Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Went to the movies again this week to see the movie ‘THE POST’ about the Pentagon Papers and Daniel Ellsberg.

The movie features the best of Hollywood in Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, two of the best in my book. It is a heroic tale about how the American public was lied to by successive administrations in the White House about Viet Nam and the conduct and progress of the war in that country.

The way it was produced takes you there in Washington DC, amidst major decisions that rocked the government in a Constitutional crisis, and if you remember your history, the outcome played out by the US Supreme Court that ruled no president can rule alone. It also stated that the press was responsible to the governed, not the governors.

My recommendation is to see this movie and understand the history of why we remain and will remain a great country.

My father-in-law who worked for Tom McAn shoes was known to read the New York Times and find all the typos, circle them and send the newspaper to the editor. In the movie, a shoe box arrives and it is a Tom McAn shoebox with all the Pentagon papers in it. I turned to TLW (The Little Woman) and said in a whisper at the movie: “It looks like it came from your father!”

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


All my friends and relatives are getting old, leaving me behind!

It is time for me to start acting my age, old, and to go back to my memories, mostly black and white to come to terms with the aging process.

Are you not painting the town red anymore, and why is that? Because you need to rest before applying a second coat?

You now take the best care of your teeth you ever have, because they are safely put away on your nightstand, in a glass soaking in water as it sits next to your arthritic medicine.

Your eyes, a long-ago failing too are on that nightstand and while you have it, did you hear? Probably not, because you left your hearing aids on the nightstand too. I remember when I had room on it for a book.

At least I haven't stopped reading. I take out my medication list read it to myself because it guarantees me to some extent that I can come back tomorrow to read it again!

I went to the doctors the other day and he called his nurse.
"Get Mr. D's medical history, part II.

People marvel at your attempt at dieting when you go to a restaurant. You order a small steak, cut away 10% and that's the part you eat!

Driving at night, you only go to places you know, using instinct rather than eyesight.

I am still burning the midnight oil, until around 7:00 PM.

And yes, you DO have a large vocabulary, but what good does it do you if the younger generations don't understand you?

Monday, January 15, 2018


Forty-six years ago, I signed my bachelorhood away in symbolic fashion. Like so many before me, I officially became engaged to marry after popping the question the day after Thanksgiving the year before.

The night before we went to NYC where we picked up an engagement ring TLW (The Little Woman) selected. We had dinner, afterward at a fancy NYC restaurant and went home via the Long Island Railroad.

We were planning to announce our engagement on St. Valentine's Day, a natural choice since it was so close. As we discussed it, I would take the ring and give it to her on that day. But it bothered me that I had to hold onto this expensive promise and decided to, without her knowledge, give it to her the next morning, a real surprise.

I climbed the train steps, went to our favorite seat among many friends and waited for the bride-to-be to arrive. Apprehension set in as the train to Hunters Point slowly eased into the East Islip Rail Road station, and TLW climbed aboard. In her marron pants suit, she settled in and I gave her the ring.

Of course, I was reminded that she wasn't really dressed for the occasion, but immediately proceeded to parade up and down the aisle of the car, showing her rock off.

And so I write before you, once a single man, going nowhere on the train of life to my final destination of wedded bliss and pizza every Friday night.

The End (In more ways than one)

Sunday, January 14, 2018


I have always held the office of the President of the United States in great respect. It is a place that few can go to, and still fewer leave it unscathed. It has far-reaching effects on the world at large and even down to young children who dream of someday aspiring to greatness.

It commands the most powerful military and so it has the most responsibility to keep world peace and when necessary, defend it. It helps the economy function, with policies and individuals who pursue sane fundamental monetary policy.

It is the moral compos of the nation, defending the poor and uplifting those who are in need.

It was the leader of the Free World once, it is the office of the United States' President.

The President himself comes from the will of the American people, based on ideologies that shape policy that the majority wish to ascribe to, no matter Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican.

This is not a critique of policy, it is a critique of deportment on the man who occupies the office of the President of the United States.

All too often this past year the President has expressed himself as he is, he is not holding back he true feelings and maybe that is refreshing somehow. Then, maybe not. Within these past 12 months, he has turned off our greatest allies, alarmed our enemies, and crapped on poor nations, leaving this incredible nation with leadership that seems to evolve from day to day, with investigations that are ongoing and with street talk that only describes the user of such language and uncertainty. This is a nuclear age, one that requires caution and reflection on what our next moves and responses should be. It is here where we as a nation need to have confidence in our leaders, not regret.

Mr. Trump can build his walls if the people want that, undo Obamacare and create new taxation methodologies, but his duty is to do so that all Americans can have confidence in the process, respect for the office and pride in the man we collectively elected, oddly enough from a minority of voters.

Right now, I see this mess that seems to be escalating not unlike Richard Nixon's White House. I don't want to see it go from the White House to the Crap House within the next 3 years. And please, don't post conservative or liberal translations of the truth, I never read them.

The talking heads are all having their day, FOX NEWS and MSNBC both choose to paint the picture their way, a refusal to pay attention to facts, limiting their coverage to what they want you as a viewer to hear, which is not necessarily the truth.

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Raising a child with disabilities is not something many people know about nor care. The alteration of one's life as a parent, coupled with the disappointment of the reality that your child is not ‘normal' and is ostracized in the mainstream, that your relationship with your spouse becomes altered in ways you never thought you'd see, take a toll on the parents.

But for the parent, there is only struggle and sometimes emotional pain. It stems from watching your child, no matter how old and in what stage of development who is suffering from physical pain, it is the ordeal that is suffered time and time again.

As the doctor ordered tests for my daughter, I realized it was going to require suffering from physical pain on her part, without any sense of reason in her mind. They will stick her with needles, conduct x-rays and physical invasive tests. She will be confused and frightened and defensive as this would all transpire.

Then the tests began. Of all the tests that occurred, two stand out.

The first was taking blood from her from both arms. Here we coax her into allowing a stranger to take her arm and stick a needle under her skin. As they inserted the needle, we needed to hold her down and keep her arm immobile and make sure she doesn't try to move the rest of her body. When they were done on one arm, we shifted to her other arm. By this time, she had enough and the pain overcame her, as she cried and sobbed, ripping the heart out of my chest. I felt so bad, sad and angry at God.

The second event was to take an X-ray of her lungs, and here she got her revenge. I was asked to leave the room as they set up the x-ray machine. In her wheelchair, she sat as they tried to get her ready for the event. Suddenly there was pandemonium and kayos as my daughter went to work slapping the help around causing them to retreat.

It was the hospital staff that now had the ordeal, and this caused me more pain, these wonderful people trying to help her and she being afraid and taking it out on them.

Friday, January 12, 2018


She's 46 in March!
Always a worry.
It was early in the morning, about 6:00 AM, and I was settling down to my day. I had to go to a neurologist appointment for my daughter with developmental disabilities and then later in the afternoon a meeting about a book I am helping to put together.

The news on TV with its usual chatter and nattering filtered through the den and my cup of coffee was still hot. Just wait for the newspapers and I'm ready to start my day.

The phone rings at 6:15 AM, caller ID shows AHRC! Probably getting back to me about the location of the neurologist meeting I requested in a message I left on the nurse's phone.

Mr. Del Broggolo? This is Eric from the ICF (Intermediate Care Facility), we are sending Ellen (my daughter) to the hospital! She has been running a 103 fever so the doctor wants some tests to see what is up.

Casting aside my plans for the day, I jump into my winter coat and head out to the hospital, figuring I'll get there before the agency does with Ellen.

Naturally, it is imperative that I do something to delay things and like clockwork I do. I go to the main entrance and enquire as to where they admit people. Of course, there is no one at the main desk, no volunteers, security guards or even sick people and their worried relatives. I think that business must be bad, and that's good.

Finally, I find a technician or nurse roaming the halls and ask, she tells me that I have to leave the building and walk, way over to the next building, so off I trek, thinking about how far away this would be from my car. As I walk into the next building I think I'll get comfortable and wait, but instead, I hear my name called out, they are there before me! Being admitted! Good God, how bad is this?

My daughter looks fine, she sees me and nearly jumps out of her wheelchair, calling out "Mumma". She calls me ‘Mumma' because she can't speak.

Tomorrow: AN ORDEAL

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Years ago, growing up in Brooklyn, Mom and Dad took the time to teach me my address and our downstairs neighbor’s telephone. It seems of the three tenants in the apartment, only the middle floor tenant had a phone and so any phone messages were filtered through that tenant.

If you needed to get a doctor to call back, you gave the phone number of the lady who would call us down to answer our call. Sometimes we would go down to her apartment and make a call or go to the corner candy store and make it through a phone booth.

Recently I was thinking of those times and the phone number came back to me for some reason. I wondered if that number was still in use in Brooklyn and decided t call the number and see.

So, I dialed the number and waited, finally someone answered.


“Hello. I know it’s been 62 years, but are there any messages for me?”


“Never mind”

I guess there weren’t any messages for me after 62 years.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


It was the night before our big trip to California, and we were all packed and ready to go. That is, we were all packed and ready to go except for one thing, my youngest son Michael couldn't find his license that he needed to board the plane at JFK.

My Irish wife had for years demanded and insisted that we eat pizza on Fridays, she loves pizza and it was a break for her from cooking during the rest of the week. It is this reason that I suspect she became a better Italian than I am. She was showing typical symptoms of Italianate style and class, she is beautiful, loves Italian food and makes a great sauce on Sundays.

"Does everybody have their ID for tomorrow? Mike, do you have your license?"

"Mom, I can't find my license!"

"What! Did you look in your room? You can't get on the plane without it. Look some more."

"I don't know what I did with it!"

Mom then stops in her tracks, in the middle of my den and announces:

"Well, there is only one thing to do. Like my mother, I will pray to St. Anthony!" So, she drops down to her knees and crosses herself and prays! Now it wasn't an altar that she was praying at, but the couch. I know that that couch has given me comfort over the years and so, why not?

With her hands folded and in earnest prayer, she invoked all her years of belief and devotion to God and prayed for the deliverance of one driver's license made in the name of Mike D.

This of course was shocking, an Irishman praying to St. Anthony, practically a patron saint of Italy and lost causes. Don't they have Irish saints to pray to for something lost? At least hire an Italian intermediary to pray to St. Anthony.

When her petition as over, blessing herself she rose to her feet, firm in her belief that St. Anthony was working his saintly magic for the cause of a half Italian child.

As she marched upstairs to Mike's bedroom, it seems like it was almost immediately that she returned, grasping high over her head Mike's license like it was a religious icon for all to bow and venerate to. The miracle of St. Anthony!

What happened? I think that probably with all her pizza consumption, she had through osmosis, become an Italian, crossing St. Anthony's wires and invoking his assistance.

Never underestimate the power of prayer or pizza.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018


Darn! The cold frigid days are leaving us. This means my excuse for not going to the gym is gone. The mornings of low-temperature frigidity are going away and as an old man I like to be comfortable, so I don’t go. Too cold.

When I woke up this morning I looked at the clock and it said 4:30 AM, and I realized it was time to go back to working out. Unfortunately, my body is disagreeing with me and telling me to turn over, close my eyes and shut up!

The worst thing I can think of is going out early in the morning or after dinner on cold days. Who wants to even move? Nothing like settling in on a cold evening, putting on The Big Bang Theory and having a cocktail to while the hours away.

Getting up in the early morning when it is the most convenient for me, in the cold doesn’t have the allure it does in the summer or spring. My motivation for the gym is not to build muscle, it is to remain as spry as possible before they plant me. Nothing like being in good shape for the end, so if anyone should visit the funeral home they will say: “He looks good!”

Monday, January 08, 2018



Went to the movies on Saturday to see THE DARKEST HOUR, a great movie that covers Sir Winston Churchill's ascendancy to the Prime Ministry of The United Kingdom, culminating at the rescue at Dunkirk of almost 300,000 men on the beaches from Hitler's Germany.

Sir Winston
The movie came by the title THE DARKEST HOUR not because of the UK's travails, but because it was my darkest hour. As TLW (The Little Woman) was online purchasing the tickets, I went to the candy counter and ordered one large popcorn to share.

"Uh, give me a large popcorn, please. And these two bottles of water."

"You want one large popcorn and two small bottles of water?"


"$18.80, please."


"$18.80, please."


Gary Oldman

You would think the crooks would at least provide a better wardrobe with the asking, say a gun and mask! That is highway robbery brought indoors.

Gary Oldman was terrific in the part and the money brought home to life the measure of the man. It takes you into the depths of the war room in London during Britain's darkest hour, the danger of imminent loss of 300,000 men in Europe to the Germans on the beaches of Dunkirk, and how he masters a rescue to save the British army on the beach and the nation of Great Britain and subjugation by Nazi Germany.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


It was 8:30 AM on January 4th in the middle of the biggest snowstorm in a while.  Having been given orders not to get involved with shoveling snow, I reached for my phone book and called the guy I used last year for snow removal.

I dialed and no one answered, however I was offered an opportunity to leave a message and so I did, confident that my driveway would be cleared sometime after the storm.

TLW (The Little Woman) was home since the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Company was closed due to the storm. All day long she wondered as I did if the message was conveyed to come and plow my driveway.

“Should you call and make sure he is coming?”

“Nah, he is probably busy with plowing to call back. He’ll come.”

It is suddenly 5:30 PM, I call once again and get the answering machine again. I hang up.

Now I’m worried that he isn’t coming, and now I have to go out there to shovel. I will give him until 9:00 PM, then go out and start to shoveling so TLW can get out in the morning.

“Leave the front door open so we can see when he arrives!” said TLW. I do and around 8:50 PM I look out the front door through the storm door these headlights appear and this person is walking up to the door.

Me: “It’s HIM!”

No, it’s not. It is an angel looking to make money.

I greet who I think is the shovel-man but he has a Hispanic accent which comes with few words of discernable English. Sweeping his hand across his body indicating the snow that is drifted high and wide, he asks me if I’m interested in his shoveling my driveway. I say yes and he asks me how much I will pay him. I ask him how much he wants. We discuss with me mostly doing the talking, I check with TLW and we hire him and his buddy.

This guy shoveled what usually takes my usual guy over 40 minutes just 15! I told him to make sure the next time it snows to look me up.

Saturday, January 06, 2018


The great winter storm of 2018 is upon us as I write this. Like all snow storms I can no longer shovel myself, as per orders from everybody. It seems like only yesterday I was shoveling and now I have to call someone.

The snow itself seems kind of strange, it is snowing for twelve hours yet it doesn’t feel very high, except for the drifts, and the hurricane force winds that dominate the day.

Back in the 70’s when I commuted to the city, you never knew what to expect. One morning I left for work on the train and the day had started off with a torrential rain, that quickly turned to snow and transformed a 1 hour ride into six or seven hours. I got into Manhattan around 1 PM ate lunch and turned around back on the train for another six hours.

There have been snow storms that I had to drive in. One such storm started about 1:30 PM and took me 7 hours to get home. On top of that, half way home in the storm on an every-man for himself Expressway my driver’s side windshield wiper stopped working, causing me to lean over to look ahead!

But today we are dealing with a wind that will cause temperatures to feel like 10 or 15 degrees below zero tonight. I’ll go to bed under heavy covers and not move, just lie there and enjoy the comfort of not having to go out in the snow, my health you know.

Friday, January 05, 2018


Every year since TLW (The Little Woman) went back to work, when it comes to the weather, I worry. Be it the dog days of August or the frigid days of January, weather plays a part in my mental peace.

As I write this we are on a winter storm alert. It is coming with hurricane force winds, creating blizzard conditions! The streets this early in the storm are still passable, but that is changing quickly. I went out earlier to fetch my newspaper, leaving tracks behind me, and once again about a half hour later, there were no tracks visible from my first trek!

Roads are frozen over, winds are building up, the cold penetrates your clothes, especially in your legs, your nose runs, and your ears tingle, and your toes seem to disappear. Three inches of snow per hour are expected, all day long! All this is very ominous.

So, I ask you, why would anyone want to go out in these conditions? Why would anyone risk their life for a bank transaction, even an emergency one when you have banking by computer, and you can increase your cash availability with a debit card?

Every year TLW goes off to work, knowing she is putting herself in peril doing so. Some years they call for late openings at the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Co. I anxiously worry about her getting to the job instructing her to call me when she gets there and being prepared to go out and find her if I need to.

Every morning we sit and watch the TV and the school closing reports, and wonder if the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company will cancel the day. You call a hotline and they say they will open, then 5 minutes later the TV crawl shows a late opening.

But today… we got the call! Early on, before 6:30 AM, they are CLOSED!!!!

Hallelujah, no worries today!

Thursday, January 04, 2018


This past year and particularly this past Christmas day has been an eye-opener for me. After the gift wrapping and unwrapping, the dinners, announcement that I will be a grandfather again, and eggnog, the reality of going back to normal comes to fruition. What was, is no longer and what is no longer you wait for in a year’s time.

But in the meantime, going back to the same old routine has its pluses. I’m going back to the reality that I have a pretty good life. I found someone 47-years ago who still loves me. I live in peace and the tranquility of a good woman who has always been there when I really needed her. That is a plus! She raised great children, good people who do good things.

One of the kids does great things for people with disabilities and another helps make millions laugh. I have a granddaughter who is so beautiful and smart, yet makes me laugh. I met new people and renewed old acquaintances, reached out and am doing all I can for people with disabilities. How good is this?

Take some time and take inventory of your good fortune, I’m sure there is some, and have a great New Year!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018


Getting old is an ordeal that slowly creeps upon us without fanfare, just subtle reminders and hints of what we will become at the end. People worry about how they look and how old age will treat them. Me, I don’t care. I have nothing to prove at my age, I am what I am and look like what I look like. You either like me for that or just make your life more pleasant and move on.

I have a lot of empathy for older people. I see them struggle to bend down and pick something up off the ground, or walk just a little way and realize, I’m starting to have those problems too.

On December 29th of last year or last week, TLW (The Little Woman) and I went to Penn Station to meet #2 Son for dinner to celebrate his birthday. It is his 30th, and for 30 years we have taken him out for dinner. The night was frigid, and as old people, we really didn’t wish to leave the comfort of our chairs for the frigidity of the cold and the Long Island Railroad. Suddenly it struck me that maybe we could help ourselves if we managed to meet #2 and his main squeeze Julie in the Penn Station and look for a restaurant, never leaving the station and keeping warm. That was the plan, stay inside as much as possible.

Arriving at Penn Station at a predetermined meeting place, I suggested to him that we look for a station restaurant. Penn Station is a large place that houses a few railroads and indeed does have restaurants to sit and eat in. #2 Son said he was hoping we would suggest that.

So, after checking the LIRR portion of the station, we went upstairs to the next level that houses I think Amtrak and found Kabooz’s Bar and Grille, a place of great food and noise. The noise level is so great that my young son and his squeeze both had trouble hearing! TLW too felt the noise level and remarked. But for an old fart like myself, I actually got accustomed to it! ME! ACCUSTOMED TO LOUD NOISE! While I’m EATING? Get out of here! But let me tell you, maybe it was what I had, Red Chili Crusted Sea Scallops, mixed baby greens with mango and tortilla shreds tossed in an orange vinaigrette, topped with grilled Chili crusted scallops took my mind off of the noise.

Leaving the restaurant and walking downstairs to the railroad we stayed indoors and the only outdoor walking we did was from our car to the train station in Ronkonkoma and again from the Ronkonkoma train station to our car going home.

I guess it is good to be old, you figure out more ways to make your life bearable.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018


This last holiday season was the most anticipated Christmas ever. Since my kids are all older now, Santa has pretty much retired in my book too. Then I find out that La Principessa was coming to town, and once again, so was Santa.

The most beautiful and wanted gift came not from Santa but from Darby Shea my beautiful granddaughter, who fills my heart like it never was before. This little princess in her first 3 and a half years is learning on the go, she is joyous, filled with boundless energy and so filled with love it is amazing. She is true: JOY TO THE WORLD!

I have a daughter with disabilities. She is loving but in her 40's, she can scare little children. Her brother explained to their child, little Darby Shea that Ellen was different, that she had this terrible affliction. This little girl climbed the couch where my daughter Ellen was sitting and offered her blanket. My daughter smiled and La Principessa smiled back! They bonded.

Throughout the week, they spent with me and my wife, was truly remarkable, every family should have this, all of us on Christmas day were together for the first time that I can remember!  Not only that we hosted two people for Christmas dinner who were without family on Christmas day, filling my table with the best aspects of the Christmas spirit.

The highlight of the week came Christmas morning, I was going to be a grandfather once again, this time a boy! This has me very high right now, this is life and a growing family for me. How happy I am now, how very pleased I am.

To round off this incredible week, we had a dinner party for friends from the old neighborhood, people we had lost touch with. By simply sending out a Christmas card, I got back ten-fold. One day I receive this call from one of the best neighbors we ever had, from our old neighborhood thanking me for the card. I invited her and her son and another neighbor who since I last saw him had lost his eyesight! HE was the life of the party!

Funny how things go, for years I wished I could have just one Christmas day like Dad used to experience every year, and for one Christmas day, I did. Somehow I think it is a gift from my Dad.

Monday, January 01, 2018


Happy New Year and best of health.
As the New Year begins and you take your first steps and venture into it, keep in mind that you are only human, and as a human, you will experience both joy and anger. Please keep in mind that we must never take the anger out of each other. When there is anger, try to replace it with joy, filling the void in a productive way.
Always keep in mind that each of us is someone’s child, that someone would only want their child to be loved by all, something I know we can all do.
When there is a pain, try to help ease the pain away, make room in your heart for consideration and give only what is good.
It doesn’t matter how old, it is someone’s child. It could be 90 or 9 years or 9 months, it is someone’s child. It could be you, or me, or your own child. We are all: someone’s child.
This morning, I went out to get my usual coffee and a buttered roll, and as I entered the Handy Pantry, there stood at the counter an elderly woman. The small counter was loaded with groceries, cans, boxes and loose vegetables. Except for it being such a large order, I didn’t think much about it and went to the coffee pots. I poured a cup, placed a lid on it and went to pay for it. There still stood this older Italian woman. She was small, somewhat delicate and overburdened by her purchases. She was struggling to put her change in her purse, and gather her many bags. She looked up at me and seemed embarrassed and apologetic for still being there and taking so long. I reassured her that she need not hurry on my part, that she should take her time.
Without sounding like an elitist or obnoxious, she seemed somewhat simple in her manner. Her focus was trying to explain herself to me! Her shoddy coat, her head covered with a tied-on scarf, she dragged herself out of the store. She made me feel sad. Funny thing is I felt sad not so much for her, as for her parents! Yes, she was much older than me, and I felt sad for her parents, parents who are long ago dead! Why? Because I wondered if they looked down on her at that moment and realized she was so vulnerable.
I often wonder if those that passed on look down on us, and view our lives from the other side. Do they see when we are in danger, do they see when we struggle and fall? Do they cry when that happens? Do they worry?
As a father of three children that live in my world, I worry about them. I might get angry with them from time to time, but rest assured, they are someone’s children. Mine. I think about how we hurt each other, and cripple and maim. I see pictures of orphans, tears in their eyes as they struggle to survive, maybe hiding from some predator, and I think, that is someone’s child!
I often wonder if my in-laws, my father, and mother-in-law look down on their daughter. Do they think I take good enough care of their daughter? Do they worry about her because of me? I try, but is it good enough?
So when you start to lose your cool, maybe want to smack someone, remember, it is someone’s child.