Saturday, July 31, 2010


It seems it always starts in the A.M. TLW (The Little Woman) makes some kind of statement, some observation, or does something that has a profound effect on things around the old homestead!

Getting up from her chair, she announced:

“Argh! I know how you feel, I think I’m catching up with you!” (Never happen, she doesn’t laugh enough) “Everything hurts, every time I move lately.”

Me: “Maybe you are getting old?”

Dead silence! I try another tactic.

Me: “It’s the weather! Yes, that’s it, the weather.”

TLW: “Yes, of course, but it hurts. Every time I get up now, I wish this heat would go away!”

Me: “Yes, the heat sure is a killer.”

TLW: “You’re not patronizing me, are you?”

Me: “Me? No, no! Why would I do that, besides, I feel it in this weather too!” (Close call!)

TLW: “Well, there is no point complaining, I better get going.”

Me: “Yes, you’ll be late for work!”

TLW: “By the way, did you get to what I asked you to do, yesterday?”

Me: “No, my foot was killing me, the weather you know! Now hurry, you don’t want to be late!”

TLW: “Are going to get to it today?”

Me: “In THIS weather, with MY foot!?”

Who says everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about?

Friday, July 30, 2010


You grow up in a little conclave of family values, ethnicity, neighborhood and street values, educational tenets and local jargon, which stays with you all your life. It never occurs that it is in itself something anymore special than anyone else’s life. So you get older, move on, and it still stays with you!

When I started writing this blogue, it never occurred to me that it would open a whole new world of people, places and things. What happened is blogging made me new connections with the world, brought me back to my old connections, and re-established my youth. It put me in contact with people I should have known, wish I had known sooner, and am happy that I did indeed write this blog up.

Crossing a span of 55 years, I have covered a lot of ground, childhood and teenage years, and in the last three years especially.

My blogging buddy, Jim Pantaleno: is a good example. He found me through the internet, reading my blogue, and we have had the chance to meet for dinner twice, and I got the pleasure of meeting part of a wonderful family. I have reconnected with my high school classmates running a reunion, and lately, my old friend from Brooklyn, my next door neighbor, Mike Mangino who I hadn’t seen in 55 years!
After our last dinner together, Jim lent me a book called: ‘The View From Ocean Hill’, about my old neighborhood, and in particular my street, Hull Street! Written by a guy by the name of Lou Alba, he goes into his days growing up in the neighborhood on Hull Street, in the 1950’s! It took me back; rather it threw me back to my childhood, and those wonderful days!
I always thought I was lucky to grow up in that neighborhood, with all its special places, people or characters that populated the streets, and the special color that went into living day to day in Brooklyn. Reading this book made everything special once again, and made me proud to know I came from Ocean Hill in Brooklyn.

Thank you Jim, Mike, and Lou, and Mom and Dad for living there

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Recently I received an e-mail from one of my baby sisters, asking me to “pass this on”. It IS something I will pass on to you and hope you can understand it. When I wrote on an issue recently about the building of a Mosque on Ground Zero, there was on toxic response that proved my point, and one that supported me. I like to have both!

Here is the e-mail Fran sent me.

“CBS and Katie Couric et al must be in a panic and rushing to reassure the White House that this is not network policy.

Keep this going around the globe. Read it and forward every time you receive it. We can’t give up on this issue.

Andy Rooney says: 

I don't believe in Santa Claus, but I'm not going to sue somebody for singing a Ho-Ho-Ho song in December. I don't agree with Darwin, but I didn't go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught his Theory of Evolution. 

Life, liberty or your pursuit of happiness will not be endangered because someone says a 30-second prayer before a football game. So what's the big deal? It's not like somebody is up there reading the entire Book of Acts. They're just talking to a God they believe in and asking him to grant safety to the players on the field and the fans going home from the game. 

But it's a Christian prayer, some will argue. Yes, and this is the United States of America and Canada, countries founded on Christian principles. According to our very own phone book, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 200-to-1. So what would you expect -- somebody chanting Hare Krishna? 

If I went to a football game in Jerusalem, I would expect to hear a Jewish prayer. 

If I went to a soccer game in Baghdad, I would expect to hear a Muslim prayer. 

If I went to a ping-pong match in China, I would expect to hear someone pray to Buddha.

And I wouldn't be offended. It wouldn’t bother me one bit. When in Rome...

But what about the atheists? Is another argument. 

What about them? Nobody is asking them to be baptized. We're not going to pass the collection plate. Just humor us for 30 seconds. If that's asking too much, bring a Walkman or a pair of earplugs. Go to the bathroom. Visit the concession stand. Call your lawyer! 

Unfortunately, one or two will make that call. One or two will tell thousands what they can and cannot do. I don't think a short prayer at a football game is going to shake the world’s foundation.

Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts strip us of all our rights. Our parents and grandparents taught us to pray before eating, to pray before we go to sleep. Our Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers are telling us to cease praying. 

God, help us. And if that last sentence offends you, well, just sue me. The silent majority has been silent too long. It's time we tell that one or two who scream loud enough to be heard that the vast majority doesn't care what they want. It is time that the majority rules! It's time we tell them, "You don't have to pray; you don’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance; you don't have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we will honor your right; but by golly, you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are fighting back, and we WILL WIN!"

God bless us one and all...Especially those who denounce Him, God bless America and Canada; despite all our faults We are still the greatest nations of all. God bless our service men that are fighting to protect our right to pray and worship God.

Let's make 2010 the year the silent majority is heard and we put God back as the foundation of our families and institutions. And our military forces come home from all the wars. 

Keep looking up.”

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I wrote recently about a couple that I happen to admire. They just went through a rough patch, and are making it through. He is fighting esophagus cancer and hopefully has beaten it with an operation.

I knew I wanted to visit him once the ordeal of the operation was over, which happened to be occurring at a hospital across the street from a client. The client was Stony Brook University, and the hospital: Stony Brook University Hospital. I was a little apprehensive of the visit, since I didn’t know how he felt, or if he even wanted visitors. I sent his wife Joanne an email, but since I didn’t get a response, I thought I’d just go. I could imagine how crazy her days were, let alone have time to answer e-mails from cranky old men!

On a hot and humid Friday, I had a photo shoot with the client, using a medical photographer who is based at the hospital. We spent a lot of hours in the hot and stuffy rooms of the college, and shooting pictures under my direction. By the end of the day of in and out of the different buildings, I was exhausted, and realized I couldn’t move, let alone go to visit a recuperating friend.

The following week, I met in the photographer’s office and afterward, paid my visit to Dave, my recuperating high school classmate. I was nervous, and as I got to his room, I notice the curtain drawn around his bed! I knocked, no answer, I called out, no answer, I saw feet crossed at the foot of the bed and decided to stick my head in and call him.

He was watching a Yankee game. Good old Dave was on the mend! We greeted each other with some small talk, and being deaf, I had trouble hearing him because his voice is weak. I asked him to repeat what he had said, but still… I decided not to pursue it and let him go back to resting.

But in my feeble attempt to say goodbye, I said: “Dave, you look better all ready, and I only arrived 2 minutes ago!”

I could liken the feelings I had of going into that hospital room with what one feels when they visit a person who lost a loved one, especially at a funeral home. Apprehension: what do you say, and how do you say it. How do you offer help without sounding lame? More importantly, I want my offer to have meaning, bite, be real and sincere, and productive at the end. So I didn’t offer any help, just a promise to myself to get to know this wonderful couple once again, and see that they have help if they need it.

Sometimes prayers do work!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The other day #2 Son had a doctor’s appointment, so I went with him. Now I make jokes about my kids, but nothing that doesn’t border on the truth. Each child is unique, and all of them are distinctively smart as boys go. I should now rephrase that and say men!

After the appointment, since it was late morning, I decided to take him to lunch with me, so we could bond a little better, and maybe learn from each other.

I think it was a most pleasant experience for me. As you all know, #2 has his opinions about life and he shares them with us whether we want them or not! I used to think he was a card carrying communist, until I realized he is a better American than I am! He doesn’t like something this country is doing, he states it, and votes accordingly. He is always putting Uncle Sam’s feet to the fire, and more often than not: his opinions scorch me. I still don’t always agree with him, but he does do one thing. That one thing he does is not accepting anything at face value.

I thought how great is it that he would want the change for the better in his mind! Most of us keep quiet, and still others don’t even vote. He states his case and votes, looking for a better America! His protest is not to make America look bad, but to make her better!

So all these years he’s been arguing with me, I kind of agree with him in principle, maybe not entirely but to some small degree. He is always reading about something he is concerned with, looks objectively at the world, and STILL pisses me off! But his opinion seems honest! For that I am proud of him.

Our lunch turned out civil and enjoyable, and by golly, I may just do it again!


Monday, July 26, 2010


Last year, at the suggestion of my Texas buddy, and 8th grade dance partner: Martha Scott, I joined Face Book to help me find my classmates for our reunion. Then someone said: “Ya gotta do the farming, Joe!’ So I went ahead and did a farm, not knowing what the hell the point is, but did it anyway.

Well, after about almost a year of this, I have been getting chickens, cows, (I own one, Cowabonga), sheep (no jokes, please) and various trees and of course my crops. People send me mystery gifts, which I can’t figure out what they are, gold coins and if I plow I find or get fuel!

Then one night, from New Jersey I get a call from my classmate Kathy Sperakis (10:30 pm) to join this co-op and plant something to help people get a gold ribbon or coins or something for all the people in the co-op. Mind you, this is all electronic daydreaming, but I figured, my life was in the balance so I better!

This is followed up recently by a request from Tanj the Enforcer, (Carol Patanjo) who said I should get up at the crack of daybreak and join another co-op, and that I better, because she knows where I live! That morning, I called California, where this all emanates from: requesting to speak with the head of the farming bureau for Face Book. Nobody knew what I was asking, since I was babbling incoherently.

FB: Face Book, how may I help you?

Me: “Yes, I need to speak with someone about helping me find your Farmville logo. I really need it, but I suddenly can’t find the logo on my page!”

FB: “Now calm down, and let’s see what the problem is. By the way, you just got a can of fuel from a FB buddy! Congratulations! Yes, I don’t see the Farm Ville logo either. Hmmm.”

Me: “But you have to help me find it, if one of my Face Book buddies doesn’t get what she wants, I’m in deep dodo!”

FB: “Now, it can’t be that bad, just a temporary glitch, that’s all!”

Me: “But you don’t understand, I was TOLD by her I had to do this first thing this morning!”

FB: “Really! She must be a tough customer!”

Me: “I’ll say, her name is Tanj, that’s what we call her.”

FB: You don’t mean Carol Patanjo, do you? Good luck with THAT!”

He hangs up and I am left with a dial tone from California!

Then I went to a party recently where they were all there, and what do they discuss: World affairs? No. Science, No. Farm Ville, and getting up at 4:00 AM to plow their fields!

By the way, does anyone know how to retrieve their Farm Ville logo when it disappears?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Let it be known, that my classmates like TLW (The Little Woman) more than they like me!

Recently we attended a bar-b-q at the lovely Pam Rae’s lovely home. Pam, or as I call her Rae Rae, gave us a great warm welcome and delicious food! The only thing that surpassed her hospitality was her lovely self.

On board this wonderful afternoon was the lovely TLW (The Little Woman), the equally lovelies: Judy Fuoco, Carol (Tanj) Patanjo, the beautiful Kathy and her husband good sport Jerry Walsh, the gorgeous Michele De Palo AKA DeVito and a wonderful guy named Nick, who is married to Michele, and the effervescent Pat Thatcher and my and everybody else’s cousin Vinnie! We were missing one important link in the group, that sexy old cutup, that wild and crazy gal, Aggie.
A few things I have to say.

Tanj gave me another shot, knocking me into next week, where she then continued to stomp me until I cried “uncle” And it had to be an uncle of hers before she’d stop! She worked so hard on belting me, she worked up a sweat and dove into a neighbor of Pam’s pool!

The lovely Judy along with Rae Rae, were found in the kitchen dancing a polka to Lawrence Welk, while Kathy kept time by leading the beat with her foot, the bad one! While all this was going on, Pat was tossing ice cubes down Rae Rae’s blouse to keep her dancing! It was a strange but wonderful time.

As for me, I just watched the action, and prayed that I get out of it alive.

After we fished Tanj out of the pool, and Rae Rae’s ice cubes were melted (we know they melted, Rae Rae uncrossed her arms) we had a meeting to plan our reunion down south in Florida next year in March, were we wish to plan a cruise. All this time, Michele had her finger poised to push the last push button on the phone for the police, screaming: “I’ll do it, so help me I will!”

Then the real fun began, as we all tried to leave, and Rae Rae made us all take food home with us, because as she said: “No one leaves skinnier than me, baby!”

But about my opening statement: “my classmates like TLW (The Little Woman) more than they like me!” when we arrived at Rae Rae’s house, she greeted TLW by saying; “Ah, my new best friend, did you have to bring what’s his face?”

Saturday, July 24, 2010


And how did your morning start off?

Well, last week my one Saturday morning didn’t start off that great. As I awoke I lay in bed contemplating staying there the whole day. It seems my foot was in agony from being on my feet the day before, because I had to direct a photo shoot. I dragged myself out and headed to my computer to make sure my blogue was up when TLW (The Little Woman) calls me.

“Yes dear.”
“You awake?”
“Yes Dear”
“I went on my computer and it said I had to shut down!”
“Yes Dear”
“So I tried again!”
“Yes Dear”
“I got the same message so I went upstairs to your computer.”
“Yes Dear”
“Oh, by the way, your computer told me something needed more power!”
“Yes Dear”
“And when you go downstairs, Happy was barking at the pool, I think there is an animal in it!”
“Yes Dear”

So I shower and dress, and head downstairs, and stop at the den sliding door. I look out but don’t see anything and think it was a bird that bothered Happy.

“Yes Dear”
“I think the animal is at the top of the pool steps!”
“Yes Dear”

I go out and investigate, and sure enough, without my first cup of coffee yet, I see what she is barking about, her and Happy.

There, huddled in a corner of the steps of the pool sits a rat! Alive and well but shaking! Now I have to think of how to get rid of it. I see my net on a long poll near by and I pick it up and get a plan. I will scoop the critter, and turn the net to hold the rat in so he can’t escape. I do so, and now I institute my part B of the genius plan, I move the net to a deep part of the pool and hold it down. I look at the rat while I hold down the net, and he’s looking up at me, waiting. I stay my ground and now he is getting anxious! He starts to move around in the net a little, looking for a way out. He is not going out on his own that was for sure. He becomes more frantic and desperate, seeking to escape, when sudden, little bubbles start to rise to the top, from the net. I wait, soon he is slowing down, almost slow motion in movement, when the end mercy comes to him, and he drowns!

I pull the net and think, what if he is trying to fool me. I look closely but he is dead. Now I have to dispose of him.

I go into the house where TLW is sitting on her recliner.

“Did you get rid of it?”
“Yes Dear, but I need some kind of container, like a margarine tub.”

We look and I find a Kool-Whip tub in the closet and take it out. I realize that it is too small for the rat and return into the den with the tub in hand.


“Darn” I think to myself, now I better NOT toss it at her.”

“Yes Dear, but don’t worry, the rat is larger than the tub. I need something larger to toss at you, I mean into the garbage.”

“Yes Dear”

And so, I faced down a rat, a drowning one! RIP (Rat In Place)!

Friday, July 23, 2010


I was in the Apple store in the Smith Haven Mall the other night to talk to the techie at the Genius Bar. This is the only bar I know of where you make an appointment, but the good thing is the help is free.
Wading through a large crowd, mostly looking at I-phones, I-pads and I-pods, I felt out of place with my (I) laptop.

In this store that once gave pleasure to Apple geeks like me, who love the Apple system, are little girls all buying different colored I-products! Gone are the young guys with the t-shirts that said “Go F*#% Yourself” instead they were working the genius bar, giving old guys like me help.

I got nice kid named Chris, who looked like he should do a commercial or two for Apple. Very handsome, with a day growth on his face, not only drew my attention, but that of every young lady in the house!

At first as they started straddling the stools next to me on both sides, I thought maybe I’m in the ladies section, or worse, the teenager section, but no, they just wanted to be close to Chris. All had this hostile look at me for being the one to talk to him.

As Chris ran off while my machine was updating, I turned to one young lady and said: “You know, he is looking to settle down. I think these guys make a lot of money!” She had a cute smile, even with a mouth full of braces that must have her old man in the poor house by now. She looked away and giggled, while I said I would see what I could do for her. Her geek was more efficient than Chris who was still waiting on another customer while my machine continued to update its programs. She left with her mamma, I think reluctantly, and since her mamma was in a hurry, I wrote off all my help as a matchmaker.

As the evening wore on, I started to get a little anxious! I seemed like the store was starting to close in on me, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I turned around as I noticed how louder it had gotten, and behind me was a sea of people! Too many were in that store for it to be safe, all were talking at once, all about the I-phone or I-whatever.

When I was finally finished, about an hour and a quarter later, I made a bee-line to the exit and took a deep breath. Down the way stood that young lady and her mother, at a kiosk. I decided, I better take the long way out.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Usually, when TLW (The Little Woman) and I go to shop for anything over $100, we are supposed to look around first and go to a few places before we decide if we want to buy it or not. This goes for any merchandise, other than clothing. Cars, refrigerators, furniture, are always predicated on the idea that we are “Just looking” and not buying.

Determined, we go into the first store and buy, but we do try to avoid the sales man at first, it never works, but we try. This time around, we had a plan!

“TLW: “We are going to JCPenney’s then BOB’s furniture store to price a sofa bed. You will keep quiet, not look ANY salesmen in the eye, and refrain from showing ANY interest. I looked in today’s paper, and there are sales for sofa beds.”

Being the man of the house, I spoke my piece:

“Yes, dear!” (No one tells me what to do without hearing about it first.)

The temperature is around 100 and neither one of us wants to go anywhere. So we go to Penney’s, and look, and miracle of miracles, no salesman approaches us, but we do get a “Good morning!” from a passing sales woman.

We look and actually like what we see! But we are holding off, I am fingering my wallet nervously, and TLW is starting to say: “Let’s… Lets…” the rest of the words are not getting out! She is trying to say but stopping herself from saying: “Let’s get it.” As in: “It’s too darn hot today to do this so let’s get the darn sofa bed and get it over with!”

Off we go to Bob’s and are greeted by a salesman. We know he is a salesman because he is looking at our foreheads and reading: “Sucker”!

“Can I help you with anything or direct you to what you are looking for?” inquires the man.

TLW breaks the rule and says: she is looking for the sofa beds. I guess the experience at the first store was too much for her, so she tired out! As for me, although I know we need help, am resistant to ask for it from the salesman, and feel somewhat out of step. I follow, being the hen pecked coward I am, and we arrive at the sofa beds. My wallet already is feeling lighter than when I enter the store. My suspicions being what they are I try to get a fix on the salesman. What will he try to sell me besides the sofa bed? We he try to get us to buy an undercoating or white walls with it? I know we don’t want sheets, since TLW mentioned that fact to me. We don’t need power windows or a vibrator, (I think) maybe he will try to get us to buy a chair bed to match the sofa bed.

Will that be all? Asked the man. Shockingly we shake our heads in the affirmative. I am starting to spiral downward in confusion, and TLW is starting to roam the store looking at other items of furniture, pointing out to me how much smaller and nicer a set of bedroom furniture looks compared to what we now have. I know this is just the shortness of the sale talking, once I get her out of the store, she will be fine. We sign off on the deal and delivery date and start to leave the store, waving “ciao” to our new best friend the salesman.

TLW: “Look at those lamps, and isn’t that frame nice I wonder what that ottoman costs those flowers look pretty in that vase do you think that bedspread would look good on our bed that bookcase is nice where do you think it would look good in our house…

I gently nudge her toward the door, which automatically opens and as we step out, a huge blast of hot air suddenly greets us. The shock of the heat is intense, as we retreat back into the air-conditioned store and I say: “Yes, those lamps are nice and I think that frame would go good with your mother’s picture in it hanging over a new ottoman with a nice vase full of fresh flowers but let’s not overlook the bed spread and by the way, the bookcase…”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


It was pouring tears the other day: mine! It seems that I have been having problems with my Internet connection, being knocked off and winding up using my neighbor TLC (The Lovely Carol)’s wireless instead, and not knowing it!

So after a few days of this aggravation, I call for technical support from my service provider. We go through everything and determine it is the router. My Airport router, which allows me to connect to the net wirelessly, was conking out, and guess what? Apple doesn’t support it anymore!

So I go to the Apple store and for $179, purchase a new router, bring it home and it does the same thing! Of course it does, it IS mine after all!

I call another techy from Apple this time who finally figures out that I installed it properly, but the instructions never mention to shut down the modem after the installation, so it is looking for the old router. I shut it down and reboot it and it works! But wait, it doesn’t end there! I decide, I want TLW (The Little Woman) to be able to send a document wirelessly to my printer from downstairs to my studio. Mr. Techy sets it up and I go downstairs to make the proper configurations in the preference folder on TLW’s laptop, and more trouble!

The laptop is an old version trying to communicate with a new system. I call a new Mr. Techy to have him tell me the service contract on the laptop has expired in 2006! Of course it did, shouldn’t it, after all, it is mine!

Techy: “You have two choices, one is to pay through the nose with a credit card that will fund my children’s education and enough vacations to Hawaii for me to be sick of them, or, you can take this website down and try yourself to work through it.

Well I take the later, and realize he has me looking at a newer version of the laptop system, and not the system it has! Mr. Techy is lost in cyber space! I try for a few hours to try to figure it out to no avail and decide: Tomorrow I go to the Genius Bar at the Apple store. Why? Because the laptop is refusing to work!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I turned on my computer last week and went to the internet. Looking at my email for my business account, I then jumped to my social one, A message appears, that it could not find my browser! This is the same browser the night before that worked so well. I thought: “Maybe there is a lot of traffic out there right now, with summer vacation, all the kids are on. I decided to wait until mid morning and try again. Mid morning comes, and I try and still the same thing. This frustrates me but I still think it is too many people trying to get on.

After a number of days I’m thinking I need to try to fix this problem. I go into preferences for my browser, and think I have it solved, but bang, it starts in again. I continue to try to solve the issue but it will not go away. So one night I decide to communicate through the computer with my internet provider.

Suddenly this very polite screen comes on and even says: “Good evening, Joseph, how may I help you?”

I’m now thinking that Mom has gotten a job with the internet provider at the age of 92! She is the only person that still calls me Joseph.

Me: (Typing) Hi Ma, when did you take this job, and so late at night? Do you need money or something?

Paul: (The internet provider techie) “How may I help you Joseph?”

Me: My email account keeps asking me for my password, and I forgot that a long time ago, when I forgot how to behave! On top of that, I keep losing my browser page! Oh, God! Can you help me???”

Paul: “First we deal with your email. Sit up straight.”

A note pops up: “We would like to share your screen with you, click OK”

I click OK because don’t forget, Paul could be Mom!

Suddenly my screen becomes alive, my arrow darting all over my screen here and there, dropdown menus zipping open and closed. I think maybe the screen is possessed! After a series of requests to unplug the power source to my router, Paul (Mom) tells me that my problem is my apple router, to call Apple and ask them for help, before I buy a new router. This is always good news.

Paul: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Me: “No thank you Paul, you were a great help.”

Paul: “and don’t be like your sisters, call me more often!”

Monday, July 19, 2010


In 2006, on this day, I announced that I was retiring. Four years is a long time, and I didn’t know what the future held for me. Now that I look back, I am amazed with what has happened to me! Looking back is very shocking to me since I didn’t think this much could happen!

First there is this blog, which has gone to an everyday posting. Not only that, but I have inspired two people to start their own blogs, and they are terrific! I started a blog called Ellen’s Way:

I have found three friends from my old neighborhood, and many more old friends that are new again! All are beautiful people, all I am glad to find.

There is my board of directors and my chairing many committees, getting deeply involved and loving it. There is the church with the chairmanship of the golf committee and the Fund Raising committees. I chaired a very successful high school reunion with the help of a great committee, and am planning a cruise for next year. And I’m even doing some design work! Yes the very thing I retired from is here to haunt me.

What does TLW (The Little Woman) think of all this? I’m not sure, but I think she wishes in a way she could retire too.

Over the course of these past 4 years, I have gotten busier and more occupied than I could imagine! I knew I wasn’t going to sit home and watch TV all day: that I would either find things to do, or make things happen. Both are true! The best part of retirement is that I don’t care on a Sunday evening about Monday morning. I am a lot more relaxed now, more tolerant and less anxious about things.

So if you retire, just don’t retire from life.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


The blogging world is getting better all the time. More people are writing than ever before, and it gets to be fun to hear another point of view.

Life is full of coincidences, for instance, I once wrote a blog about my old elementary school back in Brooklyn, and someone surfing the web found it. He lived around the corner from me in those Brooklyn days, then I find out Jim’s birthday is the day before mine, he writes a blog or two and one is filled with some great observation and one is about dear old Brooklyn in the 50’s.

So last year, we decided to get together as Brooklyn boys, bloggers and birthday boys and celebrate our meeting. I took TLW (The Little Woman) and he took the lovely Jasmine, his wife.

Well one blog led to another and now we have the The Whinery a very funny and sarcastic observation and point of view about life. This blog is written by his only daughter, who I recently had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. Laura and her husband Malcolm joined us for dinner at the Pompei in West Hempstead. Accompanying them was their beautiful little girl: Ava. Ava is 7-years of age, and very bright, funny like her mom, and just a good kid.

Ava was born with an extremely rare (as in one in 250,000 live births) craniofacial syndrome. (See Ellen’s Way, Ava’s Story for details.)

Well, Miss Ava stole the show, the dinner was not just a pleasant repast with some beautiful people, it was a chance to meet a little hero, who has more moxie, more guts and more beauty then most of us.

Little Ava’s story will have a happy ending. She is too cute, smart and wonderful not to. Pray for little Ava, that she be able to withstand all the operations and testing she is put through. Pray her parents have the strength and will power to help little Ava ride out this storm. Looking for a worthy cause?

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Or, let’s build a mosque at Ground Zero!

I don’t like to go off on political points of view in this blogue, but enough is enough!

The politicians, those pusillanimous cowards that bend over backwards to appease our enemies and try to make nice are at it again! The outrageous idea that we should build a mosque at ground zero, a place that should be considered sacred ground, is being defiled and made into a mockery of those innocents that were murdered in the name of Islam! That is right, murdered is the word I use.

This is a religion that has in its place, room for hatred for Jews and the Jewish state, hate for America and democracy, and hate for progress, lowering the status of women to that of sub-human! Why the hell don’t we build a Shinto shrine at the site of the Arizona at Pearl Harbor, or hang the Nazi flag with a memorial to Hitler at Auschwitz?

The fact that Mayor Blumberg would defend this is an insult to me, as that I always thought he was a decent man and politician. Surprise, surprise! And that sanctimonious fake in the senate, Schumer, how could you Charlie?

I don’t make endorsements if I can help it, but this time I will. VOTE FOR LAZIO! He is asking the right question, where is the funding coming from? Why isn’t that phony marshmallow: Andy Boy Cuomo not looking into it? Where is he on this? No public assurances that he will at least look into it? He will when he sees how unpopular his stance is, and for no other reason as he runs for governor.

Now this mosque, a so-called house of prayer, is going to be a mega-mosque, something for New Yorkers to look at and be reminded that the people that pray there are preyers indeed. That they killed over 2,000 innocents in their cowardly act of terrorism, and are being funded by very questionable resources, does not deter the bastard politicians from defending their right to this treasonous act of self-terrorism. Explain this all to those little children that never saw their mothers and fathers after September 11, 2001. Tell all this to the brave firemen and policemen who lost their brothers and sisters in the rescue efforts. Remember it yourself when you see the reruns of Americans, both black and white, yellow and red, running from the awful cloud of all engulfing dust of the Twin Towers.

No one says they can’t build their mosque. No one is putting a limit on how big it should be, but you MUST be conscious of my feelings and millions of Americans like me, who feel that this is inexcusable and in poor taste.

I for one am tired of appeasing these criminals. I for one am tired and angry at how this country has turned into a place where we become overly sensitive to what people in this mad world think of us. I am certainly tired of the political correctness that is being forced down people’s throats, for the need to be sensitive. Where do we draw a line?

There is a word that is now taboo. A word that once was used on stationary, wording on buildings and in our everyday language, is now thrown out of our language. This word defines a person with mental handicaps and is a perfectly usable word. The word is retarded, and describes someone who is delayed, or something that is stopped or slow. People use it in a derogatory way, so we change it! What are we doing? When should not change our language, we should be changing the people who misuse it. So we use mental disability, and I think the people that make this change are the ones who have a mental disability. What does this speak to? It speaks to the appeasers that live and make policy in this country. It speaks to the way we cowardly avoid confrontation now, instead of dealing with the evils we need to deal with.

So this mind set will dictate to us that a mosque be built at ground zero. After all, we do not wish to offend a small minority in this country, and a desert-filled with nomads a few thousand miles away, while we do offend America, what she stands for and all those families that were affected by the terrorism visited on us.

I still remember the news footage of a bunch of dating goat lovers in Lebanon, celebrating in the streets that faithful day of September 11, 2001. I see them dancing and smiling, and enjoying our sorrow. I ask you, do you wish to have that mosque defile your fellow Americans?

Friday, July 16, 2010


The other night, TLW (The Little Woman) came home from work and I asked a simple question.

“How was your day?”
TLW: “Oh, it was interesting.”
“Oh! How so?” (I had to ask)
TLW: “Well, this little old lady came in being held by the hand by a younger woman!”
TLW: “She wanted to transfer an educational account to our bank! Her bank wasn’t giving her the rates she liked. Actually it was Lois’ member, and I helped her.”
“That was nice! Did you help?”
TLW: “It was very complicated! This old lady, who was dressed very nicely, with nice slacks and a nice top, and her hair was done very well also and was very thin, short, like your mother.”
“Yes, but did you help her?”
TLW: “She had three accounts she wanted to transfer to the Wanna-Be Bank and Truss Company! We weren’t sure she could!’
“Why?” (Again, I had to ask)
TLW: “well, she wanted to do this transfer without paying any tax. I don’t blame her, so we started to try to figure out how.”
“But once you change banks and move money, don’t you terminate any agreements?”
TLW: “That’s what we figured. You see, her oldest child, or grandchild was 23 her name is: Samantha, but let’s call her Joe. Joe is 22 and doesn’t go to college, then she has an 18 year old granddaughter named Ashley, who we will call John. She has another grandchild but I don’t know what to call him.”
“I see, so Samantha, I mean Joe, is not in college, yet the account dictates that the money be used only for college.”
TLW: “Yes, so we called upstairs to see if they could figure it out.”
“Who did you speak with, St. Peter?”
TLW: “No silly the front office!” (They must have moved upstairs while this conversation was going on)
“So, what did they say?” (Again, I don’t learn!)
TLW: “They said they were conferring on it as we spoke!”
“ SO Samantha, I mean Joe, could lose his money!”
TLW: “No, as long as it stays in an educational account, even in another bank, then Joe gets the money.”
“Why, then Joe and John must be really upset, because Samantha and Ashley are getting all the money!”
TLW: “Don’t confuse me.”
“Why did you change all the names and sexes? And is that third child a girl with a sex change in HER future?”
TLW: “I knew it! You are not really interested in how my day went

Thursday, July 15, 2010


You have all been there before; you purchase something, and ask when it will be delivered. The salesman gives you a date and says: they will notify you a few days in advance. You must be home for the delivery.

I get a call, automated no less, giving me a window of expectation.

“Beep… you delivery will occur on… beep… Thursday, July 8, at… beep… between the hours of: 11:00 am and 2:00 pm beep.”

Thursday comes, and TLW (The Little Woman) reminds me that the delivery is expected today. I say yes I am aware, between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.

I go into my basement to work on a woodcarving to stain the wood, and it is only 9:00 am. “Good” I think to myself, two whole hours before they even show up.

I take out the can of stain, uncover the wood project and dip a rag into the stain. I apply the stain for not one short second when…

Knock, knock, and knock. I hear this emanating from my front door.

I think” “Now, WHO the hell can that be?”

I go up and investigate, my fingers stained with walnut stain, and I see a big guy standing outside the door. I know who it is. If I were to wait to stain the wood until after they came, I would be waiting until 5:00 pm! But no, they heard me take out the stain and made a u-turn on the LIE and came directly to my house.

OK, they are early, that isn’t too bad. They struggle with the furniture bringing it upstairs and around a bend, and I think, “ha my revenge for coming so early!”

My hands are still wet from the stain when I go to sign off on the delivery. I realize I will stain their paperwork, and instinctly… lick my fingers!

Thank you a beepingly whole lot!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


This year, another young man in my family is getting married. The Macaroni Man is leaping in where others have leaped, and never been heard form since. (They can’t get a word in edge-wise) Next year, similarly, #1 Son will be tying the knot, in the never-ending cycle of true love.

As a public service to all you young men, the editors of DelBloggolo offer the following tips to a happy life.
It’s your anniversary, or her birthday (same thing) you are out there somewhere in a card store looking to buy the little woman a card to commemorate the occasion. You reach in the rack that says ‘Anniversary’ or ‘Her Birthday’, and grab the first card you see. It is the ONLY card you look at and you bring it to the counter to pay for it. Yet somehow, there is in the back of your mind, a nagging sensation! What could it be, the cost of the card? You’d think she’d be proud of you, buying something 50% off in the Dollar Store! No, I may not be the price! No something else is amiss, but you just can’t put your finger on it!

You go home and put the card with the new mop you bought her for her special day knowing she will be so surprised by your thoughtfulness of a gift AND a card! Eagerly you wait for her to open the present. “Yes” you say to yourself, “this is really going to knock her out, she will love THIS mop, it has a rubber grip and a metal squeezer so she can do the floors almost mechanically, without too much effort. Why she may not put that mop down for a whole week. Between the grip and the squeezer, she should be quiet when the game comes on!”

But something goes amiss! “What could that ever be, Joe Bob?” you say.

I say two things: 1) Don’t call me Joe Bob, and B) she reaches for the card first!

“This the card you picked out?”

“Yes, dear” you are beaming.

“You didn’t spend at least 20 minutes looking at cards before you purchased this one, did you?”

Yes, they know! They know everything! There is nothing you can hide from them. Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


My dog Happy (who is anything but) has been written about enough in this space to start her own cult. She is a smart dog, just obstinate and ornery. Mean would also be a fair description since she never gives a stranger a chance.

You have heard my side of the story, but not Happy’s, at least not until now. In the interest of fair play, I have invited Happy to tell her side of the story, no holes barred. Please understand that her side is uncoersed and spontaneous in nature. But it seems she has a bone to pick with me.

Well, let me say first that I am shocked that I even have this chance to tell my side! Since the day I came here to adopt these people, I have never said anything to upstage these people or cause any discomfort. And what do I get?

Let’s start with the old one, that crotchety old geezer that seems to have to have it his way. I try to sit on a chair and watch the world go by, and I am chased off. He eats something, and you think he’d give me some? NO! I get him to give me something, and it is a BIG deal! You’d think I asked him to empty his refrigerator! Save for some crummy pizza crust once a week on a Friday night, all I ever get is dried dog food! Who can eat that crap anyhow? And go somewhere? I get taken for shots at the veterinarian’s or people pawing me with clippers and shavers, no run in a park if you ask me.

The boss is no better! She makes sure smiley doesn’t give me any food scraps. I mean food scrapes, what’s the big deal? And when I need to go out to do my business, it’s like pulling teeth to get someone to open the door. When someone does, who do they send? They send that old geezer, smiles and all, grumbling all the way from his chair to the sliding door. And do they give me any privacy? NOOOOOO! They watch! What are they watching for? I get back to the back door and more often than not, no treat! You’d think they’d have a treat ready. After all I do preserve their carpet! I have to go begging for a lousy treat. If SHE happens to be near the treat jar, maybe I get one, maybe I don’t.

Now we got the kid. You know, #2 Son as he is known. He’s a little better than the old mean one and a lot better than that tyrant he married! He will slip me a scrap or two, maybe a large piece of something which he will share. But big deal, NO MEAT! He’s a vegetarian! Of all the places to come to live in, I get one with a vegetarian! Really sucks, no meat at all in that place. Oh, once in a while snoozy, the old codger will give a piece, providing his boss isn’t looking, but let’s face it, he’s such a weenie!

Now the other winter, I happened to be searching for some territory to score if yo know what I mean. And what do these people have? A huge hole in the ground that is filled with water, that I can’t reach to drink out of in their back yard. So what happens? I fall in, that’s what. Old grouchy is sound asleep upstairs, and the old lady is on duty. She drags me out, then gives me hell for falling in! Nice! Think she’d say say how sorry she is, no- it’s: OH HAPPY! YOU DUMB DOG, WHY ARE YOU WALKING SO CLOSE TO THE EDGE FOR?” Real sympathetic. I could have frozen my tail off, what’s left of it!

I tell you, if I were a little younger, I’d pack a bag with some treats and hit the road.

When I first showed up, you couldn’t get away from these people! Everywhere I went, there they were, watching, playing, feeding me. Put on a year or two, and forgettaboutit! Well, I think I’ll go into the foyer and take a nap on the tile, it’s too hot a day today, and these people are making me nuts!

Monday, July 12, 2010


It seemed to happen almost every year, at least once. So said TLW (The Little Woman) about her mom.

The day would start out innocently enough, as the Edith Bunker look and sound alike started her day. She was a sweet woman, with all the innocence and kindness in the world, a woman who would not hurt a fly. Her sweetness would often get her to burn in the hearts of all who knew her only good and wonderful memories.

And so TLW related her tale to me.

Mom would start her day by driving her youngest, her baby two blocks to the bus stop. Being a doting mom, she would make sure her baby got on the bus, safely to school, no matter how old he was. She would start up her car, rain or shine, cold or heat and drive her baby to wait for the bus, and then she would turn her car around and go home.

The only problem was that she had two sets of keys. One set contained her car keys, and one set her house key. Most times she would remember to bring both, but sometimes she didn’t.

Her daughter, (TLW) was at school in Patchogue, while Mom was in East Islip. Every so often, maybe too often, Mom would forget to bring her house keys and lock herself out of her house. This would cause Helen to panic somewhat. And off she went to Seton Hall High School to fetch an extra set of keys from her daughter.

During her class, a teacher, or perhaps the intercom for the whole school to hear, that she needed to report to the principal’s office, would inform TLW. So out of class TLW would go, straight to the principal’s office, wondering what crime she committed?

There stood Mom, apologizing that she had made TLW leave her class, but did TLW have a key to the front door to give to her poor Mom, who had locked herself out of her own house?

TLW had no problem with giving her Mom the house key, no there was a bigger issue for a 16 year old to deal with. She could forgive Mom in her sincerity and apologetic cries for forgiveness.

It seems, Mom never dressed when she took her son to the bus stop, and so she stood in the office of Seton Hall High School, in her slippers and robe!

Dear sweet Mom.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


There is a couple that I reconnected with from the reunion, a couple that I respect and admire. They were high school sweethearts and married after graduation. When we sent out feelers for the reunion, they were one of the first to respond, and even created a website for the reunion, with pictures and info.

Then I got an email from her that he has cancer of the esophagus, and suddenly, things are not so great for me! I feel that we have lost too many classmates, and too many of us are ill. These two are like gold, this shouldn’t happen.

He is a great guy, always was, never had a bad day with a classmate that I can remember, and she was so filled with spirit then and still has that spirit now. They are in a nutshell: a class act!

So where do I go from here? Where do I go to get some relief from the sadness of it all? Everyday a new story comes to light, a new sadness avails itself to darken the day. What do you do? I know I want to be there for them when they have the operation, when they face the tough choices, and I want to be there when they get the good news. I want to see these people, who I don’t think ever hurt anyone, laugh again, and enjoy a long life together.

Ma la vita cos’รจ? Tutto o niente!

It seems some of us go through life and nothing happens that changes us, and some of us, everything happens, and constantly molds us into new forms of pain and sadness.

One thing I have learned is that we have the power to reach out: to comfort and to help when someone faces a crisis, when one’s knees have buckled and are about to go down! We need to reach out and be there for each other, we have that choice, or we become bitter and alone ourselves. I see the developmentally disabled, the physically impaired, the socially challenged, and I cannot go behind my protective wall. I can’t hide from what I know needs help. Too many of us are all alone, from death or divorce or estrangement from our children. These are all good, worthy people that have fallen into the pit of circumstances, and need to shelter themselves from the self-righteousness of those who don’t understand or want to.

People say: “Whatever I can do, just let me know.” They say that at a time when they try to comfort, but walk away without retaining that meaning. All too often, I see someone with a child with a problem and they look devastated, I know, I’ve been there. What do you do? Do you let them stay that way, or do you try to rally them into believing in tomorrow and the sunrise?

I am thinking of taking on a new cause, one I never joined, but feel I could lend something to: The Compassionate Friends, a world-wide organization dedicated to parents who have lost a child. The idea of losing a child is very depressing: having lost one is very final. All your joy is removed, replaced with what ifs and a lot of whys, not to mention the self-incrimination or guilt one feels when a child does die. I will contact them and offer my skills as a designer and creative thinker, and lean on my own experiences to help these people, one of which is dear friend.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


A night out under the stars, listening to music I grew up on, and realizing that that music was what made the ‘old people’ nuts, was the same music now entertaining ‘old people’! Of course this was a special night, since I was spending it in my old hometown of Bellport Long Island, on the bay, where Louie Valentino and ‘Some Place in Time” was performing.

It felt like an episode of ‘Closed Case Files” where an old unsolved crime is taken out of the records and with new methods they try to solve it. Then you see a person walk by and he turns into his younger self! There was no crime other than getting old, but a great many people went by that did indeed come back to me as their younger self once more, recalling this one and that one, and enjoying every moment of it. Some I pictured walking by the very place I was sitting in, some came back to me in my memories of the halls and classrooms of dear old Bellport High!

Sitting with TLW (The Little Woman) in our lawn chairs, we watched people get up and dance, have elaborate spreads of food with candlelight’s, and just plain old talking and catching up! There even were some group homes, where the consumers enjoyed the freedom of the night air and the music that moves everyone and their universe! Some young couples strolled by, looking for once out of place in this magical land and moment of memories. I thought, how much you youngsters have missed, you could never replace our spirit and drive, our self-confidence and self-reliance. We didn’t have mom and dad to bail us out all the time, or give us what we give you!

I sat also with my classmates from that era! They helped the memories along, giving me tidbits of news and telling me who was married to who and what they did. Reconnecting with classmates is a beautiful thing, and if you can do it, it is worth all the trouble, since they are all a great bunch of people.

As I walked back to my car, I wondered to myself who I was standing next to. Who did I know, but not recognize? I do know I would have instantly liked them, once more connecting, and wish I had.

The night was poetic in many respects. The band shell was lit, and shadows from overhead lights facing the shell punctuated the big old trees that surrounded the very large crowd, the weather in the high 70’s a gentle breeze caressing the silver moon we all created in our minds and hearts.

Thanks classmates, thanks Bellport.

Friday, July 09, 2010


As I look at her, I wonder how she stays that way! I marvel at her youthful looks and wonderful smile, and think: “Why did she ever stay with ME?” Each year that goes by, she underplays the significance of her big day, her birthday, instead thinks of it as any other day, married to that maniac.

If she has an issue with me, she calmly sits down and tells me. I listen and understand. I know I’m not perfect, but I know it takes a lot to be calm and discuss, but she IS an adult that I respect and love. She bore four beautiful children that I love, each for their own merits, although I wonder sometimes if they understand me?

We have spent more that a lifetime together as a couple, and never doubted our commitment or devotion to one another. She is all business and I am not. She sees life in black and white and I see it differently. That makes us mesh well, and so we try to spend our time trying to convince each other to change.

Today she is a bit older and a whole lot wiser. But she was always wise, always forgiving and always there for me. We have been through a great deal, it would make a great novel of sadness and triumph, of the fighting spirit and devotion to her children.

I see her limp when she gets up every now and then and it hurts me. I see her go to work in the morning and wish she would stay home with me. I see another birthday and wish I could turn back the years for her, give her one more years extra to grace this earth.

She has been critical of me as I said before, but never ever has she called me any name or used profanity or abusive language to me or anyone else. She is a real lady, who I was luckY to find. I only hope I make her happy.


Thursday, July 08, 2010


The other morning, TLW (The Little Woman) was on her way out to her car to go to work. I was doing my customary chores in the morning out in my yard and saw her, so I asked: “Are you leaving me? Is it because of the new NYS Divorce law?”

I’m sure you are all aware that NYS will have a ‘No fault’ divorce law, which will make the state like every other state in the union. Not being too sure if I like the law or not, I have to be careful now how I deal with TLW!

Just imagine the complications for all us happily married men!

TLW: “It’s over!”
Me: “What?”
TLW: “I SAID it’s over!”
Me: Looking up, “What’s over?”
TLW: “Us. We are over.”
Me: “What do you mean?”
TLW: “Look, it’s not your fault, it’s me.”
Me: “I know it’s you, but what are you talking about?”
TLW: “When I married you, you were 26, had all of your hair, and none of your fat! YOU are no longer you!”
Me: “I’m not? Well, actually if you look at it, I’m more of me!”
TLW: “No! Nothing personal, but I have to look for the 26 year-old I married. It’s not your fault, I just need consistency.”
Me: “But I thought you loved me all these 40 years!”
TLW: “Nah.”
Me: “Oh! Well then, you get the kids.”
TLW: “Nooo, you get the kids, I had them all those years, while you went off to work and had a good time. And another thing, what about how you took all the blankets away last night? Not once did you think that maybe I was cold?”
Me: “But Toots, it’s July and we are in the middle of a heat wave!”
TLW: “See, it’s always my fault, never yours!”
Me: “Well, IF you do go find another 26 year-old, will he be like I was?”
TLW: “Of course, it was love at first sight!”
Me: “Good, because I was stinking broke!”

Of course this is only an imaginary scenario, but you see the problem? We will make it too easy for ourselves to ruin a decent institution, over the silliest of reasons! I really don’t think TLW will follow that example, although if I were her, I would.

Tomorrow: Why she shouldn’t leave me!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


The other morning, I came downstairs after my shower and saw a handwritten note on the table. The note was in TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) handwriting, and said: “Clean your room, we need the dishes.” I know this because I took it to my pharmacist to translate for me.

I thought to myself what a lovely thing it is when a mother and son communicate. Straight forward communications, that’s what I like, and a dish or cup to use when I need one! Since #2 Son is home from college, dishes, cups and glasses disappear at an alarming rate. TLW at first thought I was hocking the stuff to buy donuts.

I used to think that he needed the stuff for science homework, you know those little cultures you’d make in biology class? I was actually proud, and would search the scientific journals for his name, I even Googled his name once, thinking, “Whatever it is he’s doing, I bet it’s big!”

But I now see that #2 Son only wants to communicate with us, and this is how he does it: Take all the dishes, glasses and cups, and even a pot or two, and see who notices first, and if neither Mom or Dad mention it, then it is time to call the old age home.

Fortunately for this family, I have all my senses and keep my marbles tied up, while dealing with mother and son! TLW likes to have a key chain where she keeps all her keys, as do I or anyone else. The only difference is that TLW likes to keep her keys set into the front door, where I usually find them! Being I am still alive by keeping my mouth shut, I owe it to the fact that I just take the keys out of the lock and dump them in her purse if it is around, or in a brass bowl.

Of course, any husband worth his salt, knows to not mention her flaws, they hate it when you point out a slight flaw, but boy, she asks me for help in pointing out mine!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


There was a commercial on the other day and it brought back fond memories! It was an ad for macaroni and cheese. It wasn’t the location of the ad, or the actors or even the music, no: it was the macaroni and cheese! I miss macaroni and cheese. I also miss French onion soup. TLW (The Little Woman), used to make those things for me, now she doesn’t!

She doesn’t love me!

Not anymore, she used to, when she made those dishes, but not anymore.

She went out with a bang the last time she made macaroni and cheese, combining the roni with five (5) cheeses! It was the best macaroni and cheese dish I ever had, and it was my last. I could go out to a restaurant and order it, but it would not be from loving hands. It would not have that ‘loving’ taste that TLW used to have when she made it for me.

You can pretty much guess when the honeymoon is over: no macaroni and cheese. It is not something that you notice suddenly, but there are little signs. We used to sit together when we were just married, on the same chair. Now we have our own chairs! “Let’s not exchange gifts this year for our birthdays!” will the edict go from TLW. Of course, I don’t listen to her, but still.

We used to eat together, and when one was late, the other waited. Not anymore, since I stopped seeing the macaroni and cheese, I see us eating at separate times of the day. Oh, I still get a phone call during the day, wondering “How your day is going” well, it would go a lot better with macaroni and cheese!

So after viewing the commercial I said to TLW:
“If you loved me, you’d make me macaroni and cheese.”

So I guess I’ll go find a restaurant that loves me.


Monday, July 05, 2010


The other morning, TLW (The Little Woman) arose from her chair and came over to kiss me goodbye.

“Well, I guess I’ll get out of your hair and go to work.”

“Why would you say that?”

“I’m sure you will be glad when I leave, this way you don’t have to listen to the silly show I was watching.”
(The silly show is called: 18 and Counting)

“No” I protested, “that is not true!”

“No, I’m sure it annoys you!”

“Not at all, what I wish is that you would retire and we can spend the time together, I miss you during the day!”

“Sure you do, by the way, can you please check the pressure on the pool pump and backwash it if necessary?”

“Ok, now you are annoying me.” (Kidding, of course!)

Actually, the show she watches IS annoying. It is about this couple that has 18 kids, and the old gal is pregnant. She dresses like a Quaker, and so I can’t figure it out. What is really interesting though, is that all the children are named with a ‘J’, and after 18 names starting with that letter, they must be getting desperate to find new names.

I was thinking that what they should do now is start using corporate names like: Jiffy Lube, or Jelly Beans, or even Jell-O. This would open up a whole new generation of names, and all unique to the household.

Think how popular the kids could be in the locker room!

“Hey, Junior’s, Junior’s Cheese Cake, nice catch out there in the second inning!”

But I do kid around. It actually is a beautiful family, and thank God the kids all seem normal and healthy. Mom is looking a little worn, and doesn’t sit so close to Poppa like she used to, but they still love each other. I really can’t see the couple getting a divorce, since the custody battle will be very lengthy and hard fought.

“You get the kids!”

“No, YOU get the kids, ALL of them.”

Sunday, July 04, 2010



It’s funny how the media can portray things. You read about how we are involved in Afghanistan and Iraq, the cost in terms of money and lives, and the long-term effects it does have on our economy, and it still amazes me how patriotic America is! The world could not get along without us, or should I write: ‘U.S.’ and they should be thankful that we even care. Yet our friends and enemies both criticize us from within and without, trying to bleed us to death with their criticisms, yet all they do in the end is hurt themselves trying!

They demand that we allow them into our country illegally, give them the rights that our forefathers devise and we defended all these years, and criticize us if we balk.

Frankly, if I’m going to accept an illegal alien, he better be from out of space, because at least I know that it will be interesting to the advancement of mankind, not costly and the detriment to my economy.

I think about how my Uncle traveled with Patton’s Army in Europe in the cold, snow and icy rain, sleeping outdoors, dodging bombs and bullets., watching his buddies die and wondering when his turn was, all the sacrifices made by the greatest generation, and those before them that built this great place called USA, and I get sick when I see us giving away the store to people who can’t find themselves to cross over legally. It is not that they are aliens that I object to: it is that they are illegal. They may be looking for independence, but independence starts in the mind first, setting up credibility with what one wants in life, for himself and his family.

If a man lays down his life, if he sacrifices all he has, his country, his love of family, career and his lose of being with his friends, then we should be respecting what he did. American citizenship should be a sacred honor, based on the blood we leave on the battlefield. It should be rewarded for those who wish to become Americans, who respect our laws and values, who do not seek handouts and burden us with there crime and need to deceive the very government that will care for them. They should all, like any of us, be willing to die for that flag.

We do not salute a piece of cloth, we do not salute a confederacy of states or a union of different governments, we salute the honor and pride that is symbolized by the flag that waves, telling us we are all one, all free, and all being under one God.

I attended a meeting recently, and a young lady who sat in a wheel chair was about to sing, and as I looked around the auditorium, I noticed that everyone was seated in respectful anticipation of her promised event. Every one was from a different walk of life: teachers, mothers, truck drivers, fathers, businessmen and children of all ages. Then she started to sing: “America the Beautiful” and one by one we all started to rise, our hearts in our hands and tears in our eyes, as she reminded us of who we all are: Americans!

We need to show more sympathy for these people.
* They travel miles in the heat.
* They risk their lives crossing a border.
* They don't get paid enough wages.
* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a different language.
* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day ~ every day.
I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans. I'm talking about our military
troops! Doesn't it seem strange that many Democrats and Republicans
are willing to lavish all kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't
support our troops, and are even threatening to defund them?

So if a veteran starts to knock his country, shut up, he earned the right. If anyone else does, although he has the right if he is an American, then stand down, if he is not: then tell him to go to hell.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Many years ago, too many to recall, I became a big brother for the 3rd time! This time I was sure it would be a boy: the odds seemed to lean that way. It was a Saturday in late March, and Dad had assigned me the job of painting the bathroom while he and Mom went to the hospital to deliver a new sibling into the world.

It had started before sunrise on March 23, 1959. The day was dawning cold but sunny, and I was told to warm up the car for Dad, while he got instructions form Mom on what he had to do for the hospital.

Out I went to the old 1948 Ford and started it up, shivering while waiting to feel the car was on long enough for it not to stall. I watched the sun slowly creeping into the new day sky, and started thinking about how neat it would be to have a brother for the first time! After all these years and 3 sisters later, this would be the turning point.

Off Mom and Dad went to the Brookhaven Memorial Hospital maternity ward, while I went inside and ate breakfast. My confidence was building, this was it, a boy, and I would equal the odds a little more in my direction! Yes, soon the men would make a comeback, no, we would rule supreme.

After my older sister Tess (much older) stole my breakfast before I could even eat it, I decided to go to work and started painting the bathroom. Excited but hungry, I awaited the call.

Around mid-morning, the phone rang! “This is it!” I thought. “The tide had turned, so had the worm! Move over sisters, we’re taking over!”

Tess, my older sister (much older) answered the phone, as I stood with paintbrush, poised to create another stroke.

“IT’S A GIRL! Ha-ha, it’s a GIRL!” shouted Tessie my older sister (much older). She was lying! She had to be lying! That can’t be?

“Give me that phone.”
“Here sucker, go ahead and cry!” said Tess, my older sister (much older).
“A girl.”
“What? I send you to the hospital for a boy, warm up the car even, and you tell me you are bringing back ANOTHER girl? Can’t you get this right?”

Well, after all these years, that baby sister is retiring from her job as assistant principal at a local school in the Bellport school district.

I find her on the internet in a chat room

Me: Joanne! I hear you are retiring!”
TPITA: “Yup”
Me: Really, when?”
TPITA: “July”
Me: Wow! If my baby sister is retiring, I must be dead then!”
TPITA: “Yup.”

And so it goes, I get older, not any smarter, but older, and the only thing that moves fast on me now is the arthritis that moves through my body!

Your younger at heart brother,

Friday, July 02, 2010


I distinctly remember the phone call like it was yesterday! I swear it was yesterday, because it was not that long ago, besides, you know I don’t exaggerate.

It was my birthday, on a muggy hot Friday morning like it was when I was born. On the other end of the phone was my older sister Tess (a lot older) and she had called to tell me she was now a grandmother! “Guess what, I’m a grandmother! And on YOUR birthday!”

Mom taught me to share, but I didn’t know even that had to be shared! “It’s a boy! His name is Stephen!”

That was yesterday, today he graduated High school! Grew up right in front of all our eyes and became a college student! No kindergarten, or elementary school, in fact, no high school to talk about. Since both his parents are teachers, I guess they decided to just give him the diploma and be done with it.

Actually, he comes from two really great people, my niece Laurie, my very first niece, and her husband Gerard. Like his parents Stephen is smart and athletic and very intelligent. He is also very respectful, and a great La Cross player from what I hear, winning a scholarship to play.

In spite of not attending high school and graduating, he was a leader in his class and I won’t brag but tell you this: He probably got all his good stuff from his uncle Joe. There, it is out!

He has some wonderful grandparents in Joe and Joan and Tessie and John. Both sets of grandparents I know are sparkling with pride, and well they should. Stephen restores my faith in this great country, and I know it will stay that way with kids like Stephen who come around every once in a while and dispel the myths about American youth being lazy or drugged.

Congratulations Stephen, you did this all on your own. Sure you have great parents and grandparents as role models, but you did it all on your own, you made all the best choices, and everyone loves you for them, and for one other important fact: You are Stephen O’Hara!

Love, Aunt Ellen, Uncle Joe, Ellen, Anthony, Courtney and Michael!