Friday, April 27, 2018


From time to time I write about Snowbirds from the Northlands visiting Florida. I try to be evenhanded in outlining the pros and cons of living down here as opposed to “Up There.” For starters, if you don't like cold weather, take a look at sunnier scenes, particularly Florida, where in fact the living is easier.

But remember “there's no free lunch” also applies to the Land of Eternal Sun. Some random examples of Florida living include “the early bird special” (EBS) preparing for which means you start planning for dinner right after breakfast. EBS menus have customer-friendly dinner prices that knock off a buck or two from the meals in order to lure those of us on Social Security. While “having cocktails” has become an evergreen all around the country, it has become an art form in Florida. It's good to remember though that the bar bill gobbles up what few dollars are saved on EBS.

When the sun goes down, most of us retreat to our little hideaways to turn on our television sets and check the weather up north. Schadenfreude kicks in for a few minutes but is followed by hours of gloom because television consists of TV series re-runs. It could be far worse though since most of the new prime-time viewing is simply terrible. Re-runs of oldies are generally the best of what used to be better.  And still are.

Florida is often derided as “Heaven's Waiting Room” because so many of us are senior-seniors. So be it. Most of our old gang on the northern side of the Mason-Dixon Line are also senior-seniors living in retirement homes afraid to go out because of bone-chilling cold. Plus down here the nurses have attractive suntans.

With all the talk of Health Care in Washington, D.C., we Floridians share the perspective that television has the answer for most ailments. Products for every conceivable ailment flash by our eyes night after night. Especially if you are suffering from erectile dysfunction which some say make up 40% (others say 80%) of the TV commercials.

Hang in, dear reader. Spring is just around the corner and then Summer will soon come your way. That's when Florida becomes a white-hot furnace for us. You may still have the last laugh as you bask in your glorious “Up North” weather. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Senator Lindsey Graham reminded us recently that “America is a nation of laws.” The South Carolina Republican was saying that none of us, whether in high office or just slugging along trying to make a living, is above doing what is right legally. This is a profound principle, and worth reviewing.

While there are many aspects under this overall umbrella, rules and regulations that touch on the common good seem to me to stand out.  No question we have suffered a general loss of respect for others. And yes, universal good manners is but a distant memory. It certainly “is what it is”! But that doesn't mean we each shouldn't strive to improve things.

An obvious example of violating laws can be seen in the conduct of those who do not obey traffic and pedestrian rules. Many do so by openly defying them with a “chip on the shoulder” attitude.  What's the point? People, certainly including the offender, can get injured, even killed. Young people have long rebelled against “authority” - parents, teachers and in particular during recent decades, the police. The media, on constant lookout for the negative and bad news, have highlighted the conduct of those white police officers who have mistreated young blacks. Bad cops are few in number when counted against the overwhelming number of men and women who wear the badge, faithfully exercising their duty to protect the public. But the ages old saying still stands true: It only takes one bad apple to ruin a barrel, in this case, the reputation of entire blue commands.

There are a lot of young people who are angry these days.  Some with good reason; others wanting to be part of violent peer-dominated mobs. There are also those who simply want to call media attention to themselves. In our nation of laws, there are legitimate ways to voice opposition. Breaking store windows and burning automobiles are not two of them. The examples of Mahatma Gandi and Martin Luther King, saints in our time, preached non-violent opposition. It is still the best way to achieve success in opposing injustice.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Basically, I am against the death penalty.  I also understand that this subject is debatable among honorable people entitled to speak our own minds in this great USA.  But this said, let's look at the possibility that certain people should be given this most final of all solutions.

My candidates are those men and women who make the unsolicited phone calls to our homes. The biggest of culprits among these Devil's disciples are of course the robocalls where tireless programmed robots eliminate the human factor altogether by calling and calling and calling. They usually do so when they suspect that someone is going to be there – dinner time is especially a target.  Most people I know are near exhaustion at the end of a day spent in totin' the barge, liftin' the bale, or whatever else makes for a tiring day at work. We look forward to relaxation, refreshment and the companionship of our loved ones.  We want to pull up the drawbridge over the moat so we can be the King or Queen in our little castle where peace and serenity reign. Then the telephones start with their awful anvil chorus.

I am but one helpless soul frustrated at my inability to fend off these endless intrusions. Every avenue of potential assistance to me has been cut off at the pass.  The Do Not Call registry is worthless as are other avenues of potential assistance.  In earlier times we could have some fun by talking back to the “caller.” We could use language not heard since long ago days in the barracks. But that paled after a hundred or so opportunities to vent at the tekkie intruders.

Away from the ringing phones I admire the depth of why I am being pursued.  The Internal Revenue Service is one.  This is quickly dismissed because I know the IRS writes, not calls, if they have reason to contact me. How about my student loan?  I never had to take out a loan thanks to my hardworking parents. (The statute of limitations surely would protect me anyway since my college days were seven decades ago.)  There are many others.  

We did away with our land line house phone which eliminated a stress-relieving option pursued by one father, namely, ripping the telephone right out of the wall. But now “they” have our cell phone numbers! If you have an idea for us, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you

You'll have to write, however. Robocalls have tied up our phones.

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Baloney makes up a large part of our world.  It is irrepressible. This is certainly so when we talk politics. I am convinced that folks collectively cock their eyebrows when politicians promise this or that. “Baloney” we think!

Today we are going to talk about another kind of baloney – the favored cold cut you find in delicatessens and on menus just about everywhere. Growing up, we Reillys had our own fascination with baloney.

The Original Reilly Boyz were Charles Jr. (me), Bart and Tom.  Brother Jeff came along much later (on my 19th birthday to be precise.) The three older boys were united in brotherly connection but also in our love for baloney. Brother Tom, the youngest, mispronounced “baloney” and along came BLONEY. It stayed that way in family fun until Tom grew up to become a lean, mean US Marine and we were less inclined to make him the butt of all jokes.

Bloney became coin of the realm in our house. Withheld from our sandwiches for transgressions, permitted for mid-day snacks only if we brothers cut out fighting and presented a camouflage of harmony.

While the years since have done away with our youth and trim waistlines our love of Bloney remained. The latest chapter for me involves a present-day battle within the refrigerator of our own Florida home. Joan prefers Boar's Head baloney; I remain firmly in the Wawa bloney camp. She won the early rounds until the Pennsylvania-based Wawa opened stores right here in Palm Beach. Bloney returned triumphant to grace my sandwiches once more. Stay tuned.

Either way, Joan says, “Hold the mayo!”