Saturday, May 31, 2014


If you don’t know already, an ‘Icebreaker’ is an informal get together before a more formal event, usually a cocktail party of some sort, like a preliminary first event.

50 years is a long time, and in those many years we all change, some for the better and some not so. But looking at the positive side of things is always positive. Redundancy is my forte.

A  gathering of classmates from our high school graduating class, some meeting for the first time in 50 years, was rather an interesting time for me, seeing people in a almost semi-focused view, not sure if it is them or not, you cautiously approach them and ask timidly if they are who they should be. Most of the time I got it right!

George, Mario and Ken, with some drunk who drifted by!
Seeing someone for that first time leaves you with a strange going on in the eye of your mind. First you get over the shock, then the reality sets in that it IS the person and the questions flow, then the memories, and then the good byes, as you drift off to the next semi-stranger.

Being in a large crowded room, packed with tables and chairs, moving about and saying hello to old friends while holding your drink gets to be fun, almost a sport.

My old buddy Ken, never changed
Some people become caricatures of themselves, sporting new accents and behaviors your don’t remember them having, and then you realize it is a product of 50 years of living, 50 years of growing and 50 years of being away from influences that once affected their lives.

Some of us are still in the old neighborhood so to speak, sounding and looking the same, not changing at all, and those are my kind of people because I always knew them. The newer version of people I saw at the icebreaker took me by surprise and I needed to get re-acquainted and used to, which is like finding new friends. (Everything old is new again!)

Friday, May 30, 2014


“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, sunshine almost always makes me high.
If I had a day that I could give you, I'd give to you the day just like today.
If I had a song that I could sing for you, I'd sing a song to make you feel this way.”

Everyone should have a little sunshine in their life. Me? Mine is a few thousand miles away in the most beautiful little angel I ever met: La Principessa, Darby Shea Del Broccolo. Being her grandfather and holding this precious child makes me feel that life has some really pleasant events to share and live for. Suddenly I am a new man, engulfed with a love for such a beautiful little creature of God, borne out of love and conceived so the world will be a better place.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, sunshine almost always makes me high.
If I had a tale that I could tell you, I'd tell a tale sure to make you smile.
If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I'd make a wish for sunshine for all the while.

Recently I had the privilege to spend some time with La Principessa, and introduce myself to her. She is nothing short of amazing, and the wonderful thing is she has captured this old man’s heart. I can’t stop thinking about her, her sweet smile, her dainty hands and feet, her alertness and curiosity, truly the child of two very smart people. La Principessa and I took walks around the house, as she nearly stood over my shoulder, her head turning this way and that, twisting to the sunlight, looking curiously and happily, as I sung to her a little tune. All her innocence, all her beauty and all her magic, was just for Grandpa, and it is something I will never forget!

“Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, sunshine almost always makes me high.
Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy, sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.
Sunshine on the water looks so lovely, sunshine almost always makes me high.
Sunshine almost all the time makes me high. Sunshine almost always:“






Roger is the other side of the family equation for La Principessa Darby Shea! A really great Granddad, and father to TLC (The Lovely Courtney), kudos Roger for a beautiful daughter and granddaughter. See you in Disneyland again?

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Or more.

It seems that lately all I do is wait. I go to Doctor Strangeglove and I wait 2 hours over my appointment time. The people stroll in or in some cases limp in with knapsacks filled with water and provisions for the long haul. Every appointment, every time, runs late. I once tried to get the first appointment of the day, and he was leaving his office from the night before! The reason he is always behind is he is such a good doctor, and has saved my life once.

My mechanic is another one, and probably makes as much money as the good doctor. Make an appointment two days in advance, and he still calls me to tell me he hasn’t gotten to my car yet! Of course the longer I wait the more expensive I imagine it to be, but the man is an honest mechanic, and has never cheated me in almost 40 years. Maybe he is worth the wait.

Then lately (pardon the pun) there is jetBlew, who made me not only wait interminably, but even added hours onto my flight time, both going and coming! I hate waiting.

Once many years ago, I went to an ophthalmologist who kept me waiting 2 hours! For some reason I was steaming mad and told him off, that my time was just as valuable as his, and that her should respect my time if he expects me to follow his calendar. He meekly apologized and it was then that I realized that he wasn’t the fault: his good abilities made him late he did his job well.

Of course there is always the checkout lines at the supermarket to cheer me up. I might even give up on-line banking for a chance to get annoyed on a teller line.

I guess I have to learn to pick my spots.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Life is not hard enough. No, we need to suffer as much as we can, and will, so long as we depend on others.

We had just spent most of a week in lovely Burbank California, visiting with La Principessa, the crown jewel of all things Del Bloggolo. After the horrific ride in with jetBlew, whose slogan is: “Late, Later. Cancelled” promised to send me a cancellation notice if the flight was cancelled, and instead told us at the airport and we waited for another flight 6 hours later for another destination, notified us that our return home flight may be cancelled as well.

La Principessa
To our great surprise, as we sat in Burbank (Bob Hope) Airport, the flight was on time! It was leaving at 6:00 pm for what is a 6-hour flight! However…

Because of climatic conditions, we will have to fly to Las Vegas to land and refuel, this is because it is 100 degrees out, the runway is short, and a brewing storm in the NY area has made JFK alert us that we can not land there without enough fuel to be diverted to another airport. This will add another hour and three quarters to the flight! Oh good! Sit in the dark in a silver tube for almost 8 hours, with no food, coffee or anything but stiff legs, active bladders and dumbass male flight attendant hitting into me running up the aisle for some PITA up front as I am dozing off to sleep, being awakened and shocked and never going back to sleep at the same time.

Someone has to pay for this, and who better than my sister, who just happens to be a flight attendant for jetBlew: who’s slogan is: “Late, Later. Cancelled” I’m sure she will lend a sympathetic ear to my misery and atone for it with a nice gift salami or pork chops and no hard feelings!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014



The sun sets everyday, and everyday someone leaves this earth.

Sometimes we physically leave, and sometimes we just forget where we are, or worse: who we are.

Somewhere on this earth a child will pass into the hereafter and somewhere else an old person will live out his/her life. One will be met with unbearable and unacceptable tragic acceptance and one: we defer to old age and accept it.

Life in itself is not easy, sometimes we fall and need help to stand once again, and sometimes help, no matter how powerful can ever really raise us.

I visited my mom on her deathbed and showed her pictures of her newly born great granddaughter, and she was happy, asking me questions and smiling. Today she doesn’t remember my visit and wonders when I will come. Soon she will not remember me.

The sun will raise everyday, and everyday someone is born, it is the rules of nature, and the things we expect. Life is not for those who mourn but those who are bourn to embrace all that is and all that can be. As William Shakespeare once said:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.

At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.

Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like a snail
Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.

Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth.

And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lin'd,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound.

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

How I wish that all of us could leave this world in dignity, without pain and perhaps with only happy memories, and knowing that that last thing we feel is love, it is the peaceful way to pass into the beyond.

Monday, May 26, 2014


Returning back to the emergency walk in clinic, my forefinger still raw from slicing it, I am called in once again after the world has gone in first. This time I have TLW (The Little Woman) with me along with #1 Son, since we will have lunch afterwards.

After a few days of walking around with this lump on my finger, I am really looking forward to getting rid of the big bandage and easing into something more comfortable. Besides, I’m tired of looking like I’m about to make a point.

Entering the scene of the stitching, and those needles that still make my hair stand on end, I wait for the nurse to show up finally to remove the bandage. Entering she greets me with a Spanish accent and a sweet smile and begins the process of removing the gauze, cutting with a scissor, as TLW witnesses the production as she did the Grand Canyon, with her eyes closed.

I flip TLW an occasional finger, not the bird, but the forefinger to try to remind her that she missed the Grand Canyon. She looks the other way and squeezes her eyes tightly shut.

As the nurse goes to take off the last layer of thin gauze, it is rock solid and can’t take it off without ripping the scabs ad causing more bleeding. We will have to soak it! This means another hour of pointless waiting with my finger stuck in the air. Sometimes I wish it were my middle finger the way I am feeling.

Once again the nurse returns, now I am getting hungry, antsy and annoyed. She surveys the situation and announces we have to soak some more! Another twenty minutes goes by and finally, I force off the gauze and she slides it off. This has been the visit Hell. If it weren’t for La Principessa (Darby Shea my granddaughter) who happens to be at Mommy and Me with TLC (The Lovely Courtney) this trip has been murder, cancelled flights, long waits in the airport and walk in clinics and of course a lesson in slicing and dicing.

What else could go wrong?


Sunday, May 25, 2014


Like I promised you, there is always more to my troubles!

After surveying the waiting room on a Sunday afternoon on Mother’s Day, and all the inconsiderate people who had the gall to be ahead of me at the Walk-in emergency clinic, I go to the front desk, my hand in a sandwich bag and my finger wrapped in a blood soaked paper towel, the receptionist almost passes out and directs me to the toilet to try to wash my hand. Shaken up she leads me and I follow thinking I will get immediate attention ahead of all these losers waiting ahead of me.

Upon entering back into the waiting room, she hands me a clipboard topped off with 50 million papers to fill out, with 50 million questions on each, which she wants me to answer all while trying to stem the oncoming tide of blood and the ebbing away of my life.

Finally it is over and I hand her the papers and she gives me back my license and medical insurance card. We are even, any minute now, the doctor will call me in. That minute happened to be #66, right after the guy with the canker sore, leaving only one loser: me!

I go into the interview room with this young male nurse, who takes my blood pressure and asks even more questions, like:



“God bless you!”


What is he kidding? “God bless you,” he says! Me? Am I that old??? Surely 68 is not THAT old? Or is it?

He takes me into the examining room and another nurse comes in, looking at my finger and deciding she needs help, calls back the blesser. He returns and pours a small basin of peroxide and asks me to submerge my finger into it.

“Oh good” I think, I will have it tightly bandaged and get back home. Thank God I don’t need stitches!

In comes Dr Lovely. a beautiful woman doctor, with a great bedside manner, very gentle and calm and reassuring. Stroking my arm she tells me under a soft whisper how sorry she is. Suddenly the pain is dissipating quicker than my wanting to leave anymore! So far, so good, no stitches!

“I’ll have to get the head physician’s assistant,” she purrs. Heck, I got 9 more fingers, maybe one a day until I leave is becoming the plan.

In comes this big, clumsy fellow with a stethoscope around his neck, making jokes a foot a second. Suddenly from a sitting position I go into laying on my back and everyone hovering over me. This is not good for a no needle/no stitch policy, and frankly it is alarming me. Asking questions and bantering with me, Henny Youngman reaches for a small packet and tosses it on a small tray table next to me.

It is a suture kit! They can’t stop the bleeding and put a tourniquet around my bicep, and are squeezing the finger to stop the bleeding! Unwrapping the suture they take out a needle and stick it into my finger.

“Do you feel anything?”


Another needle and:

“Do you feel anything?”


This time he sticks it into the bone, I scream like a girl. 

“Do you feel anything?”
(No I’m a big fan of yours and excited to see you in person, you IDIOT!)

“Do you feel anything?”
By this time I figure out that the suture will be less painful then this Novocain needles!


After the 4 needles, then the sewing, they dress it and I look like I’m trying to make a point, but what I want to say, I don’t know?

“Come back Tuesday so we can get a look at how well it is healing, keep it above your heart when you sleep and don’t get it wet”, says the nurse.

Saturday, May 24, 2014


She talking to her father here!
It’s Mother’s Day, and #1 Son (Anthony) and I decided that he would cook dinner for both his mother TLW (The Little Woman) and his lovely wife TLC (The Lovely Courtney), mother of La Principessa, (My beautiful granddaughter). The actual plan was for #1 Son to do the cooking and I would tell him what to do. Since both ladies like chicken, we decided on Chicken Francese with a side of linguine and dessert.

Now #1 Son was very eager and a great student, putting the batter and frying the chicken, cutting the lemons and opening the wine, when I decided to assist and press forward by chopping the parsley.

Selecting a plastic knife that was nearby, I admired the bright color and toy-like look of the instrument while marveling at the razor edging that was put into the plastic.

Me: “Now, here is how to chop parsley. First you gather the parsley into a crumbled ball and take the knife and start…”

All of a sudden there was this feeling that felt like a shocking disbelief! Like it was TLW’s birthday and I forgot, like I needed to deny it happened and it would go away! I had just sliced off part of my left forefinger nail and some meat underneath and blood was gushing out. I took a paper towel and decided if I hold it: it would stop.

the actual blade is a razor, NOT plastic
More paper towels was not doing it and in fact the blood was getting everywhere. I was bleeding into the sink and watching it flow away into the drain, and saw the piece of finger float down too.

TLW: “You better go to a walk-in clinic, for stitches, and do it soon.”

And so we arrived at the emergency walk-in and the room is pact with a bunch of sissies ahead of me, instead of staying home for Mother’s Day. Here I am bleeding to death and these sissies are calmly reading their magazines or going through their cell-phones. Oh, the inconsideration!


Friday, May 23, 2014


The day before Mother’s Day was a travel date to Burbank California, and I drove to JFK terminal #5 for the occasion of a 5:30 flight. Now if you travel through JFK with it’s twisting roads and confusing signs, you know how stressful it can be before the holidays especially.

The airlines like you to get there early so you can shop at their store and buy needless junk, unnecessary items and be annoyed so that you will be happy to get away from it all and be on the plane and have your limbs permanently seized into a dialectical condition of Riga mortise.
jetBlew pilot
As if the screening is not enough, they would prefer you jump through hoops, stand naked in the scanning chamber and strip along the way, parting with your shoes, your pants and hopefully your dignity. Hey, this is the airline business.

Since I am a good soldier, I report to check-in 2 full hours before takeoff: plop my bag on the scale and hold my breath that it is under 50 pounds. The young lady behind the counter looks at the confirmation and says: “Uh oh. Your flight has been cancelled! You have one of two choices, either a 9:59 flight later this evening or a flight out in the morning.” I stand there stunned: I have only two options when there should have been 3, the third being to blow up the airline, the terminal and the lady behind the counter. We take option #1 and will wait.
"Don't be surprised if you get there, we are!"

Why is the flight cancelled? The flight is cancelled because in the Midwest, there a storm going on, one in which all the other airlines will be flying over, but since the pilot of this particular plane got nosebleeds as a kid, they are skittish. They have in this 9:59 flight landing at LAX instead of beautiful downtown Burbank, meaning #1 son will go a lot out of his way to pick me up. It means too that we will be waiting from 2:30 in the afternoon until 10:00 PM to fly out. We will be wasting hours in an airport! Hours that could have been spent much better. They could have emailed me that the flight was cancelled. They should have done a lot of things they didn’t Weather can’t be blamed on the airline, but their stupidity should. THEY BLEW IT!

Have you ever flown overnight on long trips like to Europe or Asia? You know how uncomfortable it becomes when you are forced to sit there over so many hours? That is bad enough, but when you book a flight and you are not prepared for the lateness, because you wanted an earlier flight, well that is stupid.

Thursday, May 22, 2014



I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

                                                                                                    Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

Mr. Kilmer was correct in his assessment of the most common of God’s beautiful creations, and thanks to Mr. John Sullivan from the Kreamer Street School back in 5th grade so many years ago, I learned to recite those wonderfully descriptive words.

I have always loved tree, and so today sadness comes in the form of saying goodbye to an old friend. This beautifully crafted old oak, sits on my front lawn and I have made a decision to have it cut down, and like a vengeful cheated wife, have the roots grinded down and the tree obliterated from the Earth.

Why? Because it has gotten very big, reaching out over the house and threatening to pulverize my roof and smash into the house altogether! The roots have surfaced and it is pushing up the concrete walkway that passes by my house. My fear is that come another hurricane, and the tree will sit in my upstairs bedrooms. I wish I could save, plant it a little deeper and maybe move it back a foot or more, but that is dreaming.

So an old friend will disappear into the past, no longer shading me from the dog days of the summer’s heat, and like a sentry on duty, not greet me as I walk out of my door, or stand watch as I come home from a long hard day.

Thank you Mr. Kilmer for showing me the beauty of trees and Mr. Sullivan, for teaching me there is more in life than just baseball and sports, you planted the seeds of love and appreciation for trees in my soul.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


In my old age, I tend to take a lot in about people in public. Stupid people fascinate me and make me want to kill them because of the stupid things they do. Naturally.

Now I park my car in a Shop & Stop supermarket lot, usually between two large SUV’s so I can’t see out when I pull away from he space.  Now I could park in another spot, but that space would be surrounded by two huge SUV’s or, I could park in another spot, but the space is surrounded by two huge SUV’s. What I’m driving at (pardon the pun) there are a lot of SUV’s to block my view.

Now I have a backup noise when I pull out of a parking space, as the car moves backwards, it starts to beep-beep-beep as I pull away. Nice! However…

Why oh why, do morons have to race down the aisle at unrealistic speeds in a parking lot. It leaves no one a chance backing out! Don’t they understand yet you don’t speed in a parking lot?

Oh course it doesn’t end with these morons, you still have the Jackass who wants your spot in a crowded parking lot as you are pulling out. Dipsy Doodle pulls up with his/her blinker to announce to the world that they are waiting for you to pull out. But Mr. Schmuckola is impatient for you to leave, as you try to signal the imbecile to backup a bit to give me room to get out!

OK, the morons behind the wheel get out of their car, or go to their car and what do they do? Well as you backup they deliberately walk behind your moving car, they pass you, walking by, thinking that you can see them. The idiots use no caution, their heads are down or up somewhere where the sun don’t shine Nellie, and will dare you to hit them. Believe me, if I hit them, I will backup and hit them again, just to make sure.

OK, I’m a little pissed off.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


You are never too old to learn, and mom is not reticent to teach me.

As you might know, Mom lies in a bed and can’t move much. Her right hand is paralyzed and her left hand has very little use. She is almost blind and deaf, and so she lies there for 24 hours unable to even move her legs. This is the results of 2 strokes..

Mom’s brain on the other hand is very active, astoundingly so, as she can correct me, remember things that I forgot and still is sharp as tack. She was 96 on May 10th!

Having gone through Catholic school as a child and hating every moment of it, it did instill in me certain disciplines that have proved invaluable for me in life.

As I sit next to her bed, we reminisce about the past, talking about things and people that have crossed our paths in life. We laughed and cried about life in the past and suddenly we were on the topic of religion. As we chatted, the topic came to: First Holy Communion and TLW (The Little Woman) who teaches little second graders and gets them ready to receive First Holy Communion. ”You know Ma, TLW is helping the little second graders to make their First Holy Communion!”

Mom suddenly looks at me and stares deep into my eyes, I’m in trouble!

“You know Joseph (calling me Joseph is a sign I’m gonna get it) I sent you to Catholic School, you should know better. You don’t say "make communion", you say "receive communion!”

I sit there reprimanded, knowing that she is correct, and that even if it is splitting hairs, I will NEVER make that mistake again! So being a glutton for punishment, I continue:

“Ma, what about confirmation? Do you receive conformation or what?” I know the answer, but I want her to continue with the lesson.

“You receive confirmation too.”

“And marriage?”

“Oh! Marriage!” She rolls her eyes upward and I quit.

Monday, May 19, 2014


Last week I was given instructions from the high command that I had a chore to perform, and it needed to be done soon. Following orders has been my forte and I do it very well. It’s nothing kinky, only the mundane.

For Mother’s Day, my beautiful daughter Ellen gave her Mom a plant for motherhood and for not killing me yet. This white flowered plant (I’m from Brooklyn, don’t ask) needed to be planted and after great debate, she conducted the debate, debated in, I sat in the audience so to speak; we decided where we would put it in the yard.

Out to the fence I go where instructed and I lay the ground work for the digging. Tools, hose and peat were at the ready as was the plant.

I began digging away, the sweat pouring from the brow and the hands calloused to bleeding, imagining what I would look like after digging this hole. Undeterred, I began the excavation, slowly playing the displaced dirt around the whole when suddenly, and without warning, I strike an object! Curious, I play with the area until I find an ancient relic, that proceeds yesterday, circa 1991! Suddenly my heart rate goes way up as I slowly reveal the buried treasure, which I hope to safely secure before the archeologists or junk police, not to mention TLW (The Little Woman) finds out about the discovery and I have to throw it away.

This must have been #2 Son’s toy when he was about 3-years old and digging in the back yard once upon a time!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Ah, if we didn’t have enough scandal in today’s political arena, we now need to drag it out of the old pile in the back of the closet. That household name of propriety and decorum in all things presidential, Monica Lewinsky is back!

Actually I grew attached to Bubba when his troubles began under his Presidential desk so many years ago, and he made a very important contribution to presidential lore. We as the American public are now more vigilant when it comes to presidential impropriety, and thanks to Bubba, we have a benchmark.

First Lady Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno were having one of those girl-to-girl talks, and Hillary says to Janet, "You're lucky that you don't have to put up with men having sex with you. I have to put up with Bill, and there is no telling where he last had his pecker."
Janet responded, "Just because I am esthetically challenged (that's "politically correct" for ugly) doesn't mean I don't have to fight off unwelcome sexual advances."
Hillary asks, "Well, how do you deal with the problem?"
Janet, "Whenever I feel that a guy is getting ready to make a pass at me, I muster all my might and squeeze out the loudest, nastiest fart that I can."
That night, Bill was already in bed with the lights out when Hillary slips into bed. She could hear him start to stir, and knew that he would be wanting some action. She had been saving her farts all day, and was ready for him.
She tenses up her butt cheeks and forces out the most disgusting sounding fart you could imagine.
Bill rolls over and says, "Janet, is that you?"

President Kennedy probably set the record for infidelity wrapped in stars and stripes, but in those days the press didn’t give much to the public. He may have set the standards that Bubba tried to achieve. What Bubba couldn’t catch up with in women, he set in burgers, and so it went. Don’t forget: JFK had so many he needed his brother Bobby to help manage the flow of satisfaction. Pretty disgusting.

Of course there was FDR, and his extracurricular activities although limited to a wheel chair, did manage a very tidy affair, even having Eleanor’s cooperation, since she had a little something on the side too.

Who will ever forget LBJ, and the ‘Great Society’, pride in his prowess to conquer and claim in the name of the U.S. Senate and America!

Since today they are all crooks, the only way one hopes to get ride of a President is if he has an affair, and has it all tapped. Investigators would want to see some er… ‘hard’ evidence to convict and impeach him. They had Bubba on the ropes but couldn’t bring it home with: just a seamen stained polka dot blue dress!

But I’m not here to disparage past presidents, no I am hear to welcome back the scandals, which make for great reading with no surprises.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


They just retire, but their work never does!

Every Sunday in the newspaper supplements there is an insert that I designed way back in 2004: that the insurance company still uses to this day. It makes me proud on the one hand that they still need it and mad on the other that I don’t get paid for it! It has been a big hit in increasing business and I have created a system for them to expand their business and get it going on a national scale. When I left the marketing company, they were insert 1.5 Billion inserts a year!

Then if you happen to go on Facebook or TV, again you will see my handiwork dating back to the early 90’s, when I was asked to design a large poster to show on TV for the Grand Prize winners TV commercials. I see this thing every year and sometimes many times in the course of the year.

It makes me feel good that something I did is so old and still being used. I’m sure my advertising instructors at New York Tech would be proud.

I remember when I started to freelance, and I was working for the U.S. Postal Service and I designed a whole bunch of stamp collection starter kits. One Saturday evening I was watching TV before dinner and there was this ad for stamp starter kids, about 1973, and something looked familiar and I couldn’t place it until I realize they were using my copy, and then there as plain as daylight, was a bunch of designs I did! What a thrill, they used my work.

There must be about 100,000 pieces I designed in my career, and it always made my blood rush, my excitement reach a high level and made me very happy. I guess you can NEVER take the designer out of the man. Just all the businesses I helped get off the ground  makes me proud too.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Dear Facebook Friends,

Facebook is a lot like an old photograph, once you see it two or three times, you tend to put it away. The people you get to meet, the people you remember from the past, the people you will meet, all within the context of this social media make it become something you take for granted. You could not imagine this kind of communication growing up as a teenager and later as a young adult.

My life is constantly changing and evolving into something new just about everyday. Since my retirement I have been having fun for the most part, and don’t see much other than the loss of a loved one interfering with that energy.

Recently I made a decision to like that preverbal old photograph: put it down for a while but not throw it out, it is too good a memory. I planned to divert my attentions to other things and move on with my life. This has become an impossible task since I made that decision! I keep getting posts on my post asking, telling and even begging me not to do it, so I decided to revisit that decision and went ahead and renewed some old acquaintances and make some new ones, I decided not to leave you crazy people after all!

Maybe it’s just plain old love working!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


The other day I went to my pharmacy to pick up some medications. As you should know by now, Dr. Strangeglove keeps prescribing medications to save me. What he is saving me for I don’t know?

Now my doctor sends in the prescriptions via his computer, and is very proud of himself that he knows how. I sometimes wish he had that confidence in his medical skills, and I always hold my breath when I pick up the drugs.

Entering the pharmacy, I head to the drug counter and find another old geezer ahead of me, I call the aisle I enter, “Geezer’s alley” because that is how we all go on line. This place has two electric sign computers, where you sign your signature electronically saying yes you are on drugs and no, the cops won’t bother you about it.

I ask if they have my prescriptions ready, and hold my breath. They look and as I am about to pass out from holding my breath, she whips out this white paper bag. I tell the gal how many there should be, and hold my breath once again. Slowly she records each prescription, and as she does: I start to let little bits of air escape (from my mouth this time) and she comes out with the correct amount. I fully exhale.

When you enter or leave the pharmacy, at the main entrance there is a coffee stand where you may help yourself to coffee and cookies as a customer. It is a nice touch and once in a while I stop for a cup of Joe. Around the coffee usually are two or three old guys, just standing and socializing. One asked the other if he had seen someone’s new wife: that ‘the someone’ had brought his new wife in just a while ago! The guy he was talking to said out loud he was surprised it lasted this long.

As I got into my car I started to laugh to myself thinking: wow so no more bars, and the drinks are free, and what better place for old guys to hang out at than the local Pharmacy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


And as usual, it never goes quietly, or for that matter smoothly.

My appointment was for 11:00 AM, and when I arrived, there in front of me was all the senior citizens left in the world, to see the good doctor. I had that suspicion from the parking lot, which was strewn with poorly parked cars, and “Did I tell you about my grandkids?” stickers on them. This was a bad sign that meant Dr.Strangeglove was running behind, and I would have to wait a while.

I was told I needed to fast for the blood test, and that it is necessary, so I didn’t eat or drink anything but water before the visit.

As I entered the waiting room I go up to the lady sitting behind the desk, who without looking up knew who I was as she whipped out my folder of medical history, Volume III.

“Who should we contact if you should suddenly be rushed to the hospital?” This question caught me by surprise.

“Well…  uh, don’t you trust the doctor anymore?”

“We need to know this for emergency purposes.”

“My first inclination is to give you Dr. Strangeglove’s name.”

“No, we need a next of kin or close friend we can notify.”

I give him TLW (The Little Woman’s) office number and I go to sit down by navigating and negotiating the many canes that stick out from under the brand new jeans and sneakers, finally finding a seat next to the magazine pile of MD’s, and an article that states what you can make for breakfast as a diabetic. You get a blender and mix saw dust with 1% milk and call it a wooden smoothie, 0 calories and you burn even more trying to swallow the stuff.

About a half hour into the wait, a tiny little lady comes out behind a folder and says: “Is Bfrentolky here?”

Me: “Who?” hoping she can’t pronounce my name right and it’s me.\\

Mr. Bfrentolky, with a ‘s’?

Suddenly someone becomes liberated from his deep slumber and after 45 seconds is fully standing. Some old coot sitting in his new jeans and three pinky rings, two on one pinky and one on the other yells out: “I'm NEXT!” to no one’s surprise since he was next.
Finally another half hour turns on the clock and the little lady comes out once again:


I jump up and scan the room of those who still have a long way to go. I am next: I may be out of here in another hour! Good by you poor bastards!

I march to the examining room, taking care to watch for vindictive canes that can suddenly appear between your ankles as you proudly march out of the waiting room. Following the little woman I enter the room assigned to me and she says: “What are you here for?”

“Well, every three months I come for a checkup, but now I think it is running longer!”


I give her a sample of my finish, freshly brewed and still hot.

She takes my temperature (orally) and says:

“The doctor will be right with you”

The lying bitch!

45 minutes later in comes Dr. Strangeglove and asks me how I’m doing.

“I’m starving, I have a headache, and I’m even thirsty. THAT is how I’m doing.

He runs through his checklist and notices my blood pressure is slightly elevated, and not because I’m standing.

“Your blood pressure is slightly elevated! Are you experiencing any problems?”

I explain to him about Mom being sick and he says that “yes that would do it.”

Heading back to his office I carry my jacket and when we reach it I start putting it on.

“Cool enough for a jacket today, huh?”

“Well Doctor, when I started out it was still winter, and frankly I would like to get out of here before the next one sets in."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Each year when Parliament opens it session for the first time, an interesting and peculiar exchange occurs.

The King or Queen of England, whoever is the reigning monarch goes to Westminster and addresses Parliament for the first day, a tradition that goes back hundreds of years and plays out faithfully.

With this tradition that seems somewhat civil and almost democratic in nature, there is a wrinkle that no one really knows about. It seems that the Palace and Parliament didn’t always get along well together. Seeping under the surface is some distrust and suspicion that made for some odd and awkward accommodation.

Since the Palace feared for the safety of the Queen or King, Parliament would have to send a member to the palace to wait for the monarch to safely return to the palace after the opening speech! Yes, a hostage! Parliament had to send a hostage to the palace until the Queen or King returned!

That would be like sending John McCain to the White House while the President gives his State of the Union Speech!

Civilized England, long live the Queen!

Monday, May 12, 2014


When we stop laughing is when we grow old!

it never stops!
I visited Mom the other day and as she lay on her bed, immobilized by 2 strokes, she perked up to see me. I bent down and kissed her on her forehead and sat next to her and she answered my questions about how she was doing!

Soon the conversation shifted to the past and people we knew, and things as children we did. It seemed to me that there was a lot of stuff Mom never knew about that I was afraid to tell her, and so began a confession of sorts about my transgressions of the past. These were the things that if I told her when she was healthier, would have been met with a wooden spoon on my head!
wishful thinking

It seems the more I got into admissions of past transgressions, especially in my earlier years, the more Mom would smile, and the more I admitted, the more hearty the laugh and the eyes would sing.

It seemed like there was anticipation in her eyes as I related one story after another, all being so funny to her that her eyes squinted in a watery flow of tears making me feel so good that I was doing this.

When I got up to leave, there was a small sadness that I was, but life goes on and so did I, guilt-laden leaving the room as I kissed her goodbye.

I guess all those things I did were for a reason, a good reason, not so much because I was bad, but because they would be needed in her hours to come. As she said to me: “You were always getting into trouble!” I was, but the police never had to come to the door looking for me, the teachers never banned me from the classroom and the neighbors only knew me to be helpful. But I left Mom’s home, feeling so good that I made her laugh, and I cried to myself.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


In the quest for happiness and stability, my older sister Tessie (much older) and I made a joint visit to the Touro Law School to meet with someone about the procedure for long-term home health care for Mom. The recommendation was from the Catholic Health Care group but our information is sketchy and so is the directions from the GPS,

As you may know Mom is home from the nursing home and immobilized in a hospital bed unable to do for her self.

Never having heard of the place, I plug it into my GPS, pickup my older sister Tessie (much older) and set out on the highways and byways of this great country until we come to these very large and isolated buildings with a separated by a very large parking lot. There is no markings on the buildings to identify them and no way of seeing a street sign since we came from another direction.

Determined to find which building it is with the address 225 Eastview Drive in Central Islip, we cruise around the building and still no clues. I suggest we ask this gentleman climbing out of his Lexus and wearing an $800 suit, grey and he was in his late sixties.

Wearing jeans and an old shirt: I don’t give a dam being the motto on my wardrobe closet wall, I roll down the window and ask if he can tell me which building 225 is.

With a tutorial ring to his voice he starts in by saying: “There is no building called 225! That is the designation on the street sign. Are you here for a reason?”

No you moron, just like to make up questions to total strangers I say to myself.

“We’re here to meet with a Touro Group.”

“There is no Touro Group.”

I could get out now and slap him one, but with this many lawyers surrounding me I don’t stand a chance.

“Then it might be the Touro Law group” I respond.

“There is no Touro Law group, there is a Touro Law School.”

“Where might I find it?”

“It’s this building right behind me.”

(I’d like to find him)
“Who are you here to see?”

I say: “Someone named Judith.”

“Ah, Judith, just go into the main entrance and ask the guards and they will let you in.”

I thank the moron and we park, think to myself all he had to say was this building, to my first question. Now you know why I hate lawyers, why they are called “mouth pieces” and why I get an urge to run them over if I can sometimes.

If it will please the court, I object.