Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Way back in the 60’s there was a popular book called: The Great Escape, about a bunch of Allied prisoners of war who are in a Stalag (a prisoner of war camp run by the Germans for Allied soldiers). It tells about how they patiently dug under the barbed wire to make their escape. A true story, that was made into a movie, starring: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough and Charles Bronson.

What does this have to do with anything?

A few days ago I had to go to my daughter’s day program site for a semi-annual review of her progress in both her day program and home life.

As I enter the building through the automatic doors, that with the aid of a sensor camera, open for me and make it easy for someone who can’t walk well or is being escorted either by foot or wheel chair to enter the building without touching the doors. This system works as well when departing the building.

They invite Ellen into the conference room and all the program directors, home (Intermediate Care Facility) personal and parent or guardians attend. Although Ellen doesn’t understand what is going on, she has a great time patting me on my: Head, arm, back and chest, usually full force, in her shear delight to be with me at a day treatment function that she knows is all about her. She will laugh out loud and go into a few demonstrative acts of love.

The meeting was finally over and we all said our goodbyes and thank you and proceed to walk down a long corridor to her classroom that is located a distance from the conference room where we all met. Ellen with her awkward gait, or should I say: in spite of, was about three steps ahead of everyone else. As we approach the reception area near the main entrance, Ellen’s head is starting to notice something, and I am sensing some kind of trouble! The closer to the entrance or exit, she is picking up speed where she suddenly makes an abrupt right hand turn. I see this and realize it is too late, Ellen has spotted her deed for the day, an outlet of escape!

Through the automatic doors that seem to be in cahoots with her, her master plan begins to take shape, as she flies out the front door with me fast on her heels, totally surprised and rather anxious because she is heading into a parking lot. My other fear is that she is so unsteady that with her awkward gait where she leans forward when she hurries, she will fall and hurt herself. By now a small posse is forming behind me, administrators, teachers, case workers, custodians and parent, all giving chase. Luring Ellen back into the building will not be easy, by law, the people who work with her cannot use any kind of physical restraint, so she has to be coaxed. I on the other hand, her guardian and parent can be more persuasive. As she reaches the parking lot, she is confused, looking for my car, but doesn’t see it. Confused all the more she makes a sharp left turn and heads along the building the posse in full pursuit! We finally catch up with her and try to convince her that escape is not an acceptable alternative to her otherwise happy life. I take her by the hand and she lets go with a right, ‘upside yo head’ as they say, sending my hearing aid flying to two pieces! The thought of calling in the Marines for help won’t happen since they are afraid of her too.

Once she realized she couldn’t go anywhere, that she couldn’t distinguish my car from any other in the parking lot, that she wasn’t going home with Daddy, she suddenly surrendered and became calm, to the relief of the posse and her one eared father.

Have  happy day.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Rome, everything that London and Paris is not, Rome is. It is called the eternal city and for good reason. Not only has it stood by its ancient ruins and sculptures, vast works of Doric, Ironic and Corinthian columns, its coliseums and ancient bath houses, but the glory of the Renaissance, the echoes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Botticelli, and later Verdi etc.

Rome to me is even more eternal in that it is forever a place to revere, ancestral in its nature for me, it has stayed with me all these years from the first day I entered the city. It is the seat of one of the largest faiths in the world, and one more important thing… the food, oh the food!

Rome or ‘Roma” as the locals call it, can captivate the imagination, since it is a real link to the world so long ago. To stand at the many piazzas that dot the city and the country of Italy, one can go back in time. Looking out over the multi-tiered stadium of the Coliseum, you can imagine yourself thousands of years ago; someone standing in the very place you are, seeing pretty much what you see.

But Rome is also about people. The very descendants of the historical Roman Empire, their particular features, their casual approach to life until you give them something to think about and suddenly it is all passionate. The Roman’s love life, their food, their art, all have an emotional additive that brings it to an excellence that awes the casual observers. Don’t get me wrong: London and Paris have their particular lust for life, but in a more sedate and modern way.

At the hotel we stayed at, behind the hotel bar was a barkeeper, dressed in a yellow jacket, cleaning glasses. As TLW (The Little Woman) and I slid onto the bar stools, the barkeeper struck up a conversation with TLW and we all became friends. His head was shaved like Mussolini’s. In the dinning room behind the bar, a discussion is going on, a few decibels higher than a normal American would speak. They emphasis with their hands as they do all over Italy, and bringing a point home is both a physical as well as a verbal process. The words flow in a poetic rhythm, the emphasis and the tempo based upon the flow of the hands. Even their conversations are fun to watch.

Each time I go to Rome, there is something new to see, something to be awed by, something that captures my imagination and something to appreciate as an American in a foreign land. As a designer, I have learned a lot from these people, their appreciation for space relationships, color and form, that seem to somehow find their way to the states and set a new path in design in all the fields of art and industry. They are eternal, but never grow old!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Dr. Whaite A. Whyle
A young and gorgeous nurse who had the air of an angel and the tongue of the Devil led me to the testing room! “Dr.Whyle will be with you in a minute.”

This little piggy went to market
After a half hour of waiting, fidgeting and thinking what the receptionist was trying to tell me about the test, Dr. Whaite A. Whyle arrives.

“Take your shoes and socks off and lay face down on the table” was his instructions, as he leaves and comes back about five minutes later with what looks like a travel case on wheels and a long handle to pull it, the type people use to go through the airports with. I watch as he pops it open and all sorts of junk appear. This is his E.M.G. testing kit, which is like an E.E.G. without the brains.

this little piggy got juiced!
Putting solution on the feet and legs he begins the test warning me that I will have a sensation from the electric prod, like a cattle prod. Gee, I can’t wait. The test begins after he sets up his laptop and prod, sticking it into the key areas. The test will determine if the right and left leg are the same in terms of length of leg and the length of the nerve that goes from the brain to the end of the foot.

And the fun begins for him. Shooting electronic impulses into a spot 5 or 6 times at a clip, is very discomforting. There is shock and small pain. Sticking the prod into sensitive areas like under the ankle bone and pressing down hard, then shooting the damned thing 6 times can hurt, I go through this on both feet about 10 minutes each. Finally he is down.

A Doctor vacation kit.
“Now, I want you to roll over on your back so we can do the back of your legs and feet.” There we go again with the “We”, he applies the pain and I receive the pain!

YOU figure it out!
“OKaaaaay, we are almost done, just one more thing. Stay where you are.”  Out comes a bunch of little needles, all pointed in my direction. (Where else?) This is what I was expecting, the needles. Suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of getting pricked, me the prickee and he the pricker.

“OKaaaay, you are done!  (No “We” when there is no pain administered.) He reads all the data from the test and announces that it looks like ‘sciatica’. Its been feeling like Attica during the riots! “We will continue with the epidural shots and see where that takes us. If they don’t work, surgery.”

And so the great mystery is solved, the pain is identified, and am I gonna get it! Those shots hurt!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Dr. Whaite A. Whyle
I arrived promptly for my 12noon appointment with Dr. Whaite A. Whyle, for my E.M.G.: which is like an E.E.G. without brains. Dr. Whyle is looking for the cause of all the back pain today may become a defining moment.

As I enter the reception area, the young lady behind the counter greets me and being a college graduate I respond by saying: “Hi, my name is Joe Del Bloggolo”. This seems kind of lame to me so I add something really intelligent so she knows whom she’s dealing with. “Yes, I’m here to see Dr. Whyle.” (First impressions are very important!)
Her: “Oh, I see you are here for an E.M.G.!”

“Why yes I am, but WHAT is an E.M.G.?”

Her: “Well, it’s a … what they do is… they get these needles and…”


Her: “Yes well they do like acupuncture and…”

“Needles! Acupuncture? I didn’t know Dr. Whyle is Chinese! You wait for me to get here to tell me this? How big are these needles???”

Suddenly I hear a voice from behind me. A lady sitting with her husband pipes up: “Oh, it doesn’t hurt, the needles are very thin. The doctor will stick them in your legs all over”

As I walk to a seat, across from the couple she continues: “I remember when they were big fat needles, they used to hurt! Now they are so thin…”

“You know Ma’am, I would have paid for that information!”


Saturday, July 27, 2013


How many miles
To London town?
Three score and ten;
Can I get there
By candlelight?
Yes, and back again

As we climbed down off the bus at the Adelphie Hotel, a gentle rain almost mist-like began to fill the late June air. We headed to the bar and laid our baggage with the concierge and discovered they served drinks in those days on a Monday morning. The traffic from nearby Kings Cross Highway was making a busy noise as people sped off to work.

A quiet side street in London, just like on our honeymoon
TLW (The Little Woman) and I would start our first day of our honeymoon and life together in Europe in London town, and we were both excited at the prospects. TLW had maps and sights she wished to see, and I was just so happy to be alive, with someone I had just married less than 24 hours. We couldn’t check into our room yet so we would go and explore the city. That became the blue print of our vacation life for the next 42 years.

We are both lovers of history, can’t stand lying on a beach when the world beckons with things to see and do for the first time. We planned to see a lot: London, Paris and Rome with side trips enjoying everything the cities had to offer, and fully intending to see them. There was the famous Buckingham Palace and the changing of the guard, the post office tower from the top and the historic Westminster Abbey, to name just a few. We would go to the London Theatre and TLW was itching to meet for the first time, her Dad’s brother Uncle Matt and his sister Mary. What the Irishmen were doing in London and not Dublin was beyond me.

London has probably the most misleading reputation. It is known for its stiff upper lip folks, who are dull and extremely lifeless. Nothing is further from the truth! Londoners are a great people, extremely hospitable and very welcoming. Of all the countries I’ve been to, Londoners are the best by far.

It was a grey overcast morning as we took the Metro, or subway as we call it, and headed off to Buckingham Palace. The London system is the oldest in the world, and very efficient and easy to navigate. Ascending the steps to the street, we were greeted by a long avenue and a beautiful park, filled with trees and people going in all directions. Unsure of how to get to the palace, we asked this gentleman in a bowler , umbrella and a London Times under his arm if he could direct us to the Palace.

“Certainly… Cross over to the park, on your left is a stairway that will take you to a pathway. Once on the path, make a left and head straight.”

We thanked him and set off to our destination. After descending the steps as directed we were about to make the left, when suddenly we heard behind us fast approaching running steps. Suddenly I am tapped on the shoulder and the gentleman who directed us was panting that we needed to walk through the park first and then make the left. See if THAT ever happens in good old New York City?

Friday, July 26, 2013


Many years ago, right after Washington crossed the Delaware, I was promoted into 4th grade. The third grade teacher, Mrs. Walsh was nearing a breakdown and had already given it to me. We were oil and water as a mixture: of course I was the oil because I was on the bottom.

Mrs. Walsh was a bit of a crank and prior to becoming a teacher in Our Lady of Lourdes, ran a Stalag in Germany right up until the Allies arrived. Her resume was impeccable and so she was more than qualified to teach and discipline me. Although I was quite saintly in the 3rd grade, there were times when I needed to shall we say, shake things up. In my defense, she was an overbearing witch with a nervous habit of using her ruler for more than measuring. If she caught you talking in class, she would suddenly appear at your desk. After your finishing the conversation and as you turned around, eyeballs to her waist, you automatically stuck out you hands flat so she could come down on them with the full force of a jackhammer, and life would go on. Somewhere between committing my transgression and accepting my penalty, something was horribly wrong! My hands were palms down, not up, where the pain was less shocking! As she went into her best Whitey Ford windup with the ruler, I decided to pull my hands away, just in time to feel the breeze of the ruler as it swiftly past. Boy, did she look stupid! She also looked infuriated and hell bent on revenge. I stuck my hands out once more, and in her rush to administer the revengeful reprimand in the form of a full force slam… strike two, completely missing me this time without my moving. I sat there now with my eyes closed and ready to pee, when she connected for a home run, and if she had bases to run, would have done a slow home run trot.

An everyday occurrence for some poor kid in third grade, feeling the retribution was accepted, you didn’t dare go home and complain about it, because Mom, was fully updated with her wooden spoon, where you got the rest! There is a lot of ‘rest’ I am owed by Mom, but she doesn’t know it, she still thinks she is all caught up!

But then one early summer, the nightmare was over! I was promoted to 4th grade, and the teacher was the saintly Mrs. Bauman, a sweet, sincere and loving woman who loved to teach, treated children like they should be treated and her reward? She never disciplined anyone, because she didn’t have to. I was in shock.

Mom noticed the change in me almost immediately that September, wondering why I was even doing my homework. I was getting up for school without her calling me and I left on time, everyday. She was ready to take up smoking because of my suspicious behavior.

Mrs. Bauman was a modest lady, plain in her dress and manner, simple with old-fashioned kindness, and she had my number! She wore this purple blouse, with a cameo to button her top button, and long pleated skirts with black sensible shoes, no makeup and although there were no pin ups of her on my walls, I loved her, she was the model of human kindness, and a great teacher.

Wherever you are Mrs. Bauman, I still love you!

Thursday, July 25, 2013



How did I come to that conclusion? Well it is the end of July, when all the holiday stuff comes out!

There are two seasons in the direct mail industry and two seasons only: Christmas in July and summer in December! That is how it works and will always work. The problem is that by the time a season does come around, you are creatively spent and sick of the season.

I can remember sitting in my office on a hot July day thinking of ideas for the holiday season. I mean the ac is on high and I’m in a rolled up sleeved shirt and near sweating. Most people would stay away from me because I wasn’t in the holiday spirit. The rub is that you never wore a short sleeve shirt to work with a suit, and that damned tie was always tight!

I was in a Walgreens recently looking for a toy for my pool. I needed something to float in and I found just the thing, an inflatable lounge with a headrest, which allows one to fall asleep in the pool. Since my pool is usually covered by tree shade somewhere ion the surface, about 45%, you can safely sleep without getting a burn, and when you do drift into sunlight, it makes you aware of it with your eyes closed.

Washington Nationals
As I perused the aisles of the store, with the legions of Walgreens shoppers, I noticed how closely the Walgreens logo resembles the Washington Nationals Logo on a point of purchase ad! This of course took me back to my advertising days and it became an advertising daze. As I continued up and then down the wide aisles filled with junk I don't need, I started to notice the boxes of Holiday cards and small sets of tree lights and small artificial trees. That warm fuzzy feeling of hatred suddenly reappeared in my cold heart of this particularly warn day for merchants pushing their sales.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays because they are cold days, a lot of food with an excuse to eat it and you get to see family and friends. I just don’t want to celebrate in my bathing suit while Santa is dressed in a heavy coat and hat. That reminds me that I play Santa for people with disabilities in December when we should, but the suit is sooo very hot to wear that I must shed a few pounds!

Well, I know the Holidays are in five short months as I mentioned, I just hope I didn’t put you out of the spirit. HoHoHo, and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah  and Happy New Year!

Where has the time gone?!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The day was the hottest day of the year, as I pulled up into the empty parking lot. The tarred parking lot exuded a temperature that must have reached 125 degrees! The fact that I was at this place didn’t bother me as much as the heat.

Entering the building, I noticed how cold it was, even after stepping out of 125 degrees, coupled with the fact that it was dark and solemn, the place lent itself to the mood I was now feeling.

Alexander Tutthill is a funeral parlor that is very familiar to me. Having gone to numerous funerals there for people I know, such as an aunt, and many of the guys that reside at the Intermediate Care Facility that is where my daughter Ellen lives.

I meet Robert for the first time and we go into a conference room where we will discuss a prepaid funeral, for my daughter. A tall man about 40, he is very business-like but polite, with his dark curly hair and fine features, he could be a movie star.

TLW (The Little Woman) and I have discussed this and feel it is the right thing to do; Ellen is not dying and not particularly sick, but we feel that we need to take care of this before we pass on and save our sons the burden of arrangements. I did this on my own, without TLW being there, but with her support.

All was going well answering Robert’s questions until he came to the question that started to upset me.

“Where was she born?”

Suddenly that day came back to life. A beautiful cherub of round pink face and a familiar look I have seen in babies before in my family. I remember seeing her for the first time by chance as I rode an elevator to the nursery at South Shore Hospital. AS I rode the elevator it stopped at one floor and what did I see but my daughter being rolled out of a room in an incubator, her name printed boldly.

I remember rushing to TLW, hoping she was feeling well and anxious to tell her how beautiful our new daughter was. Now, rather than bask in the glow of having my first child, I was planning her funeral. Forty one years had just flown by,

Having done this before, dealing with the death of a child is surreal, almost mind bending and cold. It leaves you numb for the rest of your life, it is unbelievable and unacceptable, a thing that time never heals but leaves you with reminders every which where you turn.

Selecting the casket and flowers, the church and the type of service, made me almost want to sit down in the midst of all the paper work, looking at cards with selecting a prayer, all I really wanted to do was cry, for a sweet innocent young woman who has no idea what her father did, and apologize to her, asking her forgiveness.

Leaving Robert and the funeral parlor, I stepped outside into the heated tarred parking lot and never felt it, perhaps dragging a heavy heart can leave you oblivious to the real world about you.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Our God
Yes, yes, I know it’s been a while.

I know you are: all-knowing and with that in mind I write to you today.

Why do you make people that run in the 98F degree temperatures that along with the humidity make it feel like 103? Are they practicing for their after-life, and should I be running too? I know that if I didn’t have a pool or AC, I might be climbing the spire of the Empire State Building to cool off.

In case it is their God!
While I have your attention, I have another question. You meet someone you know and you say: Heyhowyadoin? They in response say: Goodhowyoudoin? Or, Niceseeinya and of course: Goodseeinyatoo. Why do we do that?? Isn’t it a mindless and lame attempt at formality?

I know these are minor complaints to be bothering you with: but you are the go to God! Another thing, whenever I buy something electronic, and the box is tapped, I get nervous that someone else had the product and returned it because it didn’t work right. They return it to the store and the help, usually around 19 years of age a cell phone in their hands texting their buddies about every step they take, just tapes the box and throws it back on the shelf.

Why is it that I get all kinds of grief from electronic devices with human voices? The self-checkout, the GPS, you name it: I get into an argument with it and start screaming back at it? I had to shut off the voice command for my computer when it wouldn’t listen to me!

NO you old bag!
The other day, I was tooling down the very end of Portion Rd going east. There is a light at one particular intersection that takes forever to change and after you pass, it becomes a merge into one lane. As I see it is green, I think I am lucky, no one is near it, but lo and behold, an old lady doing 20 miles an hour, dumps herself in front of me, and as I have to slow down, the light turns red by the time we get to it, due to her slow driving, but she makes it through! I sit there and all the cars in the world surround me, including this kid with his radio so loud, I can hear it in my car with the windows up and the AC running!

Why oh why, with a critical pitch coming from Matt Harvey of the Mets on the TV, TLW (The Little Woman) decides to tidy up the couch standing casually in front of the TV? Is this in your grand scheme to have me off the streets and institutionalized?

Now I try to be a good son. I call Mom often and once a week I go visit her. The problem is this: She complains she is stuck in the house all day and can’t go anywhere do to her inability to walk.  Then she’ll ask me to visit her more often. So I go off to visit Mom, and she is not home! So I get worried and call my older sister (much older) Tess who calmly tells me she is getting her hair done.

Another complaint of mine is the driving space. I like to think I’m a safe driver. When I stop for a red light, I leave a little space between the car in front of me and myself. When I’m on the highway, doing over 55, I keep at least 5 car lengths behind the car in front of me. It never fails that some moron gets nervous if there is any space between cars and immediately jumps in between to fill the gap. This jackass might be in bed while I am passing his house, he will awaken with a start and cold chills and jump into his SUV to do his duty!

I go to a board meeting and someone makes a point that I wish to respond to, but no, the point maker won’t shut up, causing me to forget what I wanted to say!

So you see, God, there is a lot of uncertainty with these issues, and yes, I could go to church and talk to you, but why risk the damage to the church roof?

Monday, July 22, 2013


The other night TLW (The Little Woman) and I were watching the movie ‘Made in Paris’ a 1966 American romantic comedy film directed by Boris Sagal and starring Louis Jourdan, Ann-Margret, Richard Crenna, Chad Everett and Edie Adams.

The movie brought back so many romantic memories. On our honeymoon, one of the cities we visited in Europe was Paris. Paris is an addictive metropolis of beauty, elegance and romance. Having my young beautiful wife next to me, we touched upon all that was beautiful about Paris. The city of romance had indeed seduced us, and we felt the ebb and flow of this great city in every step we took.

When you have someone to experience the city with you, it becomes dream like, filled with dream like adventures that burn sweet memories into your mind and soul. The Champ Elyse, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, perhaps a little outdoor café, maybe a restaurant with filet mignon, escargot and wine, the sweet smell of pastries and the beds of flowers that greet you as you walk a promenade, filled with lovers both young and old.

But the magic comes out with the moon, as we traveled to Mont Mare, overlooking the twinkling lights of this magnificent city! As we climbed the steps to the top of Mont Mare, there at the top were a group of young men. Stopping us they asked if we were American. I was a little hesitant to answer yes, but decided that I would tell them yes and duke it out with all of them. They instead applauded us!

The night was clear and warm, a sweet smell of flowers greeting the party atmosphere that pervaded the apex of our climb by dozens of laughing couples.

TLW is not an ostentatious person, she leaves my big mouth for that, but she made friends with the owners of a small little restaurant in the heart of the city. Ordering Chateau Bryant, escargot and wine a few night we were there, as we left for the last time, the owners stopped us at the door and gave us two brand new Francs, as a gift.

The city is notorious for love birds, and outside my hotel room, from two stories up, I observed this couple that met every morning in a parked car, where things would get hot and heavy every morning!

But like everything in my life, there is usually something that goes wrong for me. This time it was room service! It seems that every morning, we ordered breakfast sent up to our room. Ever morning a young woman would knock, and enter our room placing the tray down on a small table at the foot of the bed. This upset TLW, as every morning the young woman would knock and TLW would go running into the toilet to hide. Finally it dawned on me that I should run to the toilet and let TLW answer the door. The next morning there was the customary knock on the door,a nd this time I jumped up and ran to the toilet, it was a young man!

Vive la France!

Sunday, July 21, 2013


He was stalking the neighborhood: you just know he was up to no good. With his hood over his head, armed with a package of skittles and a drink, it could only mean trouble. Fortunately, he didn’t fool anyone, as the neighborhood vigilante was out there on guard, guarding you and me with his perceived ‘second amendment right to bear arms’. To seal the deal, the stalker was black: a crime in itself, but by George, as in Zimmerman, there was only one thing to do.

Oh, he had a record of drugs this stalker did; he had tattoos too! He was talking to a friend in the midst of doing his evil: by George as in Zimmerman, he needed to be stopped!

And George, as in Zimmerman: had his rights, had his gun and was all set for instant heroism, HE was the neighborhood watch. He did his job at first, very well. But it wasn’t enough to do just that, no after he reported to the police the existence of this future felon, after the police advised him to desist from any more, he decided his work wasn’t done. By George as in Zimmerman, he went ahead and challenged the right of Trayvon Martin to walk a street, and since Trayvon fitted the preconceived idea of a criminal. Trayvon needed to die. After all, he fit all the criteria in the minds of those who wave the flag in jingoistic self-righteousness, thinking the 2nd amendment means they are a militia.

I really don’t know what the neighborhood is like. If there are black kids wearing hoodies who rob and steal, that may be true, and reason for suspicion, but if you are wrong and you pre-judge with unproven facts, the biggest consequences are those paid by the self-righteous.

Some nitwit once said she carries a gun because her home was robbed 5 times. I wonder why she would want to stay in a neighborhood where your home gets robbed that often that you don’t move, but get a gun and chance your own freedom because you think you have a right to carry a gun. And when you make the same mistakes by George as in Zimmerman, we can discuss that case too.

On the same token, I see the reaction to the verdict. It is very definitely without merit. No one knows if Trayvon is innocent, he may be and he may not be. Why does he take on the look of suspicion, he invites ignorant people to pre-judge him and he exposed himself to danger. If it is his right, ok, so much for rights. For those that march, did they find that verdict as justice not being served? Like O.J. Simpson’s verdict? Is it justice you wish or something else?

The fact to the matter is: a gun once again came into play, a gun put in the hands of someone who should not own one, but is protected, not by the second amendment, but by a gun lobby that controls congress and maintains the dangers that it implies to all Americans.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


A dog was chasing a cat down the street and they were walking!

And so it has been very hot in New York and the Eastern Seaboard. It is something that makes me crazy, and along with the humidity is the real reason that I hate the summer. Why do we need humidity anyway? The heat is not so bad, but what does the humidity do for Mother Nature?

It was at a miniature golf course on a brutally hot day once, when I saw a father with 3 kids. "Who’s winning?" I asked cheerfully. "I am" said one "no, I am" said another. "No," the father said: "their mother is!"

If you live in the city, where an apartment house is called home, then you are probably the most miserable anyone can get, unless you have central air. For years as a child, growing up in Brooklyn, we lived on the top floor of a building with a flat roof, and on days where the heat and humidity went through the roof, you simply died or got out of the building. We couldn’t afford air conditioning, so we would sleep on the linoleum floor to get some kind of coolness and relief! It got so hot the tap water was giving hot water on both the hot and cold!

We used to have a fire hydrant, or as it was called in Brooklyn a “Johnny pump’ in front of the apartment building. When it got this bad, someone would get a huge wrench and open up the spout, and then the neighbor kids would come and we would find relief until the cops or fire departments came to close it off.

Recently while in the city, I was amazed at the attire some of the girls were almost wearing! Stepping onto the street in the sun, the heat rose from the concrete sidewalk and seemed to take our breath away. If you dared go into the subways, the heat and humidity hung on you, and you felt that you had just finished doing heavy labor or had run a mile in heavy coats. Oppressive. It would stay that way until December, as it had no way to escape, but it always found a way to get into the subways immediately! If I had a business meeting when I was working in the city, wearing a suit was a terrible waste of sanity, going through the subway in a non-air conditioning train, sweating through your clothes, water rushing down your face from the crown of your head, made for a cranky art director by the time he got to the meeting. Then you would hit your building or meeting place and the air-conditioning would greet you with a shock, as a chill would then go up and down your spine.

One year I was in Palm Springs California, and made the mistake of being there in the early summer. The temperature was 112 degrees, but there was no humidity. Walking to the pool from my rented apartment without shoes, I immediately had blisters under my feet! The pool water offered absolutely no relief that I had to get out of it to get relief!

What I find the worst is I don’t feel like eating, or moving, in fact I don’t even feel like thinking and my attention span along with my patience is very short in hot and humid weather! I always loved the winter, to me the cold allows me to become invigorated, and willing to do things, as my ambition level rises to all time highs!  

But what am I complaining about, I’m going into my pool, see ya!

Friday, July 19, 2013


There is a joke about this fellow that came to America from Italy. He was sponsored by a Pisano and lived with him for a few days. After the second day, the fellow went to his sponsor and said in Italian, “While you are away all day, I get hungry, and would like to go to a place to eat, but I don’t speak English and can’t read the menu! Can you help me?” His sponsor, a good man was sympathetic and taught him to say: “Apple pie and coffee. In English”

The fellow, anxious to try out his new phrase went to a luncheonette and sat at the counter, where the short order cook asked him what he wanted. “Apple pie and coffee” he proudly said, This went on everyday for about a week, when he got tired of apple pie and went to his sponsor and said, can you teach me how to order a sandwich of some kind in English?” The sponsor understood his problem and taught him Ham and Swiss on rye in English, where the fellow eagerly went off to the luncheonette and sat at the counter, a smirk on his face because now he would show the guy behind the counter he was savvy when it came to foods.

The short order cook asked him what he wanted expecting the usual when the fellow said: “Ham and Swiss on rye!”

The cook, somewhat surprised asked: “Mayo or mustard?”

The fellow replied: “Apple pie and coffee.”

Then there was this true story that happened in the ‘30s when there was an influx of Italian immigrants that came to this country. My grandmother Frances was a sponsor of a few people from her hometown in Naples, and they came to live with her. One day one of them decided to apply for citizenship and needed to know how to get to the government courthouse to apply. This meant going into Manhattan on the subway. Not being able to read English, my grandmother had an idea. She took this woman to the subway station and gave her 10 pennies to hold in her hand. The10 pennies were for going and then the ten pennies again for coming back. Each penny would represent a station. She was told by grandma to put a penny in her pocket after each stop. When she ran out of pennies, that would be the stop, go upstairs and you will see the courthouse. On the way home, the same process should begin, where the last penny is her home station.

Off goes the lady with ten pennies in her hand, when suddenly about half way into the ride; she drops the pennies from the excitement of getting a seat! The pennies scatter all over the car and she loses some of the pennies. To this day we wonder if she ever got her citizenship papers, she may still be on the subway!

Then there is this, told to me by my Uncle Joe. This is a little risqué, and once again our hero is an Italian immigrant. Back in the day, to enlist in the army, you could go down to Whitehall Street and in a big building was the army induction center. In 1941 the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor, and Luigi was angry enough to want to join the army and fight for his newly adopted country. He was told he had to go to Whitehall Street in Manhattan to join. Not really knowing his way around the big city, he set out from Brooklyn and emerged from the subway somewhere near his destination. Stopping at a newsstand, he asks the owner where the induction center was, and the owner says: “See that white building down the street? That’s it.”

Luigi sets off for the building and after a few hours is finished and walking by the newsstand once again but looks like a total wreck, walking very gingerly. The newsstand owner recognizes him and asks: “Hey, aren’t you the fellow who asked for directions to the induction center?” “A yeser” replied Luigi. “Well, what the hell happened to you?” Luigi stood there in agony and then went into his sad story:

“Whella, itza likea dis, I’ma seea the fellow, he say, you wanna be a soldier huh hokay, turnarounda and a droppa you panza anda benda hover and a cough, I ado what he saya, but I think he say a bend hovera and take off!”

Take an Italian immigrant to lunch today: just don’t order apple

Thursday, July 18, 2013


She'll probably get her eggplant Parmesan in Cooperstown!
Mom is not a baseball fan, and has upheld that status all her life. She makes comments about “dem bums” and offers a long pause that says: See, I know the terminology from the Brooklyn days, when we had the real bums in Brooklyn.”Mom is an intelligent woman who raised four daughters and a stinker, but her head was never in the sand. She pitied my father and me for rooting for the Dodgers and Mets, without any commitment on her part.

The Braves and I both lost!
Once in 1958, the Yankees were locked in a struggle with the Milwaukee Braves and the Yankees were down a few games, Mom, out of the blue made a bet with me! Yes, the pasta queen and disciplinarian of the household laying down a bet on her teenaged son, that the YANKEES, would win the world series. Feeling good about my chances, I put up my end and then when the series was over, had it kicked in by Mom! She won the bet! I had lost a baseball bet to a non-fan: my MOTHER, and with it went my pride. Mom had been around long enough to know the Yankees would not be denied! She knew only Mickey Mantle (Who she thought was arrogant) and Yogi Berra on the Yankees, and had no idea of who played on the Braves. I lost the bet! Why did she challenge me?
It lost its luster!

A few years later Dad got some tickets for the Mets at Shea Stadium. I was still a teenager (I aged slowly in those days), and was taking Mom, a couple of sisters I believe and me along. Mom was excited to be able to go to the game. In fact all week before the game she kept saying how she wanted a hotdog at the stadium, and how delicious stadium hotdogs were. The Friday night before the game there was a flurry of activity swirling around the pizza we were eating. Mom was cooking! In a long Pyrex dish sat eggplant Parmesan, and instructions to Dad that he had to go out in the morning to buy rolls.

A true American tradition: baseball & eggplant Parmesan!
The next morning, Mom was ready for the game. In her hand was a shopping bag, filled with eggplant Parmesan sandwiches, stuffed in long rolls and oozing in her delicious spicy sauce! Move over stadium hotdogs, Mom was coming.

We whipped out those sandwiches around the second inning, and Mom, never had a stadium hotdog!

“Mom! You never had a stadium hotdog!”

Mom: “Who’s going to eat that crap?”

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Dr. Sunshine Seemore a true visionary!
Recently I had to go to my eye doctor, Dr. Seemore.

Dr. Sunshine Seemore has been trying to convince me that to be the picture of health, one must starve. He has been wearing the same suit every day, a dark grayish blue drab suit, walking around with self-importance and instilling an eyeful of wisdom everywhere he goes.

My recent visit with the doctor was a rather interesting one since we both did our routines. His was a cross examination of how I am doing with my diabetes and what the numbers are. My regular doctor who follows my diabetes never gives me numbers, doesn’t want me pricking myself and has it under control. Since an eye doctor can’t treat my diabetes, I soon learned to give him what I learned he wants to hear, good numbers.

Dr. Strangeglove
Now the A1C number that determines your blood sugar level is of interest to Dr. Seemore, along with my daily blood count. These are both numbers that Dr. Strangeglove keeps to himself. So when I see the eye doctor I have to make it up and when I do he congratulates me and tells me I should be very proud of myself. Oh, I am: because I learned if you vary the numbers a little, but still keep it in the same range, it is believable!

After his assistants do all the preliminary work like dilating my eyes, asking the questions and recording them on my folder, his eminence Dr. Seemore arrives. Sitting at the small desk at the examining room, begins his interrogation.

Dr.: “I see your A1C number is very good!
Me: “Oh!”
Dr.: And your daily numbers are good too! You hould be very proud of yourself! You know, I could be one way on one day and another on another day. Although your optic nerve is not a normal shape like most peoples, you don’t show any losses, you have a bit of glaucoma that comes with age, but I think I’ll ask that you come back again in a…. Year. See you next year.”

Six months ago he said I needed to see him every six months!

Do I have no shame? Will Jesus get me for this? My regular doctor, Dr. Strangeglove feels that his handling of the diabetes and the medication I take is all there is that I or anyone else needs to know.

My suspicion is still the same as last time when I wrote that Dr. Seemore is not married, hates Italians who like to eat, and women will have no part of him. Little children wear a replica of his face for Halloween, and he put his mother in a home.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Mom is getting old! At 95, I guess we can’t expect anything else but the sadness that comes with a woman and her sharp wit, and her body breaking down. Being an independent woman when Dad passed, she now is facing new challenges, probably the last ones in her life.

It started with Mom’s knee then her back and then a buildup of fluid in her legs and now congestive heart failure she is quickly breaking down. There was a song by Robbie Williams:

"It Was A Very Good Year"
When I was seventeen, it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights.
We'd hide from the light on the village green when I was seventeen.

When I was twenty-one, it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for city
girls who lived up the stairs
With perfume hair that came undone
when I was twenty-one.

When I was thirty-five, it was a very good year.
It was a very good year for blue-blooded
girls of independent means.
We'd ride in limousines. Their chauffeurs
would drive when I was thirty-five.

But now the days are short, I'm in the
autumn of the year
and now I think of my life as vintage
wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs. It poured
sweet and clear. It was a very good year

The doctor keeps prescribing new medications, and changes old ones. Nothing seems to be taking hold. She has one doctor visit after another and still things are getting ‘not better’. She has many medical minds in her pool of medical helpers, all say the same thing: “She is 95!”

I guess the crime is that we all must face the deterioration of our bodies as we age. Instead of enjoying the wisdom we gather along with the memories, we deal with pain, slowness and fear of losing our minds. How sad.

She is the oldest of three sisters and the sole survivor. She raised five children, four beautiful daughters and watched the family grow and prosper. She waded through personal tragedies from when she was a child and always had a smile, a laugh and sometimes a pleasant song on her lips and love is always present in her heart. And when there were great moments of joy, she was quietly watching the events unfold, usually with a family gathering she prepared in food and wine.

Nowadays I visit her often, don’t tell her about my problems, but listen to hers. Yet she insist on asking me what’s new, and that is how she always is, looking out for what’s new. She will give me details about doctor procedures, a recipe and maybe even a mention of some political question: she still engages, still speaks her mind and still has opinions. Her mind is way ahead of her body.

I know as do my sisters that the day is coming, as it will for all of us, but I hope when it does come, it will be a peaceful day for her.

Monday, July 15, 2013


If you read the July 3rd Blogue I wrote: ‘BE CAREFUL OUT THERE, IT’S STUPID!’ then you are about to read the sequel, ‘BE CAREFUL OUT THERE, IT’S STUPID! Part 2.

Showing off his wiener


It takes audacity for a politician to run as it is on the promise of something he will not fulfill, and then seek re-election lying about his past. Then along comes Anthony Weiner and exposes himself for what he is, a pervert, and then seeks to run for office once again, taking on the high mantle of morality, the plea for forgiveness and the old coin: everybody should be forgiven. Fascinatingly people, stupid people buy into it, getting usually what they deserve.


But wait folks, we ain’t done yet! Nope, yet still another insect has come out of the woodwork, or from under a rock, I forget which, and is now saying the same thing: we ought to forgive and forget. This one has even fallen from on high, and of course I mean, the former governor of the great state of New York, Idiot Spitzer. Found in bed with a prostitute, dressed in his socks only, if he were the Attorney General he would have prosecuted someone for that, especially a politician! (The use of a prostitute, not the socks)
'Socks' Spitzer


So here we have a Weiner and a Spitzer, the Alpha and Omega of morality, who will mount platforms and preach to us how they will lead us to the promise land. No sense of shame, no sense of integrity and certainly, no sense of morality, with a whole slew of mindless, stupid people to support them.


Either I need to chill, change my sense of right and wrong, or we need some heads examined!