#AtoZChallenge 2019 badge


THE HOKEY POKEY  This song, along with it’s unavoidably necessary accompanying dance have kept so very many generations of children, and adults, quite happy.  It’s also inspired quite a lot of jokes and humorous comments.  


tempus fugit. memento mori

I suppose that I have known, since a very early age, of the inevitably of my eventual death.  When I was first born I was  very sick, with a life-threatening problem, and after effects that lingered all throughout my childhood, so I was constantly reminded of the risk of my early death. The earliest death that really stands out in my mind, in a concrete way, is my Uncle Gino’s when I was a twelve year old kid. As far as I know, there wasn’t any feeling of total awe at my having realized that I would, sooner, or later, be required, by definition, to die. Having always gone to Catholic schools, I was always reminded of it, but it must have inevitably struck me as just some entirely abstract factual reality.  Unlike many people I simply don’t have a profoundly cathartic story to tell about how some ultimate moment of truth profoundly changed my life and perception of that specific aspectfour-last-things1 of reality. Sooner or later, each of us shall be in either Heaven (usually by way of Purgatory), or Hell. That’s the ultimate inevitable eschatological reality of the four last things. Death carries with it at least two main fears for each of us: the fear of all the physical and emotional torment that goes with the end of his life, and the fear of eternal damnation for those who go to hell. I really have to wise up and to start dealing with it in a more first hand manner very soon.

best friend

I haven’t had a best friend since I was a kid.   When I was a kid in Jackson Heights my best friend was Earl.    Then when we first moved to Lindenhurst, around the time I turned twelve years old, my best friend was Jimmy.   His family moved eventually so that left me without a best friend permanently.   They’re both now on my Facebook friend list.   Each one has a birthday on Halloween.    It’s a very nice idea for someone to be able to have a friend whom he can always count upon, and whom he can even refer to specifically as his very best friend.    I’ve never liked the idea of a BFF though, not because I don’t think someone should have a best friend.   It’s simply because I consider it quite a seriously annoying trite catch phrase.    Maybe the reason for my not having a best friend in so extremely long a time is that I’ve always been entirely too distinctive a character to qualify for one.   A best friend is quite an interesting character.    It would be nice if each of us could count on someone to play Norton to his Ralph, or Oscar to his Felix.    I know I don’t lack a best friend because of a deliberate decision.    It’s merely dumb luck that has dealt me such an unfortunate blow.



best friend

tom balistreri

tucked into a corner

u be cute

all things must pass: a debate between kid me and grown up me

When I was a kid all I knew about being an adult was that adults go to work instead of school and that most of them are married with children.    That’s the general rule.   Of course jobs are hard to find.    I’ve never been lucky enough to meet a nice girl and get married so naturally I have no kids.    Being an adult means no one makes any excuses for me anymore.   That’s not entirely true though.   Occasionally someone will try to humor me a bit but it’s always with the assumption that it’s officially not supposed to be that way.     People indulge the very young because a kid is still a work in progress.    As a kid, even though I never have liked change, I could always count on being more capable of dealing with it.    The older someone gets, though, the more deeply ingrained all his habits become inevitably.    The average kid may think he gets to have significantly fewer restrictions on his behavior once he’s grown up.   Unfortunately the rules, for an adult’s life, are still in force.    They’re just different.    Adult life is no better or worse than being a kid.    I should like to think I have a  bit more maturity and somewhat more of a sense of responsibility because of all the experiences I’ve been subjected to over the years.   Unlike my young days, I can no longer be fooled into thinking I can trust someone if I can’t really trust him.   I know understand that liberalism is absolutely and without question mankind’s single ultimate evil.    Little did I know, as a kid, that this would turn out to be so important a problem.       There are quite a lot of distinctions between young me and adult me.   It’s like what Dostoyevsky referred to as having eaten the apple.     There’s never any possibility of turning back.   I have quite a different understanding now of the passage of time than I did back then.    My physical appearance hasn’t changed significantly.     Everyone I knew in my very early days still recognizes me when he sees me for the first time as an adult.    I should like to think my general personality and outlook on life have undergone the same kinds of changes.     There’s a lot more mandatory self-regulation now, and I don’t necessarily get too much of it right.   Crying still happens occasionally.    Coffee  and liquor are quite enjoyable.   Those are drinks that are symbolic rites of passage into adulthood.    I still read kids’ stories but I now understand the point of them.    There’s even a C.S. Lewis line about how no kids’ story is really good unless it’s good for adults too.    Adulthood is filled with disillusionment, disappointment, pain and dull ordinary chores and realities.    It must serve some kind of a purpose though because it happens, at least chronologically, to one and all who remain among the living long enough.

the music man


Because I was born in September of 1959, the first decade of my lifetime was virtually precisely coeval with the 1960’s.    Musically and otherwise the 1960’s have made quite an indelible mark upon my lifetime.    My childhood was filled with all sorts of musical influences.    I was four and a half years old when the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show”.    To this day they’re still undeniably my absolute favorites.     That era was known for musical variety shows like “Sing Along With Mitch”, “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour “, and “The Dean Martin Show”, among several others.     As a kid I was always smitten with the sounds of  songs like Petula Clark’s “Downtown”,   Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525”, and  Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were the Days”.    Whenever I’d go to a doctor’s office I’d keep obsessing over songs like Percy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Summer Place'” and Mason Williams’   “Classical Gas”,  among others that were played in waiting rooms.    The folk, jazz, country and other musical styles of that era have always been quite a major love of my life.    Although I’ve never been even the least bit willing to humor the liberals, I’ve even  always  thoroughly enjoyed the protest songs of that era.     Along with all that I made sure I joined the glee club at my grammar school, St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst, as soon as I was old enough.    Brother Edmond and Brother James, of the De la Salle Christian Brothers, taught us all the then-current popular songs as well as Christmas and Easter songs and show tunes.   Brother James played the guitar quite well and Brother Edmond, with his fine baritone voice, sang an exceptional version of “Edelweiss(Blossom of Snow)”  from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music”.     I even took guitar lessons for a while at one of the local public schools, P.S. 127.    My parents were always quite happy to humor my sister and me about our tastes in music.   They enjoyed country music, Edith Piaf and other standards they grew up with so that widened my horizons even more.     Eventually the 1960′ s became the 1970’s.   That era started out fairly well with  Carole King’s “Tapestry” as well as James Taylor, Led Zeppelin and a few other holdovers from the 1960’s.    Eventually, though, disco started to become popular.   My teenage years saw the rise of tacky styles in music and dress.    There were good singers and bands too, though, like the Doobie Brothers, Elton John, Grand Funk and a few others.    In my imagination, though, gone forever were the days when everything musical was perfect.    Even most of  the then-current music I listened to generally tended to be the latest album by someone like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin (a variation of the Yardbirds).    I had become such a musical snob and purist.    I continuously picked fights with all the kids in school, as well as the public school kids, defending my claim that even in the best of 1970’s music, there was something missing compared to that of the previous decade.      Unfortunately I’ve never been terribly comptetent musically.   My strengths seem to lie more in writing and story telling.    Maybe that’s why I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the songs of the 1960’s.     It was an era that included songs like Joan Baez’s “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving”, based on a poem by Lord Byron, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and the Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” , based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland”, and Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind”, based on a Christina Rossetti poem.       The music I grew up with has profoundly influenced both my adult musical tastes and even my entire life in general.    Although the singers and musicians of my early days could never possibly get me to agree with their liberal political and social agenda, they’ve most certainly shaped my imagination and given me ideas and interest which I may never have otherwise gotten.