Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The other night TLW (The Little Woman) and I were talking about my demise. The cardiologist has to make up his mind which procedure to use to clear a blockage in my carotid arteries. Will he go medication or will he go stent or will he just slit my throat and dig out the blockage.

My feeling is that he should slit my throat, and TLW would like to assist him.
RIP-we wish we could say he was a good man.

“Well, if I die, I die, I’m not going to worry about it.”
“Have you decided how you want to go?”
“Yes, the slit throat has a lot of possibilities and probably will require the most cleaning up, that employs nurses and maintenance men, good for the economy. Besides, if I go I want to come back and haunt people.”
“Oh1 Please don’t haunt me, I’ve been married to you for 41 years!”
“That’s exactly the kind of talk that makes me want to haunt you.”

Of course, since she went back to work, she is not up to the latest daily chores that need to be done, like what day to put me on the curb for collection. My feeling is Monday is such a drag, but there is no collection of any kind, a good day for a party, Tuesday is garbage day, she could droop me over the large black can in a black plastic lawn bag, the can says 152, Wednesday is re-cycle day, bottle and cans, and newspapers, not really a good day for me, Thursday holds the most promise. Thursdays they don’t collect anything, she could lay me out, I don’t have to share the day with any town collections at the curb, she could throw a lawn party, and Friday they can come and collect me. Then you have the whole weekend to get over the fuss.

Planning my funeral will not be easy. First I want a turntable that goes around with a mechanical hand the waves bye-bye. I want a card in my breast pocket that says: “I hate when this happens!” and I want a kneeler that people go to kneel on and I pop up, they stand and I go back down.

My last will and testament was all taken care of years ago, she already has it all, and I leave to my kids advice, don’t ask for anything, you ain’t getting it. To mom, she will get whatever money is in my wallet for a new set of wooden spoons to replace the ones she broke on my head. I’ve already arranged with my phone company to route all the sales calls I’ve been getting directly to my coffin. (I will finally get even with the bastards)

You may think this is not funny, talking like this, but get over it, it is. Besides, when I’m gone, you will have the last laugh since I won’t be getting what I want anyway.

Monday, July 30, 2012


I had to go to a Radiologist the other day and it is an experience when you are new at it. It starts with the valet parking, I kid you not, they park your car for you and they don’t feed you. This is a little disconcerting because when you leave and give the guy your ticket, you leave with an empty stomach!  I’m used to valet parking and then a good time!

Inside they give you the customary 10 pages of forms to fill out while they have lunch and then if someday you return, they will ask you to fill it out again. Each of the ten pages has the same questions, only in a different form, this is to see if you are lying.

Then this technician comes out, introduces herself to you and you follow her into the testing area where she gives you instructions. You sit in this chair and she disappears, where soon another technician arrives and starts the questions, the same questions that are on the 10 pages you just filled out.

They want to stick some more isotopes into my system, this is to see if I will glow in the dark at night and save on electricity during the summer months.

“Now first Mr. DelBloggolo, we will examine your kidneys.”

“Will you leave them in when you do?”

“Haha, yes, if we take them out, your insurance won’t cover it and you need a higher co-pay.”

She sticks a needle into my arm and draws blood, tosses it and then draws a little more, squirts it on a small dish and takes it away. Returning she announces: “Your kidneys are in fine shape. Now, when the isotope is injected into you, your whole body will become hot, you will have a metallic taste in the roof of your mouth and you will feel like you are urinating, which you aren’t! Follow me.”

My inclination is to say NO and ask for my mommy once again: I have no shame, and WILL cry if it hurts.

I go into this big room with a funny looking machine, not unlike one at the cardiologist office, with a sliding bed and I lay down.

“Remain absolutely stiff!” I don’t need her to tell that after what she just told me I would be experiencing.

The process begins, the machine slowly moves a few inches and it makes a noise, they stick something into the port that is hanging out of my arm and I suddenly have the surge of burning sensation that runs through out my body, right down to and including the exit of my butt! (Sorry for the description being so graphic.)

When I open my eyes, it’s another technician! I want to ask how they do that, but I’m thinking maybe it’s the chemicals in my brain.

“You are free to go on your way, Mr. DelBloggolo, we are done here.

I go out, hand my ticket to the valet. He is slow taking it (a sure sign he is looking for a tip) and get in my car, hungry.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


I recently had a great outing into Manhattan to see Harvey with a classmate from high school, and it got me thinking about my old teachers and what ever happened to them.

When I was I think a sophomore in high school, I had a biology teacher who was part of an exchange program. She exchanged a nice job she had in Scotland and her sanity for a job here in the states. I won’t mention her name but instead will refer to her as ‘Miss A’.

Miss A was a rather dedicated woman and teaching was serious business, and her students all loved her on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: that’s when we didn’t see her. She kept meticulous notebooks with all handwritten entries and read from them as she attempted to teach a group of what turned out to be sweat hogs. Now not all of us were like that, just most of us when it came to her class.

Her idea of punitive measures was to get an unruly student, or one that flat out was a pain in the butt, and send him (it was ALWAYS a him) to the library. Apparently she didn’t read the manual for teachers about detention and the joys thereof.

Now let me clarify something here, I passed her course, rather comfortably, which shock two people, her and me!

In baseball, when a player or manager didn’t feel like playing or managing, he would deliberately pick an argument with the umpire and get thrown out of the game before the first pitch is even thrown. And so one day I was dragging it, and really didn’t want to sit through biology and Miss A’s Scottish accent, and decided I would get myself thrown out of class and take a nice 45-minute nap in the library. It was in the library that ‘Mrs. K’ the librarian ruled with an iron hand, but no detention powers either. We tormented her as often as possible, and I’m ashamed to say: IT WAS FUN!

My plan was simple, I would shout out a wrong answer, something really stupid and get the old heave-ho. I figured the plan was flawless, and I was looking forward to a nap.

“Can anyone tell me the definition of an amoeba?” asked the Scottish lass.
(Amoeba is a genus of Protozoa consisting of shapeless unicellular organisms.)

Stupid: “Yup-a Scottish mating dance!”

“Noooo Mr. DelBloggolo anyone else?”

That was it! That was all I had, and by now the wave of torment was starting to crash against the shore of her sanity, I could not get her attention if I stood on my head. EVERYONE seemed intent on going to the Library and the comfort of Mrs. K! What happened was the class started in and I was on the floor laughing so hard I forgot how tired I was!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


Somewhere in this world is a little bit of heaven, maybe even a slice of heaven as they say. In it is where people go to be happy, enjoy life and renew their spirits. It is the place that makes not only me, but three other people very dear to me happy, too.

Cape May sits on the tip of New Jersey, forming the very end of the Garden State Parkway, Exit 0 and the very end of your everyday cares. Once you are there, you are transported to another world, one that is never intruded on by your own reality. It is here in this wonderful world of Cape May that you can forget who you are, but not who you want to be.

It is in this special place that my older sister Tessie, (much older) took her husband John to get away from the world of cancer and pulmonary fibrosis and spent a few days with TLW (The Little Woman) and me to purge their spirits from the those issues and love life once again. They walked away very happy!

Probably the best time I have had in a long time was spent with these three special people. We talked, laughed and made fun of ourselves, we joked, asked questions about our lives and enjoyed some of the great simple pleasures of life. Special nights were spent on the porch in rocking chairs sipping cocktails and watching the sun, setting into the horizon as my older sister Tessie (much older), TLW and John and I sipped and enjoyed our drinks, waiting for dinner time.

They were evenings when we went to restaurants that provided great culinary surprises, lasting memories and dining pleasure reserved for those with no cares in the world.

Cape May is a place where happy faces grace the streets, form lines for gelato and fudge, or maybe taffy is your pleasure. It is a place where you can sit on a bench along the boardwalk and read the latest clever t-shirts, watch lovers stroll hand –hand and hear laughter at an opposite table in the dining room of my favorite eatery, Aleathea's.

Friday, July 27, 2012


It was Saturday morning and the Little Woman (TLW) was giving me my marching orders for the day. We had ordered a couch for the den in February, and the store has to grow the tree for the frame and the cotton for the fabric and so it is July when it arrives.

“Now go on line to see when they expect to deliver the couch today.” She ordered. Being a whimp, AND spineless, I said: “Yes Dear,” (You have to let them know who’s boss.)

I read the order and go on line, put in the website and up comes the optimistic estimated time of delivery. It says the driver’s name is 555, which I think is a strange name to give any kid, and my heart goes out to him. The estimated time for the couch to arrive is 12:00 noon, and comes right on time at 2:45 pm. I go out to the truck to tell them to bring it is through the back. The driver comes bounding out of the truck up to me all smiles.

“What do you want me to call you” I said, “555, Mr. Five, or Fives?”
“Huh? You can call me whatever you want I guess.”

555 delivers the couch, and as he is leaving I say:
“Say hello to Mrs. 555!
“I will, I have a little 7 coming soon!”

Thursday, July 26, 2012


It seems so sad that we have just so many days in our lives. Too bad we can’t trade them in for newer days, with better endings, and some the ones that were good we keep for eternity. Too bad we can’t go into those days as we would a door, opening one day and closing one day. Like a room, we could take each day and if we needed to, repaint it or decorate it differently.

Recently an old buddy of mine Charlie passed away unexpectedly of cancer, lung cancer, in both his lungs. He was a little older than me, but he was a wonderful guy. Oh, I know, you are thinking: here we go, someone dies and we suddenly have a saint, a hero a true gentleman who never did wrong. You would be right to say that too. He had his issues; about as many as I do I’m sure, maybe less than yours, but all in all, a wonderful guy.

He was better than the average looking guy, simple in his outlook in life and willing to be accepting of anything different than him. Maybe that is why we got along so well. I remember him always at my house, and one-year right before he left home, he came to my house for Christmas Eve dinner, the Italian traditional meal of 7 fishes, of which he tried them all to his satisfaction and mine. He was there one year and helped me go into the woods and get a Chanukah bush for my other buddy Phil.

It was after the particular dinner that they both undid me, getting me so drunk as we traveled from bar to bar. I think they were ordering and tossing theirs while I drank up. It was Charlie who taught me the drinking game of saluting Cardinal Puff, where once again, I got loaded. At 2:30 am in a bar, they all look good as the saying goes, and he and Phil were goading me to ask this truly unfortunate looking girl for a date. The trouble was I felt sorry for her and decided it was the right thing to do! Nothing happened because I never did call her, when I got over my hangover.

Charlie came to my wedding, and that was the last I had seen him. He went on to his life and then one day in the mid 70’s I ran into him on 54th Street in Manhattan, he told he was working at a job nearby and we exchanged phone numbers but never ever connected again. Then he found me on Facebook, where we exchanged messaged etc.

Then on Facebook someone posted that Charlie had cancer and wasn’t expected to make it through the night. The next morning I was afraid to go on Facebook, holding out with false hope that some miracle would come about and he would rally, but no, that was not to be. I don’t know if Charlie knew he had it or not, but I didn’t, but wished I had, just to tell him how great life was in those days.

RIP Charlie.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


While in Cape May, we decided to go to breakfast one morning. We were with the tourist crowd, so we knew things would be a little expensive. I picked up menu, and looked at the coffee, and then the price. I looked again at the word ‘coffee’ and then the price once again. Not believing what I was seeing, I took my napkin and lined the edge up under the word ‘coffee’ and under the price. I was not misreading anything, the price for a cup of coffee was: $2.75!

I call the waiter over, a nice young man, maybe working at a summer job while in college, and ask:

“Where was the coffee imported from?”
“I dunno?”
“Well, how is it made?”
“I dunno? Everybody asks me that!”
“Does this come with milk or sugar, or is all that extra?”
“I’ll tell you what, let me have your coffee, and a side order of a couple of pancakes with sausage.”
“And do I get to keep the mug?”

Off goes Garcon to place my very expensive order.

Coming back, he places this very ordinary white mug with coffee down in front of me. I look at the cup: smell it and it smells just like regular coffee, not a $2.75 cup. I look at his hands: no white gloves, I get a little annoyed, then realize, it must be in the taste.

He leaves and I reach for the milk and when no one is looking, pour it into my coffee, hoping they don’t charge for it.

I remember when I could get a plate of pancakes and sausage for $2.75 with coffee!

Oh, the total costs of the breakfast-I have two more payments and I should be done.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I’m not a big TV fan, I don’t watch much other than football, baseball and some basketball. But because #1 Son helps write for the Big Bang Theory, I started to watch it and became hooked on it. Now I watch all the re-runs I never saw, and discovered what good writing is all about. But it isn’t enough to have a good writer unless you have good actors, and Jim Parsons, one of the stars of the show fills the bill, thank you very much.

Nick and Michele DiPalo and TLW
Through the course my high school reunion, and the great pleasure of seeing old schoolmates from 40 something years ago and one in particular, Michele DePalo, (DeVito) who it turns out is a big fan of the show and Jim Parsons.

So when I saw that he was starring on Broadway, I decided I would go and watch it. On further thinking, I thought why not see if Michele and her husband Nick would like to come too? So I invited her and she jumped at the chance to see Mr. Parsons. It was just a wonderful, pleasant, calm and relaxing day TLW (The Little Woman) and I spent with two pretty nice people.

We met at the railroad station and enjoyed the train ride into the Big Apple, laughing and telling stories about the past. The day itself was picture perfect, great temperature, no humidity and sunny and bright.

Getting to Studio 54 where the show is, we entered a beautiful old work of art built in 1927, if had to be the finest example of classical architectural design I have seen since my trips to Italy. The only problem was the seats were built for people under 5’ tall. As the room between rows of seats were minimal.

The show Harvey was great but Jim Parsons is a master at his trade. He was made for Broadway and he carried that show! Of the whole cast, his voice carried so well and distinctly as he moved about that stage, bring back memories of what Jimmy Steward did in the movie in 1950.

After the show; as we were leaving we noticed people lining up outside the theater for autographs, and so we gave it a try. Jim Parsons came out, signed some autographs and went back inside, the crowd large and crowding, we couldn’t get close enough. But at least Michele saw him in person and the picture of him in the crowd, Nick her husband took.

Off we went to dinner, at Tony’s DiNapoli where we had a great dinner. It is a family style restaurant that serves portions for two. We had a steak pizziola and Rigatoni in Vodka Sauce, and a great bottle of wine. All of that fed 4 people and we walked away stuffed! This place is on West 43rd Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway. The service is great and the food unbeatable. It is my third visit there.

But the company was what made my day. I have to say that Michele and Nick are a great couple together, Nick is a great conversationalist and just a good guy, I am glad we shared that time with them. Thank you, DePalos!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Many years ago, in the ancient town of Holbook, there grew a little lad by the name of Anthony. He was about six when he read a whole book about the kings and queens of England, and then began a life of cartoon watching on Saturday mornings. Soon he was creating Final Four charts to follow the collegiate March madness and knew all the players on all the college teams.

Then one day while in college he went to work at Publishers Clearing House and became an intern. It was there that he took a copy test one day and became a writer, writing copy for magazine readers and sweepstakes players through the mail. It was there that he met new friends and together they created and honed their writing skills to become the best in the business.

He went to Hollywood one day and started to write for children’s shows. His shows were entertaining, and then one day, the big time called! Suddenly he was working for a National favorite for CBS and Warner Brothers, ‘The Big Bang Theory’.

His mother is very proud, as his show was nominated for an Emmy, and he and his lovely wife went to the Emmy’s. But that was last year, what have you done lately? ANOTHER EMMY NOMINATION IS WHAT!

His Mamma is still proud of him, oh, not for the Emmy, that was good, but because he still remembers to call once in a while.

His father, a shy and reserved individual is also proud. You see when #1 Son does call, it isn’t collect! 


Sunday, July 22, 2012

KISS MY - - -!

I was driving home from Cape May New Jersey, after a glorious few days, with TLW (The Little Woman), my older sister Tess (much older) and my brother-in-law John, when suddenly we hit a backup on the Garden State parkway.

For what was a whole hour, we crawled inches at a time until we saw the source of the tie-up, a multi car accident. Two cars are totally wrecked and ambulances are all over the road, fire trucks and police, lights flashing and bodies on the ground.

Once we passed that point, it suddenly opened up and off we were once again, driving at least 70 mph, wondering where all those vehicles went that I was sitting with moments ago.

As I am driving in the left lane, this dark blue car suddenly appears and comes up to my tail, almost bumping me: making me very angry, but I will not be bullied. He stays there for a few miles, and I am ready to boil, so I slow down, to get him to go around me. Finally the numbskull gets the message, and pulls around to the side of me, rolls down his window and gives ME a dirty look!

“Go around you moron!” I intone.

He gets in front of me and flashes his blue lights, telling me he is an unmarked police car! I had just told off a stupid cop, because he was creating a dangerous situation for my family and me, and I had gotten away with it.

In all honesty, I would have gladly moved over if his lights were flashing, if I could recognize the fact that he was on some mission. He was on the way to a non-emergency, and decided that the world owed him free access to anywhere he wished to go, so get the hell out of his way.

I guess I should write to the NJ Highway police and complain, but what good will that do? The stupid cop just went through one of the worst accidents as I did, and here he is driving recklessly!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


The last time I looked, there were no Redcoats marching down Main Street, no Soviet or Chinese troops massed at the border or coming ashore at our beaches. All the predators are cordoned off into the wilderness and as far as criminals go, the Police are still out there seeking them, when they aren’t giving out tickets for speeding and reckless driving.
So my question is: Why do we need guns in this society, to hunt? Do we really need to allow every crackpot that desires a gun to have one because hunters have one? Is there no way to regulate the sale of a weapon if you are not a hunter?

What abut it, conservatives, you think it is a so-called “right” to own a gun?Why are you protecting my right to own an assault weapon? Why do I need it?

If it is a ‘right’ to own a gun, and guns being so wonderful, why is it that you need a permit to carry one, and a license to own one? What makes it so necessary to have these things in the first place?

I have another question.

It you are so anti-abortion, why is it you are for legalizing the ownership of guns? Isn’t that a contrediction?

The U.S. Constitution is a living document, designed that way so that society in the USA could make changes for the benefit of its citizens. Do we need to arm our citizens, when in fact that is nothing to arm against any longer?

When I heard about Aurora, it did not shock me. It did not even upset me, because I kind of expect these kinds of events happening. Since Waco Texas and Columbine, I have become de-sensitize to all this insanity, to protect myself. Crazies have gotten permits and licenses and armed themselves and went out to settle scores. The problem is the scores they settle are with the innocent.

I have another question.

How many innocent do we need to kill and still maintain our ‘right ‘ to bare arms? There is a very lame argument out there that cars kill more people every year than guns do. Can we equate an accident by a driver, drunken or not with an individual who goes out with intent and deliberately kills someone because guns are available so easily? How much violence will the conservatives in this country sponsor?

It is bad enough that this country’s citizens today are so selfish, so demanding and so insensitive to others; do we need these people with these attitudes owning guns too? You see them on the roads, with their vehicles, not stopping for stop signs, running the shoulder and traffic lights and thinking nothing of getting behind the wheel of a car and endangering everyone including themselves with drugs and alcohol while they drive?

I think it is OK to have a gun that is properly registered and licensed, and is used to hunt as a sport, but to own a dangerous weapon with out any real reason except to kill someone like it happens in Aurora movie theaters is insane, incentive and criminal in both a lawful and moral way.

Friday, July 20, 2012


At about the formative age of 2-1/2, #1 Son was running around in long blond hair, and starting to look like Dagmar, and so I decided I had better get the kid to the barbershop.

This was to be a father-son outing of the highest magnitude: this was his first haircut as a little boy, getting his locks trimmed. Daddy had to be there, and so TLW (The Little Woman) and myself and my daughter all attended the event.

You wonder at that age how they will see things, will they become upset, or will they bravely carry on? The infield chatter was considerable, encouragement was coming from every corner, and #1 Son was marching into Bruno’s barbershop and introduced to his first barber chair, his first time on the leather.

Bobby Lew Stephenson
As his long hair lay over his ears for the last time, the barber sat #1 Son on the customary bench on the chair and placed a towel around his neck. Little puffs of air started to escape, shaking his little body. Summoning up the strength NOT to cry he gamely sat and stared into the mirror.

Ernie Hemmingway
The Barber applied the first snips, and the breath was escaping a little quicker, a little more rapid. Mom and Dad held their collective breaths while the barber started to snip some more, and suddenly, he could no longer hold back the tears, and erupted! The sobbing was not from the trimming: I think it was from his disappointment that he couldn’t hold back the tears? I know Mamma was losing her long haired blond kid, and I was gaining a son!

Buddy Hackett & #1 Son
But he survived, got out of the chair and when we looked at him for the first time, realized we had just ended his babyhood! Here in front of us was the kid that would become my favorite writer, step aside Stevenson, make room Shakespeare, pardon us Hemingway, #2 Son was on his way!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The other day I decided to go and get a hair cut. Once I’m in the barber’s chair and he is snipping away, my mind drifts off to different things and it was no different from other times.

I recalled my first haircut, an event that every man should remember because he does this with his Dad, and it is the first thing they really do together. Dad and I walked down Hull Street together, made a left on Rockaway Avenue, passed Somers Street and crossed the street to the barber shop.

We entered the place and I distinctly remember the barbershop window, it had wooden blinds and gold stencil lettering on the window. It must have been a Saturday morning because Dad was off from work. I sat in the chair, and the barber put a wooden bench across the arms and began to cut my golden locks. Yes, I was a natural blond, with wild hair.

It was time for the electric razor, and as it buzzed, the barber must have sensed I was nervous, and told me the noise was from an airplane, and proceeded to bring out this little grey plastic toy airplane which he gave me and said to make noise along with it. Every time I go to the barbershop I think of that day, with Dad in the chair next to me.

Across from the barber’s was the dentist, who had his office upstairs. There were no favorites in my house, my parents liked the girls all the same, and the baby at the time was my sister Fran, ‘La Senorita’ who we later renamed ‘Nippy’. Dad brought home some soda one night and made Nippy the boss of the soda. That meant that I had to go through Nippy to get the soda, who was about 3 years old. Well she was so bossy it cost her a trip to the dentists second floor office on the corner of Somers St. and Rockaway Avenue, and we could hear the screaming all the way over to Hull Street as she sat in his office getting an extraction!

That evening there was enough water on the table to float the aircraft carriers Yorktown, and maybe the Lexington too. Mom looked at Dad cross-eyed for having had her baby need dental work at such a tender age. “For now on, I’M the boss of the soda!” said Mom, and Dad just looked down in his soup.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Once upon a time when I worked for a living, and was part of the great mix, I would plan my vacation and then look forward to it. On the Friday before I left, I would treat myself to a nice lunch, go back to the office and leave some instructions and go home early. Life was good, I would think: I have a whole ___________________, to relax and do what I want!

The next moment I was asking: Where the hell did the time go? I would trudge back to the office, open the door and look at all the stuff people piled on my desk, opened my emails to a long list of dates and changes and requests and what have you. Secretaries were of no help and neither were assistants, who all wanted to wait for me to come back. There might be a thing that should have been done and wasn’t, (made me mad) an event that was post phoned until I got back (made me mad) or something that I worked hard on that was canceled for some reason. (made me mad)

I would sit in my chair and a long line of people would drop in to ask the question: “How was your vacation?” I’d start out with a full report and as the day wore on, abbreviated it until I got to the one word answer: “Good!”

I would look at my calendar, see what my schedule was for the coming week and sigh, and think about how many days until the weekend. As I worked I would have flashbacks to the vacation, feeling like I was still on a trip somewhere, be it Italy or Florida or even New Jersey or Connecticut, I was lost and absorbed in the good times. This feeling lasted a few days, until I really got into the swing.

The evening of the first day back, I would get home utterly exhausted, wiped out and wishing I were retired. But nothing compared to the feeling of the usual Sunday night before returning to work from vacation, the dread, the anticipation, the want to extend the vacation to the last drop and screaming in my mind all the way to bed that night.

Then, then there was the morning. The spot I was in was so comfortable I didn’t want to move, I didn’t care anymore, I wanted to cry. No, cry is not the word, SOB, because if could sob and say: “Son of a bitch” S.O.B.

So when you go off to vacation this summer, beware of all that and try to come back with a smile on your face, knowing I have one on my face!

Hey, I heard that!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Recently it was my privilege to go out to Westhampton Beach to my daughter’s day program and do an evaluation of the program. I met three lovely ladies who took me through the facility and answered all my questions.

In the aftermath of Willowbrook so many years ago, people woke up to the fact that anyone with a physical and mental disability was a human being, suffering inside, not an animal left to die at best. If you are unfamiliar with Willowbrook, Willowbrook State School was a state-supported institution for children with intellectual disabilities located in the Willowbrook neighborhood of Staten Island. It took an expose by Geraldo Rivera.

I won’t bore with the technical aspects of my visit, but I will tell you this: there is nothing better than visiting my people, it renews the spirit, reminds you that we are all here together, and that the human spirit, when uncorrupted, is beautiful.

I met a man about in his mid 40’s, somewhat slight that I will call Chris. Chris was a participant in one of the three programs that were designed for the population that inhabit the building during the day. He quietly came over to me, and reached for my hand, telling me he was Chris, and asked me my name. I said hello and took his hand and shook it, and when I looked into his eyes, it was like looking into a monitor that revealed an inner soul, filled with a lot of love, curiosity and perhaps a fear of rejection. But the experience moved me because I realize how painful life can be for some of us. He invited me back to visit again.

Then there are the staff members who are so dedicated, filled with creative enthusiasm and love for those they serve doing their jobs. Maria, a middle-aged woman was creating a kimono, teaching the guys about Japan, and planning activities centered around the experience. The guys are taught to research a subject like Egypt, see films and do small projects about the subject, then they all went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to visit the Egyptian exhibit, one of the best in the world. There was Tony, a gentleman in his late fifties or early sixties,  who took his classroom and covered the walls with black paper, pictures of different stars in the movies, and music field, along with pictures of participants pasted onto stars and all hung on the wall. He was teaching about the various stars who had adversity in their lives, and how they overcame it and succeeded.

As I went throughout the building, these are the staff people I met, dedicated and loving their jobs.

Room 8 is tucked away in a corner of the building, it sits alone because the people that occupy the room are the most challenged, can’t deal with change of confusion and like the other participants at the facility, can’t orderly move from classroom to classroom. When the door opened, there sitting in a chair near the door was Ellen, my daughter, who saw me, jumped out of her seat and came over hugging me and getting very excited. She grabbed me at that point, and started pushing me to take her out, she thought she was going home, to eat, and she was ready!

I interviewed a few participants, and then had a final recap meeting with the staff, and I commented on the program and staff and the whole feeling of joy one can easily find. I asked her how these great programs come about and she said: “They come about because these people are entitled to be treated with dignity, and they are someone’s child.”

Monday, July 16, 2012


Many years ago, when I was part of the work force and a diligent father and husband, just starting out in the business world, I would make a weekly journey to the bank to deposit my paycheck on Friday’s. This made TLW (The Little Woman) so happy. I deposited and she extracted, it worked well and we were a happy cozy family. However-

Little did she know how difficult it was to deposit my check! Going on your lunch hour was a problem: the people who worked at the bank were on their lunch hour! I would get in the bank, get on a long line and wait for the two tellers to service 40,000,000 people. That was on a quiet Friday.

So the other day, TLW brought up the subject of check cashers on a Friday lunch hour.

TLW: “People think that they can come into the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company on a lunch hour and cash a check!”

“How inconsiderate!”

“Don’t they know WE have to have lunch too? Once a customer complained that we were shorthanded and SHE was on her lunch hour!”

“How inconsiderate!”

“What do you think? Aren’t the tellers entitled to lunch too? They come in at 8:00 AM every day and they shouldn’t get lunch? What do you think?”

“Weeeeellll, you are a service, you do cater to your customers, no? If they come in at the lunch hour of noon to 1:00 pm, shouldn’t you have people there?”

“But we have to have lunch too!”

“Yes, true, but how many tellers do you have?”


“So why don’t you have 6 tellers available at 12 noon? That is when your members need them most. Aren’t you supposed to make them happy?”

“Joe, look at me-shut up.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012


It was TLW’s (The Little Woman’s) birthday, and I was feeling good about that, she is healthy and still talking to me, so why not be happy? It was also the day I was scheduled to go to the cardiologist for the test and that was preying on my mind.

I went through the testing and took the first set of pictures like I had mentioned in yesterday’s blogue, when the technician said I should go out and wait for about a half hour, when he would call me in for the final picture taking. I was feeling lousy, I was hungry, thirsty and had this headache, and in a lousy mood by then, 10:00 am.

I go out and sit in the waiting room, read a book and watch a Jack Nicholson movie on the TV that is so loud I could probably hear it in the parking lot two stories down. I look at my watch and it is 10:30, then 11:00, then 11:30, I get up and go to the receptionist. She sees me coming and looks like she knows I’m upset. Usually she is arrogant and self-assured, but she wasn’t either one at this point.

“The technician said a half hour, it’s more than that.”
“I don’t like to disturb them, they will let you know.”
“Disturb him-it’s been an hour and a half, if you don’t wish to I’ll leave right now!”

She picks up the phone and he comes for me. We are done and I leave, starving, with a headache and a great need for a cup of coffee. As I am driving I come to the first place that will accommodate me, a Wendy’s. It is lunchtime and crowded, and I’m in no mood. I want my coffee and my mommy. I scan the menu and a young enthusiastic man takes my order with great efficiency, I ask for an asiago grilled chicken club and a cup of coffee. I wait a few minutes and the order is ready and I find a nice little spot for one. I sit and open the sandwich, take one bite and my temper reaches new heights. THERE IS NO CHEESE IN THE DAMNED SANDWICH, OR ANYTHING THAT RESEMBLES A CLUB SANDWICH!

Very calmly I march back to the counter, and show the young man the sandwich and the receipt. He looks at it and takes it to the young lady who prepared it. He actually scolds her while I look at my coffee across the way, waiting to make me happy. I have to leave it there to hold my table. The young man returns and I have the proper sandwich.

It seems that when things go wrong, they continue to go wrong. I go to dinner with TLW. The place is the popular Cull House. One of my favorite things on the menu is a calamari appetizer that should be a main course. It is made with hot cherry peppers and balsamic reductions, and fried. (Yes, after the doctor’s office AND the chicken sandwich) I order a beer and for the main course, scallops. TLW orders Shrimp Francaise, which should NEVER come with pasta. The waitress asks her if she wants penne or linguine with the shrimp.

The place is getting noisy, crowded and hot, there is NO A.C. in the place! The appetizer is great, then the dinners come.

Did you ever expect to eat something that has fired up your imagination, only to taste it and say: Is that all there is to this? That was the scallops! They were small tiny scallops with a watery base and powdered breadcrumbs and tasted like fish. They weren’t fresh.

TLW asks how my dish is and I say: “fishy!”
She says hers isn’t so good either. Her shrimp are coming apart from the coating, the sauce is all watery and this is disappointment of the highest order.

And that all in one day!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I recently went to the cardiologist’s office to take a nuclear stress test. I now know what the poor people at Hiroshima might have felt!

The first thing they do is inserting a port into your arm where they can inject in some nuclear isotope into your system. They hook you up to some probes and then inset this clear liquid. Slowly the isotope gets into the system and you suddenly feel like nothing you have ever felt before.

One of the first things you sense is the feeling of pre-nausea, your feel hot, your stomach is queasy and your arm starts to hurt where the port is. You start to taste a metal taste very pronounced in the roof of your mouth. Your head starts to ache and you become restless as you lay on a table squirming to get up to walk it off and cool down. This is all on an empty stomach and no caffeine in 24 hours since your last cup.

This procedure is done in lieu of a treadmill to open up the aorta. With a treadmill it takes time to open up the aorta, while with this procedure it is opened immediately. The beauty of this is also that they inject you with an anti-isotope that removes all of the uncomfortable symptoms I just spoke about within 60 seconds.

This is good because it works around the chances of getting a heart attack on the treadmill, and so they are in better control of the situation.

Once they finish that, they make you go and wait for a half hour to start the picture taking of the heart, where they insert another type of dye or whatever it is to allow this huge camera device to read your heart as it sends signals to the machine/camera. The camera looks and acts on the same principle of an MRI. This takes 15 minutes of a slow drum like device that you are slid into on your back. All this time, your arms are over your head and after 5 minutes this becomes very painful in the arms. They slide you out and make you wait even longer for the fluids to clear, they call you back in and do it all over again. It is one of the most annoying procedures to have to go through.

Getting home you are wiped out. Your head still hurts, your shoulder joints ache and you are very tired. The headache doesn’t really go away until about dinnertime from 9:00 am in the morning when they injected that crap into you.

I slept like a baby!

Friday, July 13, 2012


As I sat in the waiting room between procedures at the cardiologist’s office, sitting diagonally across from me was a gentleman, reading a magazine. Deep into the article he was reading, he took on a comfortable position to read over a long haul. I couldn’t help but notice how oblivious he really was to everything around him, his nose literally buried in the center of the magazine. Whatever article it was that held his interest must have had some effect on his future or revealed something he didn’t know. I went back to my Kindle Fire and was reading a great book myself.

A rather happy looking middle-aged woman entered the large waiting room, that held about 60 seats, casually strolling to the receptionist desk and suddenly made a detour toward the gentleman and deliberately swung her pocketbook into his magazine, he not looking up or even flinching. Keeping her eye on the gentleman she sidestepped to the receptionist’s desk and signed in. She smiled at me as she noticed I saw the whole event unfolding.

Signing in she sits opposite the gentleman and continues to stare at him, as he remained buried in his magazine. On the walls of the room are three TVs to entertain the waiting patients, Slowly the lady’s attention drifted toward the TV as a new DVD was inserted and a movie started. Slowly she became mesmerized by the story going on and was almost in a trance, her mouth agape and slumped down in her chair.

Suddenly the gentleman came alive, finishing his article. Slowly he raises his head and notices the lady. With a word, he puts the magazine down in his lap and starts to wave to her. She is oblivious to his motion, her eyes deep into the mounted TV screen, the world closed off from her attention. Back into the magazine the gentleman goes.

Why was it that neither the lady nor the gentleman not think to say: “Hello!”? They must have known each other by name, but neither one spoke. The strangest thing I have witnessed since the last time I looked in the mirror.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today is the day I dread, it is the most boring day that seems to occur every so many years. I have to go to the Cardiologist office for a stress test that lasts for 5 hours and I can’t get near young children for 48 to 72 hours because of a nuclear isotope they put in my system!

I have a young cardiologist: Dr. Haveaheart, who needs to catch up with my other doctors in terms of earnings for 2012. He loves to send me for test, I have two more this week and the funeral next week. I plan to wear my black pinstripe suit if you come, you can’t miss me, and I’ll be lying down.

Most of the testing time is used up waiting for medications or injections to take hold and the next portion of the multi-layered test. He is fishing for something and I don’t know what, but this very test was denied last time he applied for it and this time it is approved by the insurance gatekeeper.

So I am not in a good mood, I haven’t had my coffee yet and won’t until this afternoon sometime, I will be starved and don’t want to ruin a dinner date with TLW (The Little Woman) and there are things I need to do that will be pushed back.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


TLW (The Little Woman) came home one Saturday to relate a sad story.

God, please take me?

It seems this old couple came into the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Company to do their banking business. And whom do they ask for but TLW.

Now TLW is an observer, she has observed all the years I know her and has made mental notes. Usually she refers to the notes about 15 years later and I’m in trouble. Kind of a reference file of my promises, or wild statements made under duress or with the threat of having to listen to her lecture me. Usually she is right, I just hate to hear it so well put.

This one particular night was about an elderly couple that bickered while they discussed their problems with TLW. He was a sickly old man, but a very nice man, and she was the one in control, interrupting him and he interrupted her. She obviously was in control with all the papers in front of her. She would say: “Shut up, you don’t know what you are talking about!” and so this is how things would go. From TLW’s observation, they loved each other because it wasn’t nasty, just matter of fact like. TLW did everything she could for them and they left.

A little while later one of them returns to the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co., and the other is missing! Two women appear who are the daughters with their father. The old lady had died! They were helping Pop clean up matters since he didn’t have a handle on things. He was on the verge of tears and TLW expressed her shock and dismay at the passing of his wife.

When the business end of things was over, the old man shooed away his two daughters and sat with TLW and she asked him to come back again, and with tears of gratitude, he said he would. TLW is very sentimental and caring, I know because 1.) She told me so, and 2.) I’m a member of the Wanna-Be- Bank & Truss Co. having sat across from her at her desk.

Years ago, this story would not have had the effect it has on me now, because I was young and life was ahead of me. Now I’m day-old newspaper and it is all history. So I could relate to the old man and his gratitude for anything he can get done for himself that helps from others.