Frances Mary Turri Pilato

Frances Mary Turri Pilato
a.k.a, "St. Frances of Turri," my Mom

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"A Candle Carol": The Sequel

A few weeks before Christmas 2009, I was contemplating where I would spend the holidays. In making the decision, I relayed on this blog my experience of visiting St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City - and how it affected my decision. The result was a post I titled, "A Candle Carol."

A friend read that post, and emailed me her response. It was such a touching response, that I asked her if I could post her commentary on my blog. She agreed. As a result, below is "A Candle Carol: The Sequel" - in her own words. And for your convenience and clarity, following my friend's story, you will find the original "Candle Carol."

En-Joy...

HJ

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"A Candle Carol": The Sequel (by my friend who I will call "Julie")


I love your story...

I have to share ours about St. Patrick's cathedral in NYC (as yours reminds me of ours).

As you may or may not know, Tom and I started seeing a doctor in Manhattan to try and conceive a baby about two years ago (this was after spending two years at Strong Fertility in Rochester).

Each time we went into the city, we made a stop into St. Patrick's to say a prayer that one day we would have a baby.

One day I remember walking down the streets of NYC and Tom found a $20 bill (can you imagine...a $20 bill laying on the streets of NYC that no one had picked up?).

We were headed to St. Patrick's. We picked up the money and I said to him that it wasn't ours...but instead we should give it back to the church and light the candles with it as a donation. We did just that.

On one of our later visits to NYC, we had my surgery to retrieve what appeared to be my last eggs to try and have a baby. The retrieval is all about "when your baby is ready and the eggs are most fertile."

Amazingly enough, my body was not ready until St. Patrick's day. (My doctor's office is on 5th Avenue. You can only imagine how hard it was to get there and get out of the city in the midst of a large parade. The surgery was that day.)

I woke up from the surgery and my doctor patted me on the leg and said, "It might be time for an egg donor. We only got 3 eggs out. Only one of those 3 eggs fertilized."

Amazingly enough, that is the embryo that is back in my now and I am 8 months pregnant.

I am most certain that our prayers we said at St. Patrick's each and every visit were answered. I truly believe the candles are magical there.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"A Candle Carol"

Below is an essay I originally posted last Christmas, and I wanted to share it again this year.

En-Joy

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Where to spend Christmas?

It's always a quandry.

More so, this year, than others.

This year, I'm working in Pompano Beach, Florida, after only seven months prior, moving from my hometown of Rochester, New York back to Los Angeles (where I've held periodic residence since the 1980s).

So I did this morning what I always do when I have a decision to make:

I took a walk.

My pace this morning took me to St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, where good friends of mine recently celebrated the Baptism of their beautiful infant son. The father is not only my friend, but my supervisor at work.

That said, once in St. Gabriel's, I decided to light a candle. But when I walk, I usually do not carry any cash - and this morning was no different.

So, there I was, praying in church, which was so nicely decorated for Christmas, and unable to light a candle for a special prayer.

Immediately, I recalled a business trip last September to New York, where myself, my supervisor and his brother, the president of the company for which I work - and also my friend, had visited the historic St. Patrick's Cathedral.

And we had done so by mistake. Or at least we thought so.

As we walked to enjoy the sights of New York, we came across a church, and thought, "Well, this looks like a nice church. Let's go in here and say a prayer."

Once inside the beautiful structure, we realized where we were - and we were immediately in awe.

As we slowly toured through the palatial interior, we passed beauitful illustrations, images, paintings, sculptures and statues, all of which were overwhelming.

In time, we came across the candles, the cost of which to light one was $2.00.

But there we were - three successful adult men, with credit cards, debit cards and check cards - but just $4.00 in cash. And that meant we only had enough for just two of us to light candles for prayer.

Whether or not the president of the company, who also happens to be elder brother of the two, would be able to light a candle was never a question.

So it was between his younger brother and me.

And it was an easy decision. I told my friend, "You take the other $2.00 and light a candle...for your new son."

"Herb," he said, "are you sure?"

"Please," I replied. "Light the candle. I insist."

With that, I stepped back, and watched my supervisor and my friend kneel before the levels of candles, and pray for his beautiful child. And even though none of us had an extra $2.00 for a candle that would have ignited a special request for me, somehow I knew that my prayer would still be answered.

And it was. These two months later...this morning...in St. Gabriel's Church in Pompano Beach, Florida...when I realized that wherever I am, at any time of the year, is where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, December 20, 2010

"Message of Light for the Holidays"

In the beginning, we were all one big ball of light. Then a few of us decided (through the gift of Love=God's free will) that we needed to separate into billions of tiny balls of light. Then a few more decided that we needed to take physical form.

Sooner, than later, we found ourselves divided by all kinds of issues (with no answers) that we created, not Love=God. And now we have to create the circumstances (i.e. Earthly challenges with which to learn life lessons and/or reincarnating until we get it right - learning that love is the answer to everything) so we can return us to where we started:

Together, united as one - back to Love=God.

So here's a quick guide:

Holidays like Christmas and Easter are symbolic messages of whom and what Love=God is in our lives. Love=God comes to us as we believe Him to be. If we are Christian, then we believe Him (and will see Him) as Jesus.

Muslim? Allah.

Buddhist? Buddha.

And so on, and so forth, and so good.

Jesus was Love=God Incarnate on Earth. As the Son of Love=God, He was and is the Awesome Deliverer.

As the Son of Man, He was and is everything that each of us should aspire to be in/on this Earth realm.

As a Human Being, he was one of the kindest to ever have lived. As a Historical Figure, he was a genius. Jesus' life was a living parable...a parable similar to those he was so fond of dispelling while he was on Earth.

The Birth of Jesus is symbolic of the Birth of the Christ Consciousness in each of us. The Resurrection of Jesus, is symbolic of the Resurrection of our Hearts, Minds and Souls to our Higher Consciousness.

Joseph Campbell was right:

Look to the message behind the myth, myth, here meaning, story, a.k.a. Bible Stories.

This doesn't mean that the Bible stories are myths, as in "fantasies" or as in "never happened."

No. Indeed, they were real and did transpire.

But they transpired as history and parable, and we must concentrate on the latter as lesson for the development of our souls. In doing so, we must not employ judgment. Rather, we must love and respect one another, ignore our differences, and concentrate on what makes us the same - which is Love=God.

Love=God doesn't give a flying fig if you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Black, White, Straight, Gay, or Martian.

We're all on different paths that lead to the same destination.

Once again, back to Love=God.

It's that simple, and it's not difficult and it has nothing to do with hate, for there is only love. It has nothing to do with death, for there is only life. After what we call death, there is only more life, and that has nothing to do with division and the end of the world. For there are only new beginnings, and unity, linked by Love=God.

Therefore, hold on to Love=God, and let go of the world...

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season - and may ALL of your hearts truest desires come true.

Herbie J

Monday, December 13, 2010

"How To Feel Like A Dog And Make It Work For You"

A dog knows when you have positive or negative intentions and/or emotions, not only by the fluctuating "high-happy" or "low-sad" pitched inflections of your vocal chords (high-happy, sounding something like: "Com'ere, baby...! Come on...come on! There ya' go!) - but also in the "sense" that he or she receives, instinctively.

Humans, meanwhile, may also act on those same instincts or intuition. If something doesn't "feel" right about a person or a situation, that's our dog or "spider" senses tingling. And we should adhere to them.

If we ourselves are dispersing not-so-positive "vibrations," then we better get to the bottom of our ill manner, delete it from your "system," and go on our merry way.

Essentially, everyone loves the carefree spirit. And it's not always easy to retain such a happy spirit in these challenging times. But one thing is for sure:

Retaining a carefree spirit has the power to transform each of us into "Magnets of Light."

I know...sounds melodramatic. But here's the deal:

Our individual potential "Magnet of Light" personas or "Carefree Spirits," may be reflected and/or increased by one very simple phrase and response to life's general issues:

"It's okay. It's alright. No problem."

When we employ such a phrase (or at least the carefree temperament that such a phrase implies) in response to the general challenges of life (i.e. stuck in traffic, not always getting your way, etc.), things tend to work out pretty well (one way or the other).

Can't really explain how it works; just know that it does.

Either way, couldn't hurt to try it, right?

'Course not.

Because either way, "It's okay. It's alright. No problem."

Monday, December 6, 2010

"Mom and the 28 Quarters"

As long as I can remember, my Mom always prayed for everyone, especially children.

In fact, upon seeing any child, she would take out her rosary beads and say a prayer, right there, at that moment, wherever she was, asking permission from the accompanying parent if it was okay for her to bless their child.

"Of course," they'd say.

Then, every Monday-Friday, my Mom visited the Senior Center, which used to cost her about $5.00 a day, which included lunch, and van service (which picked her up and drove her home).

Twenty-five bucks a week for a senior's regular activities?

Not bad at all.

At this simple-treasured Center, she'd also play cards, went on picnics, and played bingo. She especially loved the bingo.

A whole lot.

I never realized how much, really.

Until, one day, when I started giving her "extra" quarters with which to play the game.

Not a lot of quarters. Just seven dollars worth.

Every other day, I'd walk into her apartment, and interrupt her daily viewing of Murder, She Wrote or The Golden Girls, walk over to her, kiss her, and ask her to open up her hand.

At that moment, I'd pour out the seven dollars in quarters, 28 in all.

As I did this, her reaction was one of astonishment. She looked as if she won the lottery or the mega-jackpot in Vegas.

"Oh, Herbie J," she'd say with so much joy, "...what a great son you are! I have to pay you back! I have to pay you back!!"

"Ma," I replied, "You just go have fun at the Center."

And she did, all the more...with that mere extra seven dollars.

Not a million.

Not a thousand.

Not even ten.

Just seven.

Seven.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Parents Had "20/20" Vision - From The "In-Sight, Out"

You may remember a post I made here on my blog back in February of 2010. It was titled, "My Dad Had Twenty Hearts," and it had to do with a trip I took to Charleston, South Carolina to do research for The Bionic Book - on the set on the final Bionic TV-reunion movie, Bionic Ever After.

I re-post that recollection today, following this new recollection having to do with a night I planned to have a good time in Rochester, circa 1989, long before THE "BIONIC" BOOK was finally published (in 2007), not to mention also before my first book, THE "BEWITCHED" BOOK, was published (in 1992).

Since both recollections had to do with my parents generosity and beautiful hearts, I thought to combine the memories - today, in this one post.

En-Joy.

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MY MOM HAD TWENTY HEARTS

I had left Los Angeles in the Fall of 1989, a few months after I had met Elizabeth Montgomery, while doing early research for what would become the first Bewitched Book. In writing this first book, I had absolutely nothing.

And when I say, "nothing," I mean, "nothing." Not a stick of furniture or a dime or a car or "nothing." I had to sell all of my furniture and belongings to pay my rent and eat, and I was planning on returning to my hometown of Rochester to complete the book - which I did, ultimately, in the room in which I spent my latter teen years.

But I digress.

One night, while back in that Rochester of 1989, I wanted to go out with a few friends for a reunion of sorts. But I had no money to spend, even for a ginger ale. So I asked my Mom if I could borrow $20.00. And that was a hard thing to do. I had already returned to their home, was eating their food, and living in their house for free - all as an adult. And now, I was asking for money to go "party."

But when I asked my Mom for that twenty bucks, she didn't flinch for a second, and gave it to me immediately.

I remember how I felt with after she handed it to me. Before she did so, I felt like a "loser," after she did so, I felt like "a million bucks."

How could $20.00 make such a difference?

How could I have given it that much power over me?

I soon would find out.

That night, I took that $20 and met my friends. We all met at a local bar, and as I recall, there were many pretty girls. And I was "safe," because I had that 20 in my pocket, and I would be able to buy at least one drink for one of the ladies.

Is that insane, or what?

But before I even decided who or what was or wasn't crazy, I reached into my pocket for the "money," and realized it was gone. I had lost it. And I was pissed off.

So much so, that I allowed it to not only ruin my evening, but to somehow diffuse any "good" energy or carefree spirit that I may have ignited in myself that night. But more than that, I thought how much I would disappoint my Mom when I would tell her about losing the twenty.

Twenty dollars is certainly not a lot of money today, and it wasn't even a lot of money in 1989, but it was a generous gift from my Mom, who never had a lot of money to spare...in any decade.

In any case, after I realized I was "broke" that night (on many levels), I left the bar and returned home...early.

I come in the door at my parent's house at about 10:00 PM, and my Mom wondered why. I was clearly upset, and she wondered why about that, too.

"I lost that twenty you gave me, Mom. And I'm so sorry. I'm just an idiot. I know how hard you and Dad struggle, and here I am, taking twenty bucks from you...taking advantage of you. And then, not evening having the good sense to be careful with what you give me."

Again, I told her, "I'm SO sorry."

As I stood there, in emotional ruin, near the hall stairs, my Mom just looked at me a minute and said, "Herbie J...you're going to let a mere twenty dollars run your life? You're a better man than that...and you have a better MIND than that. That twenty dollars doesn't mean anything to me. But you mean everything."

And with that, she reached for her purse, and took out another $20.00, and handed it over to me, saying, "Go back out with your friends - and have a good time."

She didn't add, "And just be careful" or "This time, be more mindful" or anything of that.

She just said, "Go back out with your friends - and have a good time."

I hesitated. I didn't even care to return to that (then-smoked-filled) bar. But my Mom insisted. "Go," she said.

And so I did.

However, I'm not sure if I used that "second twenty bucks" to buy any drinks for any pretty girls. But I do know that the carefree spirit that was once infused by that first 20 was now alive in me because I now knew just how blessed I was to have such an awesome Mom...one with an endless, unconditional, nonjudgemental Love...in such a generous way that was simply not of this world.

But thank God she - and my Dad - were in mine.

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MY DAD HAD TWENTY HEARTS (originally posted in February, 2010)

Way back in 1994, when I was doing early research for The Bionic Book, I was fortunate enough to visit the set of the third and final Bionic reunion movie, Bionic Ever After, when Steve Austin (as played by Lee Majors) and Jaime Sommers (Lindsay Wagner) finally married. The movie was being filmed in Charleston, South Carolina - a place I had then yet to visit.

Meanwhile, and unfortunately, my Dad was suffering from lung cancer back in my hometown of Rochester NY, and I was about whether or not to leave him for the film.

But my Dad, ever stoic, insisted that I take the trip. He knew how much being on the set of that movie would ultimately mean and contribute to my book. He also knew that I needed a rest from caregiving. That's the kind of man that he was.

So, I made my plans to leave for Charleston. Yet, before doing so, I took a walk with my Dad to the pool that was part of the townhome complex where we lived.

There I was - young, healthy, excited about the trip. And yet sad...because I was walking with my elderly, ill father, who only months before, had been the picture of health himself. In fact, he had not been sick a day in his life, and at 83-years-old, he had always looked much younger. If anyone could have been a movie-star, it was my Dad.

But not at the time of our walk. Not with his walker. And not with the tubes that ran from his nose to the oxygen tank.

My Dad's heart, however, was in peak condition, physically and emotionally. His pride was there for his son - as was his generosity - which was "on the money."

For in the middle of the walk, my Dad stopped, and reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill - which he had somehow prepared to give me before we started the walk.

"Here," he said, "you take this...for your trip. In case you need it."

At this point, of course, I was making money as a writer. Not hundreds of thousands, but certainly enough to get me to Charleston and back.

But I could not turn away from Dad's mere twenty-dollar offer.

I looked in his eyes. The sincerity, with which he was giving me that small amount of money, was so loving-kind, pensive and massive. It would have cracked his heart in two had I rejected his offer.

What's more, by this time, the cancer in his lungs had slightly started to affect his emotions - and his thinking. My Dad's age, combined with the general inability to grasp onto just how different the world had become, how twenty dollars was really not a lot of money - for a young man or even a senior - all worked to cloud his perspective.

Ultimately, for my Dad, that twenty dollars was a lot of money. For me, it was a modest amount that became a priceless gift.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"Shouldn't I Be In College By Now?"

It was late in the super Summer of '78. I had not yet heard from the Number One College Choice on my list - which was Nazareth College of Rochester, New York. I had been accepted at a few area colleges, but Nazareth is the school that I very much wanted to attend - if only because of its awesome Theatre department. But also, too, because of the "chicks."

For years, Nazareth had been a "girls" school and, at the time, they had only recently transformed into a co-ed facility. So, it was an exciting time, all the way around.

Thing is, it was nearly August - and I had not yet received an acceptance letter. It's not like today, when high-schoolers and parents apply and plan for college years in advance. At least it wasn't like that for me.

Then, for me, weeks went by, and still no letter...until finally...it arrived. I would be attending my optimum choice for college in the Fall of '78.

As such, the process began. Registration, buying books, etc. I would be commuting to my parents home in Greenleaf Meadows, so signing up for a campus dorm, and so forth, was not part of the agenda.

But once everything was in place, I was simply waited for the other "letter."

You know the one?

The one that all kids, every age, receive at the end of summer as the new school year begins. The one that explains the start date and time for that first class in the first or second week of September, which usually began on a "Wednesday."

Well, THAT letter never arrived in the mail. Or least, I never saw it.

So, one day, while sitting at the Greenleaf pool (which would always open on Memorial Day - and close on Labor Day, the latter of which was fast approaching), I just decided to call "school," which in this glorius case, was Nazareth.

So someone "in the office" at Nazareth answered the phone.

"Nazareth College. How may I help you?"

"Yes," I replied. "I've been accepted at Nazareth, and I haven't received 'the letter' explaining when school is to start, and I'm just wondering when that will be?"

"When what will be, Sir?"

"School. When does it start?"

"Uhm, Sir. School started last week."

"WHAT?!"

"Yes, Sir. It's true."

"Ok, Ok! Thank you! I gotta' go!"

Not only did I have to go, but I had to go there FAST. Greenleaf Meadows in Greece, NY was some twenty-five miles from Nazareth College in Pittsford, NY, so I had to move. There was probably about ninety-five last-minute things I had to do.

Upon first arrival at "school," I parked, ran to the Registrar's office, took care of the last minute details, confirmed my class schedule - and I was off to meet my first professor - and new classmates.

This initial course was a Biology, and I made it just in time to hear my name in the initial roll call.

Honest.

Just as I walked into class, I heard, "Herbie J Pilato?"

"Here!" I said, if a little out of breath - and almost dangerously out of time.

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Summer Days, '78"

The Summer of '78 was definately one of the best summers of my life.

As detailed in the last two posts, it was the summer following my high-school graduation (just as the kids from Rydell High were doing the same in the super hit movie musical of that year, Grease). It was also the first summer in what I will now name as Greenleaf Meadows - the rental townhouse community in the suburb of Rochester, NY (my hometown) called Greece.

Not only was it the summer I met "Diana" (which see previous post, My Words Kissed Her Eyes), and had my first cross-country job (which see The Adventures of Ralph and Butch), but it was best summer of carefree fun that I ever experienced.

Being 17 in 1978 was filled with many more carefree moments that being 17 today. At least, I can only surmize it so.

As I have observed elsewhere on this blog, the Summer of '78 was a simpler happier time, specifically for me and my family who moved to Greenleaf from the inner-city.

I met so many wonderful friends that summer, including Robin and her sister Gwen, who worked at Burger King; Tanya, and yet another hot young hot blonde, who I remember as Betty, who lived right opposite the pool...and on and on.

It was the months before I began my Freshman Year as a Theatre Major attending Nazareth College, in Pittsford, NY; it was also the summer when I commenced work as a meatroom cleaner at Topps Supermarket, where I met so many other wonderful friends, like Carolyn, her cousin Marie, Terry, Jimmy D., Scott, Michelle, Dave, and again, so many more.

Times to cherish; memories to hold dear - and to blog about.

Forever.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Adventures of "Ralph and Butch"

Sometime before I met Diana (see previous post, My Words Kissed Her Eyes), and shortly after my high-school Senior Ball, I found myself "truckin'" half-way across the country with "Ralph." Or was it "Butch."

I better explain.

I had a best friend in high-school, who I will call "Tony," (can I make this any MORE complicated?), who went on to become extremely successful in the corporate world. In fact, if I mentioned his name, or the corporation he became extremely successful over, you would know him right off the "bat" (which is another clue). But I digress.

Suffice it to say, Tony was an awesome guy. He was very smart and funny, and quite in-tune with pop-culture, the latter of which is mostly why we got along so well.

In fact, Tony and I once partnered on an awesome project for our Junior Year English class, presided over a very hot teacher (Hey, Mrs. Yorio!) that had to do with the effect of television on society. So, clearly, the seeds of my career, if not his, were being planted.

At any rate, Tony and I got along so well, and we both know pop-culture, inside and out, that we created, in our seemingly bored moments, the characters of "Ralph and Butch," who were some form of undercover cops or detectives, patterned after TV's then very-popular Starsky & Hutch (I guess.)

A few "R & B" adventures stand out in my mind, such one extremely cold day during the East Coast Blizzard of '77, when Tony gave me a ride home from school in his beat-up yellow Volkswagon. Whenever we'd go into our "Ralph and Butch" mode (and to this day, I'm still not sure who played whom), Tony would jump out of the car, and pretend to stick a flashing police light on the top of the car (again, as would Starsky & Hutch and, for that matter, as also did Karl Malden and Michael Douglas on one of TV's other very-popular cop shows of the day, The Streets of San Francisco).

Either way, one adventure had commenced.

We were clearly bored (and probably just a leetle bit too old to be playing cops and robbers - but at least we were funny and creative.

Especially on this particular winter day during the East Coast Blizzard of '77, when - in the deep blinding white-out that attacked us from the front, the back and the surrounding area, "Ralph and Butch" were not only stuck in the snow – but we were stuck in traffic.

I only wish I could remember the brilliant lines of humor that Tony vocalized that day.

Truth be told, not only was his wit pure genius, but he was a loyal friend.

After I gave that dance at the Senior Ball (again, please see previous post, My Words Kissed Her Eyes)?

Well, in many ways it was a nervous dance. And not just because I was performing before a crowd of bullies-would-would-later-turn-friends. But my "performance anxiety" had more to do with academic concerns, as opposed to peer pressure.

Even though I was attending the Senior Ball, I was somewhat uncertain if I was going to pass Senior Year! For some ridiculous reason, I had signed up for a course in Political Science in my final high-school semester mostly, I suppose, because it would have earned me college credit for the following Fall.

But getting to college was not gonna' happen if I failed high-school, which would have transpired if I failed Political Science.

So, in stepped my good friend Tony. That night at the Senior Ball, and right after I finished my dance, he excused himself from his date, and walked over to our Political Science teacher, the great Mr. Pilliter, who was one of the chaperones of the evening.

Quite pointedly, Tony asked Mr. P, "Is Herb going to pass Political Science?"

The esteemed instructor, who was dapper and sophisticated, paused a moment, then turned to Tony and answered, with a smile, "How can I fail a kid who can dance like that?"

Suffice it to say, I was safe.

Not so much, however, when some weeks later, Tony and I found ourselves on a cross-country truck adventure.

"Uh?" you ask?

Here's what happened:

The neighbors who held residence in the suburban townhouse next-door to where I lived (with my parents and sister), were planning to move. They were a retired, elderly couple, who were set on driving their beautiful new, big RV from Rochester to Cleveland.

But they needed help with the excursion.

So, I suggested that Ralph and Butch oblige. Well, at least Herbie and Tony.

And I made the suggestion because we were young, and this elderly couple were rich, or at least seemingly-so. Though there was no discussion of money between Tony and I, and the elderly couple, I assumed that we would be well-compensated for the time and effort that such a long-distance journey and job would require.

After some apprehension, Tony agreed to do it. Thing was, neither of us knew how to drive a stick-shift - which is what we had to do with the big-rig that the elderly couple had rented for us (to helm and follow them in their RV all the way to Cleveland).

So, picture it: two recently-graduated high school teens, neither of whom had much driving experience, in general, let alone driving a rented moving van with a stick-shift, were now about to literally truck half-way across the country.

I finally told Tony, "Look – I'm NOT gonna' drive this thing. So YOU have to."

Once more, Tony, somehow, reluctantly agreed.

So, for the entire trip, from Rochester to Cleveland, the truck kept "spitting" its engine, and clunking along – because Tony could not properly drive with a stick-shift...at least for the first couple of hundred miles.

After that, he conquered the technique.

But in the meantime, all I could do, as we spitted along, was make promises. "Tony," I'd say, "I'm telling ya'...it's gonna be worth it! These people got money. LOTS of it. And their gonna' pay us. And I mean pay us GOOD!"

Well, sure enough, THREE days later, - after the long, long trip, in the long, long trailer, following the old, old couple, we stopped at their destination, emptied the truck of their belongings, drove it to the nearest drop-off rental facility, and waited to be paid. We had showered, I think, at least only once. But other than that, things were pretty...well...hygienically-challenged.

But no matter - by this time, we just wanted our money. And as I had been promising Tony, "We were gonna'get paid. GOOD!"

Unfortunately, however, that kind of transaction never transpired.

For after we dropped-off the truck with the elderly couple, they drove us to the bank in their RV, made a withdrawal from their account, and paid us FORTY-BUCKS.

Total.

Tony was ready to kill me.

We made that long, clunky trip, all the way from Rochester to Cleveland, safe and sound.

But now - I was prepared to die.

Though not before the now-cheap elderly couple drove us to the airport, where they purchased plane tickets for our return to Rochester.

Thank God. At least they did THAT.

And then, fortunately, by the time they left the airport, Tony had calmed down, and we laughed a little bit about the whole thing.

That was the kind of guy Tony was.

Humor always trumped everything else.

Good thing, too – because once we had those plane tickets in our hands, I had suggested to Tony, several times, to please make sure he kept his ticket in a safe place, as not to lose it.

"Now, Tony," I pestered, "Please put that ticket away - or else you're gonna' lose it. I'm telling ya'!

Well, he heard all that "I'm tellin' ya'" stuff before," and it pretty much didn't work out for him. So, he wasn't gonna' listen to it this time around.

"I'm NOT gonna’ lose it, Herb," he said, quite aggravated.

"Ok," I continued to press, "but if you DO – I'm tellin' ya' - it's gonna' mess things up, and delay our trip.”

"I’m NOT gonna' lose it!' he insisted.

Well, guess what?

About twenty minutes before we were to board the plane, Tony, who was about 6'3', to my 5'7", came cowering up to me - 'er, down to me - looking very sad.

"Uhm," Herb..." he said, with his head bowed.

"Yeah?" I wondered.

"Uhm...I..."

"Yeah...what is it? Spit it out, would ya', Tony!"

"I...uhm..."

"Don't tell me."

"I, uhm...lost..."

"You LOST the ticket!" I screamed. "I TOLD you to be careful!!"

"Would you stop!" he pleaded. "We're in a public place, for pete's sake."

And so went the adventures of "Ralph and Butch."

Or "Butch and Ralph."

Or Herb and "Tony."

Or Herb and "Whoever-Tony-Really-Was" - and remains...

A loyal friend with a with a great sense of humor – and a genius for corporate business, if not driving trucks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Words Kissed Her Eyes

In the late 1970s, my family and I moved from our red-brick house in the inner-city of Rochester, New York to a rented town-house in a surrounding suburb. This particular town-house rental community had a pool and a tennis court, and was close to the beach, as well as the area's best hamburger resturant and the original Abbott's Ice Cream parlor.

What more could anyone want, right?

It was a tough time growing up in the city. I was a cute and artistic little boy, and as a result, all the little girls were after me.

Also consequently, though unfortuately, not all, but most of the little boys in the neighborhood were jealous of me. So they frequently beat me up or called me names - horrible, hurtful names.

But when I was 17, and in the year that I graduated from high school, which was an equally tough time for me - filled with continuous bullying, my family and I moved to that rented town-house in the suburbs - which ultimately proved to be somewhat of a paradise, at least for a little while.

For during that entire summer - of 1978 - by the pool and the tennis courts, I ever-enjoyed the sun. It was the war-less era of Grease at the movies, and Three's Company was on TV. I was planning for college for the coming Fall, though not sure which college it was to be. I wasn't working yet, but also that Fall, I would get a job at the local supermarket (cleaning the meat department, and later, as the "Head of Maintenance").

But before any of that transpired - there was the carefree spirit of the pool...and the sun...and the laughter of new friendships.

And there was also "Diana" - a beautiful young woman who can only be described now as an ideal cross between Farrah Fawcett and Christie Brinkley.

It's important to note, too, that, by this time in my life, most of the "bullies" were gone - and I had found a new confidence. Not only did John Travolta's performance in Grease echoe in a new era, but his character named "Tony Minero," in that year's release of Saturday Night Fever, had given me an "identity." All the kids who once laughed at my dancing, when I was a young kid in the city, now wished they had my "moves."

I recall the Senior Ball, only months before my first visit to "the pool." A few "bully classmates" (I guess that's what you could call them) tried to "pull one over on me." They went up to the band, and asked the lead vocalist to call my name to the dance floor, because, "apparently," she said, "this Herbie-J-person can dance."

"Well," she went on to say, "let's see what Herbie J can do."

So, my name was called, and the band started to play a disco version of "I Love NY."

Instead of turning away from the request, I went into the dance, full-throttle. As I started toward the center of the dance floor, which was cleared and waiting for me, I turned to those certain "class bullies," who were laughing and pointing, and calling me names, each with their girlfriends standing beside them, in unison.

Instead of snearing towards their way, I ignored them - and said to myself, "They want to see a dance? Well, they're gonna' get a dance."

And the music played on - and I danced...mimicking nearly every move Travolta performed in the solo sequence of Saturday Night Fever.

When I was done - the bullies were silent - though with their jaws dropped. And each of their girlfriends ran from their side - and rushed up to me - and adorned me with non-stop kisses and hugs.

It was pretty awesome - a moment in time that almost compensated for the four-years of high-school trauma that each of their boyfriends put me through. But it was also an awesome moment because it prepared for my dance for Diana.

Because again, a month or two after my prom, there I was - at the pool, laying in the sun. And there, only a few yards away, was Diana.

Somehow, I knew had to meet her. So, after about an hour of trying to figure out how I was going to do that, and what I was going to say, she started to gather her towel to leave.

I was like, "Oh, great! Now what?"

She then started walking passed the lifeguards to the exit, and paced over to the lawn, between the pool and the tennis courts.

I had to move - and I had to move quickly.

So I got up off my towel, and ran over to the black rail fence that now stood between us, she on the outside of the pool, and me on the inside - and I called out to her, saying, "Excuse me - but what's it like to have blue eyes?"

She stopped, turned, and smiled, and said, "I dunno. What's it like to have brown eyes?"

We both laughed and talked a little more, and then she left.

I'm not sure how many other times I saw her again. But somehow, a few days later, I was dancing for her in her family's townhouse.

We never dated. We never went up the street to the beach, to get a hamburger or an ice-cream. I don't think we ever even sat at the pool together again or played tennis. And we certainly never kissed or even embraced.

But somehow, in that simpler, happy summer of '78, Diana made me smile - and I made her smile a little bit, too.

I went on to college (Nazareth) that Fall, and never saw or heard from her again.

That is, until last week...when I received a message from her, "out of the blue," on Facebook.

She remembered how I asked about her blue eyes, and she reminded me of how I gifted her with a plaque with spiritual words upon it that defined true friendship. We messaged one another a few more times, back and forth - and she expressed so many kind thoughts about how I made an impression on her that summer...an impression that I thought only I remembered.

But in fact, I finally realized what it's "like to have blue eyes"...and how Diana and I had really "kissed" after all - on that first moment we met.

For her eyes were kissed by my words...words from the past that somehow spoke back to me in the present with a loving-kind vision of an immortal moment in time.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Thoughts For The Day

People either "get you" or they don't. But whether or not they think you are wonderful, doesn't change the fact that you ARE wonderful.

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A person of true grace embraces imperfection and replaces it with love - and forgiveness.

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There is a great war going on in the world - between nice people and mean people. Don't let the "blue-meannies" win.

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You don't have to do one dang thing to earn the respect and love of a true human being of substance...for quality recognizes quality - automatically.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sammy's Happy

When my nephew Sammy was about nine-years-old, he contracted a very serious viral infection. He was always a healthy little boy, athletic and never really ill - and certainly always happy. He never really had a big appetite, but during that one particular period, he wasn't eating very much at all. And he very much worried everyone in the family.

I knew for certain one day that the infection was serious, when he and his Mom - my sister, Pam - came over to see our parents (Frances and Herbie P.).

Sammy was bone thin, pale and weak.

I was so disturbed by his appearance, that I was forced to turn my head and cry, being sure not to show him my tears. For he certainly was not crying himself, and I did not want to make even a dent in his courage.

Instead - I thought only to make him laugh...to encourage him to be more joyful than he already was - and remains to this day.

For not only does Sammy laugh - but he loves to laugh...and he can't wait to laugh. And not in a mean-spirited way at the expense of others. But he loves to laugh the real joyful kind of laughter.

So, those now fifteen years or so ago, I had to act quickly. I had to swiftly somehow dry my tears.

I then turned to him, pulled him close and hugged him hello. Real tight.

I felt the bones on his back - and I almost cried some more. But I kept it together...concentrated...and somehow gathered my emotions...and recalled every joyful thought or joke I could muster...making a new few laughs along the way.

And then Sammy started to laugh...and I continued to tell jokes.

And he laughed some more.

And then some more.

And more still.

And my jokes kept coming...and he kept laughing - especially when I threw in a few silly physical manic moves of a clown.

A desperate clown.

Though Sammy never knew how desperate I really was to make him laugh.

And it didn't matter.

All that mattered is that he laughed.

And then a few days later - we all smiled.

Sammy was eating again, and gaining weight. He was getting healthier - and finally, his very serious viral infection was gone - replaced by a very happy infectious laughter and healing joy - that he continues to share to this day.

Vote for the INDIVIDUAL!

Vote for the best person for the job. Focus on their humanity, integrity, wisdom, and leadership capabilities - and don't just vote for them because they share your cultural heritage, religious beliefs, or political affiliation. Vote for the INDIVIDUAL.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Meeting the Heston Family at the World Premiere of the Cecil B. Demille's newly-restored 1956 cinema classic "The Ten Commandments"

A few weeks ago, I was privledged enough to attend the world premiere, special screening of Paramount's newly-restored and quite beautiful edition of Cecil B. Demille's 1956 feature film classic, The Ten Commandments, which just so happens to be my favorite movie of all time.

The screening took place at the Hollywood's (also newly-and-beautifully restored) Egyptian Theatre (where Demille's original 1923 edition of The Ten Commandments debuted). And those also in attendance included Lydia and Fraser Heston, the widow and son of the film's iconic star, Charlton Heston (who passed away in 2008).

The Ten Commandments is my favorite film for several reasons, though with specific regard to dialogue, cinematography, acting and, of course, the direction and over-all vision from Mr. DeMille. Either way, all of it, was and remains top-notch, timeless - and pure.

But to have actually sat in the theatre with Heston's wife and son (the latter of whom actually appeared in the film - as Baby Moses), was simply grand; an experience that lasted somewhat more significantly for a short-time after the movie finished playing.

After it was over, I and a few friends waited for the theatre to empty.

In doing so, the timing was just right, as we became some of the last to exit the theatre - just in time to run into Mr. Heston's son and wife as they were walking to their limo.

I approached Mr. Heston - and told him how, not only is the movie my favorite, but I also had the opportunity to chat with him about my favorite SCENE in the movie:

Shortly after Heston's Moses is cast from Egypt, and when he is nursed back to health by his future wife Sephora (portrayed by Yvonne DeCarlo), and all her beautiful sisters - in the land of Midian.

Here, Moses is no longer the Prince of Egypt and he's not yet The Deliverer. As I relayed to Fraser Heston, "He's just a guy. Just a regular guy." And it's one of the sweetest moments in the film.

Mr. Heston was complimentary and appreciative of my words and insight. And he was very personal and kind (wanting to know my name, etc.).

In all, to be there at the world premiere of the reissue of my favorite film....and to sit in the same theatre with the Heston family....and later to have been able to actually chat about the film - and my favorite scene -to Fraser Heston (while his Mom waited in the car, no less)...well....it was just plain awesome.

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See the trailer via the link below:
http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1106968857/

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Return of Simple Pleasures via ABC News and Author Leslie Blume

Author Leslie Blume appeared on ABC's Good Morning, America to talk about her awesome new book, LET'S BRING BACK, which suggests its important for each of us to return to the "simpler pleasures."

Please see the video link below for more.


http://news.yahoo.com/video/entertainment-15749636/the-return-of-simple-pleasures-22704485

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brian Wilson's "Love and Mercy" - It's What We All Need

Lyrics to

LOVE AND MERCY

by Brian Wilson

(followed by a link to the video)

I was sittin' in a crummy movie
With my hands on my chin
all the violence that occurs
Seems like we never win

Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was lying in my room
And the news came on TV
A lotta people out there hurtin'
And it really scares me

Love and mercy that's what you need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

I was standing in a bar
And watching all the people there
Oh the loneliness in this world
Well it's just not fair

Love and mercy that's what we need tonight
Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN98_tRLkEQ

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tribute To My Parents

The most rewarding experience of my life was taking care of my parents in their elder years. I would not be who I am today if not for my Mom, Frances Turri ("St. Frances of Turri") and Dad, Herbie P. ("St. Pompeii"). As we enter Fall - and ready for the coming Holiday Season, I invite you to read these previous blog tributes to my parents, which I repost here today.

With good thoughts in appreciation for all,

Herbie J


THE TRIBUTE TO MY DAD (who passed into spirit on April 5, 1995)

My dad was always the first one in my family who remembered to play a joke on April Fool's Day. Only on his last celebration of the holiday in 1995, a mere five days before he died of lung cancer, did I find out why.

On April 1, 1924, when my father was just a boy, he lost his mother when she was 35-years-old. As her eldest child, he and my grandma Rose were quite close. I don't think he ever got over loosing her. He must have thought it was a bad joke that a twelve-year-old boy would lose his mother on April Fool's Day. It's like he made some kind of promise to himself that he would always be the first one to do a funny every year. It was probably the only way that he knew how to deal with the pain he must have felt every year on what should have been a very humorous day. Inside, I don't think he ever stopped asking where his mother was. From the day she passed away, there was no one there to comfort when he fell, so he fought. There was no there to guide him through school, to encourage him to get a formal education, so he quit.

He was on his own.

Still, when push came to shove, my father did remarkably well in this world. He always managed to enjoy himself in our hometown of Rochester, New York, and during his time in the service (World War II), which allowed him to travel to California and to the Philippines. He married at 40, and the good times continued with my mom, my sister and myself. In the fall of 1977, after years in the inner-city, we moved to a beautiful suburban townhome that we rented, and he loved it there. We all loved it there, from the moment we first went to inspect what would be our home for the next 18 years. Even after taking the long way, down the wrong road, on a rainy day, we somehow managed to end up at the right place.

After a time, however, my father grew bitter, thinking he had made the wrong decision by paying rent all those years and not purchasing a home. I tried to tell him again and again, that in life, no one really owns anything, that the life we all shared was good, even if we argued nearly every day, that a person's true success is measured by the quality time he has with others, not the quantity of material gifts he or she is able to gather in this world.

But he didn't want to hear about it. Then, when he got sick, he really didn't want to hear about it. And I didn't blame him.

Along with my father's physical ailments, his emotional state deteriorated. I prayed for his soul because I believed that he would not. At least, I thought he would not.

Then, one day, shortly before he passed away, I was trying to arrange the huge family rosary upon the holy mantel we had in our home. I couldn't find the right position. I gave up, and huffed away upstairs. About one half-hour later, I started back down the steps, and noticed my father situating the rosary in the most perfect way. At that moment, I knew that so simple and graceful a move had somehow cleared his path to heaven. All the times when he chose not to pray, all the moments when he could not find the strength to forgive himself for not going to school, finding the right job, paying into the right pension, winning the lottery, or losing at OTB; all the bitterness and anger that was eating away at him, was wiped clean. His heart was replenished. My father had faith, after all. But like so many of his other emotional truths, he concealed it.

Though, I had underestimated his integrity before.

While in fourth grade, I wanted to go to the circus.

"Get a good report card," he told me, "and I'll get you tickets."

I began to worry. I was a horrible student in the fourth grade. And when my report card arrived, as I had feared, I received all Ds and a great big F. After stalling for an hour or so in my room, I called him upstairs and showed him the card. He took it down into the living room. About 20 minutes later, he returned it to me. Inside were the tickets he had purchased weeks before. He granted me those tickets, when I thought he would punish me. But I punished myself by not comprehending the scope of my father's love.

Where was my faith?

Where was my faith when I worried how I would get to college, in a family of three drivers and one car? When my father showed up with a brand new car for me with which to commute to a local college, I was embarrassed. Once again, I had miscalculated the magnitude of his love, and the generosity of his spirit.

In the last weeks of my father's life, I did all I could to beautify his physical surroundings. Colors of creme, beige and eggshell filled each room. I wanted to make his transition to heaven real smooth. The new sofas and rugs were great, and I knew their staying power was weak. But they were strength-inducing for my dad. He walked around the house, looking at the new mini-blinds and kitchen floor, and said things like, "Well, it looks like we're going to be here at least a couple more years."

The rent began to matter less to him.

My sister, my mother and myself decided not to verbally inform him of the severity of his illness. And we're glad we did not. Every case is different, and had we acknowledged to my father how sick he was, he would have left us at least seven months earlier.

The bottom line? My dad knew in his heart how sick he was (how could he not?). We gave him all the proper medications, helped him to eat all the right food, etc. Telling my father (who viewed himself a failure all his life) that now, at 83 years old, he didn't have long to live, somehow just didn't mesh. So we all pretended he would get better, and, as a result, his last days were happier.

All the while, I would ask God to grant my father more time. And God complied.

I later prayed, "If it is your will to take my father, then grant us the strength to deal with the loss."

And God complied again.

We retained the strength, and I don't know how people with no faith deal with any loss.

Strangely, before my dad became sick, I asked God to show me what really matters in life.

Shortly thereafter, I went to get my hair cut. I was complaining about how it doesn't grow tall anymore, just long. The stylist put down his shears and told me this story:

"A little boy with thick curly, red hair came in one day, and I commented on how full his hair was. The little boy came back with a startling revelation. 'Well, you know,' he said, 'I have leukemia, and I'd trade in a second, my healthy hair for a healthy body.'"

Then, one night, I was watching Unsolved Mysteries on TV. There was a beautiful little girl, dying of cancer, and talking about how she spoke with the angels. How, for her, heaven was a place with colored clouds that taste like different kinds of ice cream; a place where the angels wonder what our favorite ice cream flavor is. She said "Chocolate Chocolate Chip." And then suddenly, one huge white cloud became one huge scoop of Chocolate Chocolate Chip.

In light of this happy thought, I pray today that my father's dairy dessert-flavored cloud is "Heavenly Hash," which he so enjoyed with my Mom many times on Earth. And if his sole (soul) mission in life was to bring the reader and the writer together now, with this communication in celebration of his life, then he completed his journey with flying colors -a term of which also may have its origins in those ice-cream flavored flying clouds.


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THE TRIBUTE TO MY MOM (who passed into spirit on May 5, 2008)

My Mom was a great person, parent, sister, daughter, cousin, niece, friend and employee. She worked at Kodak for 17 years, just shy of earning a pension that would have “set her up for life.” But she left Kodak – to have me. Years later, after we moved from Erie Street to Greenleaf Meadows, she started working in the lunch room at Number 7 School.

My Dad used to take her to work, go to OTB, and then pick her up a few hours later. They’d go on to McDonalds, then Wegmans supermarket, and back to Greenleaf. After my nephew Sammy was born, they’d pick him up at daycare, and bring HIM back to Greenleaf. And that was their simple HAPPY life – every day – for years.

When I tried to move on with MY life after my father died, I made the attempt to bring my Mom to California. And that was pretty much a disaster. So, we brought her back here, and subsequently moved her to the South Village Apartments at the Shire in Irondequoit.

Meanwhile, I stayed in LA – and did a few shows – but my heart wasn't in it. I missed my Mom. I missed Rochester. So I came back and moved into the NORTH Village Apartments at the Shire, where I named myself the Volunteer Director of Activities. I wanted to create the sense of family that we had for years on Erie Street and at Greenleaf. So, I started throwing parties and picnics - big parties, little parties, pizza parties, Thanksgiving Day Parties, Christmas parties, New Years Eve parties, Easter parties, Tax Day Parties, and of course, the real big parties for my Mom’s 80th and 85th birthdays – the latter of which was the mother of ALL the parties.

People said, "Oh, Herbie J - you gave up your life for your Mother." But I never looked at it like that. I did those parties because I wanted to – and I enjoyed them. I'd see movies and TV shows about a small town boy who moved to the big city and made it big. He then realizes that the big city ain’t all that.

And I loved those movies – for a few hours. Then I thought, "You know - instead of me feeling all warm and fuzzie for just a few hours and instead of me putting all my energy into maybe writing scripts similar to those movies, I'd rather LIVE the scripts of life – then write them."

It’s because of my Mom that I came to appreciate the simple treasures of life – as opposed to the glamour and glitter of Hollywood. In turn, she gave me a treasure trove of stories, which will now one day be turned into movies and TV shows – maybe even with a few of YOU in them.

One of my favorite memories of my Mom centers around a TV show: The Golden Girls, which I’d watch with her whenever I had the chance. One afternoon last year, while watching the show with her, I thought about the full and successful lives and careers of the older women on the series. I also thought about how my own life has been so full of aspirations, personal and professional. I then looked over at my Mom, turned off the TV and asked, "Mom - what did YOU want to be when you were young?"

"What do you mean?" she said.

"Well," I continued, "Did YOU ever have any dream job or dreams of how you wanted YOUR life to turn out?"

My Mom sat there for a moment, with these questions, and searched her memory, which had been gradually erased by dementia. Yet, she glanced back at me, determined to give me an answer, and replied, "I guess it was always my dream to one day go to a community center every day, where I would have a good meal, be with people, play cards and bingo. That was always my dream."

At first, I was startled and sad for her. Whatever aspirations she may have had as a child, a teen or an adult, were gone - lost in the deep sleep of her memory. But then, after a moment, I was happy for her. My Mom had convinced herself in the short NEW history of her life that going to the Senior Center (every day for the last twelve years) was the fulfillment of a LIFE-LONG dream – and she was content.

I felt God shining upon and THROUGH her that day.

And I felt that a LOT in her last few months – more so than usual. Everything and everyone was beautiful to her. Everyone's blouse was pretty – everyone's shirt was sharp. The trees were so green. The sky was so blue. She was ALREADY seeing Heaven.

On EARTH, my Mom left me, my sister and my nephew with NOTHING. And yet, she left us with EVERYTHING. Nothing of what this world calls secure. And everything of what this world holds dear. My Mom left no diamonds, no cars or homes, no stocks, bonds or annuities – but taught us to understand the true value of endless forgiveness. She left us no cold, hard cash, but encouraged us to invest in warm, soft unconditional Love. She may have left Kodak one year shy of earning a pension, but in the end, or at least what we CALL the end, she had a penchant, as in ENTHUSIASM, for life – and it was concealed in new beginnings:

She died in the Spring, the season of rebirth, shortly before Mother’s Day, on May 5th – Cinquo de Mayo – a joyful 24-hour period that kicked off the week-long festival of lilacs, which bloom in the many shades of lavender - her favorite color.

I loved my Mom - and my Dad - and it is through them that I came to love all of you, and if I learned anything in caring for my parents in these last few years, I learned this: we are ALL Mothers and Fathers to one another…we are each other's CHILDREN – EQUAL in the eyes of ETERNAL Father/Mother. Whether on Earth or in Heaven, Love is the only thing that survives in BOTH worlds.

On Earth, my Mom's Love was packaged and shaped in a body and a personality called Frances. And though we may not see her now, everything about her that was Love - lives on...her sense of humor, the echo of her singing voice, every hug she ever gave, every blessing she ever made with her rosary - all of it - survives. Everything else that was NOT Love...the dementia...the fear...the anxiety...the heart ailments...the stomach issues - all of THAT has been burned away in the Light of GOD'S Love.

In my view, our journey and final destination is like a rocket soaring into space. The pieces of us that we don’t need – fall off as we move closer to the Light of God's EMBRACE – until all that is left is the little capsule that holds our soul. My Mom's capsule - filled with every loving thought and every act of loving kindness that she ever displayed on Earth - is now not only bundled together, magnified, multiplied and showcased in Heaven – but it’s the personal, immeasurable, immortal - and priceless legacy that she left for me, my sister, my nephew - and each of us.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Herbie J Pilato's Biography

Herbie J Pilat is a writer/producer with several films and TV shows in development, including Lordsville, MarkAngel, Conquered, and Rock of Gibralter.

Herbie was born to Frances Mary Turri and Pompeii Pilato in Rochester, New York, on Erie Street, in the historic High Falls District across from where now stands Frontier Field. He graduated in 1983 with a B.A. Degree in Theatre Arts from Nazareth College of Rochester, moved to Los Angeles, where he studied Television and Film at UCLA, and served his Internship in Television at NBC-TV in Burbank.

As an actor, Herbie has appeared on television shows such as Highway to Heaven and The Golden Girls, as well as daytime serials like The Bold and the Beautiful and General Hospital. As a director, he's guided live stage productions of Leonard Malfi's Birdbath, Christopher Frye's A Phoenix Too Frequent, and Little Shop of Horrors.

Herbie is also the author of a number of successful media tie-in books, including The Bewitched Book, The Kung Fu Book of Caine, The Kung Fu Book of Wisdom, Bewitched Forever, The Bionic Book, NBC & ME: My Life As A Page In A Book, and Life Story – The Book of Life Goes On: TV's First And Best Family Show of Challenge. And he served as an editor the acclaimed biography, On The Inside, Looking Out: My Road To Recovery From Schizophrenia by Maria Pellegrino.

As a producer, Herbie has worked on Bravo's hit five-part series, The 100 Greatest TV Characters, TLC's Behind the Fame specials (about The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, L.A. Law and Hill Street Blues), A&E's Biography (for segments on Elizabeth Montgomery and Lee Majors), and the SyFy Channel's Sciography series.

He served as a consultant and on-screen commentator for the TV DVD releases of Bewitched, Kung Fu and CHiPs - as well as an Editor for numerous websites (including MediaVillage.com, TV-Now.com and the family-oriented PAXTV.com). Also, too, Herbie has contributed to a variety of magazines, including Starlog, Sci-Fi Entertainment, Sci-Fi Universe, Retro Vision, Classic TV and CinemaRetro.

Herbie recently served as the Director of Development for LPI Productions, the entertainment division of LPI Consumer Products, the manufacturer of the ShaveMate Titan and Diva "All-in-One" Razors. Here, Herbie helped to organize, establish and direct video segments; a creative ad campaign; and TV infomercials (for Walgreens) that lead to LPI's partnership with "Pitchmen" star Anthony Sullivan and The Discovery Channel.

Into this mix, Herbie recently founded the Classic TV Preservation Society - a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gap between positive popular TV and education.

For more information, log on to www.ClassicTVPS.blogspot.com.

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