Sunday, September 15, 2019

JUST WHEN I HANG ‘EM UP

Am I busy AND cheap?
I get an email from out of the blue. I guess cyberspace is blue, no?

Good morning, Joe,
I hope that you and the family are well. I am developing a new publishing project (a magazine for senior citizens to be distributed in Florida) and wondered if you are busy these days (and also if you would work cheap). 
In any case, let me know if you are interested and we can talk.”

I will not mention the culprit but my favorite sentence is the last one in Italics, it is a gem. Will I do it? Yes! Why? It is something to do and I love doing design work or writing.

The thing about this project is that it will lead to something lucrative if it works, and there is nothing that builds my ego more than money. Also, I love developing things like magazines, I’ve done that before and seeing a creation of yours in a sleek shiny format makes me sparkle.

You know, when you retire you miss what you did professionally for a living, the excitement of moving your blood at a steady flow, the juices just pumping and you get more and more into it. But most of all, it makes you belong to something, the project, the goal of the project and the people involved. You are living!

I guess I will never retire fully, maybe no more driving or commuting to a job, but belonging to something still seems important to me. Maybe I’ll die doing it, and that will be the first time I didn’t finish a job!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

PRAYING TO THE NEW GOD!

This morning as I crossed the parking lot to visit my daughter in her Multi-care facility I scanned the horizon and noticed two young ladies sitting on a bench. The young ladies waiting for rides home or class to begin. They were trainees or novice nurses by their dress, all black.

As I got closer I notice both had their heads bowed and their hands in their laps and I thought how wonderful that two young people could be so devoted to the Almighty! I kind of restored my faith in young people that they have something spiritual in their lives, especially since they hoped to be nurses at some point.

Both of their heads were so that I could see the back of each head, as they sat motionless and centered on their hands. I don’t think I ever saw photos of any Pope so devoted to prayer as these two were.

As I got closer to the entrance the sun angle shifted away so that I was in the shadows of the overhead portal to the main doors. I tried not to disturb them and then the vision of devotion blew up in my face! They were on their cell phones, not praying!

The new god, the ‘E’ god has risen. Say hallelujah to the Egod, the god of all whom one prays to in traffic, at dinner tables and even classes.

Friday, September 13, 2019

WHY IS IT ALWAYS?

The other day I was driving down my street and the residents can park on the street on either side, there are no town lays restricting it. As I drove, there ahead of me was an oncoming car and as we drew closer I knew we would have to come to a crawl and creep by each other to allow for not hitting the cars that were parked on either side of us. It seems that if there is a possibility o such a situation occurs it will.

Leaving a building the other day I was in a hurry but sure enough, there in front of me were about 4 wheelchairs, all crowding the elevator, needless to say, I had to wait a while for the next elevator.

Coming to a right turn from a parking lot as I come to a full stop, some big ass SUV pulls up next to me blocking my view of on-coming traffic. Now I have to wait for the SUV to cross over the traffic before I can see.

I’m cruising down the main road with the lights in my favor when a van pulls out in front of me about a quarter of a mile ahead and drives so slow that I now catch every light. WHY DO THESE THINGS HAVE TO HAPPEN?

Now with the new super supermarkets that are becoming the norm, no one thinks about the logic of stocking shelves and location of items. I was looking for loose olives so I head to the salad section, where you build your salad and there are no olives that I want! So I look around when suddenly, I find myself in the pasta section and there sits a case of assorted olives. Great placement; morons.

If I call my mechanic for a simple NYS inspection when due, before calling I see he is moving cars in and out at record speed. There aren’t many cars in his garage or on his lot so he can’t be that busy.
“Hi Mike, I need an inspection of the car.”
Mike: “Well, I can’t get to it today.”
 Me: “When can you?”
Mike: “Let’s see… this is 2019…”

And so it goes.

Did you ever surf the channels to see what’s on? What do you get on each channel you pause at? COMMERCIALS! Don’t try to wait it out, you only get more commercials.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

JIM THE INTERLOPER


Throughout US history there have been issues for Americans with immigration. The idea that some foreigners would enter our sacred soil and threaten our jobs and security has lasted from the first time an influx of immigrants began. Just ask the native Americans and how they must have thought when seeing the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and said: “There goes the neighborhood!”

In the late 19th Century when the immigration process became real enough to count how many people came from the different European countries such as Italy, Ireland, Poland, Germany, and France along with the West Coast influx from China, Japan, then once again in the early part of the 20th Century to the now immigration ‘crisis’ that exists now fear and resentment were the orders of the day for Americans.

Often I read about how someone’s ancestry migrated to America and spoke English while not making demands that we speak Spanish, didn’t ask for anything such as medical or social assistance and always overlooked crimes were committed when compared to today’s immigrants. We tend to forget that history is but a revolving sequence f events borne of poverty and fear, oppression and desperation. We tend to forget that crappy things happen that impose upon the peaceful order of life and survival.

Jim
Back in the 1920s I believe, there was a young man who threw caution to the wind and left his native Ireland and journey to America. Jim was a man seeking his divine destiny whatever it would become. He based this move to America on hope and a dream to live in a country that allowed one to prosper or at least try to.

He laid his fears aside and stepped on these shores pinning his hopes on himself with God’s help. He did wonders meeting a young lady he fell in love with and raised a family filled with promise. They, in turn, proved that indeed you could have hopes and dreams and see them through.

All too often I hear of people that wish t bar immigration because maybe a select few are criminals, or the language is not English and that the infringement on American society is such that the English language is under stress, our ways and conditions, our sense of order, are all falling to foreign influence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Jim’s birthday is today, he is my father-in-law and I am proud of him. He would have been 109 years old today! When he died in the 1980s, he had left a legacy of love, hard work, and the fulfillment of the American dream. His four children all live productive lives and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren have all followed his lead in living good lives, with honesty and faith in God and each other shining brightly in their collective hearts. 

Perhaps we need to realize that the immigrants of today are the future of America, that America will still stand but a little stronger than it does today. Our fears are found less, built on imagined events that will never occur. I have had the pleasure of meeting these people first hand. Most are hardworking and honest, love their new country because in spite of its flaws it is better than where they came from. To suggest they return to their native lands where fear and poverty reign, where death is almost a certainty, is sin-filled, and those who feel this way should examine their origins and whether they should pretend they believe in God. God knows.



Wednesday, September 11, 2019

DAYS REMEMBERED

There should be a national holiday that commemorates all the dark days of our National history. Days like Pearl Harbor and 9/11 should be carved out of our National calendar for all Americans to take notice and reflect upon. This day should not be a day off from work or a day to pitch sales and events.

The day should have a solemnity to it that invokes prayer or reflection in all faiths, perhaps a universal service that is non-denominational and allows all faiths the same access to commemorate those events and those that were sacrificed. The 2,000 sailors at Pearl Harbor and the two thousand civilians that perished in the World Trade Center in New York, the fields of Pennsylvania and the personnel at the Pentagon.

Maybe the day the South fired on Fort Sumter should be included among those dark days, a day that tore our nation apart and maybe even includes the death march of the combatants at Corregidor in the Philippines.

Why should this be so? To show the world and ourselves that no matter what happens on the World stage and who the aggressors are, that we continue to forge head our shoulders strong as is our resolve.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

REALITY


As I sat this morning next to my daughter Ellen, I noticed that she is still hooked up to a feeding tube, has a treacle and experiences pain almost like clockwork, causing her to not eat her breakfast. She lies on her bed and nods off and on occasion our eyes meet, sometimes smilingly.

I am starting to wonder how long we can as a family hang on to this situation in watching her suffer and the countless hours we are spending with her to soothe her fears. She doesn’t speak and she understands very little. Her guard is constantly up as she watches the various personnel that comes into her room and administer to her. She doesn’t leave her room and the only changes she might see during her day is when she is physically switched from the bed to a jerry chair.

My wife is supposed to be retired and spends it sitting in my daughter Ellen’s room at her bedside as I do also. This situation has caused me to wonder how much life must be wasted, especially in our so-called golden years. Is this a prison sentence? Are we paying for a crime we have committed? Can someone read us the sentence or even what that crime is?

The thought of Hospice has occurred to me, and the fact that if we stopped all the tubes she would probably pass. This sounds like a heartless solution to a basic problem, sustaining life or wasting life. Do we sustain her life for the sake of keeping her to live this non-existent torture that leaves her with no future other than additional pain, or do we save what is left of our lives as a family? She has two brothers and they, I am sure, want her to live, but do they want us to be reduced to the same pointless meaningless future their sister is now facing?

So, do we plan for hospice and apply for the Molst form?

Monday, September 09, 2019

Dear Dad,


It’s been a while since I wrote last. The landscape you knew has changed drastically, the World seems a little more unsettled and chaotic. The good news is that what lessons you left me to stay in my heart and soul.

Your ability to transform sadness into a perspective that says: La vita e’ bella, still holds. Some days it is tested severely and my knees bend from it, but I straighten my back and push forward because like you taught me, there is a tomorrow, we must carry on.

Being how poor you were there wasn’t much in terms of inheritance of material, but my God, the inheritance of  “La vita e’ bella” you left me is profoundly lasting. Your pure joy of having your family about you celebrating our favorite holiday, Christmas Eve, was one of your gifts to me. I spent one finally in 2017, right before my beautiful daughter-in-law Courtney passed while giving birth to your great-grandson, Robert Courtney. Along with, my daughter-in-law your beautiful great-granddaughter and my granddaughter Darby Shea, I felt the joy of all those Christmases you so enjoyed for the first time in my life!
Today is your birthday and being 103 does not fade my memories of love, you were always there for me even in the worst of times.

You loved to make people laugh and people loved you. You gave when I didn’t think there was anything you could possible give, then found out what you gave was of yourself, your greatest gift. I remember how proud you were when I went to college, a dream you never had yet you were so encouraging and helpful that it gave me the impetus to do so under trying conditions until I graduated. I remember the many poor people you helped when their lives were on the downswing, helping you paint or repair and encouraging them, many a day off or weekend we did this side-by-side.

I remember how much you wanted me to introduce Ellen my future wife to Grandma Frances and how proud you were of my choice, making me know that indeed I made the right choice for my future. Your excitement of introducing her to the whole family was so important to you it made me proud of her. And they all loved her.

One of my biggest regrets is that you didn’t live long enough to witness your namesake’s success. Every night I saw your grandson’s name on The Big Bang credits I’d think of you and how proud you would have been and the fact that there would have been no living with you! I see #2 son Michael and all he does now for a living, helping people with disabilities live meaningful lives, in the same spirit, you exuded and know you would be even prouder. I am.

But most of all in all this is your granddaughter Ellen, who the past two years have been tried as has been my patience. You loved her more than you did your daughter; she is innocent and loving, yet with her multiple disabilities shows such fight. Since I wrote last she has fallen and broken her leg, had to have an external fixator then a rod inserted for the broken bone. Then she fell again and had a brain bleed, then another fall causing her a partial hip replacement, followed by colon cancer, then pneumonia and the insertion of a tracheotomy. In all this she has been confused scared and frightened yet has fought through it all with needles that poke her, tubes down her nose and throat and in her stomach from an ileostomy. She fights on and continues to smile and love like you would have wanted her to.

Someday I’ll write to you about the Mets and Jets, but one pain at a time.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

THE POLYGLOTS

Mr. & Mrs. Polyglot

No, they weren’t like Visigoths or Huns they were my parents. No, it wasn’t some off the beaten path religious cult but a mainstay in my life.

If you are familiar with the English language a little bit, you may know what ‘Polyglot’ means, to have the ability to communicate in more than one language. And there lied the problem: Mom and Dad were communicating behind my back to one another right in front of me. They spoke Italian when we were young and still learning our way around, then when secrecy was required they would switch off from English to Italian, burying all plans I might envision if I knew what they were talking about.

This polyglot stuff was particularly troublesome during the Christmas season when I tried to be on my best behavior and not torture my sisters in front of Mom or Dad. I was always a good son as I waited for them to first leave the room before adjusting the peace and tranquility delle mie Sorelle.

Being good was a full-time job and sometimes I didn’t show up for work! Pushing the mom-o-meter for aggravation usually led to my mother swearing in Italian at an alarming rate, reaching for the wooden spoon and our trot around the dining room table as she chased me.

“Wait ‘til I get my hands on YOU!”

“I can! Take your time.”

The mom-o-meter rose steadily with my semi-sarcastic replies and desperation. As Mom tired chasing me around the table she would sit and I would sit opposite of her out of reach of her wooden spoon. As she gathered her breath for another assault I would ask her if she was ready, her mom-o-meter rose further still and on my cue, I said: “OK, let’s go!” It was important for her to keep her remarks in Italian so I would be unprepared for what awaited me if she caught up with me.

Christmas time was when the polyglot system is most effective. Mom and Dad could tell each other where the presents were hidden or what they were thinking of getting us for Christmas. Hearing them speak usually meant that maybe coal was in the mix as they looked at me.

I remember one day Mom said to me she had an appointment and might not make it back before we got home from school, handing the key to my older sister. Curious, I asked her what kind of appointment. She answered “Eyes” and I asked “Front or back?” This, of course, released a string of Italian words that left her smiling. She always knew she kept me off balance.


Saturday, September 07, 2019

CHOICES

I wasn’t a bad kid so much as a child that trouble found. My reasoning was guided by my lack of understanding of what the line drawn meant, the teachings of my grandparents and parents so desperately tried to instill in me. I wasn’t paying attention!

“Joseph, go to the store for me” could have been anyone of the grownups responsible for guiding me as much as: “Don’t do that or else!” It was the Old Italian spirit of discipline; Grandma could smack you around just as well and maybe with more experience than Mom or Dad. Usually, it was Grandma who ran to my aid, just as the boom was being lowered, saving me from myself.

It was a Sunday morning, bright and sunny and I was getting dressed for church. Mom was very fiscally responsible and Dad was her resource. Not being a churchgoer, Dad was still in bed and it was time to leave for church and the dreaded 9:00 A.M. Mass. Being it was summer, there were no requirements that I sit with my class during the Mass, so Mom made sure I got there by accompanying me there.

“Joseph, go get some money from your father for the collection,” Mom ordered me. She was good that way.

I wake up Dad and tell him: “Mommy said, give me some money for church.” (I didn’t have to say please when Mom ordered it) Slowly he opens his eyes and rolls over and grabs his pants from the side of the bed, reaches in and gives me 2 shiny nickels.

As I head toward the kitchen from the bedroom, I pass Mom’s sewing basket, and an idea hits me. For a nickel, I could buy a bottle of Pepsi, and for another nickel, I could buy a package of 5 or 6 small powdered donuts. If given powdered donuts, you could get me to do anything, say anything or lie about anything! Yes, powdered donuts were my addiction!

So quietly I go into Moms sewing box where she kept her buttons and reasoned that if I took 2 shiny metal buttons I could confuse Mom when the usher came to collect money, then afterward, I could celebrate with a Pepsi and donuts! I couldn’t believe my genius had taken me so far!

Our Lady of Lourdes was a beautiful church, with marble floors and columns, stained glass windows and a large dome that sat over the front altar. There were three additional altars with the one in the back having La Pieta inside a gated enclosure. With it’s foreign Latin prayers and interminable sermons, the hocus pocus of rituals I did not understand and the hunger that seemed to deeply inside my hollow stomach as the Mass dragged on the only praying I seemed to do was for the whole experience to end.

Being a large church, with a school, and about 5 priests, Our Lady of Lourdes’ ushers always dressed to the nines, and when collecting, had these long-handled collection baskets made of wicker.

Mom and I sat, she in deep meditation and prayer, and me deep into whether or not I could scale the grotto wall behind the main altar. Suddenly I noticed the ushers with the collection baskets and reached for my first button. As the basket slid under my nose, I slipped in the first of the shiny buttons. Mom deposited her money and went back into her prayers (probably for my soul) and said nothing. Ah, I rouse was working!!! Donuts for sure!

The second collection comes, and like the first, I slip in the other shiny metal button, Mom deposits her money, and once again goes into deep pray-filled pleading for my wicked soul. Oh! The joy of deep quiet celebration, knowing there were donuts soon on the horizon, glory is to God!

Mass is over and as we walk home I start to talk to Mom, but she is not answering me. I figured her mother instincts for survival have kicked in. This goes on for a few blocks, nothing being said by Mom. We climb the two flights of steps to our third-floor apartment when I announce to Mom that I am going downstairs for a while. (Donuts on my mind)

Suddenly, I feel this grip on my shoulder and the words: “Embarrass me in church?” Whack, dragging me into the apartment. “How dare you embarrass me in church of all places?” Whack, whack and whack. If nothing else at this critical moment she was certainly hitting the target and as a parent, being very consistent!

She drags me over to my father who is sipping his morning coffee at the kitchen table and says:

“TELL YOUR FATHER WHAT YOU DID!”
“Nothing,” I say.

“NOTHING!” She yells!

"YOUR son put buttons in the collection basket instead of the money you gave him!" (I always hated these verbal custody battles)

Dad spits out his coffee and is laughing out loud.

“Sure, encourage him!”

This went on all the rest of Sunday morning, every time she saw me, “Embarrass me in church?” Whack, and more whacks with her wooden spoon. Dad kept a low profile; he didn’t want to get in the way of her fury, no need to interrupt. That whole morning and early afternoon, I finally started to pray myself for preservation and rescue, hoping for company to show up immediately, if not sooner.

Relief finally arrived when Aunt Filomena and Uncle Dominic arrived, with customary cheesecake and appetite.

Somewhere that day angels sang and poets rhymed, the sun shone and the trees whistled in the wind, and somewhere a little boy sat on his stoop in Brooklyn, relieved of his guilt and his nose powdered white, as all was even again!

Friday, September 06, 2019

SCHOOL DAZE


As the fall draws away from the summer heat and humidity, all the children are off to school taking me back to a time long ago that makes me smile at my own expense. Mom’s truly enjoyable and happy welcoming of the beginning of the school year! Her sweet face would transform into a perpetual smile causing her wise and knowing face to become almost giddy or girlish or even child-like with enthusiasm like when a birthday is near.

It was very annoying.

First looking at me she would break out in song. And what was that vile song she sang? “School Days” in her most unappealing voice she sang from the heart, crushing my spirit causing me to squirm and resent any money I spent on her for Mother’s Day as I knew I must face the consequences of being Catholic and my Mom’s son. I was destined to suffer at the hands of the nuns, brothers and lay teachers at Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic School! This occurred every year until I started high school. In particular, the days I went to elementary school in Brooklyn were the most painful as a smile cracked her lips and her eyes danced in almost delirium? I feared maybe she was either drinking or on drugs. If they had extended the summer vacation by one more day she definitely would have resorted to alcohol or drugs.

Right after Labor Day, when the school would call back all its students, Mom would take us out for new shoes and clothes to start the school year, along with composition books with the black marble covers that said: COMPOSITION then left lines for your name and classroom on the marbled cover. The teacher would make you draw a cross on top of the page and the initials ‘J.M.J. for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Each classroom was adorned with the handwritten script of the alphabet ruled on a green background as it surrounded the walls of the classroom. Beside Jesus on the cross were the portraits of both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln looking down on me.

But the night before was the worst! Along with the singing, she would polish my shoes, starch my shirt and that morning as my suit stood pressed and my blue tie on the hanger make me lunch. Sadly, summer was over, I had to now leave my freedom for the rigid discipline of the school. Line up for entry into the building before class started with your grade, two by two, explain why you didn’t attend Mass the day before during attendance, read and study a catechism that you remembered by rote, getting into a mechanical rhythm while unconsciously you also spewed out the answers to the catechism and the math, the fear of having to go up to the blackboard and get creamed if you didn’t solve the math problem. God, I was unhappy! Not only could I not go out and play with my friends after dinner as I had all summer long, but I also had to sit and listen to warnings of grave consequences if I did not behave!

Mom: “ If the teacher has to discipline you and I find out, when you get home you will GET THE REST!

Then when morning broke on the first day of school, the last night had gone too fast! Going to bed that night, I thought I had at least the night for final summer freedom.

I slept through it all.

And the next morning through sand encrusted eyes I saw Mom at the foot of my bed, a smile transcending the summer into the school year! Oh, the pain. It seemed that her word “Freedom” was used a little too much with no American flag in sight!

And so it went, every new school year, year after year. Mom had her silly times for sure at my expense.
 

Thursday, September 05, 2019

GOD AND MOM

Dad was not a religious soul, just a good one. His life was uncomplicated and when I think about it, easy to live in a way that may be difficult to explain. We were not a rich family, working hard for what he had he appreciated it and loved his family. He boiled it down to a simple equation: live and love. He gave so much to others from so little and everyone he knew loved him. He was my Dad.

Dad came from a very religious upbringing due to his mom, my grandmother, grandma Frances or as she was known: Zia Francesca by the neighborhood Italians and family. Grandma was a hard-working businesswoman who spoke very little English and had the smarts of the best CEOs of the time. Charitable and always moving, be it cooking or raising money for Our Lady of Loreto on Sackman Street in Brooklyn, NY, and doing it since the Great Depression!

At the tender age of four, Dad got a hold of me and decided to teach me my prayers and in particular the Our Father. Being how it aggravated my grandmother that Dad and his younger brother my uncle Joe never went to church it was their way of rebelling against grandma’s devotion. His words stayed with me for about the time I was a teenager. They were NOT all the right words and Mom when she finally heard them in church one Sunday blew a gasket. Of course, Dad was not around since he was still in bed.

OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN
HAROLD, BE THY NAME.
THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE
ON EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
GIVE US A STEAK AND OUR DAILY BREAD
AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES
AS WE FORGIVE that WHO TRESPASS… etc.

Mostly beautiful words but not all God’s!

For years when I heard the name Harold I envisioned some holy yet ghostly apparition that hovered in front of me sitting in some fog or cloud. When I said the prayer correctly years later, I chuckled as I said ‘Goodbye’ to Harold.

Mom, of course, had her hands full with my father and his offspring, YOU KNOW WHO. Being religious herself, (she watched the Mass on TV the day she died in her deathbed) Mom was very particular about our attitudes toward God and honesty. She also had a thing about polished shoes but that is another story for another time.

Mom maintained her strict discipline with the finely tuned use of guilt and a wooden spoon. She had a philosophy that rivaled Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick!” It was “BECAUSE I SAID SO!”

“BECAUSE I SAID SO!” would stay with me as I write this and remember her love and science of raising an incorrigible son. I like to think she developed her technique just for me! “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” was final, there was no argument or discussion, and the only words needed to retreat from my losses was to keep my mouth shut. “BECAUSE I SAID SO!” was also solidly backed by her weapon of bodily destruction, usually oak or pine and reached deep into the pasta pot or my head, stirring both with equal efficiency.

‘WAIT TILL YOUR FATHER GETS HOME!” was the usual threat. I would shake and fear would take over as Dad would be the disciplinarian and did you ever see HIM get mad.

“DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR SION DID TODAY?” Dad had me on his own no mother needed in this creation.

“No, what did YOUR son do this time?” No one would take credit.

If I had a need to do something and wanted money, I NEVER went to Mom. Always Dad. If there was something I wanted to do, I asked Mom, she said no, then I would ask Dad and he would say: “Go ask your mother.” Obviously, there was very little I did.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

HONEST REPORTING REQUIRES RESTRAINT

Two days after the shooting in Odessa, Texas that left five people dead, I put on the TV early afternoon and saw on the screen: ‘BREAKING NEWS-MASS SHOOTING IN ODESSA!’ This left me stunned or shocked as I tried to comprehend the news.

Could it be that a second shooting occurred in the same place like the one that was reported a few days ago? Are things getting that bad that we now have regular mass shootings? Are we all doomed and heading to self-destruction?

As I watched I noticed that the film coverage was the same as I saw the other day! I figured maybe the station broadcasters were using what they had on hand for illustrative purposes only. Then I decided that I was confused by all this reporting and consulted the newspapers I had leftover from the days past and it showed the same info. It dawned on me that it was old news with a new urgency to retain and excite viewers to stay on their channel.

This makes me angry and in a way, I can understand Trump’s “Fake News” claim when they doctor up the graphics to convey immediate and current news that it is disguised as something it isn’t.

It is time for the talking heads news commentators to get their act together and start reporting the news honestly.

 

Tuesday, September 03, 2019


BANG, BANG, AND YOU’RE DEAD!

It seems to me that the NRA has muddied the waters of collective wisdom by misleading the American public into thinking that the 2nd Amendment has something to do with individual rights.

The 2nd Amendment was designed to guarantee states the ability to bear arms through a well established and organized militia, not a bunch of wanna-be soldiers playing with assault rifles. If you wish to interpret the 2nd Amendment then you need to read it properly and understand the King’s English.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Definition of ‘militia’ - noun

“A body of citizens enrolled for military service, and called out periodically for drill but serving full time only in emergencies.
A body of citizen soldiers distinguished from professional soldiers.
All able-bodied males considered by law eligible for military service.
A body of citizens organized in a paramilitary group and typically regarding themselves as defenders of individual rights against the presumed interference of the federal government.”

Nowhere does this say private citizens in any stretch of the imagination.

There are groups of people who belong to hunting clubs or hunt on their own. They own rifles for the sport of it and that is their right as citizens. The 2nd Amendment does not address that for private ownership of a gun.

Even so, the fault lies not in the interpretation of the law but the misuse of the logic we possess when we speak of gun ownership. Assault rifles are the issue. These are weapons used to inflict multi-casualties within a short period. These are for military use and should be limited to the military.

There are all kinds of laws being written bout background checks and red flag laws. Let's throw that all out and instead make one law: the sale of military assault weapons to private citizens is a Federal crime and the punitive costs are high, life in jail.

Enough of “Thoughts and prayers” Senator McConnell, stop the BS that you are spewing to protect your political agenda and cowardly fear of the NRA I doubt very much you are praying for anything but your cowardly hide and pathetic and archaic party.

Monday, September 02, 2019

THE JOYS OF DEATH!


Being how I spent most of my career in the direct mail business, writing and designing mailing to sell I felt that I had sold just about everything there is to sell. From earthmoving equipment to jewelry and insurance, coins and books and whatever else was out there, I sold it. Subscriptions to magazines and clubs to royal commemoratives and politicians, I sold it and sold it well. I was paid for my talents and expertise well, it all seemed second nature to me.

Often I get solicitations in my mailbox that I examine and judge, it is my habit and it comes naturally to me. Some of it is excellent and some not so. Then recently I received the illustrated mailer you see.

An ‘Open House’ for a mausoleum was the product. And, you can get a $500 Gift Card with a purchase! I was “Cordially Invited” to come to the open house. Somehow, this concept of an open house at a mausoleum just seemed somewhat macabre and unsettling.

In direct mail first impressions are critical. If you don’t connect at first glance chances are you will never connect, and I see no connection in this instance.

“Only 10% Down Payment Required!”


I guess you can pay it off after you get drawer space. Once you visit the “Open House” do you get to view the space, kind of lie down in it, you know, just to get the feel?

As for me, give me the old-fashioned way, in the ground under an elm tree, but plant me standing up so that if I hear any kind of movement, I can climb out and get the “HELL” away quickly!

Sunday, September 01, 2019

NEVER MESS WITH GRANDMA

If it weren't for her I'd still be in the first grade!
It was the fall of 1950, and a new school year was beginning at Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school. Mom had an infant at home and me entering first grade. My older sister would accompany me to school every morning while my parents tried to either change the locks or move to a different apartment by 3:00 pm when the school had enough and sent me home.

One of the things that were needed before they would allow a child into their world of religious education and military discipline was an upfront payment of both tuition and books, each was to be paid separately. Mom gave my older sister the money for the books in an envelope and she, in turn, handed it to my cranky first-grade teacher, Miss Langon.

Miss Lagon was a cranky skinny old lay-teacher who wore old-fashioned laced shoes and long floral dresses, also need to give me a hard time. Around the third or fourth day of school, Old Miss Langon called my sister over and gave her ‘What for’ for not paying for my books! I remembered my sister giving her the money in a white envelope from my mother.

From under Old Miss Langon’s gray bun, severe attitude and squeaky voice my sister got reprimanded for not turning the money in. Going home in tears that day she related to Mom her encounter with the Leona Helmsley wanna-be (Queen of Mean) Old Miss Langon. Grandma Frances who happened to be visiting that day listened as Mom translated the sobbing encounter to Grandma into Italian. Grandma said nothing.

The next morning, there stood Grandma, waiting for us to go to school, she wanted to meet the wicked witch of Catholic Schools, the original Our Lady of Sorrows. Off we went to school, my older sister, and Grandma tugging me along by the hand. She was getting to the bottom of this and would set Miss Langon straight, about yelling at her grandkids.

We reached my first-grade classroom Grandma stood with her hands on her hips and motioned the old girl over, what she said I don’t remember, but I do remember the witch retreating backward as grandma raised Hell, fingers flashing from all the rings she wore, and hands waving in her nice Italian accented fingers!

I was never bothered by Miss Langon again as it was later ascertained that she did get the envelope with the money after all.
 As my grandmother reported to my mom: “Riparer√≤ quella strega!” (“I fixed that witch!”)
 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

MAKING THE CUT

The other day I decided to have my ears lowered and entered my favorite barbershop for a trim. This is something I like to do when my hair (What’s left of it) grows so long I trip over it.

My barber is named Haim and he might be a bowler on the side as he grips my head like he is about to roll it down an alley! A great guy who I discovered a few years ago he greets you with a smile and a handshake and with flair shake the cover he sets around my neck.

But as I entered there was something different this time. Both Haim and his associate, a lady both welcomed me and asked to curt my hair. Since Haim was closest, I choose Haim and sat in his chair. The woman stood standing in the middle of the shop looking kind of dejected and I felt like a heel. I assure you it was not because she was a woman, but because Haim was closer.

As Haim began I notice she was still standing in the same spot and looking a little rejected. Haim gripped dribble and tossed my head about as he ritualistically and I must say creatively readjusted my hairline when finally he was done.

Giving my approval as he posed the mirror behind my head and stood up to pay with a mission in mind. I paid my $16 and gave him a $4 tip, then, with great athletic ability swung on my heels and went over to the woman barber and gave her $3 to soothe my guilt and alleviate my sense of rudeness. In her Spanish accent, she refused at first telling me I didn’t need to do this and for what? I insisted and Haim told her to take it.

She has cut my hair before, she does a great job when she does, it was just a matter of who was closest.

Friday, August 30, 2019

NURSE CRACHETT


I love nurses I feel that nursing is the best thing to happen to a civilized man in all his glorious history. The nurse is the link between your Mom and the need to feel better while alleviating your fear.


However, there are times or exceptions to the rule. For instance, there is the nurse that is supposed to monitor my daughter Ellen and her comfort and health at the medical care center where she now lives. In particular are her tracheotomy and position on the bed. All too often he gets herself into an uncomfortable position on her bed where her legs hang over the side of the bed. This occurs when I enter her room in the morning for the first time and it angers me that no one has looked in on her. Her nurse, Nurse Crachett seems to be disinterested in anything she does s she will ‘slow-mo’ through her charges then retreat to her computer and usually eat.

The other day I asked Nurse Crachett for assistance since Ellen was in obvious pain and was told she will be there in a moment. Needless to say or expect, after a half-hour of Ellen withering in pain I became angry and went looking for this so-called nurse. There she was wheeling a patient around who was not in any stress or discomfort yet was being taken care of while Nurse Crachett forgot about Ellen!

I stood in front of her and asked: “Did you forget about Ellen?”

She shoved the person in the wheelchair to the wall and entered Ellen’s room, straightened out the situation without saying a word and walking off in a huff. All it took of her time was a few seconds. No apology for forgetting and it leads me to suspect that she has Ellen on her list as a low priority since she can’t speak.

I don’t like to complain about nurses their job is very hard, and my daughter is not the only one being cared for, but I think when someone is in distress like my daughter was, the nurse should respond immediately!

Shame on you nurse Crachett!
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Thursday, August 29, 2019

BIZARRO WORLD


The Bizarro World (also known as Htrae, which is "Earth" spelled backward) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World's Worst Detective. In popular culture, "Bizarro World" has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.
-WIKIPEDIA



Then there is the real world as we face it today. That magical world of promises that the Orange Man has given us, the world of walls to build, immigrants to step on and friends to hate, the world of nepotism, emoluments and lies, frequented by the tweets of stupidity that affect the market place in general and threaten to destroy our farming industry and wreck all the 401K dreams slipping away.

Here is the strangest part of all this, the real world has gotten more bizarre than Bizarro World. It is like the last part of the morning sleep, that REM that stays with s all day with flashbacks that constantly reappear with the detail but only the bad feelings it gives.

As things get worse by the actions and inactions of Orange Man, he seeks to further the feelings of horror or grief with more of the insane actions of a mad man who has lost touch with reality, has no moral compass to guide him or the nation and has placed us in a position of lost good standing on the world stage. And yet people support him. I wonder how people I know who are of good moral character can do so and feel good about themselves. The Republican Party was once the party of Lincoln but now sits in a puddle of clinging dung as the leaders, Mitch McConnell of the Senate and Lindsey Graham of the House Of Representatives continue to make excuses or gloss over the inadequacies of the orange Man.

The Orange man has rendered the office of the President of the United States to one of such respectability as to fall one level lower than Dog Catcher.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

GETTING A WORD IN EDGE WISE

Sometimes my luck runs out before it begins! Take for instance a lunch I was at the other day. There was a woman who I know for years from my old neighborhood who was present and sitting across from the rolls. She was once an attractive woman who aged well considering her age. The problem was over the years she has gotten somewhat over-bearing and opinionated to the point that her husband was suffering from her performance.

Being interrupted can be a nuisance when you are trying to make a point. She interrupts her husband to the point that he forgets what he was saying as she leads the conversation down to another path.

When I was speaking she would cut in and talk about herself once again, annoyingly I shall add. Her hubby would stop what he was saying and give her a dirty look and verbally at one point told her he did not like it.

I kept nudging my wife to abort any conversation she had so we could go home, pointing to my watch. This did not happen because my wife is too polite. Even this woman’s husband started to do it. For the life of me, I don’t understand how he lives with this.

Being she was very critical of her husband she would on occasion lash out at him for past transgressions as she related his sins.

One thing I hate is to be ‘corrected’ by someone when they are wrong! This happens to all married people but never becomes so egregious as warranting divorce or separation, except in this case. I would hightail out of the marriage so fast I would lose my breath form the speed of things.

Her husband is a very nice guy who takes it all in but you see it is making him weary. She was a never-ending marathon of talk destroying one conversation after another.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

DINING OUT


TLW
Yesterday TLW (The Little Woman) and I went out to dinner. We went to a little fish place we have been to before and liked. Being it was a Sunday afternoon we knew it would not be crowded and for the most part, it wasn’t. However, there was a large dinner party of about 12 to 16 people sitting together and of course, one individual had to make a lot of noise with a constant annoying laugh.

I often wonder why people need to do that? Are things that genuinely funny or are they trying to impress the other diners that THIS IS THE FUN TABLE! That everything being said is that funny to annoy people who are trying to have a nice dinner the most important thing you can do?

Food is important as a way to give substance to your body, to express peacefully the topics of the day and to relax. No one should have to be annoyed while they eat. I had a friend in high school forbidden to talk at the dinner table by his domineering father. This helped destroy his perspective of life and eventually after high school murdered his family and committed suicide. The dual tragedy of forcing one’s sick ideas on his children and then knowing his son would commit such heinous acts against his own family would make any parent pause on what to expect of a child, even one as old as 16.

I wanted to get up and go over to the table of boisterous people and ask to keep it down but thought who am I to say you can’t laugh or feel good? What problems were torturing this individual that she needed this relief?

To make me feel better, as I was leaving the restaurant a lady was waiting to be seated. I never met her before but stopped to inform her that there was only one party ahead of her, the Dozen Family, a party of twelve

Monday, August 26, 2019

IT'S SPECIAL!


Through the course of the past year, I have wrestled with the concept of God and life thereafter. Having lived the worst part of my life in the past year and a half I can’t imagine a loving God, let alone a compassionate one. The horror of my daughter-in-law’s death during childbirth, the trauma of my grandson having his life saved, the awful pain of my granddaughter’s loss of her mom, have added to the agony of my daughter.

Since August of last year, my daughter Ellen has suffered so much that it is impossible to relate it without making the reader feel I am making it all up.

I included two photos of my grandchildren Darby Shea and Robert Courtney and a comparison that was made of them at the same age. They look very close to being twins, if I do say so myself, they are beautiful children.

Taking stock of #1 Son’s tragic loss of his beautiful wife Courtney, I guess I shall say that she was a blessing she was someone who I would have chosen for my son to marry if I had such power. Not only was she beautiful, but she was also so smart and yet so much fun. She was a fellow artist and raised the greatest little girl in her image that I giggle when I see the signs and thank God for that fact!

Then in her tragic passing Courtney gave us a beautiful son, Bobby, a lasting gift to the World her final gift. He is the miracle child, defying death and brain damage and because of the incredible nurses at the hospital where he was born and the rescue and further preservation by the staff of Los Angeles Children’s Hospital he is here today, alive, beautiful, and full of piss and vinegar!

My daughter has come a long way from the death the doctors told us was inevitable. She beat colon cancer with the need of chemotherapy, defied a brain bleed, recovered from a hip replacement but still battles some issues such as the results of pneumonia and bedsore that goes down to the bone. She is currently living on a tracheotomy that hopefully will disappear at some point and she can return to her home.

But in all this, I know in my heart that I am happy basically. That the survivors of these issues are whom I love as are the victims. That I have them in my life makes me happy and wanting to be with them all! Maybe I’m just plain stupid and don’t know how to suffer, but life is precious and sacred to me. I treasure all I have and that is all whom I love. No money or goods will make me happy, but the voice of a call where I hear “Hey Dad!” from one of my sons, or “Grandpa!”, that gives me great joy, seeing my daughter smile again, lifts my heart. The notion that Courtney chose my family, she was buying into her crazy father-in-law leaves me filled with pride and joy that one of my children was chosen by this kind of person.


Sunday, August 25, 2019

ITS HARD BEING NICE


Recently #1 Son sent us an email asking if we could help a friend of his, and I consider mine by collecting some pre-college freshman student’s stuff for his dorm room. It seems the family could not store at the college near us before the week that the new students move in. A bunch of stuff and nowhere to put it, so of course, we said yes to the request. Having met the college student a long time ago (it seemed like yesterday) when I had lunch with his father and little brother in Pasadena, California and we talked trains, a favorite of his.

During the two or three weeks that have gone by we must have about 15 or 16 items from FedEx, some as many as 5 and some as little as one thin package. But knowing the father and children I was happy to do it.

After about a week, the packages stopped coming and all is well and stored safely ready to be turned over to the family. I even have offered to deliver it to them although I don’t know if it will all fit in my RAV 4.

Yesterday TLW (The Little Woman) arrives to take over for me sitting with my daughter and tells me another box had arrived! Wow! I thought business must be picking up! It was addressed to us but was for us! An incredible box from Zabar filled with many ethnic treats that say “New York City”. Things like salami, chocolate babka, rugelach, bagels, knishes and Italian cookies of all kinds aside from the black and white ones you find.

It is very hard to be helpful to good people they feel the need to thank us more than a simple way. We didn’t expect anything except helping a young man settle in for his education and start his life on a new level.

I think we should send them something to show our appreciation, but I’m afraid of starting a thank you war. At least there are no tariffs.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

SITTING HERE AND LEARNING

Sitting with someone who is mentally disabled, physically handicapped and imprisoned in her own body, I often wonder what she is thinking. When my wife and I are not with her in her room at the Medford Multi Care center as we are home for the day, I wonder how lonely it must get for her. She still is imprisoned by her tracheotomy and must be reliant on the airflow from the wall that is delivered from behind her bed in a wall.

Sitting with her for hours because she is frightened and alone otherwise makes for a very long day for both my wife and me, and no relief is possible as when we leave her we obsess over all that is wrong as we try to have a peaceful evening. We know that no one cares nor gives a damn in the end, that people have ways of putting it all out of the mind. Oh, they may inquire and hope we don’t dwell too long on the answer so the formality can be covered and passed on. No need to make anyone uncomfortable or saddened any more than he or she should be. We get that and so we go every day, splitting the day by my sitting with my daughter in the morning and my wife relieving me and sitting with my daughter in the afternoon.

Bedtime does not guarantee relief, nor does it make anything go away, we wake up in the middle of the night wondering if my daughter Ellen is OK and not being taken advantage of. If there is any of that and I find out I will go to jail.

During the morning I engage with her and we do the same things over and over again. There is a little conversation and it is all one-sided on my part. I open my I-pad and I go on YouTube and play uplifting songs that sound happy no matter what the words are however inappropriate. I place the I-pad on her bed next to her and sit on a protective pad that is placed on both sides of her bed to prevent her from injury should she fall off the bed. I sit as close as possible so she feels my presence, knows I am engaged with her and that she feels at home in a strange place. If I leave the room to go to the toilet, her eyes follow me as she thinks I am leaving her! I try to assure her I will return quickly, but her eyes are pleading with me saying: “Please don’t leave me, Daddy!” My wife has it harder, she leaves her for the day and that must be tougher.

Funny thing is I don’t mind doing these things every morning seven days a week holidays included. When I think about her life and how I went off to work every day and never thought of her mental loneliness. Now, I am chained to it and glad to do it for her sake. She is a beautiful person who has never said anything bad about anyone, has never plotted or event thought something negative. I love my daughter and like any of my children would never abandon them in a moment of need. They are but an extension of myself, my flesh and blood.

I guess in the scheme of things your children don’t realize what you would do for their sake as a father, that Mom is the center of the Universe they inhabit and that is right as Mom is and should be, but I hope when the day comes and I am called that they will at least remember me as their dad.

Friday, August 23, 2019

GETTING A GRIP ON IT.


I never like to break my rule on this blog when it comes to political discussions or opinions. No one wants to hear from me on that matter and I can agree that it shouldn’t appear in this space.

Would you watch someone get run over by a car and you have the power to warn that person, but don’t? That reasoning is why I will break my self-imposed rule about political views and opinions.

That the Messiah has come or the second coming of God and Jesus, makes me want to either speak out or go to church again. It’s been a while since I saw the inside of a church so I think I will speak out. My going to church will only cause the parishioners money as they repair the roof by committing to weekly or monthly donations beyond what they give already or may afford.

I fear the President of the United States has lost his way, his proclamation of being the: Chosen one” is one for deep pause and reflection. To determine that Democratic Jewish voters will be disloyal to the USA and Israel if they do not vote for him in 2020 is outrageous! That we should value the opinion of Israeli citizens over US citizens is idiotic in their like or dislike of Mr. Trump or the Messiah. American Jews live under this myopic, disingenuous, and faltering administration, seeing first-hand the destruction of our moral standing in this world, the inhumanity it fosters on immigrants that are desperate to free themselves and their families of oppression, poverty, and violence that they risk everything for a chance to live in the US.

My ancestors came to America for the same reasons that they do now, seeking the same freedoms and joy in life. Coming here legally is impossible for some for various reasons like quotas and restrictions. Instead of embracing these poor souls, we find ways to further punish them. Like every American who came to this country over the centuries, this new wave of immigration is as entitled to citizenship as ever before. Who among us can become a self-righteous, self-anointed, gatekeeper of the personal lives and happiness of the incoming poor and desperately seeking? How dare we determine what is good for one and not for another?

I witness the “Fake News” every day of the week. I read the Tweets and listen to the statements that ‘THE MESSIAH’ makes every day and it gets worse until he finds the worst thing to utter or tweet about.

Every day I wonder how we can continue when he makes declarations that tumble the stock market, force farmer who had a decent thriving business wonder what tomorrow will bring? Seeking reason I wonder how we can support tariff wars that he thinks will make him seem like a champion of this country, destroying livelihoods, fortunes, and hope? Similarly, I wonder how do you justify supporting someone who supports our enemy, Russia, Its manipulative quest to undermine our government and electoral system?

Then he decides that maybe being President of the United States of America he can run the government like one of his failing business, maybe sink us into bankruptcy with schemes like buying Greenland. Do his boastfulness and lying give his supporters comfort? All his promises seem to lie in disarray, shattered like the truths we must all reckon with someday because of his inability to govern and sit in a floundering posture that leaves it all over his head.

Let’s wake up America! The fault lies not with Trump, but it does with the Republican Party and its refusal to see the truth, about immigration, gun control, and the interference of the NRA. Trump’s disjointed policy towards China and North Korea, leaving us in a winless situation as he takes a sophomoric and ill-advised stance on matters of great importance. His lack of professional and intelligent advisors is only during us deeper into the great abyss.

As for the Democrats, where does their responsibility lie in terms of Trump’s election? Perhaps we should examine what they put up for President the last time out? Hilary Clinton was not someone we could trust as she demonstrated throughout her career as First Lady and carpetbagger from New York running for a Senate seat and one of the most divisive and disingenuous people that ever took the stage in American politics.

But getting back to Trump, he is not a political problem, he is a national problem that is cancerous and endangering our democracy, we need to rid ourselves of him. Impeachment or voting him out of office is a must, not to get back at Republicans or Democrats, but to get back our country.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

MAKING A CHOICE

Recently, I visited and paid my respects to the family of a friend of mine from high school when he passed. The funeral parlor was decently filled with people saying their goodbyes. I stayed for about one hour and conveyed my condolences to the wife ad sister. I checked to find out when the Mass was being said for the departed and understood it to be the next day at 10:00 A.M., around the time I visit and reassure my daughter that no one has abandoned her.

I planned to go to the Mass ad figured I could go early in the morning to visit my daughter then have I sufficient time to go to the Mass. As I went through the day I started to think about the mass and the fact that my friend was gone and I had paid my respects and started to question whether or not I wanted to go to the Mass and leave my daughter. The next morning I went to the Medford Multicare Center where my daughter currently resides and while there decided to not go to the Mass.

Feeling that I had paid my respects and that I had almost lost my daughter, that God forbid I did, I would regret any time I could have spent with her and didn’t. So, I decided to not go and spend that time with her.

So, why am I writing this? I guess to clear my conscience and make it right in my heart and soul. After all, is said and done, I can do more for my daughter while she is still alive than I can for my friend who needs no help or support since he no longer lives. My being at a Mass might bring some comfort to the family, but can I weight it against the comfort I bring to my daughter?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW!

All too often I answer the phone and it is a sales call. Five to ten times a day the phone rings and some recorded voices are telling me that it is the last time they will call me, until the next time.

If you don’t answer, they leave you a message that you have to go through the process of erasing, that can be a real pain in the ass.

Employing caller ID does not help it seems now that the bastards have employed using bogus numbers, some out of your phone book. Calls from what looks like Los Angeles, or Atlanta, or some other city ring you up and it is a credit card or other scheme to interfere with the dinner hour or listening to a TV show.

The latest is the best. Last night I got a call from me. I don’t know where I find the time t answer the phone let alone call me! I see my home number on the TV screen and I look cross-eyed at TLW (The Little Woman) and answer it. She looks at me like she is in a stupor or vacuum and wonders what the hell is going on. Turns out I was selling cr4edit card insurance and this was the second and final time I would try to reach me before canceling my eligibility to save on my interest rates!

Today I got a call from my wife’s phone number and this time it was the same message as before except I was mad and decided to play along. Some Pakistani or Indian (Native Asian) greets me and I tell him to have sex with himself. Not in so many words. I hang up!

Then as I am typing I get another call asking me to extend my vehicle warranty and was it all right to ask me a few questions about my vehicle?
Me: “Sure!
Her: A mousey voiced little girl: “Is everything on your vehicle running OK?”
Me: “NO!”
There is no answer on the other end, maybe mousey went to get her mommy?
Damned Crooks.