Tag Archives: St. Francis de Sales

The Hungry Wolf

Well I just got back from a fun visit with Harpy to the American Museum of Natural History. It’s a great place to visit, to see your relatives. Always busy and always crowded though.

The first time I had ever gone to the museum was on a class trip with St Francis de Sales in 4th or 5th grade. Somehow they had gotten it together and got a bus or two full of students into the city which was not as kid friendly as it is now.

Eventually, we were herded together into the museum and the Hayden Planetarium. It must have been 5th grade because word was Jimmy Murray had copped a feel on a girl during the planetarium show in the dark.

He said he did, whether or not that was true remains unknown. She was a girl that I recently re-friended on Facebook and if we ever meet again I’ll have to ask her.

I do remember the big blue whale in a great hall. Not as darkly lit as it was today. Creating an environment that looked as natural as possible wasn’t a concern then.

The other thing I mainly remember was most of the boys fleeing from the class mother, Mrs. Munafo and running wild up and down the stairwells in the museum creating a ruckus.

The second time was probably 15 years ago with Meghan Taylor, the funniest girl alive. Meghan and I took Meghan’s daughter Lily to the museum. I believe it may have been an early spring day, with Meghan and myself pushing Lily in her stroller.

Meghan and I enjoyed ourselves as did Lily. The main thing I remember from that is that the three of us with our Irish faces looked like a family which cause a few other people to comment on what a lovely family we were. We didn’t discourage them.

That is when Lily became my ersatz daughter basically. We decided to run with that and we are still running to this day. The other time was when I took Perry Brody for a trip to the museum.

Perry lived around the block from me in Weehawken, the son of Cheryl Welch and the late Don Brody. Cheryl thought I would make for a good male role model in Perry’s life at that time and a trip to the city sounded like a fun idea.

Perry must have been around 6 or 7 at the time. We rode in on the bus and took a subway. I chose the first car of the train and Perry and I stood looking out the door window next to the engineer. It had a roller coaster effect that we both enjoyed.

Perry, of course loved the museum but we had to hurry through the dinosaur skeletons since they were a bit overpowering and scary for his young mind. Basically I picked him up and hustled him from one end of the hall to the other which his face buried in my shoulder.

After that was a trip to a playground in Central Park where Perry fell and nicked his knee. He cried a bit so I made it looked like I had hurt myself too and I wasn’t crying, so why should he?

It seemed to have worked but that was the last time I ever went anywhere with Perry. I did babysit a few times for him and his sister Molly though where I was declared to be cooler than Coolio.

I went once again after going with Perry, this time with Annemarie and Earl when he was a kid. Another good time with Anne and Earl but the main thing I remember was running around in the summertime heat in the Diana Ross playground, getting wet in the sprinklers.

So today was a visit with Harpy and it was a lot of fun. But by the end after schlepping around the museum, dodging strollers and restraining ourselves from braking the mini-mega phones that a few kids had going on and on, we were exhausted.

We parted ways, Harpy and I. He getting on the C train heading uptown and me trekking south to get a hot dog at Gray’s Papaya. Most of the pictures were posted on Facebook but there are some posted here as well.

This is actually from yesterday. They were all startled by a pigeon.

This is actually from yesterday. They were all startled by a pigeon.

8.31.09 AMNH with Harpy 001

8.31.09 AMNH with Harpy 014

Does anybody really know what day it is?

Does anybody really know what day it is?

John Ozed time!

John Ozed time!

Napping guard in the Amazonian room

Napping guard in the Amazonian room

8.31.09 AMNH with Harpy 025

8.31.09 AMNH with Harpy 026





Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan

♫ 3 Buffalo Gals go round the outside ♪

♫ 3 Buffalo Gals go round the outside ♪

Hanging with a bear

Hanging with a bear

Me and my wolf brethren

Me and my wolf brethren

An unhappy Toltec god about to take his revenge

An unhappy Toltec god about to take his revenge

the ancestors

the ancestors

Great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great ad infinitum grandma and grandpa

Great great great great great great great great great great great great great great great ad infinitum grandma and grandpa

Dear sweet Lucy

Dear sweet Lucy

'You're a pest'

'You're a pest'



I heart BATS

I heart BATS

The magnificent Blue Whale

The magnificent Blue Whale

8.31.09 AMNH with Harpy 090

Blue Whale belly!

Blue Whale belly!

Harpy on the Moon

Harpy on the Moon

That is it!

That is it!

(Not Just) Knee Deep

Night Owl Edition, you can pick it up at the Saddle Brook Diner for 5 cents. This is the updated version of that, only it’s free. You just need a computer and access to the Internets.

I just got back from Bergen County. Spent a good part of the afternoon with my brother Brian, who I think is a really good guy and a really good friend. I didn’t always think that way, especially after having to share a bedroom with him for the first quarter or so of my life.

It was a very hot day today, close to 90 degrees before noon. And of course, 100% hummus. Brian was picking me up around 2:00 so I had some errands to run.

To the library to return the Tom Waits biography which I wasn’t finished with. That was OK since I ordered another copy from another library. You can only renew items twice and I hit my limit and decided to go to the well again.

Then a walk to the supermarket, by which time I was totally drenched. I probably sweated off a few pounds too. I advised the cashier to stay after her shift since it was so hot out. She laughed.

Back home, carrying juices up four flights of steps. I was able to rest for awhile before Brian phoned to tell me he was outside in his air conditioned van waiting.

I was happy that before I did anything today, I installed the air conditioner in the window this morning and was humming along quite nicely.

A cool ride up to Hillsdale with Brian where we caught up on various events in our lives with Karen, Brian’s wife. The three of us chatting in a nice air conditioned living room. Their daughters Hillary and Cassie soon joined us, more catching up then dinner.

After that Brian and I got in the car and drove down to Paramus. My brother Frank and his wife Elaine were there as were all the children of Jim & Irene Grant.

Growing up, my family and the Grant family were very close. They had six kids to our four, but the ages between both groups of kids were close enough for most of us to play together growing up. And we all went to St. Francis de Sales school in Lodi.

I reconnected with the 2 youngest daughters Irene and Kathy when my father passed away and met them in Hoboken a few times for drinks at McSwells.

So there was some catching up with the two of them, as well as meeting Jimmy, Jeannie, Robert and William as well. Each time they said they last saw me when I was a little more than knee high.

Mrs. Grant sat in the front row, eyesight failing. She seemed to recognize me and we had a very brief chat. I always loved her, she used to watch me until my mother came home from work sometimes.

Always a kind and gracious lady, volunteered at the hospital when my brother Frank had his stroke and made a point to seek him out to see if he needed anything.

It was a mish mosh of jokes and memories.

As I get older, perhaps as we get older, wakes although sad, are also social events, reconnecting and remembering mostly good times.

I’ve gone to a lot of wakes in my life, the first one I remember is my Aunt Madeline. I must have been 4 or 5, she was in her coffin, blue dress, pearls and her white hair, resting in a box.

For me, wakes aren’t creepy, they’re obligations.

I am in no rush to fulfill any more obligations, so if any of you are reading this, don’t die. Please.

Pieces of What

It’s a Monday and it’s been a gorgeous day as well. That hardly ever happens, a pleasant Monday. I guess not going in to work might help.

Last night Bill and I watched Lawn Hors d’œuvre: Criminal Malcontent which was good. Bravo has back to back episodes and Bill has a thing for Chris Noth.

It was enjoyable. I try to ween myself off the Lawn Hors d’œuvre franchise but Bill loves to watch it so I indulge.

After that was True Blood which was most excellent. So excellent that when something was revealed at the end I stomped my feet in approval which surprised Bill somewhat. Oh it was just so good. Things are getting more intense and getting bloodier too.

Hung was good but I didn’t really play that much attention. Same with Entourage but I did pay a little bit more attention. Bill and I stayed up later than usual since he’s off of work this week and me, I’m unemployed.

I plan on going in to the office tomorrow just to check in with Greg Stevens, letting him know what’s going on. I have no phone for me, no desk computer so what is the point? I figure I’ll make more of an impact with my absence.

Today was a busy day for me on Facebook. Some former classmates from St. Francis de Sales grammar school started a Facebook group and I joined. Suddenly I was inundated by these former classmates.

It was good to see who was up to what. A few divorces, and I was surprised by the fact that a few of them were Republicans. Still they are just Facebook friends now.

There are a few I’d like to meet again, and a few I would be wary about. The ones I would be wary about are the ones who went to the same high school as me, Paramus Catholic Boys Prep School.

When we all meet up again in September 1976 we were all assigned different home rooms and I basically never hung out with my grammar school classmates again. I found other friends, whereas they all basically hung out together those years of high school.

They were mostly from the other side of Lodi anyhow. I did meet 2 of them at the awful reunion I attended in 2000. I was talking to one of them, Jimmy B, who then called the other one over, Santo M. Santo’s first thing out of his mouth was ‘Who said I was gay?’

To prove he wasn’t gay he motioned over to his wife with the big chest. I was pretty much wired and stood near the bar, drinking nips of Heineken and being the only one tipping at an open bar, leaving the other customers to wonder why they weren’t getting the service I was getting.

It was good to make contact with most of these grammar school friends. Some of them still live in Lodi with their kids. No overtures about meeting up so far. I’m sure someone will suggest meeting up at the Crow’s Nest or somewhere out there.

I just wonder whatever happened to Jim Carley from Harrington Park and John Nesselt of Glen Rock and Kevin Wagner of Saddle Brook NJ & Orlando FL. Those were the 3 guys that I hung out with each semester. After graduation from high school they seemed to have vanished off the face of the earth.

I did work with Kevin at HBJ. He was hurt that I didn’t tell him I was gay, we drifted apart from that moment.

Their names never come up on Facebook or Google, and I’ve searched a few times throughout the years. I’m sure if I was looking for Mrs. Talamini I’d have no problem digging her up.

***Jim Carley died of a heart attack in 1997 while jogging. John Nesselt still does not want to be found, and neither does Kevin Wagner.***

Miss Gaudio's class Grade 4A 1971-72

Miss Gaudio's class Grade 4A 1971-72

Miss Vendermere's 5th grade class 1972-73

Miss Vendermere's 5th grade class 1972-73

Don’t Feel Like Dancin’

Well I didn’t do much at all today. Bill and I stayed local. Most of the day, local meant staying in the apartment. I was itchy to go out, if not the city then Hoboken. Anywhere rather than staying in. Bill napped, I finished off the Lord of the Rings. Got choked up again at the end, Frodo going off to the undying lands.

I avoided the Jerry Lewis telethon. A few years ago I got caught up in it and donated some money. But that was when I was living in Weehawken and everything was cheaper. This time of year is aways tinged with despair. It always signified the end of summer, which technically it isn’t. The whole sinking feeling of having to go back to school.

Bill and I walked around Hoboken and that was the subject at hand. Of course the mention of my having to be pried off the fence at St. Francis de Sales at the beginning of the school year was brought up. Me horizontal being held by someone deaf to my screams and cries. Yes, that’s when the whole abandonment issues started up I guess.

Growing up, this weekend was when the VFW Post 3484 had their annual picnic in Saddle Brook County Park. Fried foods, shucked clams, playing in the Saddle River, drunken veterans occasionally smacking their wives and getting thumped by quite a few not as drunk fellow veterans.

Eventually the adults realized that they would have to go home with their families, the kids whining, the parents buzzed. Keep in mind, this was the 1970’s, and if you were pulled over by the police for drunk driving, you would more than likely be told to drive home directly.

I really hated school. All of my life I hated it. It was a source of torment and bad feelings a lot of the time. Maybe it was me not being a good student, maybe I had lousy teachers. When I was given the opportunity to go to college, or actually when college was mentioned as a choice I rejected it. If I hated going to school when it was mandatory, it would be a waste of money for me to go and continue my education.

I think I chose wisely on that front. Still that horrible feeling over Labor Day weekend hits me every year. Talking about it absolutely helped and I walked Bill over to the Path train and found a quiet spot on the river where I smoked a Padron and read the New Yorker and watched a helicopter get dangerously close to various boats and buildings on the Manhattan side of the Hudson. Scary to watch but nothing bad happened.

I also seemed to be the only one paying attention. Ran into Rand and Lisa as we walked along Sinatra Drive. They were headed in the opposite direction. We walked over to Castle Point Terrace, a block of some really nice buildings by Stevens Tech.

That came about from a few days ago when I asked Bill if he could live anywhere in Hoboken where would it be. He said Garden Street because of the trees, I mentioned up where were were. Big old buildings, pre war. Nice and semi secluded.

And Sarah Palin is going to be a grandmother! How happy she must be for her 17 year old unwed daughter. Everyone’s happy about it! Abstinence only education works! Yeah!

Heaven on Their Minds

On this day in 1992, the Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issues a letter to American bishops stating that the homosexual condition is disordered and homosexual activity should not be condoned, that the homosexual inclination is itself intrinsically disordered, and homosexual acts can “in no case…be approved of.”

Yes listen to the child molesters in their gold palaces wearing gowns and taking orders from a former Hitler Youth evil queen in Prada shoes. I wanted to be a priest at some point in my life. I thought I had the calling but I think it turned out to be a wrong number.

I was raised in the catholic church. My father was a member of the Holy Name Society and my mother was in the Rosary Society. I used to go to Novenas with my mother, just to get out of the house and also to witness the mystery of the mass. I loved the whole pageantry, the stations of the cross, Advent, even the Lenten season.

I was taught by nuns at St. Francis de Sales and I was also beaten by nuns. I was always interested in mythology and though I didn’t realize it then, the things I was saying and hearing at Mass were just a different mythology from Greek/Roman/Norse mythology, and those stories were more entertaining than the christian stories.

I loved the stories, but actually I liked the movies based on the stories. King of Kings, The Ten Commandments, The Robe. I was confirmed as a soldier of Christ, taking the confirmation name of Matthew since my original confirmation name of Joshua was deemed too Jewish by my parents.

I studied the hundred of questions, memorized them since the word was during the confirmation mass, if the bishop asked you one of the questions and you didn’t answer correctly, he would slap you. I learned that anyone could baptize in an emergency, all you needed was water and some holy words. That seemed cool and I kept an eye out for a while, for people who looked like they were about to die unbaptized. Oh how I wanted to baptize someone.

There were different feast days celebrated, singing ‘Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today/Queen of the angels/Queen of the May’ in May since that was Mary’s month.

In fifth grade the priests came around to my class and asked the boys who wanted to be altar boys. All the boys raised their hands except for me. I knew better. Both my brothers were altar boys and from what I gathered it was more a pain in the ass than anything.

I didn’t want to get up early on a Sunday morning to do the 6:00AM mass. No way. Plus I had seen my mother ironing the cassocks that my brothers had to wear and I felt she needed some time away from all that. Most of the boys dropped out of the altar boy program eventually.

I recall reading the book of the movie, The Omen which scared me quite a bit. Enough that I insisted that my mother take me to confession right away. She drove me to the closest church, Sacred Heart, aka Jesus in a glass elevator.

We made it in time for a Saturday night confession. I went in first saying the same thing I always said, Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been three weeks since my last confession I have lied, I have cursed and plotted to take over the world.

Three Hail Mary’s, three Glory Be’s and three Our Fathers and I was redeemed. My mother who also confessed, told the priest that I insisted on going to confession right away. The priest was impressed. On the way home my mother asked why I felt it was so important and I told her it was from reading The Omen. She was disappointed. I was happy to be saved from the clutches of the satanic toddler named Damian.

As time went on I started to get tired of hearing the same stories year after year and began to resent the intrusion of the church in my day to day life. I had graduated from a catholic grammar school to a catholic high school where none of the boys were interested in much of anything except heavy metal and drugs. I don’t even think girls mattered to them. I know they didn’t matter to me.

The beginning of the end of my catholic childhood came in sophmore year, when we had to write term papers on different religions. I was assigned the Lutheran faith. I found myself agreeing with some of the things Martin Luther had said, the church being corrupt and how you don’t need a priest to be able to talk to god.

Then with my sexuality placing me in an undesirable camp for the Holy Roman Apostolic church I knew it was over. I never looked back.

9/11 moved me from the agnostic camp to the atheist camp, when I realized that religion divides and causes a lot of pain and suffering and it simply wasn’t worth my time. Now the whole idea of religion annoys me.

Last night’s storm

Here Comes The Summer

For some reason, Everything’s Gone Green by New Order is a perfect morning song for me. I don’t know why but it really gets me going, or at least it did this morning. Last night was more of the same, Daily Show, Colbert Report, Keith Olbermann. All rather hum drum I’d say.

I did watch Fear Itself, a Night Gallery, Twilight Zone type of show, scary stories for a spring night. I tried watching it last week but I didn’t care much. Last night I watched and it was surprisingly good. Good story, murderer somehow switches bodies with an innocent guy during a car accident.

Murderer behind bars with the innocent guy’s mind while the innocent guy is with his family with the murderer’s mind inside. A very good twist at the end. It wasn’t perfect but it was pretty edgy, especially when you’re rooting for the murderer in the final showdown, then the twist which I didn’t see coming, hence it being a twist.

After the news, it was bedtime for me. I’ve been sleeping really well and getting up in a good mood, ok, a decent mood a little after 6:00. I found myself this morning leaving early rather than waiting for 7:00 to come rolling around. Bus ride was pleasant and uneventful, I was reading about Hugo Chavez in the New Yorker.

I played more New Order walking across town to work and found that it’s basically a six minute walk from 42nd Street and Third Avenue to 50th Street and Third Avenue. I timed it by listening to the Perfect Kiss by New Order. I had hoped to get out of work early today, I was aiming for 2:00. That didn’t work so I left at 4:00.

Walked back across town, listening to N*E*R*D* and enjoying a nice Padron 5000 cigar. Back to the nonsense of dealing with NJ Transit. Bus driver wouldn’t open the doors for ten minutes, waiting for a line to form behind me. I read Nic Sheff’s memoir of his drug addiction, knowing that he must be alright since he lived to write the book. Such a dark tale from a young man.

It’s graduation night at Hoboken High School, boys and girls in caps and gowns milling about outside the school. I congratulated them as I passed through the crowds. Last night as I was checking my email, I received a notice from Classmates.com. I sort of signed up for it, more interested in the kids I went to grammar school with than the ones I went to high school with.

The website was always after me to upgrade my membership but I never did. Last week they sent me a password so I went onto the site. I checked out a few friends, including Donna Rinaldi, one of my two girlfriends from the past. I also received a message from Andrea Voto, who was also a pal from back then.

It’s been 32 years since I last saw her and sent her a nice message in return, giving her a quick catch up on what’s been going on in my life. Who knows where that will go, if it goes? It would be interesting to see where our lives took us after our Bicentennial graduation, or it could be quite painful. I did mention that those days were some of the happiest days of my life. But you can’t go home again, and I ain’t never going back to my old school.


They shut it down.

My Squelchy Life

Well it’s Wednesday again in case you didn’t know that already. The last day of April. Tomorrow is May day. Fly the red flag. Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains! That used to inspire me, now I’m too busy. I waited for the revolution, but it never came so I moved on. I wouldn’t say I was impatient, but I was ready.

Bill came home last night and we watched the Olivia Show, aka Lawn Hor d’oeuvre SUV. It had the special guest star of Robin Williams who is really good at playing psychotic. He’s funny doing stand up but I really can’t think of any of his movies that were really funny from start to finish. At least any that I have seen. It was good throughout until the end which was completely flaccid. Stabler: He got away. Olivia: If he was cuffed and ran into the water he’s dead. That was it. They didn’t look, they just walked away from the waterside.

You know he’ll be back in the future such a devious villain. But the detectives walked away from the water, no calling in for back up or a search team. Extremely weak, and I even said so to Bill as the show ended. Such cheese. Robin Williams handcuffs outrunning Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay. Went to bed after that. Sleeping really well and waking up refreshed. Not questioning it, blind acceptance. Not hustling to get to the office either. I still get there before everyone and I’m in by 8:30 rather than 8:00.

Bill and I talked a bit about Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s former Pastor. I saw Wright on Bill Moyers last Friday night and he seemed like a reasonable man, I agreed with a lot of what he had said. A little over 48 hours and I was convinced the man was a stark raving loon. I was put off on Monday morning’s clips of Wright imitating JFK’s Boston speech pattern, and then after watching the other clips on the Daily Show I was sure he was an asshole. I felt terrible for Obama.

Bill grew up with Pastor’s like that, foaming at the mouth types. My Pastor, Thomas Lennon had to be checked repeatedly to see if his heart was still beating. Always seen with a cigar except in church, Father Lennon would walk through my grammar school, St. Francis de Sales, smoking a stogie. No one minded or complained, that was when everyone smoked. Apparently there’s a David Sedaris article in the New Yorker about smoking. At least that’s what was written in the awful Gawker website. I call it awful since they never publish my comments, so fuck ’em.

I’m going to McSwells this Friday to see Nick Lowe. My pasts imploding. McSwells, Nick Lowe… I got the tickets for brother Brian and his wife Karen, I was going to give them to them as an anniversary gift, but since there is more trouble at home, Karen’s watching the delinquent and Brian is going out. I’m looking forward to spending time with Brian. We get along now, a lot better than we did when we were growing up together. But that’s a whole ‘nother story. A good one too!