Friday, March 24, 2017


It was coming down on March 14th, disappointingly slow. The winds shifted from one direction to another, and the snowfall was minimal. The skylight blacked out the dawn from the heavy coating of ice that rested on the frame and glass, there would be no sunlight today.

The TV was on, reporting the news of the Nor'easter as it barreled into town and dominated the newscast! It promised a long, cold, and dreary day.

As I sipped my coffee I was informed The Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company would open its' doors later in the morning than usual, and with all the hype of the so-called Governor of NYS, the media, and our experience pointed to more disappointment. At 5:40 AM, the phone rang and it was The Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company, telling us that they would delay their opening.

"Well, I think I'll wear jeans today, I know it's not dress-down day, but I'll show them"

Looking over the rim of my morning coffee, a smile came to my face, her open defiance was at least gratifying, if not somewhat unexpected! TLW (The Little Woman) was angry that The Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company was even considering opening.

"WOW! You take it to them, girl!" I volunteered. She was almost raising her fist in open defiance to the Man! SHE IS WOMAN! She is also pissed off.
A rebel without a cause!

I go out to survey the situation and look at the roads, the plows had been by more than once but the ice was like a newly paved road, with tire ruts that ran like tracks, dangerous, sloppy and uncomfortable giving vent with the chill of the wind, the sleet ice that pinched my face as I scanned the situation.

Returning to the warmth of the confines of my abode, the phone rang. TLW reached for it and I watched for the latest announcement that maybe the day was being called off. A smile crossed her lips as she hung up.

"Did they call off the day?" I asked.

"No, they just called to say I could wear jeans today!"

There went her only claim to defiance, even that can now be regulated!

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Yes, the world is coming to an end, the sky is falling and a storm is barreling down upon us!

Last March 13, that was the news on the TV. The dire predictions made for some very happy weather reporters as they announced how terrible it would be, how they had even more dire predictions at 11:00 pm and make sure to tune it.

It's not always glamorous reporting the weather. Sometimes there is not much to say and yet, they pay you to say it as a weather reporter.

Is China on the rise? Is Putin interfering with our electoral process? Is Isis plotting another 9/11? NOT IMPORTANT, THE SNOW IS COMING, RUN OUT TO THE SUPERMARKET AND PURCHASE $4,000 WORTH OF SNACKS, MILK, BREAD AND COLD CUTS, AND DON'T FORGET TO FILL THAT TANK OF GAS!

It is so stupid.

Once the storm hits the plows come.

You are left with $4,000 worth of groceries, you have a lot of snacking to do! If you have Mallowmars, please invite me.

Expect up to… 1,000 inches of snow with winds up to 500 mph! Run, hide, pray, the sky is falling.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


I loath to give out recommendations on TV or entertainment. I think we all have our own taste and will eventually find what we like. When people recommend to me that I watch something on the TV, I don't want to hear it. I become suspect if they even think I could enjoy what they like. But if my wife, The Little Woman (TLW) recommends it, then I have to seriously sit down and watch, because she more than anyone knows what I like.

We have enjoyed some really good TV, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Turn and currently Victoria. All are worthwhile shows, all well-written and acted, all leaving me wanting more. But there is one show I will go out on a limb and recommend, besides The Big Bang Theory, and that is: This Is Us.

The show has many qualities such as great writing, excellent acting by EVERY member of the cast, humor, and tear-jerking drama that compels one to come back for more.

The development of characters is so great that you can't help but take each character separately and try to understand the depth that is there. Story development is so good that it truly mirrors life, with flashbacks that fill the story line continuously, helping you understand the events as they unfold. This is the best thing on TV right now, aside from The Big Bang Theory. The humor hits you like a pie in the face, yet it is subtle and well timed. But one thing you must to, and it helps with fighting dementia for old people, is to listen to it carefully, the jokes come before you realize what happened, a complete work of art!

TLW recommended this show and she has great taste, just look at her choice of roommate.

So, as a present to you Dear Readers, I recommend this show on Tuesday nights on NBC-TV, or you can do what I do, go to your cable company and look for Free on Demand, go to NBC and then look up the show itself. There are after-show conversations that you want to pass until you get to the show itself, about three or four pages later. Then start to catch up, it will make you laugh and cry!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Horses fall asleep while standing up.

I’m delighted that both political parties are actively engaged in national health care. What I’m upset about is that both political parties are actively engaged in national health care. I don’t know whether to cross the street with my eyes closed or cross the street backward, that is up to the two political parties to decide.

The POTUS has issued orders to fire all the US attorneys so he can hire US attorneys. This is a move to foster the governing parties muscle and make Democrats extinct. Those Democrats who did not lose in the last election will be eliminated by fear of prosecution or I guess if any Democrat is left in Congress, they will be shot. This is just a guess on my part, besides it keeps the dogs from the door of the Republican party, after all, it does take a lot of time defending oneself from prosecution. The shame is that Preet Bharara is gone too. He was put in place by Obama and immediately went to work, giving medicine to both NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver the Democrat and the then Republican State Majority Leader Dean Skelos, while looking down the throat of Mayor de Blasio! He was my kind of guy.

 Sean Spicer has had better days, at his last select news conference, he was asked why the American pin on his lapel was upside down by a reporter. I guess he was trying to tell us something. But let’s not be critical of the present administration, not so fast bucko! They did a very nice thing, giving out green baseball caps for St. Patrick’s Day. My guess is no Irishman worth his beer and potatoes will wear one since it had a 4-leaf clover instead of a shamrock. I think the 4-leaf clover is a way of saying: “GOOD LUCK” after all, we will need it.

 And the past ‘phony’ national job reports recently show, marked improvement, or as Sean Spicer reported the President saying: “They may have been phony in the past, but they are very real now!

My next bitch post will be scheduled for rainy or snowy days, look for one in your neighborhood.

Monday, March 20, 2017


Or, Put Up Your Dukes!

Raising children is a tough business. You not only have to protect and teach them, you must feed and keep them clean and entertained. Raising a handicapped child is adding a whole set of problems.
When Ellen was a little baby, about 2 or 3 years of age, I would hold her in my arms as we went through a store. We decided to leave this big department store, with Ellen on my shoulder, facing behind me. When I got outside to the parking lot, Ellen was holding a doll, brand new, and off the shelf. NOT PAID FOR!

My daughter Ellen is a fun kind of person! That in spite of her problems is who she is! She likes to be amused, entertained and God helps you if you don't!

Once before I renovated my present home, I had a Hallway, kitchen and dining room that all met at one point. You could literally run into the dining room that led to the kitchen that led to the hall that took you back to the dining room. It was the spot where Ellen and I played and had the most fun. She would chase me around the area, and as I got out of sight, I would be on her heels; she would see me and I would chase her. This would go on forever. Ellen would be laughing the whole time. I would be making exaggerated noises to her amusement. When I was on the precipice of a heart attack, I would let her catch me. Then she would push me to get going again.

Of course, it wasn't always fun and games. Once we decided to take Ellen one Sunday afternoon to the library where they were having a musical show. Ellen loves music, and we thought this would entertain her. Ellen decided she didn't like music anymore. In fact, she decided TLW (The Little Woman) and I didn't either! This came as a shock to me. As we waited in line in the library theater line, she decided to let strangers know what she thought of them. If someone came too close to her, she would smack him or her. We would apologize, and the victim would look at Ellen and understand. Ellen decided to take on the whole line, in fact, she was ready to wipe out the whole library! As we tried to coax her back to the car, she decided to pull a Mahatma Gandhi on us. She ‘peacefully' sat down in the parking lot, refusing to get up. We tried everything we could until some stranger came by and helped me lift her up and put her in the car! She was a teenager at that point.

Then there was a trip down to Virginia Beach one year. We decided to go to dinner and went to this local seafood place. It was a large restaurant, and it was popular and packed. We went through the whole restaurant to this waiting area. Ellen decided her time was too valuable to wait, and besides, she was hungry. She started to look menacingly at other people's plates. That was our cue to move on out of there, ASAP! TLW grabbed her by the arm and started to rush her out, as I followed. As we passed one poor soul, who was minding his business while eating his dinner, Ellen reached out and smacked him in the back of the head as she passed the table. The poor bastard went face forward, almost into his plate! When he looked up, Ellen was long gone, and I thought I was heading for a fistfight! The poor man literally had no idea what hit him. I hope he blamed it on the hot sauce.

As aggressive as she was in strange situations, she was well loved in familiar surroundings. Once we took a ride out to Six Flags in New Jersey. It was a rainy damp morning, and the park was nearly empty. There was no waiting, so it was perfect. Suddenly, there was a yell: "Hi Ellen!" Standing across the lot at another ride was a gentleman who knew Ellen from her day program. Ellen gave this guy a big hug. It took a lot for us to get her to stop hugging people, strangers and all, the rest of the day!

In the weeks to come, I hope to write about a lot of the things that have occurred to TLW and me and the fact that life was not all bad with Ellen.
The waiting room at the Nuclear Medicine section of Stony Brook Medical Center was busy one Monday morning when I arrived. My daughter Ellen was to be checked out for possible abnormality in her digestive system. This requires her fasting. She is given an egg that is made with a small amount of radiation, which she eats, and every hour they take a picture. She must be perfectly still for 60 seconds as the camera does its work. This is repeated an hour later, then another hour later, then finally one more time an hour later. The whole process takes about four hours.

If you know anything about people with mental disabilities, and my daughter, in particular, you know they will not follow orders. You might fool them into doing something, but then you have a fight on your hands. Ellen does things her way, no matter what the protocol is: you better follow her instructions.

Ellen is 114.6 pounds, about 5 feet tall, with spindly arms and legs. Dynamite IS smaller but doesn't carry the explosive power of Ellen. You can at least control dynamite if you are careful. Not Ellen! Mr. Highhopes enters the waiting room, a man about mid-forties, in a white smock with mandatory serious face and pens in his pocket. He relates the procedure he will employ to get the picture.

Mr. Highhopes: "We will feed her an egg with a little radioactive material in it. This is so we can trace the path of the food to see where it goes, and how she is digesting it. We need her to lie perfectly still on a table for one minute as we shoot the picture."

I start to laugh out loud. Mr. Highhopes is staring at me, quizzically.

Me: "You will not get any pictures from her. She will not cooperate."

Mr. Highhopes: "Well, we could shoot her standing up." (That thought occurred to me many times when she refused to cooperate!)

Starting to feel this uncontrollable urge to laugh, I check myself.

Me; "OK, we can TRY, but I don't think it will work!"

Off we go to the camera room. Ellen is in a wheelchair, being pushed by a woman caretaker, a male caretaker, Mr. Highhopes and myself.

The room is cramped and now, very crowded. Someone brings Ellen an egg sandwich with the radioactive material, and we ask her to eat. She hasn't eaten breakfast, so this should be ‘easy'.

Me; "Here Ellen, eat. Emmm looks good Ellen!"

She shakes her head no. "Aw, come on Ellen, eat." Again, her head goes sideways, very vigorously.

"For Daddy?"

Now she is really shaking it "NO"!

"How about for Mommy?"

She opens her mouth and starts to eat.

Now we decide to liberate her from the wheelchair. The reason she is in the wheelchair is because that is the only way to control her through the hospital parking lot, in the elevators, and through the hospital, protecting the visitors: staff and patients from physical destruction if they get in her way.

I coax her to stand up and we manage to somehow worm her into the two sections of the camera. Now, all we need to do is get her to face toward her right.

There is suddenly a look, which comes from my little girl. That sweet little girl we all love so much. With her big browns that look up so innocently at me, she suddenly starts looking like Iron Mike Tyson! The look seems to say: "OK, who wants it first? Which one of you turkeys' wants to go down in a blaze of glory first? Or do you want to all die at once? Either way, I don't have a preference."

I make the first move. (I am stupid) Sweet little Ellen, 114.6 pounds of her, pushes her 200-pound father across the room! The two caretakers are holding on to each other, leaving a large yellow puddle under them and Mr. Highhopes is hastily packing up and heading toward the door. He didn't wet his pants, but I did notice a large bulge sticking out of his behind as he ran or should I say flew past me.

Ellen knows how to say two words. The word for Mommy is: "Mumma", and her word for happy is: "Appy."

As we left the hospital, she looked at me, patted herself on her head and said: "Appy?"

One Sunday night I took my daughter home to her residence in Shoreham/Wading River. It is a 92-bed facility for men and women with special needs. Depending on how happy she is, she will either be coaxed out of the car by me or happily and giggly climb out of the back seat.

As we walked toward the entrance from the parked car, I spotted a couple who were leaving the facility after visiting their daughter for the day. His name is Jack and is a former board member, and so he knew where he was. My daughter Ellen would remind him anyway.

As we walked Jack acknowledged me and we started to chat a little when my Ellen went up to him and gave him probably the biggest hug he ever got, maybe bigger than anything his wife ever gave him. Jack stood his ground as he said hello to Ellen and Ellen just continued to hug. She then turned her attention to his wife who was standing behind her opened the car door on the passenger's side. Although Ellen doesn't speak, she started to make a fuss over this woman too.

Being in an environment that accepts Ellen for who she is, it was easy for these nice people to accept Ellen's enthusiasm for their being there. As they drove away, I continued to walk Ellen to the front door and as we entered the building, she looked around with just a shift of her big eyes, kind of saying: "Is there anyone here to greet me?" Then she entered her section of the building and ran forward toward the main room where all her friends are, and started a screeching happy noise as she saw everyone, running up to the houseparent hugging her too.

Suddenly, her daddy who had her attention all afternoon, was no longer important, forgotten and as she distanced herself from him, never looking back! I guess after all those years where she never wanted me to leave her, she is now comfortable with where she is and more importantly, who she is. It turns out, no matter where I am in the agency, the main office, the school or workshop, or even residences, they all know her and all love her. She is a character!

Being the parent of a child with a disability, I often wonder when we as parents of those children, reach a breaking point. Being a co-chair of the Guardianship Committee, I see parents that need to surrender their roles as caretakers, because they are too old to care for their adult children. They keep their faith and I wonder how? Many of these children with disabilities do not toilet themselves, nor do they speak or communicate in any way or form, except to cry! The despair is overwhelming, as is the resentment that follows. The aged parents come to the agency, many are too old to even travel, and yet they dream. Some travel all the way to Albany to conventions and meetings about their children, stooped over, in pain with walkers, canes and still dream of a better life for their adult child. They place their faith in God, then: get to work!

Many people start to question if there is a God if they should continue to believe in Him and if it would matter. After all, their child or sibling did nothing wrong, and here more than one is suffering, both the disabled person and the caretakers, and family.

We see our daughter Ellen about twice a month. We pick her up from her home, where she has an air-conditioned bedroom, decorated to the hilt, with reminders of her family all about her. She lives with seven other people, all in similar degrees of suffering, all with the same loving care. Still, when we look into her eyes, we sometimes become very angry with God. We start resenting even the spiritual moments we do spend. We see Ellen, and we see innocence, love, and affection. We witness her happiness and her giggles when I do stupid things to make her laugh. Then again, we wonder: why?

When we were growing as a young family, it was difficult to accept the fact that the dream was over, that new plans were needed to be put in place, and in a hurry. We witnessed siblings with children, discussing normal growth patterns, and we harbored sadness, were left out of the conversations and became aware that our lives were to be different and difficult. We saw the awkwardness of our parents and siblings in trying to communicate with Ellen, and Ellen trying back. It seemed like people were saying: "Come get this child, please, I'm very uncomfortable with her." We understood as her parents, but we still felt the hurt, the second-class citizens we as a young family felt.

But if God took care of all of the life's inequities, what would be our purpose here on earth? How would we demonstrate humanity? How would we be relevant to this world? I know that all those people in the past, in spite of their discomfort with Ellen, were merely human, suffering in their own small way with the disability that Ellen has. No harm or hurt could come to Ellen, and today we see that clearly. But I think I see clearly what God is doing, what he is saying, and what he has done. Ellen is a teacher. She drives home a lesson every day, that there is indeed a God. He is in all of us, and by our actions, what we say and do, makes us relevant to this world.

I truly believe: that God only observes. I think he wants us to do his work. We must reach down and wipe the tear of a child. We must reach down to help the poor and help heal the sick. We must reach down and aid the elderly because then we can reach up and become part of humanity, and a child of God.

Many years ago, when my son Joseph was dying in North Shore University Hospital, my wife and I had spent round the clock time with him. We had slept the night in a waiting room, and from exhaustion, we went home to shower and get a bit of rest. As I lay on the couch, the phone rang, and the doctor on the other end told us to hurry, the time had come. We went to the hospital that cold January night, and as we entered the building and were climbing the stairs, a robed figure, sped past us and raced up the stairs. That robed figure was a priest, racing to my son's deathbed to give us spiritual comfort. It helped. He helped us get a perspective during a cold horrible time.

Is there a God? I think so.

For thirty-eight years, I've been working on getting my daughter Ellen to say just one word, Dad, or daddy, or even dada. For all these past thirty-eight years' she says: "momma" and will say it often. When she sees me, she calls me: "Momma" and I understand it. She can't form words in her mouth and can only say: happy and momma, and manages to survive with the help and love of some truly wonderful people who support her every day!

These past few years I would meet up with her for her various doctor's appointments and when she sees me she calls out: "Momma!" and comes running to hug me. When that happens, a funny thing happens to me, I lose my reserve, my sense of being in public, and hug her back. She smiles and I realize, she loves me for being who I am, no pretense needed, no conditions need to be met.

Once, while at a visit to the hospital, I sat with two caretakers who assist Ellen, and waited for a doctor to come out to talk to me. One asked me if she said any other words other than those I described. I said I wish she would say daddy, and if she ever did, I would give a million dollars to hear her call me that. Almost immediately, the word spread that I was awarding a million bucks for anyone who could get Ellen to say, daddy.

At every doctor's appointment, they were working feverishly to get Ellen to say it. But knowing Ellen, you don't make her do anything she doesn't want to do (Like her mother). So I would lean back amused and confident, thinking my money was safe.

Then comes Father's Day. TLW (The Little Woman) comes out to the den with my daughter, holding a present for me, and instructs Ellen to "give it to Daddy." My daughter flings the present at me and laughs; this is how she is. I open the present and make a big deal, but she really doesn't understand it all, herself.

Mom goes back to making dinner and Ellen is standing over me. She works hard to get my attention and is ‘talking' to me in her own way. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, with prompting, on Father's Day, she says: "DADA DADA!"

Perhaps my best Father's Day ever.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Growing up in the Italian-American tradition, St. Joseph's Day ranked right up there with Easter and Christmas for me. If your name was Joseph, you got your cheek pinched and cream puffs.

(From Wikipedia) "Joseph (Hebrew: ‏יוֹסֵף‎, transit. Yosef‎; Greek: Ἰωσήφ, translate. Ioséph) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus, and is venerated as Saint Joseph in the Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism[2][3] and Methodism.[4] Christian tradition places Joseph as Jesus' foster father. Some historians state that Joseph was Jesus' father.[5] Some differing views are due to theological interpretations versus historical views.[6]"

Fortunately, my pinched cheeks were surrounding my nose and not the other pair which made for good color and more convenience since I wasn't dropping my pants all day long. Usually, the day ended in pasta and noble and truly great tradition!

Grandma was the ‘pincher' and I was the ‘pinchee' resulting in remarks about the glowing cheeks I had and how my health must be so good. Granted there were surrogate pinchers in place for Grandma until she could get home, but you weren't Joseph until grandma pinched you into one! "Mannagia, JoJo (pinch), he-he" withdrawing her forefinger and thumb from the target area.

My nightmare was if she ever decided to pinch both cheeks at once, and maybe forgetting to let go, and so I closed my eyes and squeezed them tightly, hunched my shoulders and waited for the ordeal to be over, knowing that pasta and cream puffs were waiting because of my sacrifice.

According to the New Testament, Joseph was the father of James, Joses, Judas (Jude), Simon, and at least two daughters also. No wonder they called him the ‘worker', with all those kids!

Giorno del Santo Giuseppe felice!

Saturday, March 18, 2017


You know when you are getting old. Suddenly the most popular people in the media are totally unknown to you. You watch shows like Ellen, and she has guests that get a big applause and you wonder why you never heard of them before.

There seem to be inside jokes that you don't get then you realize that the jokes are apparent, you are not. I guess the world is passing me by!

You go to a crossword puzzle and the clues don't seem to make sense, you are out of the loop. So, to keep in the loop, you go on to Facebook and soon realize the people you befriended are also out of the loop, they are like you, old.

Too bad I don't remember those that were so popular when I was young. But back in the day I did, and I was very current, very hip and very aware of what was popular. Today, somehow, I forgot to read the newspapers or keep up with the news and social media. I am a relic!

But don't fault me, TLW (The Little Woman) has the same issue and has even mentioned it to me. I guess I should be glad I'm not the only one who feels that way!

But there are phrases I never heard of, new trends that no one told me about, and the music has so passed me by.

I think I will take a room in the old age home and just wait it out!

Friday, March 17, 2017


More than 100+ millions of Irishmen across the Earth are celebrating the most famous Patrick in the world. According to many versions of his life story, it is said that he was born in Britain, around 385AD.  His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Roman citizens living in either Scotland or Wales.

Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to the land of Ireland. Most of what is known about him come from his two works; the Confessio: a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola: a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Catholics.

And why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland?' 
Explaining the Holy Trinity to the pagan population, St. Patrick used the shamrock as a visual tool. Yoga and meditation are now more popular in Ireland than going to Mass. I wonder what St Patrick would think about all that?!

For so many years, as a non-Irishman, being curious about things Irish, married one, and found out they weren't telling us everything we needed to know.
For instance, you'd think that the Irish held their first parade in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day, but they didn't! No, they got their parade tradition from the American Irish, yes, those who emigrated: to America where in 1762 held their first St. Patrick Day Parade in New York City!

Now don't go all out of joint bejesus, this is fact, and the fact it is that that is not all. No, the Irish have been hiding the facts about the old sod from us non-Irish. Please be seated for the next paragraph on this fascinating expose' on the Irish culture in America.

Wait, it gets even more interesting, the hero of this all, the central figure so to speak, St. Patrick, who was not Irish (Oh the Saints save us!) but a Scotsman whose parents were of Roman Ancestry is scandalous in its own right! It seems that St. Patty was kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery, in Ireland and for about 6 years then managed to escape and became a Christian who devoted his life to ridding Ireland of pageantry. That thing about snakes and Ireland, well he never did that either. There were no snakes in Ireland at that time, and snakes are not native to the old sod. The snakes are a metaphor for pagans.  His driving out the snakes was really driving out the pagans.

When before the turn of the last century, the Irish were coming to America in large numbers, I would say ‘droves' but they sailed here instead. Yes, and to cap off injury with insult, were forced to live in large areas with other undesirables, namely Italians and Jews. It is here where we examine another myth far worse than St. Patrick being Irish. It seems that pork was the preferred meat in Ireland and coming to America, pork was prohibitive. The Irish being poor, would on occasion go to Jewish delis for sandwiches of corned beef. The beef was inexpensive here in America and the Irish figured it out that corned beef was an excellent substitute for pork. The Jews taught them that adding cabbage to the boiling of the corned beef flavored the vegetable and along with a potato or two and some carrots, you could feast rather cheaply my friend!
Well don't be downhearted, the reason they Irish are known as drinkers is because they knew all the facts, and liquor made them happy again.

Here's a little levity to go with that pint!

A sobbing Mrs. Murphy approaches Fr O'Grady after mass, and he asks:
"So, what's bothering you?"
She replies: "Oh, Father, I've terrible news. Me husband passed away last evening."
The priest says: "Oh, Mary, that be terrible, bejesus! Did he have any last requests?"
"Certainly father," she replied. "He said: "Please Mary, put down that damn gun."

And yet still…

One night, Mrs. McMillen answers the door to see her husband's best friend, Paddy, standing on the doorstep.
"Hello Paddy, but where is my husband? He went with you to the beer factory"
Paddy shook his head. "Ah Mrs. McMillen, there was a terrible accident at the beer factory, your husband fell into a vat of Guinness stout and drowned"
Mrs. McMillen starts crying. "Oh, don't tell me that, did he at least go quickly?"
Paddy shakes his head. "Not really - he got out 3 times to pee!"

Thursday, March 16, 2017


OK, I have seen it all! The Town of Brookhaven is just plain dumb! They are plowing my street, it doesn't have any snow, slush or ice on it, but that plow has now made two passes already. The driver is a woman on the cell phone and she is carrying in her truck a whole lot of sand. The plow is down but not the sand!

Being a cranky old man with time on my hands, I need to bitch, and after I got my tax bill this week, I have plenty to bitch about now. Recently we had a snow storm that did not cause a lot of traffic problems. It snowed and stuck on the grass but not on the pavement due to high temperatures the day before!

As I'm pushing the heavy snow to the sides of the driveway, I hear what I think is a plow! A plow!!! Where is this coming from? I look down the street and here comes a town truck, plow down on the pavement, probably ripping it up and it is not plowing anything!

I called the Highway Department and inquired why they plow empty streets, so they connect me to another person as I wait and listen to a bouncy tune. Another person answers and says: "The streets are icy and full of slush!" NO, NO! I replied and again stated the issue. She can't explain but she'll look into it.

The bouncy tune is to get you to dance and forget why you are calling.

Remind me to unquestioningly pay my taxes again this year!

As I write this she is going by one more time!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


--> If there is one thing that drives me crazy it is driving. Yes, that past time that causes me to swear and say the words I shouldn't when I drive alone. I don't use these words with anyone else in the car when I drive, but I do use them and it helps me vent.

There are too many stupid drivers out there. Too many morons that take to the road with an attitude that says they are not required to show courtesy, consideration and good judgment.

For instance: there is a light that once you pass it, the two lanes merge into one. If you stop at the light when it is red, and you are in the right-hand lane, the rules of the road and courtesy dictate you allow the person on the right the right of way. But you just know the moron on the left will step on it and race ahead of you and if you are not alert, will cause an accent.

You are in an exit lane, heading to the ramp and are almost there, some dumb-ass stupid moron will at the last minute, jump in front of you, causing you to jam your breaks. These imbeciles usually drive large vehicles to complicate the situation.

Driving on a major highway, you stick to the rule of allowing a safe distance between cars, yours and the one in front of you, yet some idled brain dip will fill that space because: God forbid there be a space.

Of course, the reverse is also true, you are driving along on that same highway and some moron pulls in behind you at 60+ mph and immediately tailgates you, and you wonder why they are allowed to breathe.

And my favorite, the brain-dead individual who will jump in front of you, while you are doing 65 mph and the low-life does 40 mph.

I wish I had a machine gun mounted on my car where I could shoot them off the road.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


There is nothing left to our privacy. Big brother is looking in on us. Be afraid, be very afraid!

In the newspapers this past Wednesday, March 8th, the day started off easy enough until I read the morning headlines on both the NY Daily News (A rag) and the Long Island Newsday, (A linen rag) shouting out the shocking news in their headlines.

The rag skipped it the usual assessment of Donald Trump and Mayor Di Blasio and Newsday took off from seeking a Pulitzer Prize by announcing that the CIA, that friendly espionage coterie, had a new interest to pursue: you and me!

That brand-new TV set you purchased, the ‘smart' TV? It is smarter than you think! It's telling on you all your dirty little secrets are now going to the CIA for their reading pleasure! Shocking? No, surprising though that it took them so long.

Now I have to be guarded about what I say out loud in my den to TLW (The Little Woman). Secrets like where I hid the cashew nuts, what I think of Justin Beiber, and what I'm saying under my breath are all open to scrutiny by the boys at the CIA.

There are two ways to go with this, one is to turn on the radio while watching TV to confuse the interceptors, or I could just stand next to the TV and say how much I love the CIA, how patriotic I am, how I hope Trump builds his wall at discounts prices from Home Depot and that I taped all of his press conferences, in a clear and concise way.
I would imagine you can gain points for that.

There is one other catch when you turn off your TV, it is still listening in on you, seems when you last upgraded the system it made it all possible. If you are talking in sleep on your easy chair, the gig may be up! If there is a knock on your door after the news at 11, you may be the news in tomorrow mornings rags!

Sleep tight.

Monday, March 13, 2017


I've been living with my family for over 45 years. In all those years, I have been a very involved father, going to school events, sports events, and graduations, not to mention all the volunteer work.

When I was working, I was the center of the household for survival, and The Little Woman (TLW) was the center of the household day to day with the children and all the important things in family survival.

Recently I've been feeling left out, you might say almost invisible. Usually, when one of them calls, it's "Where's Mom?"
"She's shopping, can I help you?"
"Do you know when she's coming home?"
"She's shopping, probably when either the stores run out of stock or they have to close for the day."
"Have her call me when she gets home?"

When they were young and full of spunk, they would inevitably find themselves on my bed on a Saturday morning, looking to play with Daddy. Awakening on those Saturday mornings usually went like this: My nose is tweaked, or a question thrown out; "Daddy are you awake?" and sometimes the movement of the shaking bed by some little tot jumping up and down then sitting on my head.

Then one day we had an empty nest or Saturday morning bed with just me in it and the world has changed. They moved out and suddenly no one was the center of the household, just two people, and someone's mail. All correspondence was addressed to either TLW, # 1 or #2 son, or occupant! OCCUPANT! I don't even get the occupant mail!

So, since I retired all traces of my existence is gone. I no longer exist, wiped off the face of the Earth. However, my town has been able to keep in touch, sending me my property tax bill.

Sunday, March 12, 2017


--> Being an old Brooklyn Dodger fan, in 1957 when they abandoned us, the baseball horizon was a void. I told myself I would root for the Yankees, after all, they were a New York team. By the top of the second inning, I was rooting against them. I just could not root for the Yankees. The great teams that they were, they were missing something for me, the sense that I belonged and loved my team.

Then around 1960 (NY baseball was coming back to NY) when I started to hear those whispers of something I dared not think, baseball was getting a little more exciting for me. I would watch some Dodger games on the Game of the Week when they were televised, but still, it felt odd.

In 1962, a glorious spring training began, the newly organized New York Metropolitan Baseball Club began its existence. Everything about it was exciting. I had a team once again. It looked like the reincarnation of the Dodgers and Giants without the wins, but so what, it was my team and it was National League Baseball. I couldn't get enough of them as a baseball club.

With the draft, trades, and acquisitions, with Casey Stengel at the helm, I thought we'd win the World Series. The names promised more to me than they could deliver, but it was my team, the best!

Such luminaries as:
Craig Anderson, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Gus Bell,[6] outfielder, Cincinnati Reds
Ed Bouchee,[7] infielder, Chicago Cubs
Chris Cannizzaro, catcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Elio Chacón, infielder, Cincinnati Reds
Joe Christopher, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates
Choo-Choo Coleman, catcher, Philadelphia Phillies
Roger Craig, pitcher, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ray Daviault, pitcher, San Francisco Giants
John DeMerit, outfielder, Milwaukee Braves
Sammy Drake, infielder, Chicago Cubs
Jim Hickman, outfielder, St. Louis Cardinals
Gil Hodges, infielder, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jay Hook, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
Al Jackson, pitcher, Pittsburgh Pirates
Sherman Jones, pitcher, Cincinnati Reds
Hobie Landrith,[8] catcher, San Francisco Giants
Félix Mantilla, infielder, Milwaukee Braves
Bob L. Miller, pitcher, St. Louis Cardinals
Bob Smith, outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Lee Walls, infielder/outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies
Don Zimmer, infielder, Chicago Cubs
constituted the whole team. Except for one or two players, they couldn't hit a broadside of a barn leaning against it. But it was my team, and every at bat, every play kept you in suspense. If they won a game, you believed it would be the beginning of a long winning streak, after all, this is my team, the New York Mets!

When I first saw them take the field in their new uniforms, the script lettering reminded me of the Dodgers script, the number under the script, again like the Dodgers, and the orange NY like the old Giants hats made them even more special! This was my team!

I remember the excitement of that good-looking kid from the Bronx, young Eddie Kranepool making his debut, he had all the tools except the ability to run, and watching him round the bases, his play made me a fan of his for all his career, and when he hit a home run during the '69 World Series in game 3, I was happy for him, the kid done good. Watching him round those bases at Shea Stadium that afternoon in our first World Series, with all the effort he put in all those years was gratifying.

I never realized how lucky NY was to have 3 professional teams until they had only one, and how luckier still that a new team came to NY. They may have bad years, and they may have great years, but they will always have me as their fan. The excitement of that first day is as equal as the excitement of the last game of 2016!
Let's Go Mets!

Saturday, March 11, 2017


On March 5, 1963, the Hula-Hoop, a plastic hip-swiveling toy became a huge fad across America when an estimated 25 million Hula-Hoops were sold in its first four months of production alone! It became an icon that is still in some places popular today!

But the Hula Hoop as a symbol is the gravitational pull along with other icons of the 60's, when we began growing into adulthood, formulating opinions and ideas that would, for the most part, stay with us all our lives.

Things such as the Beatles, Edsel's, and astronauts awakened youth like nothing else could. We watched on TV the launch of Apollo and landing on the moon, let alone the Mets winning the World Series. But these events were indicative of the spirit of America! Russia launched their Sputnik, but America made it to the moon. We as a country galvanized and went to the colleges and universities and became mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, to turn once again the tide of leadership in America's favor. This was the same spirit that carried us through the second world war!

And who can forget Woodstock? 400,000 people, kids really, who populated a dairy farm in upstate New York to celebrate in August over 4 days of music and art. It was the beginning of a new set of rules and the tossing of the old and outdated ones.

Yet with all our successes was our moral dilemma, a war we didn't want to fight and a rebellion that
made America pause. "Make love, not war" was the war cry of the ‘Peaceniks'. Daniel Joseph Berrigan, S.J., was an American Jesuit priest, anti-war activist, and poet, who like many others during the 1960s, protested against the Vietnam War that earned him both scorn and respect. He, maybe more than any religious figure demonstrated what the clergy all should have been doing. The government failed both the nation and the brave men and women who went to Viet Nam.

Friday, March 10, 2017


On this day in 1887, Anne Sullivan began teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. Anne Sullivan might be considered the first of the Direct Support Professionals people of this world.

And why are they so important?

Having dealt with so many of them who have attended lovingly to my daughter, Ellen and having a son who is one, I understand the hardships they deal with every time they work. I understand the decisions they need to make and I also understand how vital they are for the people they do the work for, not their bosses but their charges.

Imagine you have a job that requires your being on time, every day, driving through snow storms and freezing rain and ice, feeding and changing diapers, chopping up food, looking for abnormalities in people who have disabilities and cannot speak for themselves. Imagine dressing them, cleaning running noses, lifting them as dead weight, and you have a picture of your job. Then you take that paycheck to the bank and pay your taxes with it and the cost of gasoline and car maintenance, because you need a car to drive to work, you need clothes to wear, and oh, I forgot, you also need to feed your family.

You pray you don’t get sick because you need a job because your two jobs together just barely pays for your survival, and the Governor of the great state of NEW YORK, will not appropriate an increase to your meager salary because he just doesn’t give a damn.

Thursday, March 09, 2017


Recently I was watching an old movie from 1935: TOP HAT, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger
--> Recently I was watching an old movie from 1935: TOP HAT, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. As I watched I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to all those wonderful dancers that once existed. -->

Today there are truly wonderful and extraordinarily talented dancers, coming from dance schools with progressive ideas and great creativity. I enjoy watching them and take great pleasure in seeing the art performed.

But way back when they mixed songs with dance, it came in the flavor usually of romance and lifted the spirit to heights that allowed our emotions to run feverishly. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were the leaders in the dance genre’ that led to some great movies and stories built around the dance they performed.

Gene Kelly danced his way into the minds and hearts of not just lovers, but cinema history and fans in general. Dancing in the rain he was so amazing and talented, as was Astaire on his roller skates in TOP HAT!

Where is the romance? Where did it all go? Why did we stop? I guess because the stories today in movies are based on guns and car chases, with amazing graphics that are digital and or computerized, we lost the human element, love, and emotions.

I love to go to the theater and see musicals more than anything else. The dances and choreography are just amazing and so well done. To see dancing in unison, and solo, along with the lyrics and music paints a canvas of emotional enjoyment you cannot get anywhere else.

Too bad. We are losing another art to progress, we need more of that old time dance and song.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017


Harry didn't let any grass grow under his feet, he was a money machine. Not only did h work for the Long Island Railroad, he also was way ahead of his time! He was flipping houses long before anyone thought of it.

Way back in 1971 when I married, I needed a place to live and looked for an apartment. My Uncle Joe mentioned that Harry had an apartment almost around the corner from my parent's house. By then I was working for an advertising company and no longer on the train with Harry and my Uncle in the morning.

I rented this wonderful little apartment that was part of a two-story building, each floor separate from the other. We had a tiny kitchen with a very small eating area and a living room and bedroom that accompanied the bathroom. It was our first home! Harry was our first landlord!

But Harry owned other apartments and would buy and fix up homes then rented them out, and soon he had a full-time business as a landlord. He did so well that finally in the 1990's, he sold everything and moved to a villa in Sicily, fully retired.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017


When I was still in college I used to commute via the Long Island Rail Road. Every morning at the same time in the same car, I would find this fellow named Harry who worked for the Long Island Railroad. Most mornings Harry would lean against the window and sleep. On rear occasions, he would be talkative and relate some interesting insights not to mention interesting English. Harry had come from his native Sicily and established very deep roots on Long Island.

Harry was a friend of my Uncle who also worked for the L.I.R.R., and we would all sit together. But for 10 minutes or so it was Harry and me all by ourselves before my Uncle climbed aboard the train at the next stop.

One Monday morning I found Harry awake and asked him how his weekend was.

Me: Hey Harry how was your weekend?

Harry: Oh, Ima buyer a suit. Ima gotta go to a wedding.

Me: Where did you buy the suit?

Harry: Hoh, I'ma go a Rabbiter Hole.

Me: ????

Me: Where?

Harry: A Rabbiter Hole.

I thought about this for a moment and said:

Harry, do you mean Robert Hall, the clothes store at the end of Medford Avenue?

Harry said: Eh, a you sayer hur way, I sayer a mine.

Harry and his accent left a lot of confusion.  If he wasn't on the train or going to Rabbiter Hole, he was sure on the job. Since he reported to my Uncle Joe, he would at times call into my Uncle for advice or directions as what to do along the line. My uncle would work out of Richmond Hill and his crew could be anywhere along the many miles of commuter track.

One such call went something like this one morning:
"Elloa Joe?"
"Yeah Harry, what's up?"
"They puta hout da list a for the job assign-a-ments."
"OK, read them to me."
"Wella the jobba for trackaman: abullish."
"What was that Harry???"
"The jobba for the trackaman: abullish."
"A bull ish!!!???"
"A yea, thatsa what she say: abullish."
"Harry, spell the word for me."
"Ma sure, eh-bee-hoe-ella-hye-essa-heych, abullish.

My uncle thinks for a moment then like the Holy Spirit striking the twelve apostles in that room after the Last Supper announces: "OH! YOU MEAN ‘ABOLISH!"
"DATSA WHAT I SAY! Abullish!"