Archive for December, 2014

Wonder Wench Writes…

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

…as usual she gets the last word(s):


Only true Louie Louie Lads and Lasses understand the importance of that fact.  Fruits and vegetables – FRESH fruits and vegetables – in the winter were nearly unheard of when I was a kid.  To get an orange at Christmas was the height of decadence.  Oh, I remember how special we all felt because my folks got oranges for my brothers and me.And my very own Lad did it again this year.  So hang your hat on that one, Big Louie! Of course, he also got me other things, but . . . ah, oranges . . .Happy New Year to everyone – and an orange in every stocking.

Happy New Year from LWW, Big Louie and me.


Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Proud Podcast Person Carole M. sent a note that will twang a few memories. It’s in reply to the current podcast:

My parents and my brother NEVER  sang “Old Lang Syne” – not ever. I do feel their presence often – especially on New Years’ Eve.  Once my brother and I left the nest, it was de rigeur for us to call to wish our parents (and later on, just Mom) a “Happy New Year” just after midnight.  
Your latest blog brought long-forgotten memories cascading into my head.  Wonderful things not thought about in years.
When I was young, New Years’ Eve at our house was a big deal.  My favorite aunt, who lived in the Bronx, would get on the subway and get off at Katz’ deli on the Lower East Side to pick up copious amounts of corned beef, pastrami, cocktail franks, sour pickles, rye bread,etc etc.  She would reboard the train, schlepping all that stuff,  and take it to the end – Coney Island, where she would hop a bus to get to our place.
My folks and my aunt would sit at the dining room table (TV on, of course) and play penny ante poker till the wee hours of the morning, just stopping to toast one another and us kids a  Happy New Year.  We even got our own beverages – fancy tall “highball” glasses with ginger ale, fruit juice, and a maraschino cherry! (Such a big deal!)   The next day, around midday, it would start again!  This time, cocktail franks and deli mustard first, followed by everything else being laid out for everyone to help themselves – and more penny ante poker.  Dad would break away to watch a few of the football games.
You also reminded me of Y2K – and my mother (who had recently become computer literate) asking from her bed at Calvary Hospice on January 1 if we “made it”. (Did the computers keep on working??!!!)  Mom passed away on January 4, 2000 – and I still miss her every day.
My husband and I have our own New Years’ ritual.  We go out for a sushi dinner at a small favorite local place, then head home to watch a movie.  At precisely 11:55, we turn on one of the TV channels to watch the ball drop, and count in the New Year.  We always have a nicely chilled bottle of our favorite bubbly to toast with. Maybe a few hors d’oeuvres.  Perhaps it’s just us — but it seems that the TV programs aren’t very enjoyable these days — so we put on an old movie (I love Fred Astaire) and then head off to bed.
We look forward to the promise of a New Year hopefully, but not with the excited anticipation of the young.  I think that’s as it should be.
Dick – thanks for all you do. I know I speak for those of us in your “Huddle” who look forward to a new podcast each week (and enjoy the “Dickie Quickies in between).
Wishing you and your Lady a Happy and Healthy New Year!!!


Monday, December 29th, 2014

Proud Podcast Person Bruce D. sent a thought worthy of Big Louie: “Never buy a car you can’t push.”

Auld Lang Syne Magic

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

I’ve been writing this blog and doing the podcast that goes with it, sitting here in my big, comfortable, manly, black leather poppa chair in my living room for quite a while now. Not long enough to call it a “once upon a time time,” but it was a long time ago. You think about things like that when a New Year pops up on the calendar. “Once upon a time.” To lots of people it was a long ago “once upon a time” that the numbers on our years started with a one instead of a two. When you think “What’s today’s date?” do you sometimes still come up with a 19 something? I think most of us in the Louie Louie Generation stumble on that one once in a while. The last time it really was a 1900 something was 1999 of course, which was the year today’s high school fifteen year old kids were born. How did you get along all the way back then without your smart phone, or your car GPS, or your email, your texting, or your Netflix? Did you like your video tape recorder, and your fax machine, and how hard was it to learn to use Windows 98? One of the stories I remember best from all the way back in 1999 was how everybody was scared that our computers wouldn’t be able to handle the year 2000. Bill Clinton was impeached in 1999, and Wayne Gretzy retired…and Boris Yeltzen did too. That was the year Putin took over in Russia. And there was a nasty war going on in Kosovo. We’re pretty far along in the 2000s now… and we’re adding a new number now, a big, glistening 15. Starting a brand New Year…a brand new chapter in the story of our lives. What kind of an ending will this chapter have for you? What will happen to you? Big Louie says, “Better yet, what will you make happen?” And he also says, “You never know when something wonderful is going to happen.” He’s always saying that. If you don’t know about Big Louie yet, please look up my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot on He also says, “Some magic you have to see to believe, and some magic you have to believe first to see.” I’m going to ask you to believe in a little magic at the end of this blog. If you do, I think you’ll get a bit of a New Year’s surprise. 

What will our life story look like 12 months from now? Stories always grab my  attention…even when I should be very busy doing other “more important” things. Probably the same with you. “Once upon a time”…”yeah, yeah, tell me more!” People like telling stories. And certainly Louie Louie Generation lads and ladies all have a few real life stories to tell. They’re usually about the big things that happen in our lives. Like your first real kiss, for example…not some big sloppy slurp from your maiden aunt…I mean the first real smacker-oo right on the lips from somebody who turns you on. I got mine from Jeannie Campbell. She was 6, I was an older man of 7, (Thanks, Jeannie, in case you’re reading this.) Your first paycheck is always a big event. Mine was for $8. The first time you got a job…and the first time you lost one. That’s probably one of the life stories you sometimes tell. So is the story of how you got your first car and how you survived your first fist fight. Mine happened at Coney Island when I was about six years old. And I won. The word “first” comes up a lot when you tell the “Once upon a time” stories of your life.

I’ve done hundreds of blogs and podcasts now, so I don’t have many big firsts left to tell you about my life anymore. And that means I have to look around to find lots of very small firsts… which is really good. Because it makes me look more carefully at what’s going on around me. Life’s little things. We take them so much for granted that we sometimes don’t take time to enjoy them. Stuff like the first scent of fresh coffe when you open the jar…when just for an instant, the Christmas tree smells like you first remember it from when you were five, the first snowball you ever felt in your hands…and throwing it and actually hitting the kid you were aiming at, the first brightly colored Easter egg you ever saw, the first day in March when it was actually warm enough to go outside without a jacket, the first time you went for a swim in the ocean and you caught a wave and rode it all the way in to the soft warm sand…the first time you were the parent at a parent teachers meeting…the first time you saw the way your life partner looks, sleeping… in the first light of dawn. That’s beautiful.

Pretty often, as a member of the Louie Louie  Generation, you have to face the first time there’s a last time in your life…like the day you suddenly know it’s really time to retire from a career you’ve loved, or when it’s time to tell an old friend that his political or religious views have become so extreme that you just can’t talk with him about that stuff anymore. I had to face an awful first time a while ago when I realized I probably won’t ever get to talk to a daughter again. And those of us who are members of the Louie-Louie Generation have all been around long enough to know what it’s like to experience the first time you know it’s the last time you’ll see your mother or father, your husband or your wife…or your best friend. Worse yet, sometimes you don’t know it. It just happens.

That’s why “Happy Holidays” just doesn’t cover the realities of Christmas and New Year’s. “Happy Holidays” is phony. It’s like “Have a nice day.” The magic in Christmas is about Santa Claus, music, presents, good food, close company, and love. Those are all honest and real. But it’s also about giving birth to a baby in a stable. A stable. As in a place full of straw that animals have soiled, reeking of very strong smells that don’t need description here. And how about her husband. Imagine how Joseph must have felt realizing that the best he could do for shelter while his wife was giving birth was a stable. And only women can understand  the desperation and pain that a young woman feels giving birth to her first child…a child who has in His future nails, and thorns, and a broken heart.

“Happy Holidays” certainly doesn’t let you touch the power of the hopefl magic that we still always manage to feel for the New Year that’s about to start. That hope is genuine magic. It’s honest and real, even though there’s no logical reason for it. Especially at the end of a year in which so much excellent American blood was still turning foreign sand bright red. And way too many American men, women, and children were going homeless, cold and hungry…even Americans who proudly and honorably wore the uniform of our country in battle. And worst of all, of course, for most of us, personally… is that we’ve had to face the fact that we’ll never again hear at least one familiar voice that used to sing Auld Lang Syne with us…once upon a time. I hope you’ll believe in a little Auld Lang Syne magic with me in a minute. 

The very fact that you’re reading this is amazing to me. It’s kind of a magic in itself. There’s no logic to it. Maybe you believe in magic too, and you like hanging out with somebody else who understands that magic feels so good. Some magic you have to see to believe. Some magic works the other way around…you have to believe it to see it. That’s not logical. But neither is real magic. So thank you for spending some of your precious time with me this past year. I hope you’ll drop in on this blog and the podcast again regularly through this new year. And if you enjoyed our visits, please pass along an invitation to join us to some friends…that would be a good way to grow the group. The bigger the better. Because I like the company of as many folks as possible who understand that magic hides in little beginnings, like opening a fresh jar of coffee…people who love laughs, but aren’t afraid of tears…folks who don’t mind taking a long trip that ends in sleeping on the floor because there aren’t enough couches…just because they care enough to want to share the beginning of a New Year.

Obviously, we can’t know the stories this new year will bring. But I believe that as long as we’re honest and real in telling them, we’ll keep finding the times in our lives that will make our magic strong. Singing Auld Lang Syne with a couple of good friends is a good way to start. And here’s the magic I was promising you. I’ve found that if you really believe in magic, and you listen closely enough as you’re singing Auld Lang Syne, kind of magically, you’ll actually hear the voice of someone who’s missing this year…singing along with you…one more time. Let yourself believe first, then give it a try.

Listen as you sing.

Listen closely one more time.

Thank you.

Happy New Year.


Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Time for looking back on the year. I realize that I’m the luckiest guy I know again this year. Strange changes including the “R” word…retirement. That’s a surprisingly hard adjustment…but a good one in the long run. My book is beginning to pick up steam. And you’re still reading the blog and some of you are listening to the podcast. That’s a very big thing for me after a lifetime of talking on the radio. Most important of course is that my Lady Wonder Wench is still with me, even after she must know by now that no matter how nicely she kisses me, I’m not going to turn into a prince. Also good is the fact that there are still family and friends who put up with me. All in all…a good year. Some of you can’t say the same, and I’m genuinely sorry about that. But please remember Big Louie’s best piece of advice: “You can never tell when someting wonderful is going to happen.”


Friday, December 26th, 2014

The current podcast includes some of the reasons that Christmas will probably last forever. On the other hand, here are some thoughts that could put an end to it quickly:

 Do you know why Santa has three gardens? (So he can ho ho ho.) What do you get when you cross a snowman with a shark? (A  big frost bite.) What did Adam say to his wife on the day before Christmas? (It’s Christmas Eve.) Why was Santa’s little helper depressed? (Because he had low elf esteem) What do you call Santa’s helpers? (Subordinate clauses.) Which of Santa’s reindeer is ill mannered? (Rude-olph.) What do you give a reindeer with an upset stomach? (Elk-a-seltzer)What”s red and goes ho ho ho plop? (Santa laughing his head off.) And last and certainly least: What Christmas carol makes you thirsty? (The First No Well.)

Big Louie said I shouldn’t have done this.


Thursday, December 25th, 2014

Merry Christmas. And if you want to see something funny, drink some eggnog and listen to this:  then look in the mirror at the eggnog spewing out of your nose.


Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

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.


Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

One of the best Christmas stories I’ve ever heard came out of World War One. It was Christmas, when some of the German soldiers raised a white flag of truce, walked over to the British trench, and started singing Stille Nacht…Silent Night. The British guys joined in, and soon they were playing soccer together. They took a day off from killing eachother to play together. I think we can take a Christmas lesson from that. There is a terrible fight going on now in America. It has been going on since our Civil War. Both sides feel like they are simply fighting for their rights. Maybe we can take a day off from fighting and start listening to each other this Christmas. Really listening. There are terrible accusations flying around on both sides. And that’s the problem. We’re looking at sides instead of  looking at people. I had a friend by the name of Billy. He was a NYPD Detective. His wife’s name was Mary. The bad guys got Billy. I don’t know what color they were and it really doesn’t matter. I did a story in my Night Connections album about one night that Mary spent waiting for Billy to come home. Here’s a (free) download. It’s only about two minutes long. Please take a listen. Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Coming into the last few of your Christmas stories this week. Here’s one from my friend John F.

The Grinch and [the gospel of] Luke have a message for you.

No one can steal Christmas. No matter how powerful you are,
you can’t take it away; and no matter how poor and weak you are,
no one can take it from you. … Christmas can’t be stolen and it can’t be stopped.