Wednesday, September 7, 2011


The Begining

     The mind is the builder, it’s our flesh computer. It’s not us, we’re different from the mind. The mind is a computer which processes all of our activities, stores them, and from time to time like a computer it will pop them up on our mental monitor, our mind's eye. We’re made of flesh, spirit and soul, the soul is our being…us, the I am in it all.

       The spirit is that divine energy which gives us all life. We are spiritual beings, but sometime after being a toddler- we forget. Our nature is therefore a spiritual one, but our mind is made of flesh, concerned with the flesh, and the things of the world. So, like a DVD, it records for our memory our experiences as we age. It remembers what we need to survive: good health, food, shelter, and money. It also remembers those things which entertain us, our vices: sex, booze, drugs, and tobacco. To wit, it harbors all of our negative and immoral thoughts. If it was of a spiritual nature, it wouldn’t do so. Ergo, we’re in a constant battle to overcome negativity, bad habits, and failure. It’s an on going struggle! Just as we delete things in our computer, we need to do the same with our mind. It’s our heart, of which Jesus says, it’s from whence our evil thoughts come.

     St. Augustine used to love to read novels, but when he became a priest, he stopped because the plots would pop up in his mind while he was at prayer. I have found this to be true, I love playing chess on line. Once I was almost addicted…no I was addicted. I could not play just one or two games. Then when I prayed, the moves, strategies, and the what ifs of some outcomes would pop into my mind. Now if the mind were of a spiritual nature, it wouldn’t do that. It’s just a flesh storage facility so that we can remember the things we need to do, would like to do, or want to do. It facilitates habits, whether they be good or bad. So, if you want to overcome your habits, you first must discipline your mind. That is done one small step a time, with force of will, persistence, determination, and lots of love.

     the begin…

p.s. Yahoo has 144 support groups with several thousand members dedicated to helping each other quit smoking. You can find one that fits you. Check them out at:

pps…my thanks to all of you who’ve followed me on this odyssey, and for your kind compliments. God Bless and good luck!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011



     He called again,

    “We must have been disconnected.”

    “Wadda ya tawking bout!”

    “We cooks soup for two days in a big pot hanging over a stove…one of our guys fell in it,” he calmly, and slowly articulated, “Hurry!”

     After taking all the details, they all came, EMTs, cops, and firemen. Then after long moments that seemed an eternity, and a slow process they got him out. But poor Juanito was already dead. His arms and legs were almost raw to the bone; his clothes had melted into the soup; and his face was gone, no flesh, it was all in the soup. They were told to flush the soup, get rid of it. But it had been cooking for two days, it was the soup of the day, and it had a lot stock in it. It also had a lot of Juanito in it. If they flushed it, there would be no soup du jour. Nobody said anything, but as quietly as it was kept, my friend told me,

     “Dude, dem maderforkers served da facking soup, man.”

     “No way!”

     “Oh yea, they felt they hadda, so they did. Honest man! I wouldn’t eat at dat freaking place, man. Not afta dat, dude.”

      “Damn, they made a lot of involuntary cannibals, uh.”

      “Ya na it, man.”

     Patron was smoking his brains out after that, and every time he lit up he would murmur,

     “No bunnies boss,” and a tear would roll down his cheek.

     Not everybody is going to go through something like that, but things happen sometimes, and it just can’t be helped. Tobacco to the rescue! I’ve always wondered how the guest would’ve felt if they knew. But, it’s history we can only wonder about the what ifs.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Dust Bunnies

     One day Patron noticed dust bunnies high up near the ceiling in a very precarious place.

      “Juanito come hea a sec.”

      “Sho ting boss.”

      “Look up da, do ya see dem dust bunnies?”

      “I don see no bunnies boss?”

      “He hee heee…no no, not real bunnies…dust balls?”

      “Oh I see.”

      “So ya see em?”

      “No no, I mean I unastand wat you say…no bunnies.”

      “ doya see da dust up da?” He pointed high up to the ceiling almost over the soup.

     “Oh yea, now I see…so dat is dust bunny, uh. Why you callit dat?

     “Neva mind alla dat, can you clean it up? We don’t want it falling ina soup…do we?

    It was too high to reach with anything, and there was no where to put a ladder. So Juanito carefully climbed up on top of a table, over a fridge, and gingerly slid across a railing high above the boiling soup.

     “Careful Juan.” Somebody hollered.

     “Leave im alone, man.”

     “Yea dude, ya don’t wanna make im noivous.”

     He was about to put his rag on the bunnies, when the head chef came in, saw him precariously over the soup, and without thinking yelled,

      “Hey you! Wada hail ya doing up da?”

      “Yaiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee Dios mio!”

   Juanito was rattled, lost his balance, and fell straight down, splashing right into the freaking  soup.

     “Oh shit!”

     “Holy smoke!”

     “Somebody do sompen!”

     They all ran around like mice wondering what to do, as poor Juanito’s screams curdled their souls, and quivered their bones. The soup had been simmering for two days, and nobody knew how to get him out of it. But someone did remember to call 911.

     “Hurry one of our guys fell into the soup!”

     “Waaaada fack…lookey hea I gots da Max bwos ona line,” he heard the guy say, he thought it was a joke, and hung up.

Sunday, September 4, 2011



     “I think you oughta give me anoda hunet after what I just went through for ya!”

     “Don’t worry we’ll take care of you!” She replied.

     I never got paid, it was a lot of she’s not here at the moment, or she’ll call you back. They were in California, me in New York, and it didn’t make sense to sue for a few hundred dollars. The captain moved out of New Orleans, and I had no idea where to take my plight. Things like that will make you smoke or not let you quit.

     All I can say is keep trying, don’t give up- don’t let tobacco win. A little suffering is always needed to reach your goals.

    Today I was reminded of a friend I had, who had a pal who worked in a kitchen, at one of the city’s big hotels. I won’t mention the name. I don’t remember if his pal was illegal or not either, as this happened a long time ago. He told me his pal told him, they had a humongous pot hanging over a stove, where they made the soup du jour three times a week. Because of the size of the thing, it took many hours to cook the soup.

     Juanito was a very diligent laborer, who was never late, seldom took a day off, and loved by everyone. He would do whatever task he was given without question. He mopped floors, washed dishes, cleaned walls, stoves, refrigerators, whatever needed to be done. He was the man. He didn’t smoke and was always jokingly chastising his boss for his habit.

     “Man, jur longs must look like da smoked hams boss.”

     “Very funny ha ha!”

     Patron, as Juanito called him, was trying to quit, and sometimes he went for days, a week or two even, but kitchens being what they are, something always comes up, and the stress is hard to deal with, so out comes tobacco to the rescue.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


A Confidence Course

      I clenched my teeth, my jaws were grinding, and I was really annoyed, but I finally crossed the damned thing.

      “Now what?” I hollered back.

      “Climb da laddah dude.” He smiled again, as he looked down.

    It was a rope ladder, alongside the barge, rising at least another twenty feet. “I must be freaking crazy,” I was thinking, “I don’t need this,” but I was climbing the ladder. With every step it swung from side to side. It was fastened at the top, and to the barge at the bottom, and moved along with it. Finally I reached the top, the captain, a dude from New Orleans greeted me:

     “Hi y’all doing, din think ya was gon make it…He hee hee.”

     “Me neida!”

     The barge was rolling back and forth on the water, like a rocking chair, and there were all kinds of freaking pipes crossing its length on top.

     “Wat y’all carry hea?


     It reminded me of boot camp, so many years before, as we hopped over one damned pipe after another, it was a confidence course. At the front of the barge, we had to go down a metal stairs, which reminded of a submarine. I’ve only seen them in movies.

     He smiled as he opened a folding chair for me. His tiny office only had room for one, but somehow we managed to run through the documents, and get his John Hancock on them. The man was a smoker, and I was tempted to join him as he lit up, but I didn’t. It took us twenty minutes, and we were done. It was the same ordeal going back. He was on his way home to New Ahleans, and I was going home.

     “Well, y’all have yasef a von voyage home cap’n,” I smiled, and started down the damned ladder. It was past eleven when I finally got back to my car. I called my manager, and reported my adventure.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Flimsy Ladder

     She gave me his cell number, and asked me to call him after the Mass. When I did at six, he still wasn’t anywhere near Queens. Seven, no barge; eight, no barge; so on the half hour I called the manager, and told her it didn’t look like he was going to make it.

     “We’ll give ya anoda hunet!”

     “Ummmmm, okay but if he gits hea afta midnight it’s no deal.”

     It needed to be done before midnight as it was date sensitive, and back dating is illegal. I would never jeopardize my license for a few bucks. Besides it’s dishonest, and not honorable.

     “Okay!” She agreed.

    At a quarter to nine the captain calls me.

     “Where are ya,” I asked.

     “Oh we’re docked, Flushing creek, behind Home Depot on College Point Blvd.”

    I knew where that was, but had no idea how to get there. So I had to wait for him to consult with the harbor master, then get back to me. There happens to be two Home Depots on the Blvd, and he didn’t know which one. After going up, and down the boulevard for a half hour, I finally found the right one. I parked behind it, and walked to the barge. He saw me walking from the atop the barge,
     “Y’all must be da noble notary, uh!” He hollered with a smile.

     “Yea,” I waved.

     “Come aboard, then.”

     “How do I get up there?”

     That was the tricky part, it was dark with a half moon; there was a flimsy ramp leading up to the barge, and it was bobbing along with the waves. I had an umbrella, and thank God my brief had a leather strap, so I hung it around my neck. I held on to the ramp's guiding ropes as I crossed it, which must have been twenty feet or more above the dark, filthy waters below. I hesitated, I almost refused, but after all I had been through to get this far, I forged ahead.

    “It’s eezie, jest don’t look down, man.” He hollered.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


The Sea Captain

     “I do!” He deadpanned.

     “You’ve been deposed!” I responded.

     It was over, I nodded to the commission, and walked out. Out in the hallway I felt a little yen for nicotine, but it passed as quickly as it came when that same guy came out and, said:

     “Well done buddy,” as he heartily shook my hand.

     “Next time, call me direct, and we’ll work something out.”

    Out in the car I called Mary, and gave her a rundown,

     “Well next time yar our guy, dude…ya got it.”

     “Never say neigh,” I answered, and hung up as I heard her crack up again over the old lady saying,  “Waise ya wite hand…ya na ya cain’t lie.”

     That was probably my smoothest and coolest deed, but I had one that made me feel as if I were James Bond. It was out on a barge, in the middle of the night. I got a call the day before one Thanksgiving, for a signing out at College point. They had to do the signing that day, or the borrowers would have had to wait another month or more  to get badly needed funds.

    “Oh please ya gotta do diz one for me,” she begged.

     I was really busy, and didn’t want to do it. Apparently so was every other agent, so they offered me a buck and a quarter. They promised it would be quick, I agreed. The borrower was a barge captain, who was traveling down the Hudson river at the time, and promised to be in the area by two in the afternoon. At three o’clock still no barge. At four, I had to attend mass with my family, still no barge. I called the agency.

     “I can’t do this till after 5:30,” I says.


     “I will be in church with my family, you won’t be able to reach me.”


     “No Cell phones in church,” I says.