Friday, February 28, 2014



Modern technology is becoming a pain in the butt. Mine in particular, so therefore it hurts a little more.

I have an android phone. The phone is not the convenience I imagined it would be, but instead a hindrance to my maintaining my sanity. Recently I went to it to include a phone number, and discovered it is better not to call at all than to try to put a phone number into it. Remember how nice and easy it was years ago, with that old fashioned rotary phone? You had a small phone book or even a large one for your desk, and you opened it, wrote down the last name and added a phone number. You closed the book and didn’t worry about anything except maybe finding a pencil to write with. Not anymore! If you were out of your house or office and needed to make a call then you went to a public phone booth and slipped in a quarter and made your connection that way. All nice and easy.

Recently, because TLW (The Little Woman) had finished reading her newspaper, decided she needed some kind of amusement and so decided to give me her phone book and said to add these two phone numbers to my android. One was a home number and one a cell number. (She picks on me a lot for amusement)

That is when the trouble started.

When I first got the phone, a present from TLW, I read the book and successfully for the most part put in all the phone numbers I had, but since then, I haven’t tried until recently. Not having the instruction book for the android, I tried without it. I could look for the book, but I have no idea where the hell I put it, but I do know it is where I thought it would be easy to find, accessible the right place to put it. It is the remembering where that is, is the problem.

I try to enter a name, and I can’t because somehow it won’t let me save it, once I figure that out, I enter a phone number and then try to add another and the first one disappears! On top of that, I am sitting under the skylight and the sun is now glaring in my eyes, making it hard for me to see. I continue to try and even move my location, but try as I might; the other phone number disappears as I add the alternate. TLW grows bored watching and decides to go shopping, but first leaves me with instructions from the Internet and The trouble is the guy giving the instructions is talking too fast and I have to go to the bathroom.

She comes and asks: “Did you solve your problem?”
“Yes, I went to the bathroom.”

Thursday, February 27, 2014


“Spring has sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder where
The birdie is?”

Ah, I can feel spring in the air and that of course takes me back to the days when I was young and innocent.

While living in God’s kingdom, 1950’s Brooklyn, the arrival of spring always greeted me the same way, through the third story kitchen window. Mom would clean and open the window, and the warmer than winter air outside would enter, giving me a lift in both spirit and shoes, as I couldn’t wait to get outside as I got out of my suit, white shirt and blue tie.

The long wait for spring started when the last morsel of food was consumed on New Year’s Day, and we looked forwarded to the gloom and harshness of January and February. The oil lit stove, the cold freezing nights in bed, the morning torture of getting dressed in front of the stove and facing the cold iciness of the wind as we stepped out onto the street on our way to school would be over for another 9 months.

It seemed my nose and eyes would run and water, blinding me as my ears would start to numb where the ear popped out from the earmuffs, as we trudged off to the big house called Our Lady of Lourdes in Brooklyn.

I remember having a gabardine suit, as the days got warmer and I sat in the classroom, the steam heat still playing out of the cast iron pipes, my legs sweating because the material was so heavy. The teacher would open all the large windows half way up, and my having an urge to run to one of them and sticking my head out to cool off.

Actually this is college
Then one day while in high school, on an early March day, the weather started to warm up early that year. I was working for a local farmer, weeding and picking strawberries, for 10 cents a row, and making a little money. The day was nice and I sat in study hall, when all of a sudden I had a fever and was laying my head down on the long table in the cafeteria feeling very ill. I was sent home and went straight to bed, where my bedroom window was wide open and mom was doing some spring-cleaning.

Lying on my bed, my toes were sticking out from under the covers and I felt this itchy welt on my toe. Looking at it I thought how strange it was for a mosquito to be flying around at that time of the year! Searching for the bug I get another, so I close the window and start looking in earnest. By now my body is filled with these welts and are itching like crazy! Off I go to the doctor to find out I had the hives from picking strawberries! Welcome spring.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


With mom in the rehab facility permanently, I have been living two lives, Mom’s and my own. Everyday I go to check the house, and pay her bills, then drive to the rehab center and visit with her. Most of the visit consists of my sitting across from her while she sleeps. This whole process of a day makes me nuts, and I leave after a while and feel guilty as I do.

Then I have my own life, which is getting short changed and put on hold while I attend to mom. Luckily my older sister Tessie (much older) is there pretty much everyday at the rehab center also, and that helps. But lately I noticed something is happening to me I don’t like.

It seems that I am always in a hurry to do something, discuss an issue and in this state I am impatient with everything and everyone. I suspect everybody else is too with me. Someone talks to me and I don’t want to hear the minute details if I heard then once already, give me the facts and quickly please. That is a bad attitude. Then as I drive to and from mom’s and stop for a light, or wait for traffic, I get a little annoyed and once again: impatient.

I have been trying very hard NOT to bring this attitude home to TLW (The Little Woman) who has been nothing but stellar in her patience with my bad mood and complaining, whining attitude. But the questions from her become hard to answer as I know the answers and she should know them too, even though she doesn’t. I’m being impossible.

However, since I’ve been living moms life, I decided to do something: I’ve given myself full amnesty for all the ills, pain and anger I caused my mother as a child, all is forgiven!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Being a parent is no easy thing, as you know. When your child no matter how old he or she is accomplishes something, it is very hard not to want to point it out to even strangers.

Then there is the problem of assigning credit to the right parent. For years growing up in my parent’s household, when it came to me, mom and dad seemed to be on opposite poles of who should get the credit for the things I did.
“Your son” meant I didn’t do it right, and if I were to by chance do something right, it might have been “my son.”

It wasn’t until my later years when I went to college that I started to get some traction with dad. I bought myself this warm jacket with the college logo on the chest, and a light spring jacket with the name of the college on it. Never got to wear them, Dad had both, wore them to work everyday! Why, because I was the first male in his family to go to college. Going to college in those days was a big deal. We didn’t hang up the jackets: we stood them up!

If something was done not to mom’s liking, it was “Wait until your father gets home!” followed by a whack or two with a wooden spoon. Dad was NO disciplinarian: he was Catholic when he felt like it.

Fast-forward about 100 years and we are sitting in my living room. We turn on the TV to watch The Big Bang Theory.  I look at the opening credits, and there sits in big white letters: #1 Son’s name!

Me: “OOOOOH! OOOOOOOH! OOOOOH! OOOOOOOH! Look, LOOK! There it is, MY son’s name!”

TLW; (The Little Woman)  “THAT’S OUR SON!!!”

Shocking but true!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Today, out on Long Island, to walk would be a hardship, a real inconvenience. People will buy a new home and the listing says: “In walking distance of shopping and local houses of worship.” So what do you do? Well with that accessibility, you buy the house then drive to shop or church, of course!

In the old days in Brooklyn I asked dad one day:
“Dad, why don’t we own a car like the other families around here: Anthony’s dad owns a car, Michael’s dad owns a car, but we don’t?”

“Why would I need a car? You want to go somewhere? I’ll tell you what, take a bus. You take a bus, they treat you like royalty, you stand there, they come to you, they open the door for you, you get on, sit down nice, they take you where you want to go, and then when you get up to get off, they open the door for you again!”

Dad had a point. All my time living in Brooklyn, I walked. If you wanted to take a bus and not walk, you walked first to the bus stop. The technique wasn’t too complicated: you put your head down, place one foot in front of the other and then switch feet, all the time moving… forward of course.

Some of the most interesting walking was done on my way to school. As I turned the corner onto Stone Avenue, past the fruit and vegetable store of a very cranky Old Italian, conversations would start up and things were learned. My older sister Tessie (much older) would inform me that if I stepped on a crack, I would break my mother’s back! So the whole time walking, I avoided the cracks, and by the time I got to school, my legs were aching from stretching over the cracks.

Mom had a very bad habit of liking to shop along Broadway, under the El, and along Picking Avenue among the old Jewish shop merchants. Together with my aunt she would travel by foot the many miles to and from our apartment, and for a 6 year old, I was in the best shape of my life because we walked.

You needed something at the store, in Brooklyn it was easy, you walked to it. Once Dad had a car and left it parked across the street. After about two weeks of not driving it, he got a ticket, and decided we weren’t getting enough exercise, so he got rid of the car.

But walking or taking the bus weren’t the only ways to get around. There was of course the subway. The subway was an interesting phenomenon in itself. First you had to walk to either the El or the subway and climb or descend stairs, usually at a fast clip. Once on the platform, you raced to the train before the door closed, or if the train was pulling out of the train station, doing your dance that halted your momentum. All of this was exercise. Getting off the train was an exercise in ballet! You had the body motion of a running back as you side-stepped, feinted and then slid through the crowd wanting to walk over you to board the train, and once on the platform, the rush up the stairs, where you went into your walking mode.

The point I’m making here is that you took all the walking in stride!

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Just when you think it is safe to become a grandfather, boom, they hit you with special requirements.

All my trouble started with them
As you might know by now, I will become a grandfather, once I clear legal, customs and the Board of Health. It all started with a phone call from California and #1 Son (Anthony) last Sunday.

“Dad, if you want to see your granddaughter in April, you have to get a shot. I know it's a pain in the ass but the doctor said so.”

A pain in the ass??? Is this where they administer the shot? I thought to myself.
Now when my dad became a grandfather all he had to do was buy cigars, find descriptive words the poets used to describe my niece and learn how to avoid getting shot at by people who would become tired of hearing him brag. If he got a ‘shot’, it would come from a whiskey glass.

When I got married, I had 4 children, in fact, TLW (The Little Woman) also had 4 kids, between us and the 8 children, we never needed a shot!

After I was born my mother had me vaccinated. That was enough for me, I didn’t care what the vaccination was for, the word was big enough for me to not ask questions. Life was simple.

Then when I had kids, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis were the shots of the day, combined for the preservation of the doctor’s sanity from hearing the kids scream twice more.

Then the news that I had to once again get a shot, this one called: the TDAP Vaccine. I don’t know what it stands for, probably: The Doctor Adds Pain vaccine where the pain comes to your wallet!

I hope my son tells his daughter how I suffered to meet her.

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Growing up in Brooklyn, life was tough. Dad was not making the money that J.P. Morgan did, and I asked him how come. Not directly but in the form of another subject.

“Dad, why don’t we own a car like the other families around here: Anthony’s dad owns a car, Michael’s dad owns a car, but we don’t?”

“Why would I need a car? You want to go somewhere? I’ll tell you what, take a bus. You take a bus, they treat you like royalty, you stand there, they come to you, they open the door for you, you get on, sit down nice, they take you where you want to go, and then when you get up to get off, they open the door for you again!”

Our apartment was not what you call spacious, luxurious or even comfortable. It was the top floor of a three-story building, and although it was well lit for a Brooklyn apartment, that was because it sat next to an alley that had a very short two story single family dwelling next to it.  I must say it had a very interesting heating and cooling system. The problem was the season and the system didn’t coincide. Three sides of the four were exposed to the weather and the roof, when in the heat of the summer, would contain all the heat of the day, and bring it into our apartment, making it stifling, yet in the winter due to the single oil burning stove that sat in the kitchen, at the far end of the line of rooms it was extremely frigid in the winter. There was no heating, no radiators or even a fireplace, just this small wrought iron stove that was supposed to heat the whole apartment.

Sleeping at night in the winter was a challenge. Up until I was in third grade, I had to share the bed with my older sister, (much older). The room was the last room in the house, the one room not in line with the others. There was the kitchen, dining room, ‘parlor’ my parent’s bedroom, then you hung a left and there sat my bedroom.

Tessie was the student in the family and I was the observer. She’d study and I’d watch. She would bring a flashlight to bed so she could study. Under the covers she would shine the light on the book, while eating saltine crackers. Of course the saltine crackers would begin their migration to my side of the bed and so I would sleep with all sorts of crumbs winding up on my back, or even into the waist of my pj’s.

The kitchen wrought iron stove was not to cook on, we did have a regular gas burning stove, with an oven, the wrought iron stove would need periodic feeds of oil that meant going out into the cold hallway and getting the oil that the janitor would leave outside our door. This usually occurred at night after dinner, and it was my job to get it. But the stove did have this one thing that made it special, we would put orange peels on it in the winter, and as the peels burned, a wonderful aroma, almost a perfume would emanate from it filling the kitchen and dining room with the wonderful aroma of the skins.

We were poor and really didn’t think about it. Whatever money was had went for three basic things, rent, food and Catholic School. The fact that dad did not despair over the lack of it, was because he always believed that someday, just like Ralph Kramden, his ship would come in. Working for the NY Laboratory and Supply Company, his paycheck was steady and he always paid his bills.

But it was around the kitchen table that life existed. Not only did we eat three squares there, we did our homework, paid our bills and discussed the issues that affected us. Mom read the newspaper there, as did dad, who would pour a cup of coffee and light up a cigarette, a Raleigh, and read the NY Daily News from the back of the paper, (The sports pages first) to the front. He would pinch the newspaper in the middle and turn the page. Often he would then go into the bathroom with his cigarette and leave the smell of the cigarette there. Who needed a room deodorizer?

We lived by the rules, and there were many sets to live by. There were the Church rules, that carried over into the classroom as well, there were the house rules, such as being home on time for dinner or you don’t eat, and if you didn’t like what mom prepared for dinner, you went to bed hungry. I had chores and they had to be done and on time as did my older sister (much older). If you went to my grandmother’s house, there were even more rules, and then there were the street rules, the ones that you followed so that you could walk the block and it is now called street smarts.

But in the end, we always had food on the table, our shoes polished and our clothes clean. For that I thank my parents.

Friday, February 21, 2014


I’m a fatalist at heart. I fear the worst, and that way I NEVER disappoint myself. Take for instance long lines at the bank when I’m in a hurry or the school bus that turns in front of me ahead on the road and makes me crazy as it stops to let all the little brats on. I swear sometimes the bus driver does it deliberately.

With all the snow we have been having lately, one of the things that has been worrying me is the pool cover. At the end of the Summer, I had a new stretch type cover installed, and it is supposed to hold an elephant. Well all the snow that is on top of it is not an elephant, I have to wonder after 5 snowfalls and no melting, just how much it weights.

TLW, (The Little Woman) looks out the backyard into the pool area and says to me do I think the pool cover is ok as it now stands with all that snow on it. I tell her I don’t know, and if it isn’t, we’ll just call the house insurance people and pray.

“Did you look at Carol’s pool next door? She has the same cover.”

“No, I did not, because then I may have to worry about it.”

I had a fellow who worked for me and drove an old Toyota Corolla. The car was taped up using duct tape to keep it together, and had a coffee can for a carburetor. I asked him if he was ever going to get a new car and he said:

“Why should I, this thing works fine!”

“But what do you do if you break down?”

“Look, when I hear a strange noise coming out of the engine, I just turn the radio on, if it is a persistent noise, I turn the radio on louder, until I can’t hear it.”

Meanwhile, TLW returns and says: “Well, Carol’s pool looks the same as ours, but I have to laugh at how you avoid trouble.”

That comes with years of experience and knowing the right people.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Sugar, ahh,
Honey, honey.
You are my candy girl,
And you got me wanting you.
Honey, ahh,
Sugar, sugar.
You are my candy girl,
And you got me wanting you.
I just can't believe the loveliness
Of loving you.
It was another Sunday morning at the local diner for breakfast, as TLW (the Little Woman) and I discussed life as it passes us by. The topics were mostly a run down on mom, the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company and a Tom Hanks movie. But suddenly something caught my eye.

There to the side sat a little ceramic rectangular container holding sugar packets and sweeteners for coffee. Every morning I try to have a nice bowl of oatmeal, where I add cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar to it, along with slivered almonds. I though that the sugar packs would be a convenient way to add the sugar.

Reaching across the table for 4 packets I stick them in my shirt pocket for use in my breakfast, while listening to TLW’s latest description of a member in her Wanna-Be Bank.

“What are you doing?” she inquired. I knew she would.


“Are you taking sugar?” She’s a real bulldog.

“Yeah, I thought I’d add it to my oatmeal in the morning.”

“That’s stealing!”

“No its not, it’s free to take.”

“No, it’s taking what doesn’t belong to you.”

“No, there is no price on it, so I can have some. I figured we really don’t use sugar at home, the sugar we have is so old I thought I’d try some fresh sugar. Besides, I don’t have to figure out how much if it is measured in a packet.”

“But you use a teaspoon and that’s all. Besides, sugar last a long time, I don’t buy sugar but once or twice a year.”

“Well your aunt used to take it, God rest her soul.”

“She did! Well, I guess if you can put it in your coffee it is not stealing. But then you get like an old person! Do you want to be considered an old person?”

I reach back into my pocket, since she hit a nerve and returning the packets I say: “Well, I AM an old person, so are you!”

“Yes, but do you want to be just like them?”

As she got up to use the rest room, I contemplated her words and reached for the sugars again, but decided against it.

I can’t even age gracefully, without someone watching me.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014


I seem to be spending too much time at the long-term care facility that mom stays at. I have gotten to know the wonderful staff and even a resident or two on a first name basis. For instance there is a 105-year old lady who lives across the hall from mom, and many of the residents who sit out in the hall and watch the world go by or talk to the staff and family in their rooms. I try to smile at them and say good morning, acknowledging their existence.

As I was leaving for home one day, I went down the long hall and turned a corner, and there sat an elderly resident in his wheelchair. The gentleman could hardly talk and seemed somewhat worried, and as I was passing, called me over. He looked like a dignified sort when he was well, with white hair and a long thin torso and legs that said he probably was athletic once.

“Could you help me over to the next area?” (This was where I had just come from.)

Getting behind him and started to push and as we walked I could smell the odor of urine emanating from him. His long legs seemed to get in the way of moving him, as he needed to lift his feet so I could roll him more effortlessly. After a few feet he lifted his feet and we rolled into the next area, where I asked him where he would like to go. Pointing he whispered his destination and I continued to provide him the power for his wheels. As we walked, one of the lovely nurses, by now a friend of mine, stopped us as she passed, asking what was the story. Relating how the gentleman stopped me and asked for the favor, She patted me on the shoulder and smiled, and continued as to say: Carry on old chap!

When we got to the man’s destination, I turned around and headed back to where I had been and it sunk in. Here was this guy, who once may have ran a corporation, or was a professional in some field, maybe a widower, a father and grandfather, old enough to have fought for his country in the greatest generation, asking a stranger for help, his last bit of dignity taken from him and forever gone or so he thought.

I had a chance to help someone. It may not have been much, but it made his day a little easier, and although realizing how much was taken from him, I felt that I helped him uphold his dignity, and in a way paving a road someday for myself that will require some help.

I guess we all will come to a point someday where a hand will reach out for some small favor to us and we will feel this sense of defeat or smallness or even loss of dignity. I bet there are a lot of residents who are angry, feel defeated and saddened that they are at the end of the line.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


The weather took a break from snowing and the temperature even rose to slightly above freezing as we ventured out into the gloom and frost of Valentine’s Day to celebrate the special day.

I made a reservation to a little place in East Islip called Vinnie’s Mulberry Street for dinner, and arrived on the precise time.

Tucked away on East Main Street, this charming and somewhat expensive restaurant was really a delicious revelry of good old-fashioned Italian food, and having experienced it once, decided to make it my love nest for the evening.

I went on their web site earlier in the afternoon and looked at the menu, made a note of what I wanted and the prices all looked reasonable, noting on each course so I wouldn’t have to scan the menu and make up my mind under pressure. The prices on the menu on the Internet are NOT the prices in real time at the table! This is an old trick I’ve come across before, reasonable prices on the net to get you into the restaurant where they are higher!

I had one bad experience with it a while back, and this time around it was even worse. The first time the reservation was made on the phone for 5:30 pm and they mistakenly made it for 5:00 pm! The owner, a type A personality was a little muffed that we arrived ‘late’, until I straightened him out about what the time was supposed to be.

Then there was last evening. It started when the waitress came to the table to take our drink order. TLW (The Little Woman) ordered a scotch and soda and I ordered my usual Jack Daniel Manhattan straight up this time. The young lady, a pleasant sort asked TLW what brand of scotch she wanted and TLW answered J&B. “You got it!” said the happy little tip taker, only to come back to tell us she ain’t got it, is there another brand instead. TLW gave her another brand preference and Ms. Tiptaker said: “You got it!”

I ordered for myself after TLW ordered, and asked for the Pasta Fagioli in a cup for an appetizer, $2.95 on the Internet and $3.55 in real time, a seafood salad and a shrimp and scallop scampi dish. THEY DON’T HAVE SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS SCAMPI STYLE ON THE MENU! Said Ms. Tiptaker! She offered an alternative and I said Yes to it and she said: “You got it!”

Then for an appetizer, we both ordered the pasta fagioli in a cup. Ms. Tiptaker said: “You got it!” Bringing it out she placed each cup in front of us and left. I dig into mine and it is Luke warm, and so is TLW’s! I call over Ms. Tiptaker, and she apologizes and 5 minutes later brings us a fresh bowl piping hot.

My seafood salad was excellent and I enjoyed every morsel, but then the main course came out.

Now I love seafood, fish of all kinds and I was expecting a great experience here. I dig into the mussels, the pasta and the shrimp. Then I try a clam, and suddenly I am transported back to the beach I frequented and the time I managed to get sand into my sandwich, the clam was gritty!

I will go back again, because I love the way they cook, they may have been under pressure from a busy night they had, the place was filled, and they were most accommodating to us when we asked for a booth. Mistakes like that do happen, I wouldn’t fault them too much, but I guess they were sloppy that night because of, as I stated they were very busy.

Try the place, you will like it, just don’t bother with the web site.


Monday, February 17, 2014


As I sat across the bed, watching Mom, asleep and trying to heal, it struck me how much she must have seen, and knows. I wondered if she realized what she did so long ago when she started her little family that grew to 5 children.

Then I perused through Facebook and came across this wonderful photo of Mom and my little niece Alexa, Mom’s latest great grandchild, and I thought of the many years and generations that exist between the two birthdates. All the family history sits in between Mom and her great grandchild, all the deeds and actions, all the education and life experiences that are waiting to be revealed and borrowed, given and taken, and living life at it’s fullest.

In between them lies almost 100 years of experience, the first world war, the depression and the second world war, the moon landing and TV, the computer and the cell-phone, all between these two related and direct descendants of even older generations. There are the graduations, births, and marriages, jobs and deaths, all forever evident in the existence of this small child that goes way back to 1918, and bridges into the 21st Century.

Someday, that little girl may be holding a small child just like herself, and we will then have almost 200 years of history, as we reach so far back into the past and likewise so far into the future.

I wonder if there will be another ‘Uncle Joe’ in spirit at least?

Sunday, February 16, 2014


With all the snow, ice and cold we have been having this winter, TLW (The Little Woman) has had it. As she plopped down into her recliner the other night before another big storm, she made this pronouncement:

“It better start ending soon! I’m sick and tired of this snow and cold I want to feel warm again!’

This caught my attention and I thought: Finally someone who can do something about the weather!

Standing, she places her hands on her hips and looks at me square in the eyes and says once again: “It better stop or else!”

Suddenly, an uncontrollable urge to laugh comes over me and I start laughing. TLW ignores me or at least tries to and suddenly a big grin crosses her face.

 She had come down to earth with the earthlings, realizing there is nothing short of moving to California she could possible do about it. But it better be southern California because I think it snows up north. It seems the people down south, the snow birds in many places like Atlanta are being killed under the relentlessness of the onslaught of snow and ice, a place that is not prepared or accustomed to the frigidity and severity of it all!

This is not fun, it is not right that people have to risk their lives and go to work in dangerous conditions, just so the man can make his money. There should be a law that states over four inches of snow for a certain period automatically bans everyone except police, donut deliveries fire and hospital personnel from the roads. Oh and of course that moron who keeps plowing me in while he clears my street.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


It’s what I’ve been hearing for the last two weeks about my mom. As she lays in her new home, taking her meds and trying to eat her pureed food. The nurses come into her room, call her by her first name, greet her pleasantly and tell me under their breath how they love her, how cute she is, and how happy she seems!

Of course this is a far cry from her younger days when she was using the business end of her wooden spoons, when she mastered the technique of precision bombing long before the Air Force figured it out. The sound of wood hitting wood as I got pulverized somehow doesn’t compute with what the nurses say.

Now this must be a family trait, since I hear those same things said about my daughter Ellen. As you know Ellen lives in a home for developmentally and physically disabled people. Ellen makes friends with just about everyone, day care people, teachers, doctors and nurses, and even me. But just like her grandmother, don’t cross her, because if you do, she will try to dismember you while trying to set a new record for her in terms of how long it took.

Ellen is a sweetheart, always smiling when she is not eating, something she got from me, but between my mother and my daughter stands me, the recipient of many moments of doom. When Ellen gets to know you, she runs over to you, and you get hugged, almost to extinction. She gives you a bright big smile and clap hands and then the hugs once more.

Now mom once she knows you gives you coffee. In my family as a rule, if you went to any aunt’s house, or sister’s house, you visit: you get coffee, the hospitality beverage that you better take. If you stayed too close to dinnertime, you were invited to stay. This was a cue for you to get ready to be nagged into staying and eating, and so stayed you did.

I often think that my daughter would have been a loving mom, tough as nails and a perfectionist, just like her grandmother, and discipline would have been her middle name.

But, oh how cute!

Friday, February 14, 2014


To all you lovers old and new, this is the day that allows you to get: mushy, romantic and yes, even physical.

For me, this is a day to celebrate quietly, the joys of my 43 years of marriage, my confidence in the fact that someone truly loves me, and I love and adore someone truly.

I know that the day I asked for TLW’s hand (The Little Woman), I got more than I expected, and so no matter how bad things got for us, we are always a team, always worrying about each other, because love comes in many forms. Physical love is only a temporary thing, while true love over rides and over sees all the forms of love we demonstrate to each other. Love is indeed a many splender thing.

I know of couples that are truly in love, people who have the same old-fashioned values of love with respect, love with sacrifice for the other, love with no qualifications, and love that is unselfish, they are the lucky ones, they know what love means and don’t need to prove it to anyone but themselves.

As for me, I will take TLW to a small little quiet Italian restaurant to enjoy dinner, we will talk about everything like we always do, we will laugh and cry, and we will know that it all comes from the love we shared for so long, and will share in the future.

Speaking of the future, we were blessed with a wonderful addition to the family in my beautiful daughter-in-law Courtney, and she in turn is blessing us with a beautiful addition to the family in late March or early April. We know the new arrival is a beautiful little girl, who will like Courtney, take her share of love and a place in the hearts of her grandparents, all four of them. And so, this long hard winter, a winter of too much snowstorm, too much sickness and too much tears, will suddenly have a radiant sunshine, warm and happy as it rises that day my little granddaughter is born, on the cusp of Spring.

THIS is MY fantasy!

To all you newly wedded husbands: here is a poem dedicated to you:

I didn’t like the casserole
And I didn’t like her cake.
I said her biscuits were too hard…
Not like my mother used to make.
She didn’t perk the coffee right
I didn’t like the stew,
She didn’t mend my socks
The way my mother used to do.
She pondered for an answer,
She was looking for a clue.
Then she turned around and smacked
The hell out of me…
Like my mother used to do.

And for you wives this little story:
Marriage Wakeup

As Barb was getting to know David and his family, she was very impressed by how much his parents loved each other.
"They're so thoughtful," Barb said.  "Why, your dad even brings your mom a cup of hot coffee in bed every morning."
After a time, Barb and David were engaged, and then married.  On the way from the wedding to the reception, Barb again remarked on David's loving parents, and even the coffee in bed.
"Tell me," she said, "does it run in the family?"
"It sure does," replied David.  "And I take after my mom."

Thursday, February 13, 2014


A real Wisenheimer
In the many years of Internet, TLW (The Little Woman) has had issues with computers. At first I encouraged her to get on and join the world, and since then I have been paying the price. Usually as of late her problem seems to be accessing the Internet from her recliner, and often goes into the kitchen to surf.

Recently she couldn’t get on and I explained to her that it wasn’t the Internet connection so much as her attitude. I explained that when I get on, I am happy and in good spirits, ready for an adventure in cyber surfing, and that if she is having trouble, then it must be her attitude. This observation/advice was greeted with and I quote: “GO SHIT IN YOUR HAT!”

Recently I had trouble getting on the Internet myself, while she was on.

Me: “Hmmm the Internet is giving me trouble this morning!”

Her: “OH!”

Me: “Yeah, it won’t let me on!”

Her: “Hmmm, maybe it’s your attitude.”

Me: “Nah, my attitude is tailor made for the Internet.”

Her: “Well, I got on, I guess my attitude is better than yours is this morning.”

Me: “Right. I’m sure the Internet is confusing me with you, thinking you are me and letting you on.”

Her: “Maybe you should go in the kitchen?”

Me: “Maybe you should leave early for work this morning, they say snow in a couple of days!”

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


That's Mom with her wooden spoon, A.K.A. 'Gentle persuasion'
On a hot and humid July Friday, in the final year of the Second World War, I debuted at the Swedish Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. By then, Grandpa Joe had gone on to meet his maker, and Dad was in the midst of creating his family.

The Swedish Hospital was located right across from Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and I was born during a game. The Bums lost the game and so we set the tone for the rest of my life.

For instance: there was an older sister waiting for me (much older), a cranky mother from the labor and heat and humidity of delivering me, and a father who was mad that “dem bums lost!”

Not much occurred that day except - Harry Truman signs executive order establishing Medal of Freedom
- Nicaragua becomes 1st nation to formally accept UN Charter
- Wash Senator Rick Ferrell catches a record 1,722 games.

Big deal.

My troubles started soon after, around 1950, mom got this idea that I should go to kindergarten, and start my education early, and so started a lovely hatred that would last until 1955 -56 and stay with me the rest of my life. A school that is controlled by religious orders do two things to you, one they teach you to learn, write and act like a human, and they two: make you pay if you don’t do the first things!

Being a rebellious child, formulating ways to ‘skootch’ as Mom said, I found ways to amuse myself, often at the cost of limb and almost life. This behavior was the basis for what would become the norm through the years and the things I did for a laugh. Give me a sacred, noble or business like venue, an air of importance and business, and I will find a way to laugh at it if I can.

Mom and Dad waited in ambush, learning early on I was always up to no good. By the end of my childish career, I had orchestrated untold mischief upon four sisters both parents and a whole school system, and two part-time jobs and yes, even the church. I can’t go by a church without chuckling to this day. My school days were filled with being one step ahead of everyone, including my high school principle Mr. Feeney, my grammar school principle Brother Justinian and my college dean.

It didn’t help that I had met my best friend in college, who happened to be slightly worse than I was, with a great repertoire of ideas both new and used, that we adopted together to create amusement that to this day, 49 years later, we still laugh over.

And so dear reader, this life I lived, one of not only laughter, but of struggle and hard work, borne out of a need to lighten the world and my ills became the germ for Delbloggolo, an everyday love to record what I see, hear and feel, what was and what will be, and why, because no one cares, and frankly I don’t too, but I do practice my typing skills.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Standing majestically in the middle of New York Harbor is Lady Liberty, a torch held high in her hand, a beacon of light to all who came to these shores so many years ago and populated this great country and in particular New York City.

As the immigrants from Italy like Grandpa Giuseppe Del Bloggolo looked out over the railing of his ship entering the harbor, saw these words:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
Author: Emma Lazarus

Grandpa didn’t understand a word that was written. But if he were able to read them, he would have taken exception to “The wretched refuse of your teeming shore” and punched someone in the mouth, maybe Emma herself!

Once ashore, grandpa went straight to the ‘A’ train to Brooklyn, found my grandmother, married her, opened a fruit and vegetable store and had three kids, one of which was the oldest, my dad. Grandpa was a doer, he was 100% American Immigrant, and proud of it. Aside from all that, he joined the army and fought in the; ‘Great War’, “the war to end all wars”, except for the one he was constantly having with grandma Frances.
Grandpa Joe

Grandpa was so patriotic that he joined other Americans in getting the Spanish influenza, a malady that affected millions worldwide too. As he lay in the hospital, he decided he had enough of it, climbed out of bed and jumped out the window into a snow bank, and tried to get home to see his kids, missing them and the warm fuzzy feeling of fighting with Grandma. He died of pneumonia!

Dad was a dreamer, a lot like I am, and probably would have come to this country if he weren’t already in it. Dad always had an idea, a plan to get rich quick and a million of these ideas, although practical in use, were not going anywhere. One of them was a series of lights, that ran across the back of a car, the more lights on: the faster you are going. This would aid the police in telling the speedsters from the crawlers.
My parents met at a party/dance and married when Mom danced with Dad and the rest is history.

Tomorrow: Grandpa and Dad, can I be far behind?

Monday, February 10, 2014


Every man should have a wife, someone to set him straight and make him aware of what he needs.

TLW (The Little Woman) has through the years kept me informed, up to date and in the loop in my own personal affairs. Usually I’d be the last to know what is going on in my own business, but TLW minds it very well.

Being how I’m on a health kick, I told TLW of my intentions to start a new regimen of good health and clean eating. I am going to start to eat oatmeal, and not that quick 1-minute cooking or instant junk, but good hearty nutritious oatmeal.

Of course TLW always views my health plans with some kind of skepticism, but never says anything discouraging.

“Well, I think I’ll start eating oatmeal in the morning, I’ve been eating too many eggs and buttered rolls, I’m starting to feel guilty about the whole thing.”

“Good idea.”

“Yup, just plain old oatmeal, the kind you cook on a stove.”

“Get yourself some almond slivers or something to add flavor, too.”

“I thought I’d add cinnamon to it.”

“No, you don’t like cinnamon.”

“Huh! I thought I liked cinnamon?”

“Nope, you don’t like it.”

“All these years I’ve been fooling myself!”

“I’m telling you, you DON’T like cinnamon.”

The next day I take out a box of Irish Oatmeal and read the directions, and cook up a bowl that would make Ebenezer Scrooge jealous. With her back turned to me, I carefully slip in the cinnamon I don’t like, once again, fooling myself.

Boy, I wish I liked cinnamon, it taste so good!

Sunday, February 09, 2014


It seems I was born too late. Years ago, before TV and radio, before the Internet and Facebook or Tweeter, before the Surgeon General had such sway, lives were 100%.

Then something changed, I got married and suddenly people were telling me what I had better do. For instance: you drank your milk, all of it, why because it was good for you, then suddenly, whole milk was as bad as a shot of whiskey in the morning, you had to water down to only 1%!

Grannies regular diet!
Cheese, a source of something or other was suddenly no-good for you, whole cheese anyway, now you have to get Alpine Lace or whatever, and for what? Cholesterol became a household word, along with fatty acids and don’t touch red meat? Forgetaboutit!

My grandmother would eat steak, whole cheese and drink red wine if she felt like it, and lived to 97 years of age! Would she have lived longer eating the watered down products of today. She always had a pork chop, salami and pepperoni here and there, and she knew how to use them.

Some mighty good sandwich fixings came out of that place
Growing up in Brooklyn, on a Sunday night after the day was near done, Dad would send my older sister Tessie and me (much older) out to a corner deli on Somers Street and Rockaway Avenue for cold cuts, which were immediately placed in Dad’s capable hands where he constructed some of the greatest sandwiches ever made!

Today you need to buy turkey, and it has to be white meat to go with one slice of Alpine Lace on whole wheat bread and mustard. Good God!
Grandma's bags were always packed!
So for the past many years I have high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, eating watered down products, while grandma met her maker carrying an eggplant parmesan hero under her arm!

Granny was my hero and has one in her pocketbook
Mom is almost 96, and recently I did a quick check of her refrigerator, it looked like an overflow for Costco, filled to the brim with epicurean 100% good old fashion, so called no good for you stuff! She is almost 96 years old.

I’ve seen the practitioners of good health, the runners and the dieters, the people who look gaunt and skeletal, and I think they could use a good meal.

My body is Italian, with parts from Italy carried over by my ancestors: it needs Italian food. Not low-fat mozzarella cheese or ricotta that came from the tap in the kitchen. It needs a good pepperoni that speaks to me and says: “Bring some air freshener with you when you go! And for crying out loud, brush your teeth again!

So, I will go to all my dead long living relatives and tell them they didn’t die correctly, they should have dieted first. After all: If they had lived, they’d be alive today!