Archive for December, 2010

Clap Hands For Tinkerbelle

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Happy New Year

Another one just went Pffssstttt. The calendars are hitting the floor faster and faster these days. And I don’t want to get old. I’m just not going to do it. And you don’t have to either. Big Louie, his own bad self, the Chief Mustard Cutter of the Louie-Louie Generation always says, “Inside every old guy, there’s a young guy scratching his head and asking what happened.”

When I was a very young guy, I met Tinkerbell in a book called “Peter Pan”…and I fell helplessly in love with her. I knew it wasn’t going to work out for us, because she was in love with Peter, even though she knew there wasn’t anything in it for her. She was a fairy and he was a human. No three bedrooms with a white picket fence around it in a set up like that. And besides that, he didn’t really care about her. All he wanted from her was her magic fairy dust so he could keep flying, beat up nasty old Captain Hook, and stay young. Like lots of guys, he was an immature jerk. But she loved him anyway…even though there wasn’t anything in it for her. Nothing. That’s love. Real love. Real magic. What Tinkerbell did for Peter is a lot like what my lady Wonder Wench did for me…when there wasn’t anything in it for her. I’ll tell you about that another time.

Magic lives. Not the pull the rabbit out of the hat kind. That’s not magic, that’s just a good trick. When I say, “Magic Lives,”I’m talking about Tinkerbell’s kind of magic. There’s a huge difference: Trick magic you have to see to believe. Real magic, Tinkerbell’s kind, you have to believe first, before you get to see it. Trick magic is great fun. Real magic keeps you young…and it makes you able to fly.

Some times the magic works better than other times. I don’t think it ever dies. But some times, I think it goes to sleep…Tinkerbelle runs out of fairy dust. 

Or maybe she just gets scared. The book said that if we want to keep Tinkerbell alive, we’ve got to believe in her. And we need to let her know we believe by clapping our hands for her. I think the longer we’re around, the more we‘d better clap our hands for Tink if we don’t want to get old and crumbly. Because the more the physical stuff starts drooping, the more we need the magic to follow Big Louie’s advice: “Enjoy yourself. If you can’t enjoy yourself, enjoy somebody else.”

When you think about it, we all need someone to clap hands for us, to let us know that someone believes in us. What do you do at a concert, or a play, or a ball game ? You applaud the performer to let him know you’ve seen his magic, and it’s wonderful. You let him know you believe in him. If you didn’t applaud, in no time at all Mick Jagger and Tony Bennett, and Indiana Jones would become just another bunch of worn out old men dressed up in funny clothes. We all need someone to clap hands for us…even if we’re alone in life, and that someone has to be just ourselves.

I can still swing a pretty good softball bat, but these days I’m playing first base instead of center field. And I won’t be doing any more pop up slides. I’m a Louie-Louie Generation guy. That means I’m more than a few weeks past my springtime, and there’s nothing I can do about that…except keep believing in magic… keep clapping hands for Tinkerbell. That usually…not always…but usually works for me.

I’m looking at a couple of  “Captain Hook” kind of things that will probably happen to me this coming year, including the probability that I won’t be doing my day job anymore. I’ve been working since I was 13…it’s going to be quite a change, And the fact that I’ll be saving gas money by not having to drive to the bank with my pay check any more somehow isn’t making me feel a lot better. 

My oldest son David has been pointing out that with some extra time, I’ll be able to become the best small plane pilot at my airport. And maybe I’ll be able to finally sit down and write “Bedtime Stories 2.” And it would be nice to take a very long vacation with my Lady Wonder Wench. We haven’t done that in a long time.

And speaking of my LWW, yesterday when I mentioned being worried about getting old, she smiled, did that silk-ey legs walk of hers into the bedroom. And a few minutes later, she clapped her hands a few times, and naturally I went in there to see what she was up to. She had changed into something she likes to call, “A little more comfortable.” It was the outfit that I call her two piece…her slippers.  She then issued me my minimum adult daily requirement of magic, love and fairy dust.

Magic lives. It seems like Tinkerbell sometimes runs out of fairy dust. But she knows where it is, and she knows how to get more…and she probably will if she thinks you believe in her. So I have a simple suggestion for any Louie-Louie Lad or Lady who is alarmed at the thud of another calendar hitting the floor. If you want to avoid being a youngster in a suddenly obsolete body, wondering what happened…if you want to learn to fly, and beat up the Captain Hooks in your life, and stay young…why not take a chance…one more time this year. Clap hands for Tinkerbelle. What have you got to lose ?

I’ll let you know how it works for me.  

Happy New Year

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Screw the cynics. I don’t care if Christ was born on December 25th or not. I don’t want to hear “We know it couldn’t have been in the winter because the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks and so it must have been in the spring…blah, blah, blah.” My Lady Wonder Wench and I have a great Christmas tree; our very old home made star is shining at the top; the living room smells like Santa’s after shave; my brother John and his wife Beth are coming to visit; our friends Bob and Carine, Mike and Ruth, Al and Vigi, Randy and Bernadette will be stopping by, our kids and grandkids will be on the phone, and Lady Wonder Wench has promised to wear her two piece just for me on Christmas Eve. And the Christmas podcast caught some of the magic. So Merry Christmas.

I open presents on Christmas Eve, because ever since Santa brought me a toy airplane that really flew when I was a kid, I lose control of my eyebrows under that kind of pressure. They tend to flip up and down. And my nose and my left ear wiggles. They also do that when my Lady Wonder Wench walks into the room wearing something she says is “a little more comfortable.” Especially when it’s her “two piece.” That’s what I call her slippers. Cynics say “you’ve got to be kidding after you’ve been together all this time.” And in a way, they’re right. I like to kid with people I care about.

When you think about it, Christmas is magic. And like any magic, it depends on making the kid inside us happy. Cynics don’t really think things through. They say things like: “Boiled milk ??? LOUIE…are you nuts ?” “George Herman Ruth, you put that baseball away right this instant. Come in here and study so you can make something of yourself!” “Those nutty bicycle builders Wilbur and Orville were in here at the bank again looking for a loan. I told them to go fly a kite.”

It’s safer being a cynic. They figure, “Why take chances ?” Most new and different ideas fail. So if you’re a cynic you get to say, “Ha…I told you so.” And if it doesn’t fail, you get to point out that it’s not perfect. You get to say things like, “Hey… did you hear…there was another plane crash. Those Wright guys should be STOPPED.”

Cynics really can’t stand Christmas wrapping paper. “Why put fancy paper around that box. Somebody’s just going to tear it off anyway.” And cynics would freak at the way Santa gives my Lady Wonder Wench her present from me. He tucks a note into her Christmas stocking with a clue to where it’s hidden. That clue leads to another note hidden somewhere else. There are usually four or five clues she has to follow to find her present. It makes her laugh. And I love her Christmas laugh. 

Cynicism is not a childhood disease. You have to “Grow Up” to get it. There are no cynical kids. That’s one of the things that makes Christmas special. For a little while we get to feel like kids. That’s especially good for those of us who are members of the Louie-Louie Generation. We’ve arrived at a time when our lives are really clicking…our knees, our fingers, our necks…we’re a noisy bunch. We’d be in really big trouble if wrinkles hurt. 

You also have to Give Up to become a cynic. Columbus couldn’t have been a cynic. He said, “I’m going to sail west to get to India which is east of here.” The cynics said, “Go ahead, but I’m not going with you because you’ll just sail off the edge of the earth.” But he went anyway and eventually landed in San Salvador, thought it was India and claimed it for Spain, and has ever since been given credit for discovering America, although there were lots of people already here who discovered it a long, long time ago. If Columbus were a cynic, he wouldn’t have gone because he’d have been afraid that other guys in puffy hats and pantaloons would laugh at him…and we’d still be speaking Iroquois.

Speaking of speaking, I hope you’ll take the time to give a listen to the current podcast. There is some Christmas stuff in it that I really want to tell you about, but I just can’t put into writing. Funny thing about my head. It would rather use my mouth than my fingers when I’m telling you something that comes from my heart. And that’s where I’ve kept Christmas ever since I first heard Mom and Dad helping Santa put up the tree downstairs in our Brooklyn living room all those years ago.

I really don’t care when Christ was born. I don’t even care if Christ was the “Son of God.” He gave us lots of good ideas and lots of love. So of course the cynics crucified Him. Because cynics are always afraid of new ideas. And there’s no room at all for love in a cynic’s life. Love is reckless and hot. And cynics are always carefully Kool.

I figure, even if you don’t believe in Christ, you’ve got to admit His birthday celebration is pretty neat. So is Hanukkah, Qwanza, Solstice, and any other holiday that involves music, candles, good stuff to eat, and loving. Lots of loving.

So, screw the cynics. Merry Christmas.

Christmas Tender-Tough

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

We made it. And it was beautiful. The trip to New York for the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall was tough on my Lady Wonder Wench, because she’s been having trouble walking any distance/speed since her horseback accident a couple of years ago. We knew about the crowds because when I worked at NBC radio, the studios were right across the street from the Rock Center tree.

 The only good thing about 9-11, was the fact that the rest of the country got to see that New Yorkers aren’t really the nasty, rude, and dishonest creeps that the media usually shows. We’re in a hurry, because there are 14 million of us, and it seems like we all have to cross the same street corner at the same time, so there’s no time to waste. And I think 13 of the 14 million were there last night…looking at the tree…laughing, singing, whistling, staring at the tree and at each other, and wishing each other Merry Christmas. 

 The show inside the Music Hall was…spectacular. The hall itself is amazing. The stage has elevators that lift the 40 piece orchestra out of the pit, and up to stage level. It’s such an amazing piece of machinery, that during WW2, the stage was guarded by the US military, because we were using that same, secret technology to lift aircraft from below to the flight decks on our carriers. There was a dazzling Santa arrival in 3D, and then in person…and flying singers…and the Rockettes.

 And you would have been proud of my Lady Wonder Wench…I certainly was. She looked Christmas Angel beautiful, which is never easy I guess…but especially when you’re having trouble walking in hustle-bustle crowds like that. It was tough, but she was tender-tougher.

 Christmas is like that anyway. Tender-tough. Joseph couldn’t have been overjoyed at the fact that his wife gave birth to a baby in a stable. And what’s it like when you’re out of work on Christmas…or sick…or just lonely and scared because somebody you love is fighting a war for…something…somewhere very far away.

 On that subject…what’s this Christmas like for you ? What are the ghosts of your Christmas pasts telling you. And what are your “Hopes and joys” for Christmases yet to come ? I’d love to have  you add them to this blog. Just scroll down to the “Comments” icon, click on it, and leave your word processor jingle bells. Or send them to

And please grab a moment for this week’s podcast. There’s some Christmas music on it that you can’t buy.

 I’m beginning to think that maybe Christmas is just whatever you make of it. And I’m very thankful and glad that we made it last night. Together. Again. My Lady Wonder Wench and me. It has been a lot of years now. It was truly beautiful.

As my friend Neil Braverman says…”Oi!”

That’s New York talk. And it means,  we wish you and yours, such a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Our Rock Center Christmas Trip

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

As soon as I finish typing this, I’m taking my Lady Wonder Wench to see the Rockerfeller Center tree, and then to the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall. We’ll be taking the Amtrak to Penn Station. It’ll be a trip back in time for us. She used to come with me often when I worked at WNBC. The station was literally across the street from the Rock Center tree, in the RCA building. We used to look forward to walking past the tree on the way to the station every Christmas season.

 WNBC was one of the two stations I listened to when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn. WNEW was the other. So walking past the tree to work at WNBC was like a very special Christmas gift every year.

 I did the voiceover for the Rock Center tour video a few years ago. Part of the fee, was tickets for the Christmas show. We took all our grandkids. It was wonderful…as in an experience that was full of wonder.

 Our granddaughter Erin always wanted to taste roasted chestnuts…as in “Chestnuts roasting by an open fire….” So we found a street vendor selling them, and bought her some. (They were awful.)

 Our trip today is just my Lady Wonder Wench and me. I’m a little concerned, because there will be a considerable amount of walking involved, and she’s had lots of trouble with that ever since her horseback accident a couple of years ago. But she’s in the other room right now, putting on her soft green cashmere Christmas sweater with the Christmas tree pin that I got her years ago. And she’ll be wearing her Scotch Plaid pleated skirt… just like the one she wore all those years ago in Boston…and her new soft, black leather boots. She’s beautiful.

 The weather is New York iffy tonight. Rain/snow is probable. Taxis are hard enough to find any time, but trying to get one after the show is a special challenge. And with her problem walking…I’m a little worried. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

 I know, that she knows how special going back to Rock Center at Christmas will be for me. And I know that’s one of the reasons she wants to do this.

 I guess that qualifies as a Christmas story from me. And my thanks to those of you who put Christmas stories of your own in the comments at the bottom of last week’s blog. I hope you’ll do the same this week. Just scroll down to where it says “comments” and…comment. Or, send an Email to

 The podcast this week is a special one. It includes my favorite Christmas recording…ever.  I hope you’ll give it a listen.

 I’ll add a Dickie-Quickie to let you know how our Rock Center trip works out. Time to catch the one horse open Amtrak.

  As I said, please keep your fingers crossed for my Lady. She’s Christmas beautiful.


Saturday, December 4th, 2010

December weather here in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains is usually quiet, gray and dreary. But Santa swashbuckles in here with a big red suit, green, gold and silver wrapped presents, and happy music made by symphony orchestras with choirs, rock bands, and even chipmunks. And there’s no ducking away from him to go suck your thumb and put the back of your hand to your head, and cry in your beer…because “He sees you when you’re sleeping…he knows when you’re awake….” no matter where you are, he’s going to pop up, and lay a ho ho ho on you if you give him a chance. I know things are tough this year, but no matter how tough things may be…the price is right…so you may as well give him a shot.

Santa is lots of things to lots of people. But he pretty often gets a bum rap. He gets the blame for all the tasteless, crass, loud tv commercials for “The Biggest Sale Of The Year.” He also has to take the fall for “Taking Christ out of Christmas.” I think he deserves better. I think it’s time to thank Santa, because that stuff is not his fault.

Santa is a connector. Every year…no matter how old you are…he connects you to who you were when you got your first electric trains… a sled…or a bike under the tree…or your first Christmas kiss. And most important, he’s the connection to that distinct Christmas Eve “tuck you – in – so – Santa – can – come – with – his – reindeer – and – presents” feeling that your parents gave you. It was so safe…and happy…and real. And Santa helps you pass all that along to your kids…every Silent Night.

Of course, “He knows when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” Not a bad reminder for us “Louie-Louie Generation” folks. Sometimes we slip. We tell terrible Christmas puns like, “As Adam said the day before Christmas, “It’s Christmas, Eve.” I know. That’s awful.

There’s also the one about how the custom of putting an angel at the top of the tree started. It seems one Christmas Eve, Santa was really harried. Mrs. Claus had burned the Fruit Cakes, the Elves were upset at their HMO providers, and one of Santa’s sleigh runners was broken. Just then, the angel he’d sent to bring home a Christmas tree walked in with the tree and said, “Where would you like me to put this tree, Santa ?” And so, the tradition of the angel at the top of the tree the twas born.

Groans are ok…BUT NO POUTING ! Remember…“You better not pout, you better not cry…”yeah…we do too much whining and not enough smiling the rest of the year. Christmas is a very good time to turn that around.

One way to do that is something I put in the current podcast. I call it, “Pick a person.” Check out the podcast please. Because Pick a person is a guaranteed simple way to put your pouts away. Please check it out in the current podcast.

I’ve asked you to send your favorite Christmas story to , or just add it to the Comments section at the end of the blog.

SO…….THIS JUST IN…a comment from my friend Paul Berge:

“You have to “Grow Up” to “get it.” No wonder I still don’t “get it,” Dick. I refuse to grow up. I still want a BB gun at Christmas and even if I do shoot my eye out, at least I got the BB gun.

“You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”And real Lionel trains under the tree…

“You have to “Grow Up” to get it.”And screw WDM, I still have faith that we’ll eventually find Xray glasses that really work….

And realize that Bosco is far superior to CocoMarsh…

And the ‘59 Chevy was the best car ever…

And Sandy Becker would’ve made a better Pope than that German guy…

And Yoohoo in bottles…

And Three Musketeers bars for a nickel…

And nickels…

And singing harmony on a warm summer evening out on the stoop…

And nuthin’ to do…

And no guilt about doin’ it.

Merry All them holidays.


Paul Berge
Ahquabi House Publishing, LLC

 I guess you can tell that I like Santa. I’ve been one of his helpers for a lot of years. But there’s something I like even more about this time of the year. It’s hard to put it into words. It’s a feeling. Like that Silent Night feeling I was telling you about before. It happens like magic every year, when my Lady Wonder Wench and I go for our traditional Christmas flight in our little airplane.

 So I’m trusting Santa to bring us a clear, calm, moonlit, easy “flying night” in the next week or so.

 I think he will. Because it’s a feeling I don’t ever want to lose. And Santa is a connection to feelings like that. If all goes well, I’ll tell you about it next time.

 Merry Christmas/Hanukah/Solstice/Kwanza to all…and to all, a Good Night.