! “Sec. 137” so it said. I looked at #1 and said: “There must be a mistake! We can’t be at our section just yet!” But oh yes we were, right on the 40 yard line, FIELD LEVEL!! Let me repeat that. 40-yard line, FIELD LEVEL. I had to ask one of the Buffalo Bills players to let me get by we were so close! Well maybe not, but we were close.

The game was exciting, since it was close until the end, when the Jets took over and ran up the score, killing Buffalo. I loved it!

Then to show my appreciation to a fine son, for a fine gift at Christmas, I treated him to the best restaurant in NYC for Chinese food. It is an establishment I frequented on business when I worked in NYC. Dining on white gloved service: the SHUN LEE DYNASTY got even better than I recalled, and so did their pricing!

It is nice to talk sports with your son, and to break bread, it is nice that he is getting married and we will not be able to do this as just father and son. Maybe I can live long enough to do it as Grandfather/Father and Son someday.

One of the best days of my life!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

THE ZOMBIES ARE HERE!


If you think I’m exaggerating, then just check your local mall!

I know: “What is this cranky old man complaining about now?”

The other day I was in my local mall, and as I was leaving an establishment, I started to stop and go as I walked. It seemed I would go a few steps, and have to stop, not because it was crowded, but because of the specter of zombies that is overtaking us all!

These zombies of whom I write, are not your ordinary kind, no they are more likely to come from your own house, or that of your neighbors!

“My God! ZOMBIES IN MY HOUSE!?” Yes, that is so. I’m talking about that little girl you raised about 12 to 18 years ago. What has she done?

SHE WALKS AROUND WITH ONE OF THOSE I-PHONES OR I-PADS OR WHATEVER THE HELL THEY ARE, AND IS SO DRAWN INTO IT THAT SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHERE SHE IS WALKING!!!!!

The guys are still a little behind, as they continue to text and use a cell-phone, but the girls are cutting edge annoying! There index finger is busily swiping up and down or side to side as the screen goes from one image to another, and she is taking baby steps, poking along, oblivious to anyone around her. This means she is stopping in mid-stride, and picking up the pace, then stopping again, without warning, not even a cadence!

Here is the horrific news though: there are hundreds of them in the mall and in the parking lots and in the streets and stores all over America! You can’t go far in public without someone whipping out one of those devices and stroking the window, mesmerized and deeply enraptured by the device.

I remember when women went shopping, went into the store, spent a lot of money and hours, then out she went. I was in on a Thursday, these young ladies look like they were in the mall since Saturday of the past week, just texting, emailing, and surfing the net!

The funny thing is, the establishment I had just left was an Apple store!

New campaign slogan for Apple: Apple, the store where Zombies are made!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

THERE ARE DAYS…AND THERE ARE DAYS



But no day equaled the day I had on Tuesday, January 4th!

My car was supposed to be ready at 9:30 am, and I called to confirm it.

“Oh, no problem, see you at 9:30 am.” So said the owner of the shop.

I ask #1 Son to come with me, so we can then return TLW (The Little Woman) her car at the bank after I get my car. We take a half hour drive to the auto shop and wait for the car. I sign the bill and as I do, #1 Son happens to brush against a parked car. This would not normally excite anyone, except he WAS driving. It was a simple little thing with no visible damage. He was on his way to the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co., to return the car, and I would then pick him up.

As I pay the bill, a mechanic comes in and says: “Some guy just hit a car parked in the lot!” I turn around and see #1 Son pulling in and think: “Oh, No!” Sure enough, he did it!

I goo out to see what happened, and I go over to the car, when all of a sudden this guy comes out of nowhere and bumps me and starts yelling about his car. I’m still trying to figure if the damage was real. I go over to TLW’s car and look, it is not damaged, but you could see he cleaned the car of the roadside dirt, using this guys car to do it!

Now the guy is really getting excited, and starts calling #1 Son names, which neither of us appreciated, and he became very demanding. He is on the phone and yelling into it like he was about to die. He continues to call #1 Son names, and #1 is about too punch him, I’m ready to do it if he doesn’t and big mouth starts screaming, “You touch me and I call police!”

Then he leans on his car gives my son a pen and asks him, or should I say demands that he write his info down. Then he decides not to do it there, after all, it is his car! So what does this imbecile do? He comes over to MY car and lays his stuff down, I get in his face and tell him to move it, or I will. My blood is boiling and I’m afraid I’m going to hit him and get arrested. He then says to me, tell me your policy number, which I have out on a piece of paper, and I say read it. He demands I read it, I say, I will hold this paper only a bit more then that’s it! He writes what he sees and runs off. The name calling doesn’t stop and he says to me from a distance, what is your phone number? I walk up to him and scream it into his face, and say: “YOU WANT ME TO REPEAT THAT FOR YOUR SMALL MIND, IT IS NUMBERS YOU KNOW”
He says “Yes”, and then speaks into the phone, “YOU SEE THE KIND OF PEOPLE I AM DEALING WITH?”

Laughing in his face I said, anytime you moron. His real name is Rafaela.

I had to come back later, the car wasn’t ready!

To top it all off, I go to a meeting that I ran late for, with a full committee, and find out information I needed for it was not forwarded to me!

Then I hear my #2 Son’s lap top just died!

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO MY BEAUTIFUL NIECE SARA HARROW!

Friday, January 07, 2011

JOHN RICHARD STERN – 1929-2010



GOODBYE MENTOR, RIP!

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had some time to kill so I ate a breakfast before my very first interview for a ‘Graphic Designer’ position, for what I thought would be a small intimate advertising agency. Here I was in the middle of the big city. All I had worked and dreamed for was about to happen: my first interview. The countless days of sacrifice, the hitch hiking to the campus from the Westbury Railroad station, often not getting a ride, and freezing cold, snow and ice, all part of the experience. The hunger from no money to afford lunch or breakfast, because I needed it for carfare and school or art supplies. The hard hours in the factory where I had a part-time job, and in the Hills Supermarket after school and on weekends, to pay my tuition were all behind me.

Now it was time to step forward and face a new challenge, to realize my dream. The name on the employment agency reference card said: Mr. Jack Stern, Lawrence G. Chait & Co., 641 Lexington Avenue. The name seemed kind of severe to me, ‘Stern”, would that be my bosses name?

Coming out of the back woods of Bellport, even with an art and advertising degree form the New York Institute of Technology, I suddenly faced the sophistication of the New York City advertising world, the glamour and excitement of the 32nd floor agency. The large photos on the wall, the awards that were displayed, made me want to pick up my art portfolio and run like hell to the cocoon of Bellport, and stay there forever. I had heard all the stories about how hard it is to get a job in this field, how exact and precise you had to be, and one mistake and you were gone!

The waiting room was expensively carpeted and the furniture ultra-modern for the day back in February 1970, and I announced myself at the front desk and asked for Mr. Jack Stern. I took a seat and waited for the art director to come out and interview me.

Through the glass doors comes this gentleman, soft-spoken and wearing a turtle neck under his shirt, sleeves rolled up. He already impressed me as the art director, and my knees started to shake, before I could shake his hand.

Well, Jack turned out to be my mentor; he was kind, patient and understanding. He encouraged me, gave me confidence and taught me my skills as an artist. He was a talented man who didn’t tell you he was, he just was. All the ladies in the office loved him, and most of the men. He was a great source of amusement and often I was on the back end of it. We laughed and we worked, and that office, was my home, my professional birthplace.

There are few loyalties one needs to have, and Jack is one of them for me. He shaped me professionally and personally and taught me how to deal with people on a professional basis. There will never be another Jack Stern.

Jack often worried that he would die young, since his grandfather and father did. He lived to be almost 82 years old. He had two children, one became a forest ranger in New Jersey, and one became a pharmacist out west. He sparkled with pride, every time I asked about them, and included every detail he could muster. He had a wonderful wife named Helen, who was a sweetheart to even strangers like myself, and he adored her. She passed on a few years ago, leaving Jack to live out his final years in Satellite Beach, Florida.

Jack may be onto another agency now, but I will never forget him. Because of Jack I am who and what I am. I owe him so much, because without him I would not have had the wonderful and fulfilling career I did have. I might not have met the people in my life I have, and never have seen a modicum of success.

So this past Christmas, I when I didn’t get a Christmas card, designed by Jack that always said: “Peace”, my worst fears began to come together, and I was afraid to call and inquire. Then I got a small white envelope from Jack’s son. It was addressed like it came out of Jack’s phone book. I knew what it would say, just like a draft notice I once got, without opening it. I didn’t want to open it, I was afraid to, and I knew.

The note was simple:



Happy Birthday to my Brother-in-law, Dennis, who just past 29 once again!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

SHADOWS IN THE MOONLIGHT…


Darling meet me after midnight.

Or so the song goes. Once more, the Hood got together to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of a new year.

Both #1 and #2 sons went on their own way to do their thing, while TLW (The Little Woman) and I went on ours.

Have you ever seen a bunch of old fogies try to stay up after 9:00 pm? Pathetic! The only way we managed to stay awake was because of the younger teens and their noisy music. That and the gas I got from the soup wontons.



Of course the year didn’t just appear, as I needed to do something to remind people that I am crazy, and my Madonna impression was it! Fortunately, Carol, my hostess had provided the festivities with balloons, and so I stuffed two under my shirt and did a Madonna that some enjoyed. The balloons were filled with plain air, and not helium, so I gave off the appearance of a 65 year-old lady as they hung there, and there was no uplift.Doing such a thing can be worrisome as a number of neighbors were looking at my chest and not my eyes!

Keeping Richie Ignelzi from across the street awake was a chore, as I had to keep shouting: “What do you mean a raise in the property tax?” This brings him to near impossible heights to reach in one’s sleep!

Anyway, it was great to see the neighbors are still there, that I’m still alive, and maybe I won’t eat or drink a thing until next New Years Eve!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

LADIES FIRST


It was a cold and wintry morning. The last day of the year to be exact, and I was assigned the job of taking TLW (The Little Woman) to work. My car was at the shop, and I needed to take #1 Son to the railroad station so he could go into the city.

As we walked out to the car, I noticed a little bit of frost on the windshield, but it wasn’t an issue to worry about. Unless of course, you are TLW, then a little bit of frost will get you down.

TLW opened the driver’s side door, and I said that I would drive, so she paused searching for something, and went around to the other side, the passenger side and opened that door, as I got into the driver’s seat. I noticed that she now has a scrapper in her hand and begins to scrape the windshield.

TLW: “I won’t say anything about this.” A smirk is on her face, as I am starting up the car, while she is scrapping.

She scrapes her side first, then mine, as I point to a spot that she could have gotten, but instead choose to ignore me. Making me feel bad is a job she has taken to a science. I would never let her do the job of scrapping if I felt it needed it. Being it was such a little job, and no effort was needed, I let her finish it.

She finally gets into the car and looks straight ahead, like she did on our first date. I look at her and say: “You finished?”

She looks back at me and doesn’t say a thing.

Me: “I was saving my arm for the typing I have to do.”

Do all you women go to a guilt inducing school for husbands before you get married?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

NOW THAT’S THE TICKET!


This Christmas, one of my sons, #1 (Anthony), gave me the surprise present of the year! Being how he is, he is always thinking of great gifts for his old man. For the gifts I get, he should be getting a better old man, or at least one more worthy of the gifts.

One year it was Brooklyn Dodger memorabilia, another year round trip tickets to California to visit him, and this year: a wonderful daughter-in-law and New York Jets football tickets to the last game of the season! With free parking!

If you don’t know, that is a very, VERY nice gift! He is going with me, and we will after the game, go into the city and have dinner at a great restaurant. I took him to that restaurant after Knick games as a little guy.

The funny thing is the best gift he ever gave me didn’t cost him a dime. I still have it, and often think about the gift when it is not in use. That gift is of course: himself. It is the most valued, most treasured and I am most thankful for it. He like #2 Son, has his own mind, and uses it, and that is the gift that he keeps giving to TLW (The Little Woman) and me.

When I was a young man, not married and still dreaming, I often hoped I’d have a son. Being raised in a house with 4 sisters, not having a brother was hard on me, and Dad wasn’t always able to be there for me. Having 3 sons is unimaginable to me to this day. When the two guys are together I feel this immense sense of pride and satisfaction.

Two sons, great!

Monday, January 03, 2011

TWO STORIES BOTH TRUE –

And worth reading!!!!

The two stories that follow are true, and they come from my baby sister Mary Ann, who happens to live and freeze in Chicago.

STORY NUMBER ONE


Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was Capone's lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time.

To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but Eddie got special dividends, as well. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block.

Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had clothes, cars, and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name or a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done.

He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name, and offer his son some semblance of integrity. To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified.

Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer: at the greatest price he could ever pay. Police removed from his pockets a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion, and a poem clipped from a magazine.

The poem read:

"The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time you own. Live, love, toil with a will. Place no faith in time. For the clock may soon be still."




STORY NUMBER TWO

World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare.

He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank.

He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet.

As he was returning to the mother ship, he saw something that turned his blood cold; a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenseless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent.

Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible, rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier.

Upon arrival, he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had, in fact, destroyed five enemy aircraft. This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of W.W.II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Medal of Honor.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His hometown would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man.

So, the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honor. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.

SO WHAT DO THESE TWO STORIES HAVE TO DO WITH EACH OTHER?




Butch O'Hare was "Easy Eddie's" son.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

IT WAS A COLD AND SNOWY NIGHT…


When all of a sudden: my car dies on Sunrise Highway! My 60,000-mile Hundai Sante Fe craps out on me!

It is the night before Christmas Eve, and if I hadn’t rescheduled a meeting that day planned for 5:30 pm, I would have been not only unhappy, by miserable.

At 3:30 that afternoon, heading home for the holidays, on the fast lane of the Sunrise Highway westbound side, I suddenly lose power, and have to try to steer off to the side of the road, while losing not only power, but my steering too!

Fortunately, my phone had some power and I called AAA for help. The lady tells me that someone from a repair shop will call me within 15 minutes. 20 minutes pass and no call, but as I look in my rear-view mirror, I see a tow truck about to cross the median to my side. I get hauled to a service shop in Mastic on William Floyd Highway and am told that I blew a piston! A car that I religiously take in every 3,000 miles for service blows a piston! I now need to get home, and have to rent a car.

I go to Enterprise get a car and the guy tells me that I should have enough gas to get home. So off I drive and almost immediately, the gas warning light goes off! That means I have to find a gas station just to get home!

So Merry ‘Freaking’ Christmas, I have to replace the engine!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

‘APPY A NEW YEAR!




As some of my relatives used to say so many years ago!

This is an exciting year for me coming up!

First is my 40th wedding anniversary! Married for 40 years is not usual these days, but an old song goes: “A good gal now-a-days is hard to find!”

Secondly and most importantly, #1 Son Anthony and TLC (The Lovely Courtney) get married! I always wanted a daughter-in-law, and didn’t really matter what or who she is as long as #1 is happy. Well I hit the jackpot: she is talented, smart and beautiful! But from what I gather from #1, she is someone very special, and so we will treat her like our own, and love her to death.

Thirdly comes the new business I am helping a dear friend create. Pam and I will be starting up Russell’s Event Planning, and it looks like it should be a good time to start it. With all the memorials coming up for 9/11, and the beginning of the economy coming back again, hopefully things will click.

Fourth is the cruise in the end of August! TLW (The Little Woman) and I will be going on a cruise with my high school classmates, friends and spouses to Halifax and St. Johns for a few days.

So, all in all it sounds like a great year ahead!

But most of all, I have you guys, my wonderful readers and friends.

I truly hope you all have prosperous, healthy and happy days ahead, may all you love stay and may all your dreams come.

I love you all.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P.S. This year I will refer to the postings as a Blogg, as in Del Bloggolo!