Friday, October 31, 2014


It was a rainy Friday morning; gray, damp and raw. I was planning on an old black and white movie with a cup of coffee and TLW (The Little Woman) was on her way out the door to go to work when suddenly she made a U-turn and came back into the house.

“Where is Michael’s car?”
“Huh?” (Yes, a gifted conversationalist)
“His car is not outside!”

Being I have trouble with the English language, and the idea of listening to all the words as they are put together, I have to peek my nose out the front door and look. She’s right! No car. No wonder she said that!

“MICHAEL” she yells up to the bedroom.






His younger days
Now the kid is just getting started in life and trying to make ends meet. Young and not yet established, we try to help him along like we did our other son.

Off goes TLW and down comes Michael, and into my car and shows me where his car is, I look it over and think: Wow this is a little remote for a description with half the roads unmarked, so I decide to drive down to my mechanic Mike Sabo, and great mechanic and very honest. We set up for a tow and #2 Son would ride with the tow truck and guide the driver to the car.

I tell #2 Son he is lucky he decided to pick these particular few days to come home when he did or he would have been stuck, maybe on the bridge going home in Westchester!

Short story: it cost me $625 dollars to repair the car and pay for the tow. Things happen and so I go on to my dental appointment.

Now the dentist is about to repair a tooth that broke, and go over the dental plan for additional work in my mouth. I have two options, implants or bridges, and am given a breakdown of what each would cost. The Implants: $25,000, but they are more permanent, and the bridge work $12,000! I figure it all out and decide that why spend all that money, I’ll get the bridgework and repair if need be as I get older. After all, to be honest with myself, in 10 years, will I still be here?

With the bridgework, I will have the distinct honor of having more bridges than the East River, including the Tri-Boro Bridge, kind of a mini MTA!

So all in one day I committed over $12.625!

That old saying about saving for a rainy day… well it is raining cats and dogs!

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Cute little assistants were coming out to greet each patient in the waiting room, and I wondered which cutie I’d get. There was the gal with the long black exotic hair and eyes to match, the brunette with the smile that saved the company lighting bills and of course a blond who looked like she knew she was beautiful but wished you would ignore it.

I turned to a magazine, you know, those paper things with the pictures and one or two ads, dated March 2003? Suddenly someone was standing over me, blocking out the light on my Architectural Digest. This young man, maybe 14 said: “Mr. Del Bloggolo?”  Dressed like he came from the operating room as the brunette passed us, I wanted my money back, even if I didn’t pay anything yet. Just my luck.

Inviting me to sit in the chair in an empty examining room, I asked for a trim around the ears and not too short. Ignoring my attempt at brevity he asked politely what was wrong. “Well, I have this tooth (pointing to it) and when I bite down it hurts!”

He looks at it and starts to take x-rays. This is a process that has become very annoying, taking up the last of the pain-free time I used to spend in the chair. It has a long rod with a plastic circle that runs up and down the arm, that is positioned in your mouth so the x-ray has a target. You put this thing in your mouth like a sandwich, but it doesn’t fit, hurts and becomes annoying if used for tooo long. It was ANNOYING! But what happens is the x-rays appear immediately on a computer screen, enabling the doctor to move quickly, not having to wait for the pictures to come back from CVS or Costco!

Suddenly, the Grand Pupa arrives, and bends over and asks: “Do you have an area where you are having trouble?” “Yes” I reply, I’m picking all the wrong teams in professional sports!” He: “In your mouth!” “Oh!” I explain the tooth problem, he studies the x-rays and then looks again in my mouth, and makes his diagnosis public: “I don’t see anything! Maybe it is the gum or the root. He schedules another appointment for root canal and a promise to look harder at the tooth in question and I leave, a little disappointment.

The next day I am having lunch, chewing carefully but sometimes out of habit I would chew on the wrong side. All of a sudden… there is this hard piece floating in my mouth! I reach in and find what looks like a small pebble and wonder where it came from? I run my tongue around my teeth and find nothing then it hits the tooth in question. Half of it is gone! It broke in half and they couldn’t see it!

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Entering the new dental office, Concerned Dental Care (no one was more concerned than me!) I announce myself to the receptionist. It is at this point I try to make nice, build a rapport and create good will for myself. If you piss her off, she will put notes in your file, somewhat like an unhappy waiter spitting into your food! Breaking her in is difficult. One thing I look for is children or grandchildren’s pictures.
Me: “Is that your sister?” (Her child) or the more useful “Are those your children?” (Her grandchildren) followed by disbelief that they are her grandchildren.

Once we make nice she will usually ruin the feeling of nice-nice by handing me a clipboard with two hands and ask me to fill out a few forms. The reason she uses two hands is because the damned thing is too heavy to hold with one!

Filling out forms are designed to have you think, frustrate and leave you feeling dumb, when they are medical. They ask you the same questions over and over again, until redundancy is a matter of course, they ask you questions like you PCP’s name, address and phone and fax number, along with his wife’s middle name and his plans for the future. But they don’t stop there, no, they even ask questions like: Insurance provider’s name, phone number and address. You must provide a list of all medications you take, all doses and color of the pills. However, the best ones they saved for the end. How much money do you think you will spend to protect that great smile of yours? 1. Enough to last a lifetime in poverty, 2. Enough to have a place to live, even if it is under a bridge on Exit 61 of the LIE?, or 3. A toothless wonder: who gargles everyday for old times sake and can afford life to some degree?

The final question was the best: What would you do to improve that million-dollar smile? A. Change my mirror.

After filling out the forms the next day, I returned to my usually thoughts of suicide while waiting in a medical facility after forms and waited for the call.

TOMORROW: The Call Comes From Junior.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Every now and then I like to shake things up. I did it when I worked and I like to do it in my life. Sometimes we need to do that to take away the complacency that can dwell without our realizing it.
My dentist group had to go: they were not doing things well enough for me to warrant my continuance with them.  They seemed to be more hung up on forms and records than on my teeth. They rushed through the visits and seemed to be disconnected, all that bothers me, plus they did a lousy job in my mind, let alone my mouth.

One dentist asked me what I was doing there: my teeth were fine after I told her it was a checkup after 1 year. She also had a lousy attitude.

So today I am going to a new group. Will it be better, I don’t know, and I don’t necessarily expect them to be better, however I will see how long they last before I get mad.

I asked TLW (The Little Woman) to look up some dentist in her plan and then on Sunday as we were leaving the diner from breakfast, I saw this dental group who happen to be in her plan and so we got some info.

TLW got me the names of about five doctors, there ages, graduation dates and schools and even if they are paying their taxes I guess. Seems like I was interviewing a new designer to work for me, and maybe they will have a resume in there hand as I show up. This mean I have to break them in, Discussion topics will be selected and their IQ will be estimated. It is a tough job interviewing dentists.

First you need to make friends with the receptionist. This is vital; it builds my confidence that they like me. I mean once I sit in that chair, I’m at their mercy, so first thing in the door will be nice-nice.

Then the tooth fairy, the guy that cleans your teeth and asks personal questions like: How many times a day do you brush your teeth?” Experiencing any pain? Do you want your mommy? ARE YOU GONNA MAKE A MESS IN YOUR PANTS AGAIN WHEN I TAKE OUT THE NEEDLE?” Now these are good questions, but invasive.

Then there is the dentist himself. Always cheerful and filled with kindness, he uses his instruments to torture you! Deep, deep down into your mouth, past your tonsils and larynx to the pit of your stomach, where you will feel the drill and needle and I really want my mommy!

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Monday, October 27, 2014


Albany, NY
The biggest vote of all the time I’ve been on the governing board of NYSARC, the state agency that advocates for people with disabilities with over 50 counties and 140 people on the board was about to begin. Sitting next to my fellow Board of Governor representative, Jim who also doubles as our local chapter president, took out his sheets of names of all our reps from all over the state to follow the vote and get a sense as to how it would go.

The big hall, situated in the lower lever of the Hilton in Albany was quickly filled not only the voters but: the spectators who had a keen interest in the outcome. Executive directors, NYSARC staffers, self-advocates and whomever else including parents and siblings from every corner of the state hung on every vote. This was an historical time for the organization, and Jim and I were excited to be part of it.

Since this vote was based on a regional decision of some of the 5 regions in the state choosing a health care plan either from the one the upstate chapters were developing but many did not want and the down state chapters who had one already in place, it would have a huge impact on everything, the downstate chapters decided singularly and on their own to abstain when there name was called.

Starting with the Allegany chapter the vote began from the secretary of the board. One by one Jim meticulously entered a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or ‘Abstain’ next to each name depending on how each individual voted. It went one way in clusters, then another, then shifted to abstention voters and then would sway back to one way or another, once again.

Suddenly it was nearing the Suffolk chapter and soon we, Jim and I along with our fellow reps, would cast our votes!

“From the Suffolk Chapter; Joe Del Bloggolo?”
Me: “Abstain!”
“Jim McEneaney?”
Jim: “Absent… I mean Abstain! Where am I anyway???”

Yes, he slipped up and had us all laughing at him. He, Jim, the only man to create live absentee voting!

For his lapse in verbal tallying, he receives the newly created Board of Governors OMG Award for 2014!

It seems every time we go to the board meeting in Albany something funny happens to one of us, leaving our car keys or cell phone in our room in Albany and getting home to discover we did, or calling someone at an ungodly hour because we didn’t look at the alarm clock right at that hour.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


My mentor, my daughter
You don’t have to go to church to know that there is a God: and no church or temple will bring you closer than the structure you call your soul. You can look in the bricks and mortar but he is not there, only the believer’s that go there to gather in his name. You can practice your faith as you see fit, and feel you are close to Him.

I don’t look to bring any gospel to anyone, me, I am too busy learning from some great teachers, people who have a mission in life to make others heal, to make others feel equal and part of their society, allowing the full participation of everyone, the healthy and the weak, the strong and the disabled, everyone. They are the children of God, and the true teachers: true believers.

I spent a weekend up in Albany at the NYSARC convention for people who have developmental disabilities and saw first hand how this works, how people, many of them old and disabled themselves, people who rode around in carts or stood shakily on canes, hobble and limp to a microphone to ask a question or make a statement.  When they spoke I looked into their eyes and saw a lifetime of pain, of deep fear and constant worry, what would happen to their child when they are gone? I saw tears and I saw anger, I saw questioning and I saw the deep far away look of what they fear.

To clearly see a person with Developmental Disabilities you need to be able to read the eyes of the parents and siblings, hear the tone of their voices and then you feel the pain in their hearts.

Then and only then do you see that life expands and contracts according to our courage. We can be observers of the world as it turns, frequently upside down and never raise a finger or a voice, and wait for someone else to come along and right the wrongs and ills of life, wonder when he or she will arrive, and at the end of the day, wonder why no one ever showed up. We could wail and raise our fists in anger and protest and curse those who could make it better, as when we slam the door shut at the end of the day, look carefully around you, because he/she is standing in your shoes!

How do I know this, my daughter told me so! She doesn’t speak, can’t make any real discernable sounds but the laughter and love in her heart. She sees and loves and makes my day fulfilled with the greediness I have for her approval, the unspoken love that shines through her eyes and heart, when she sees me for the first time and runs into my arms and hugs me until I my back hurts from the sheer enjoyment of her happiness.

I hear it in others too, the pride of someone who has a brother or child who can speak or walk while being challenged, but faces the challenge: none-the-less.

Sometimes when I get together with fellow board members, we will commiserate about those we are working for, and how wonderfully their child or sibling is doing, taking ordinary tasks we take for granted with pride, these children or siblings carry with them in their very being. THEY seem to teach us that life is more than an electronic gadget or a cruise or a great meal, it is about taking pride in everything we do with passion and love, and doing it to better themselves. When I hear these stories, it is like a tonic, a cure to my own life knowing the time I spend working for them is indeed healing my heart too!

To be in God’s company means to follow the tears, follow those who need rather than those who have. We don’t need to throw away any happiness, money or time of our own: we just need to expand our love and courage to others who are in need. I don’t mean people with disabilities only, but all of our brothers and sisters, then all of us will share equally here on Earth and maybe some day, if there is: in heaven.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


There are all kinds of stories that pour forth when I ask TLW (The Little Woman) what kind of day she had when we are at suppertime. There are stories of happy events and favorite people who come in from time to time and like to deal with her, and there are stories about frustration and sometimes even a hint of anger.

I think of these stories she relates as Life’s Lessons, to be valued and understood and even to call upon if I’m ever in the Wanna-Be-Bank a Truss Co. There are things like:

1.     Never come in at 4:30 pm
2.     Try not to open a debit card
3.     Be prepared with all the paper work
4.     Don’t dare come in near her lunch hour

These are important rules and should be followed for a happy experience at the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co.

The other night she “Had a young man come in” as she puts it and he wanted to open up some kind of account. It may have been a checking account and she told him he had to put a dollar into it to open it. He had no cash. This ‘Young man’ was walking around with NO CASH in his pocket and I could immediately see his wanting to be in a bank. TLW said nothing but reached in her drawer where she extricated one whole dollar that she found on her desk one day and didn’t know who it belonged to. You see, if it were me, and I found the dollar, under the same circumstances, it would have gone into my wallet! Chances are it might not come out in my lifetime, but in it would have gone in.

The ‘Young man’ never even said thank you as she laid out the buck for him, and she admonished him in silence for him, but not for me, I heard about it. Returning a few weeks later, once again in front of TLW he never offered to return the dollar, as he finished off his previous visit with her.

Then she went into another story I found interesting. It seems this elderly lady “about our age” as she put it was going to put $2,100 into her son and daughter-in-law’s account. There some kind of complications and she said…

Her: “So what do you think I did?”
Me: “Reach into your drawer and give her $2,100?”

The importance here is she gives me a blow-by-blow accounting of the transaction, complete with the type of account it is, leaving nothing to my imagination when it comes to the interesting world of banking, or in this case, Wanna-Be- banking. She has developed a following it seems, people bring her presents, books for me to read, yes, I even make friends with them, and candy and food. One night she came home with these bars of soap all arranged on a rack that looked like a display case on the back of my upstairs toilet! Her co-workers refuse to allow her to retire because she is their spiritual and moral leader, old pro and draws a lot of food. It’s good in the Wanna-Be-Bank & Truss Co!

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm


Friday, October 24, 2014


Recently on Facebook the social network thing, my amico Jimmy ‘Pants’ Pantaleno from Brooklyn posted this:

I saw a poster at the mall featuring a famous athlete urging kids to " outside at least one hour a day". Are you kidding me? Pleading with kids to go outside and play is a modern-day phenomenon in an age when they'd rather sit around on their butts playing video games, texting and watching that 52-inch TV. It's no wonder obesity: diabetes and even hypertension are very real health problems for the young. When I was a kid, the poster at the mall might have read "...please remember to come INSIDE once in a while for meals and sleep". The lack of physical exercise for kids today is appalling.”

This is NOT a rant but a truth! Look at your grandchildren, and if you are young enough, your children, are they falling into this pattern? Are they stuck in an electronic prison, destined to become slaves to these devices?

How many baseball mitts are worn out these days by overuse? In my childhood, and even in my son’s we went through a lot of mitts, not only from Little League, but also from the sand lots and empty schoolyards, the vacant fields and yes, even the street pavements in our neighborhoods.

Sneakers and shoes were thrown away not because they were out of style, but because they wore out from our feet in them constantly running and jumping.

One Facebook friend of Jim’s wrote: ”It's an entirely different world. Kids today have cable, cell phones, tablets, etc. We never had that as kids. The TV was never on during the day and besides, why watch it when you could go outside? Go play and run and jump and, and, God it was a great time to be a kid!”

Today, unseen correspondents do social networking behind a screen just as I am communicating with you now! The good is that the electronics are instantaneous, but the bad is far out-weighting the good, we can’t hold conversations anymore without looking into an electronic device, we can’t learn to read one’s expressions in conversation and of course there is NO body language to help guide us in seeking solutions to problems. My God, we can’t even walk down a street without seeing kids with earphones and I-phones being used as they mill about!

I would love to see some of the kids of today go on a nature walk, or just sit on a beach and take in the ocean and all the mysteries it offers. I guarantee you they will sit in the sand all right, but with their noses poking their I-phones and androids. They may or may not move in and out of a comatose state of electronics and reality. Maybe the new reality is electronics!

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!


Thursday, October 23, 2014


If there is one place I hate, it is either Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Now I like a new hammer or a nice can of fresh paint, as long as it is in someone else’s hands. I have had enough home repairs through the years. I ripped out radiators, kitchens and bathrooms, converting them to nice new rooms and frankly all it does is bring back nightmares for me and in some ways: TLW (The Little Woman I swore a lot and she had to take the kids to her mothers).

The job I hate the most is painting, the moving of furniture, the prep work and then the mess of cleanup afterward, all make me miserable. I did so much painting throughout my life that it could reach from here to the moon and back. The first time I ever held a paintbrush in my hand, Dad got me up on a ladder in my Grandmother’s kitchen to paint a section of a wall. I was maybe 7 years old. Of course I spilled the can off the ladder and Dad got mad at me. I guess he was looking for a child prodigy in house paint.

Throughout my early teens from 11 on, I had to help Dad when he got these side jobs painting. Hated it all, especially on a rainy Sunday afternoon in a dark and dreary factory.

So recently I had to replace a back screen door. The door was rotting because it was in constant shade. Mold and mildew grabbed it and didn’t let go. So TLW announced one morning we would go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a new screen door.

You know, when you get older, it creeps up on you, you have young eyes and a tired body, and mine is tired. The thought of doing this project was starting to bother me. The idea of my creaky bones nailing, sawing and screwing did not appeal like it once did. So I decided to hire someone to do the work.

As we perused through the screen door section of Lowe’s we came to one door that had a nice price and had different colors it offered. I loved the idea of maybe a beige door to go with the siding.

“Hey Toots, look at this, it comes in beige!”

“Oh!? We don’t like colors, we want white.”

“Yes, of course we do, foolish me, damn why do I go off like that?”

And so I have hired a gentleman to do the work, just like a Baron, something I could chew up in no time as a young lad I am giving off to someone else.

But getting back to Lowe’s or Home Depot, I would rather have a pork chop in the cheeks of my butt in a room full with hungry lions than go into that place, with the loud speaker, the noise and the constant walking looking for something they don’t carry anyway. Dante had his Hell and Home Depot is mine.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Did you ever have a day when you can’t think of something to say? You know, you go to a funeral of someone and don’t know how to comfort or present yourself to the survivor. Or you see someone who you promised to call and didn’t, and know you forgot to call? What do you say?

There were days when I sat down in front of my drawing board to design an ad or create some project, and all I can do is draw a blank. It made me uncomfortable. Well it is happening right now, I don’t know what I want to write about: my mind is drawing a blank. I do know that there is something I want to say, but for some reason I can’t call them up!

Writing a blogue is all about keeping a diary of sorts, recording what you see and remember, and relating experiences either past or present that happen to you, the writer. It is usually fun, and good way to get it all off your chest or not.

There are so many petty annoyances that occur that I could be here all day, but you don’t want to write about the same old things, nor does the reader. It takes some control to write these things because you don’t want to offend the readers.

Politics is taboo, as is religion, and sex. So your choices of topics can be limited, unless the taboo topics are treated with humor and consideration. Being how I have turrets of the brain I have to be careful, it just comes out of me.

I could quit writing, but then that compulsion overcomes me and there I am again, writing! Maybe I could use a break, and take a few weeks off, but I know I would have difficulty with that.

I guess I’ll just try to relax and not worry about it today. Thanks for your patience.

Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
Hours: Open today · 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

You should