Sunday, December 31, 2017


As my Italian uncles would say: “Eh! A Appy Newer Year.

Let’s all have a wonderful New Year, with old differences set aside and forgotten, that parents with sick children all over the world find them healed. That parents who were estranged from their children are reunited, and contentious relationships brokered into peaceful ones, that no one losses a job, or a loved one, that there is nothing but prosperity for all, happiness and enough love to spread around the world twice over.




Saturday, December 30, 2017


It’s been a long time since I heard the pitter-patter of little feet running in my house. I wondered if as an old man, I would appreciate the clamor and noise of a child taking over the house. As much as I wanted this to occur, I wondered if it was real.

I have discovered that my granddaughter is life itself, that her pitter-patter has given me new life and love beyond my expectations! She is cool, loving and sweet. Darby Shea is everything any grandparent would want from their grandchild.

Her maturity astounds me, she can create a game from simple things and does so with rules and direction. Her Mom for Christmas gave her a little toy donut among the many gifts that cascaded upon her, some complex and colorful, yet all day she gravitates to the donut, something she preferred playing with. I tried to figure out what was so great about this cheap little toy she enjoys so much and realize: all the complexity of the other toys no match for her imagination and creativity, she needs to be challenged and to be creative. The donut is a chance for her to be just that, creative. She rolls it, tosses it, runs a stick through the hole in it and creates little games that seem to amuse her.

Now the best part, she is very understanding and considerate, she is like a little princess, with sunshine, birds singing and the sweet aroma and color of a field filled with flowers. I am a lucky grandpa, but then again, look who she has for parents.

Friday, December 29, 2017


I have a grandchild, a little button named Darby Shea, I call her La Principessa, Italian for the Princess, and she shows why I made a good choice in calling her that.

There is another princess in my life, my daughter Ellen, a sweet woman who truly loves people as a whole and yet can't express herself except with smiles and hugs and squeals of excitement when she sees someone she loves.

There was a union of the two, La Principessa Darby and my beautiful daughter Ellen. What transformed was truly amazing.

Christmas has given me many gifts this year, all wonderful in themselves, I for one am still here on Earth, I have my beautiful wife who won't leave me, I had all my children with me for Christmas Day, and I had La Principessa and her amazing Mommy. What else could there be, yet the last gift was tremendous, a shock and joy, a grandchild is on the way, and for my son Anthony, it is a boy this time!

But the gift I'm really talking about came unexpectedly. My wife and I were very concerned that my daughter with all her developmental disabilities would not understand a little child, and that little child, Darby would be afraid of my daughter.

AS my granddaughter approached my daughter, who was sitting on the couch, La Principessa slowly climbed the couch and sat next to Ellen. They smiled at each other lovingly and my daughter started to express herself by smiling and hitting the seat of the couch. My little munchkin granddaughter imitated her and suddenly there was laughter from both, they had bonded. My nervousness about protecting my granddaughter was over, Aunt Ellen found someone new to love. And my granddaughter? She already had that love in her.

Thursday, December 28, 2017


In all my years at Christmas time, I've enjoyed so many, this past Christmas is the greatest yet! It was filled with everything I ever wanted, a complete family Christmas with all my children around me.

My daughter Ellen came from her group home like she is every Christmas day, the oldest, she lives with disabilities and tries to keep up her family as best she can. To her, Christmas is just another day with Mom and Pop.

There was my son Anthony, #1 Son, who arrived from Burbank with his beautiful wife Courtney and the most beautiful child ever, there daughter and MY grandchild, Darby Shea (La Principessa).

Bringing up the rear was Michael, #2 Son, fresh from his new job in Manhattan as a job coach for people with disabilities, his girlfriend Julie and her brother Kevin. Julie and Kevin were going to spend Christmas day alone since the parents were in Puerto Rico on a vacation. TLW (The Little Woman) and I were alarmed by that and so invited them for Christmas Eve dinner and again on Christmas day. No one should be alone for Christmas!

We spent the morning (I did) in anticipation of La Principessa awakening to what Santa brought her. It took a while to go through her presents as she entertained us, modeled her new clothes and participated in dancing, singing and jumping like a very happy child. Thank God for that.

But the two things that struck me most, that made it the best Christmas ever were: That my granddaughter was so compassionate, so wise and loving to sit with her aunt and give off both kindness and love. She is only 3 ½ years old, yet had more compassion than most adults I know.

Secondly, was the news that came after we opened all the presents, an announcement was made by my beautiful daughter-in-law Courtney, TLW and I were going to be grandparents once again in June! This is electrifying, stupendous, incredible and nice! This time it is a little boy, who probably knows a lot already.

There were other miracles that also occurred that I don't wish to mention other than to say it was truly a magical and wondrous Christmas.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


By now there are few people who don't use or rely on the Internet. We seem to have our lives encased in a world of cyber communication, one that defines us as never before! We have private email addresses, names on Facebook and we can instantly communicate with most people who are old enough to read and type out words, no matter how fast or slow they do it.

This is a far cry from Grandma's world, where the telephone and TV or radio kept her informed. Most information by the time she got it was or had transformed or morphed into something else, rendering her facts absolute.

Raising her children was a lot easier, she paid attention to where they were going or who they were seeing and she reacted accordingly. Today we face another monster, the chat rooms and Facebook pages that flood the Internet making for the possibility of meeting someone who could be in jail. Meeting strangers online is a hit or miss thing, there is no real proven science to it, no one can be assumed to be what they appear to be or even claim they are.

The idea that you can be instantly in touch with someone no matter where you are in the world makes it amazing, only because it is instantaneous complete, providing you use Facetime.

I can just imagine my grandmother arranging one of her trips to Italy or some upstate grotto, using the power of the Internet, she would be one powerful organizer. A few years ago, I organized a cruise for my classmates and myself, and while using the Internet to do a lot of work, remembered my grandmother and how the process was long, laborious and detailed. Grandma was amazing and if she had use of the Internet would have probably raised even more money for orphaned children.

Planning, communicating, sorting out names and payment along with Itinerary would have been done in her kitchen, near her stove and refrigerator. I know, that was where I used to hang out!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


In my lifetime there were many people that crossed my path, making huge impressions and moving me to do for others that I would want to be done to me. These are people with an innate goodness that is not openly expressed with words but by actions. I can point to my wife as one, whose actions always seem to be out of love, something I feel blessed with.

Many years ago, over 50, one man came into the lives of my family and took a coat with the sentiment of FAMILY ONLY and wore it well, he became a wonderful addition to the family, although I think he was really just late in getting there, he was always family.

He was my brother-in-law and was actually the brother I wished I had. When he married into the family, we all became more joined, more complete. Funny thing is how different he was being Polish, but that didn't stop us, no we went on and made the best of that by teasing him out of love, and he knew it. His name was John, and that was good, we didn't have any John in the family.

John was always there for you if you needed him, he gave his all for his family and we gave our all for him. Today is his birthday, a day I will always celebrate in my heart and soul because he was a good and decent man. Although it is sad, I am grateful to have been with him when he passed away. I held his hand as he suffered through his final hours and minutes. When the nurse administered the morphine, I prepared myself to say goodbye, his family surrounding him in those moments.

As those final moments took place, I remembered that on his birthday, he would buy everyone in his family a present, yes, he had so much love for his family that he couldn't get presents because his heart was too full of love for them. Each was a separate love that experienced separate circumstances, he was a great father and husband.

Happy Birthday, John, I still miss you.

Monday, December 25, 2017


I hope I covered it all. It's nice to have a holiday that makes us all civil, that leads us down a path of social responsibility and civility for one day at least. It shows what is really in us if we want to show that side.

There are many Christmas stories, some about the baby Jesus, some about miracles of light, and some personal experiences. It is there I wish to go, the personal experiences that have lit my life up.

Once upon a time, many years ago, in a little apartment, sat a young couple, newly married and expecting a child for the first time. They weren't rich or having much in their young lives except each other and dreams.

She was a silent type of giver, you didn't know she gave until you had it, no warning, and when it was given, an afterglow filled your heart. Her beautiful smile and kindness was a gift from God himself.

He was an ordinary man with ordinary dreams and struggled with life in many ways, when knocked down he would jump up and go the next round, never faltering completely.

Christmas came one morning and he gave her his present, a gift from what he had and he felt happy that he was able to do so. Gifts are wonderful, they fill a need to give and a need to show love or appreciation.

She, on the other hand, gave her gift in an act of love, something that touched him deeply, that the value of love is indeed action, not gifts. He had a watch that he no longer wore because he couldn't find the time to fix it, and would not spend the money either.

As they kissed and exchanged gifts, she opened hers then he opened his. What he found was the gift and act of kindness wrapped in love. She fixed his watch. This so moved him, this simple act of love, and the point of it is, that every year that same gift is given in other forms, all year long, the greatest gift, from the kindest soul.

He may not have much in the looks department, just ordinary or less, but if you see him, never wonder what is in his heart, it is a sustaining love for someone who makes Christmas every day for him, and for him is the happiest heart there is.


Sunday, December 24, 2017


Many Italian American families from the southern regions of Italy celebrate the Christmas Eve feast of the seven fish. Being almost an island, the peninsula of Italy relies heavily on seafood, and with that tradition s borne.

They say Italians speak with their hands, and indeed they do, they speak of the food, the art, and industry, but most of all, the music, "Musica Bella" as they say. And if you want to be lifted into the Christmas spirit, all you need to do is listen in on Christmas eve, to such artist as Luciano Pavoratti, Perry Como, Lou Monte and the many others of Italian voice that populated the 40's, 50's and 60's of Italian American culture.

As the smell of Mom's pasta sauce with the cooking of the fish, her in her apron and Dad in his flannel shirt, the sound of little kids and cousins who have gathered, the music completed the background. Italian homemade cookies, drinks coming from gallons of homemade wine and liquors and the anticipation of the feast warmed the air and gave a magical light to an ordinary room. The spirit was there and so the love, once.

As we move on in life, whenever I hear a song like Tu Scendi Della Stelle, the Ave Maria, and Cantan Gli Angeli, a million memories come flooding back, the happiest evening of the year, Mom and Dad at the table, Dad so thrilled to have his family surrounding him with in-laws and grandchildren, Mom with a tired but happy look as everyone complimented her on her cooking, the exotic dishes we ate only at Christmas eve, and the undying laughter that pierced the special night.

They say you can never go home again, and that is true, but the memories of home linger as do the feelings and heartfelt joy of memories of loved ones, and traditions stay forever at home in your heart.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Today was a busy day, I had to pick up #1 Son from the railroad station and then bake some cookies for Christmas. With La Principessa coming to brighten the day, she needs things like cookies, warm blankets, and toys, plenty of each.

Since I already supplied her with the toys and blankets, I began to work on the cookies. I made three kinds, chocolate chips, caramel chips and almond crescents which are the traditional cookie around the holidays.

I like to cook, give a chance and a few ingredients and let go to work. But as a part-time baker, maybe once a year, I ask: How do you get a sore back from baking cookies?

Yes, I'm getting old, but a sore back from baking cookies! Not only that, but I'm retaining water and I can't seem to do a thing with my hair today!

Friday, December 22, 2017


Let me tell you, as I promised so long ago, back in 2006 when I started this blogue, that I would on occasion relate experiences of dinning I have, and today is one of those days.

Recently as last Sunday, TLW (The Little Woman) and I ventured out to a new eating experience in a little place called Blue Point. Blue Point is noted for its beer and seafood and I took this all-in consideration when I sat down to order my meal.

The Corey Creek Inn is a very nostalgic looking restaurant that seems to hail back to the 1970's when I was actively pursuing my end to bachelorhood. This is not to say that anything is wrong with the look, it kind of says Welcome home!

The service? Probably the most courteous and caring, doing all they can to please the customer.

The food? God the food! Professional and expert, the chef should be placed in irons so he doesn't get away. I had the best Calamari I ever had, well done, battered that didn't take over the flavor but enhanced it. My main course was seafood Fra Diavolo, the seafood was plentiful, the sauce was so good I should order it by the glass. They are excellent! If you get the chance, go there and order the Blue Point beers they offer, you won't be disappointed.


Way back in the early 1950's when it came to cheaply made, tiny and small things, things of no value or quality, you said it was made in Japan. The Japanese took a lot of abuse and in spite of it, built their economy to become one of the strongest in the world.

Cars were small economy cars, cheap tin toys that best went to the Cracker Jack Box were produced, and we scoffed at the notion of Japanese products.

But take my hand, and let me led you to the great American Heritage of ours, the quality of American built products, a union built, all wrapped in an American flag, how proud are we?

Well, if you are buying a pair of socks, say from the Authentic American Heritage, the true-blue name of Americana if ever there was one, you can see the hard-working men and women, their sleeves rolled and their backs into it. Or do you?

While we are holding hands, take a look at the photo I provided. Look carefully. See the fine print? "Made in China"! What, where my fortune cookies come from! Can't be!

Next time you salute the flag, have it hauled down first and see if you can read the label.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


Back in the late summer of 2009, I reconnected with my high school classmates in the form of a 45th reunion. Working with members of past committees for our class reunion, one individual was very instrumental in the success of the past, and now was in the center of a new attempt as worthy as the past. Her name was Michele, and she had experience and leftover props from the past reunions, she knew it would happen again.

As we progressed with our stellar committee, I started to learn about the past, the committee member's past and their travails. Two members stood out, one who was brave and suffered by herself, and one, Michele who took on something so meaningful along with her husband, Nick.

When Nick and Michele discovered they could not naturally have children, they did the next best thing for parents with a place but no children, they adopted. And so, a young child who was parentless suddenly had a home and parents, but mostly she had love, the love of people that wanted to share that love. Nicole was suddenly a very rich young lady.

As the years passed and Nicole grew to a young woman, she met a young man, they married and life seemed good for all, Michele and Nick had fulfilled their dream and Nicole, like every young woman fulfilled hers, life was good!

Then after a year-and-half, tragedy struck, Nichole was suddenly sick, so sick she was paralyzed and was under constant attack by her body, and for the next 14 ½ years, this fight raged on, and in spite of the rules of battle, she remained upbeat and determined to fight the disease and believe she would walk someday. Then one-day last week, it happened, Nicole had passed away. This horrible reality struck home, the unfairness, the suddenness, the hard, cold reality that has struck so many other parents when their child is taken away from them.

Nicole was a result, one where what came before her was so powerful it sustained, nurtured and fed into her heart and soul, forever binding her naturally to her adoptive parents. Their love, teaching, and example gave Nicole the strength she needed to fight with adversity, with strength and dignity. Nicole was definitely Nick and Michele's natural child.

How on God's good Earth, does he reward three people from different places find each other, give so much love with a wonderful hope for the future, have this horrible and unfair result? The hope of grandchildren, holidays spent together and all the wonderful things that life can bring you is taken away as from you as parents and child. There were too many days left needed to celebrate this beautiful union of parents/child. My hope is that they the parents will continue to celebrate Nicole's life and love for them, they did their job and now they need to rest and know they did the best anyone in life could possibly do, they taught to love and was rewarded with that same kind of love. That will never go away.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


found with a prostitute in the name of Gid
And that is for the better. The time for secret, hidden dirty secrets that are safeguarded by both the perpetrator because of power and the victim because of vulnerability need to go away. There have been many instances of sex-abuse over the years and that doesn't make it acceptable.

There have been many instances of different types of abuse over the centuries that have played out to a new day, one in which through public awareness and pressure it has ended. Things like the women's vote, equal rights, respect for an immigrant's dream have all found a new day, or are in the process of being corrected.

The ugliness of sex-abuse has led to a new movement: Me-too. It is currently on the move and growing, making awareness something that is quickly spreading across the world, and well it should. People need to learn how to live like humans, not perpetrators of some hidden animal kingdom, and this goes mostly to men, but women too.

It took just one spark to light a revolution, to launch an idea and to blow away the crime, which it is. It staggers my mind about just how prevalent it has been over the years, how many men of power in politics, business, Hollywood and now even in the culinary arts, not to mention the clergy. Let's hope this is the new age of civility.

Regardless of your political affiliation, what Donald Trump admitted to prior to the election that was all caught on tape, was the lit charge that brings down the powerful and reducing them to the ash heap they deserve.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Recently I went out to do a little food shopping for the holidays. Something I noticed really makes me pause, the urgency and rush of people as they try to secure their holiday. It seems that the need for both gifts and food consumes and makes people manic, almost depressingly so.

I have a lot of problems with getting ready for the holidays, it seems to me we do the same things over and over again, until we make ourselves sick. Why do we wait until the last minute? Don't our freezers work in July or August, can't we purchase food, freeze it and give ourselves a break? As you peruse the shelves, you have people breathing down your neck or falling asleep in front of what they may need, almost a catatonic state of existence.

The parking lots are also a battle. As we get closer to the big day, we need to get into the store, and fast, so we can get what we need, and at the late stages of the timeline, ‘out of stock' is not an option. So, we wait vigilantly for a parking spot to open, then we plan to drive right up to it and hope no one else is thinking the same thing.

The traffic leading up to the main shopping areas is always a problem, filled with impatient and rushing drivers, tempers are short and the anticipation of crowds becoming a part of your day makes you nuts, wishing you could turn around and go home, preferably under your bed.

The internet can offer anxiety also, just try ordering online late in the game, will they deliver on time? You take a chance and wait for it, hoping that they fulfill the promise of delivery. So, for the few days remaining, you have a knot in your stomach.
Bah! Humbug!

Company coming? Well get out the aspirin, you need to select menus, gifts, booze, and cooking along with baking time. What do you make? For some, it is the traditional gifts and for some, you need a little imagination. And time? When, what day of the holiday week do you plan for and what time?

And in the end, there are the long lines, to get into some stores and to pay for the purchases. Husbands wondering why they are there, mothers with young children, burdened down with packages, disciplining their little brats who choose to test mom's patience and that of everybody else. Once you turn online comes and it is time to pay, you have an overworked clerk trying to keep civil and not explode from the rudeness and discourtesies of the public.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Santa is a faker.

Sunday, December 17, 2017


Almost a year ago I had an operation for my carotid artery, a procedure that takes a long time to settle. The procedure is to clear that main artery to your brain from plaque that builds up there. You also have one on the other side or opposite side of the neck. I have issues with both and eventually will need the other one cleared too.

The incision requires cutting into nerves that give feeling to the face area, and when the nerves are cut, you have numbness. It is a year now, but the numbness still lingers. One other bad effect it is having on me is that I am starting to feel like I will pass out! A certain rush to my head comes on and I feel the sense of fainting coming on. I get up too quickly and move on and the feeling comes on, causing me to pause and hold on. I even get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

It seems to be coming on much more often now, be it sitting and reclining to a stand-up motion or something new, raising my head in a sitting position. Having lunch one day this week, I was sitting next to TLW (The Little Woman) and I was leaning on the cleared artery with my opened hand, when I decided to raise my head slowly, slowly I raised my head off my hand and as I did, the dizziness came on.

I'm starting to wonder just how much time I really have left.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


It happens every year, the fear of coming down with something during or just before the Christmas Holiday. It usually starts when I get the request to play Santa at the Holiday Dance for people with disabilities.

At the Holiday Dance, over 350 people line up for a picture with Santa. He sits in a chair and in his red costume, sweats to death as all the participants line up, swing their arm around him and sometimes kissing Santa, and so the spittle flies.

This makes me paranoid and so I worry as a dancer after dancer comes by, telling me up close what they want and being very emphatic about it.

This year we tried something different, TLW (The Little Woman), came home with a cold, a real winner. Each day her cold got worse, each day she coughed harder and louder. I couldn't believe my luck, no symptoms. I got her tea, medications and did what I could and nothing, I was passed it, Scott, free of her cold.

Off I go to the Holiday Dance, sit through the ordeal and nothing! Nothing! That was Friday, then there was Saturday and Sunday. I wake up Monday and my sinus feels like it is dried-out. Then the cold came on, slowly at first without too many symptoms. By Wednesday, I was ready to call my kids to say goodbye, I was leaving this world.

The good news is, I'll be better for Christmas!

Friday, December 15, 2017


It sometimes comes right before the holidays, sometimes on a holiday and is particularly unfair when it involves a child. I have experienced it during the holidays, and yet when it happens it sucks, the death of a child.

A friend of mine from my high school days many years ago, adopted a child because she and her husband couldn't have children. This child grew and prospered from her adoptive parents love. She was given everything she needed, simply put love.

Then about 14-years ago, she became ill. She suffered complications from high quadriplegia. No one seems to know why or how this happens, but it does. For over 13 years her husband was her primary caretaker, devoted as he was, he did all he could, yet in the end, it wasn't meant to be. Her parents, putting their lives on hold, traveling great distances and at great expense to visit their constantly hospitalized daughter as she courageously faced the inevitable.

It breaks my heart that not even an adopted child who gave them such joy and love, cannot bring this love evermore. Life can suck, but it did give my friend at least an outlet for their own love now and forever.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Recently I got another call from a Foreign accented thief looking to get into my computer and steal my information. This goes on every few days and every few days I take them for a ride and then give them Hell. I insult them, their parentage and look for no reaction, I just hangup.

Being how this is the season to be jolly, I decided to take on a new tactic, that means changing my game plan.

I get the call:
“Alo, I am calling you about your compuuter!”
“MY computer!”
“Yes, I’m callinggg from Microsoft windows and we have noticed activity on your computer and I will show you how to deal with it.”
“Oh, WOW! Activity on it!!!???”
“Yes, are you near your computer now?”
“I’m near it but it is not on.”
“Can you turn your computer on?”
“Sure, hold on.”

I put the phone down and wait about 10 minutes, all along I’m hearing stupid yelling in the phone:










I hang up.

He calls back after a few momnets!

“Yes, I think we had a bad connection, we lost you, I’m sorry for that. Haha, can I ask you to turn on the computer again?”

“Well, OK but that was annoying, I shut it down! Give me a moment to reboot.”

I put the phone down once again. I wait about another 6 to 8 minutes.

All I can hear on the other end is:











He's pissed off


I hang up.

Yup, you guessed it, he calls back again.

Now he is annoyed and tells me I am wasting his time when he is trying to help me rid the suspicious activity on my PC. I tell him that he should inform his mother to stay out of trees where the monkeys are, this way he would not have been calling me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


As a young adman
As a retired former adman, I am having the time of my life! I am working on something that has grown into a passion, sealing my deep or innate need to write. Writing a book is in itself challenging, yet once you do one you need to do another.

I have one novel completed that I am looking to find time to search for a publisher and to write a synopsis for and a second book is being proofed read for the third time, almost ready to put into production. A third book has been done that was produced and published and so I hope this will take me to my grave, doing books, real live paper books!

The current book is about the personal experiences of a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, New York in a place called Red Hook, a place with a reputation of a turbulent neighborhood. It tells of personal relationships with friends and families, of the things that children played with in the late 1940's and early 50's. If you come from Brooklyn and lived there then, then you are going home again, visiting your parents, eating those dishes and playing with those toys.

Being a nostalgic individual myself, I gladly grabbed this endeavor because I know what it is all about, the friendship I made, the things I did and the people I knew, all of it something I always remember and always will.

It is called: A Place Called Brooklyn and hopefully will be published come this Spring.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


The ‘Holiday' dance was scheduled for 7:00 PM, and as Santa I was getting ready in the supply room, dressing in a red coat, pants, and accessories. It means donning a white beard and wig. The clock now read 6:56 PM, soon it would be show-time!

Dressing, everything was going very well, outside, the scores of participants, people with disabilities who still believe in Santa were arriving for the dance. The music from the DJ supported the idea that it was the holiday season. It flashed in my mind that if my hearing aid battery were to die now, it would be a major problem replacing it under the disguises I was wearing.

Having put all the costume on, the last item, the red hat with white trim was missing!

6:57 PM and what to do? I am isolated from everyone and can't leave the room at this point, too many people will see! I peek out the door and scan for some help, anyone who could relay my message to Michele, the staff person who is going to take pictures of 300 people and myself as Santa. Scanning, I fixate on a woman who is sitting at a nearby table for help. She does not see me, what am I going to do? I start waving at her, she is scanning the room but of course not seeing me.

"Pssst, Lady." Nothing.
"Pssssst, Lady!" Still nothing!
I start waving and she finally sees me. I summoned her to me with my hand, then my index finger pointing and recoiling over and over again. She looks puzzled and presses her hand on her chest: "Who me???" she goes.
"YES!" I continue gesturing to her and she finally comes closer.
"Could you do me a favor? Could you locate the woman in that room off the side and tell her Santa has no hat?"

I retreat and sure enough, it is 6:59 PM, the DJ will make his announcement at any moment, and the battery dies in my hearing aid! Now I have to worry that the hat lady is notified, while undoing my beard and wig, get the new battery from my clothes under the Santa suit and change the battery, and hope to God the DJ will not do anything to compromise who I am or what Santa really is.

Struggling with the beard and wig while pulling out my wallet to get a new battery, I make the change and get everything back in place, pants, jacket, beard, and wig, just when the door opens and in comes my hat!

"And now ladies and Gentleman, what you all have been waiting for, listen to that sound of bells ringing, it's SANTA!"

Suddenly the room goes quiet, everyone stares at Santa and all bedlam breaks loose! With dozens of participants looking to hug and shake hands, Santa passes the lady that relayed his message and Santa says to her:

"Thank you for helping Santa come out of the closet!"

Monday, December 11, 2017


Attorneys at Law

When it comes to supplements to my newspapers, I have everything from insurance, to undertakers and cemeteries, but the latest takes the cake. Lawyers!

Yes, those shifty-eyed bandits that populate Congress, political parties and courtrooms have now inserted as a group into my newspaper.

A slick (What else?) booklet about the size of a Pennysaver with full-color glossy pages, showcases the latest shysters as a gaggle or flock or perhaps what we should really call them: pack. Each firm has a lineup of teeth and ties that populate their particular office. Just imagine Jessie James, Al Capone and Murder Incorporated, advertising in a booklet, extolling their virtues, now imagine it is slightly lower and there you have it, Lawyers.

I remember when being a lawyer was something… to avoid. Now to make things easier, you just avoid lawyers!

There are countless jokes about lawyers, more than doctors I think.

Some of the sales pitch:
"We do only one thing: Litigate.  And we're good at it."
"Personal Injury, Medical Practice, Construction Accidents."
 I hear they even do Drive-By Shootings.
"Creative and Experienced Advocacy for Individuals"
 Creative ways to end up in jail!

As I peruse through the booklet, I notice that all the men were dark colored suits, with hands, crossed over at the waist. They look like they are ready to be placed in a casket with a wreath that says: "Bonne Voyage!"

Why would they do such a thing! Advertising for lawyers is like advertising for burglars. Both can clean you out and put you through unnecessary troubles. I must say that I am a little disappointed in that my law Firm is not even listed: WHEEL, CHEETUM & HOWE, LLP.

Sunday, December 10, 2017


During World War II during the early years in the Pacific, whenever a US Submarine launched a torpedo toward a Japanese ship, there was great fear that the torpedo would hit a target, mainly, the US submarine! Those early war year torpedoes were defective and costly in terms of lives.

I bring this up because it seems to me that there is a parallel between the torpedo (Present administration), the enemy and the submarine (the USA). The administration is launching policies and they are coming back to us, hurting and missing completely the target, but impacting our country.

We can make a case for the shifting of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That move will incite riots against both Israel and the US. Many people will be maned and killed, there will be property destruction. Svengali

There is the Russian investigation, another blot on the Administration. Doing business as a President-elect is totally illegal and needs to be punished if you see the implications involved. To add insult to injury, we have political non-entities now doing business with son and son-in-law involvement both pre-and post-election. If you look in the background, you will see Trump financial considerations. He was warned by the Obama Administration about General Flynn, yet he went about appointing him anyway. Why? Was it a natural hate of Obama?

All his campaign promises appease the haters of immigrants, both Mexican and Muslim and those of any foreign origin. Walls that others will pay, bravado words pushing forward that appease a minority of ill-informed people that buy into the hate.

It is that very same minority that usually is anti-Semitic, anti-black and anti-Gay.

People will argue that the electoral system is at fault, but I think not. I think that the selection or nominating committees that drove Mr. Trump as the leading candidate are to blame. Embedded too deeply in our hearts and souls is this innate prejudice we harbor, and instead of allowing ourselves to grow and become accepting of others, we allow that hate to grow. An electoral college is really a tool that the majority doesn't over-rule and subjugate the minority by allowing sections of a country and minorities lag or fall behind in self-governance.

Trump has no idea about the office, the concept of "America First" so boldly proclaimed throughout his candidacy and no concept that he has to cancel his interest in order to move forward the interest of his country.

Trump is not qualified as President, that could have happened one way or another that he became President. The problem is it did. We can't blame people for voting for him, but we must blame people for continuous support of him.

Saturday, December 09, 2017


As I look back in my life, there was so much I took for granted that I never realized how much it was part of my life! There are traditions like eating a salad after the main course, pizza on a Friday night, steak on a Saturday night. There is pasta or macaroni on Sundays and with marriage, the corned beef and cabbage of TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) heritage.

When the boys lived at home they had to decorate the tree, and talk about each ornament they made, each picture of Santa that they sat for.

As a child, my family went to Grandmas for Easter and Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Those were the family holidays and they were great, seeing cousins and aunts and uncles I didn’t usually see.

So, there are times when I seek some comfort food, the food that I took for granted, foods that I had were so deeply rooted in me. And that food? Pasta Faggioli, the dinner of champions and hungry Italian Americans. Good for you because the taste seeps into your bloodstream while the pasta and beans coat your stomach, all feels grand and you are complete. It is one more borrowed day from Mom’s fabulous kitchen!

Friday, December 08, 2017


The World is changing so fast I can't keep up with it! There is always something new to contend with, and frankly, I don't want to care.

I go on Facebook and my kids refer to people I never heard of. They make a statement that I have no clue who or what they are referring to, and sometimes, I feel like I lost touch with the whole World!

There are people that come out of the woodwork, people that are popular, movies that they can quote from and events I somehow missed!

What is the latest thing? Bit coins or is that Bitcoins or Bit-coins? What the Hell is that? Can I go to a bank and cash them in? Can I cash in dollars for bit coins? Can I even buy anything with them? To me, a bit coin is a penny or nickel, is that what it is? Is a bit coin have a monetary value? Am I missing something?

I have very strict rules such as: If I don't understand it, I don't get involved. That is until TLW (The Little Woman) tells me to.

Can I pay my taxes in Bit coins, or is that Bitcoins or Bit-coins?

Thursday, December 07, 2017


Seventy-six years ago, a deliberate and unprovoked attack was launched against this great country. The Japanese Imperial Navy attacked Pearl Harbor on a Sunday morning without warning.

The reasons for the attack were many, the Japanese needed to survive and America was making sanctions against her. Their mode of attack, although deemed sneaky by the politicians and media, was in their culture of war. Our culture was to sanction against those who invade others for profit.

While all this was playing out, many young men and women were being victimized by old men who thought war noble, even honorable. They sent young men, at the beginning of their lives to fight to the death without regard for their well-being.

As you know by now, the slaughter was complete, young people died for old men's battles and ideas. Innocent families, children and people of peace, all died in an old man's war until we dropped the atomic bomb upon ourselves.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Santa Clause comes on time this year! December 24, all the bells will ring, all the angels will raise their voices and Grandpa Joe will be welcoming my little California princess, La Principessa!

We are decorating first, it is important that my little girl get the spirit of Christmas, she will even have a fully decorated tree in her room! If she's upstairs or downstairs, there is a Christmas tree to greet her. There is even an elaborate Snow Village set up for her approval and imagination. In another part of the house will be a train set she can operate, all by herself, all for her! If her father tries to butt in, I'll make him put on his pajamas and send him to his room.

But there is more, there are the cookies and cakes I need to make for her. She is royalty, so I will treat her royally. I need to bake bread, pecan, and walnut for breakfast. You toast slices of the homemade stuff and add butter and boy-oh-boy! She'll love it!

Then of course comes Christmas morning! PRESENTS! And more presents.

You know, for years I would listen to my classmates at reunions talk about their grandkids, fellow board members relating experiences about theirs, and all I could do is listen and dream. I never thought that I would someday have this wonderful and uplifting experience myself. And if I did have a grandchild, I dreamt how wonderful a grandchild I would have.

I know I don't have a whole lot of time left on this Earth. But as I check out I can't help but smile at how fortunate she made her grandpa.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017


Give up? Christmas! Yes, that magical time of the year when all your money disappears.

Recently, TLW (The Little Woman) and I went to a major department store to do some shopping for Christmas. As we drove to the parking lot from the main road, I was warned to not be upset if I don't find a parking space at first, that I should park anywhere and get over it. With her suggestion in mind, I thought I'd park at the funeral parlor across the street and go inside and take a nap, a long one! 

As good fortune would happen in parking spaces but not money, there was one waiting for me, with my name on it, at the very end of the lot, far from the entrance. Luckily, we could stop for something to eat if it takes too long since there is a Sabrosa, a Mexican grill part of the many establishments in the chain of stores that surround the parking lot.

Our mission was to shop for our granddaughter, La Principessa, grandpa's reason he is loving Christmas this year, once again. Objective, the most fun in toys we could find, the noise level is no object, and should it be, we will hand her toy on her way home!

Finding toys for an almost 4-year old is kind of tricky. You have age appropriateness, safety and political considerations that go hand-in-hand with parental wishes. I saw a Barbie Doll and as to put that down! Apparently, Barbie is too sexist for my granddaughter's parents. There is a feeling that I think has validity, about portraying women as a certain build and appearance that could harm a child's perspective.

But we had a blast finding toys, books, and dresses, all for my little bundle of sunshine, with a smile that demands attention. Looking at the toys, there was something to encourage her singing out loud, a storybook made handsomely and in an old-fashioned way with gold edge pages, big and colorful.

Then there are the dresses, the many we looked at and the one we finally selected. It had to come up to the standards of that of a princess. It had to be Christmas-like and beautiful. It also had to be the right size.

And there lies the problem, a couple of thousand miles and an impression from Facetime in terms of size and interest. We actually don't know for sure what La Principessa looks like this past year since when we do see her, it is on Facetime once a week, and she is not sitting still!

Monday, December 04, 2017


I like to get into ‘discussions' when people post things that I find funny on Facebook. For instance: recently there was a posting that went something like this:


No, I hadn't and made that point. I was told I shouldn't watch MSNBC, CNN or CNBC because that is all fake news! WOW! I never knew that FOX News was so truthful, no fake news! I guess I should go there for all my news needs.

After all, how will I know about the Russian investigation, the General Flynn investigation, why Obama Care wasn't replaced like promised, the ‘Wall', where is that? I was wondering why there are so many members of the administration who are leaving?  It looks like an exodus of unhappy Conservatives jumping ship! I would like to know how the tax cut is shaping up, there seems to be a need on my part to hear about that too.

Well, the moron I was trading posts with went on with volumes of replies, on and on he goes. I answer in short three or four-word sentences, goading him into more volumes of his thought, resorting to lies, puffing himself up and still I bait him like the worm he is, I really had fun!

So, I turned on FOX News, they are "Fair and Balanced!" Yup, it says so. As I do I know the Flynn thing is suddenly breaking, he will talk to the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, wow, how will FOX handle this, I wonder. Will they mention jail, more investigations?

There is no mention of the event, that all the ‘Fake News" is reporting!

The good news: there is no Flynn, no Russian investigation and probably no Robert Mueller, special prosecutor! I hope I can find an equivalent in the Newspapers of FOX news so there is only good news there too!

Sunday, December 03, 2017


No, that is not a misspelling, there is a maze I am trying to get through. Medicare and me, the ultimate battle of understanding the maze and my malaise.

Just the thought of having to sit down and decide what plan will help me best keep me alive until my funeral is daunting. Dental care, medical and prescription drugs all have to play out. There are several plans offered by such as; US Health, Emblem, Humana, Empire and so on. The idea that you will be able to retain your HCP is problematic, as is the medications to subscribe to. To add to the twist of the wind is how much you make and where you live.

Of course, it all comes down to out-of-pocket costs and that means how much you pay for each doctor and specialist visit such as a surgeon.

Fortunately, I have a good month at least before I make a decision and will take the time to do so. Each step I take I need to fully understand first, then move on to the next step.

The older I get, the more complicated life becomes, living in retirement makes you realize that your parade is not the one you started parching in, but somehow, somewhere you got in a new lineup of marches, the beat a little more complex.

I can, of course, take comfort in the fact that I have a great partner and she is quick to help me and she does so. So, before I kick the bucket, I want to have all my ducks in a row, so that when they do plant me, the burden does not exist of paying for anything, and having it on TLW's (The Little Woman's) shoulders.

Saturday, December 02, 2017


I listen to TV and read in the newspapers the things that POTUS is tweeting. I have tried to stay as neutral as possible in my criticism of him, but I am now becoming alarmed. This current presidency is by far the worst ever in US History, and it seems to be going even further downhill!

Not voting for him or Hillary Clinton last year, neither of the candidates deserve to be in the White House, or were good candidates to fill the office and I don’t trust either one for their moral integrity nor need to serve the nation well.

Today, a year after the election and almost a 12-months since the inauguration, I feel that POTUS can be counted on for any sense of sanity. How does this man spend his time tweeting about people he has a grudge about rather than focusing on North Korea? Does he not know that the World is in danger of a war? Does he understand what his job is in this case? Someone should explain to him that millions of people are going to die depending on what that Madman in North Korea does and how POTUS reacts.

Why is POTUS destroying the dignity of the office, our good name as Americans and disgracing the office by one of our greatest and staunchest allies thinking of banning him from their shores? He has become the laughing stock of the Free World and an eminent danger to the whole World by his presence in the Oval Office.

He has so far failed at everything he has promised to deliver, people including his own supporters are now questioning his ability and intelligence, he is in a fantasy world of self-aggrandizement, he faces possible impeachment and perhaps criminal charges and has no plan to move forward with.

This idea of tweeting seems somewhat sophomoric for a man in such a high office. I feel like we have a teenage love-struck little girl in office, every time he tweets. I fear that he could slip and reveal something to our enemies with these uncensored tweets that achieve nothing but alienating the general public. And another thing, why is he putting his family in positions that require expertise? Not only is he, but his sons and son-in-law are uqualified

It is time for him to go!

Friday, December 01, 2017


This is the time of the year when paranoia after 47 years still sets in. It's the time when I worry about getting TLW (The Little Woman) a Christmas present or two. It starts in my sleep. I dream that it is Christmas morning, and I didn't get her anything. I awake with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and the sweats. It is a very down and disappointing feeling! This disappointing feeling stays with me until I get her something.

But the fear does not go away, it never does. When I do get everything, I worry about wrapping it. And if that isn't enough, the card, I need a card to wish her Merry Christmas! (Sorry you sissy-Mary politically correct Holiday downers) What if I forget to make or buy a card? I like to create a card because that makes it special.

I know, I sound ridiculous, but she was the only one I really worried about. Everyone else we thought about together. But the rolls have since reversed a little. Now that she works full-time, I have to pick up the slack.

"What should we get for so and so?" comes out of TLW's mouth like a water over a broken dam! And the question is always a stumper.

But Christmas isn't the only day of the year or occasion I act this way. There is Valentine's Day, her birthday, our anniversary, and so it goes.

I think I am like that because Dad would forget. Mom would become insulted by Dad's forgetfulness and he would look like he stepped in it. He usually did.

This year I haven't started to shop yet. I know what to get, but I have to do it. Talk is cheap, so I better get myself out there and brave all those women shoppers. I feel like time s running out and I am really busy. The Board of Directors, a book I am co-writing and designing, my trips to upstate NY to deal with the Arc of NY and working around the house, writing and other things such as lunch dates with friends, doctor's appointments for both myself and my daughter as her advocate, meetings, and not finding time for myself is making it hard for me. I have never been this stressed out as I now am since I retired.