Monday, February 25, 2019


There are of course so many types of love in this world. There is the love that drives you and makes you whole, like marriage, there is a love of life, music, art and food. You don’t want to miss the love of your children and even the love of ideas.

But the most special love when all are accounted for comes from somewhere else, it is the love of a grandchild. Three years ago, I had no idea what that was like, to love this tiny creature that has suddenly arrived one day to the joy of everyone. You get excited and go see the new person, the enigma locked in the box of imagination that is finally revealed. You see the parents, who suddenly seem more as one as of any time you noticed before. They share the look of joy and the respect for what they conceived, a child, their own. How sacred that look is.

Then, you peek into the blankets that surround that new-born child and cradled in its mother’s arms, by the hovering father and you know: this is your first time you will meet! This is the moment that clears away the mystery and gathers a joy that is overwhelming and magical, THIS is your grandchild!

The magic begins with the first utterance of sound that escapes from the delicate lips with the tiny fingers nearby, the eyes that search and suddenly it hits home. From 9-months of sacrifice of comforts and the agony of childbirth for a mother, here is a totally new human being, one conceived out of love and bearing the fruit of that love, your grandchild!

And as the child grows: your grandchild, you scheme the many ways you will give this beautiful child your love and devotion. You will become aware suddenly that life has come full cycle for you, and you are feeling privileged, and awed.

One day you hear the sweetest sound you ever heard before: “Grandpa” and when you match the words with the innocent face from where the word came from, your world is changed forever!

Saturday, February 23, 2019


Have you ever walked down the streets of Manhattan and wonder where you are exactly? Plenty of street signs and all, but where exactly are you?

Walking along 7th Avenue during the afternoon one workday as I hurried to make the opening curtain of a matinee, the crowds became dense as people walked quickly, racing to get to the next few feet. They walked in packs, arm in arm and solo, all with a mission, to get to the next few feet.

One lady running uptown twisted and danced her way forward, even saying, “Thank you Ma’am” when the other lady refused to yield her space.

Then there is a new thing I first noticed on the railroad to Penn Station, these long white protrusions sticking out their ears! Some people had two (one in each ear)! Of course, you couldn’t help notice the cell phones and people reading them.

It seems the whole of Manhattan is like this now, $8.00 franks with $4.00 bottles of water, white things hanging out of their ears and mass of advancing hordes of quick moving people fighting for the next few feet.

Friday, February 22, 2019


In my recent visit to NYC, I happened to notice that people think I’m old, and frankly, I don’t know how to tell them I’m not.

Take for instance the NYC Transit Police.

Looking for the Times Square shuttle to Penn Station I decided to ask someone if they knew how I could find it. As I walked I noticed two transit cops standing talking to each other. I casually walked over to them with TLW (The Little Woman) and as I approached the one facing me looked at me with a grin on his face, following me with his eyes.

Going up to him he leaned in and waited for my question.

“Hi!” I said. “Can you direct me to the Times Square shuttle?” I asked.

“Sure, follow me!” he said.

As we walked he led us to a staircase with a sign that indicated the Times Square shuttle was at the bottom of the deck of steps. While we were walking he asked me where I lived and told him on Long Island in Holbrook. He relayed to me he was from Mineola. When we finally got to the stairway he said to go downstairs and take either train track that arrives, they both went to Penn Station, then wished us a good night. Pretty classy cop. He probably figured: Before these two old coots die on the platform and I get stuck with paperwork, let me move them along so someone else can do the paperwork.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


Recently, on my trip to New York City, I boarded the 11:11 A.M. train from Ronkonkoma to begin the journey. Being I am a veteran of riding the LIRR, a once upon a time Dashing Dan as I was described, there are habits and remembrances that are burned deep into my memory.

One of the joys of commuting was the carefree attitude of not worrying about the traffic or parking that clogged the arteries leading in and out of the Big Apple. You had riding mates that you got acquainted with, friends you made and fun you had from these fellow riders. There are stories and more stories I can tell and just might do that in this forum.

But the recent trip has turned into a realization that the World has completely changed! No longer do people bring books or magazines or newspapers to read anymore. What was a very common occurrence has faded now away. It seems like the same kind of people but they act differently. Maybe they are and there is some sinister influence in play.  People used to hide behind their books or newspapers to avoid eye contact in the 1970s, now they stare into their cell phones, a steady gaze with their thumbs flipping along each email or message. This phenomenon has transformed the commute from daily learning to the daily bombardment of electrons into the hearts, souls, and eyes of the ‘Mesmerized Dan’ the commuter of today. The rider finds a seat and no longer looks up as he pulls out his phone, and starts the zombie quest to find out just how important he is, or tries to convince his fellow riders he is. The problem, of course, is no one notices because they are all doing the same thing.

Emerging from the train and climbing to the street on Eighth Avenue, the escalator has become a big help to the commuter, he can hold on with one hand to the rail of the escalator while holding his phone in the other. Don’t get me wrong, women do this too, they are just as bad as men in this regard. But the most egregious of offenses is when they decide they can’t spell so the will actually call! Then they have to be heard enough to irritate me to the point that I am riding while on the verge of strangling these inconsiderate morons. They talk and talk and not worry about battery life.

Come to think of it, I received a text while riding. I looked impressive, I’m sure.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


And what is behind these numbers and letters? Why one of the best places in New York City, that’s what! It the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, built for her and she starred in its first presentation.

“In 1927, the Shubert’s offered to name their newest theatre for Ethel Barrymore if she agreed to star in its first production. She accepted, and the Barrymore Theatre, designed by Herbert J. Krapp, opened in 1928. The Barrymore was the last Broadway venue built prior to the Depression, and it remains one of the few theatres that have never changed name or owner. Built: 1928”

What did I see? The Band’s Visit, a truly great musical, play, and choreographic marvel, built to make me happy I went. There can be nothing better than the roar of the crowd and the smell of grease paint as it exists on Broadway. Be in an old theatre and you are treated well by God Himself!

Having seats in the front row, center, yes center-front row like really!

I will recommend this to you out of the true goodness of my heart. It is about a band from Egypt that invited to Israel. It is beautifully sad, funny, and glorious, especially the final moments! Do your self a favor and see it, then go to Grand Central Station and eat at the Oyster Bar, a nice way to spend the day.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


We started our day yesterday feeling pretty good, on a train to NYC to see the Musical 'The Band' then go to a tour of Grand Central Station, then dinner at the Oyster Bar, a historical culinary depot of its own. But we also did something else... wait for the next shoe to drop and it did. It usually comes when your guard is down, this time on the train not even out of the first few stations on the way.

I received a text message from my daughter Ellen’s case manager that she was in the ER with sepsis. Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that arises when the body's response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. Common signs and symptoms include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and confusion.

And so, we really begin the NEW YEAR as we left off in the old. We decided to continue with our day, not take this away from us, knowing full well that it would be in our conversations and minds when we sit in the theater or at a dinner table. But we know how to do these things and know when we can do something about it and when we can’t.

So, today we begin another vigil, we will find new gray hairs and we will worry while we sit at her bedside, but we will continue to also hope and pray.

Happy Valentines Day to all.

Monday, February 11, 2019


It must be Spring Training, or Valentine’s Day… that magical time of the year.

When you are in love
It's the loveliest month of the year
Stars batting or with glove
And you almost can catch them from here
Balls foul off into lime
Any base you are holding me near
When you are in love
It's the pitcher and MVP of the year

Walking along to first base
Like a breeze drifting over the diamond
Thrilled by the wonder of second
And the wonderful fastball he throwed and...

The Stands start to beat
Like a tribal chant that sets you in fear
So kiss me, my sweet...
It's the loveliest month of the year

Walking along to first base
Like a breeze drifting over the diamond
Thrilled by the wonder of second
And the wonderful fastball he throwed and...

My heart starts to beat
Like a tribal chant that sets you in fear
So kiss me, my sweet...
It's the loveliest month of the year!

Sunday, February 10, 2019


This is a defining moment in my life., the launching of a book I co-authored, A PLACE CALLED BROOKLYN. Along with my co-author, Frank Cornacchiulo, we created something of value that takes one beyond the confines of memory.

A PLACE CALLED BROOKLYN was a labor of love as it found me, and I fell in love with an idea. Frank invited me to write and design the book based on stories from the standpoint of a 9-year old. Fiction at its best, because we ecide3d to do things a little different. Instead of a book about Brooklyn as usual, we created stories that happened countless times all over America.

Everyone has read about Junior’s Cheese Cakes or the pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge. We decided to take the reader by the hand and visit on the conversations that occurred, the play and life in the late 40s when children depended on their imagination and creativeness to live their poor and simple lives.

But for now, I will bask in the flavor of self-satisfaction and gratitude to my partner Frank. You should try the book, just to see what life was like, experience the joy of youth, innoce3nt and uninhibited, learn about the things we took for granted as we played with the make-shift toys we made from junk, the joy when we did get something we dreamed of and our immigrant parents and grandparents making these things possible.


Saturday, February 09, 2019


This is a complaint.

I have been living a long time and some people might feel too long, however, the fact remains. This is not done out of spite but because I don’t know any better. But something is bothering me lately that I find sad.

As we develop new means of communications, we are losing our manners and ability to communicate!
No longer do we talk to each other, instead we text one another. It is quick and states: “I really don’t feel like talking to you so read this and don’t bother me. I remember when a phone call was a part of the social niceties of society. When you called it seemed that you were communicating in a nice way, saying hello and how are you?  You enquired about one’s health and the health of the family, you asked how life was treating one and you left answering the same questions.

If someone sent you a gift, a thank you call or note went out. I don’t understand today’s courtesy: it stinks. Texts messages are rude and I wish they never existed. I might be convenient but it is rude. Then again, that cell phone is an instrument that should have been invented and buried in the inventor’s backyard under the dog poop.

Go into a restaurant and you see families eating dinner. Are they looking with each other, are they conversing with one another? No! Instead, they are looking into their cell phones with their heads down. The damned thing rings with some annoying sound to show how cool we are and conversations are interrupted and people are ignored because e someone is calling, interrupting.

Now don’t get me wrong it is a great invention, it takes pictures so we can annoy one another with ‘selfies’ and become more obnoxious that we think we are, it can answer questions and if can do other things like give us the weather forecast or provide apps for other things to make our lives easier.

But they are nothing but an annoyance.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019


We go three days a week and for the three days, we try to get the best of it we can. TLW (The Little Woman) and I go to help my daughter to learn how to walk all over again at her day program during her Physical Therapy sessions. She will be 46 in March and has had to learn how to walk all over again more than twice.

Having a mental disability due to birth defects makes for a hard life, fused with frustrations and disappointments coupled with no use of the English language and a body poisoned with meds to keep her seizures in check. She cannot speak nor express herself adequately, and so the frustrations she endures. Next time you hear someone say, “Good is good!” ask who qualifies for that goodness.

If there is one thing she does have it is her spirit, she fights on 24/7, never takes a holiday and is always ready for the next challenge. She never asks for a break because she knows there are none in her case, always suffering and challenge capped off with denial.

Today, as we lifted her out of her Gerri chair she placed her legs down on the floor and started to step forward, then crashed down sitting in her chair. She waited and then decided, on her own to try again. Up we lifted her and she tried once again, this time determined to walk and give it all she had. As I watched her face I could see the determination, the gritting of her teeth and want to try.

When the day is over, I feel the disappointment and think, ‘Will she ever walk again?

Yes, God is good for the few and the select.

Sunday, February 03, 2019


Fifty years ago I sat down with great anticipation to watch Super Bowl III, between the New York Jets and the Baltimore Colts. This according to the ‘Experts’ would become another blood bath for the AFL team. The superior Colts would crush the upstart Jets.

There was one person who proved them all wrong and that was the star quarterback, Joe Namath who guaranteed the reporters the day before at poolside that he would “guarantee” the Jets victory, defying even the great Vince Lombardi.

I watched that game without a morsel of food in my mouth at any time. I was waiting for dinner that would come after the game. It was the last Super Bowl I would ever be interested in as the Jets after winning, turned fate against them for the next 50 years at least.

Fast forward to today. WHAT THE HELL IS EVERYONE DOING HAVING SUPERBOWL PARTIES AND STOCKING UP ON FOOD??? Why? I watch football games and don’t eat until the game is over or before it starts depending on the time it is played. It is a big deal to watch the game and eat. It has become what America has become, obsessed with food. You eat because you are hungry, not sad, or want to watch a football game. I wonder how many of these ‘fans’ even care about the game that is going on in front of their buffet table.

Go to the supermarket and they are buying $20 million of cold cuts, beer, and chips and dips. It’s like if they eat the chips that send a signal downfield that the defense is in a 4-3 alignment, or a fat chili plate means a pass play is coming. With meat means its long, just beans mean it is a small roll out for a few yards.

I know I sound crotchety, but that is because I am.

Pass the pepperoni and get out of the way of the TV.

Saturday, February 02, 2019


Years ago as a child, I grew up watching TV and on Saturdays was sent by Mom to the movies. As a child, if it wasn’t a cowboy movie it had to be a comedy. It always was a 2-man comic team that entertained little kids.

There were Abbot and Costello, who later on continued into the 1970s and 80s onto the TV screen. Sharing the cinematic menu was the team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, a team that once was then disappeared as an entity. But there was one team that filled all the categories of comedic entertainment, and that was Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

I first noticed their existence when I was about 4 or 5 years of age. I don’t recall if it was on the big screen or the little screen, but their performance immediately impressed me. I called them then: ‘Fat and Skinny’ because that is how I saw them. Eventually, I learned their names and life went on. After the early 1950s, I lost touch or they lost touch with their audience and fans. Seeing them immediately got my attention as I waited to laugh at their antics. Seeing their movies I learned a great many of their routines and seeing a bowler hat takes me back immediately as that child I once was.

In college, I read a book I believe was titled:

Recently I went to the movies and saw the latest ‘MR. LAURAL AND MR. HARDY’
There are countless other books and articles on the two and I always read those. They were icons that still stand up today. The famous mustache and bowler hats with ties and a long chin all lend to their images as an icon. Usually, those icons were created in the genre of the media, black and white film.

The movie itself was excellent and there are many powerful scenes that move you emotionally while teaching you that behind the mask of happiness lays a sad tear-filled clown.

In the movie: Stan & Ollie the casting was excellent, the actors; Steven Coogan and Stan and John C. Reilly as Ollie do a masterful job of conveying a friendship that withstands the test of time, leaving the viewer feel the emotions of an aging friendship and makes the viewer realize their own mortality and past friendships. It had me wanting to call my best friend Phil of over 50 years to tell him I love him.

The film focuses on details of the comedy duo's personal relationship while relating how they embarked on a grueling tour of the U.K. and Ireland during 1953 and struggled to get another film made and be back in the spotlight of comedy.

Often I travel to Burbank and see these tall palm trees that line the streets all in a row, both sides of the road and it takes me back to those wonderful films they made on those streets. They are a constant reminder to me of their wonderful movies. The jokes, slapstick and facial expressions all give us MR. LAURAL AND MR. HARDY, the body nuances, and music that fill the background make for the world of MR. LAURAL AND MR. HARDY

It’s another fine mess they got me into!