DelBloggolo

Saturday, August 31, 2013

DAZE GONE BY


I can think of younger days
When living for my life was everything a man could want to do
I could never see tomorrow
I was never told about the sorrow
And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain falling down?
Tell me how can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go 'round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Somebody please help me mend my broken heart
And let me live again
I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
But we could never see tomorrow
It would be that no one, no one ever told us about the sorrow
So how can you mend a broken heart? And mine is
How can you stop the rain falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go 'round?

Lyrics and music by Al Green

When you reach the age of maturity, which is about 65, you start to remember things that occurred when you were young and while you took them for granted, you never thought you would ever think about them later in life. Then something triggers a memory and it all comes back again, just like yesterday.

As a young teenager, about 12 or 13, I had a neighbor named Mr. Haller. Mr. Haller was a great guy and the father of an older girl who was friends with my older sister Tessie. (Much older) She was gorgeous and I remember being in love with her.


Mr. Haller was an enterprising man who had a paper route that he ran on the North Shore of Long Island. This route was in the hills and dales of the North Shore and it was a bumpy, busy ride.

Recently on Facebook, someone posted a picture of the Volkswagon Beetle, and it triggered the memory of that paper route, and my sitting in the back seat as Mr. Haller took the beetle and drove like he was simulating a roller coaster ride.


On these hot muggy days of summer, when I helped him on a weekend, tossing newspapers out the windows, the jerk start stopping made me physically ill, wanting to toss my cookies. I would sit for about 3 or 4 hours nauseated by the whole ordeal! The late mornings would turn to afternoons, up and then down and then sharp turns left and right and the sicker I got. The thought of eating anything was out of the question, and he would carry a jar of rhubarb juice, taking swigs out of it, and the odor would make me even sicker. My fingers would dry up from handling the newspapers for so long, and even the smell of the newsprint would add to my olfactory and gastroenterological misery! I was an unhappy camper.

But he paid me a fair wage and at my age, I wasn’t old enough for a regular job, so this was a blessing, and besides, there is so much torture you can impose on your 4 sisters before even that gets stale.

It taught me a lesson, that if you want something in life, yu have to pay for it, even money.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER…

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But probably not!

I got a call yesterday, from a phone number in Chula Vista, California: 619 730 6921.

The party on the other end of the line claimed to be from Publishers Clearing House. (PCH) They were calling to inform me I won $3,500,000! They needed to confirm my address and $50 for me to be the complete winner. He also wanted to know if I received his repeated letters notifying me that I won. He said there were repeated calls also and pretended he probably didn’t have my whole address.
I of course went along with them for the ride for a short while. I asked where they were located and they said California. I said that I always thought they were located in Port Washington, and the caller says that he was calling from their California office, which I know to be false. He also claimed that his job is to locate winners of big prizes like mine for not just PCH, but other companies such as Reader’s Digest or Time Magazine.

I designed that poster over 15 years ago!
The heavily accented man on the other end had no emotion, no excitement and no credibility in his voice. Having worked for Publishers Clearing House for 17 years, I know that being that flat would not be the way to award $3.5 million. The other tip-off was I didn’t enter any sweepstakes, nor did I buy anything from PCH.

Now I asked if there was anything else I needed to do, and they said no, just a major credit card number for the $50 and the check would be delivered that afternoon.

At this point, I was getting bored with the charade, and make a suggestion to speed up the call and end the nonsense:

“Sir, being how you will be delivering the check this afternoon, can I make a suggestion?”

“Sure”

“Take the $3.5 million check and the $50, and shove them up you lying ass, you thieving lying son of a bitch, and while you’re at it, as you try to steal from the next party, drop dead doing it."

It felt pretty good!

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

NOW HOW DID I KNOW THAT?


Some things in life are so predictable! Like for instance last week on Tuesday two things were suppose to happen, the delivery of the dishwasher we got from P.C. Richards and a stretch cover installation for the pool.

The good people from P. C. Richards said that the delivery guy would call with a four-hour window for installation. This sounded reasonable, as long as they came, and didn’t make a promise they couldn’t keep. I would be back to placing the dishes and cups into the dishwasher, instead of washing them all by hand!

Tuesday was spent waiting for the installer to come and install my stretch cover over the pool. The cover is nice because it is placed even with the ground, so no water or leaves accumulate in the pool, and I don't have to pump the water and scoop out the leaves, a process that can take forever and happens twice a year!

So Tuesday would be a special day, an almost day of rejoicing.

On Tuesday like clockwork, the installer for the dishwasher calls; “We’ll be at your house between 2:00 and 6:00 pm! The day before the pool guy said he would be at my home on Tuesday, for sure.

Now, any reasonable person would think first: I hope I’m first on their schedule”, and second: “I hope I’m not last on their schedule!” Guess which one I was, with both Bozos? Yes, last, like the horse I once bet on, he tip-toed in the next morning!

So now we are talking around dinnertime, and I am hungry, no, starving is a better word. The Pool Guy arrives first and begins the installation, as I look at the clock. 5:35 PM, and no dishwasher yet, as I sit in my chair resigned to the fact that they will call and re-schedule. Just then, TLW (The Little Woman) announces:

 “They’re here!”

Now I have one eye on the pool and one eye on the kitchen, the pool guy giving me updates and the dishwasher guys joking with me. Finally the pool guy calls me out to the pool area to announce he is done and gives some information about the love and care for the cover with the bill in his hand while the installer of the dishwasher is now hovering about anxious for me to sign his papers so he can go off. All at once, as they came, so they left!

Just once in my life I would like to get a delivery on time, on the date promised, and be the first one on their route. I just knew all this was going to happen.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS!


It seems that if it can go wrong it will.

Many years ago, while still a pup in the advertising industry, I worked for a very famous man in the business by the name of Lawrence G. Chait. Larry was a big man in human proportions eating like it too. Larry was a great mind, a leader in the field of direct response advertising, and on the famous 'Dean's List' during Watergate!

der sherman hairlion!
In January of 1972, the company, Lawrence G. Chait and Co., landed the Lufthansa Airlines account, and it meant a big push to hit all the media and really sell it. As an agency, we now held both American Airlines and Lufthansa, two rather large feathers in our cap! But the big push meant that we would be on a break neck pace with no relief, a seven day a week schedule for about three or four weeks.





So what does my nephew John go and do? He decides to get born, that’s right, in the middle of all this tight schedule and pressure.

So everyday we worked until 5:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays too. Larry being the great guy he was, insisted that we all have lunch on him, everyday of the schedule. Lunch was not a sandwich: it was a meal, a rich, expensive meal that he paid for.

So one Sunday morning, early about 6:00 am, right before I was about to leave our little apartment in East Patchogue on Munsell Road, the phone rings. Mom is on the other end and she is mad at me!

“You haven’t seen your newborn nephew yet, and you are going to be his Godfather! When are you going to see that little boy?”

Feeling bad but not able to do a thing about it, since I was getting home every night well after 7:00 pm, and dead tired, I go to work, and am waiting on the Hunter’s Point Avenue station of the Flushing line, when suddenly the top of my foot is swelling up to the point that I have to loosen my shoe from the pain and lump! The station is opened on one end and the platform is cold in February, and I think it must be the cold that is causing the swelling. About a week goes by and I call the doctor since I am limping. (I’d say I was limping badly, but that would mean there is a limping good.)

I finally get to the doctor and he looks at it and says:

“Have you been eating rich foods lately, with butter and cream sauces?”

“Yes doctor.”

“Well Your Highness, you have the gout!” Apparently gout is the King’s disease.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NOW I KNOW

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yea sure!
The other day I was on the phone with a lovely lady that happens to be the secretary to the CEO of AHRC Suffolk, an organization that does God’s work. The lady is named Lynn, and she greets me with a warm smile that could light up the darkest of places on a rainy wintry afternoon. I needed to discuss business with her and as I did we somehow got on the subject of the fish my fellow board member Ken allegedly says he caught, with a bogus picture of him holding it. We all know that the fish went back to the pawnshop and he got his money back. To quote Mr. Walker:

I caught this 35lb. striped bass aboard the Black Rock out of Orient Point last Wednesday. Our neighbor Fred barbecued the filets when I got home. Delish! Even took a bass sandwich to the office on Thursday.”

We know the fish was a hollow papier-mâché that was pawned and that Mr. Walker stopped by the deli in the morning on Thursday for his sandwich, the usual sardine on whole wheat, but who’s complaining. Yes his neighbor Fred, a very giving man did barbecue on that Thursday, and Ken had a nice hot dog on whole wheat! But this blogue isn’t about Mr. Walker again.

Lynn started to relate to me how last Father’s Day. Her husband, (a real fisherman, not like someone I know) took Lynn on a boat and they went fishing. The gentleman that he is, her husband gave Lynn the spot he stands at, his best rod and although he didn’t catch anything, Lynn did! In fact people remarked at her ability to catch so many REAL fish! She then went on to relate how when she was dating, one of her dates was fishing. She caught a fish, and could feel it on the end of her line, and this only speeded up the proposal that was sure to come. Since then she never took up the sport again!
I call it 'Finished Day'

This reminded me of my days as a young lover and man about town, dating TLW (The Little Woman), and an incident that happened before we were married. I was fresh off the 1969 World Series, a big Mets fan and wanted to marry a Mets fan also. TLW wasn’t a fan of baseball: football; hockey or basketball, despised boxing and the only real sport she was interested in was shopping. Back in the early 70’s, the International Olympic Committee recognized shopping as a sport, and TLW poured a lot of money into her equipment, even before we dated.

Well I started to teach her the name of the players, and to help her along I gave them clues that rhymed with their last named for her to remember them by. For instance, there was the third baseman named Wayne Garrett, a red headed good looking kid I called “Carrot Garrett”. By the night before our wedding, she knew all the players, batting averages and hometowns of all the New York Mets, I was a very happy man as she strolled down the aisle with her father! I could say: Boy, that Garrett sure has a good lateral movement to his right!” and she would say, Yup, ole Carrot Garrett can really pick the old apple.
Carrot Garrett

And so after the wedding as we flew off to our honeymoon, and settled into our daily routine once we returned, I asked her: Do you know how Carrot Top did? Her answer: WHO?

I watch a lot of games alone now, except for when the Macaroni Man  comes over.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

THE SAINTS BEHOLD US


One Sunday morning (when else?) over a plate of scrambled eggs with extra crispy French Fries in a diner, TLW (The Little Woman) and I got into a discussion about saints. Being a woman with strong beliefs, saintly attitudes and martyrdom, (being married to you know who), she has a strong vested interest in saints and saintly attitudes, or all things saintly.
St. Francis of Assisi

We discussed the old days when our mom’s would pray to saints, and each mother had a special ‘go-to’ saint they used. Her mom, Helen prayed to St. Anthony, and my mom I think really favored St. Theresa, naming my older sister (much older) after her. Mom also favored St. Anthony and even St Joseph. These extra saints are the results of having given birth to me, and the need for more than one saint for divine intervention. She has since interviewed many more saints hoping to find the right mix.

St. Anthony of Padua
TLW related to me how she was made to kneel along with her three sibs, in front of the couch to pray for something lost, and would invoke the influence of St. Anthony of Padua to maybe put in a good word with God.

I asked her how come people would pray to a dead saint when they should be praying to God directly, and she explained to me that people do that because they feel unworthy to talk directly to God to seek special favors or help. After all, God is busy, has a full plate and can’t be bothered with every mundane thing that crosses the transom as a heavenly matter. That is why we have saints, because everything gets departmentalized. Now this is the Catholic God, who is not unlike the Protestant God in that matter. The Jewish God is another story. I guess the poor Jews have been put through so much in this world that they deserve a direct line to God.

As a child in third grade at Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school on Aberdeen Street in Brooklyn, NY, I was given the honor one Friday to carry the statue of the Virgin Mary home in a cloth sack to have the family kneel around it and pray to. This ‘honor’ was given to each of us in Mrs. Walsh’s all-boy’s classroom. They separated the boys from the girls at the school I guess to avoid unwanted or unexplainable pregnancies. Since I got the statue on a Friday, that meant that I would have to pray not only Friday, but Saturday and after going to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night as well! This was really asking me for a lot. As I walked home, I was wondering how I was going to get my dad out of from under the TV to kneel and pray with us. I knew Mom would, but Dad never went to church, and gave up on prayer years ago when the Dodgers started losing regularly to the Yankees in the World Series every year. Getting home, I took the kitchen chair out from under the table, made the announcement that we were praying, placed the statue of the chair and knelt to pray. Mom was kind of staring at me strangely, Tessie my older sister (much older) stood in shock, and Dad was still watching Friday night boxing on our little Olympic TV!  I decided to stop because the only one who looked or acted normal was my father!

St. Jude
TLW was the one that made the conversation most relevant when one year we were scheduled to go to Los Angeles with #2 Son. It was the night before and as we got ready we were looking for #2 Son’s license since it would be his only means of ID for the airport security. We had been looking for weeks in anticipation of the trip. I was content to leave him at home but TLW knew better! As I sat in my chair watching the TV, TLW suddenly drops to her knees in front of the couch, (partially blocking my view) and starts to make the sign of the cross and prays! She signs off and rises to her feet, and marches off upstairs to #2 Son’s room, where she comes down less than 3 minutes later, ceremoniously carrying the license in two hands like a sacred relic above her head, her eyes raised. I was almost tempted to drop on my knees: it was that kind of a miracle!

St. Joseph of Holbrook
Now there are many saints, some owning the same name, some duplicating the same tasks! Some of the tasks are mundane, some are monumental and some are ordinary, some saints represent towns, cities and events. Yes, there is a saint for everything in the Catholic Church.  Every place has a saint, and every saint has a place! This is the philosophy of the One True Holy and Roman Catholic Universal Church etc. One may wonder why the saints, why not go to Jesus then, after all he has a place, his named invoked many times out of surprise, frustration and even happiness. If that happened, a lot of dead saints would be out of business, and a lot of statues would have to be removed. That would be too much work, not practical and would require more collections at Mass to cover the expenses, or larger pledges with larger envelopes from the unholy such as I.

By the time you are finished reading this, I should have been swept away by lightning, or a large rock, had fallen on my unholy head.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

PORE SPELLINK

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Recently, I wrote a blog titled: ‘PSYSIC’ the title being misspelled. Being how TLW (The Little Woman) read it before I saw it that morning (yesterday), she corrected it for me and still I misspell. I have a mental block with some words and am a notoriously bad speller: that I admit. There are words such as Psycho, or through, thought, though and the like.

 

Not feeling bad that I am such a poor speller, I decided to look up other poor spellers to see if I was alone. My research brings me to the conclusion of: So what? Who cares? And I’m in good company! The list below is for you all to fell better about your spelling as I do about mine.


1. Jane Austen
Luckily, the author of Emma and Pride and Prejudice was always fortunate enough to find editors who could weed out her various alphabetical mishaps. An early work, written when Austen was 15, was called Love and Freindship.
2. George Washington
According to Richard Lederer in his book More Anguished English, the man who would become the first American president wrote "we find our necessaties are not such as to require an immediate transportation during the harvist" while complaining about a supply shortage during the Revolutionary War.
3. Winston Churchill
Though he later became universally regarded as one of the greatest orators of all time, one of Churchill's early report cards said "Writing is good, but terribly slow — spelling about as bad as it well can be."
4. Agatha Christie
"Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me... [I was] an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day." It's incredible to think that this humbling statement came from the pen of one of the greatest mystery authors of all time: A woman who would later be celebrated as "The Queen of Crime." Christie's dyslexia made accurate spelling difficult, and she'd occasionally even misspell the names of her own characters: in An Appointment with Death, Colonel Carbury's name is later written as "Colonel Carbery."
5. Andrew Jackson
Examples of Old Hickory's seemingly innumerable botched spelling attempts include "devilopment," the continent of "Urope," and performing before a "larg" audience. This ineptitude even went on to become a political punchline. His perennial political rival John Quincy Adams once denounced him as "a savage who can scarcely spell his own name." Jackson's retort? "It's a damn poor mind that can think of only one way to spell a word."
6. Albert Einstein
In Einstein's defense, English was his second language. It's therefore easy to understand why spelling and grammatical errors in his works were a constant source of frustration to the physicist. "I cannot write in English," he said, "because of the treacherous spelling."
7. Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway seemed to have difficulty with present participles, as "loving" became "loveing" and "moving" turned into "moveing" in his manuscripts. Whenever an editor complained of these bloopers, however, Hemingway would snap "Well, that's what you're hired to correct!"
8. F. Scott Fitzgerald
The original draft of The Great Gatsby contained literally hundreds of spelling mistakes, some of which are still confounding editors. These include "yatch" (instead of "yacht") and "apon" (instead of "upon"). One of his most famous gaffes, which occurs toward the end of the novel, inspires debate to this day.
9. Olivia Clemens
Samuel Clemens — better known by his pen name "Mark Twain" — delighted in his wife "Livy's" frequent compositional errors. After receiving one of her letters, in which she miraculously made virtually no such bloopers, he wrote, "Oh you darling little speller! — you spelled 'terrible' right, this time. And I won't have it — it is un-Livy-ish. Spell it wrong next time, for I love everything that is like Livy." Despite Samuel's playful jabs, he relied upon his beloved wife as a "faithful, judicious, and painstaking editor" until her death in 1904.
10. William Butler Yeats
According to biographer David A. Ross, "Yeats' spelling, indeed, seems at times a matter of wildly errant guesswork." Ouch. The great Irish poet and senator's idiosyncratic writing style resulted in some distinctively misspelled words cropping up throughout his works, such as "feal" instead of "feel." Despite this Achilles' heel, Yeats won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.
11. Dan Quayle
No list of famously bad spellers would be complete without mentioning the 44th Vice President's infamous "Potatoe Incident."

So, if you think I should be ashamed of yourself or I should of me: relax.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

THEY JUST STINK!


A lousy place to do business
My Saturday started off by my going to Lowe’s to hand them the signed cancellation paper and to refund my credit card for the dishwasher.

Walking into Home Depot or a Lowe’s rattles my brain. I hate the loudness of it all. Me, I’m a serene kind of guy, I like my house and my women quiet.

Walking up to the customer service counter, a woman, asks what I want.

I’m here to cancel a contract for a dishwasher.

May I ask why?

Because they were supposed to call me with an installation time, and date that the dishwasher would be installed, and they did neither, that’s why.

The woman passes it on to another salesgirl like a hot potato, who asks: Can I help you?

I’m here to cancel a contract for a dishwasher.

May I ask why?

Once again I say: Because they were supposed to call me with an installation time, and date that the dishwasher would be installed, and they did neither, that’s why.

OK, I’ll charge it back onto your credit card.

Thank You!

She comes back with the sales slip and it is $35 short of the total I charged.
Thank you have a nice day.

I look at the receipt and see that it is $35 short of the $598 I was charged!

Excuse me, why is it short $35???

Because the $35 is what we charge for measuring.

Did anyone ever tell you that sometimes you can hear one of your parents come out of your mouth? At that moment, not only did my father come out of my mouth, but my Uncle Joe, and my Grandfather Joe.

MEASURING UH GOTZ! He never came to the house, never showed up! THAT”s why I’m here!!!

A guy behind me and off to my left all of a sudden is laughing so hard he can’t talk, and finally says: I’m sorry, but I hadn't heard that expression since my Dad died!

Come to think of it, I couldn’t believe I said it myself, and it’s true, since MY dad died too!

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Friday, August 23, 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS

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This has been a crazy week.

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Monday: First I call a repairman to come look at my dishwasher and I wait until 9:00 PM for them to finally arrive. That is right PM! The whole day is shot. What do they tell me? That although the machine can rinse the water away, it is a separate motor; the main motor will need a part, about $450 worth of part. This will take a few days!

Then I get a call from the pool company that they will be sending an estimator over for a loop lock pool cover on Tuesday.

Tuesday: blinding rain, howling winds, and that is just in my den, the weather outside isn’t looking good either! The phone rings-“Sorry, the estimator can’t come because the weather is bad. The big sissy will come tomorrow. I inquire about the time and am told they’ll call me.

Wednesday: after waiting all morning for the pool people’s call, I happen to look out the front door, and there they are! “Looks like a simple job, even though your pool is 4 feet longer than standard, the size is a standard size shelf item, will call you this afternoon with a price.” The sissy leaves.

The phone rings: “Hi Joe it’s me. Good thing I train all my mistresses to say: “Hello sexy good looking ” when I answer as to not confuse them with TLW (The Little Woman). “Yes Dear?” “Can you find time to go to the cemetery and show them the deed?

Off I go to the cemetery to show them the deed that was missing for permission to bury my daughter with my in-laws, since they need to see it I guess by law. On my way home, I have my cell-phone in my right side pocket. Ringing it has a rubber sleeve to protect it in case stupid drops it. As I drive, Kamikaze Sue is behind me in a large Ford Escort hell bent of passing over me as I struggle to extract it to see who it is. I pull over, undo the seat belt as Kamikaze Sue passes waving her arms. It's the estimator, asking ME if I knew the measurement from the corner to the steps in the pool. It took him over two weeks to come and measure the pool and he’s asking me!

Thursday: I call Lowe’s, where we decided to buy our new dishwasher for the price of parts to fix the old one. They (the salesman) told us either Thursday or Friday the machine would come. Noontime rolls around and I decide to make a phone call in English being it is an option to Lowe’s. This is VERY important call since it will be monitored or recorded for quality assurance. The (or) is to keep me on my toes. I ask when they are coming to deliver.

Name?

Del Bloggolo – d-e-l-b-l-o-g-g-o-l-o, Joseph.

I’m sorry: we don’t have you listed here! Do you have an order number?

I read the number, worried now about the consequences of facing the phone police who are monitoring this call and maybe even recording it, if this is not a quality call, they may just hang up?

Ah! Here we are, it will be delivered on Friday, tomorrow.

What time????

Oh, when he makes up his schedule tomorrow he will give you a call.

I will have to wait once again. All in one week!

Friday: It is 3:00 PM! No one has called yet! I have to work with one ear on the phone as I go about my business outside in the pool area and yard. I am really annoyed.

I call and they give me a story that the installer doesn’t have me down for delivery! He says he will get in touch with the installer and see what he can do. He will call me back.

3:15 PM, he says the installer will call me this evening to schedule an installation. I tell him if I don’t get the machine by tomorrow, I will cancel the order.

About 2 hours later Chuckles calls.
Mr. Del Bloggolo?
Yes!
This is the installer for Lowe’s.
Are you delivering tomorrow?
No, I will be in your neighborhood on Tuesday.
Forget about it.

My sincere suggestion, don’t purchase anything for delivery and installation from Lowe’s. They are dishonest when they don’t tell the truth. Two different people told me Friday delivery, and it’s annoying to waste a whole day waiting for them as it is, and then they don’t show up!


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Thursday, August 22, 2013

FASCINATION


As a little kid, and into my adulthood or old age, trains have been a fascination to me. Just like Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, I love trains.

I remember as a little kid going down into the subway with Mom, watching the IND arrive at the Rockaway Avenue Station in Brooklyn just off of Fulton Street, the big dark grey A Train with the car-couple on the front bottom, and the destination window with the IND noted on top. As it roared into the station, Mom would grip my hand tightly out of fear of the monster, but I loved it.

Later as I got bolder, I would venture off by myself and go to the same station to wait for Dad to arrive from work, as I sat outside the turnstile, watching the trains arrive, and dreaming of running one of them one day.

On summer mornings, I would look down Hull Street toward the end of Eastern Parkway, where the overhead El would skirt by, clickety clacking it’s way to Jamaica, Queens, the long line of greenish cars slightly tilting as it made itself around the bend.

As I got older, I would leave Brooklyn for a week or two in the summer and go to Patchogue Long Island to stay with my Uncle Joe, who worked for the Long Island Railroad. He would take me down to Patchogue Station where he was a gang foreman and get the trains ready for the return trip to New York City or points East. As he worked replacing the ice or water, cleaning out the cars and setting the seating in an orderly fashion, the train would move back and forth sometimes to position cars into or out of service, leaving me with a fear of going into the city without a ticket! I would stand on the platform or on the seating that faced the track in the shade and look at the giant steam engine, as it hissed as it idled, a monster so big that it would send a shudder down my spine and at the same time, make me wish I could be the engineer. On those early summer mornings, the distant sound of a train’s short toot would awaken me to the sun shine, fresh smell of the morning dew and the excitement that was in store for me that day!

Trains were a major part of my life growing up too. I took a train into Manhattan for my entry exam at the New York Institute of Technology, and then to school everyday until I graduate for the most part. When I sought employment as a Graphic Designer, it was the train into the big city for interviews and finally my first job!

But work wasn’t the only pleasure I had with the trains, as I gazed out in fascination for the minimal tolerance between passing trains, the intricate switching into and out of Jamaica Station and Penn Station, filling my imagination in wonder how it felt to be the guy that guided tons and tons of heavy steel, with hundreds of passengers into the final destination.

It was on the Railroad that I met the love of my life, and almost got married on it, but did give her the ring one Friday morning after purchasing it in the Diamond District the night before. TLW (The Little Woman) proudly showed it off in her maroon pants suit and long brown hair, after admonishing me because she wasn’t dressed for the occasion! I met other great people on the train, some I dated and some I have lost touch with, but all have a great place in my heart for those wonderful days.

One of my dreams has always been besides driving the thing is taking a trip cross-country by train, seeing America and experiencing the thrill of a big country with local stops from NYC to LA. Maybe someday I will.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PASS THE DISH RAG


With the dishwasher gone, and #2 son liking to cook, we were in desperate need of a new dishwasher. Off we go to Lowe’s: the land of dishwashers.

There are two places I really hate, Home Depot and Lowe’s, two of the noisiest places on the planet. The intercom with the screechy voices of some gal really invades my head, creating a low level of tolerance.

TLW (The Little Woman) and I decided that we would buy cheap. We decided that nothing too expensive for a dishwasher, since we didn’t want to stay more than a year in our home, opting out for a condo somewhere out east. We also decided we wanted stainless steel to match the stove. Stainless steel is about $100 more than a normal façade. Already we are paying above our plan!

Strolling down the aisles of dishwashers, with Frigidaire’s and GE’s mostly, we looked first in our price range: cheap. Cheap is not good. Cheap is cheap, in fact it is too cheap, even for me. I see a nice model GE that is marked down from $450 to $400, sturdy, well designed in terms of utility, and nice looking. TLW reminds me that we made a pact not to spend too much, and here I am already breaking the agreement!
 
I have a philosophy: you get what you pay for. I hate to buy anything cheap because you wind up buying it again when you could have bought it once only. A little quality never hurts. There is one dishwasher on the floor for $360, rated good but when you go near it, it looks cheap, feels cheap and the insides are all plastic parts, no good in my book. It feels like a toy! We get the one I want.

In the old days, when you bought an appliance, you selected something: the salesman took the order by hand, rang it up and made the usual phony promise when it would be delivered. All this was done at the register. Everyone was happy. Today is a different story. Today we are enslaved to the computer, record keeping and scanners, with sales people who are not that sure of what they are doing. The longest part of purchasing an appliance is paying for it. The salesman probes you with questions, questions and more questions. You want the insurance, you want the warrantee, you want the right to cancel the agreement, you want a kick in the ass? You want us to install it? You do? Then you will need these parts also.What is the last four digits of your social security number, your mother’s last maiden name before she changed it to another maiden name, your address and home phone number, how about your cell phone number? What grade did you get in 4th grade math? All these questions require time on a black computer screen, then massive printouts, where you sign and then print your name. After that is done, you now travel across this very large store to the checkout. At the checkout are two people, one is a trainee and one is a super-whiz, who can answer questions, zipping through programs on the screen and typing upside down from the other side of the counter. We get the trainee.



Once again the questions come at you, the same questions as before, but by a new person asking. Finally they make progress, asking for I.D. TLW whips out her driver’s license before I can get to mine. More typing into a computer with a black screen and announcement: It will be delivered on Friday. The deliveryman will call to set up the time. I guarantee he will call at 9:00 PM and forget to come until late the day he promises!

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

THE MAIL NAZI

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Thanks to Jerry Seinfeld, we now have a point of reference with things in life. If you are a fan, you remember the ‘Soup Nazi’, who made the best soups, with great passion, but no love for his clientele. You did it right when purchasing his soups or: “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”

Years ago, we had a gas station that was run by a swarthy looking individual with a heavy accent, his beard always dark, along with his attitude. You had to pull up to the pump a certain distance from the pumps both from the side and distance past the pump. And make sure you had your money ready to pay.

So, the other day I went to the post office to mail a package. Entering the clerk’s section, there is a lady behind the counter who looked like she was sitting. Her nose barely sat over the counter, her short black hair combed back and her mood in the unhappy mode.

“CAN I HELP YOU?” Her voice in full beaurocratic authority and contempt, she eyed me with almost suspicion, annoyance and impatience.

This skinny little lady, probably about 98 pounds soaking wet, to my great surprise was standing behind the counter. I walk up to her with the box in my hand, her voice having cut through me, the box shaking in my hand.

Meekly I tell her I want to mail the package to California, and I have the wrong shipping label in my hand, could she help me?

“Well, you’ll never get this package there with THAT label! I’ll get the proper label for you, you then go over to that table and fill it out, THEN we’ll mail the package.”

She had the air of a cross between my witchy first grade teacher, old Miss Langon, and a Nazi concentration camp guard with a whip and a big stick, along with a hungry, beaten German shepherd.

Completing the label, and checking it twice, (Old Miss Langon always demanded we check our work or else) I hand the iron maiden the label and box, which she inspects, while the whole world freezes in anticipation. Slowly her head rises from the deep concentration and slowly looks into my eyes. I am ready for my execution, I must have done something wrong, I’m going to get it!

“Is that debit or credit?”

I had passed the scrutiny, I will not be reduce to a sniveling wreck, bereft of all self worth, I had made out the label correctly. Suddenly the weight of the world seemed to release itself from my shoulders. Yes, there is a God!

Miss Langon, thank you for preparing me for this moment of triumph and self-worth.
The Princess of Foxwoods Points
A SPECIAL HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A DENIZEN OF THE WANNA-BE-BANK & TRUSS CO.,
PATRIZIA WEIPPERT! 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

AWASHED IN PAIN


There is no greater pain than when you have something and it is gone, and you miss it. Yes, that is a truism in life’s cycle of good to bad things.

The other day I awoke thinking nothing was wrong, and little did I suspect. Sending The Little Woman (TLW) off to work, I went ahead with my usual chores, and filled the dishwasher and off I went to sign checks at the agency. This is my routine on some days.

Returning I discovered that the dishwasher wasn’t on, thinking how dumb I was to put soap in and not turn it on.

I turn it on.

Returning I discovered that the dishwasher wasn’t on!

I turn it on.

Returning I discovered that the dishwasher wasn’t on!

I turn it on.

Returning I discovered that the dishwasher wasn’t on!

OK, so there seems to be a pattern here, the MACHINE ISN’T WORKING!!!!!

I begin to wash by hand, all the dishes. Yes, every stinking dish, glass, cup, knife, fork and spoon by hand, just like Suzie spotless did it in the 1950’s.

One thing that always greeted me by surprise was phone calls from TLW when I worked telling me that something or someone died. My stock answer was call a repairman or send flowers. I call the repairman.

I get a young lady on the phone asking me the same questions about address, phone number and that included home and cell.

“How soon would you like to schedule an appointment?” she asked.

Oh, I don’t know, maybe right after I see the doctor for these chapped hands?

“As soon as possible.”

This is my standard stock answer when I call any repairman, just to see if they are interested.

“OK, we’ll have a repairman out there by 8:00 PM.”

“You will!!!???”

“Yes.”

“if you do, I will go tell all the neighbors about you. No, I will go further, I will break all their dishwashers and recommend you to fix them.”

“Wow” (this is the same silly goose if I wanted to schedule an appointment)

Help is on the way!

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

DEAR SISTERS:

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Yesterday was a bad day. Yesterday our 95 year-old mother told me more than I needed or wanted to know.

As we all know, her 88-year-old boy toy has been taking very good care of Mom. Measuring out her meds, cooking and helping her with the wash. He goes to the stores and does all her little errands as well as the big ones, like taking her to the doctors. This is good.

Yesterday however, I asked her if her boy-toy was still sleeping over at night to ensure that she is ok overnight, and she said ‘no’. Then she told me something else I was totally unprepared for, totally out of left field, and when she told me I dropped the relay to my brain!

“You know Joe, I don’t know what I’d do without him. He takes very good care of me, we are very good friends, and when the Boy-Toy does stay over it is because of bad weather, I don’t make him go home. Of course at our age we don’t have sex.”

Since she told me that last fact, I won’t and can’t imagine that kind of scenario. I have been losing weight, (11 lbs) and not sleeping well, (all nightmares)! It took about 20 minutes to regain consciousness, and another 20 minutes to gather up all my strength to stand up and run to the toilet to heave!

The reason I am telling you this is because as I now know, you should also. After all, if I am to take care of her affairs (a poor choice of wording here), and keep you advised, you should know EVERYTHING!

If this keeps up, I am seriously asking you each to start contributing to my medical and mental health plans. This is not too much to ask since I am absorbing the initial shocks.

Love,
Your favorite brother under undue stress,

Joe-Joe

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