Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Badabing's Xmas Eve Dinner

It's been a pretty consistent tradition for the Badabing family to have a fancy Xmas Eve dinner. It really helps to get us in the mood for Xmas day, which is pretty hectic since we usually play host to about 20 family members. Xmas Eve is something I always look forward to, and usually make something pretty elaborate or special dishes that the family has always enjoyed. This year we had only five of us, and for the first time in years both of my children were able to make it. The menu, with the exception of dessert, was very Italian:

  • Fried mozzarella with garlic, capers & anchovies
  • Finocchio salad with parmagiano reggiano
  • Osso buco (braised veal shanks)
  • Risotto Milanese
  • French fruit tarts & chocolates from our local chocolatier

We had a nice French champagne to kick things off, followed by a few bottles of Melini Chianti Classico (a nice smooth chianti), and we enjoyed a nice aged port wine with the dessert. Bellisimo!!

I got up bright and early Xmas morning to begin cooking baked ziti, meatballs and sausage for the Xmas day gathering.

Tonight I'm doing something simple on the grill. Buon Natale a Tutti.

Badaboom Badabing...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Little Christmas Music

Hear What They're Playing

Nothing like a little holiday music to get one in the spirit of the season. These are a few of my classic favorites:

Yeah, yeah, I know...Grandma Got Run Over is not exactly a classic, but it's my son's favorite so it is classic in the Badabing household.

Oops...speaking of favorites, I forgot to include my wife's...Alvin & The Chipmunks. Well, maybe I'll add that tomorrow. Okay, I found it over here.

Badaboom Badabing...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Home For The Holidays...

Let the holidays begin!!

Last week was my last business trip of the year. so, no more planes to catch, no more hotels to check in to, no more cars to rent, no more thinking about work, no more drinking in strange bars...at least for a few more weeks. I'll only sorta miss one of the above.

Xmas shopping is done...almost. I tied my record of two hours if I don't count the time I spent surfing online. One or two things yet to get for wifey, but that will coincide with my trip to the grocery store to purchase the vittles for the traditional Badabing family Xmas Eve feast, so I don't count that as shopping...technically. I even ordered a gift online...my second one ever...a new digital camera which was ordered yesterday and is scheduled to arrive today (and I didn't even pay for overnight shipping.)

So now I'm sitting in a Starbucks, drinking my morning espresso, listening to Frank, Dean and Bing sing Xmas carols (I should buy that album), looking at the pretty girls, browsing through some of my favorite blogs, thinking about some things I want to post in the next week, and trying to get into the holiday spirit. Yes...all of these things at the same time, not to mention writing this post...just call me Mr. multi-tasker.

Pop quiz...where did the 'X' in the abbreviation 'Xmas' originate?

Give up? Hah. Here's a hint from an old Francis Albert song I listened to last night...fill in the blank..."Though your figure's less than _____"

I ran into this joke on three blogs this morning, so I'm posting it here as well:

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

"In honor of this Holy Season," said St. Pete, "you must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into Heaven.

"The first guy fumbles through his pockets and pulls out a lighter. He flicked it on. "This represents a candle," he says.

St. Pete says, "You may pass through the Pearly Gates."

The second guy reaches into his pocket and pulls out a set of keys. He shook them and said, "They're bells."

St. Pete says, "You may pass through the Pearly Gates."

The third guy searches desperately, and finally pulls out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looks at the man with a raised eyebrow, and says, "And just what do those symbolize?"

The man replies: "They're Carol's."

Ahh, now I'm gettin' into the spirit of things. :-)

Badaboom Badabing...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Older 'n Dirt

Last week, Old Horsetail Snake posted some items that brought back quite a few childhood memories. Then, earlier this week, Duke of Earle posted some pics that he found in his mom's cedar chest. That also brought some memories. Well, this morning I got an email from a cousin that contained more trips down memory lane, so I figured I'd borrow some from each of those sources, add a few of my own, and share them here. If you remember most of these, then you are, as I am....an old fart.

  1. There was no such thing as fast food.
  2. Most moms were home when the kids got home from school.
  3. Most of the time you ate dinner, together, with your parents and siblings. Oh yeah, and if you didn't like what your mom put on your plate you were allowed to sit there until you did like it...or at least ate it.
  4. You had to have permission to leave the table.
  5. For your high school picture you HAD to dress up in a jacket and tie...and if you graduated in the 60's that tie was a skinny one.
  6. You probably came home from school to eat lunch.
  7. If you're a guy, your parents beamed with pride if someone referred to you as a "clean cut" kid.
  8. Some parents never owned their own house, set foot on a golf course, traveled out of the country, or had a credit card.
  9. Your parents never drove you to soccer practice. Mostly because no one ever heard of soccer.
  10. If you needed to go someplace, and didn't want to walk, you probably rode your 50-pound bike. If you were really cool, you made believe your bike had a motor by clipping baseball cards to the spokes with your mom's clothespins.
  11. And speaking of clothespins...when your mom did the wash she may have used a washboard and wringer...and she most definitely hung the clothes out to dry in the back yard...on clostheline, of course.
  12. And speaking of bikes, you may have used pant leg clips if yours didn't have a chain guard.
  13. Roller skates had keys.
  14. Cars had headlight dimmer switches on the floor, ignition switches on the dashboard, and heaters mounted on the inside of the fire wall.
  15. Your dad may have used hand signals if his car didn't have turn signals.
  16. You remember Packards and Studebakers.
  17. Televisions were black and white...and your family may not have had one until you were almost a teenager.
  18. Pizza was not delivered to your home...but milk was...in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers...and your mom put the empties outside so the milkman could reuse them.
  19. You never had a telephone in your room.
  20. The only phone in the house was in the living room or kitchen, and it was on a party line so you had to check whether someone was using it before you dialed.
  21. Phones had a rotary dial and phone numbers had a word prefix, like Ivanhoe-3903.
  22. If you were a boy, you had a paper route. Papers cost 5 cents and you got to keep 1 cent. And, if you were lucky, when you collected on Saturday you had some customers who gave you 35 cents and told you to keep the change.
  23. You played the following games: hide and go seek (preferably at dusk), kick the can, dodge ball, hopscotch, jacks, mother may I. If you were a boy you also played cowboys and indians, cops and robbers.
  24. In the summer, you ran through the sprinkler.
  25. There were only two types of sneakers: Keds and PF Flyers...and the only time you wore them was when you had "gym" in school.
  26. There were no such things as "play dates." When you wanted to play with someone you walked or rode your bike to their house, went to the back door, and either knocked or called out "Hey, Jimeeee!" or whatever your friend's name was. If you went in a group each person probably took a turn calling for Jimmy until his mom opened the door.
  27. Your mom never used paper towels.
  28. You made paper chains at school during Christmas season.
  29. Your male teachers all wore suits and ties, and your female teachers wore dresses and high heels.
  30. If you're a girl, you wore a dress or skirt to school and the hemline had to be below your knees.
  31. If you're a girl, you probably all wore the same baggy blue or green gym uniform.
  32. When your dad went to the gas station, an attendant filled the tank, checked the oil, and washed the windshield, without even asking...for free. Oh yeah...and you didn't have to pay for air.
  33. Nobody owned a pure bred dog.
  34. You know who Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob, and Clarabell were.
  35. Wax lips and mustaches, and little wax bottles in the shape of a Coke can that were filled with colored sugar water.
  36. Candy cigarettes.
  37. Soda machines that dispensed glass bottles.
  38. Coffee shops and diners with tableside juke boxes.
  39. Your mom probably collectd green stamps.
  40. You may have 'gone steady' in high school...or at least you knew couples who did.
  41. Mimeograph paper.
  42. Hi-fi's.
  43. Blue flashbulbs.
  44. Drive-ins...both movies and restaurants.
  45. Metal ice trays with a lever.
  46. 45 rpm records.
  47. Butch wax.
  48. Cork popguns.
  49. If you're a girl, you may have worn stockings when you dressed up, but wearing pantyhose came a bit later.
  50. You remember the smell of the paste they used in school.
  51. You may have used glue in school that came in black, white, and orange cans...and you spread a little on your desk, let it start to dry a bit, then rolled it up into a rubbery little spitball that you chucked at someone when the teacher wasn't looking.
  52. You made silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington.
  53. You remember the March of Dimes.
  54. You remember Ozzie & Harriet, Micky Mouse Club (if you're a guy you had to have a thing for at least one of the female mouseketeers...for me it was Annette Funicello), Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Kukla Fran & Ollie.
  55. For cartoons, you watched Looney Tunes and Popeye.
  56. If you're a guy, you know who Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and the Cisco Kid were.
  57. You remember the Jackie Gleason, Dinah Shore, Perry Como, Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, Steve Allen shows.
  58. If you're a guy, you climbed trees and made forts.
  59. You may have had a lemonade stand.
  60. You know what bobby pins and saddle shoes are.
  61. If you wore penny loafers there's a good chance they actually had pennies in them.
  62. If you're a girl, you may have worn a poodle skirt.
  63. A quarter was a huge weekly allowance...if you were lucky enough to have an allowance.
  64. Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut...at least while they were making the movie. Touching someone else's tongue with yours was called French kissing...and they didn't do that in the movies. We didn't know what they did in French movies because French movies were dirty and we weren't allowed to watch them.
  65. When you came home from school you changed out of your school clothes and into your play clothes.

You may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren...but, be forewarned...they may bust a gut laughing at you. Growin' up today ain't what it used to be...then again, our kids will probably say the same thing to their kids.

Whew...now I need a nap. If you've got any similar memories, please share.

Badaboom Badabing....

Monday, November 20, 2006

Finnochio Salad

Gee...I'm on a roll today with two posts. Anyway, my stomach's growling, I'm hungry, and for some reason I'm thinking about the finocchio I bought at the grocery store yesterday. I figure that maybe if I write about food it will make the hunger subside a little.

Finocchio ( pronounced fin-'oh-kee-oh), or fennel, is an anise-flavored vegetable that is very popular in Italian cooking. A finocchio, or fanuch for the N'italian afficianado, is also slang for a gay person, and if anyone is interested in Italian slang they can check out my earlier posts in the above links, but I'm not going there tonight. Tonight it's about the food.

One of my favorite ways to fix finnocchio is to make a salad with it...very simple...very Italian. Don't even think about saying 'eye-talian or my grandmother will rise from the dead and put the evil eye on you.

Badabing's Finocchio Salad

1 bulb finocchio
1/2 fresh lemon
handful of baby arugula, stems removed
Parmagiano Reggiano cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

Cut the finocchio crosswise in extremely thin slices, best done using a mandoline (no, not the kind you play like a guitar...that's a mandolin). The thinner the better.

Put the finocchio slices in a salad bowl, add arugula & lemon juice, and toss. Add enough olive oil to coat lightly and toss again.

Top with parmagiano shavings...that's shavings and not grated...and don't even think about substituting canned or jarred grated cheese...and serve. Finito!!

Oh yeah...my stomach's growling even more than when I first started this post. Maybe a little wine will help...for medicinal purposes of course.

Badaboom Badabing...

At Least Get The Friggin' Facts Straight...

Okay, this is my first post in a while, and I hate to start the week off by ranting, but it's my bloggie and I'll rant when I want to...rant when I want to...rant when I want to...you would rant too if it happened to you :-(

One of my pet peeves when reading a novel is when the author gets some obvious facts about a person, place or whatever just plain wrong. Yes, I know it's a novel and it's not true, and so on and so forth...but, it really ticks me off when an author gets something so wrong which could have been prevented with just a few minutes of research. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!!!

Okay, here's an example: "The cab turned west on Madison Avenue and raced towards Little Italy." Now, you don't have to be a New Yawka to know that 'avenues' in Manhattan run north and south and 'streets' run east and west, and if you're writing about a place at least look it up on a friggin' map. If you're a best selling author, such a faux pas is friggin' inexcusable in my opinion.

So, last week I'm reading the latest, Cross, from one of my very favorite authors, James Patterson. Now, the book was just fine overall...one of his typically great stories that makes you want to read the whole thing in one sitting. He describes a scene in which a mob character sneaks away from his home in Brooklyn and holes up in his waterfront compound in Mineola, New York...which is on Long Island. Actually, Brooklyn is on Long Island as well, though there are still (many) people there who will argue to the death that it's not...but that's another story. Anyway, here's the thing...I grew up a few miles from Mineola and haven't been to Mineola in 20 years, but I can tell you that there's no body of water anywhere within miles of Mineola, which is the county seat of Nassau County...except for maybe a drainage ditch or two and and a handful of backyard pools. I love Patterson's books, but you'd think a guy who pulls down tens of millions of green a year can get a fact like that straight. There are also a few minor f-ups about locations and stuff in the DC area where I now live, but that one really drives me f---ing nuts. To make it worse, the book credits thank a team of researchers.

Ahh...I feel so much better now. Ranting can be good for one's health.

Badaboom badabing...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Badabing is Back

The rumors that I have been dispatched to perform a secret mission for an unmentionable agency of the US government during the last two months are simply not true ;-) Hehehe.

Anyway, I can't believe it's been two whole months since I made a post...been very busy with work and stuff. So, I apologize to the two readers of this blog (one being myself) :-) , and I'll be posting again in the next day or so. But now, I've got to run and catch a plane for Denver...

Badaboom Badabing....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

N'Italian-American Slang

A few weeks ago I posted my N'Italian Lessons 101. I got tons of hits to this blog from that post, and came up on hundreds of Google searches. Today I'm going to follow up with some English slang that is commonly used by Italian-Americans in the New York/New Jersey area. These are typically used with some of the N'Italian 101 words...in fact, some of the words are used by New Yorkers in general...at least the ones that I grew up with. I think I'll call this N'Italian-American slang.

whaddya talkin? Pronounced waddya talkin' or wuddya talkin'. It simply means "what are you talking about?" or "what do you mean?"

shyster. Pronounced 'shy-stuh. Someone who is a cheat or crook, someone not to be trusted. Often used as a synonym for a lawyer. See below for sample usage.

how ya doin? or hey, how ya doin?. This is a common greeting that means "how are you?", "nice to meet you?" or "how's it going?" A dead giveaway that you're a born and raised New Yawka. Sample usage:

Tony: "Joey, this is Vinny."
Joey: "Hey, how ya doin?"
Vinny: "How ya doin?"

beautiful. This has the same meaning as the regular English word, but is pronounced bee-'you-tee-full. You really have to hear it to appreciate it.

some shit. This means "hard to believe" or "can you believe that?" A variation is some shit, huh? Sample usage:

Frankie: "So, they want $2.50 for a lousy cuppa coffee. Some shit, huh?"
Vinny: "Yeah, some shit."

fuhgeddaboutit. This is pronounced fuh-'ged-da-bow-tit. It is a very versatile expression that can mean "forget about it" literally, or "no big deal," or sometimes "no friggin' way." Sometimes emphasis is on the fourth syllable, fuh-ged-da-'bow-tit, especially when context is "no friggin' way." Sample usage:

Paulie: "Tony, I'm a little short today. I owe you a C-note."
Tony: "Fuhgeddaboutit. Pay me when you got it."

Paulie: "Can you believe that bitch? Her friggin' shyster is askin' me for another $500 a month in alimony. You think I'm gonna' pay that? Fuh-ged-da-'bow-tit."

fuggin' a. Pronounced the way it looks. Variations include fukkin' a and friggin' a. This can have different meanings depending on the context, including "way to go," "good for you" or "I agree with you." Another very versatile expression. Sample usage:

Frankie: "You believe those Mets? Took both games last night. Keep it up they could make it to the series."
Joey: "Fukkin' a."

waddya gonna' do? or wuddya gonna' do? Pronounced the way it looks. This expression can mean "oh, well", "shit happens", "nothing you can do about it," depending on the context in which it is used. Sample usage:

Tony: "Thirty friggin' grand for my kid's tuition. In advance! Some shit, huh?"
Vinnie: "Waddya gonna' do? Schools ain't cheap no more."

are you shittin' me? Pronounced the way it looks. This means "are you kidding me?" or "you're kidding me." There are many variations. Sample usage:

Tony: "Did you hear about Vinny? Wife caught him with his goomah yesterday."
Joey: "You shittin me?" or "You're shittin me, right?" or "You gotta be shittin me."

badaboom badabing. Pronounced like it looks. See my very first post for the the history behind this phrase. Commonly used to mean "piece a' cake," "done deal," "no problem," "just like that," or "instantly." A variation is the shortform, simply badabing.

So, there ya go. All you need to talk N'Italian with a New Yawka.

Badaboom Badabing...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Left Right Left Right...

Okay, okay, so I lied. I was supposed to post a solution to this brain teaser almost a week ago. Better late than never...

When most people try to do the brain teaser below, they try to say the color but end up saying the word...or, they manage to say the color after some hesitation. Why does this happen? There's a hint in the title of this post. You can also scroll down to find out.

Look At The Table And Say the Color NOT The Word

Hehehe...this is the old left brain / right brain conflict

Your right brain wants to say the color
Your left brain wants to say the word

Badaboom Badabing...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm In A Teasing Frame Of Mind

The gout is almost gone today, so I'm feelin' pretty good...and when I'm feelin' good I love to tease. So, here's a little brain teaser that'll drive you nuts.

Look At The Table And Say the Color NOT The Word

Hehehe...finding it a bit difficult to follow instructions? Want to know why?

Well, come back tomorrow and I'll take the mystery out of it ;-)

In the meantime, I'm leavin' on a jet plane...

Badaboom Badabing...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bombs Away

Well, the gout is almost gone. Hopefully I'll be back to normal very soon. The new medication seemed to work faster than the original prescription, but it's the first time I've ever suffered side effects from any type of medication. Let me tell you...the last few days have been pretty very rough.

I'm usually good at asking the docs questions about the meds they prescribe..."Do I take it all, even if the symptoms go away?"..."Can I take it as a preventative, if I feel symptoms coming back?"...stuff like that. This time, the conversation went something like this:

ME: "How long should I take the new prescription, Doc?"

DOC (deadpan face, scribbling on my chart): "Take it until you get diahrea, feel nauseous, or throw up."

ME (with a 'Did he just say what I think he said?' look on my face): "What?"

DOC (same deadpan face, still scribbling): "The symptoms may resolve before any of those things happen. Otherwise, stop if any of them occur and you can continue taking it after they go away, if you need to."

Like I said, I've never in my life had any side effects from medication, so I just chalked his remarks off to some wierd kind of doctor humor. Boy, was I wrong!!

So, guess which of the side effects I was lucky enough to get?

Give up?

Okay, I'll give you a hint...refer to this post's title or read on.

You know the warnings they print on the plastic pill bottles...like 'avoid alcohol while taking this medication'...stuff like that? Well, I've got a few additions I'd like to see them include for this particular medication:

  • Buy a 12-pack of toilet tissue, extra soft, before beginning this medication
  • Once you start this medication, stay within a 20-foot radius of (available) bathroom
  • Head directly to bathroom at first sign of stomach gurggling

Uhh, I could add a few more things but...gotta go :-)

Badaboom Gurgle Gurgle Badabing

Friday, September 01, 2006

As Simple As Black & White

Do you see white dots or black dots where the lines intersect?

Weeee...I don't know about you, but this one makes me a little dizzy!

FYI, I found this over at Bit of Fun

Thursday, August 31, 2006


If anyone happened to see a fifty-something guy gimpin' and limpin' through O'Hare like a ninety-something old man last week...that would have been me.

I had a gout attack while on a business trip to Chicago...let me tell you it hurts like a bitch...and haven't been able to shake it yet. I've pretty much been out of commission since last week...the pain has been debilitating and has rendered me virtually brain dead...too painful to even make a post.

The original medication didn't work the way the docs expected...should have resolved the problem within three days...so I had to go back again today and wait a few hours for them to try something else. That makes two visits to my doc this week and a trip to the emergency room last week...and about a day and a half of cooling my heels in waiting rooms. I normally need that frequency of medical help over the course of four or five years. On the bright side, I've done a year's worth of magazine reading...everything from Fortune to Ladies Home Journal.

For those who may be interested, gout is now considered to be a form of arthritis. It occurs when uric acid in the blood crystalizes and settles in the joints...usually in the big toe...that's a pretty good drawing (above) of what my right toe looks like...but sometimes in the ankle, and less frequently, in the knee. It is extremely painful...I have a very high pain threshold, but have never had to endure anything like this :-(

Gout has sometimes been called 'rich man's disease' or the 'disease of kings' because doctors once thought it came from eating a very rich diet...doesn't hold true in my case since my diet is very Mediterranean and low in fats. Now, they think it can be triggered by a number of different kinds of foods as well as alcohol...hmmm, wonder if it could be the two bottles of red wine I manage to make disappear each day?

According to Wikipedia, there have been many famous people who have suffered from gout. One of the most famous sufferers of gout was Henry VIII. Others include John Calvin, Khubilai Khan, Nostradamus, John Milton, Queen Anne, Isaac Newton, Henry Fielding, Samuel Johnson, Charles V, Pablo Neruda, Alfred Lord Tennyson, George IV, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, Benjamin Disraeli, Kirk Reuter, David Wells, Rubens, Lennart Torstenson, Peter Gomes, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, Benjamin Franklin, David Klein, Jared Leto, Badabing and Charles Bodycote.

Now, excuse me while I go scream.

Badaboom bada...ooowwwch...bing...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

N'Italian Lessons 101 --- Music To My Ears

Miss Cellania recently put a link to my original N'Italian lessons on another blog and said she would love to hear how I sound. To hear what happens when someone still doesn't get it after I've explained things several times, click here. To hear how I react to getting a lawyer's outrageous bill, check out the audio here.

More words like these can be found in my buddy J.D. Cannon's fast-moving suspense novel Just By Chance...rated 5 Stars on Amazon. Mobsters, a beautiful high-class escort, and a sexy tropical setting...what could be better than that?

Check it out...click on the cover image or here to learn more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

N'Italian Lessons 101

Several weeks ago I was at a family function in New York. On the way home I was talking to my wife while waving my hands, making faces, and using words and phrases that cracked her up. She astutely pointed out that, whenever I'm in the same room with my relatives for more than five minutes, I make an interesting transition from the well-spoken Ivy League-educated hornster that I usually am to someone who is straight off the set of a Sopranos episode. My first reaction was to throw up my hands and reply "Whaddya talkin?" Her response was a simple "See...that's what I'm talking...about."

Of course, she was right. So, being the ever-inquisitive hornster, I started thinking about this. Here are my conclusions:

In the New York - New Jersey area in particular, many people of Italian-American descent have developed their own version of Italian slang, that I'll call N'Italian. Granted, some of the slang is a pretty brutal bastardization of la bella lingua, but, I grew up with them so they are near and dear to my heart. Some words and expressions have many variations in spelling. For example, the letters 'c' and 'g' are often used in place of one another. Some also have multiple meanings…so hand gestures, facial expression, and body language are often needed to make an accurate interpretation of context…these will be the subject of a future post. They also have their own English slang expressions...that too will be the subject of another post.

Here are a few samples of what I'll call N'Italian 101...a N'Italian/English dictionary of sorts:

gabagool. This is pronounced ga-ba-'gool. It's slang for cappicola, a highly seasoned type of ham that is a popular cold cut.

proshut. This is pronounced pro-'shoot. It's slang for prosciutto, a salt-cured type of ham eaten as a cold cut and used in Italian cooking.

madonna. Pronounced madonn' or mah-'dawn. The literal meaning is 'virgin mary' or 'mother of God,' but its slang meanings are "Oh no!" or "That's too bad" or "Holy shit!" A variation is the expression madonna mia. Sample usage:

Paulie: "Tony, I'm stuck in friggin' traffic, so I'm gonna' be late for the meetin'.
Oh yeah. And I forgot to pickup the gabagool and proshut."

Tony: "Madonn', what the hell else is gonna' go wrong today?"

ming. Pronounced ming'. Often used as a substitute for madonna.

goomah. Pronounced goo-'mah or coo-'mah. This means 'girlfriend,' but it must be used in the proper context. If you're single and have a girlfriend, she's your goomah. Your wife or fiance is NOT your goomah. If you're married or engaged, a goomah is someone you're seeing on the side.

stunad. Pronounced stew-'nod. A person who is stupid, thick, dense. Sample usage:

"I tell him how to do it five times, and he still screws it up. Ming, what a friggin' stunad."

oobatz. Pronounced oo-'botz. It means 'crazy' or 'you're crazy.' Sample usage:

"Friggin' shyster sends me a bill for five grand. I call him up and say 'You think I'm gonna pay this? Oobatz.'"

stugats. Pronounced stew-'gotz. It means 'balls' or 'big balls' or 'you've got some balls.' In the Sopranos, Tony's boat is named Stugats.

fancul. Pronounced fon-'gool. It means to 'go f--- yourself' or 'f--- yourself up the a--.' Variations include va fancul and a fancul.

fanuk. Pronounced fa-'nuke or fi-'nuke. A guy who is gay. Think Vito in the last few episodes of the Sopranos.

In a future post, I'll put these together with some English slang expressions and body language. That's all one needs to carry on a basic conversation.

More words like these can be found in my buddy J.D. Cannon's fast-moving suspense novel Just By Chance...rated 5 Stars on Amazon. Mobsters, a beautiful high-class escort, and a sexy tropical setting...what could be better than that?

Check it out...click on the cover image or here to learn more.

Badaboom Badabing...

If you enjoyed this post you might like to hear what some of these expressions sound like over here.

My Home Page

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

On My Feet Again...And On The Road Again...

Had a relapse of my back problem the day before yesterday, so I was too miserable to post anything. Today, I'm still in some pain, but it's not too bad...so, I'm back on my feet again.

After taking two weeks off...and not getting anything done, except putting up this blog...I'm also back on the road. In fact, I'm sitting in the airport as I write this post. Figured I'd get here extra early due to the security delays the news media have been reporting. Turned out there was less of a delay than I normally run into.

I did have to check my bag though, since I had toothpaste and after shave lotion. It was probably the first time I've checked luggage in more than five years. So, if it gets lost I'll just have to show up for work in jeans, a Tommy Bahama shirt, and a scruffy beard. I'm just hoping that it's as smooth on the return trip, or I'll get home at midnight on Friday instead of at dinner time, since I have a pretty tight run for the airport.

Still have that damn writer's block, so I couldn't think of anything much better than this to post. Oh well, at least I've got the new James Patterson book, Judge & Jury, to read on this trip...maybe it'll give me some much needed inspiration.

Ciao for now.

Friday, August 11, 2006

It Only Hurts When I Breathe...

Shit…I threw my back out the other night and the pain is getting worse. I wish I could say it happened while trying out a new position from the Kama Sutra, but then I'd be lying…or fantasizing…possibly even praying :-) Truth be told, it had something to do with water, a tub and a malfunctioning mug (aka toilet bowl). Hurts like a bitch…but there's not much can be done, short of going to the doctor (and waiting in an excruciatingly uncomfortable chair for an hour or two) and have him prescribe something that will knock me out. I prefer suffering to drugs…I think I heard somewhere that it builds character.

Of course, I'm doing stuff I probably shouldn't be doing…like walking up and down stairs, driving a standard shift sports car, sitting in Starbucks in a squishy chair, etc.

Speaking of Starbucks, that is where I am right now. Writing this, sipping my espresso, and leering at the women…hey, that's what dirty old men do, right?

Anyway, there's a woman sitting about four feet from me. Her back is facing me. She's wearing those low cut jeans that almost expose the butt cheeks, a short tank top, and a thong. It's one of those thongs that stick out above the top of the jeans and lead your eye downwards…smack dab to the crack of her you know what. Now, normally, I'd be overjoyed at a sight like that. But, in this case, the woman is a good fifty pounds overweight and the stretch marks on her ass are competing with the anti-collision green thong. She keeps leaning forward…exposing more crack and more stretch marks. Yuck.

I'd change my seat, except for the pain that would ensue…and the fact that a couple of svelte-looking babes just sat down at a table in front of me. So…I must remain where I am…for medicinal purposes. Hey, gotta' have something to take my mind off the pain. Of course, I could always surf over to msn.com and read about the teenager who was arrested after police found his mother's body stuffed in the freezer. Guess which alternative I'm gonna' pick?

Badaboom Bada … ouch … Bing!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Where is The Love? ... Or Something Like That

Okay. I was going to write this post yesterday but I thought my dilemma would blow over. It hasn't. Actually, I was going to post about it a week ago, but decided not to since I thought it would blow over. It didn't. In truth, the main reason I started this blog...about a week ago...was to help me get over it. I haven't. Friggin' writer's block.

The weather has been great, my days have been starting off with nice long walks and strong espresso, but I'm not getting diddly squat done. Writing, I mean. I've had the last two weeks off from my normal routine of hopping planes, etc., and my goal was to knock off a few chapters of the novel I started writing two years ago. I'm about half way through the first draft, and have lost my focus…not about what to write…its about sittin' my boney ass down and doin' some work…just doin' it. Having this chunk of free time should have been a blessing. Instead, it's giving me great pangs of guilt.

Funny thing is, when it comes to work-related tasks, I am so uber-focused and disciplined that my wife says it gets downright scary. Bombs can explode next to me and I would ignore them; the phone can ring and I won't answer it; I can sit at the computer for six hours straight without so much as a potty break; the only thing that occasionally takes me out of the zone is the dog…shivering, legs crossed, wearing the "I gotta' pee" face, and nudging me with her cold nose. And even this would happen less frequently if I wasn't forced to notice the little yellow stains on my carpet every day.

Of course, I get paid for the work-related stuff. The book is just a labor of love.

Have I lost the love?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gobble Gobble --- And Other Presidential Gestures

Now, I don't usually write about politics, religion or sexual persuasion, but my wife emailed me this clip today, and I just can't help but post it. Besides, it gave me a great idea for a post I'll make in the next few days. Click here to play it.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tutti a Tavola a Mangiare --- Stuffed Shells

My daughter, her boyfriend, and the doggies came over for dinner the other night, so I cooked an old family recipe, Stuffed Shells. I don't usually cook food as rich as this, but I hadn't made it for years. The wife gave me the hint that it was time to make it again when she came home with the pasta shells, so I figured...what the hell...have it once in a while and it won't kill ya'. There's a lot of ingredients, but it's really pretty simple to make.

Badabing's Stuffed Shells

Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 28 oz. cans of tomatoes
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp oregano

1 1/4 lbs ricotta cheese
6-8 oz. mozzarella cheese
1 Tbs grated parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 box jumbo shells, usually 12 oz.


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Boil 6-8 quarts of water. Add salt if desired.

Make Sauce

Heat the oil on medium heat in a saucepan. Add onions, garlic, and bay leaf. Saute until onions & garlic are soft.

Crush the tomatoes, if necessary. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano. Simmer slowly on low heat, uncovered, for 20 minutes to an hour. You may need to add some water if sauce gets too thick.

Use the best tomatoes you can find...they don't have to be imported. I use Muir Glen organically grown tomatoes.

Please, please, please...don't use pre-made, pre-jarred sauce...or my grandmother will rise from the dead and smack your lazy ass with the back of her wooden spoon.

By the way, this is actually a good general-purpose recipe for tomato sauce that one can use with many different pasta dishes.

Make Filling

Add the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan and parsley to a large bowl and mix until all ingredients are blended together.

Add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly.

Cook Pasta

Cook the pasta for 12 minutes, or follow the instructions on the box. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Stuff The Shells

Stuff the shells with the filling.

Arrange & Bake

Oil a baking dish large enough to hold the shells in one or two layers.

Spread some of the sauce in the dish.

Add a layer of shells & cover with sauce. Repeat as required. Sprinkle some more grated parmesan over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees, covered, for 30 minutes. Bake an additional 15 minutes uncovered.

Serve with a simple green salad, dressed with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a nice red wine. We had a bottle of Valiano Chianti Classico 2003 with this dish. Mangiare and enjoy.

Peeping Tom

Badaboom Badabing

This memory was triggered by Duke_of_Earle's comment to yesterday's post. It is a true story.

The year was 1962, the Duke of Earl song by Gene Chandler was at the top of the charts, and I was in the ninth grade. My buddies…Eddy, Joey, Billy, Jerry…and I would sing this song as we walked the streets at night. I remember one night in particular when we were doing this on our way to a school dance.

Earlier that night, I was finishing up my paper route. It was late Winter, early Spring, because it was still dark out when I finished up. A girl I went to school with, but never really new except by name…I'll call her Cyndie...lived in the last house I delivered to. My paper route was in the wealthy part of town and I lived on the other side of the tracks. Cyndie was considered upper class, so boys in my caste didn't have a shot with someone like that, which is why I only knew her name but didn't really know her. The lights were on inside the house and I could see inside through the small windows that flanked both sides of the front door. As I bent down to put the paper under the doormat, I saw that Cyndie was standing just inside the front door, talking on the phone...wearing only a pale pink bra and matching panties! Boing! (that's guy talk) Of course, nowadays she'd be wearing a push-up bra and thong…or maybe just a thong...but back then the girls didn't have too much of a style choice when it came to lingerie, so far as I knew. Her panties went below the butt cheeks and just up to the navel. As I write this I have a crystal clear recollection of exactly what they looked like. Though they left much to the imagination by today's styles and standards, in those days I had a bigger imagination (and a few bigger other things) than I do today, and I had no problem visualizing what I thought would be under that silky fabric. Double boing!!

There I was caught like the proverbial deer in the headlights…frozen still, knowing I'd be in deep shit if someone caught me…but, damn, this was the closest to a real live naked woman that I had ever been. No way in hell was I going anywhere. I don't recall how long I stood there…could have been a minute…could have been 15 minutes, but when I left I was nine parts stimulated and one part relieved that I hadn't been caught. And of course, I couldn't wait to tell my buds what I had just seen.

So, later that night the boys and I are walking up to school to attend the dance, singing and practicing our dance moves under the street lights. Our singing and dancing that night was particularly fueled by the peeping tom incident that I shared in exhaustive detail. Each one of us took turns struttin' our stuff in the spotlight…actually streetlight…as the others chanted "Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke, Duke" and bragged about how our moves were going to lead to gettin' some from the girls we would soon be picking up at the dance. Our moves mostly involved obscene pelvic gyrations and seductive facial expressions, that we honestly believed would get us laid. To most people, these moves probably more closely resembled someone who had just been kicked in the nuts and was simultaneously battling a severe case of constipation.

We get to the dance, full of testosterone and anticipation, trying to look cool. The girls were bunched up on one side of the cafeteria, the guys on the other, and some non-descript band was playing…badly…and too loudly (in retrospect)...on stage. Whatever bravado we had disappeared to the first beat of the music. Only a few very brave souls crossed the chasm and asked a girl to dance…and only when a slow dance was being played. Ultimately, our conversations turned from sex to where we wanted to go for pizza after the dance.

The band announced the next dance would be a ladies choice, and it was like a general had just announced "charge" to his troops. A sea of pastel dresses confidently crossed the chasm and invaded our ranks. Some of us smiled, some looked around, and some looked at the floor. Anything to avoid eye contact. Someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Cyndie..."Hi paperboy. Would you like to dance?"

Fortunately, or so I thought, they played a slow one. We danced, but didn't talk. I made minimal eye contact, but she was looking straight at me, smiling, the whole time. From the corner of my eye I could see my friends…watching us, laughing, and elbowing each other. Of course, you know where my thoughts eventually drifted…make that immediately drifted. Holy shit, I was dancing with the girl in bra and panties. I could hear my heart beating and feel something else throbbing. All in all it probably took ten seconds for the testosterone to go to work. This became a bit embarrassing as my manliness…no, make that boyliness (yes, I know it's not a real word)...pressed against her. Surprisingly, she didn't seem to mind.

The song finally ended. She looked me in the eye, smiled, and said "Thanks. I never knew you were our paperboy before."

Badaboom Badabing...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

So Many Colors In The Rainbow

I'm not completely sure why I decided to make this post. Maybe it was because I said something a few days ago in my lecture (I teach grad school part time), and I overheard a student during one of the breaks tell the person next to him how much time and trouble what I shared will save him at work. That probably triggered a bunch of snap, crackles, and pops that eventually bubbled-up the memory of a song fom my subconscious.

The song is about...well, just read the words and you'll figure it out. It was written by Harry Chapin, a musician and poet, one of my favorite artists of all time, who died tragically in the 70's, well before his prime. He had a gift for taking real life situations and composing songs that captured both the situation and the emotions. He put this song to music, but I actually prefer the words alone. I won't tell you how it makes me feel...you'll know when you read it.

Flowers Are Red, by Harry Chapin

The little boy went first day of school
He got some crayons and started to draw
He put colors all over the paper
For colors was what he saw
And the teacher said.. What you doin' young man
I'm paintin' flowers he said
She said... It's not the time for art young man
And anyway flowers are green and red
There's a time for everything young man
And a way it should be done
You've got to show concern for everyone else
For you're not the only one

And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

Well the teacher said.. You're sassy
There's ways that things should be
And you'll paint flowers the way they are
So repeat after me.....

And she said...
Flowers are red young man
Green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than they way they always have been seen

But the little boy said...
There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one

The teacher put him in a corner
She said.. It's for your own good..
And you won't come out 'til you get it right
And all responding like you should
Well finally he got lonely
Frightened thoughts filled his head
And he went up to the teacher
And this is what he said.. and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen

Time went by like it always does
And they moved to another town
And the little boy went to another school
And this is what he found
The teacher there was smilin'
She said...Painting should be fun
And there are so many colors in a flower
So let's use every one

But that little boy painted flowers
In neat rows of green and red
And when the teacher asked him why
This is what he said.. and he said

Flowers are red, green leaves are green
There's no need to see flowers any other way
Than the way they always have been seen.

If you've ever had a special teacher, one that taught you how to really think and/or nourished your creativity, please silently thank him or her now.

I've had the good fortune to have had a few wonderful teachers. Two come to mind as I write this post...thank you H.Zagor and M. Laudante for teaching me how to see all the colors.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

All Alone Am I

All alone am I...the wife is out on a shop-till-she-drops mission and I'm home alone. So, what's an old fart to do when home alone on a Sunday afternoon?

Guess I could do what the 60's song said and go 'groovin on a Sunday afternoon'...but it's 100 degrees according to the thermometer on my deck, so I'll take a pass on that.

Guess I could read a book...but I read several a week, so I'll take a pass on that too.

Guess I could watch tv...been there, done that already today. Between watching Giada's cleavage on the Food Channel...I have no recollection of what she cooked...and the skimpy costumes in the ballroom dancing competition on PBS...the horns are calling.

Got it!! How about I go to Starbucks and leer at the soccer moms...after I update my blog, of course.

Excuse me while I fanatasize...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tutti Mangiare --- Spaghetti a la Carbonara

Italian is my favorite cuisine…betcha you can't guess why. So, last night I made one of my favorite dishes, Spaghetti alla Carbonara.

No, not the junk you get in restaurants with the pasta drowning in cream and bacon…this one's the real deal. And, no cream, no bacon.

I first had this dish in a real Italian restaurant more than 30 years ago, and I've developed several different versions of it. Almost every time I've made it for someone they thought it would contain the cream and bacon. One ungrateful guest even went so far as to insult me by saying it wasn't authentic…'cause it didn't have the you know what. Guess who's never getting invited to my house again...pedantic a-hole. Well, it turns out Mario Batali has a recipe similar to mine in one of his cookbooks...that's authentic enough for me.

Badabing's Spaghetti alla Carbonara

2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into small, strip-like pieces
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 small garlic clove, cut in half & crushed with knife blade
Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 pound of spaghetti

Bring 5-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt if desired.

Heat oil in a large saute pan (big enough to hold the cooked pasta) on medium heat, add the onions, and cook until they are soft but not brown. Add the garlic and prosciutto and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Cook spaghetti until al dente and drain…just follow the instructions on the box...it's not rocket science. If you overcook it, say three our father's, four hail mary's, beat your naked butt with a ping pong paddle, and cook it again. Depending on who you are making this for, you may want to reserve the paddle for after dinner entertainment...hell, it worked for me :-)

Reheat the pan, if needed, until the ingredients are warm, but not sizzling. Add the pasta to the pan & mix well. Then add the cheese and mix well. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the eggs & mix well. The residual heat from the pan & the pasta will cook the eggs. Add some parsley and Badabing Badaboom...you're done!

I like to serve this with an arugula salad and a good red wine.

Don't get all hung up in your undies measuring out exact ingredient amounts...it doesn't matter all that much...just taste, touch, and smell as you go...and adjust to suit your own palate.

When made with prosciutto (I call this my rich man's version), this dish is simple but elegant. You can also use pancetta in place of prosciutto for a more traditional version. When I was young I and couldn't afford prosciutto, I used to make my poor man's version by substituting pepperoni and using oregano to spice it up a bit…don't say ouch…it was always a hit, but more rustic than this version.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Catch-22...We're Gonna' Screw You

Here's my rant for the week. I've been trying to get a parking ticket resolved with a nearby city in the same state I live in. Two years ago, I got a parking ticket. It was a legit ticket. I forgot to pay it on time and the city sends a few notices, adding some penalty fees. I pay the fine and the penalty fees. Six months later, the city starts sending notices again, claiming neither the original fine nor the penalty fees were paid…and, by the way, we are including additional penalties for the last six months. I tried calling their phone number, figuring if I could talk to a live person I can get this resolved…but, the phone queue has an expected wait time of more than an hour each time I call. I'm more than an hour each way from the city, so I'd need the better part of a day to go up in person and try and resolve this.

I decide to write a letter describing the problem and requesting a reason for why I keep getting these notices. A month or so later I get a response…a fucking form with a box checked off that says the citation was not paid. Oh, and I also get additional penalties tacked onto the tab. I write back, this time with a copy of my cancelled check. Another month or so goes by, and I get the same form with the same box checked, and a handwritten note saying I need to show proof…what the hell did they think the cancelled check was for?? So, now it is about the principle of the thing…maybe someone just didn't look at the cancelled check…maybe someone lost the copy of the cancelled check…etc., etc. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. So, I make another copy of the cancelled check, send a new letter, and send copies of all my past correspondence. Guess what? Another month or so goes by, I get the same form with the same box checked off and another hand-written note requesting a copy of my checking account bank records to verify the check was written and cleared. I bang my head against the wall a few times…have a few drinks…and comply with the request.

This is really pissing me off…the notices are not showing that I paid anything, and the penalty fees are mounting, and it's obvious no one is really READING my correspondence.

This cycle continues, until finally I get a flagging notice put on my vehicle, and the city has the MVA withhold my registration renewal…coming up at the end of this month. This time I skipped the head-banging and went straight to popping a few drinks to ease the pain.

So, I've got to get this resolved before the end of the month…the city's phone message says to expect major wait times if you come in person…so I call them up and wait in the phone queue for almost an hour…and then get to talk to a person. She tells me that yes, even though it is not reflected on the notices, they do realize that I paid the fine and several months penalty fees, but they claim they received my payment in between billing cycles so it triggered their system as being unpaid. I explained that there is more than a month's difference between the date on the check and the date they deposited the check…that's not my fault if they waited a month to deposit the check. I also explained the history of all the correspondence…which she was unaware of and could care less about…and asked if we could come up with some sort of compromise given the circumstances. No…she said only a judge could do this and she would have to send me forms to request a trial, which would probably not be scheduled before the end of the year…and, in the meantime the penalties would continue to grow & I wouldn't be able to renew my registration. ARGHHH!!! I don't drink during the day, but I was really tempted!

Okay, so what if I pay the hundreds of dollars they say I owe, then request a trial and hope that the judge would agree to some kind of compromise and the city would maybe pay me at least some of my money back? Would this be feasible I ask her? Yes, that's probably the best course of action is the reply. Okay, so she tells me how much, and says to go to a website where I can pay and get a confirmation code, then says to call back so they can verify the confirmation code and give me a fax number that the MVA can use to communicate with the city when I go down to renew my registration. So…that is what I do.

When I call back, of course I have to wait another 45 minutes in the hold queue. I give the person my confirmation code, she asks me to hold while she verifies it, and 20 minutes later she is back on the phone saying there is a problem…the city "forgot" to add an administrative fee to my bill so they are refusing to release the hold on my registration. The clerk was very nice and explained the reason I was on hold for 20 minutes was that she was trying to get the powers that be to forgo the administration fee since it was their mistake in the first place. No dice…they refused…and I've got to believe the cost of them (god only knows how many got involved) even discussing it was more than the fee itself.

It gets better…no, actually worse. Here's the Catch-22. I can no longer go to the website and pay the admin fee because the official records show I am all paid up. So I have to wait until they update the system, and send me another bill, which they will probably do at the end of the month or the first week of August…too late to renew. Oh yeah…and this will result in additional penalty fees being applied since THEY should have added the administrative fee several months ago.


To be continued...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

In The Beginning

I've been procrastinating for years about starting a blog. Two main reasons for this, I guess. For one, I didn't think I had anything interesting to write about. For another, I'm a pretty private person. Anyway, today I decided to "get off the pot."

So, here I was trying to figure out where I should start, what my first post should be. I was drawing blanks. Then, "boing"...all of a sudden, it came to me, wilting genius that I am, as a not-so-little voice said "Start at the beginning, you friggin' moron."

Notice that I wrote "boing" and not "boink." OK, I am a horn dog...but only some of the time...and, that may be a good topic for another post. But now, back on task.

Too shy/timid/scared (pick one, they're free) to ask where the beginning was, I figured I'd just better get my ass in gear and let 'er rip...so to speak. Then, magically, another voice came to me from somewhere in the back of my head. "Ooh, ooh, Mister Kotter, Mister Kotter...why don't you write about the name of your blog?" Good question, Horshack. (And who says television is bad for you?) So here goes.

I googled the phrase "badaboom badabing" once, and learned that it was used to describe a drum roll during the vaudeville days. Well, I've been saying "badaboom badabing" most of my life. I grew up in New York (yes, in an Italian neighborhood) and lots of people I knew would use the term to mean things like "piece a' cake," "done deal," "no problem," and so forth. Here's an example:

"So, Mikey, I'm standin' in that long friggin' line waitin' to get into the ballgame, and this guy comes up to me and offers to sell me a ticket for fifty bucks. So, I whip out two twenties and tell him that's all I got, he says ok,and, badaboom badabing, I go right in."

And there you have it.