So Long Pete

Pete Hamill died on Wednesday at the impressive age of 85.

He was everything I wanted to be as a writer: brave, passionate, prolific and humble, when people called out his name.

I remember meeting him on Astor Place right after rereading his book, Downtown: My Manhattan, for the 5th time. Since it starts at Astor Place, it was uncanny to see him strolling by the Public Theater in chinos and a windbreaker. I ran over to him, mortified later, but it was one of those moments it seemed you had no say in.

He was kind and gracious, and though already in his mid 70s, so damned alluring, still possessing that old-fashioned manly spark I’ve come to know and appreciate.

A man’s man, a lady’s knight, a self-made hero for any kid to look up to.

Originally from Brooklyn, raised by loving Irish parents, alongside siblings he stayed close to, married to a woman that, after years gone by, was still crazy about.

He was a friend of Bobby Kennedy, was the one who convinced him to run for president, and was 4 feet from him when he got fatally shot in 1968.

He was the last shred of that momentous history, not to mention, the quintessential, Meat and Potatoes Man.

Godspeed Pete, and thanks. I’ll miss you.

images.jpeg (1935-2020)

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You’re Just Dreamin

I haven’t had a drink in over two years, but dreamt I had gone out, as they say, if you start to drink again.

There I was on a bar stool sipping champagne like a showgirl, the dream so vivid, when I awoke, looked on my nightstand for the empty glass.

After panicking a bit, called a pal who said, “Hey…you’re just dreamin honey.

Then, being the alcoholic that he is asked, “Did it taste good? Did it go down smooth and easy?”

I laughed and said, “Ya know, I really don’t remember.”

He said, “Of course ya don’t. It’s cause, you were just dreamin, honey.” images-3.jpeg






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Drunk, Naked and 16

In front of Starbucks…87th and Third – 6:00 a.m.

I’m watching a young boy stagger down the street with his pants down around his ankles, and he can’t be more than 16. Obviously out all night, a quart of Jameson as his date he’s still clutching protectively.

This is the second Upper East Side kid I’ve seen in somewhat disturbing disgrace, the other, pelting eggs at stunned pedestrians.

I have one question, as mundane as it is…where are the parents? Sleeping at 6 a.m. I’d imagine, but how could you sleep not knowing where your son is?

This is how it starts, addiction in all its debilitating glory.

A stolen bottle of liquor, someone over 21 agreeing to buy him a six-pack of beer. By the time he’s of age, and can buy it himself, he’ll have a good, rooted habit already beneath his belt he sadly, at 16, forgot to put on which is why he’s obliviously mooning all of Third Ave.

I just don’t get it. I wasn’t lucky enough to have children which, from my standpoint, is the ultimate grace.

How can parents be this casual? Makes me think of Columbine and Sandy Hook, when one wonders, how did that happen?

It’s called, not paying enough attention to your kids.

As I stand outside drinking my coffee, no longer able to sit, the booths taped up like a crime scene, I’m watching him careen down the street, stumbling and falling, barely able to hold up his jeans.

It’s breaking my heart, and no, Joan of Arc, or Bark as I’m better known, will not go rescue him, but I’ve prayed in my own scrappy, urban language…

Hey God, wake the fuck up please, and help this kid?   images-2.jpegThank you.


Posted in alcohol, Faith, Family, Home, kids, New York City, parents, religion, words | Tagged , , , , | 49 Comments

Meat and Potato Men

I’m referring to an old-fashioned type of male you don’t see so much anymore.

The man who steps up, no matter what.

The fella who faces the bully, chases the bad guy, who runs into the burning building to save the cat.

He never forgets to call his mom, check the oil, or send flowers on your birthday.

Men who were taught to be men, as part of their heritage.

The kind that come with broad shoulders you can lean on, but still gets misty when his 10 year-old son hits a homer in Little League.

Firefighters, policemen and soldiers fall into that category, the roll up your sleeves type who aren’t afraid to get a little dirty.

Of course there’s also the ‘did well’ politician who doesn’t forget where his roots are, or the one who, despite an impressive lineage, has your back.

If you’re lucky enough to find one of these men, hold onto him, and hopefully, and more than likely, he’ll be a lover of good food, books, old films and a patriot to boot.

He’ll tell you he loves you even at your worse, as he tousles your head and kisses your nose, on his way to help a friend.

Too bad there wasn’t a number you could call to order one, like a good pizza.

1-800 -STRONG MAN…WITH CHEESE   images-1 2.jpeg



Unknown-1.jpeg  IF ONLY!!!






Posted in Books, creative writing, Culture, Faith, Family, grace, History, Home, humanity, inspiration, Love, men, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , | 47 Comments

Best Story of the Week…Raccoons on Parade

Between Covid life, and the heat, people are getting up earlier.

Nature, however, never alters her rhythms, no matter what.

It’s daybreak, the prettiest time of the morning, as I make my way north.

There are bikers to my right, and runners coming towards me as well as those approaching behind.

Suddenly there’s a troop of raccoons images-1.jpegcoming out of the brush, what looks like a mom and her brood, heading home.

Like hearing a shot, we all stop…the bikers putting on their breaks as we runners slow our steps, allowing them to pass.

And they do, on cue, giving no concern to us keeping to their normal schedule.

I half expect mom to wave, as she brings up the rear, making sure her kids, their small, striped heads, are all accounted for.

Must be nice knowing, she never has to worry about any of them leaving the house, without their mask.  images-2



Posted in animals, Beauty, Culture, Family, Fashion, Health, humanity, humor, inspiration, kids, nature, New York City, parents, travel, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 48 Comments

A Little Story I’d Like To Share

UnknownI was on my way to a laundry with my bath mat cradled in my arms, when I happened to pass one I’ve never noticed before.

A tiny, elderly Asian woman was in this little space, all alone folding sheets.

On impulse, I went in.

The whole place seemed as if it was moved by flat truck from another era, from the starkness of the walls to the lone light bulb dangling from the ceiling. But the one thing that you couldn’t miss, was the detectable smell of cleanliness.

My kinda place.

When she saw me, she gently placed her sheet across a table covered with oilcloth, before coming over.

Her tired face greeted me with no expression, when it realized it forgot its mask. I laughed since, this happens to me often, now keeping a spare in my purse.

“How much to wash my mat?” I politely ask.

She takes it, unfolding it like a flag, looks it over and says…

“5 dolla…should be 8, but I…no mind.”

I, of course, immediately fall in love with the Asian Joan of Arc.

Quickly deciding for 5 bucks, rather than sit by a noisy washer/dryer for two hours, can go home to write, said…


She chirps, “Come back…3. “

I thought of her during the day, how hard she must work, yet can still find it in her to be kind to a stranger.

Promptly at 3, I return with a modest box of cookies and a tea bag.

Why modest?

I’ve learned to give appropriately, so not to embarrass nor upset the recipient.

I then watch this tired, old face break into a smile, as she hands me, Mat, who smells like the sea on a sunny, summer’s day.

We’ll be back.

🙂 SB


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The Big Bang

This piece concerns three men:

John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer, Unknown-2 the latter, the former Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo’s disgraced predecessor, who in 2008, stepped down due to his inappropriate sexual conduct rivaling the Marquis de Sade’s.

We’ll get back to him.

Stepping up to the plate, Unknown-1William Jefferson Clinton in 1998, caught literally with his pants down with a young intern a mere seven years younger than his daughter.

Wild Bill HANDCOCK, who didn’t feel oral sex was sex, lying through his moans while on the phone discussing state secrets, loves to say JFK was his hero.

Unknown-1 A photo of him in 1963, meeting JFK at the White House, the role model he appeared to be.

Kennedy’s flagrant in flagrante delicto, Latin for, in blazing offense, is now common knowledge, but not in 1963.

Right before Dallas, a reporter called Bobby at the State Department, saying, they couldn’t cover for his brother’s behavior much longer. J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI, had compiled quite a file he planned making public.

Bobby then went to his father who said, “Who cares how many times Jack gets laid. Good! He should get laid more.”Unknown-1

Meet John and Bobby’s, tossing in Ted’s, role model.images-3

It stayed under wraps longer than it would have if JFK had lived to serve his second term, Hoover was determined to undermine.

Spitzer too was a JFK fan, sometimes screwing three call girls in one day at a hotel, three blocks from his house, so my theory is, they thought banging women over lunch was perfectly acceptable.

You want to feel sorry for their wives, and the only one  deserving is Silda Spitzer, divorcing her Marquis in 2014 she stoically stayed with throughout the scandal for the sake of her three daughters.

But Jackie covered up Jack’s indiscretions creating the myth of Camelot. images-3

‘Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief moment that was known as Camelot.’

Yeah Yeah. King Arthur he wasn’t, but boy could she spin a tale, since she knew all about his bad behavior.

As for Hillary,  images-2 Bubba’s behavior too was no surprise, and like Mrs. Kennedy and many other wives who turn the other way as they buy another dress, as long as they weren’t publicly embarrassed said, have a good time in JFK’s White House pool, that by the time the Clintons arrived, had been turned into the press room, by DICK Nixon.

As for me, I like the connection, putting these three flawed men together.

How history does repeat itself, for better…

or for worse.  images-2


Posted in Books, Culture, History, humanity, men, Politics, readng, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 56 Comments

Things Are Rarely What They Seem

images-3.jpeg John Waters wrote a book called, Mr Know it All.

I could easily pen the sequel…Miss Know it All since, I too think I’m always right.

For instance, the first time I saw the giant blow-up rat perched on the back of a flat truck parked in front of a building, thought it was a Disney promotion.images-3.jpeg


It’s what the Teamsters do to shame a company when hiring nonunion workers.

Donald Trump does not wear a toupee. I would tell people that he did, since, why else would his hair look that way?

Catfish have ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with an actual cat. Yeah, I did think in my youth, it was some poor stray pan fried, served with coleslaw, fries and tartar sauce.

When a woman is referred to as stacked, it has nothing to do with her poker game.

I read, therefore believed, eating cheese before bed will give you nightmares, hence, no pizza for me after 5.


I’m Italian. Talk about post traumatic stress disorder, my Mozzarella light blinking.

Bats are not blind, it’s not why they fly in your window by mistake.

Kim Kardashian did not have an ass transplant.

Eating oysters, if you’re just not in the mood, will not turn you into Mae West. When I think of all those I reluctantly slurped, while waiting for my libido to launch.   images-1.png

Cary Grant is not buried in Grant’s Tomb. I was a kid when I thought this, not realizing he was still alive, as well as when my mother said, I better keep an eye on Barbie and Ken so they didn’t fool around…as shrink number 33 said…

that’s all the time we have for today Susannah…so will that be cash, or a check???



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Hoppy Birdday

It was my birthday, and a friend presented me with a massive bouquet of multicolored gladiolas with stems, almost as tall as me.

I’m from Connecticut, so I can’t show my irritation since, one pink rose would have done it, so instead, politely ooh and ah, blush and gush, tossing them in a cab.

No, not on their own, but I thought about it, not remotely having a vase that big.

Plus, they’re my least favorite flower, famous at Italian funerals where men with too much Brylcreem in their hair and pinkie rings, send them.  images.jpeg

When I get off at my corner, my fruit man says…


“Yes, they sure are Fruity,” my nickname for him.

Suddenly a woman walking two miniature poodles with rhinestone collars that look better than I do, starts speaking to me through her zebra mask, me thinking she’s lecturing because my mask, at this point, is dangling around my neck.

I put the gladdies down, pull it up, apologizing since the last thing this sweaty girl needs is a dress-down from a zebra.

She whips off her mask like Zorro and says…

Nooo, I am saying what BEU-TU-FUL flowers they are. Glod-iolas…my faveadites, and those. Oh my, where ever did you get those?”

I, knowing opportunity when it knocks, say, “They’re your favorites, really? Have you a 7 foot vase by any chance?”

“Sevedal,” she says.

I say, “THEY’RE YOURS!!!”

“Oh no, you mustn’t. They are much to spoctacular to give away.”

“Yes well, it’s my birthday, and it would please me… BELIEVE ME…to give them to you.”

I watch her accept them like a swaddling infant, her poodles watching almost in tears as their mistress thanks me in sevedal different dialects.

When I turn to leave, Fruity is standing behind me, holding a bag.

“HOPPY BIRDDAY,” he says, presenting it like the Noble Peace Prize.

When I peek in and see plums, I smile and think…this is more like it since, I do have the perfect bowl.

Only in New York folks, only in New York. Unknown.jpeg


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Assault and Batteries

I’m in the Park as the sun is coming up, alone except for a pigeon who won’t take no for an answer.

After stretching my calves the size of mangoes from all my years of running, take flight

I see someone in the distance, so up comes my mask.

Many at that hour don’t even bother to bring one, but not Susannah…she obeys the rules.

I swerve right like you should when someone is coming the other way, and though there’s a good 12 feet between us, this woman, with cleavage that shouldn’t be out that early, and a big radio, starts screaming…


Since I was miffed, to say the least, admonished by someone dressed like a porn star, it will explain my next move.


She looks shocked that I’d respond in this manner, dropping her boom box causing the batteries to roll down the road.

Who shall I be?

Joan of Bark, Pollyanna, a handy man poppin back in those batteries?

Then decide, hell…enough is enough, Miss Late Night.


“ADIOS,” she said, through her mask.       


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