A Patriot Without a President

So, Michael Bloomberg, to quote Teddy, is tossing his hat in the ring, and I for one am glad.

He was my neighbor for many years before and after he became Mayor of New York, so I got to observe Mike, up close and personal.

I liked how he went into the Nectar Coffee Shop same as every day before elected to get his own coffee, leaving his security detail outside. He knew the cook and waiters by name, and tipped appropriately, never flaunting his wealth.

He helped a lot after September 11th, opening up office space for what was left of Cantor Fitzgerald who lost 658 workers, 68% of its workforce, and did it quietly.

When a young man working in the neighborhood was killed during a random robbery, a memorial fund for aspiring writers was set up in Nick’s name. If it didn’t meet its annual quota, Mr. Bloomberg always made up the difference.

He underwrote a little mom and pop shop whose landlord tripled their rent they could ill afford after losing all their retirement savings during the financial crisis. They never knew it was him, but some of us did.

When Pat, the local window washer, was fatally struck by a car, Mike held a little service in Central Park where he memorialized Pat with his name on his favorite bench. We had Pepsi, pretzels and donuts, because it was Pat’s favorite fare.

They say God is in the details, and I’d say Mr. Bloomberg is his ardent representative.

Unlike our present president, he extends himself to others without boast or swagger, swapping them for kindness and humility.

Which brings me to why Mr. Bloomberg decided to run. He said, Donald Trump is simply not fit for the office that he holds and represents an unprecedented threat to our nation.

That statement was enough for me since, not as politically articulate as my former Mayor, I think Trump treats the Oval more like a squash court, having no respect for his predecessors.

Teddy sat there, and FDR, and who could forget JFK’s iconic remark during the 1962 dinner honoring Noble Prize Winners...I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent of human knowledge at the White House, with the possible exception of when Jefferson dined alone.

Occupying that space is a grace and a privilege, and the person who sits behind that noble desk, is there strictly for us.

It’s not about you Mr. Trump.

When they asked John Quincy Adams, our 6th President, son of John, our 2nd, after he went back into the House of Representatives, the only president to do so, what party he belonged to, Mr. Adams said…

I belong to no party. I represent the people.

 Michael Bloomberg isn’t perfect, because no one is, but I’ll gladly toss my hat in the ring next to his, over another four years of embarrassing leadership come this November.

 Long may she wave…NO MATTER WHAT!  images-1.jpeg

SB

 

 

 

Posted in Culture, Faith, grace, History, humanity, inspiration, internet, media, money, New York City, Politics, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 18 Comments

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Ike.

It’s still dark entering the Park, when I see an array of lights darting against the predawn sky. As I get closer, I see it’s a Pitbull with a collar made up of Christmas lights.

Ike is his name belonging to a Vietnam Vet, named Billy, who found him on the Lower East Side apparently in great need of care.

As Ike does relays back and forth, my smile gets bigger and bigger. He reminds me of being a kid going to my Auntie Ida’s house on Christmas Eve, passing all the homes with twinkle lights twined around their porches and windows.

It was my favorite part of the trip…greens and blues, reds and yellows lighting the way pretending from our ice blue Chevy Impala, to be Wendy in Peter Pan.

The dog, at his master’s gentle request, come’s over, panting, so we could be properly introduced.

Billy says, “Ike, what do we do when we meet a lady?”

As the light was just beginning to change, a runner or two in our midst, Ike politely sits down to give me his mighty paw.

“Such a grip,” I say to Billy, “and I don’t mind telling you, I’ve always been a sucker for a gentleman.”

When I then say, how noble it was that he rescued Ike, he says, “No, you got it backwards,” stroking Ike’s head tenderly…

“Ike here, he rescued me.”  Unknown-2.jpeg

SB

 

 

Posted in animals, Culture, humanity, humor, inspiration, Love, men, nature, New York City, war | Tagged , , , , , | 71 Comments

A Writer Brought Back To Life

Pete Hamill is someone I’ve revered forever as a journalist, New York historian, novelist and screenwriter, concerned about him since he’s been silent for much too long.

Knowing he’s the last of his breed, Jack Newfield (1938-2004), Norman Mailer (1923-2007), and Jimmy Breslin (1928-2017) all gone, I assumed he was the next to go.

But I’m happy to say I was wrong, after reading how at 84, he’s moved back to Brooklyn, the borough of his youth, to pen one last book.

They don’t make the likes of Pete anymore, that blue collar writer who was present for every triumph and tragedy the country has endured.

He stood next to his friend, Bobby Kennedy, in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel moments after he was fatally shot.

He covered Vietnam, Nicaragua and Northern Ireland.

His journalism career spans 40 years at the New York Post, Daily News, the Village Voice and New York Newsday earning him the name, the Tabloid Poet.

His memoir, A Drinking Life (1994), takes you on a drunk’s tour regaling a tale only Pete could so poignantly tell after quitting cold turkey in 1972.

My favorite could be,Why Sinatra Matters (1998), opening at the legendary P.J. Clarke’s Saloon, while Sinatra holds court as he croons from the jukebox, in the company of some of the best newspaper men of our time.

His prose, clean and clear, makes you hear the ice tinkling in their glasses amid the swell of cigarette smoke you can practically smell.

I was lucky enough to meet him once downtown after reading, for the second time, his book of the same name…Downtown: My Manhattan (2004). 

It was like waking from a dream, after telling someone you’ve always admired how much they’ve meant to you.

He was kind and humble, patient with my girlish gush, feeling like a teenager meeting Elvis.

My heart is full writing this, very elated that my Elvis, my Lancelot of verse, has yet to leave the building.   220px-Pete_Hamill_by_David_Shankbone.jpg

This is a great piece called, Ain’t Done yet, I highly recommend.

 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/style/pete-hamill-brooklyn-book.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share      

SB       

Posted in alcohol, Books, creative writing, Culture, History, humanity, media, New York City, Politics, war, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments

On The Train

It’s 4 p.m., not quite rush hour, yet the car is packed.

I miraculously get a seat, so happy because now for the next 20 minutes can blissfully read.

A young mom with a little girl maybe 5, is squished against the doors, so I smile and invite the kid to sit next to me even though we were already like sardines in a can.

The woman on my other side, who has an Upper West Side look as if she worships at the altar of Sylvia Plath with her tweedy clothes from another era, reading her New York Review of Books, sneers at me.

“Come on, she’s little,” I say, not to mention cute as a button in her white tights and Mary Janes looking a bit bewildered holding her mom’s pant leg for safety.

As I read with one hand behind my back like the Venus de Milo, cramped but determined to finish my chapter, I see that my bookmark is from the children’s section of the library I’m privileged to belong to.

I say to the kid, “Do you like to read?”

She doesn’t answer, but her mom does, with a nod.

There’s also a handsome Latino man in front of me I assume is the dad, smiling as I give the little girl the Babar bookmark.

She clutches it like a treasure looking up at me as if I were Santa, while Tweedy next to me shakes her head unable to suppress a smile.

When my stop comes, we all get off, except for the man.

I look over my shoulder, forever the cub reporter and say,”Aren’t you coming too?”

He smiles, shaking his head no.

It was then I realize, I had gotten it wrong.

He was just a reader too.

SB

Posted in Books, Culture, Family, grace, humanity, humor, inspiration, kids, Love, New York City, parents, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 45 Comments

Thanksgiving 2019

Unknown-4.jpeg I’m spending Thanksgiving with Carrie, rereading all her books, making it one of the best ever. Let’s hear it for great writing that peels off the page like a good yam, or ham, in Carrie’s case.  images-1.jpeg

She writes a lot about her family, she calls, simple folk, making fun of their over-the-top celebrity, laced with Hollywood scandal that give or take, helped launch the National Enquirer.

Makes me me think of my own roots, other than the gray ones that could use a little tint.

My mother started cooking in August freezing along the way. My father had gotten her a restaurant size fridge that lived in the basement like the Jabba the Hutt of appliances (courtesy of Carrie),  Unknown-2.jpeg so the Orson Welles of turkeys, could have plenty of elbow room.

What our guests didn’t know was, it was from last Xmas, since the company my father worked for gave everyone a 24 pounder as a bonus, explaining a few stomach aches and the institutional size bottle of Tums my mother kept next to the turkey centerpiece made out of mums.

Tums, mums, you get the drift.

Toss in the other 14 courses and dinner was thawed and served complete with everything but a heart surgeon.

My mother, in her pastel shirtwaist that every year got a little tighter, was the Italian June Cleaver with a cocktail shaker that shook and shook and shook, so by the time dessert rolled around, people were passed out missing that pumpkin pie which meant, more for chubby me.

Yes, I was a little butterball before blissfully developing a food disorder, or otherwise known as, The Model’s Diet.

Them were the days alright.

Such sweet, warm memories, over ice.

There was also the time my father had a fight with my uncle over carving the turkey, his domain despite he was too drunk to be trusted with the knife now aimed at my uncle who, not drunk, called the police. When they came, my mother, after saying it was all a funny misunderstanding, plied them with wine and drumsticks, which did the trick.

Little did the group know I was taking subconscious notes to be used later.

More cranberry sauce Carrie?   images.jpeg

SB

Posted in alcohol, animals, comedy, Connecticut, creative writing, Family, food, Home, humanity, humor, kids, Politics, readng, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

His and Hers

She was blonde, he dark, her head buried in his shoulder as they strolled arm and arm.

They looked European the way they dressed, simply, but with taste, as if they both entered the world that way.

I noticed her brows despite her blondness were black, matching the cashmere scarf draping his neck as if where one ended, the other began.

I knew their love was still in the box, the way they couldn’t take their eyes off each other, making me sigh, remembering, how that is.

You think, this is it, always and ever, your heart beating for two.

It was like that falling in love with John Kipp when I was 17 and he, 35, launching my fancy for older men.

I thought I’d love him forever even after a a friend said…he’s only the first Susannah, of many waiting in the wings.

When it ended, how I cried, not knowing he was merely the trailer to a great flick that had yet to be filmed.

So as I watched the perfect couple enter a cafe like movie stars, I thought again of John and how he’d tell me he’d never leave and how I believed him with my whole being, heralding…

the optimism and naivete of youth.

So tell me, tooling through your teens, who was it that you thought you’d love forever?   images-1.jpeg

SB

Posted in Beauty, Fashion, inspiration, Love, Women and men, words | Tagged , , , | 75 Comments

Famous Last Words

Speaking of the dead…

I always wonder if the person taking flight knows, and if so, how?

Does someone who went before only you can see, come to escort you?

Is it like in the film, Heaven Can Wait, when James  Mason  Unknown-2.jpeg arrives in a nice suit telling you it’s your time?

I remember my grandmother talking to my grandfather as if he were sitting on the edge of her bed. The doctor said, the hemoglobin sometimes causes hallucinations.

Well, if that were true, she was having one helluva one, and so happy to see her dear Michael again. It seemed Dr. Ruin-it’s romance was sure down a quart where Granny was concerned.

I also wonder if fear is present.

My other grandfather I was very close to, as he lay dying, waited for me. After bursting into his hospital room seeing him looking so frail, fell apart. He took my hand, whispering…don’t’a worry my Susilina. All okay. The moment I left, he passed.

Steve Jobs last words were…Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.

Considering he was the cyber king, I can’t help but to think what awaits is a wonderful surprise since he would know, right? images-1.jpeg

George Washington’s last words were…Tis well, another glimpse into the great beyond.

Transition, as checking out is sometimes called, fascinates me. I’m not sure one’s resurrected, but pretty sure the soul takes a final curtain call.

A woman told me, when her mother died, she saw her soul leave her body, one of the reasons the Irish believe in opening a window so it can go on its merry way.

Another guy said, his late lover’s soul leapt around the room, passing through his body before disappearing like steam.

Wonder what he was drinking, but who knows, far be it for me to doubt his word, drunk or otherwise.

I’ve had visitations myself, two to be exact, when my friend Bill died. I awoke suddenly to find a man with his back to me, asleep in my bed. I jumped, apparently chasing it away, later reading that, if you show fear the spirit won’t stay.

Was he just saying, see ya, on his way to his next stop?

Another time he was sitting by my window while I wept when my friend Jackie died. He had on the same clothes he wore when I had seen him last, like he’d just been in the other room.

Did I imagine it? I’m pretty sure not, especially since as he faded to black, so did my pain.

Death is such a mystery, yet is it?

When Bunny Mellon was about to go, as if she knew the exact time, asked to have the window opened so she could be that much closer to nature.

Did she hear, Flight 101 to the Elysian Fields is now boarding?

Who knows.  Unknown-1.jpeg

I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

SB

 

Posted in alcohol, creative writing, Faith, humanity, humor, internet, Love, nature, travel, words | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

Best Story of the Week…November 21

Inspired by one of Sorryless’s Heroes of the Week, a policeman who, rather than give a young mother a summons for not having car seats for her kids, she said, she couldn’t afford, bought them for her.

This is what needs to happen more, helping those we can.

It’s one of the things that annoy me the most about our Commander-In-Chief. With all his personal wealth, he never seems to do anything for anyone despite being in such a blessed position. Even the Kennedys and Bushes, you didn’t necessarily like, one must admit, stepped up for others.

But I’m digressing.

After coming out of an AA meeting, where they promote service in a big way, I see a woman with 4 kids, all different ages that look right out of Dickens.

It was clearly the best of times and the worst.

Worn out jackets, pants that didn’t quite fit, loose in the butt and legs like they were handed down from whoever didn’t want them anymore.

As I observe the mother, 35 if she were a day, tired eyes so big and brown, handing out bagels from the corner cart, no butter since, alas, it’s 50 cents more, so are two other people also fresh from the meeting.

The woman I’ll call Eve leans over and says, “Can’t imagine what it must be like, feeding them all, day in and day out.”

“Me either,” I say, trying not to stare.

The third person is a guy, I’ll call Mac, who says nothing, but nods in agreement.

“What can we do for her?” says Eve, “how can we help her?”

After a humble huddle, we decide to pool our money to get her a gift card at Gristides, a grocery store across the street.

Mac was sent to keep an eye on her as they sat on a stoop eating, the irony being, he only has one good eye due to a drunken brawl he was in years ago.

Eve gets one for 40 dollars, while I run down Ramone, the delivery boy, in his Ramones T-shirt to deliver it.

When I look at his shirt he says, “Noo ree’lation.”

Figured it was less intrusive sending him, in case we’d embarrass her.

Ramone doesn’t understand right away, not until I give him a dollar, so off he skips across the street, all 5 feet of him, while we watch from the window.

It seems forever till he comes back after having the longest conversation. “What happened?” I say, “did she not want to take it?”

“No, she very happy.”

“Then why did it take so long?”

“Cause I pray with her, to Lede’ de Guadalupe she say sent me.”

Eve, who at this point had said nothing, says to Ramone  “Good job,” before slipping him a nice, fresh  5.

After examining the bill like a jeweler, looks up with an enormous grin and says…

“O’right..Abro-hom Leen-ken.” 

I couldn’t have said it better.

🙂   SB

 

 

Posted in Culture, humanity, humor, money, New York City, Politics, religion | Tagged , , , , , | 26 Comments

Fashion That Never Sleeps

Unknown-2.jpeg One of my favorite things to wear I never get tired of, is a little black dress most people associate with Audrey Hepburn.

But the person who deserves the credit is the designer, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, who in 1926, through her groundbreaking fashion sense,images-1.jpeg freed women from the captivity of heavy, layered fabric.

Her creation revolutionized fashion…calve-length, simple and straight, Vogue Magazine calling it, Chanel’s Ford, like the Model T.  images-3.jpeg

All I know is, whenever you wear one, heads still turn…women, men, even the occasional octogenarian will nod in approval.

Simplicity is the keynote to true elegance…C.C.

Hail Coco!   images.jpeg

Brings me to the little black flat that in 1921 started as a mere ballet slipper designed by an Italian named, Salvatore Capezio, who began making them for dancers.

The clothing designer, Claire McCardell, featured his long-soled ballet Unknown-2.jpeg shoes in her 1941 collection changing footwear forever, every major department store from popular demand, ordering them.

Imagine going from heels to flats for the first time, as if you never took off your bedroom slippers, something we’ve always taken for granted.

images-1.jpeg

And I’ll end with the Big Kahuna of classics, the gabardine trench coat, worn by British and French soldiers during World War I, sired in 1912, by Thomas Burberry…

warmer, comfier and lighter than any of its predecessors, protecting them from the wind and rain.

Way before Bogie made it famous in Casablanca,  images.jpeg every major military man from Churchill to Eisenhower wore one as part of his uniform. 220px-WWITrenchcoat.jpeg

Nothing is still quite as chic as one tossed over a suit, or tights and a blazer, braying with its sartorial history, Unknown-2.jpegimages-3.jpeg

Kinda makes ya hope for rain, now doesn’t it?

SB

Posted in Beauty, Culture, Fashion, grace, History, war, Women and men, writing | Tagged , , , , | 47 Comments

Best Story of the Week…November 14

Kindness, let’s face it, has been globally down a quart, every man for himself, the world’s new motto.

Nowadays when you hold a door, ask how someone is or even say thank you, you’re looked upon as a freak.

But not this morning.

I’m in my local grocery store.

It’s Veteran’s Day, many people are off, so at noon, it’s unusually crowded.

I’m in line with a sushi roll while three workmen are behind me waiting to pay for their overpriced lunch. It’s the Upper East Side remember, where you expect meatloaf to come with a diploma.

These men are big and burly, quiet and patient, but I see one of them looking at his watch.

“How long is your lunch hour?” I ask him.

“This took so long that we only have 20 minutes left, but it’s okay,” he says, without complaint.

I notice it was all hot food too, or now at best, warm, so I say, “Please, go ahead of me.”

They all, in unison, shake their heads no, but I insist by saying, “I have nowhere to be, and my sushi can’t get any colder.”

Laughing, my joke breaking the ice, one by one, they meekly go in front of me paying for their pasta and Cokes, but before they’re out the door, all three with big smiles, turn around to thank me.

The woman behind me says, “You know, you annoyed me at first, letting them all go, but after seeing how happy they were, I’m over it.”

I smile at her, managing not to say anything snarky about her lavish fur coat, and the way she spoke so sharply to Yasmin, the cashier, and think…

kindness, that just made a sudden cameo, who knows, might actually be making a comeback.

One can only hope.   Unknown-2.jpeg

SB

Posted in Culture, Faith, food, grace, Gratitude, humanity, humor, inspiration, Women and men, words | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments