DelBloggolo

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TUMBLEWEED

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Way back in ’07, I had the pleasure to meet two very talented brothers who teamed up to produce and write a gem of a short film. One is the husband of my very first fan of this blog: from California, the lovely MFF (My Favorite Fan) Lauren.

Often we go through life wondering where things get their names and I know you, if you are like me, often wonder where the tumbleweed got its name. Well, good news folks, I have the answer.

Now you know from time to time I like to suggest a book, or recipe or event. Today it is a short film. Seven minutes and you are in and out in no time. You can’t even smooch with your significant other. (signifiCAN’T) other?

Go out and find a great short called: (you ready for this?) ‘TUMBLEWEED’: an historic look at the tumbleweed.

For instance, do you know who discovered the tumbleweed and named it after himself? Well, watch the movie, it will shock you!
Did you know that it is called “Dry Brush” and “Stationary Weed” and even the very hurtful: “Dick Brush”? I didn’t think so.

Jared (director) and Justin (writer) Varava are the two geniuses I speak of. When you hit either link, you will be cast into the facts of life, the joy of being, and a font of knowledge, besides, it’s good!

http://www.anillusionofmovement.com/ is their website, a nice place to visit if you shop on line with your wife and you need to wait for her while holding her pocketbook.

Monday, January 30, 2012

VEAL CHOPS AND THE AMERICAN DREAM


Two veal chops cost me $21 the other day! When I was in high school, you could buy a car (used) for $25, and didn’t have to leave it in the refrigerator!

The cost of everything is going up, including keeping your sanity.

I still have a child in college, and that is expensive, when you factor in his cigarettes, tuition (a close second or so it seems) and incidentals. Incidentals are up 2.3%!

“But who cares, DelBloggolo, I got my own expenses, PLUS I read this for some strange reason!”

OK you got me there, things are bad for everyone.

I remember when I was a young kid, last week. Dad had the handle on his expenses, keeping meticulous records, everything was neatly filed and he took out his accordion folder, poured a cup of coffee and lit a cigarette.  Opening his checkbook, he would write out a check, curse in Italian and that was that. What I found interesting was we didn’t have a lot of money, but he WAS organized.

I get letters from doctors I haven’t seen in years, sending me “Happy New Year” letters. Doctors trying to drum up business! My mechanic greeted me like I was a god: “Joe, it’s so good to see you again!” I bought a Prius and I needed it inspected, the car is a great investment, using very little gas in comparison to other cars. The mechanic is desperate now, even though people are repairing their cars and not buying new ones.

I even get a slide now from the Handy Pantry, they skip the $0.09 in a $1.09 buttered roll, and say: “See you tomorrow?” Everyone it seems is looking for business.

I have great empathy for riders of the LIRR. It seems they are constant targets of the MTA and must pay for bad management, poor service and promises to do better. Gas prices fluctuate so much you wonder when they will settle down, or should I say settle up.

So where is the American Dream? When do we realize we are having the American Dream, and not the American Nightmare? We scream about politicians and we keep electing them, we continue to pay ridiculous prices for things, big cars that consume our money where the gas is charged and paid like a mortgage every month. I see homes for sale, and no one buying them, I see people living in fear of losing their jobs, and I see people in supermarkets, living for coupons and sales, because that is the only way they can afford to live.
Feel Better

My gosh, even the New York Yankees are cutting back, and the Mets, well… so we are all in the same boat, paying high prices and watching the ship of state sink.

Throw me a life jacket, a used one please, I’m not paying top dollar to float in $(-)!+.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

AMERICAN IDLE


I happened to catch American Idol the other night and came to the conclusion that the good singers all suck.

Watching one after another sing and then hear: “You’re going to Hollywood”, left me cold. They all start to sound alike: good! Fortunately the coming attractions showed me something different coming: “After the break”.

Watching the faces of the judges seemed to relate that things were getting interesting, they would stink.

“Ah good, now we will see some real talent!” I related to TLW (The Little Woman).

“I was thinking the same thing!”

Anybody can get up there and sing and go to Hollywood, but how many of us would go up there and sing without talent?

It's not always pretty
Sitting in front of a TV is not easy sometimes: you have commercials, and interrupting phone calls, not to mention American Idol. The voices on American Idol sometimes match the costumes and hair dos, the talent is sometimes a little behind the performance. What they lack in talent they more than make up for in guts.

Give me the really bad performances, and I love it. I don’t want so-so, or poor, or just sorry voices, I want bad, face cringing sorry voices, I want the contestants to apologize for a performance so bad, they become popular performers.

These are the people I want to be in a foxhole with, trusting my life to. I want a Lady Ka Ka, to sing. I want to hear those broken voices, the screeching and forgetting the words, I want the people that think they are good but aren’t. I’m a rotten bastard!

After dragging through the show that was all so-so, it happened, I found my American Idol, Amy Zeiderman, and she was great! She started out lousy, prancing and dancing and as she did I remarked to TLW: If they send her to Hollywood we change the channel. Then something truly remarkable happened, the judges gave her another chance and she sings: ‘Blue Bijou’ and ruins my night. She was good, and boy do I hate that

I think I spend too much time idling in front of the TV at night!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

IT’S ONE DAY A YEAR


I lay on the couch, a sharp pain forming in my back, exhausted from the past few days. It was about 6 in the early evening 31 years ago, and TLW (The Little Woman) was showering, as I had done. Spending three days in a waiting room, sleeping on chairs was hard, but we needed to be near our son. The white foam coffee cups we had piled up only memorialized the time we spent in North Shore University Hospital, little Joseph sick and getting sicker.

We wouldn’t and couldn’t admit to what was in the back of our minds: the thought was too horrific. Every little turn and event we tried to make positive, that this time he would begin to heal. The doctors and nurses would come with something new, something different and it would give us hope, only to watch it dash our hopes.

I had wandered along the corridor in the children’s ward and on the pay phone was this woman, crying that they had lost their child, and I thought to myself how lucky I was that I still had mine. TLW and I were on a ship being tossed in a tempest, the sails were ripping and the water was crashing against us, the lightning so strong and powerful, it was deafening. I kept wondering how my other kids were, and what my wife’s state was. I was barely hanging onto the mast, blinded, feeling cold and lonely and still with a little hope in me.

The nurses told us to go home that morning, to get some rest, to eat something decent and come back tomorrow. I remember the ride home, as we discussed the events of the past three days. Turning off exit 60 of the L.I.E., I looked at the horizon and saw the clouds that were sweeping across the sky in the early morning dawn, the sun just ready to rise.

After a day with my parents, my sister Mary Ann, Joseph’s godmother and brother-in-law Dennis his godfather, and some wonderful neighbors, we sat and talked all day. The godparent’s went to visit him and came back to the house. Then everything settled down, they went home and we waited for the next day.

The Sunday before: TLW called me from the hospital while I took care of the kids and told me the bad news, that my son would not last the week, a crushing phone call that left me bleeding inside. We still weren’t even sure we knew what was killing him!

So that night on the couch, the Sunday’s call kept replaying in my mind. Then the phone rang, and I answered it. The doctor, an Indian or Pakistani accent to him, asked if we wanted to allow him to die or to continue to fight, and to please come down immediately. I was in shock and couldn’t think straight, and TLW was numb too, so she called her brother to take us down to the hospital.

As we climbed the steps to the ICU where Joseph was, a robed priest raced by us, flying through the doors, his white rope flinging wildly as he climbed and ran into the corridor that we were heading to. As we entered the doors I could see the nurse who cared for him covering him and sobbing, the priest leaving. My son's arms were lying outside the bed sheets and all the intravenous attachments from his forehead, arms and legs were gone, like he was healed, sleeping a deserved sleep. It seemed so strange to see and I felt a strange relief in a way. The doctor came out and took us into her office and talked to us. She asked if we wanted to give his organs away, and the thought revolted me, here I had just lost him, and she was asking me such a question! Maybe I should have, and it may have saved someone else from the anguish and pain we were feeling, but I couldn’t think that way, I was too much into the shock and horror of it all. But we sat in her office and I recall being there just a few short months ago, in fact it was the day after Thanksgiving, that Friday she told us he had suffered a seizure. It was the beginning of a horror that would last through two hospitals and two months time.

Every year, I spend 361 days cruising through me life, then one day a year, the breaks come screeching as I come to a halt. That is today. Today I will go to his grave and then to a little garden I built in his memory that sits next to the house and remember his short life.

One of my regrets in life is that I did not stay with him that day.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I’M NOT A BIG FAN OF OLD


It seems to me that getting older is a little tiresome now. There’s the issue of getting up in the morning for instance. My eyes pop open and I think: why am I laying here? I could go back to sleep like I used to, but the days are winding down to a precious few, and I still have things I don’t want to do that need doing.

As I climb into the shower, the mind, or what’s left of it starts to kick in, as I review what I have targeted that needs to be done, or needs to be resolved. It is here, under the shower of a steady rain of warm water, ‘inspirational falls’ that my best ideas come.

Once I climb out of the shower, the whole day seems to fall apart!

I look into the mirror then decide not to look, the lights are too bright, and I can see that I am no longer 20, so I retreat to my bedroom where the light is not so good, that makes for a more perfect mirror at my age.

when I remembered                           Now I don't
I have decided long ago not to complicate my life, and once I get rid of a few petty annoyances, things will be fine. The car needs inspection, one of the tires is indicating it needs air, the house needs to be cleaned, and I have meetings, meetings and more meetings. There is a book I’m trying to edit and … well you know.

It seems that I can’t hold onto things like I used to. Two socks and one falls to the ground, so I bend over, and my body yells: “Whoa! Not so fast guy!”

I get my medication out in the morning, and the smallest of the pills jumps out and rolls away, might even fall to the floor, and I think of what it cost per pill, I wipe it off and hope I don’t die from it falling on the floor, (The house needs cleaning), I get mad at myself for being clumsy and trudge on, meanwhile my body yells: Whoa! Not so fast guy!”

Breakfast is now a chore. I hate to eat breakfast, but know I should. So I get out my favorite box of cereal, the one with all the gas in it, and try to chew of both sides of my mouth, no use wearing out all the teeth on one side when I can wear them out evenly.

I go off to a meeting, and have a GPS on the dashboard of my car, but it doesn’t help. I get to a house where I am suppose to meet someone, the GPS says: “Arriving at destination.” I get out of the car, but somehow I sense I’m at the wrong place, but continue to the front door. The house is enormous, not like the ones down the street. This place has an iron-gate, beautiful winding driveway, and the flowers are still growing in January. I take out my cell phone and call. Yup, wrong house. I typed in 44 instead of 24 for the address number!

In the meeting, we have a choice of sandwiches that were delivered from a deli: there is turkey, roast beef and Italian. Now is the time to be a good boy and have the turkey. Although I hate turkey, always did, and roast beef is ok when I have horseradish on it, I know either is better for me than the Italian sandwich. So I accidentally reach for the Italian, with the great salami and cheese, that will taste so good, hey, maybe next time I will concentrate more on my reaching technique. Besides, if God didn’t want me to eat one, would he have put it out? A truly loving God, amen.

I’m off to another meeting, and this time I know where it is, just need to know how to got there from where I am. No problem, I have a GPS! I drive and misread the map and go off in the wrong direction. How can I misread a map on a GPS? Well there was this turn see, and the arrow was pointing in a sideway direction, and I thought I was where I wasn’t, or I wasn’t where I thought I was, or something.

And so I finally get home, I forgot to lock the door!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

WHAT TO DO?


Being a Jets fan, I’ve been rooting for the NY Giants to go to the SuperBowl. Not a big deal until you weight the alternative, the New England Patriots, a team that TLC (The Lovely Courtney) supports.

I am caught between kielbasa and homemade chocolates!

Kielbasa
My brother-in-law John, my first Polish connection to the world is a Giants fan. At Easter and Christmas, kielbasa is out on the table and I love it. He offers either red or white horseradish to add to it and a piece of pumpernickel or rye bread. TLC every Christmas brings her homemade chocolate every year. So you see the dilemma, kielbasa-chocolate? Merry Christmas!

Chocolate!
Now at Christmas morning, if I go to my older sister (much older) Tessie’s house, John puts out the kielbasa and I make a Polish Big Mac. I get some bread, a nice fat slice of kielbasa, and then I add the red and white horseradish and pile it on top, and toast the Kosciuszko Bridge it might have come over on. Then once at home, I reach into a Christmas tin that sits in the refrigerator and take either a peanut butter of coconut candy made by the lovely Courtney! It’s good in America!

So, who do I root for? Will I be risking the chocolates? Will it be the kielbasa? You know that horseradish is pretty good, but that coconut with chocolate!

Here is the other dilemma, during the regular season, there are two teams I hate as a Jets Fan, the Giants and the Patriots, so who do I root for? It is a shame that there aren’t two losers; I could really enjoy the game.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2 IS COMPANY...


A college son is a crowd!

You have all heard that old adage: “You can’t go home again.”

#2 Son keeps defying old adages. He keeps coming home again, and when he does, it takes TLW (The Little Woman) and me until he leaves to go back to school that we get used to it.

There is the issue of coffee. He drinks lots and lots of my coffee. Not his mother’s brand, no mine. Mine cost me about 55 cents a cup, TLW’s maybe 11 cents.

The little darling years ago
Then there is the beer and soda bill. Now I don’t drink soda, and hardly ever except in the summer time, drink beer. Guess who drinks lots and lots of soda and beer? Go ahead, guess, AND NO CHEATING.

Lucky.

Cigarettes are another item that the industry is kept alive with #2 Son and my money.

Of course you can’t start the day off without breakfast. I like one kind of cereal and one kind only. Guess who else is eating it, two bowls at a time? Go ahead, guess, AND NO CHEATING.

Lucky.

My TV remote and portable phone have legs of their own, as do TLW’s lap top, where they all meet for midnight rendezvous with #2 Son, all night, every night. The next morning, TLW and I play e-hunt, looking for the electronic items so we can continue our mundane electronic lives.

Looking for the newspaper? You’ll find it outside with #2 Son, a cup of coffee and cigarette, the newspaper waiting to be re-assembled in numerical order.

And then there is the issue of dinner plates, cups and glasses. As we go about our business, the supply of the above mentioned items start to dwindle down to a precious few! One night we almost had to eat off of one plate! Usually we volunteer TLW to go on a expedition to #2 Son’s room where we tie a long rope to her waist, and cell phone in her hand and send her looking for the missing items. Once she enters, there is no turning back. It is a dangerous mission, almost suicidal and demands great skill and know-how. If I don’t hear from her in a few days, I call the rescue squad to find her. They don’t like the job without getting overtime pay, and demand to be recognized, as the 9/11 rescuers are, brave men all.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A HOLY DAY


#2 Son goes back to Purchase today!

I treat it as a high holy day, a day like Christmas or Easter! A day for joy you ask?
Let me tell you.

#2 Son
#2 Son is going to a place that he loves, an environment that he grows in. It is the best place he has ever been in. He takes me back to my own youth, and those days at The New York Institute of Technology, another great place to live in.

Joe College
When I went to college, a whole new world opened up to me, one that was exciting and filled with new concepts to think about. It was also a channel for my art and a great love for reading developed. I was learning about things outside of Bellport, and never looked back. The funny thing is when I left college to hone my craft in the advertising world; I still looked back at the college days, because like your mother, it stays with you in your face.

College gave me an identity, a purpose and a deep want for more! I was able to distinguish a good woman and found one to marry, it gave me values that I tried to pass on to my children, and it also gave me a perspective on life and how fleeting it is.

Today, when I go to the library, I go like a child in a candy store, there is so much to find! The good thing is no calories!

I find myself now arguing life with both my sons, they have their own creative minds, their own opinions, and their own lives, and I must say it is a challenge to see and know them. I am a very proud father.

I kid about #1 and #2 Sons, but that is because my nature is such that I love to laugh, at myself, but I sometimes run out of material, so “the boys”, as Mamma calls them are my next target.

You’ve heard enough from me about #1 Son for a while, but the book hasn’t been written yet on #2 Son, and I am excited to find it in the library of life, so I can see it written first hand, then I will read it.

Miss Ellie
Growing up with four sisters and being the only boy, made we want to have sons. The one thing in life I wanted most was sons, and I love my sisters and I truly love my daughter, there is no doubt, but to me, having sons is a great gift from on high. Money is nice, possessions are nice, but sons are what gives me happiness and pride, and I have two of the best, both different and unique, and both by the way, great material for this blog!

Monday, January 23, 2012

OMG!


The news was coming fast and furious from the TV. It didn’t sound good, and now I would have to hear about. I shifted nervously in my recliner, wishing I had stayed in bed. Newt had had a bad previous day, and I knew what that meant. My doctor’s appointment is next month and I would hear about it in his office. Not only would I hear about it, I would get another rundown on the Insurance industry, lawyers, and other deviants in society.

I am not a Newt Gingrich fan, never was and never will be, except when the doctor is about to stick a needle in my arm while he extols the virtues of Mr. Gingrich as was the case the last time I saw the good doctor.

Dr. O’Hno: “You want a flu shot? You know we have to get that bum out of office. Roll up your sleeve. He’s killing the country! Don’t you think?”

Looking at the needle ready to stab me-
“Oh Yes!”

Dr. O’Hno: “We need to get Newt Gingrich into office, now is the time.”

Closing my eyes and silently praying I respond.
“Oh, sure. Go Newt!”

And so it goes. In the early morning news report, Old Newt’s ex was talking about an open marriage and she was not making Mr. Gingrich look good. Sipping my morning coffee, I go:

“Oh, my God! Now I’m in for it.”

The Little Woman (TLW): “What’s wrong?”

“I have a doctor’s appointment next month with Dr. O’Hno, and he is a big Newt supporter!”

TLW: “I’ve never seen anyone worry about his doctor’s visit based on the political situation!”

“Well, you know how the last appointment went, that’s all I need!”

TLW: “Why don’t you get another doctor?”

“What? And be ill-informed?”

Sunday, January 22, 2012

FINANCIAL SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE


My pork chops looked good! They sat in a heated dish waiting for us to sit down and eat. As I poured us a drink, TLW (The Little Woman), made her announcement.

“They changed my title at the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company today.”

I immediately envision a title on the door and a Bigelow on the floor. I also added to that fantasy with samples she would bring home.

Me: “Oh! What is it now?”

“FINANCIAL SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE!”

Me: “FINANCIAL SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE? Sounds impressive! What do you do now?”

“Same job, just a different title.”

There went my fantasy.

Me: “So when people come into the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co., they see a sign or something saying Financial Assistance Representative?”

“Financial SERVICE Representative. No, no signs, just the same as before.”

Me: “No large increase in pay, or benefits or time off?” After all, you ARE now the new Financial Representative of Services!”

“FINANCIAL SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE, and no, nothing more.”

I started thinking: Maybe I need a new title around HERE. You know to shake things up a little. Maybe I could hire Deloitte & Touche to advise me. A new title would do me some good.

Me: “So, are you the only one with a title change?”

“No, we all got title changes.”

Me: “What about the people that come and go with money, you know the ‘members’?”

“No, just the people that take care of them.”

Me: “Well, it is nice to know that a more important titled person is taking care of us now. Let me speak to the Financial Representative of Services, PARDON ME!”

“It’s “FINANCIAL SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE!”

Me: “Oops, sorry!”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

BRAGGING


Sometimes you just can’t help yourself, your kids do something and you want to jump up and down and tell the world. OK, you know already, and I did post it on Facebook, but it is something to brag about, or maybe relate to the world about.

Marry Me Magazine recently published an article about #1 Son and TLC (The Lovely Courtney)”s wedding, and the story behind how they met and got engaged. See:

I could take either #1 Son or TLC and go on about them for hours, because I think they are so terrific, however I won’t. But I will relate some responses about #1 Son’s email to me about the story being e-published and my putting it in an email as a link to just about everyone in my contacts that I know would enjoy seeing it.

Here is a sample of what you guys said.

“Wow!  Great looking couple.  Thank God your son takes after Ellen.”

Here is another self-esteem booster:

Nice story! Good job in nurturing a Mets fan AND a successful writer. The positive influence must have come from your wife.”

I’m not a vindictive man: I just hope Santa Clause doesn’t come to your house this year!

There are more, but why bore you with such things that I know will only upset you.


Friday, January 20, 2012

LE RIVAGE


New York City, and Manhattan in particular is and has been the place for opulence, sophistication and class since the Indians sold it to the white man. I have been to London, Paris and Rome, three very sophisticated cities, but they all are just part of the greatest city on Earth, NYC.

In the heart of the city, the theatre district, sits a little place, very French and very sophisticate called: Le Rivage, 340 West 46th St. New York, NY. It is a dining experience that one reads about, and is almost a secret. It sits in the middle of a street, with nothing fancy to lure you into its space. A simple blue and white awning hangs over an entranceway that cautions you to step down, and as you do, it is cosmopolitan Paris once again.

The restaurant is a narrow long layout that fits the bottom floor of an old apartment building, probably built at the turn of the last century. Cramped would be a good word to describe this very friendly place. The owner greeted us and we were promptly seated ahead of our scheduled reservation.

I have been to Le Rivage before, after other theatre dates, and each time has been a similar experience, the food was delicious, with saffron laced lobster bisque that was light, and a little different.

But the fun thing is of course observing people, and that is what I do best for my own amusement. Next to us was a very nice couple maybe our age. She was very talkative and he was very listeningative (Made that up) to what she said.

“Dear, maybe you should try the prosciutto with melon for an appetizer?”

And then again:

“Dear, do you think they can make your drink the way you want it, maybe you should order something else?”

The gentleman was intent on his prosciutto and his drink, a ‘side car’. He orders it and the young bartender, a woman goes behind the bar and immediately looks it up, and makes the drink and returns with the ‘side car’, places it in front of the man, who sips it. The waitress says: “I hope you like it Monsieur, I don’t know though!”

The gentleman makes his determination that it is “close” and merrily orders wine.

All through dinner I had an urge to lean over to him as we sat at adjoining tables and tell him to lose his long tie and get a bow tie. I wanted to say: You are a bow tie man; He just looked like he should wear one.

Our dinners were great, I didn’t order the escargot, I can’t eat a lot any more, but maybe next time I will forgo the soup and eat the escargot instead.
Then there was this couple sitting across from me. She too was doing most of the talking, and he, without a tie was doing all the listening. As she spoke in Gatling gun fashion, he tended to allow his eyes to wander around the room like he was half listening, but would throw out a responsive word every so often. All of a sudden, two lovely young ladies are seated next to his table, and suddenly he was focused, but not on his dinner partner!

The night was bitter cold, no question about that, but I love to get the sights and sounds of the big city as part of my experience in being there. At night, after sunset, it seems to come alive in another type of vitality; people are off somewhere to do other things, to end their day, but because it was  so windy I would miss that. We decided since it was so cold, we would head back to the Waldorf and have a drink in the lounge. The wind made walking impossible and so I hailed a cab.

After a stop at our room we went down to Sir Harry’s Lounge on the main floor of the Waldorf. Sir Harry must be a very rich man by now, because the place was loaded with cheering football fans watching the Giants play the Green Bay Packers and the mixed drinks start at $21 a pop!

The place itself had these big double cherry wood doors with etched glass that read: Sir Harry’s Bar and Lounge. Inside, lining both sides of the long room were small sofas and tables with chairs, all owning little lamps and checkered top wooden tables, inlaid of course.

I think everyone should in their life time try to enjoy the finer things in life, make it special and damn the price, because I want to be laid to rest knowing I tried.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

THE WALDORF AND ME


A marriage made in heaven!

I had a master plan since it was so cold, we would take the subway and then strategically use it to get to the Waldorf from Penn Station. Caesar, or Napoleon, or Ike would have though the strategy brilliant, yet simple. Take the ‘E’ train from Penn Station, walk under ground to 51st Street and cross the street to the Waldorf. Nice, simple and pretty direct. TLW didn’t want to pay for parking for two days, and so it was the LIRR for the weekend.

There was one tiny problem when we got to the token booth. No ‘E’ trains were running because of work on the tracks! Being it has been years since I rode the darn thing, I make a big mistake and take the ‘C’ train which leaves me off across town, and now we have to walk across town, but not without paying a price. TLW (The Little Woman), wanted to take the subway, I offered the taxi, but no, it had to be the subway.

We enter a crowded subway car and the train does 95 mph on all the sharp bends, while I am awkwardly holding onto a crossbar with TLW holding onto me. I wrenched my knee from that experience, which I felt the next few days!

Not realizing how long the walk in the cold was, we trudged through the Sunday afternoon pedestrian traffic, joggers, baby strollers and cabs manned by retired Kamikaze pilots while people on suicide missions wishing to do it in their cars on a Sunday Morning in Midtown Manhattan.

Finally we arrive at the Waldorf, on the Park Avenue side of the hotel. Entering this place is like entering a grand palace, with tuxedoed attendants all over you, just standing there! Large vases, gold gilded trim, marble floors, inlaid mahogany covered walls and more gold, and that’s just the revolving door!

We finally find the registration desk and sign in. The gal behind the registration desk then begins the process and discussing the rules, what I get and how I get it, what is available and the magic of the key, like getting the elevators to work. By the time she is done, I’m seriously wondering if we should book the room for an extra night since this day was being shot to hell with this registration process!

We get into the elevator and the doors close on two country bumpkins. We push the 41 floor button, but nothing is happening! I push, then TLW pushes, nothing. Suddenly the doors slide apart opening for this woman and a fellow in a tuxedo shirt (guests) who enter and TLW states our predicament.

“Oh! Did you use your room key?”

Me: “Room key?”

She pulls hers out and in it goes and asks what floor and does it again for us.

“Where are you guys from?” she asks.

I hesitate and want to say ‘Port Washington’, not ‘Holbrook’. (After all, this IS the Waldorf, and HE is walking around in a tuxedo shirt)

I figure “Hey, we’re old, let them get over it”. We part and I find our room. We enter and this place is beautiful, there is an outer room with a bathroom bigger than my den to our left, overlooking the north side of the building with its large waist to ceiling window, on our right is a wet bar, with gold fixtures and shelves and mirrors with silk wall paper and them we enter our bedroom with a window on the north side and one on the east side, overlooking what else, but the east side of Manhattan, and you can see the east River. This is on the 41st floor, a view that knocked my socks off that evening.

We check it all out and I realize we need to leave now for the theatre to see Mamma Mia at the Winter Garden.

WE were suddenly royalty!





Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MAMMA MIA!


As they say in Italiano: “Mamma Mia!”

On January 15, 1970, TLW (The Little Woman) and I got engaged, and that was 41 years ago. We climbed aboard the LIRR and off we went to the greatest city on Earth and enjoyed some the great things the city offers 41 years later. One of those was the Broadway production of Mamma Mia, at the Winter Garden.

The Winter Garden dates back to 1850 and has burned down several times only to be resurrected by different owners through the years.

Since 2001, this lively pop musical featuring the songs of the Swedish 70’s super-group ABBA has been playing to enthusiastic nightly standing ovations for more than a decade. The show is just down right enjoyable, with such great music and music stylization, and a leading lady with a voice so powerful, so beautiful and so dynamic that you must see it to believe.

The score of 23 songs includes mega-hits "Dancing Queen," "Knowing Me, Knowing You," "Take A Chance on Me," and, of course, the irresistible title song, are all rendered to the point that it will jerk a tear.

There is one scene where the Mother of the Bride is combing her daughter’s hair, and sings this beautiful melodic rendition of a mother’s love, a beautiful moment.


This is the kind of production that surprises you, and the music takes you away, and when it is finished, you want more. Three and three quarters hours fly by, the intermission becomes an annoyance since it interrupts, and the show itself keeps your interest until the last note!

By when the last note is sung in the story, the cast comes out for the traditional bows, and there starts the real show, the singing, lifting the audience out of their seats and into the aisles, singing and dancing! Something you rarely see even on Broadway! Its like a religious revival!

Mamma Mia was a gift to TLW from me, we had the best seats in the house, 10 rows back from the stage, in the center, perfect seats. You might say they were the equivalent of being on the 50-yard line! She deserves these seats after 41 years.

I think TLW didn’t expect such a production, and was pleasantly surprised by the show and just how good it was.

The Winter Garden is a beautiful theatre inside; the detailing is very old school and ornate, with sculpture based relief allegories and fine old world designs, with special balconies and lighting.

Although the theatre is not very deep, it is very wide, so having the seats we had was important. There is a balcony that overhangs the orchestra, so there is room for a large audience.

If you haven’t seen it, please do so; it is special.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

OLD FRIENDS


There are friends, and there are ‘old friends’, not from age but from longevity. They don’t need to say much to impress you, and when they do say something, well it can knock your socks off with their humor.

Lois "I can Cope with anything"
When TLW (The Little Woman) joined the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Co. so many years ago, one of the people that stood out was a lady named Lois. Lois over the years got to know us and we got to know her. She can easily be mistaken for her look-alike: TLW, and often when I call TLW at the Wanna-Be-Bank, Lois will pick up her phone because TLW is either with a member, away from her desk, or out to lunch.

I am not good at distinguishing voices on the phone, and so when Lois answers, I mistakenly go into my spiel. It might go something like this if I'm not careful:

“Hi Toots, since it’s our anniversary, what would you like for dinner?”

Toots II: “Whichever fancy restaurant you’d like to take me to, of course.”

“Well, I…”

Toots II: “Of course, unless you think it’s not so important, and want to open up a can of beans?”

“Well I…”

Toots II: “Oh, how inconsiderate of me, the gift is too big to carry around! Well we could open the gift when we get home. You can give it to me with the carrot cake from my favorite bakery in Philadelphia: which I love so much. It’s on Broad Street – 185 Broad Street, called Millie’s Cakes. You want the directions?”

OK, I got 2 Toots here, which one is which?
“Well… I, that is, uh…”

Toots II: “Boy, will all your sisters be proud when I tell them how well you treat me! And your Mother, she’ll turn her wooden spoon into toothpicks!”

“OK, whatever you want.”

Toots II: “Good, this is Toots II, I’ll get her.”

For years Toots II has tried very hard to get over her being over the age of 39, and all her friends would love to help push her over. She never makes a whole lot of noise, quietly going about her business and not getting involved in office politics or drama of any kind. The lunch schedule is never an issue, and if she does complain, all the employees of the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Co., get the list and try to rub her out.

Very few employees complain about Lois, except when in the Ladies room, where she does her imitation of Josh Groban. Once again, the good folks like to help her out.

Lois has become the master of getting to places without use of major highways. Yes, she can get to NYC, without use of the LIE, the Southern or Northern State Parkways, and has often said: “Robert Moses, who needs Robert Moses?” Her feeling is that if you have to merge into traffic, you might as well stay home.

There are many similarities that Toots I and Toots II share, besides looking alike, they went to the same schools, lived in the same area, and are both Irish, so with that in mind, there may be more of them out there!

Today, once again she will try very hard to get over the age of 39, but be kind, don’t say things like: Boy, you look good for your age, or, was that you driving on Main Street with your left blinker on doing 10 mph? No, it is her birthday today, so give her space, and ladies, if you work in the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Co., use the Men’s room today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOOTS II- we all love you!

Monday, January 16, 2012

HOW I HATE IT WHEN SHE DOES THAT!


It was early in the morning, right before writing this blog in fact, that TLW (The Little Woman) came downstairs after getting ready for work.

“How come you don’t have the TV news on this morning?”

After 40 years of being married to her, I should know better than sit there and wait for what comes next. I should have put the laptop down and went to the bathroom with a newspaper to wait out the morning. But NO, I have to ask:

Stupid: “I don’t know, WHY?”

TLW: “There was report on the news this morning done by some insurance company, and guess who are the worst drivers?”

OK, we see where this is going; it is one of the following:

Men
Men in their 60’s
Married Men
Married Men married for 40 years or more
Men who use lap tops
Married Men who use lap tops
Just plain old me.

Stupid: “Who?”

TLW: “Men! 80% of the car accidents are caused by men!”

Somehow I feel compelled to apologize.

Stupid: “Well, that is because women aren’t married to women.” (Snappy comeback, no?)

TLW: “Yes, that is one of the stupid answers men gave, but they are the cause of most accidents.”

Men get into accidents, women cause accidents. They drive 20 miles an hour, talking on a cell phone, backing everything up. Men get frustrated and try to go around them and Bang.

Now I’m no chauvinist, some of my best friends know women drivers, but come on, I’ve been victimized by women more times than not. They stop behind cars in front of them for a light about two car lengths behind, so that when I’m behind her, by the time she sees the light has changed, manages to finally move and get by the light, it CHANGES ON ME, I HAVE TO WAIT FOR ANOTHER LIGHT!

OK, I admit that men are getting very bad as drivers, they do break the law too often, women don’t. Inside of one week I had two guys break the law and almost cause an accident, both times I could have been killed! That reminds me, anyone want to be my backup in case I croak?

There is too much arrogance going on, men are stupid when they drive, thinking they are the only ones who are entitled to the road. They take stupid chances and don’t pay attention. But these men are usually younger than 55 and should be stopped if possible, before a lot of innocent people are killed.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

IT WASN’T VERY HARD TO DO


Forty-one years ago today TLW (The Little Woman) and I got engaged.   Cigarette commercials were banned on TV and Radio, and other than that, it was a quiet day in for the history books.

What started on the Long Island railroad, I though I’d finish on the Long Island Railroad. We had decided to marry the day after Thanksgiving, 1970 and on January 14th, 1971 we went into the city to pick up the ring at the diamond district. To celebrate the occasion we went to the Riverboat restaurant near Penn Station, and I promised her I would give her the ring on St. Valentine’s Day.

I lied.

I could see she really wanted that ring, and she wanted it NOW! As for me, holding onto the ring made me nervous. That night I resolved to surprise her on the train and let her have it.

The next morning she joined me on the train and I slipped it on her finger. We rode with tons of friends on one car, every day and night, everyone knew us and we were friends with everybody. Up and down the aisle Miss Manning paraded, showing off her ice, flinging her bling, and I watched from my seat as people were really enthused about the event.

Every now and then I do something right, this was one of them. I guess you could say she was very engaging.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

AND ANOTHER THING!


Went to visit my 93 year old mother to show her #1 Son’s and TLC (The Lovely Courtney) wedding spread done by a magazine called ‘My Wedding’ a beautiful 4 page spread about the wedding in July. Being how Mom didn’t go to the wedding because she is physically unable to, I try to bring her up to date.

Before I visited her, I called her first.

“Hello, Ma! How are you feeling?’

“I’m feeling just fine.”

“Will you be home tomorrow, or are you going dancing again?”

“Very funny. How come I am honored once again by your visit?”

Not wanting to spoil the surprise of the magazine layout.

“Oh, I finally decided to bring you my 8th grade report card, so you can sign it and I can turn it in.”

I arrive and ring the doorbell, and Henry, Mom’s boy toy and house boy answered.

“Oh! She’s downstairs in the basement looking for old buttons!”

“Hang IN THERE, Henry.”

Mom climbs the steps and says:
I found an old sweater, you know for the house, but it needed some buttons, so I’m looking with Henry to find some. You know, just for around the house.”

I show Mom the layout, she goes OOOOH!  Ahhhhh…. She is so beautiful, he looks so handsome. Didn’t he wear a tuxedo?”

“Yes Ma, that’s a tux, it’s grey!”

Oh, my eyes are going, so where’s the report card you wanted me to sign?”
Mr. Romeny I presume?

“Ma, I was only kidding!”

“I thought it was kind of strange, I was trying to figure out how old you are and how long you would keep a report card from me!”

We all go to the kitchen, as Henry has made coffee and it is all poured.

“So tell me, what do you think about that Obama? And that wife of his, fighting with everybody! And another thing…the other one that Romoney, oh God, I hope they don’t let him win!”

“Ma, I assure you there will be no Romoney as president.”

“Well, I hope not.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY 
Liz Manning-Gohlinghorst, my beautiful niece and a great mom!