Tuesday, August 22, 2017


The other morning as I was leaving the gym after my workout, I saw something that disgusted me all morning. There is a white van, with a ladder on the roof that parks in the same spot every morning in the gym parking lot. The owner goes every day to work out and is a man in his early thirties.

I was parked two rows ahead of him and as I backed out and turned to leave, there was his van. But something was a little different this day, his back door was opened and as I passed he was standing behind the opened back door and watching me with a worried look. I studied him for a moment then noticed it, his ‘swantz' was hanging out discharging a yellow flow! Yes, he was pissing behind his door. (sorry for the vulgarity!)

What is disturbing is that there are many young and old ladies who use that parking lot and might have been in my place as he lowered himself to a debased mode. There was no excuse for this since he is young, works out and could have simply gone to the gym, go downstairs and go into the men's locker room where there is a toilet.

I have to wonder what he thought when I looked into his face with disgust, disdain, and repulsiveness. How can one do that? Is there no shame anymore? Do we not have any morals anymore that we can employ, no limits to set for Human Decency? Has society turned us into wild animals? Maybe he thought I would not see him embarrass himself because he figures my head might be on my cell phone?

What have we become?

Monday, August 21, 2017


You can send me to jail, but please, don't send me to Home Depot.

I entered the Hall of Horrors last Thursday and was greeted by a nice woman with a smile and clipboard. Being as she was greeting me I asked if she could tell me where I could find some picture frame hooks and saw tooth hangers. "I am sending you to hardware", then lifting her clipboard thumbed through the pages and said: "Aisle 13."

Aisle 13! I should have known, lucky aisle 13, where they hide everything when I enter the store. If you've ever been on aisle 13, it is a long sorry place, devoted to lost souls who drift up and down the aisle, sometimes for days.

I begin my tour by giving it a general once over where millions of products attack your senses, and this is only one shelf. Slowly, I pan the shelves, looking at each piece of merchandize and wonder if I've passed it yet. After the second-time down Lucky 13, I decided to slow way down and look for the packaging with peeled eyes. The problem is that now I am tired, my back went out and I think was waiting in the car for me, when suddenly I hear a sigh! Looking up I see another poor soul, adrift in a sea of haze, fog, and confusion, trying to get off the island so to speak. Our eyes meet and we exchange angst, trading one horror story for another.

"How long you been trying?" I inquire.

"Well, I've been up and down this aisle a few times already! You?"

"Since Tuesday of last week."

"Wow! You didn't get out at all?!"

"Right you are, I'm hungry, gotta pee and very tired, plus my wife will start to miss me if I'm away more than a few days!"

I explain what I'm looking for and we both start to look, slowly, but not the bottom shelves, our backs hurt. Suddenly this kind and friendly gentleman disappears and I stand there, wondering, what happened to my new close and personal friend?

Drifting back in a daze, I freeze when suddenly I see a woman come racing over, almost out of breath she says she understands I'm looking for something. "I heard you are looking for something, let me show you where it" and leads me to aisle 12. I was being freed from aisle 13!  I might be home in time for Christmas! But will it be in time to shop?

Taking me directly to the items I needed she says, "I rescued you!"

Sunday, August 20, 2017


For the past year, I have been driving a Toyota Prius. A pearl colored gem of fine driving beauty with a bad habit, it criticizes me. These things are getting too smart for their own good. My car gives me an inferiority complex with its holier than thou attitude when I shut the motor off.

Every time I take the car out if gives me a grade when I'm done. It's like that last day in school when they hand out the report cards.

"Good temperature, try to ease on the acceleration 51/100.
"Good steady driving speed, try to use better deceleration 65/100.
"Maintain more steady driving speed, use Eco guide 76/100
"Nice haircut, maintain cleaner mirror 80/100
"You found your way without getting lost, yea for Joseph! 100/100!

Do you realize how difficult Tokyo has made it for me to shut off my car? Do you realize how ashamed I am every time I pass a Toyota Dealership? It's starting to ruin my appetite for sushi.

Often when you talk to an auto mechanic, he refers to a vehicle as a ‘she'. In my case, the car is a ‘she', since I can't make it happy. I give it three more years and if it doesn't straighten out I'll start cheating with a cute little Volks Wagon down the block. But then it might say: "Achtung! Vhy won't you listen to me?" "VE have vays to make you drive right!"

For many years, I have owned a Toyota, all sorts of models and the Prius is my favorite. I've owned the Camry and the Carolla and the Rav 4, all great cars, all good to me. But the latest is getting annoying! 

Saturday, August 19, 2017


To all the Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews and minorities of all kinds that traverse through this great country, you may think that your progress for equal rights is reset back to the 1950's. You may feel that all the hard work toward your inalienable right to be an equal citizen has been thrown out the window and you need to start all over. As the President's words echo through your hearts and minds, words that are infamous not only for what they say but for what they don't say, have heart, this is America.

The Freedom Riders, Dr. Martin Luther King, NAACP, CORE, the Hispanics who are here working menial jobs, sacrificing themselves in body and spirit, the Muslims who have fled the unimaginable horror of war upon their homes and culture, or their religion being exploited and persecuted even in America because of bonehead ignorance and a refusal understand with grace and dignity others who are different than them, do not despair.

Perhaps it is good that Donald Trump is President for now. Perhaps his being is exposing the undercurrent of white supremacy that undercuts our civilization, his silent collusion with Nazism in this present-day America that seeks to re-establish a madman's mental midget sickness with all his present-day followers, will finally bring it all to a head, and we can deal with discrimination all at once. You can't fight what you can't see, and you can't correct what you don't admit to.

The silent majority needs to now take a stand. We need to re-stitch into the fiber of our national conscience, morality once again. If you believe there is a God and that he will judge us all, he will not judge the evil that lurks, the Neo-Nazi, the white racist, no, theirs is a sickness, instead, he will judge all of us who know better and didn't speak out, we will be the culprits.

Simon and Garfunkel had it right: "Silence like cancer, grows" and it grows until one day we are so deafened by it, it strangles us and we exist no more!

Friday, August 18, 2017


The Volks Wagon Upchuck
As a young junior high school student looking to make some money, I had a neighbor named Mr. Haller, who delivered Newsday newspapers on the North Shore of Long Island.

Every Saturday I got in the back seat of his Volks Beetle and a pile of newspapers and off to the North Shore and his route to deliver his papers. He paid me and I was happy to have the job. It paid for stuff that occupies a young teenager and it made me feel like I was responsible for the job and Mr. Haller.

There was one problem, however, sitting in the back seat of a Volkswagon riding the roads of the North Shore made one's stomach queasy. As the deliveries went on along the winding and up and down roads, my stomach became weaker and weaker, to the point that a cold sweat would begin to form on my forehead.

To make matters worse, it was the middle of the dog days of August, the heat and humidity taking a toll along with nausea that went with things. Add the smell of newsprint and you had the perfect storm to heave, maybe on Mr. Haller's head. I was miserable.

Did I ever say anything about how I felt? NO. I wanted the job no matter how sick it would make me. It was money found with hard work and I was taught that you never turn down work.

I was the real originator of the Volkswagon Bug, the real bug.

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Somewhere in this world right now, someone is sobbing, somewhere it is dark and somewhere people fear for their lives. Somewhere a child is dying and a parent is cast asunder from the joy of happiness because of it.

We watched this past Saturday the events in Virginia and we look in horror, appalled that we can be as Human Beings so base, so ugly, so terribly misinformed about people and their rights to happiness.

Tell me where I am missing the truth. Tell me how one race is better than another, just tell me. Tell me why as a white man I am superior when I know damned well if a Black or Asian doctor can save my life, why would he not be qualified?

Where can I go to find out how racial superiority can be measured. Did not Hitler find out the hard way that it doesn't exist? Tell me how as an American, I can place my hand over my heart and pledge an allegiance to a flag that stands for equal rights for all men who are created equal and we still deny those rights.

Tell me how wrong it is to try to give and share with people the joy of life, the chance to raise a child and educate and feed it? How can it be so wrong? Tell me how anyone profits from keeping people down, how an ideology built on hatred and sickness can continue to exist with the ugly history that exists along with it.

Once I traveled through a Hispanic neighborhood and witnessed something special, the joy of life they have, the music and dancing, the upbeat approach to life in spite of the hatred generated because they are immigrants. It was a happy place. All my life I have studied and worked with Jews, and found out they are people that laugh, people that study and practice law, and medicine, who educate and get educated, not as stereotyping them, but because they do it as individuals who happen to be Jewish, yet there are Blacks and Hispanics doing the exact same thing.

If you are white, have you ever sat down with a black person and found yourself laughing? They are a great people, once my wife and I were in Brooklyn looking for the right subway line to get to Penn Station. We were in a Black neighborhood, and down in the subway. I asked one person on this all black car which train I should take, and they all helped out, they were all eager to help. If I am racially superior, should I listen to them? Seems like we found the right subway OK, thanks to them.

As long as there is fear, there grows hatred, and hatred grows violence. It is a cycle that we all need to overcome. I cannot ever condone my doing something that will deny an individual a freedom, right or a basic glass of water. I cannot allow children to suffer and live in fear because of who they are. We should all be celebrating each other, lifting each other out of the darkness that turns color to blackness and dims the light that should be in each and every one of our hearts. If we don't we are cheating ourselves and trying to fool God.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


As she walks toward you, you would swear she was programmed, each step in robotic rhythm,
her head straight ahead and focused. It seems the steps measured by some outside controlling force and a programmed destination that does not vary from Sunday to Saturday.

If you can get a good look at her eyes, you will see a masked face, almost Parkinsonian in appearance as she walks, arms at her side, sometimes holding a plastic shopping bag as she trudges through all kinds of weather. Her face tells a story you could not see from a distance, one of longevity and social timidness. The blaze of the noon-day sun, the extreme heat, and humidity, the glancing blows to the face of a sleet or ice-storm, does not deter her purpose in being on the street.

#2 Son once offered her a ride in bad weather, as did I, feeling sorry for the soul who had to venture out in weather conditions that would leave the bravest and heartiest to stay in bed. Her response is always a polite "No thank you."

Every Sunday TLW, (The Little Woman) and I sit at the same table in a diner and have breakfast, and the window we sit next to overlooks the parking lot in the front of the building where my car is parked. Every Sunday at the same time this mystery woman cuts through the parking lot to pass my car and our window, and as she does she will stop, bend over and pick up a cigarette butt, this is predictable.

But she seems to be all over the neighborhood, at all hours of the day, from in front of the diner to the shopping mall many miles away, too far to walk, yet she does and back again. I've seen her under the Long Island Expressway overpass, and so, from one end of the town to the other, you can count on her to be seen.

My wife and I marvel at her Constitution, every day, no matter the weather. She is not a skinny woman, in fact, she seems built heartily, and there is no breaking down of her gait or determination as she must be in her early 60's.

In spite of trying to keep busy in my retirement, there are some things I am aware of in my community. I try to keep an eye out for my neighbors and their property, and any stranger that populate the neighborhood with what may seem as no purpose. This woman is definitely not a threat, but a curiosity.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017



"White people love to talk about the tragedy of the absent black father. It's time to talk about the tragedy of the present white father. Racism is taught. It has been in this country for decades for decades, passed down from racist to racist to racist to racist. While today's events were sickening and shocking, they shouldn't have been surprising. We've allowed racism to persist. If you know a racist's kid, give him/her a hug, teach them to love, teach them not to be afraid, don't let them learn to hate." Minnesota Pete

The above was posted recently by a friend of #1 Son, so, he is a friend of mine, a fellow who I met with his lovely wife. He happens to be a writer. They are a beautiful couple, they recently married and he makes a very strong point, about absenteeism and the black father, and our tragic reality of the white father.

I had a friend who for the last 7 to 8 years since our 45ft. high school reunion was in touch. We texted and phoned each other and he was very funny, so funny that he would leave me in tears. But as we nurtured an old friendship, he started to send me clips from talking heads about conservative points of view, and sometimes I watched them and sometimes I didn't. You see I'm an Independent when it comes to national politics, and that means being free of anyone's opinions but my own.

Then one day he began his phone conversation with the ‘fact' that 80% of the black families are fatherless, and that I should believe that. I got angry that the need was to center on what is wrong rather than what can society do to correct imbalances such as that. He felt that "They" had bamboozled me. That I had to accept this ‘fact' as fact, which it is not.

I will not go into the issues that children face with a fatherless home, instead of my friend above mentioned something far more startling, the tragedy of the present white father. Not all white fathers by any means, but those that don't teach their children the basics for waving the American flag, those truths we find self-evident that all men are created equal.

If you read the statistics on fatherless children, there is a litany on horrific things that occur to the young men, in particular, high dropout rates, the likelihood of criminal involvement, gangs and disorientation as to who they are. Then, of course, there is the burden placed on the brave mother who must keep a family together, feed and house them and then try to deal with the struggles of raising children and keeping them away from gangs, drugs, and jail, and they do this under harsh criticism.

My friend and I no longer are in contact, I won't have anyone tell me how I should think and who I should believe on their say-so.

As for the friend mentioned above, he is white, his wife black, him I respect for being a man, MY friend I have no longer any use for.

Monday, August 14, 2017


--> The other morning at about 2:30 am, I awoke and looked over the blanket to see that TLW (The Little Woman) was gone. This does not get me too nervous, but at our ages, we need to watch out for each other. Being totally incompetent I would miss her dearly if something were to happen.

Since I was awake I thought that I hoped she was OK and was tempted to go find her.  After all, getting up at such an hour seemed rather strange. Instead, I did what all men my age do, yes, I went to the toilet. I looked down in the stairwell and noticed that the lights were on so she had to be ok. I went back to bed and slept until about 5:30 am when I noticed she never came back to bed. I got up, looked down the stairwell again and saw the lights were still on.

I went into the shower then went back into the bedroom to dress and make the bed. I put the news on the TV and listened to it as I did, then finished and went downstairs. Coming to the final floor I heard the washing machine going so I knew she had to be conscious at least. I walked into the kitchen, but she wasn’t there, nor was she in the den or dining room. I checked out the garage but all I could notice was the sound of the washing machine. I looked out of each window and search the yards, nothing.

Where could she be?

I decided to do what any man my age would do in a situation like this that presents itself, I went to the toilet, not too creative but a place to sort things out. As I sat there contemplating her faith I could suddenly hear her footsteps coming down. I got two “AHS!” one for her and one for another reason.

I came out and faced the missing TLW.

“What the Hell time do you get up this morning?” I intoned.
“Oh, I couldn’t sleep so I got up!”
“But where did you go??? I looked all over the house, and checked outside!”
“Well I came upstairs and you were in the bedroom awake listening to TV so I went into the toilet.”

Here I was looking for her and she was practically behind me every step of the way!

As we settled in the den, with coffee in hand and reminded her:

“Just remember, if you ever disappear, eventually I’ll look for you!”

Sunday, August 13, 2017


I needed to go to the mall the other day and found that it is a great indicator of what’s happening. Being retired I have somewhat shrunk from the public venue. Watching people parade by one gets to see the latest trends.

Old men are less and less occupying the seats outside the stores with their wife’s pocketbook in their laps. Teenagers are there, staring into their cellphones. Walking along, the rug rat population is on the increase, as is the volume of screaming coming from the little pains. You need to keep your eyes opened as the strollers can cripple you.

Walking hand-in-hand as still in vogue, as is finger intertwining, as long as you’re young.

There is the old folk, walking in their sneakers and sweats , fists clenched and swinging their arms as they try to make time along the mall.

The most disgusting things to find are first of all, the tattoo parade on old gals who tattoo everything visible, and I’m wondering maybe even everything else.

The celluloid parade on those same old girls is a lot like the parade of lights at Disneyland or Disney World. They wear short shorts and the celluloid on the back of their thighs looks like they are hiding small coins under their skin.

Aside from the world passing me by, everyone as they do, have their noses in their cellphones, so I guess I will try to stay away from the mall as much as possible.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Me and my researcher
It will all come as a shock to them.
Recently from the results of my DNA testing I have been able to find cousins from the past. Fortunately, I don't owe them any money.

One of the things that happen is offers to sell you, even more, information than they gave you for $100! For instance, they offer to build your family tree, something I will refrain from since I'm afraid of finding a monkey in that tree.

When you think about it, having two people as your parents, a number of possibilities for being related to someone else is great. I have third or fourth cousins with certainty as far as is concerned. It even gives you the names and a chance to email them.  I find this kind of exciting while at the same time awkward. How do you start an email saying we might be related? Does the party on the other end see your name, check with the crime labs and post office pictures before responding?

There are people that write to others stating they are related and need a few bucks, yet anyone writing to me would be sending money, I'm sure.

TLW (The Little Woman) has taken an interest in my ancestry, tracking down long lost grandfathers, aunts, and cousins. She now knows my family better than I do, including all the boarders who rented their living space and the sizes of some of those refrigerator boxes.

I think I'll start to retain the info and put it in a file for my two sons, they can read it all and deny everything while changing their last name.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A TRUE STORY... almost!

My wife works with a woman who has become a family friend, along with her husband. The couple is a lot of fun and we make each other laugh with silliness.

Patrizia, or Pat as she is known, works in the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Company. If you try to sneak into the bank, she will nail you with her smile and friendly wave from behind the teller line. Over the years, she insisted I write a book about her life.

Over the same years, Pat and her husband Bill have gone out to sea, the various restaurants that populate the local area and Wanna-Be-Bank functions with us, and we always have a great time.

You may suspect by the name, Patrizia hails from Italy, and grew up in the Bronx where her parents settled, and settle they did. You see, on their way to America along with her older brother, ran into a bump at sea, namely the Stockholm, a huge ship that needed more room than it had. Patrizia and her family were traveling across the Atlantic that faithful day on July 24, 1956, 61 years ago on the Andrea Doria.

As Pat tells it: “we were sailing along when: BANG, splash, drip, drip, drip and my Gucci’s were all wet! I heard the captain, Capitan Calamari yell: “Managgia, she no float!!!, I really hate when that happens. Poppa packed me with the Genoa Salami but not the provolone and said; Tenga il vostro naso che stiamo andando dentro!” Roughly translated: Hold your nose we’re going in!

Someday I will write the book, and tell all.

Thursday, August 10, 2017



Congratulations on your wonderful achievement! I just know that Nana and Grandpa must be very proud of you. If I see things correctly, so is someone who came here so many generations ago and settled in Brooklyn with the dream of America in heart, your great grandmother, who without any English or money worked for her family to have the benefits of America. You have given that dream new birth, and I bet you she is all over Heaven, bragging about her great grandson in Italian. What you did make all her hard work and sacrifice worth the while.

Above is a note I sent to my nephew through Facebook. He lives down in Florida and the last time I saw him was many years ago after he had married a very sweet woman who gave him two beautiful children.

One of the reasons I wrote to him was because I am proud of him, he was a great little kid when he was younger, and grew into a tall, handsome young man with a cheerful heart. He seeks to work with the public for their benefit being a member of a rescue team, firefighter and now nurse. How great is that? If you want more, he holds two degrees, one from St. Johns and one from Florida University. His degree in nursing rounds out his degree in education and his work in service to the community.

But I often wonder what grandma Francesca would have thought about all that has come from her starting out without much and parlaying it all into those tremendous accomplishments I see from her great grandchildren, what would she say? Yet there are so many grandparents and great grandparents out there who have passed who must be feeling the same things, great offspring that begot more great offspring and can celebrate their lives.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017


Every day it seems I have business to perform at the agency, either as president of the board or guardianship co-chair or even as a daddy for my daughter who resides in one of the residences. Some days I go to just sign checks, or there is a committee meeting I need to conduct or attend. Of course, there is the Board of Director's meeting each month to round off things along with picnics, general membership meetings and dinners I must attend. All this activity I find very gratifying and pleasurable since it somehow will involve staff.

When I became President three years ago I was meeting with the CEO, who reports to me. As we concluded business he invited me to use his personal exit for convenience, and I refused. I wanted to say goodbye to all the staff that I had greeted when I entered the building, and he understood.

Through the years, I have tried to build a relationship with the staff because I support them so much, am grateful for all the fine work they do for all the programs we run, and know that without them, we are nothing.

My daughter Ellen, who does not speak, calls everyone she sees "Mamma" and I stated out loud that I would give anyone a million dollars if they could get Ellen to say: Daddy. Everyone, including newly hired, has been working very hard for a million dollars!

As I pass office of people I have built relationships with, we laugh and exchange pleasantries and I kid them, this makes for a very loud guffawing office. Sometimes I say things out loud for everyone to hear. I brag about my granddaughter and they remind me of things I post on Facebook about her.

A former CEO once told me that being a board member made staff nervous, so I work on turning that around. I don't want to go so far as they start to ask me to get them coffee, even though I just might.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


Five days ago, I attended a wake for a young lady who was part of the Guardianship Program. She, like my daughter was non-verbal for the most part, was dealing with dementia and had other issues she was dealing with.

After meeting about her end of life and what the state needs from us, I signed off on a MANAGEMENT OF LIFE SUSTAINING TREATMENT. (MOLST)

Sadly, she passed and so I went to her wake.

Being who I am, I have to get somewhere early, not let anyone wait on me. I pulled into the funeral home parking lot and waited the few minutes. A car pulled up and two gentlemen climb out of the car, one in his 80’s and one in his 60’s. The elderly man limp very noticeably and both men entered the funeral home.

I decided to enter behind the two men and noticed they sat up front in the first row where family usually sits, I knew the older gentleman was the young ladies father and the younger one her brother. I approached them after visiting the casket and turned to offer my condolence, shook hands and sat in the next row. I could see the terrible pain he was in because of the loss of his sweet child, and it moved me.

When you deal with issues like guardianship, sometimes the facts are not all there. Here was a father that did not undertake being his daughter’s primary guardian, instead he left it to the agency, and I assumed he didn’t care enough. I was so wrong.

As I sat behind him he turned to me and said he wanted to thank me for whatever I did for his little girl. He said he had 3 sons and his only daughter. I thought, wow, like me. He went on and said the year 2017 was not treating him well. The past March, his youngest son was at a karaoke show and was singing, and when he was done he left the stage to sit down and collapsed from a massive heart attack and died! How crushing can life be? The saddest part was that the sister and the brother who died were very close.

The father explained to me that he was at one time the primary guardian, but his first wife died and he remarried, and due to his age ad disabilities, could no longer act as the primary guardian, so renounced guardianship in favor of the agency.

I guess I jumped to a conclusion without the dance being over.

Monday, August 07, 2017


My Italian side
For my birthday, TLW (The Little Woman) sent away for an kit to determine if I came from some tribe in ancient Germany or maybe landed here from Mars, which she has been suspecting all along.

You take this tube they supply you and spit into it up to a line, (be very close when you do) then you mix a chemical into the saliva and seal the tube, put it in a plastic envelope and mail it away. In a few weeks, they get in touch with you and let you know.

Mom used to say she thought there might be some Greek in our Italian blood because her name was Olympia. Why I don't know, I'm sure her mother never gave it a thought. So, into the mail goes the box with my saliva to be analyzed and within a short time, I get an email telling me I am 74% Southern Italian… and Greek!

My Greek side
I was hoping for Swedish or Norwegian, that would make me taller, but no such luck. I would even like Finnish because I like the cold, but no, Southern Italian and Greek! This means, of course, two of the greatest civilizations in the world stream through my DNA, I am quite a find! There is Plato, Aristotle, and Alexander the Great, not to mention Zorba the Greek!

Then there is Garibaldi, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Galileo, Caruso, Benny the Buffer and Al Capone to mention a few.

So, what will I do with this new-found knowledge? Why look up all the possible matches that are out there that may be related to me. My fervent hope is that one or two have restaurants where I can get a discount meal, either Greek or Italian. But what about the other 26%? Well I know 1% is Jewish from the Eastern Eurasian area the 1% of this and that scattered throughout Eastern Europe.

It all comes down to the fact that I am a mutt.

Sunday, August 06, 2017


At dusk on November 9, 1965, the biggest power failure in U.S. history occurred as all of the State of New York, portions of seven neighboring states and parts of eastern Canada were plunged into total power failure. The Great Northeast Blackout began at the height of the rush hour, delaying millions of commuters, trapping 800,000 people in New York's subways, and stranding thousands more in office buildings, elevators, and trains. Ten thousand National Guardsmen and 5,000 off-duty policemen were called into service to prevent looting.

The blackout was caused by the tripping of a 230-kilovolt transmission line near Ontario, Canada, at 5:16 p.m., which caused several other heavily loaded lines also to fail. This precipitated a surge of power that overwhelmed the transmission lines in western New York, causing a domino effect tripping of additional lines, that eventually brook up the entire Northeastern transmission network. In total, 30 million people in eight U.S. states and the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec were affected by the blackout. During the night, power was gradually restored to the blacked-out areas, and by morning power had been restored throughout the Northeast.
I was a student at the New York Institute of Technology, studying to achieve a Bachelor's in Advertising Design. The last class of the day was an Art History class and with the instructor's goodbye for the day was a warning of an Art History test the next day! This test was a difficult one that required looking at small pieces of an art object, a painting usually and identifying the whole work. There would be written responses to questions and it can be one of the hardest tests to take.

Driving home that night with some local buddies from my area, as we left the campus in Old Westbury, the traffic lights started to disappear as signals, soon street lamps and whole areas of stores, homes and public places lost their lights.

As we drove we realized things were at risk, driving would be dangerous, it was dark and the only lights visible were car lights. Speculation was rampant in the car of 2 art majors and one electronics major.

Such suggestions as: "Maybe the Russians were behind it", An invasion from Mars or some celestial entity made it happen, or that the end of the World had finally come! The great Northeastern blackout had arrived!

We tried the car radio, but nothing was on the air, people were roaming the streets trying to get information about a catastrophically event that just occurred.

Once we got home, snips of news were starting to materialize, the newspapers for one delivered and that is how we learned the truth. Then the radio from the cars started to report and soon by the next morning we knew from the TV news.

Since we had no lights during the evening, and nothing was restored until about 4:00 AM the next day, I could not study for the Art History exam scheduled for that day. Facing a failing grade I was angry, frustrated and settling for a failing grade on the test, it would be my first!

All day the discussion was the great blackout, the radio, TV, and classmates all pouring out their experiences of where they were when the lights went out. I think most of the guys wished they were with their girlfriends when it happened, but rush hour is where most of us were.

When I entered the classroom for the Art History exam, the instructor stood in front of the room, slowly scanned it and announced: The test will be postponed until next week!

Saturday, August 05, 2017


One of the irritants in life is when people use wrong words, too many words, and non-words. There are people who use words inappropriately and think that they are smart, and have a good vocabulary, but their use of certain words leaves me embarrassed for them, and it does happen.

I used to know someone who used a word that made me cringe whenever she used this word. Now the person involved was not a genius but of good average intelligence. The offender never had a vocabulary, to begin with, but somehow this word stuck with her. ‘Regardless' was the word she abused, like a red-haired mule. Instead of using the word, she would say: "Irregardless".

On the evening news one night there was an accident involving a few cars. "A really bad accident-news at five!" Ouch! A bad accident? I could see a good accident when you unexpectedly have a good thing happen to you by accident. But to get into an accident that causes monetary and physical damage, that is an accident, no need to be redundant. This I know because I checked with the Department of Redundancy Department.

Of course, I coulda or shoulda have written about my own misses, and I woulda except that coming from Brooklyn, with a severe hearing loss, I would have or should have written about my own problems.

 I know this is a small complaint, but this does feel good now.

Friday, August 04, 2017


Since Inauguration Day the never-ending turn of unpredictability from the White House has fed the media and a frenzy of hopeful theories are being generated. It seems every time POTUS makes a move, the press theories about if this is a smoking gun, and they will rid the country of POTUS, finally. Each time someone discovers something it makes the rounds of the talking heads. It leaves me wondering if they even have jobs during the commercial breaks.

I don't mind investigative reporting, it is important to the country to have a free press to maintain integrity in the White House, but the free press must have integrity itself. My fear with the press is they may be so hungry for news that they will manufacture something and we will be opening the flood gates of inertia in the White House.

President Nixon gave us Watergate, and the press though great investigative reporting helped him remove himself from office, and the appreciation of a grateful nation goes to the press.

One of the biggest TV culprits is MSNBC, the Morning Joe show and some of the others seem to have the same theme, get TRUMP! Trump does deserve some getting, but we are missing key discussions of North Korea capabilities and what we should be
doing about it, the Russians and their mischief and of course ISIS and the other religious lunatics that saunter about the Middle East, how about some focus there? I understand Scaramucci and Russian lawyers meeting with Trumps son is news, Trump’s dictation for the press in response is news, but round the clock coverage with talking heads about it does not seem like a great way to cover important news.

We have three and a half more years of the Trump administration, are we spending that time creating scenarios of impeachment that hold no water?

Thursday, August 03, 2017


You have all read in the New Testament or heard of the Miracle of the 7 Fish and 7 loaves and how Jesus fed hundreds from it, then gathered up the left overs.

Many years later a miracle involving fish came to Brooklyn one cold wintry night. It seemed we had to go to dinner one Sunday to Grandma's house, all the relatives were there from Long Island and we all ate a wonderful meal started with grandma's pasta, or as we used to say: Macaroni. The dinner went well into the evening and when we left Grandma's house, it was dark and bitter cold. It was so cold the wind bit our faces and chilled down freezing our fingers and toes. Mom in her fur coat and Dad in his winter woolen coat braved the cold and carried us, kids, along, walking the 3 or 4 blocks.

We lived in a 3-story walk up. We didn't have any heat like normal people, just an oil-burning cast-iron stove that needed oil to run and someone to feed it. Being how we were gone all day, the stove was out for a few hours and the apartment that was on the top floor, and faced an alley on one side was frozen cold. It was a few hours before we could take off our coats.

As we entered the apartment, the first thing I noticed was our goldfish, Duke Snider was on his side, floating on the surface.

"Dad! The Duke is dead!"

Dad took one look at it and swung into action. Reaching into the tank, he held the frozen fish in between his thumb and forefinger and started to vigorously rub the fish. As he concentrated and I stared in disbelief, suddenly the fish started to move!


Slowly we warmed up the water a little and placed Duke into his habituate and it merrily swam around its bowl once again!

Mom always bemoaned that Dad never went to church, that he would sleep in on Sunday morning and any religious holiday that required a church visit. But here he was a miracle I could verify. No wonder he never went to church, he was GOD!!! No need to praise himself I guess.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017


When I was very young, between and five and ten years of age, Dad would every year in the summer load our car and take us kids out to Patchogue. This was a real treat for us city kids from Brooklyn. As we pulled away from the curb on a Sunday morning, I would look at other children in the neighborhood, and pity them, because they were stuck in the grime of Brooklyn, for the day. The closeness of the brick and wooden buildings, the advertisements along some of them and the concrete sidewalks, Jony pumps and street lamp posts, the overhead Els and the rattle of city life all rolled away as we headed toward the now Jackie Robinson Parkway. We were ‘privileged" to go to Patchogue! How could the kids we left behind, stand it, I wondered? It made me feel like somehow, we had a lot of money!

Patchogue is a village on Long Island, on the south shore. Patchogue was the home of an aunt and uncle who shared a duplex on Norton Street. My grandmother owned the house and rented it to my aunt and uncle. Patchogue was the place that was special.

After the long drive from the city to the country, are we there yet was a mantra, we started to look for landmarks that hinted we were close to our destination, and fun. One of the landmarks was the old Patchogue Lace Mill. As we motored down West Main Street, which was Montauk Highway, there it would stand, to our left. The excitement in the car would now build. Anticipation was great, as we would be seeing our cousins, and my aunt was a great cook! We knew we were close when we saw the lumber yard that stood on the corner of Grove Avenue and East Main Street, our signal to turn, the old Rollic, Inc. building greeting us as we did.

As the years rolled by, and I lived out in Holbrook raising my little family, I would on occasion drive by the Lace Mill with my two kids in the back seat, and a flood of memories would come back to me in an orderly fashion of my very trips to Patchogue. As I drove by, I would explain to my #1 Son, the history of the Lace Mill. This was a defining moment in Fatherhood! Like teaching him to bat, or throw a baseball, or to catch it, or look both ways before crossing the street, a lesson in history was important.

Because he would verbatim give me the history back, word for word, while I was speaking, I knew he heard it before.  OK, so maybe I HAD mentioned it once before.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017


I have to ask this question: who among us can determine that someone needs to die? Does the law empower us to legislate life and death? What is our obligation, to preserve or end life? Where is societies responsibility when it comes to health-care funding, medical interventions, the responsibilities of hospitals, medical workers, and the state?

How does one allow taking away even the slightest glimmer of hope, and hope does glimmer when all one sees is the darkness of death, made only darker when a child is involved. Do we still hold life as sacred?

Charlie Gard died because of mitochondrial depletion syndrome, leaving him brain damaged and unable to breathe without help. It did a lot more than just attack little Charlie, it pained beyond repair the hearts and souls of two other people, his parents.

But the courts in England, where healthy judges try to make sound legal decisions, based on justice preside. They were presented with a glimmer of hope, one that comes from America in the form of an experimental therapy that was considered hopeful by American doctors. Yet the English doctors and court decided it held no hope, and so they dispatched Charlie to die. If you wish to argue this point, just ask the parents as they mend their broken hearts.

Losing a child is the coldest of events in life. It stays with you for the rest of your life if you are a parent. You ask yourself what else you could have done or done differently, it pulls you down and it reminds you every day as a parent. It floods your eyes from time to time, and although time helps fade all the memories, they still persist.

And so, the courts decided not to give Charlie a chance at life, sending him to America was not an option, giving another tool to the parents would not be acceptable, better to allow the parents the gut wrenching feeling of watching their child die when hope might be around the corner. Two men, a President of the US and the Pope begged to make Charlie go to America for treatment but the court said no. The doctor who was perfecting the treatment was willing to go to England and once again the court responded, no!

Charlie was removed from life-support and moved to a place away from the hospital to die, I guess to clear the calendar of the English court.

Having lost a child about Charlie's age, I can tell you when all hope is lost, it is only lost when that child is pronounced dead, then the life-long pain begins.