Friday, December 31, 2010


Another year has come and gone, just like that! It has been a great year in some ways, and sad in other ways. I guess you might say just like the other years I lived, or you too for that matter.

I reunited with an old pal from the Brooklyn neighborhood, Jimmy (Pants) Pantaleno, and this year his lovely daughter Laura (If you haven’t tried either blog, I urge you to, it is worth the read. The Whiner is very funny.) Laura’s little sweetheart: Ava, not to mention her husband, Malcolm. To boost the value of this past year even more, rediscovered another great guy named Mike Mangino.

Then I had my 45th High School Reunion, and made new ‘re-acquaintances’ and had a blast. But unfortunately, that came with both rewards and a huge price.

The rewards were plentiful and too numerous to talk about here, but the price was high. I found out about who was dying, who did die, and who would die. I didn’t think when I did it that I would have to face the later.

A great couple like: Joanne and her husband and high school sweetheart: Dave, who passed on just a short while ago, and the many who were too sick to make the reunion, and subsequently passed on.

But with death comes birth. I have two new great nephews now, Ryan Dzicek and Daxton Harrow, who I hope to meet shortly, to go along with little Al Schneider.
We had a wedding in August for the Macaroni Man and Kim, and the part of all, I will have a beautiful, and wonderful daughter-in-law, but I refuse to use that term, it will be daughter for me in Courtney. Many have reacted to the Save the Date announcement about how clever they both were, #1 Son (Anthony) and Courtney. To make things even better, there is my daughter Ellen, doing very well, thank you, and #2 Son, who is turning out to be quite a guy, smart, handsome and still a little crazy, but that is what we love about him most!

I have just completed my first year on ‘Ellen’s Way’ “Dedicated to all those with physical and mental disabilities, their parents, guardians and siblings who need an extra voice to cry out of the darkness. PUBLISHED EVERY MONDAY”

Finally, there is the great group that I love most of all. YOU GUYS! You make this fun to do at times, and I love the feedback.

Next Year promises a lot. #1 Son and Courtney tie the knot, I am in the midst of building an Event Planning business with an old friend, Pam Rae, and There is that dinner in May for the NYCPM 100th Anniversary book I am designing, plus a cruise in the end of August with my high school classmates, to Halifax and St. John’s.

Thank you all for a great year! I love you all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


TLW (The Little Woman) and I have this thing about the remote. I hate it, and she hates my having it. It seems that I don’t know how to work it well enough for her, and she likes to tell me what to do. With or without the remote!

The other night we were watching a few saved shows on the Cable’s DVD and I inadvertently hit the wrong button! This is a cause for major concern as TLW decided I don’t know what I’m doing. Short of calling the remote TV police, she decided to tell me what buttons to push. This usually amuses me and I play along with it.

“TLW: “Now push the square button.”

I push a button that is NOT the square button.

TLW: “NOOOOO, the square button.”

“Ooops, OK”

TLW: “Now push the select button.”

“Ooops, OK”


“Ooops, ok.”

TLW: “God! I don’t know what is wrong with this man?”

What’s wrong is I take too many orders. What TLW should do is just take the remote, fall asleep changing the channels and then I can put on a basketball game!

However, when it comes to the computer, I am a genius to her. I usually settle in my chair in the early AM, pull out the newspaper and get very, VERY comfortable, while she is up in my office on the computer.

Now if my dumb ass dog doesn’t bother me to go out, then I hear: “JOOOOOOOE!”

“WHAT” (Like I don’t know what.)


As I pass the TV, I think, “From a bum to a hero, just like that!”

When I cook, TLW goes on patrol. She is a captain in the Olive Oil police, and will pull me over for any slight overspill of olive oil.

TLW: “Do we need all that oil?”

“What oil?”

TLW: “All the oil you are putting in the salad?”

“I am! I haven’t put it in yet!”

The woman lives in fear that I will get her fat, and then write a blogue about it!

I may be a dumb-ass on the remote and olive oil, but I got the power!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


It was a high, perfect arc, one that stayed yellow in color, streaming over TLW (The Little Woman’s birthing bed at the hospital, and landing squarely on my shoes! The boy wasn’t even a minute old, and all ready he was pissing me off! (Something he admitted to)

As I think about it, so many things now come to mind! His talents, his humor, his good mind and his different look at life, not to mention the numerous girlfriends he had, beginning at a tender age of 5 or 6.

#2 Son Michael, is now getting on in years, a handsome kid with a lot of talent, and a habit of disagreeing with me politically. He’s willing to run the risk of my spending his inheritance!

Never one for conventionalism, he now studies Arabic to become a journalist in the Middle East, so he can know how to ask to bum cigarettes in Arabic.

His mother and I marvel at how kind hearted he is. Always thinking of the down-trodden, (Except for me, he wants me to pay for them all) he has taken on a mantle of helping and fighting for the underdog, and has been consistent in that endeavor.

Well Mike, to you, for all the good you wish to do in this world;

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It was a Sunday evening, and I was talking to my business partner Pam, when suddenly there was an interruption in the conversation. Someone was trying to reach me on the phone, and I had to excuse myself, figuring it is late for a phone call. It must be an emergency that someone would call at this late hour.

I pick up the phone, and hear:

“Hello? Joe? It’s me, Jerry.”

On the other end is a man I’ve known for a short while, maybe less than a year, but a good guy and I consider him a friend.

“Jerry! What’s wrong?” I could hear it in his voice, a scared worried voice that also sounds frightened.

“Joe, I in Stony Brook hospital.”

“What’s wrong?!”

“I was fine all week then all of a sudden, I have blocked ducts, and the doctors say it is inoperable cancer, Joe!”

The sound of his voice is sinking me, the thought that this guy, is suffering is hard to swallow.

Jerry is a good man, giving of himself and doing a lot as an usher, and helping me out on the fund-raising committee, always there, always with good ideas, always putting his mouth where his money is. He has taken a lot of abuse from people that play on his good nature. A gentle giant and one that looks like he could chew you up and spit you out, loves everybody!

I offered to do whatever I can, and will visit him. I will give him all my time he needs. He is my age, and after losing two classmates or contemporaries in one week, this news really stinks!

My partner Pam: said it best, “Just in time for the holidays!”

Monday, December 27, 2010


Well I made my annual visit to the AHRC Suffolk Chapter annual holiday dance as Santa. 350 adults with developmental disabilities come and have a great time dancing and eating and getting their picture taken with Santa.

In the course of the night, there is always a person or two who will give Santa Hell. This last visit was no different.

“Hey Santa. What is going on? You on Weight Watchers or something? You are too skinny. (I actually love this person) You should eat more, get that stomach back.” (See what I mean?)

One woman grabbed me by the arm and escorted me to my chair across a very large room, as I got slapped on the back, squeezed and hugged, and kissed, oh the kisses.

There was one gentleman who I think plays offensive tackle for the New York Jets, who decided he REALLY likes Santa, and came to show it. I’m hoping the x-rays show only minor damage.

The ladies are very bossy if they have boyfriends, and the boyfriends act like they have been married for years.

“You sit on THAT side of Santa, Charlie, I will sit here. And look at the camera, you don’t smile Charlie, you gotta smile.”

This year, Santa was given a note, and I’m not sure if it was a ransom note, an inventory list, or a Christmas list. Folded, the gentleman kind of slipped it into my hand, as he shook it. First I thought it was a bribe, but all hopes disappeared when I saw the note.

One fellow had a badge, which looked very official, unfortunately, I couldn’t make it out, but it WAS convincing looking. It was pinned to his lapels, and he pointed to it as he posed in front of the camera with me. Dressed in a suit no less, he gave me the impression that he would be watching me all night. I figured he may know the Santa outfit was a disguise!

There are people that wish to cut into the line just to shake my hand, one woman was standing on the sidelines and just watching me. I noticed her and gave her a wave, and she was acting like she had made contact with God!

Then it was time to leave, after over 350 photos were taken, and as I left the organizer asked if I wanted to be announced out. I said “No” that I would just quietly slip away. But the DJ, seeing me get up made the announcement that Santa was now heading back to the North Pole! Suddenly there was a surge toward me and I was engulfed with adoring legions of Santa lover’s, either that or they recognized me and were happy to get me out of the building. As I struggled to make my way out, the ladies reached out and hugged me, squeezed me and of course kissed me, while the guys patted me on the back, slapped my on the back and yes, kissed me as I left. I heard one guy yell out: “You forgot to get me my Yankee jacket last year, you bum!”

Well, Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


up pops another one!

Not only is there another birthday, another Polish brother-in-law.

There was a run in the 60’s on Polish, and so we stocked up on them, they were cheap! Come to think about it that is what my sisters are complaining about now!

John is an old-fashioned guy. He loves to golf, fishing, eating kielbasa and the New York Giants. He also thinks his birthday was yesterday! He tried to convince my sister to live in a manger, he figured no monthly payments, AND a place to park his car. I know I’ve made jokes about him before, how he uses both sides of toilet paper and a teabag can go for three or four cups before he throws it out, not to mention the razor blade he’s used since January of ’03. But no, no jokes today: today is John’s birthday! Yes he has reached the ripe of old of well, ripe.

When I met John for the first time, I was eating my dinner. I had just cut into a pork chop, and I noticed him eying it.

“You want that pork chop, pal?”

Me: “Well I… I, You want it?”

Reaching for a napkin, he took the chop and folded it up and put it in his side pocket of his jacket.

But no, no jokes today: today is John’s birthday!

Then there was the time he used to drive somewhere, pushing the car uphill, and jump in downhill. Claimed he saved a fortune on gas every year!

But no, no jokes today: today is John’s birthday!

I of course would never insinuate that he is cheap. No, he is not cheap. That shirt he is wearing does date back a few years, but if the 60’s are ever back in style, so is he, finally.

Actually, he is not cheap, he is very generous, to his family, friends and up to now, me! He will always welcome you warmly into his home, and make you feel wanted. There really isn’t a nicer or better guy I can think of like John.

So John, no jokes, just have the best darn birthday possible, even if it is a cupcake with a candle.


Saturday, December 25, 2010


To all my readers, have a great Christmas day. It is a wonderful day, it has great spiritual meaning, and it is a day for the child in all of us.

There are so many Christmas’ that I can recall and so many were so special. When we were first married, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we did have a lot of chutzpah. We faced each day with a lot of hope and anticipation, and nothing seemed to worry us. We were poor, but that didn’t mean we had no gifts for each other. In fact, the best gift I ever got from TLW (The Little Woman) was a not even a gift but a real thought that counted to this day.

That very first Christmas morning, in my stocking, (No wonder I was walking with a limp all day) was the gift of love. It wasn’t much by anyone elses standards but mine, but it was the greatest gift! My watch had stopped working weeks before, and I didn’t get it repaired, but that morning, TLW gave it to me, and it was fixed! Not a big deal, but it was her, thinking of me!

Over the years, all 39 years after, on Christmas morning, I make it a point to remember that morning, and how wonderful I felt that she cared; she still does, she need not tell me, I can feel the care.

Now years later, our kids are all grown, and we watch each morning with joy, and this Christmas will be the last as the family will begin to expand.

But there are holidays that are marked by special people, people that I love and care for very deeply, and they have all made the day special for me. I can remember those cold Christmas mornings with my older sister Tess, at 1:30 am as we woke up to find the house filled with toys that we wanted, and Mom coming home from midnight Mass, and yelling art us for being up so late!

My little sisters all excited about a new doll, or play stove, or special book. My children finding the toys and treasures that fill their day with joy, and even my daughter Ellen, who did not ever understand all the fuss, just being there made it special.

We all need to stop for a moment and realize what makes us happy are those we choose to surround ourselves with.

To all of you, have a beautiful and special day today: I love you all!

Friday, December 24, 2010


It’s the only way to describe it. You look around and you realize just how wonderful family can be. There is magic in the air and it isn’t Santa: it is family. You see you sisters and their husbands and you know we are all getting a little older, but we also see the children and realize we left a legacy of love.

Christmas Eve seems to be the most important day of the year for me as far as family goes. It is that first meeting for many of us in a while, and with the exception of Thanksgiving, we haven’t seen everybody in a while, and we look forward to it.

I am particularly blessed with all the wonderful children that constitute my whole family, and now even their kids. We have a growing mix of diverse cultures, cultures that mix into ours from those we married, making for a very special family.

One of the things about Christmas Eve is the rush. The rush to prepare, be ready and get somewhere, and anticipating seeing everyone, all comes together when we finally sit down and dine that evening.

But as we gather for one more year, we see Mom, as she watches us, and we quietly acknowledge that she is what it is really all about, and Dad’s memory. Dad loved this day as much as I do, and always made it special with his tradition of staying out of Mom’s way while she cooked for the big evening dinner. For years she did it all by herself, then one year, one by one we all started to chip in and help her.

The girls, my sisters, and my wife have all embraced the holiday, and I think TLW (The Little Woman) embraces it more for me that I love it so.

Tonight there will be a very warm light, one that fills not only the room, but also the spirit that fills our hearts, it is the light of family, and we welcome anyone who has no family to join us. That is not only our family tradition, but also our family philosophy. That light is our feeling, and our religion, maybe it IS God’s light.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Well the results of my pole are now in!

This very scientific attempt to answer whether or not I was a hood in high school is now over, and just in time! If you recall, I posted a question on December 11th’s blogue, and here are a sampling of answers.

My very first respondent came from my lovely sister-in-law Maureen, TLW’s (The Little Woman) sister and I quote: “Not even a touch!” Ah! I thought I was on my way to a sweeping resounding victory! I started a victory lap to the refrigerator, clapping my hands and singing the Notre Dame fight song. Well maybe only the first few words since that is all I know.

Then of course there was the instigator of this whole sordid affair, Pam, who made the statements to begin with: “And what about the duck hair cut?” It was like a knife, piercing and stabbing into my very being, reminding me that I was a hood! Surely my faithful readers would come to my rescue?

Not long after, came another response, this I figured to be good, after all, Jim, or ‘Jimmy pants’ (his mafia days at summer camp) as he was known in the hood, would back me up. We came from the same backgrounds, same elementary school, and almost the same block. His affirmation was a simple one-word response: “HOOD!”

Chest fallen, I turned to a Jack Daniels Manhattan and returned to my e-mail. From the far corners of the earth (New Jersey) came a response, that if it didn’t make me feel better, at least it didn’t make me feel too bad. This coming from an old classmate Kathy Sperakis, and here are her words: “I personally don't think you looked like a HOOD in school, you looked more like a bay kid to me!! LOL” (A bay kid was the opposite of a normal person, without a swish, who lived near the bay, and wore penny loafers kakis and had a normal haircut with a button-down shirt. (It actually WAS the way I almost dressed one day, but my sister wanted her penny loafers back, and besides, they were really pinching my feet!)

Then there was Sista Tanj-Gerina, who simply wrote: “I’m telling your mother on you!” This made me worried since I was spending my allowance on cigarettes and now Mom will ask me for the money back, or smack me with a wooden spoon!

To add to my misery and lack of confidence, came Toots II, from the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Company, who stated so eloquently: “I've seen you in that black leather
jacket and though ....HOOD!!! Lois”

To pad my confidence even further came this reply from The Princess of Foxwoods Points who chimed in: “Of course there is "hood" in you. You grew up in Brooklyn. Need I say more!!! Pat” NO PAT, YOU NEED NOT SAY MORE. Go back to the Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Company with your buddy Lois.

Then to top it all off, Sista Tanj-Gerina sends me a Christmas Card stating I surprised her by not being the same nerdie guy I was in high school!


Well maybe a herd or a nood, or whatever.

I am not happy.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


The night went along rather smoothly, as old Santa entered the house and brought with him the presents that would make the occupants happy. He had a present for each of the adults, so as not to disappoint anyone who lived there. The aides that assisted in helping the residents enjoy a productive life were happy to see Santa, and gave him all the help he needed.

As the visit by Santa progressed, everyone was in great spirits, but there were still two presents left! Two individuals didn’t get a present!

“Where are the people that these presents belong to, Asked Santa?

They are in bed, Santa, one is bed-ridden and one doesn’t feel well.

“Well, let’s go to them, OK?

Off Santa went to visit the two people who could not make it to the festivities and the ice cream afterward.

Santa entered each room to much fanfare for such a humble place. The people with disabilities suffer mightily, but don’t know that life can be better. No one takes a moment to care sometimes, and we can easily forget. But Santa knew better, he would bring the spirit to them. If you look into the eyes of one who suffers, they can tell you a whole story.

Finally the gift giving, visits and ice cream were over, and Santa headed out to his car. In the dark, Santa fumbled with his keys and while he tried to start his vehicle, another SUV sped by him and parked in front of the long ranch house. Out jumped a young mother with three little boys, and all raced into the house.

Santa, with visions of pork chops dancing in his head, realized what was going on! The little kids were brought there to see Santa himself. Santa sat back a moment, resting his weary bones, and sighed, pushing out his door and walking back to the house.

Outside the house stood an aide, smoking a cigarette on her break.

“Are those kids here to see Santa, Santa asked?

“Yes they are!”

Swinging his bells and catching everyone by surprise, Santa entered the house one more time.

There in front of him stood three little Hispanic boys, one was maybe 5, one four and one maybe 2. Santa knelt down and gave each a present, and together with the three boys, posed for a few more pictures.

The mother of the boys, came up to Santa, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him for coming back in time!

And so, the miracles continue.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Well it’s that time of year when so many things happen at once, so I decided to forget them and write about what is on MY mind. Obviously you can’t put much on my mind, it is getting weaker by the day!

Today is the Polish Prince of Connecticut’s birthday. Tom, another beleaguered brother-in-law of mine celebrates a birthday today. Being married to Nippy, he now can qualify for SSI along with combat pay! Happy birthday Tom!

Speaking about pork chops, many years ago, when he was dating my sister, he managed to find a radio station that played Polish music. It was a Saturday afternoon, and we were riding home from Shea Stadium on the LIE, when Tom pulled over and stood by the side of his car with his hand on his heart, and the radio blearing. I asked my sister what was happening, and she said to “shush, they are playing the Polish-American National Anthem!”

It goes like this:

“From the border of Massachusetts to the Great South Bay,
With a kielbasa we will walk, run or hop.
Our pirogues may be cooled from a cold but sunny day,
But God bless America, we can still heat up the pork chop!

Buy me a pork chop,
buy me a pork chop,
buy me a pork chop, hey!”

At least that is all I can recall it sounding like, but it was touching to see Tom stand there, with a miniature American and Polish flag.

And so people, I must get back to the real world of wrapping presents for myself, since no one will wrap them for me!


Monday, December 20, 2010


You remember that phrase back in the cowboy movies of the past? The cowboy would corral all the cattle on his horse and say that? Stupid cowboy: didn’t know they were cows. Didn’t it ever occur to him that not one of them could role over or play dead, or even fetch?

Well, I felt that way the other day, as I got my orders from TLW (The Little Woman).

“Go pick up the boys.”



“Oh! OK.”

This is good, she makes all the dishes I miss, stocks the house with cookies, and other goodies, and I am very happy. She also gives me the opportunity to make some killer dishes myself, stuff I usually don’t make anymore.

Speaking of cookies, I have to bake some cookies for the holidays. I was thinking of those pecan crescents, but also some kind of butter cookie, and maybe some treats with caramel and chocolate in them. Also I make walnut and pecan bread. I freeze it and we have it over the New Year’s holiday as well as Christmas morning. One year I made those tri-colored Italian cookies! Good stuff!

But I miss those cookies my mother always made. The honey balls, with the sprinkles, and the fat round dome shaped cookies with the white sugar icing and sprinkles. These were out all season, and you ate them constantly, with coffee, milk or liquors, it went with it all.

Being how we will be going to my nieces house for Christmas day, I will miss the lasagna and prime ribs I like to have for Christmas day. This is a welcomed change from all the fish the night before. I know TLW will bring the lasagna to my nieces house, and in the process will call me ‘Garfield’ the comic strip cat.

So we will get back to basics, the kids home for the holidays, and one last fling as the complete family unit, because next year we expand, and may or may not have #1 Son home with us. But that is next year’s blog, if I’m still here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Yes, I admit it! I need some serious rehabilitation.

The other day, with the coming of the two boys home for the holidays, TLW, (The Little Woman) decided to go out and buy some items for the guys to have when they are home. God forbid there are no cookies, or potato chips in the house, one would hop on the first plane to California, and the other one on the first train to Purchase in TLW’s mind!

Well, I have been having a sweet tooth problem lately, and after dinner in particular, it has been hitting, and hitting hard. Usually there is no cake or cookies in the house, we just don’t need them. (So says TLW)

Hunting around in what I thought was a fruitless effort, low and behold (I still don’t know what the hell that really means), I find a bag of cookies in the pantry closet. It is about 9:00 pm, and TLW is watching TV with her eyes closed once again, when I decide to make my move.

Carefully, I pull the bag apart, making sure that I don’t make any noise. (Sniveling coward) I appropriated two ladyfinger cookies that fit neatly in my palm, and make my getaway. As I munched in my studio, it got me thinking about the old days when Mom would buy cookies for the younger kids, and would yell: “Don’t touch those cookies, they’re for the kids!” She felt that I was not one of her children! That got me thinking about the time, I used her rules to do in my older sister Tessie (much older) for a transgression she committed upon my being.

It was a Saturday morning, she was still in bed asleep, and Mom and Dad had gone out. I was awake, and decided to get my revenge on Tessie! Going to the cookie closet, I took down the unopened box of cookies, and removed a half a dozen, or maybe it was six, I don’t remember, and ate all but one. The one cookie I took into my sleeping sisters room, and crumbled it on her bed! The brilliance of my plan was so cold and calculating, that to this day, I smile at it.

Mom came home and was loading the closet with some items, when she noticed the box of cookies was opened!


“Mom, why do I get blamed for everything around here? Huh?”


“Maybe Tessie did it?”


“Well ask her, for a change, don’t ask me.”

(Notice I didn’t deny anything, just asked for a more thorough investigation, before getting the wooden spoon broken on my head.)

Mom goes into Tessie’s room, where she is questioned, and of course denies everything. (What a piece of work, she knows she’s innocent even in her sleep. Jeez!)

I go in to help things along, lean on the crumbs and brush them off, Mom sees this and she gets hell!

Revenge and about five cookies were mine, free and clear.

Later in life I often though of apologizing to Tess, but thought: NAH!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Santa Clause is coming to town.

By the time you read this, on the 16th and 17th of December, Santa will have visited a home for developmentally disabled people: He went last year and had such a great time, that he went back! The people believe So, I think I believe, and maybe the spirit of Santa IS alive.

These wonderful peaceful people live together in a community, and if you have a home near you like it, then count yourself blessed to have such wonderful neighbors!

They will tell you about their lives, their jobs if they own one, and will invite you into their home, no questions asked!

They offer you honest to goodness hospitality, and love you, especially if you ARE Santa.

Then the next night, I was off to a dance for people with developmental disabilities, and here is where I learn a lesson in humility, love, generosity and that the world is often cruel, while on the same token, beautiful.

About 400 adults, ranging from the early 20’s to the late 80’s will come to the dance. Some bring dates, some just come and dance by themselves. They enjoy the music, and love each other for the most part,

As each one sits next to Santa, he or she will ask for a present, for Christmas morning, or will ask instead that their Mom or Dad be healthy again, or that someone come to visit them, expressing their loneliness and pain that encroaches on this kind of holiday, every year. These are promises not even Santa can keep.

There is no greater gift from God, than to have each other in this world. To share our joy and sadness is to live. It means we are all doing something to ease someone else’s burden. Making someone laugh at your own expense is not so bad. It tells people that you mean no harm, nor do you want anything from them, but maybe their friendship.

I came from a very loving family, and they still seem to be at this stage of their lives, having known me. There is a spirit of giving, and of laughing: both are gifts we could all use.

To all of you in this world who feel abandoned, alone and maybe sad, for what it is worth, I love you, and will keep you close in Santa’s spirit, and God’s love.


Friday, December 17, 2010


The other day, TLW (The Little Woman) called me from her cell phone on her lunch hour at work.

TLW: “Hi, it’s me!”

“Hi, how’s it going?”

TLW: “Good, I was thinking about next week.”

“That’s good, someone should, what’s next week?”

TLW: “#1 Son is coming home.”

“Yes, that is something to think about.”

TLW: “No, silly! He will be home, and we don’t eat like we used to. We will have to do a little shopping.”


TLW: “Yes, we will need food in the house, we hardly cook anymore.”

“Well, we could get some chicken, pork chops, and I could put something together.”

TLW: “You know what he would like, but it will mean we have to go off our diets?”

“No, but I’m all for it!!!!”

TLW: “He loves steak pizziola, maybe I’ll make that.”

“Really! Is there anything else he likes that you should make?”

TLW: “Well, off hand…”

“You know, he once told me he loved how you made Baked Macaroni, with three cheeses, and that French Onion Soup we had in Paris…”

TLW: “Really! When did he tell you that?”

“Back in ’07 I think it was, we were reminiscing, and he said how he missed your cooking. Yes, that was it. He missed your cooking!”

TLW: “Why am I suspicious all of a sudden?”

“Your modesty?”

TLW: “No, your baloney.”

“Oh, well make it salt free, our diets you know.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010


There comes a time in our lives when we say goodbye to traditions we hold dear. That disconnection is very painful. It hurts when you see a child grow into an adult, when unquestioned reliance becomes shattered by his or her own personal knowledge.

As we are getting ready for the holidays, TLW (The Little Woman) reminded me that I had to pick up both my sons from different locations within hours of each other. The Christmas/New Year holidays were upon us, and so we would all join together as a family once more, for the last time.

It seems that #1 Son will be married soon, and this will be his last season with us, to decorate the tree, to live out another holiday in peace and experience the joy we all hold so close to our breasts. The little boy with the blond hair and the quick movements to please his mother and cranky father has grown into a man and is no longer going to be ‘of this family’, but will start his own, with his own traditions, memories and joys.

When TLW mentioned to me that this was the last of it, a sudden sadness fell from my chest to my stomach. I recall sitting so peacefully in my chair on Christmas morning, watching my wife and kids have Christmas.

I remember one Christmas morning in particular, they were maybe 2 and 3, or 3 and 4, and #1 Son was fully aware of Santa for the first time. He jumped around the living room, in his red plaid pants and red jacket, happily climbing into the seat of a little piano, and they off to another toy. It was very magical for me.

Then as he grew up, he started to make little tree decorations that we hung with care, to this very day. They are more precious to us as the years go by. Touched by little hands, those same hands revisited those same decorations every year since.

And the other guy, #2 Son! I thought I would live forever when he was born. He was going to be special in his own way, his own man so to speak. He too built a collection of Christmas memories that hang for me to remember.

There is nothing like a child at Christmas. It was a holiday that was reverent, and given to children to celebrate. The magic, the memories, the pure joy of living to see your children experience it, and now it will be cut away a little.

There is something I would want buried with me. Not money, not pictures, or religious articles, but one ornament each from my children. They were made with love and with uninhibited emotions of joy and love. That is what I want to take with me.

Then I can “Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Yes indeed, that younger baby sister is now an old baby sister, and by tomorrow she will be even older than me! She may be even older than GOD at some point!

Powitanie do Stanu Connecticut, or: Benvenuto a Connecticut! Either way you say it, it still means the same: Welcome to Connecticut!

Tom, the Polish Prince of Connecticut, has spent a long time with Fran, or ‘Nippy’ as she is really known, as her husband. The family has tried to make it up to him in the past, but the damage is done. Nippy got this name over a very short summer vacation, while traveling with my uncle and aunt through New England. It seems she was getting little doses of scotch and enjoying them, as the car started feeling like a magic carpet after imbibing once or twice, then hiding the unfinished bottle from my uncle!

Since those salad days, she now has a ‘Zero tolerance’ policy toward alcohol! That is “Zero for you: get your own!”

But she has always been someone special to me. She started out like her other siblings, in a small two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, and grew into a great teacher, mother and wife, let alone sister.

She is in my eyes, when she taught, “Teacher of the year” as her dedication came through every time we met. As a little girl, she often played school, and she had to be the teacher. I really couldn’t see the point of it all, since I was the one who had stand in the corner! She loved her profession and spoke of her experiences with little children, first graders who often where taller than she was! One year she was up for ‘Teacher of the Year’ in Connecticut! That is how good she was. Today as she enjoys her retirement, I think of how sad it must be for the state to have lost such a valuable asset.

As a child, she was also a ratfink, you heard me, and you read that right, a ratfink who constantly ratted me out to my mother, causing me to put my rosaries down and run from a wooden spoon!

But oh! How I prayed for her! That she would see how wonderful I REALLY WAS! But no, she would rat me out and get her gingersnap cookie for a reward, with the title of: “Boss of the Soda”, bestowed by Dad, until one day she became dethroned by mom, because of a certain visit to the dentist.

But anyway you twist it, and it may be a little twisted here, she is a great gal, I love her dearly and wish her a Happy Birthday.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


It’s just a lot of humbug.

My garbage-men are full of it!

Every week, for 50 weeks, they arrive in my neighborhood, and take my trash, along with my patience away. When they are done on my block, it looks like a war zone. The empty garbage cans are tossed to the sidewalk, bouncing as they do back into the middle of the street, or to someone else’s property.

If you dare to drive down the road after they are finished, what you have is an obstacle course of garbage cans, which lay in front of you, making you zigzag through the neighborhood. Remember the 60’s and Tiny Tim’s tiptoe through the tulips? Well I sing: “We’ll tip toe, around the garbage cans with meeeeeheeee!

Then as you drive through the hood, there is the issue of who owns the road, the garbage truck or the town! It usually stops in the middle of the street, making it nearly impossible to pass by, while Chico and Miguel are scampering around with the garbage, leaving some of it on the street, most of it left in the can, and maybe they find that big hole in the truck for an empty coffee cup!

Then for two weeks in December, right before Christmas time, things suddenly change! As you look down the street, you see all the empty garbage cans, lined up like sentries in front of each house! The cadets at West Point could take a lesson from Chico or Miguel in the proper order for muster.

Why these phenomena, you ask? Surely you jest.


And, TLW (The Little Woman) makes me go nuts trying to catch the team of Chico and Miguel to hand them the envelope and say: “¡Feliz Navidad!”
“Ah, Gracias, Gringo!”

Monday, December 13, 2010


Last night, across the globe around 7:00 pm E.S.T., candles were lit to remember the children who passed on, too soon from this earth.

A mass of millions of tears, mostly mother’s tears, was shed, but with all those tears, not one candle was dosed from them. The memories of their children will burn on forever in their hearts.

I think it remarkable, that mothers and fathers around the globe, came together in peace and love, and remembered those children. Not one should ever be forgotten, not one should ever leave our hearts.

But there is a bigger picture here, on that is so obvious that we don’t see it. This worldwide remembrance should be the starting point for all of us to think about how senseless war is, how it destroys the children, their sense of security, love, and themselves.

Last night, people got together to give the mothers and fathers their child back, if for only a moment’s time. Those children became alive, given the time dedicated just for them. Those that organize it must suffer very much, and must feel the heartache all over again, yet they make it so that we all can recover a moments time with our lost children, bringing them back, year after year.

At first I wondered why the date is so close to the holidays, then I realize, that with or without the holiday, that child is gone from us physically, and so is a piece of the holiday. The joy that is the Holiday Season is tempered by the sense that we should all be reaching out to each other, being happy and giving, rather than breeding suspicion and hate.

My son Joseph is missed every day. I often see people his age and wonder what he would look like today. I wonder what could have been, maybe what should have been. I see the mothers, my wife too, and I wonder how much was really taken from her. I don’t even know what was taken from me yet, I just know that he is alive in my heart and soul, and I am forever mindful that he lived.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Or, how I view it.

TLW, (The Little Woman) is afraid that I am giving her a bad name!

It seems she thinks that I paint her as the boss. She is afraid that people will think she IS the boss.

She IS the boss.

I should know, since I’ve been taking orders now since 40 years ago, when she said: “Now get up off the floor, put a bandage on the black eye, AND LET’S GET MARRIED… NOW!!!”

Well maybe it wasn’t quite like that, after all my brain is a little fuzzy after 40 years.

She also seems to think that I exaggerate a little when I write about her.

Don’t you believe it. I NEVER exaggerate; I may enhance from time to time, but exaggerate, NO.

What I write is what I feel the truth is, and in my defense, I have often invited her to write and say whatever she wants on this blogue. She has yet to take me up on it! Hmmm.

We live a very serene life, one of trust and mutual respect. I respect her, and she respects her. After all, that is what it is suppose to be, as she has stated often.

She has taught me over the years to employ my own personal mantra, that she suggested. The mantra is employed to help me come to peace with myself, and she claims it will only lead to my happiness! It is a two-word phrase I repeat every day, day in and day out. “Yes, Dear.”

For example.

TLW: “You want me to have that new bracelet in this catalog?”

Me: “Yes dear.” It is amazing how it works every time.

We could fight about money, or the kids or where we go to eat, but as long as I use those two magical words, magic happens!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Recently, I was having a conversation with someone from high school who had a perception of me that astounded me.

Now this person is someone I trust, I know tells the truth, and doesn’t even cuss!

My wife was in on the conversation and got the surprise along with me at the same time. The person I mention is Pam Rae, a person who admits to extreme blonde moments at times. Although she is a very bright woman, she can fall off her chair!

She said and I quote: “When Joe was in high school, he had a touch of hood in him.” She continued her assessment with the fact that it was based on the way I walked. ( I didn’t swish) To be fair, I am even showing you the picture of her today, and me in high school.

Since I am so shocked by this statement, I thought maybe I’d take a survey of you dear readers, and see if there may be some truth in what she claims. If I get any responses, I will quote them in a dedicated blog on the subject.

Do you think I was or had a touch of hood in me?

I would be particularly interested in what my four sisters think, as well as those who knew me then. And for all those who came into my life later, what DO you think?

Friday, December 10, 2010


I recently mentioned the Bluray we purchased, and my expectations of trouble, and yes, there was trouble, but it wasn’t so predictable. (See Dec. 5 blogue)

After having the contraption out of the box for a few days, I became weary of looking at it, and decided to do something to get rid of it. I had two options: 1) throw it out or B) connect it. My inclination was to throw it out and take a nap, using the time it would take if I did connect it.

Better judgment lost out so I put it together.

I hate when that happens!

The connections were simple, and any moron could connect it, so I did.

Red wire went to red hole, yellow wire into yellow hole, then white wire into white hole. I know it gets technical, but try to keep up.

I turn on the remote, one of 5,000 I now own, and stick in a DVD, and it plays!

Success! Success! Oh! Lucky day! Success!

Not so fast sucker.

TLW, (The Little Woman) reminds me that it isn’t the playing we want, it is the downloading off the Internet of Netflix movies she wants.

Suddenly I could see my whole world crumble before me. Sadness now was on the horizon: hair-hurting instructions with nail biting moments awaited me.

Gently sobbing I went to the instructions. Cracking open the booklet, I start reading, and suddenly Mr. Campbell, or should I say Senor Campbell, my Spanish teacher in high school came to mind. The instruction booklet is in Spanish, or: “Espanol” as they say. I turn it over and upside down and it comes out in English. Good old Mr. Frederico, my English teacher would be proud I could still read English!

Then came all my problems, and they start with TLW, (The Little Woman), as I began my quest to either connect with the Internet of lose my sanity as if I hadn’t already.

With the TV on along with the Bluray, the screen starts me on the journey.

“Locate your router, boot it then press ‘start,’” it says.

What? My router is up in my office! I have to go up a few flights of steps to locate my router to boot it. I don’t want to.

TV: “Oh, but you have to.”

I drag my feet but do it anyway.

I yell out, “OK TOOTS, START!” I boot, and then realize I may have done that backwards!

I go down stairs and sure enough, it isn’t working.

Since we have a wireless router, I discover I need a specific receptor to attach to the Bluray to pick up the router signal. I’m sure you’re familiar with the thing I am talking about. You know it, because you never saw it before, have no idea what it really does, and it WILL be hard to find.

Off to Radio Shack we go, and the young lady geek says, “We don’t carry that. Sony makes it: you HAVE to go on the Internet to purchase it.

I think: we purchased the TV AND the Bluray at Best Buy, so why not give it a try.

Off to Best Buy we go, search in the Computer department, not finding it. Rejected we decide to look near the Bluray displays, and sure enough, we find one!

We race home, visions of Netflix downloads, dancing in our screen.

I attach it and reboot the router, this time correctly. Nothing! Nil. Zilch, Nada. (There’s that Mr. Campbell again!)

Why, because the fun has yet to begin! The TV asks me for my WPA key!

What the hell IS a WPA Key???

I try all my passwords and make some up, but nothing works. Desperate times call for desparate measures! I call my friendly geek at Apple. We spend a half hour discussing my problem.

Me: “And by the way, what is a WPA Key?”

Geek: “Just your password.”

I wonder if these guys have a high suicide rate?

We reset the router.

Back down I go. TLW: “What does that mean?”

Me: “Don’t worry.”

“What if it is wrong?”

Me: “Don’t worry.”

“What does THAT mean?”

Me: “Don’t worry.”

Finally we try all the current expressions the bluray is offering but the one I’m sure is not it.

“Well Joe, I think you should give up, and try tomorrow!”

My tongue, with bite marks on it responds, “OK”.
Off to the kitchen TLW goes, and you know, I’m feeling really silly now, so why not try the one expression that I’m SURE is not it.


God! I hate it!

Thursday, December 09, 2010


When I decided to organize a class reunion after 46 years, I got a lot of joy from it. I recall seeing people for the first time and wondering why I didn’t keep in touch a little better. I saw some great success stories, reacquainted myself with some wonderful people that I wished I had stayed in touch with.

The joy I mentioned above has a price. Sometimes it brings you bad news too. Sometimes you wish you didn’t do what I did, just so the sadness doesn’t meet up with the happiness and crash. The sound of the crash is sometimes too much to bear.

I found a wonderful couple that dated in high school, and became husband and wife. David and Joanne Z. They were everyone’s friends and no one’s enemy. When I met them later in years, they still had stayed on the fine side of decency.

They were a very happy and compatible couple. She was always a lady to respect, and he having the class he did, fell in love and married her. They were good people then, they stayed that way.

Dave and Joanne had a great time at the reunion, renewing old acquaintances and sharing their life stories with other classmates, and the laughter was loud and long for all of us. There were no grudges or animosities to relive, just genuine happiness to see each other.

Dave had taken a great interest in the ceremonies the day before at the high school in the tree planting for our classmates who had passed on, and the building that had burned to the ground.

In times of joy you hold your breath to wait for the other shoe to drop, and sometimes it does. As we planned our reunion we heard of those who had died, were dying, or were about to die. It hurt to hear it. We heard about those who had personal tragedies in their lives, what with themselves and their children or even grandchildren.

But life goes on, and we try to make the best of it.

Then after the reunion, Dave got sick, very sick and was hospitalized. Suddenly, Joanne his brave wife, took on the battle to get Dave well, the long hospital and rehab visits, the fighting with the staff at the rehab center, because of her deep and realistic concerns about Dave’s treatment. We all offered prayers of help, or anything we could to ease the burden for our classmates, but Joanne was a trooper and carried on with her family.

Dave was in the hospital and rehab for all of the summer and most of fall. In contraptions, unable to eat or drink, living on intravenous (if you can call that living), and fighting as hard as he could.

Dave was a proud man, didn’t want his classmates to see him the way he was, didn’t even want his children to know it!

My wife, not being a classmate of mine, went to the icebreaker the night before the reunion at a local bar-restaurant, and sat in the crowded room for the most part alone on a chair by herself. She watched as I made the rounds thanking people for coming, and as she sat there, a stranger came over to her, sat next to her, and introduced himself. It was Dave, doing what he did best, making people feel invited, wanted and warm, but most of all, happy to meet him. She related the incident, and I took it in stride, realizing, what else did I expect from that gentleman? That he was.

Then one night, while Dave was fighting for his life, the end came. Joanne called me and asked in a trembling voice if I would alert everyone of Dave’s passing, and then related in grief filled tones the rest of the sadness.

She is grateful that we had the reunion, for Dave’s sake, and I am grateful I did it with the magnificent crew I had helping me. I wanted the reunion to get our youth back, if only for a moment’s time in a brief lifetime we all share on this earth.

Dave and Joanne were a part of the fabric that was woven, which made me a classmate of theirs, and all the great and wonderful people on the committee and those who came form great distances, to reunite once more.

There will never be another Dave, but that is as it should be. There is no replacement for gold. There is a wonderful reminder in his children and in his wonderful wife, who will remind us of that loving couple and their goodness, as long as we live as classmates.

Goodbye Dave, Mr. Z, whole and decent man that you still are, even in death.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Time to brag!

If you want to throw out or trash your computers, go right ahead, or you can just go to another page, because I have brag about the greatest art & copy team there is,

The other day I got a “Save the Date” card in the mail, from none other than #1 Son! Yes, he is making a big leap in life to the other side, or my side of the world, the married world. So what, you say? Well, that is not what I am bragging about, I’m bragging about the: ‘Save the date card.’ Silly you!

My lovely and beautiful, not to mention talented daughter-in-law to be, designed the card, while #1 Son wrote the copy. This is an ART & COPY team, the first compatible marriage of talents!

The wedding will be a 1970’s theme, and they pull it off starting on the card!

But you should go to the webpage they have:

The drawing you see is not Courtney’s, but Anthony’s. It is part of the plan he engaged to propose. I think it is kind of neat that Courtney would ask for his portfolio first!

Anyway, I’m excited to have my family expand, and that girl can have anything she wants from me, and TLW (The Little Woman)!

Art & Copy = Anthony & Courtney.
If you are not sure about the little headline, it comes from a very old headline where an ad started: “They laughed when I sat down to play the piano, but when I started to play!”

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


To me, December 7th is just as important as September 11th. I see the veterans of the Second World War and I know they will soon be extinct! Once there was a great deal of them, your parents or uncles and aunts. They came home from the ordeal we call war, some mentally scared and some physically, yet we still don’t learn the lessons of war.

I can’t imagine what it felt like that Sunday morning back in 1941, when the sirens were done wailing, and the gunfire ceased, and America heard the news that she was deliberately attacked in some far away exotic island! Not only was she attacked, but that we were now about to embark on a great crusade against tyranny.

But what was the mind-set that initial hour that the news broke, and our fleet was sunk? The Japanese were sounding invincible from the newscasts. Did we all fear an invasion? Did we wonder if we COULD defeat this unknown enemy, who just sunk our fleet?

When does the anger set in, after the attack, immediately? Is there time for fear if you are seeking revenge?

And those men and women, the ones who are the dying breed, the ‘Greatest Generation’ as Tom Brokaw so eloquently called them, the very ones at Pearl Harbor, what raced through their minds as they witnessed the unprovoked and “Dastardly” act of war the Japanese perpetrated on us, as President Roosevelt described it?

That war, more than any other outside the Revolution, shaped America like no other war could. It may have even laid the groundwork for 9/11!

Monday, December 06, 2010


It seems lately that all the dirty jokes I get are from the Internet, and from ladies. One lady sends me about 3 to 4 dirty jokes, including illustrated ones a day! That’s a day! I wonder what her husband thinks of all this.

I remember when a lady never did that. I remember when a lady didn’t even broach the subject of body parts and sex. I have to wonder what changed.

The guys don’t send these jokes: it is the women. Some of these jokes, drawings and little movies are so bad, that I have to hide my face and grimace from the shock.

Some of the ladies jokes deal with female sexual organs, male sexual organs, and acts that make fun of older people. I suspect all the pat downs at JFK, LaGuardia and LI MacArthur are having an effect on the ladies.

I’m not prude, can tell ‘em like anyone else. But I am finding it unusual for women to be doing what men did. The jokes are funny, raunchy and very dirty.

I got this from one lady:

“There were probably many, many times this year when
I may have.....
Disturbed You,
Troubled You,
Pestered You,
Irritated You,
Bugged You,
or got on your Nerves!!
So today, I just wanted to tell you....

Suck it up Cupcake!!
Cause there
Planned for 2011!!

I’d like to give thee gals a bit of advice-


Sunday, December 05, 2010


Yes, even I can go ‘High tech’, providing what I have is obsolete!

It seems TLW (The Little Woman) and I decided that since we enjoy NETFLIX so much, we would purchase a BLU RAY disc recorder and dump our DVD player.

You must be wondering why we would dump our DVD player, and I’ll tell you quite frankly, because TLW does not get along with it. Strange as it sounds, every time we put A DVD disc into it, when it is done, it refuses to return the disc to us. This makes TLW crazy, she yells at it, and gets me involved. What it does is come out for a nano-second, then return into the machine. We get nervous because we have a Netflix disc in it, and we now have to coax it out.

I took the new contraption out of the box and studied it. It is nasty, and I know we will have to argue over who puts it together. TLW then will go to Radioshack and bring home a 9-page dissertation, complete with diagrams, written in pencil.

She will tell me she thinks she knows what to do, and start reading. My hair will start to hurt, and I will picture myself in a white jacket with no frills, with my hands entwined behind my back.

We will then physically assemble everything, matching wires, looking for wires we don’t have and finding wires we don’t need. We will plug it into the TV and stick a DVD into it. It will ignore us, and not play. Then TLW will decide to pull out a universal remote, one of many we own, and try to program it. It too will be uncooperative and we will discover there are NO batteries in the remote.

Favorite Italian cuss words will come to mind, conjuring up images of dear old dad on the roof, fiddling with an antennae, while I was laughing hysterically as he did that, all the time making note of any new words he may have uttered for later translation.

Finally, we will get it to play, but only if I stand on one leg, while holding the string to the fan in the ceiling, while singing the national anthem!

It happens every time.

Hi-Tech, ugh!

Saturday, December 04, 2010


The room was dark, as it should be. The quietness of sleep requires it be so. To be dormant means to sleep, to rest and perhaps not to dream.

But sleep doesn’t always mean you rest well, or that your mind is not active. It just means you are no longer mainstreaming your thoughts, thoughts that you have control over.

As you mind runs randomly, you follow yourself through its course.

And so, as I lay there, in the middle of the night, darkness surrounding me, my eyes began to open slowly, as I peeked through them, wondering where I was. Maybe I was still in my dream, maybe just leaving it for the first time.

I looked over to my right, as I lay on my back. Suddenly, something caught my eye! There standing over Ellen was a figure! I knew that Michael, #2 Son was away at college, so it couldn’t be him. Was I in the midst of a home invasion? Suddenly, my mind came alive, as I rolled to my right and jumped up, letting out a yell: “HEY!!!” ready to take on the intruder, when suddenly a hand gripped me.

The stillness in the room was shattered only by the reality of what I knew. No one other than TLW (The Little Woman) and I were in the room! I had just experienced an illusion induced by myself, and my half awakened brain.

The funny thing is that I felt no fear, only a need to rid an intruder from my sanctuary, an unknown danger that I thought lurked within striking distance. My wife’s life was in danger and I needed to act!

I think the only danger in that room was my brain! The fact that I could conjure up someone from shadows and shapes of background made me think that perhaps I’m not all there. I’m sure anyone of my kids or TLW will concur with that theory, as well as my four sisters.

It was, without a doubt, the most interesting experience I’ve had in a long time!

Friday, December 03, 2010


Tra la la la la etc., etc.

Yes, that happy time of the year. The one we all can’t wait for, the one that cost a fortune in time and money, the one that leaves you so sick of it, you wonder why?

This magical season, I am actually ahead. I got my main present for TLW (The Little Woman), got all the labels printed up, and even plans for a few friends.

I remember the good old days, when Mom would make her Christmas Eve dinner. My Dad and I would tag along to the fishmonger, and the vegetable store for some good old fashion loving Christmas Eve dinner. The day was usually grey and damp, and always cold. It made for the coming evening that would be warm and cheerful.

Dad had a gallon of wine: usually his favorite, Villa Armondo, and a bottle of scotch for my uncle Joe who claimed he knew his scotch. So to test that theory one year, dad had an empty bottle of Johnny Walker Black that he filled with a cheap scotch and my uncle, the scotch drinker, drank it and praised the works of Johnny Walker! Uncle Joe was a bit of a know it all, but he was amusing. (Reference the scotch).

Traditions die hard in my family, like my older sister Tess. (Much older) who started a thing many years ago. Dad would buy a Christmas tree, we would decorate it for the most part, then Tessie, after tossing her tinsel would knock it down! Every year, without fail, after that event, I would learn a new Italian swear word. Mom would say: “Anthony, it’s Christmas, and not in front of the kids!” I would chime in, “Yeah Dad, not in front of the kids! What did that mean by the way?”

Today, with the way we have separated form each other, who lives in Florida, or California, it isn’t a given that we will always see our kids or relatives over the holidays. But I will keep the tradition going. I will continue to leave the box of ornaments outside the front door, so that when someone comes in, they can pick one out and bring it inside and stick it somewhere.

Be nice, it’s Christmas.

To all you politically corrected:

This is my blogue, so NO friggen happy holidays crap. You want a happy holiday? I’ll give ya a happy holiday.

You talking to me????

Thursday, December 02, 2010


We were on our way to the hospital to visit someone while driving on the Long Island Expressway. TLW (The Little Woman) fired the first salvo.

TLW: “I need to speak to you about something.”

Me: “Yes!?”

TLW: “The Wanna-Be-Bank and Truss Company is having a drive for winter coats.”

Somehow I just knew what was coming, or in this case going.

Me: “Yes.”

TLW: “Well I am buying a new coat for the drive, but they are also asking for a donation of a ‘Gently worn coat’.

Me: “What the hell is a gently worn coat?”

TLW: “Well, I was thinking of that yellow coat you have.”

Me: “WHAT? That coat is very warm, and cost me only $5.00!”

TLW: “Come on, you don’t wear it.”

Me:” Yes I do. I wear it when I shovel snow, and if I have a heart attack shoveling snow, I will be able to stick out as I lay face down in the white stuff. Richie across the street can call the emergency coroner in a moments notice. Once he sees me laying there in florescent yellow, he’ll know what to do!”

TLW: “Oh, you never wear that coat.”

Me: “But I do, I wear it all the time.”

TLW: “Well, don’t wear it with me around.”

Me:” Wadda you mean? It is two-tone reversible. That is only $2.50 per side! You can’t beat that! You are just jealous that I go out and buy something, it becomes a real bargain, and you have never saved that much on anything like I did.”

We arrive at home afterward, and TLW heads for the hall closet.

TLW: “OK, what have we here? You wear this coat? OHHH, look it has a pair of gloves in it! I bet you didn’t even know you had these gloves.”

Me: “Yes I did, they are in my winter coat, where else would I keep them?”

TLW: “What about this leather jacket, you hardly ever wear it. You have at least four leather jackets in here!”

Me: “Of course I wear them, and there are only three!” One is a soft leather when I want to give my rugged look with soft leather, and one is with the cheaper look, but still rugged. The long one is for dress occasions.”

TLW: “What about this raincoat? Do you EVER wear this?”

Me: “Of course, that I wear when it rains and I have to wear a suit in the spring and summer.”

She then takes out her purchased coat and it is a florescent blue!

Me: “What, and you criticize my stuff? And by the way, how come we only discuss my clothes? Come to think of it, you even dislike the lady in my GPS! What is it with my stuff?”

TLW: “Because MY clothes are in good taste.”

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


Thanksgiving Day was fast approaching, and I realized that I would be seeing my older sister (much older) Tessie. Tessie hates to be called Tessie, because her name is Theresa, so as a dutiful brother all my life, I call her Tessie.

Usually Tess, or Tessie, likes to pick me apart, something to do with my mother liking her better because her name is Theresa, and I was the only boy in the house when we were growing up. I had my own room and she had revenge in her heart.

So as the day was drawing closer, I wondered what could she possibly pick on, since I had woken up that morning in perfection. There was nothing wrong with me, so I figured I needed to give her something to criticize, and I needed it quick. If I didn’t she would be picking on her husband John.

As I looked into the mirror, seeing all the perfection, I decided what I would do is grow my beard back in, again.

The big day arrived and I approached my niece Laurie’s house for dinner. Who should be waiting at the door with her arms folded was Tessie, with a sardonic smile on her face, just waiting for me. I spite of wearing a few cloves of garlic around my neck (From the book: Warding off vampires, ghosts and witches), there stood Tess.

I gritted my teeth and knocked. The usual normal door suddenly took on a sinister sounding squeak as it slowly opened revealing the presence of what I could almost feel as evil and dreaded. It was Tessie!

Tessie: “Ewwww, you grew your beard back!”

The sound of her voice ran the usual chills down my spine, but I clutched the railing and held on.

Sticking out her lips about four feet, she puckered and I was obliged to pucker back. (Doctors have been treating me for pucker lip syndrome ever since!)

Tessie: “Why did you do that?” as she rubbed her palms in satisfaction, while talking through her pucker.

Me: “Hey, I’m working with you here, give me a break. If you are going to strike me down, please do it as quick as possible!”

Tessie: “NO! NEVER! For too many nights I had to sleep with the rest of the coven, YOU WILL PAY!”

Me: “OK, but remember, Mom liked you better. She wasn’t sure I was hers, thanks to your convincing her to doubt it.”

Tessie: “To think, I had the adoption papers all drawn up for a nice family in China to adopt you, but no, you had to learn to talk!”

Suddenly my brother-in-law John came running into the entryway, holding up a crucifix and ten cloves of garlic, quickly sprinkling me with holy water, while Tessie disappeared into the shadows of the darkened rooms, a bone chilling laugh rattling throughout my being, but we had a very nice dinner.

The End

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Don’t you just hate it when you have a major event coming up, and you really wish someone else would take it over? What with the food, the decorations, maybe the music, not to mention the cake!

Events are a major part of our lives, and we really put ourselves under a lot of stress, first with the planning, then the day of the event, and then finally, Aunt Millie’s criticisms after the fact.

Well there is a new service out there called Russell’s Event Planning, and yes, I am a shill for it! Why? Because I am helping a good friend of mine build this idea. Her name is Pam Rae, and she is a very creative individual who is a natural for this kind of thing. Her motivation is a good one, the stinking economy, and she would like to put her mind to use doing things that make her happy.

Pam has conceived Russell’s from her own experiences. She is a former head of the PTA, and works for charities now and in the past, and knows how to get things done.

Her services offered will include:
Weddings, memorials, birthday parties, testimonial, retirement dinners, board and business meetings, and after funeral gatherings for families who don’t need the stress of organizing the event. But that is not all: she works with selected small businesses to bring them all together, eliminating high overhead costs, while helping these license and certified business to grow. Her plan is to offer the “Outside the box” thinking, making for great and unique events that will be long remembered. As part of her service, she will arrange for invitations, either personalized from a catalog, or will have it designed especially for you. She sees no limit in what a customer would want, and the challenges excite her.

I have worked with Pam side by side on the high school reunion committee, and have witnessed her ability to get work done, on time and with flair. She can arrange for anything you could wish for, from balloons, butterfly releases to seaside and boat venues. She has a great flair for decorating and yet a very sensitive set of values, that include honesty, morality, and sensitivity to any request, and will respect your wishes.

Pam is a woman on her own, trying to make it in this world without a handout, and with a lot of guts and fortitude.

So, if you think you would like to end the baked ziti and sausage and peppers syndrome, the balloons tied to a chair, in a backyard, give this gal a shot. You can each her at: I promise you, you will be glad you did. I would not recommend her, if I felt she was not all I said she is.

Monday, November 29, 2010


As most of us know, controlling our weight, as we get older gets tougher. Some of us are lucky and have a great metabolism, so we don’t need to worry. Some of us, especially men, seem to have it concentrate in one place. The issue of diet and exercise is constantly on our minds, and we sometimes just don’t give a damn.

After all these years of fighting a losing battle, you don’t want to commit suicide with a fork, but yet when you get on a scale, you wish you could stick yourself with the same fork that got you there to begin with!

Whenever I go to the doctor, I step on the scale, and the nurse will slide the top weight thingy over into the next room, before she goes to the bottom weight for the singular pounds!

I always want to take off my shoes, my coat and empty my pockets: in fact I would even get naked to get another pound to go away.

Smiling face, my doctor, who sounds like he is a candidate for a nervous breakdown, usually never mentions things like poundage, except when I go over the usual or the norm for me. The funny thing is I used to be a skinny guy, sleek, svelte, and muscular, but of course that was when I was born!

When I sit down to eat, if it is something I shouldn’t have, I immediately try to feel skinny, or put the thoughts that I shouldn’t be eating what I am, out of my mind. The quilt is there, but only for a second! You might say I’m learning self-control.

When my conscience does get the best of me, I think tomorrow will be different. Yes, tomorrow I will start the crusade to thin down and become skinny, and not feel self-conscience when others are around me who are thin. “I’ll get thin like him, and hold my nose in the air in front of fat people”, which is probably said every day!

I once bought a chocolate bar because I had an urge for one. I don’t always buy chocolate bars or candy, although I will have a piece of dark chocolate after a meal. When I purchased the bar, I saw someone I know, who came up to me and said: “Do you really need that?”

Be careful, be very careful, the thought police are all around us!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I noticed that people have been going a little insane lately with their horseless carriages! Seems that death is an option to them, so therefore, watch out. As for me, I don’t mind their attitude as long as I can continue to witness the madness, because death is NOT an option I want.

The other day I was next to a left hand turn only lane, and the damned fool raced out and cut me off! I yelled to him that his father is unknown. (Maybe not so nicely said as that!)

I was on the LIE when this young lady in an SUV wedged her way in front of me, never thinking that maybe I was too close.

Then there was the meathead who jumps in front of me without a signal. He also has a questionable parenthood from what I can gather.

The problem I see is all the offenders were young. Fast or big cars and daredevil attitudes prevailed, when young people get in cars. I feel this younger generation is very “me first” with its attitude.

Then I get behind the older people, they sit at a light, and forget which color means: “MOVE YOU OLD GOAT!!!”

I am getting very testy in my old age when it comes to driving!

Then there are the women with the cell phones in their ears, when they know it is against the law to use them while driving. I even see men of all ages doing it too, and the worst are the craftsmen!

As I get older, even though I am complaining about all this, I actually am calmer and now realize people will do stupid things, so be careful!

With that I hope you are all careful and drive safely, because I love you all! And try to stay away from Kamikaze Blvd. or the L.I.E.!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Well, my tooth was indeed bothering me. I couldn’t bite down, and it seemed that everyone had to touch it, push it so it hurt even more, the dental assistant, the dentist and then the dental surgeon!

Going to the dentist with the expectation that he could eliminate my pain, he some how, instead informed me that the tooth must come out!

“OK, let’s do it!”

Dentist: “Ok, I’ll go make a phone call.”

Now why would he make a phone call when I am in the Sachem Dental Group headquarters of all that looks porcelain?

Dentist: “We are sending you to a dental surgeon, a really nice guy! Our dental surgeon is off today.”

I go to the front desk and they give me papers and an x-ray of my tooth to take to an address I have no idea where it is, and off I go. Luckily, my GPS, that mechanical or electronic nemesis of TLW (The Little Woman) is in my car. The GPS has a woman’s voice and tells me where to go. TLW feels she should be the only women’s voice to tell me where to go.

I arrive and I hear those dreaded words: “Are you a patient of the doctor?”


“Fill this out, both sides.”

I look at the 50 questions and think: “I have a 5:30 business appointment/dinner, it is 4:00 pm now, how the hell am I gonna make it out to Westhampton Beach in time?”

I fill out all 5,000 questions, including my mother’s second cousin twice removed current body temperature.

I hand in the papers and finally am called.

I walk to my execution and sit in the chair. I ask for a shave and get a grunt. This is not looking good. The dental surgeon looks in my mouth, gives the tooth a running shove and proclaims as I hit the ceiling: “Yup, that has to come out alright!”

Surgeon: “Who sent you?”

“Dr. Mazolla”
Surgeon: “Oh, I know him, he was my dentist when I was a little kid!”

“But he looks so young!”

Surgeon: “You should really be making nice to me, you know, I have the tools!

“He-he, of course, I was only kidding, I’m 65, everyone looks young to me!”

He gives me a needle or two in the roof of my mouth and the gums.

I sit fuming and looking at my watch.

The dental assistant comes out with another long list of things to check and sign off on.

“Please read carefully and initial each item, them sign the back when you are done.”

The questions are simple to understand, it is a fact that I needed a change of underwear after initialing them all! For instance:

1.) I understand that broken bones or teeth are possible during the procedure.
2.) I understand that my jaw could be permanently opened from the procedure.
3.) I understand that other teeth may be broken or lost in the procedure.
4.) I understand that my mouth could be permanently stretched from the procedure.

These are the confidence builders I am reading, and starting to shake over as I initial over 20 items!

Finally, the surgeon comes in.

“You ready Joseph?” (I hate when they call me Joseph before a procedure!)

“This should go easy enough, once we pull it, you are done.

Easy enough it wasn’t.

By now my gum is numb, and the doctor is in my mouth, and I can feel tooth fragments fly against my other teeth, I can feel this 6’ 5” 235 pounder pushing up into my gum, and I can feel him breaking the tooth: and constantly going back, meanwhile assuring me: “One more time.”

Finally the procedure is over.

“No smoking, spiting, brushing your teeth, sipping from a straw, eat soft mushy foods and keep the gauze on until the bleeding stops, and if there is severe pain, go to the nearest emergency room for help. And come back next week.


Surgeon: “Wait about an hour before you do.”