Thursday, November 30, 2017


I look at politics as a store window. I need a new shirt, the one I’m wearing is old, torn, missing a button or two so I need a new look. I have a job, I work in a shirt factory. I go out to shop for a new shirt and see one in the store window that looks good. All the ads say what this new shirt will do for me, make me look slimmer, no ironing, comfortable and up-to-date looking, I will be stylish once again, yes, it comes from my shop where I work.
Neither shirt fits
Eagerly I enter the store and purchase what I hope is all that was advertised. I look in the mirror the first time I put on my new shirt. I look OK, I wear the shirt once, twice and maybe three times, before it starts to fade in its attributes, losing the luster I bought into, and so I need to look at a new shirt, or candidate to make me happy once again. I look for another shirt just like the one I made at work. There is no other manufacturer I will trust.

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, it really didn’t matter. We would soon need a new shirt or candidate, because what we had to choose from was even worse than at any time in our history! Blame not the candidates, blame the fact that we never had such lousy choices before. I didn’t vote, I didn’t want either candidate and felt that this was the most insulting choice we ever had. The shirts being sold in the window have no buttons, I need buttons, so I don’t buy. It isn’t the shirt, it isn’t the store, but the manufacturer.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Very often during the course of the week, I get phone solicitations from charities that support children. These are valuable charities as long as most of the donation goes to what is purportedly being supported.

There are a lot of charities that deserve support and we do support at times, but to support them all is difficult. I understand the need to solicit for funds to keep the causes alive, being I am part of such an organization myself.

Where do I draw the line and say: “No”? When I do say NO, a little part of me is disappointed and feeling guilty, but I am not The Carnegie Institute.

Years ago, back in 1981, my wife and I were in a monumental struggle, fighting the unknown to save our son’s life. Every day and every moment was consumed by this fight, keeping our son alive with the help of a hospital, doctors and nurses while traveling daily to the hospital to sit with a dying child.

Today, we continue fighting for another child, a child with disabilities and feeding us frustration and emotional pain that rests deep in our souls. Being she is disabled, we wonder what might have been, so I work for her benefit and the benefit of those like her being part of a board with the same agenda as I have.

So, when I get these calls for money and support, when I do turn them down, I realize, I have already given too much, I am still giving and will continue to do so, not all, but what I feel I can support monetarily and emotionally.

My wish? It is to quickly find a way to support all these organizations, either through the State or Federal funding, because they will affect all of us at one time or another, fearfully to our children or even grandchildren. We need to be prepared.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


Yes, there is a drug war waging right here at home, in my house. It seems that TLW (The Little Woman) and I take the same medication! Our drug dealer, Aetna has been feeding us for years, and some truths are finally coming to the surface!

It seems that after every three months of receiving my drugs, the drug Ramipril runs short. Sometimes as many as 4 capsules. For a few years I figured I was being cheated by the drug lords a few pills. It seems that it was occurring and I was getting madder!

We are mail order druggies, that is upon prescriptions ordered, we then get a big grey envelope that is impossible to open unless you wish to maim yourself permanently. The problem lies in the fact that her drugs run out after mine, and the one drug she runs out of the most is Ramipril, and suddenly, I had this strange feeling.

When the drug arrived, I took out all the pills and counted 90, enough for three months. Sure enough, I ran short once again at the end of three months! I asked TLW to only find out, she was running out of the drug too, so she ‘borrowed' from me!

Monday, November 27, 2017


It is hard to believe that I have TV traditions. The television was never a favorite of mine as I got older, not because of any so-called: "Sophistications" but because I have no patience with commercials. That in itself is ironic since I come from a commercial field, advertising.
I will watch a movie when there are no commercials promised, I will go to a movie because the idea is no commercials to interrupt the flow of the story. I do tape or record shows from TV that I watch later so I can fast-forward through the commercials.

But over the years I have developed a few movies that I like to watch out of tradition. When it comes to Thanksgiving Day there is nothing better than the March of the Wooden Soldiers, or its official name: "Babes in Toyland"! To watch the great masters of comedy, a little slapstick, and insane reasoning, Laurel and Hardy are the go-to guys. The fantasy and songs bring me back to my very young childhood, recalling even what I wore when I saw the movie for the first time.

There is another show on the same day I must watch also, and that, of course, is the Honeymooners, starring Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows and Joyce Randolph. Sitting through one of those shows is like sitting back in Brooklyn in the apartment I was raised in, pure nostalgia. The Honeymooners is an exception to my tradition of TV movies.

Then comes the Christmas season. I hope you sissy-Mary political correct will allow me to say "CHRISTMAS" instead of "Holiday" since the movie is about Christmas. The movie: A Christmas Carol in its original 1951 version is my favorite. This is arguably the movie version of A Christmas Carol to which all others are compared. Alastair Sim is the perfect Scrooge, unhappy with the world; mean and an uncaring old man.

And so, with a football game to round out the viewing, Thanksgiving and Christmas become the best holidays for the screen.

To all you sissy-Mary political correct, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Sunday, November 26, 2017


Many years ago, my grandparents settled in this country and made a life for themselves. They went out to the new world they entered and did what they had to do to survive and make their lives better.

Their lives are repeated it seems, generations later, with new players and a new stage. We had the pleasure to meet a beautiful family that comes from the Caribbean and speak with an accent, just like my grandparents did. They have hopes and dreams and work hard, just like my grandparents. They also raised good children who participate in the life of America. They seek nothing but peace, and so their heartfelt sincerity of ‘welcome to my home' was embraced and appreciated.

And, did I mention they did something else my grandparents did on Thanksgiving Day? They incorporated along with their turkey, their traditional festive dishes, they made it a true and traditional Thanksgiving Day, they married their old culture into a new one.

There were many things at the table beside the food. There was; joy, friendship, laughter, and most of all, love. We drank, ate and laughed like it is a natural thing to do.

I'm glad that my grandparent's tradition is still alive just with a different accent.

Saturday, November 25, 2017


Like me, they just fade away.

The other day I was in a meeting with the CEO, CFO, Chair of the Pension Committee and two gentlemen who manage the pension fund for my agency. As we progressed through the various numbers and asked all our questions, we needed to determine the next meeting date.

The two representatives of the pension fund management immediately went to their I-phones and began to scan their calendars for an open date. This old guy reached for his pocket appointment book for a more secure feeling to memorialize the date. Someone at the table mentioned to me that I was still ‘Old school' and indeed I am.

I don't trust electronic devices of most kinds. I feel that sometimes they fail me, for instance: using the phone calendar as opposed to the pocket calendar. Both will record the date, but; the e-date may become compromised by phone failure. The pocket calendar just sits there and there is no chance for failure unless you lose it, but then again, you can lose your I-phone too.

So as a coach or manager of a sports team, I go to the old reliable, the thing I have the most experience with paper.

Friday, November 24, 2017


It seems the world of power is under siege. It seems also that every time I look in the newspapers or watch TV, someone is accused of being a scumbag from the world of power.

Case in point: the ‘Honorable Roy Moore' US Senatorial candidate former DA and predator of young under-age girls. One does not need to go far away from the august body and find Senator Al Franklin, apparently with good humor, a critic who would at a drop of a hat in his Liberal self-righteousness, condemn anyone for sexual indiscretion. not once but a few pictures to see what his senatorial business was about. RFK and his little brother, Teddy the swimmer, one of the most notorious slime bags of all time, both men of power, both slime. JFK, RFK, and little minded Teddy all vied for the physical attributes of Judith Exner. They learned it all from Joe Kennedy, the patriarch, and good Christian, and Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

But let's not spend our time in the Senate, let's go see what is happens in the White House for years. There is FDR, DDE, JFK, we have George H. Bush pinching and grabbing, Bill Clinton and his personal handler Monica Lewinsky, and of course the Presidential candidate and now President, boasting and bragging about how he is disrespecting women.

 There is the on-going case of the once beloved Bill Cosby, doping and drugging women then sexually abusing them. Claims he is innocent. There is the movie mogul who has helped in a big way, Harvey Weinstein and his arrogant and outrageous behavior, bringing attention to this irrational and disgusting behavior. Sly Stallone, rapist extraordinaire, what role can he plan now, a President, a Priest, maybe a Senator? Men of power. And most of all, we have the clergy who have taken time and time gain the trust and respect they get from people who don't question their motives and abused not only the trust but the children that fell victim and still do to this day. But my world has been shaken by the latest revelation. A man of great intelligence, news reporter, commentator, and interviewer of a lot of great men, Charlie Rose! How can it be this bad that even those I had respect for have disappointed me!

My anger stems from the fact that these are not only predators but bullies, they take advantage and think they are above human decency. I say this to them, drop dead scum, you should be ashamed of yourselves, don't any of you have a wife, or daughter, maybe a daughter-in-law or granddaughter? If what you have done was done to your loved ones, how would you feel? Where would your outrage be, not only for the predator but for the thought that it occurred from someone like you? 

Thursday, November 23, 2017


Ben Franklin wanted it as the national bird, and a lot has been written about it. It floats by Macy’s in the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, and it is used as a derogatory name for some bad thing or idea. Yet, turkey is the one thing most people make sure they have at the end of November.

It supposedly looks up in the sky with its mouth open when it rains and is supposed to drown doing so, (a fallacy), and it is considered stupid as birds or animals go.

The pilgrims tried making it once, and the idea took off in the good ole U.S. of A before we even knew we were a nation! The Indians (Native Americans, to you sissy baby politically correct,) ate it and may or may not have come back the next year, wondering when the future President of the United States would declare it a national holiday.

Me, I never really cared for turkey, and neither did my grandmother, who would make a turkey for everyone else on Thanksgiving Day, and a capon for herself. Grandma Frances was one of a kind. After the pasta, the gravy meat: Braciola, both pork and beef, meatballs with raisins and pine nuts, and sausage: both hot and mild, then came the turkey, along with the Italian stuffing and the usual mushrooms. After which, we had a salad, pastries, nuts and fruit and fennel, all accompanied by homemade wine and demitasse cups filled with rich black Medaglia d’Oro coffee. If you wanted “sauce” you got out the Italian liquors. If you looked to cover your pasta, it was gravy. If you sat at the table and said: Pass the sauce” while holding up your plate of pasta, everyone took a turn slapping you silly. (Hey, it was a holiday. We were all in good cheer.) If you added: “Please” we made you eat in the garden with the squirrels.
Grandma had three rules on that day:

1. Bevuta: drink
2. Mangia: eat e’
3. Non fart

Thanksgiving Day was really the setup day. What set up the day you ask? You didn’t! Hmmm. Well, the setup day is the day AFTER Thanksgiving. Yes, that magical day when the leftovers taste even better than they did the day before. Leftover turkey sandwiches, with mayo on sliced bread, and leftover stuffing on the side. (Either side.)

Usually whoever didn’t make it on Thanksgiving day, showed up the day after, apologetic, stating they missed everyone and promising not to do that next year.


P.S. The day after Thanksgiving is the day I asked TLW to marry me, over 47-years ago! (Poor girl!)


It is a time I start thinking about Medicare and my future. I am reading the current bestseller: ‘Medicare and You' written by the US Government. It is an exciting tale about how I will spend my money on my demise.

There are many plans to confuse you, depress you, and make you broke. As you peruse through the book, there are restrictions such as where you can have certain plans. One plan in Suffolk County is not the same as one in Nassau County or Kings or Queens County. Why?

Years ago, one didn't need a referral to see a surgeon, the doctor sent you and the surgeon took you. Now, before they do anything, you go to the Insurance company to decide if they want to allow you go due to cost.

It is becoming scary now, with the new ideas of supposed health care, killing off Obama Care, playing politics with our health! Making changes with very little consideration of what the consumer may want.

Now with a myriad of confusing choices, we are asked to select something no one cares or really thought about.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Every Sunday, late morning, we await a special phone call. It is the call that will jump-start the week, making it a complete week.

Who is calling?

La Principessa, utilizing her staff. Her daddy makes the connection to advise us that she will now speak to us via Facetime, the wonders of modern electronic communication. AS her loyal subjects, TLW (The Little Woman) and I make ourselves available. We will plan our Sunday with a slot of free time reserved for the princess, this is sacred time and all the World must stop for this time. It usually goes like this:


“Hello, Darby’s Grandpa!”

“Dad! Would you like to talk to your Granddaughter?”

“Who’s this?”

“Call us back on Facetime.”

And so, we go first, to get out our I-pad and dial in the number and suddenly: the sun comes out, trumpets play and life is good, as magically, this little face of sweetness and joy appears in front of us! Once again, we marvel that anyone could be that beautiful.

Now comes the fun part, conversing with the face of gorgeous s she entertains us, running, jumping and saying stuff that causes me to run to my dictionary. Then she pretends to ignore us, and as she does, we pretend not to notice and talk to #1 Son about something else until she notices we aren’t giving her attention! Then the show begins, giving us more than before, amazing us with her prowess as an athlete, and becoming more engaged as the moments go on, until TLW and myself are tired out from all her activity and #1 Son suggests we say goodbye.

Then La Principessa looks at us, waves goodbye and we ask for a kiss, and we get not only kisses but hugs, that reach through the I-pad and into our hearts.

Two old people made very happy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


The other day once again, the phone rang with an unfamiliar number. I don't answer, but later in the day, I notice there is a message. Being curious, I listen to the message.

Faiz has left me a message!

His first name is Muhammed

For your information, the IRS will never call you. That is clue number 1 that these calls are BS.

I decide to call back the number.

The phone rings and an "Official" robotic voice answers with a Pakistani accent. Faiz then comes on and answers. He seems kind of disoriented and says:

"Yeah, I just got a call to call because there is a warrant out for my arrest!

"Er… Hwen you got this call?


"I meeean what time?"

"Just now, a few minutes ago. By the way, take that warrant and shove it up your ass, you low life scumbag worthless third world turd! And another thing… tell your mother to stay out of trees with monkeys, this way there are no more of your kind!"

That my fellow Americans is for all of you out there that may have been taken in by these bastards.

Monday, November 20, 2017


Sometimes I think I’m still 18 and the World although moving on, has stood still at the same time. I can remember things like it happened this morning and then realize it happened over 50 years ago! How can it be? I remember the conversations with my parents, teachers, and friends, it seems like yesterday, but it can’t be.

I see friends from years ago and remember them in a certain light, one that no longer exists, where did they go?

My guess is that my life was pretty full if you add all the ups and downs I experienced. The pace of my life caused the echoes of my Mom who would always admonish me when I wished something would happen. “DON’T WISH YOUR LIFE AWAY!” She said that sternly and emphatically.

My children have become a distant memory, they are all grown and I have children in their 40’s! How?

Where are the reality of the past and the accommodation to the present? It’s like I boarded a train for a ride through my life, I never change but the characters I meet along the way sure do.

I was always a healthy individual until I reached middle age when suddenly everything seemed to slip through my hands until I reached today’s state of health. High-blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes type-2 and an aneurysm in my stomach, a suspicious kidney and who knows what else is hiding under my skin. How long I have I don’t know. I have lived a reasonable amount of time so I can’t complain, and I did have the joy of meeting at least one grandchild that gives me such joy!

Sunday, November 19, 2017


(12 items or less)

Took a ride to the store the other afternoon to purchase some sausage for a pasta dish I wanted to eat.

Simple ingredients were purchased: sweet Italian sausage, pasta, and some crushed tomatoes. This purchase qualifies me for the elite line, the 12 or fewer items line. This is a very exclusive line, people with more than 12 items have to get in line behind other over-buyers.

As I joined the 12 I o L (12 items or less) line, I feel a certain sense of exhilaration as I see a few people ahead of me and I imagine myself flying out of the supermarket in no time!

In front of me is a nice lady with a few items, patiently waiting to move forward. We are not moving very fast on the express line! In fact, in the express lane is the slowest checkout person I have ever met. A lady who seems to be in quicksand with her arms either paralyzed or somehow restricted is checking out slower than if she didn't have a scanner to help her.

SLOOOOOWLY, she scans an item, SLOOOOOWLY she puts it aside, SLOOOOOWLY she reaches for the next item and SLOOOOOWLY she starts all over again. Then SLOOOOOWLY, ever so SLOOOOOWLY, she begins to pack the items, SLOOOOOWLY. SLOOOOOWLY she turns to the register and SLOOOOOWLY gives out the tape to the purchaser. This goes on for each customer.

The lady in front of me looks to start a conversation. She tugs on her coat and says she hopes the coat will be warm enough as it will get cool this afternoon. I advise the lady that she should not worry about that, she should worry about when she gets out of this store finally, the coat is not too heavy for July.

Saturday, November 18, 2017


The other night the phone rang with a strange number on the caller ID. Now at 6:45 PM, getting calls from numbers I don't know I don't answer. God knows I get these calls all day long. But I look at the caller ID and it shows a message after the call came in.

A few hours earlier I made dinner. To support my pork chops I made from a bag of Stop and Shop, frozen peas, and frozen corn. Since TLW (The Little Woman) bought two bags of peas, I needed to get rid of them since I hate peas and added them to some corn.

We eat the peas and corn and finish up our dinners and I even give off a few burps, as a compliment to the chef. We ‘retire' to the den and finish off our drinks as we watch some show that TLW recorded. All is well.

Then the phone call came!

I don't recognize the phone number on my TV so I don't answer it. After the answering machine kicks in, I see there is a message. Probably a stupid come-on about something I won't buy. I dial-in the message number and the message comes on. It is telling me that my package of frozen sweet corn is contaminated and I will probably die, or worse, live a little longer!

Kind of late, no?

So, if there is no blogue tomorrow, you know what happened.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Years ago, when Mom was alive and cooked so well, Thanksgiving was so festive with its Italian flair, the foods and traditions that were part of her menu stood out to me. Either at my mother's house or grandma's, the menu was the same.

Turkey was part of the holiday and so was Grandma's capon. Granny didn't like turkey, and I get that from her. I'll eat it but I don't necessarily go out of my way to order it in a deli, or restaurant. A club sandwich with thick slices of Swiss cheese is an exception, with the bacon and toasted layers of bread with tomato.

If there is one thing I need on a holiday, it is my mom's Italian sausage stuffing, with pine nuts and raisins, it says Thanksgiving in a very culinary way. It is the only stuffing I eat except for seafood stuffing on occasion. The wonderful wife makes it for me and it takes me back to Mom and Dad or Grandma once again.

Of course, nothing says Thanksgiving love like fennel. "Finocchio", as the Italians call it, is best eaten after dinner, to settle your stomach for the onslaught of the verbal and physical urging of "MANGIA!" A little olive oil, salt and good teeth and you are ready! But look out, you still need to tackle the roasted chestnuts. For years, I thought Mom and Grandma were being overly religious when I would see a cross cut into the tops of the chestnuts. Then one day I asked Mom why she did it, and she told me: it was for every cross she had to bear because of me since the last Thanksgiving!

Wine with oranges soaked in them, espresso coffee, Italian cookies and pastries with sugar-coated almond candies that Grandma saved from the various weddings she went to are all part of the residue left on the table when it is all eaten, the wine stain in the tablecloths and the laughter died down.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


The picture says it all!
I always wanted to live a carefree life, one of no obligations or needing to rise up at a certain time every morning and have to do something. Retirement is NOT how to do it.

Being retired has set a panic mode in me way back when I first decided to do so. The daily routine of having a job seems to have set a pattern in my endless need to feel productive, to still contribute. Watching those with jobs being involved in something suddenly made me jealous. A kind of desperation set in and I feared I would be left out of life, a meaningless existence fueled by boredom.

I took stock of what I was capable of and decided there was still a lot left to do. There was my membership on the Board of Directors of Suffolk AHRC, there was art, I love to write, there is cooking, and I have the time to visit places such as museums, movies and libraries, and places of historic interest.

But the biggest perk, of course, is my granddaughter visiting her and seeing her on Facetime has given me the reason to look forward to every Sunday morning. That is a perk, being called grandpa by this incredible little child. God IS good.

Now I have this project I am sharing with Frank. It is a labor of love because it mirrors my life as a child as it reports his. To have this opportunity to do this, and with such a fine gentleman as he, it really isn't labor. The project offers all kinds of additional opportunities as I work on it, so I look forward to the next few years.

As I write this, Frank and our wives and I will meet for dinner tonight for the first time. TLW (The Little Woman) will be introduced to Frank and his lovely wife Frances, she too is from the old sod, just like Frank, Brooklyn. They met long ago and married these many years later. How great is that?

So tonight, after dinner, I will drop by their home and we will open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the occasion and toast my good fortune of meeting these guys.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Most mornings you will find me on a piece of apparatus that is designed to annoy me. It is a supplement to my heart doctor who definitely annoys me. It seems each time I go to his office, he does these three tests designed to kill me and take away my breath. The tests involve starving me and of course no coffee.

So, at the gym each morning I work on my stamina so I can pass the stress test and move on until he annoys me next year. I was told at his recent visit that if I passed I could do anything I wanted. Surprise, I plan to do it anyway!

Well, one-morning last week as I was working out, this young lady comes by and uses the same equipment next to me. This poses a problem, she is young and attractive wearing spandex and I'm concentrating on Married with Children on a small screen in front of me at 5:15 in the morning.

Now all my numbers are displayed in a monitor on the equipment so anyone going by or is near-by can read the numbers. In my mind these numbers are fine, but if this young spark is looking, then they are inadequate and need I say pathetic? She of course in her youth and spandex with the workout, while I in my cotton will crap out if the damned time isn't over soon!

Naturally, she starts and I look over at her monitor, she has already exceeded the speed of light, while I am trying to break my personal record of putting it in drive. She starts to pump hard, ever so hard and I try to keep up with her, cycle by cycle I am keeping pace, calorie by calorie we are shedding together, heart rate by heart rate we pulse, when suddenly, she put s on the gas and I see my time is up.

My moral lesson for the day: Learn to mind my own business, get over the stomach strain you just inflicted on yourself and hey, I missed Married with Children!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


It still has a month left yet Fall or Autumn seems to have taken an early break. It seems like only last week the weather was in the 60’s and even the 70’s. The sky was crystal clear and the clouds seem non-existent.

This week the day is very grey, dreary and cold, the sun only peeks in and out on occasion. There is a very beautiful poem written and recited by an old Jewish man who happens to be my best friend, and at this time of the year he will don his tweed jacket with elbow patches and recite his poem, eagerly awaited by his legion of fans (both of them) and it goes like this.

Spring has sprung
Fall has fell,
Winter’s here,
And it’s cold as usual.

So how is it that Autumn has disappeared so quickly, who saw it last and any idea where it went to? Can we ever recover those balmy-like days and enjoy some sunshine again, or does the old Jewish man have to write another poem?

I guess we will have to wait until Spring when the birds will sing and the flowers bloom as the old Jewish man recites his usual:

Spring has sprung
The Grass is riz
I wonder where
The Birdies is?

Monday, November 13, 2017


Well, maybe a little.

It seems that all day long my phone rings. There are calls from charities, they think I survive to support all charities and sometimes I need to draw a line and say ‘NO!' I am not mean, just tired of all the calls. I don't get into conversations with them, I just hang up.

Then there is the silent call, where you answer the phone and say: "Hello" and no one answers right away, it takes usually a few times before the knucklehead responds. I like to engage them a little, make them say something, ask a question and then hang up. Something very satisfying about that!

I used to get a call every day: "We have tried to reach you, this is our second and final call about your credit card payments." Sure, call back tomorrow, the second time.

On Election Day I was getting calls one every hour. A recorded voice starts in: "Hello, this is Congressman P. Tuey" I hang up after an expletive deleted or two.

The local handyman, be it a plumber, carpenter or electrician will call on a slow day looking for something to do for me. "We're in the neighborhood today and …" CLICK!

My very favorite call comes from someone with an Indian or Pakistani accent. His mission is to get inside my computer and steal as much as possible from me. It goes something like this:
"Allow, is dis JOOssef?"
"JOOssef, I am caaallling hew from Windows Control Center caaallling about your compuuter, JOOssef! Weee have found a virus in your computer!"

"Oh, my God! In MY computer!!!???" (I own Macs only)

"Yes, JOOssef, you need to remooove it immediately. Go to the control key and…"

And I lead him on for about 5 minutes, then when he asks me what I see on my screen, I reply"

"I see my computer being shoved up you lying @$$, you thieving scumbag! Tell your mother to stay out of trees with monkeys, then you won't have any siblings looking like you!"

Many years ago I was getting calls at 2:00 PM every business day afternoon, while I was working at home. It was the New York Times and as many times they called, I would tell them I wasn't interested. Finally, out of desperation they called and stopped when I told them I had brain cancer and was fading fast. I worked!

Sunday, November 12, 2017


It happens every year and every year it gets staler and staler. What am I talking about? Election Day of course. It starts after Labor Day and the campaigning goes on with the same ads on TV and radio. There is no variation of the theme, just continuity to the same tedious boring prattle.

Probably one of the most offensive lines is after the lies have been made, the candidate says in his or her own voice: "I approve this message!" Well now, then this MUST be the truth!

Of course, the most dismal and unfortunate poses are displayed on the tube of the opponent, who was supported by the most unpopular politician, as if step-by-step they were in cahoots at every moment of every day.

Many times, the screen portrays the opposition candidate with thin gray lines running horizontally, toning down any honesty the politician might have had. The opposition is always on a grey background and an ugly color that can be conjured up. But the candidate? He/she is in some sunny green pasture, with happy faces abounding and the family lovingly looking at their hero.

I wish we could arrest all of them and toss them all in jail for the duration of their terms.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


She lay there almost lonely, facing the end of her life without rancor or fear, just a stoic attitude. I watched her for the past few days as she quietly slipped into a coma.

As her son, I sat there wondering if there was anything I could do for her. Having come every day, I tried to make her last hours as pleasant as possible, knowing she needed her children desperately.  I read to her, showed her pictures and Youtube videos that made her laugh, I even took her on a venture through her old neighborhood through her old neighborhood WITH EARTH GOOGL, when she was a child, taking her ‘home' once again.

Her right arm sat in a fixed position as she slowly died, drifting into unconsciousness. I know that people that are losing consciousness can still hear, can still discern what is going on around them, and can still feel emotion.

I leaned close to her ear and told her I loved her, that she not fear death that it was eternal rest, that it would free her from all her Earthly cares. I told her also I loved her and always did. I felt at ease doing that. I made me feel so good that I said what I did and I believe that she heard me, that she knew what she suspected all along.

When she did finally pass, I felt relieved that she no longer suffered. I felt at peace. I sat in a chair and was at peace with my thoughts and realized there was nothing else to think about but except the resting of her soul. I did all I could for her, for months before she passed, I was at peace.

The moments after she passed, suddenly someone came out and told me that I should pray over her body. I had prayed, in my visitation, in my concern for her welfare every day before she passed.  Instead, I was criticized and told I was a disgrace. I was not gathered with others who really didn't think it was important to be with her in her last hours, it was more important to pray over her lifeless body, prayers that offered nothing but an opportunity to ease their guilty and selfish conscience.

Life will go on, they will judge me, and I will still be glad that I did what I did. God can judge me, he can judge that I spent my time with Mom, that she was too important to let other matters get in my way. I gave her my all, all my love, attention and a need to make her last hours happy. But I was criticized because I didn't pray with a bunch of hypocrites who felt the neglect of their mother was excusable by praying over her dead body. May God forgive them.

Friday, November 10, 2017


Or how I got this way.

From a very early age in life, I learned that the center of the universe was the kitchen table. There were many first-hand discoveries made at this location, and many lessons learned, both good and bad.

At the age of about 4-years old, I had my first cup of coffee, when I took my father's cup and added sugar and milk to the coffee to my liking. On the kitchen table sat a loaf of Italian bread, crusty and looking good. I sliced off a chunk and buttered it like nobody's business, and did what Dad did, dunked it. My, my, my-was that delicious!

On our kitchen table once, about the same age as the bread dunk, Dad had a sketch pad that he used on occasion. Next to it were a pencil and an empty bottle of milk. I drew the milk bottle to detail, and my Dad was very excited that I could draw, and draw naturally, this made Mom happy too.

That very same table led me to distraction, and misery when it came to my Catechism, learning about God and how you can sin. The Ten Commandments were drilled and instilled in my head, supported by a wooden spoon, when applied left me both in pain from the sting and hungry from the smell, after all, Mom was a great cook.

The kitchen table came often with verbal lessons from Mom such as: "The way you make your bed is the way you sleep in it!" This was after I may have abbreviated the truth somewhat and had a difficult time putting the cock and bull story together. Often lectures, followed by: "Wait, just waaaaaait! Someday I hope you have children like YOU!" AND, "I hope they aggravate you just like you're aggravating me!" Another piece of philosophy was: "WAIT ‘till your father gets home!"

It was on that table with its Dutch theme on the porcelain top that the homework was spread out, tea and chat with my aunt who visited and the awaiting of dinner that all of life was centered on that my life was built.

Then one day my folks decided they were tired of living like Ralph and Alice Kramden and bought a new kitchen set, replacing the wood and porcelain table with high back wooden chairs for the coldness of a sunny yellow chrome table with plastic covered seats. We had left my childhood behind. No longer did we have the drawer that held the silverware in it under the tabletop, or the leafs that pulled out on either side of the table to make it longer. Now we had a table with chrome and chairs to match with a stool with steps that one could use to climb for some reason or other. The only thing the same was the food we ate on it.

Thursday, November 09, 2017


With the new technology that abounds, the old-school things are becoming obsolete. Music and art, drama and cinema as a whole seem to have lost some luster in some ways and yet is still appreciated in others.

The other day I was watching an old movie based on an old book, written by Pearl S. Buck titled: The Good Earth. It is a wonderful story about a Chinese couple that rises and falls then rises again to new heights in their lives in China Reading the book was a wonderful experience I had as a young teenager, my imagination staged the whole thing as I read the words between the covers. Written in 1931 and adapted to a play later, then the movie in 1938.

The movie had a great flaw, it was an American movie, one with the main characters being American! Hundreds of Chinese and Japanese and I would bet on Koreans in the movie recruited to play the extras, all around the American actors. The stereotyping was strong as was the perceptions of what China and Chinese were about. Even the racist idea of using non-Chinese Asians to play Chinese became laughable.

Starring Paul Muni as Wang Lung. For her role as his wife O-Lan: Luise Rainer, the makeup could not hide the fact that they were American and looked out of place in their roles to me. This is of course only my opinion but still, it just didn't come across.

I loved the novel and should have stayed with it that way and not watched the movie. However, when a movie stars Paul Muni, I watch.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


No more! No more speeches, tuxedos and loud bands slamming in my ears. My term is over as President of the Board of Director's come this May. I can relax, not worry or think about agency business as I will take a place around the long table and just cruise until they carry me away.

This year's Candlelight Ball which raises money for our programs and supports was very successful, filled with people who enjoyed themselves and were fed well. Mamma Lombardi once again coming through for our cause with a redecorated ballroom and an over-adorned DelBloggolo in attendance.
My daughter Ellen in rehab

This is the first year TLW (The Little Woman) and I didn't dance, making me feel that maybe I am old, sadly it doesn't bother me all that much. I remember when my Grandmother went to weddings and danced the Tarantella with my great Uncle Felix her older brother, it was a highlight of the reception as the music built to make anyone want to dance grew, the couple swinging to the traditions of their culture. Then one day I decided to get married and asked my grandmother to dance the Tarantella at my wedding and she said: no, she was too old anymore to indulge in something so physical. THAT was my real first lesson about the aging process.
It seems a lot of life is getting done. At my age, I often wonder if I'll ever get to see my granddaughter Darby again, or visit the lovely state of California or Cape May New Jersey. I'm not being maudlin, just realistic, with all I have not going for me anymore. When the doctor starts worrying about my kidney or an aneurysm in my stomach, my high blood pressure and high cholesterol, my veins clog naturally, I can't help but wonder.

Over the past three years since Mom died, and Dad over 25 years ago, there is no one left in this world from my family I grew up in, but thank God, I have a wife and kids, a wonderful daughter-in-law and this fantastic grandchild named Darby, the culmination of many years of wanting a grandchild, and getting one so special.

As you stand upon the shore,
And look across the sea.
At sand or surf and evermore,
Please, don't look for me.

When you walk among the trees,
And flowers, birds so free.
Remember I am one with these,
So, please don't look for me.

For I will be of moments past,
A distant memory.
Salute, hold high your glass,
But don't look for me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Michael and me
And the three ‘Mesketears'.

I am presently writing a book in collaboration with a gentleman from the old sod, that is Brooklyn. Although he is from the Red Hook section of Brooklyn and I hail from Bushwick, our lives are very similar and in effect can mirror one another's. Both Italian-American our cultures are cemented as one.

His name is Frank and doing this project with him is a pleasure for me personally. He is a wonderful individual who still has his boyish enthusiasm and likes to relate his childhood life. We met because of a mutual friend named Michele from my high school days. It was our love for our past they motivated Michele to recommend this union.

He has brought me back to my childhood days on the streets, the imagination that was always presenting itself to me and my grasping it to the fullest. Being poor never registered in my heart or mind, just the love of family and friends within the confines of the neighborhood.

Which takes me to my two best friends: Anthony and Michael as we roamed the streets and concrete jungle that was my first home. We grew up together for a while and then moved on, however, those days never left me, those good times helped me immeasurably throughout my life, in my outlook, perseverance, and determination.

Growing up with friends who were always available, always ready to do things and never fighting with each other, we had a bond. Mike was a redhead and the youngest, while Anthony was older and a kind of leader. Me, I always was ready to do mischief, just tell me with who and where and I'll find a way.

Our targets were often the greengrocer from around the corner, the corner bar with three entrances for us to ‘raid' and anyone deemed asking for it. We never broke the law but did break the silence.

There was a set of neighbors who lived across the street from us who we called the ‘Lampshades' because they were always sitting at their bedroom window watching us play and telling us what we should do. Often, we pulled pranks on them to get their reactions and to come downstairs and intervene. Once they came down, we would disappear and watch from a hallway hidden, laughing that they made the trip for nothing.

Monday, November 06, 2017


Itza not him
One day in sunny Naples, someone said or did something to old Joe that kind of upset him, and rather than go through the formalities of asking for an apology, he killed the man with his bare hands in self-defense! OK, maybe he was a little touchy, but then had his antagonist spoken to him in some other language and hadn't threatened him, he wouldn't have had such a speedy end to his life.

Of course, this did not sit well with the Dipartimento di Polizia Locale di Neopolitan, and rather than book a passage to America, Grandpa Joe stowed away, saving his skin and boat fare. It is my guess that all he packed for his voyage was a long salami and provolone, with maybe a flask of vino to soothe his guilty soul for killing a man, stowing away, and causing all that overtime at the Dipartimento di Polizia Locale di Neopolitan.

There is only one photo I ever saw of my grandpa Joe. It sat on a wall of my grandmother's cellar where she canned and made wine. He is dressed in a tuxedo, with a finely trimmed pencil mustache and a look of severity. Grandpa Joe died at a young age from pneumonia as a victim of Spanish influenza.

Today is his birthday, he would have been about 130-years old. What makes his birthday notable to me is not the age he would have been but the date. November 6, is his birthday, April 6 is my son's birthday, July 6 is my birthday! A coincidence, none-the-less.

Grandpa was a crusty guy who fought in WWI, started a business that he left for my grandmother to prosper from and truly loved his children.

When Grandpa was mustered out of the army, he was the victim of the Spanish Influenza and was hospitalized in Brooklyn. Laying in the hospital bed he yearned to see his wife and children who he missed throughout the war. His son Anthony and daughter Angelina were waiting at home and grandma had another on the way.

One day a very large and severe snowstorm was raging outside his second-floor room. There were snowdrifts very high and things were pretty much closed down throughout Brooklyn. Grandpa Joe decided that this was to be his opportunity to escape the hospital and go home to see his kids, so he did what any maniac would do for his kids, he climbs out the second-floor window down into the snow and took off for home.

Grandpa Joe arrived home in one piece, but the task was taxing, giving him pneumonia with the flu and he died a few days later.

But in his short time in America when he arrived in 1915, he married, had two kids, started a business and fought for his new country. Too bad he didn't live longer, God knows what he could have accomplished.

Sunday, November 05, 2017


Years ago, I discovered that TLW (The Little Woman) used me as a model for her lessons in her religion class. She taught little 7-year olds about God and the opposite, namely me.

When I was just a pre-teen, my parents went to the city to bring my little Italian Grandmother home for a few days for some occasion or other. My sister and I were left behind for a few hours and in the days of black and white TV; things could get boring in a hurry. It was this very occasion that TLW used for one of the life's lessons.

As that evening progressed, I became hungry, or should I say hungrier. I had a yen for potato chips and decided to make some, and my young and pliable assistant, my little sister would help me, whether she wanted to or not. We got some potatoes and sliced them up, pour some oil into a frying pan and dumped the potatoes into the pan. Not looking crisp enough for my liking, I jacked up the flame all the way. Suddenly, the pan caught fire, and an orange-yellow flame began licking out of the pan, and I decided I would just carry it over to the sink, and pour tap water on it. Big mistake! The flame leaped out of the pan and onto the curtains that draped over the sink! I quickly ripped off the curtains and did a Mexican hat dance on them until the flame went out. Surveying the damage, I noticed that only the middle of the curtain was burned, so I decided to cut it away, and sew it up!

My assistant Martha Stewart and I laid out the curtain on the floor and using my Mother's sewing kit cut and sewed. When we were finished, we decided it looked pretty good! We hung them back up and reasoned that my Mother would be so unhappy about having her Mother-in-law in the house for a few days, that she wouldn't notice a thing.

We waited anxiously for the return of my parents and I was suddenly overcome with a religious furor that I could not begin to describe. We heard the car pull up and the doors slam. A little bit of Italian told me they had indeed arrived. My heart started to beat faster and faster, as the voices in Italian got closer and closer. Suddenly the door opened, I crossed myself and made a mental note to change my underwear asap as they entered the kitchen.


The stool pigeon revealed all.

The lesson TLW taught?

Well, boys and girls, when you do something wrong, you should say you did it, and say you are sorry.

Of course, it helps a Hell of a lot if you are out of range of my Mother's backhand.

Saturday, November 04, 2017


Mom had a hard and fast rule: “Don’t touch the cookies, they’re for the kids, meaning my two youngest sisters. Me and hard fast rules never could make a connection, it seems such a thing was a challenge that I needed to meet head-on.

Almost as good as powdered donuts!
It was a Saturday morning, she was still in bed asleep, and Mom and Dad had gone out. I was awake, and decided to get my revenge on my older sister! Going to the cookie closet, I took down the unopened box of cookies, and removed a half a dozen, or maybe it was six, I don’t remember, and ate all but one. The one cookie I took into my sleeping sisters room, and crumbled it on her bed! The brilliance of my plan was so cold and calculating, that to this day, I smile at it. I re-glued the box and put it back on the shelf.

Mom came home and was loading the closet with some items, when she noticed the box of cookies was lighter than she expected as she moved them to accommodate new groceries! I had used a butter knife to slice away the glue and not rip the cookie top of the box.


“Mom, why do I get blamed for everything around here? Huh?”


“Maybe my older sister did it?”


“Well, ask her, for a change don’t ask me.”

(Notice I didn’t deny anything, just asked for a more thorough investigation, before getting the wooden spoon broken on my head.)

Mom goes into my older sister’s room, where she is awakened and questioned, and of course, she denies everything. (What a piece of work, she knows she’s innocent even in her sleep. Jeez!)

I go in to help things along, lean on the crumbs and brush them off, Mom sees this and she gets hell!

Revenge and about five cookies were mine, free and clear.

Later in life I often though of apologizing to my older sister, but thought: NAH!

Friday, November 03, 2017


Takes patience with the patient.

I like an early appointment when it comes to the doctor visits. I try to make my appointments at the latest: 9:30 AM, after that it is a wasted day. I am not always the best patient since I have a low tolerance for doctors. All they ever do is poke around, fill you with drugs and read enthralling descriptions of what was done to you by a recommendation the doctor made to a specialist.

The other morning, I had an appointment with the GP at 9:30 AM, and when I arrived I knew I was in for a wait. It was 15 minutes after the appointed time that I even was called. Then I went another 40 minutes waiting in his examining room. As you wait, you sit on the examining table until your back gives out, then you hop off and start to look around. First, you look out the window, then your eyes scan the room, the counter with the little bottles and Q-tips, the Hazard box and the alcohol dispenser and finally he shows up, all smiles and rested. I had a headache, was in a bad mood and needed my coffee. Since he draws blood every time he sees me, I can't eat or have coffee until the blood is drawn. This, of course, ends with me going to the nearby local McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich and coffee.

Once years ago, as I sat in McDonald's having a post-doctor cholesterol feast, my cell phone rings, and who is it but my doctor told me some bad news about sugar and cholesterol. Fear gripped me and I looked around to make sure there were no noises giving me away as to where I was, bad news and discovery at that particular moment was not a good thing.

Anyway, when the nurse escorts me to the examining room, I can't help but notice how young and beautiful she is, with long black hair, opal eyes and a very sexy figure, (not that I was looking) and my imagination took me to perhaps a Caribbean island or perhaps a beach along the Riviera, (Italian, I want to be near my relatives, they could put us up for free), when she turns to me with her sweet angelic voice, pursed lips and glorious smile and says: "I need you to pee in the cup."

So, after a flu shot and a drawing of 2 vials of my blood by the doctor, I vowed to be more diligent in my intake behaviors and headed to McDonald's for a breakfast sandwich and a much-needed coffee.